Monday, April 28, 2008

Anime Review: Honey and Clover.

"A six-tatami room with no bath, ten minutes walk from the college. Built twenty-five years ago, rent 38,000 yen. The walls are thin and hardly soundproof. All residents are students. The morning sun is bright since it faces east."

Takemoto Yuta.
Famous" quote that starts (and ends) the series, Honey and Clover can be seen as a down-to-earth everyday life anime, or what one would call a "Slice of Life". This series follows the lives of 5 characters through their Art University; the normal everyday boy but confused with no goals in life - Takemoto Yuta; the gifted artist who creates art that moves people's hearts, but looks like a small kid - Hanamoto Hagumi; the eccentric genius but equally crazy, motivated by money (for a purpose) nutcase, but cares alot for those around him - Morita Shinobu; the most matured of the gang, cares dearly for those around him, yet stalks a certain individual, and always never wanting to be left out of the fun - Takumi Mayama; the beauty of the show, with amazing skill in pottery, carries a torch for Mayama but it'll never gets reciprocated, physically strong (Tetsujin aka Iron Lady) yet emotionally weak - Ayumi Yamada. (More detailed listing of HnC characters here.)

From top to bottom, left to right: Takemoto Yuta, Morita Shinobu,
Hanamoto Hagumi, Ayumi Yamada, Takumi Mayama.

This is one series that deals with lots of human relationships, love triangles and friendships. It also shows how each individuals matures through the span of 3 years (series timespan), as they make their way through the realities of life, the hardships and joys that molds them to be who they are at the end.

What I enjoy about this show is the amount of development given to each characters, it's like how a sculptor would slowly, gently, and with all the heart-felt emotions within him, create the most detailed, mind-boggling, heart-moving sculpture masterpiece of his time. As the series moves on, you grow along with the characters, feeling their emotions during both times of happiness and hardships, as most of us are abit to relate ourselves to at least one of the characters (I'm sure a huge bulk of us would be able to relate to Takemoto, including me).

One of the touching moments throughout the series. Shows how much Yamada loves Mayama, and how dearly (friends-wise) Mayama feels towards Yamada.
Takemoto x Hagu ^^.

There's also a good mix of comedy and drama, one moment you could be laughing, another you're crying. One cannot stay downcast for long as laughter takes over quite often, but once again the reality of "life" eventually sets in, sending your brain into over-clocked mode, pondering on the many decisions in real-life that we once had made, and might make in the future. As this series portrays scenarios and emotions that can easily be related to our normal lives, we get hit with lots of questions to how we had been living out our lifestyle, with the many "What ifs" that we would had asked ourselves countless times.

I want to go on a journey of self-soul-searching too!!
Too many things I want to clarify with my life.

There were also quite a few Ferris Wheels that were featured in the series, and I believe it does carry a meaning too. Wheels can be represent as the need to move forward, to move towards a goal. Taking one's own time, while enjoying the scenery (things around you), and slowly move towards that goal, is what I think the ferris wheel represents here. Or another way of putting it, like what Takemoto said in the series, that the ferris wheel exist to allow people to slowly cut across the sky while in the company of their significant other.

Animation and Music:
The original artwork for the manga is done by Chika Umino, while the anime was done by J.C.Staff. I enjoy the use of pastel colours to give the series a softer feel, and very soothing to watch. The amount of details that goes into each characters might not be much, but I definitely love how easily you can see their facial expressions, especially the detailing of their eyes.

The music for this series comes mainly from two artist, SPITZ and Suga Shikao (Mayama's character design seems to be based off this guy). The songs and BGM used are very well chosen, enhancing each scene with maximum effect. Especially loved the instrumental version of Dramatic, which really sets the mood throughout the series.

Another touching moment, but no further
comments for fear of spoilers.

I didn't watch this series initially, as I was slightly put off by the designs and the slice of life genre. However under constant persuasion (and pressure) by a friend, I took the plunge and never looked back. Currently my No.1 anime of all time, I had learned quite a few things from the series which could apply to real-life. This series is also quite an emotional roller-coaster, but it's worth it, and one would eventually walk away with a bittersweet ending.

The defining moment of the series to me.

A sweet rating of 9.9/10 (I can't give full marks due to the fact that it was so nice that I didn't want it to end ><. But eventually all things do.) and highly recommended for those who love watching dramas and love stories, and even if you're just in for the comedy it's pretty good too. This review encompass both the first and second season. Don't watch one without the other, you'll be left with a lack of proper closure.

TV Drama Version:
The Fuji TV version live-action version of Honey and Clover is also worth a watch, however the storyline does differ quite abit so you'll have to watch it with a pinch of salt. There's a few problems with TV version which I didn't like though, mainly I really wished I could punch the living daylights of the the actor playing Morita. I hated his sarcastic looking smile, and he doesn't play out the true personality of Morita (he's fun and crazy, but not sarcastic and an a%@hole).

Another problem is the actress playing Hagu. Well she may had fit the "childlike" look role well, but the way she strings her sentences and... erm... oddly placed smiles, makes you think that she might be mentally retarded. Well they could always say that she's only 16 in real life but I doubt that would affect much. But hey! I did find her cute anyway.

Last of the problem has got to be Yamada. Wished they had chose another actress for the role. Didn't really liked her facial features (but a friend of my did, well everyone has their own opinion), and where's my "beautiful legs" like the anime version had??? Where were the Unicorns defending thy Maiden?? (Those who had watched the anime second season would know)
Attack of the Yamada Unicorn 1st Guards.

I guess I'll be doing an anime review only once a month, since most other places would already have their own reviews and if you really want to find a review, it's easily found. I'm just doing one to show my appreciation for the series I love. Sorry for the lack of updates recently too, but I didn't see a point to doing a post for the sake of one while I had more important things to handle at the time being. Enjoy the 2 AMVs below, and Signing out for now.

[MAD]Honey and Clover - Mahou no Kotoba. (The song is sang by SPITZ)

Honey and Clover AMV - The Rose. (Might contain some spoilers)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vocaloid Spotlight: Hatsune Miku Series 2.

More Vocaloid songs!! I'm simply addicted to them (My MP3 playlists are filled with them). I'll be putting up some nice and slow peaceful songs this time round. However, I'll refrain from commenting on each song, well because they're all great songs in their own aspect and I love them all. Enjoy ^^. (Rushes off to camp)

Illustration by yoko.

Hatsune Miku - Linaria by にいとP.
Mp3 and Lyrics can be found here.

Hatsune Miku - Last Smile by Shake Sphere.
Mp3 can be found here.

Illustration by ayakaze.

Hatsune Miku - Tsuki ~All of you~ by haircut101さんand mya.
Mp3 can be found here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not sure where to start....

Have anyone ever had so many ideas, that you have no idea where to start from? Or be able to concentrate on just one idea and think of how to write it, without having conflicting thoughts from the other ideas idling at the same time within your mind? Guess I'm suffering from this now. Most people have mental blocks, I have mental chaos lol. Needless to say, I'll be putting those long articles on hold for the time being, while I settle down the chaotic thoughts within this brain of mine. (Blame the lack of updates on this... hehe ^^)


For nearly a month, I had been actively going out during the weekends, till I realised that I haven't had a full day of relaxation to myself (as in just stay at home and relax), and it's getting pretty tiring lol. The past weekend was no exception too. On Saturday, I headed down to Suntec City to attend the Asia Dive Expo convention, and sad to say it was a disappointment. First off, having a S$8 entry fee to an event which used to be free in the past is a huge turnoff. Secondly, the lack of advertising for this event lead to a quite miserable crowd, but of course I was happy too that I could move about freely, compared to the IT show. Thirdly, I think the number of booths that was there this year was alot lesser than previous years, but didn't really matter to me since I wasn't planning to buy anything cause I'm broke lol.

Where were the usual crowds? This is a sight
you don't see in conventions in SG often!
Sweet equipment, wished I could afford some new stuff ><. I'll have something like this in the future when I
venture into hardcore DSLR underwater photography.

After ADEX, I headed home to take the car, then drove off to IKEA Tampines to grab some stuff. I was in search of a cushion to "house" my Noumi Cushion Cover which I purchased recently. Somehow, I felt totally owned by IKEA. The cushions that they had, none of their sizes were what I had wanted; 50x50cm, 35x35cm, 40x40cm... but NO 45x45cm. Either way I bought 2 lamps for a combined S$27, and planning to make a small studio setup to take pictures of my figures instead, should I not bring them out for a photo-shoot. Once finished with IKEA, I rushed down to a friend's place to celebrate her 21st Birthday. Played PS3, Mahjong (I watched only but learning), Blackjack, and chatted with some long-time no see friends too. We stayed till about 12am before leaving for home (and as usual the ones with the cars act as free taxi rides).

My Noumi Cushion Cover!!! Where art thou my cushion?
Yep, I've gotten one of those Puchimoe~, Tsundere Vers.
Great fun, but too much pressing makes my fingers tired lol.

I'm sure this post is slightly boring, so I'll breeze through the Sunday. Wake up, go church, have lunch, go out find stuff, reach home clean house + clean room (Finally my room looks clean after 2 months!), go grandparent's place, reach home watch 2-3 eps HnC, sleep. Good news is, I finally found the remaining spray paint that I needed for my bicycle rework; the bad news is, have yet to find a 45x45cm cushion for my Noumi ><. Guess that has to wait till this weekend when I head to town (This weekend is another packed schedule uguu~).

Need a break to just sit back and relax. Eventually....

That's about it for now, as I shall head back to finishing my HnC season II (4 more episodes to go!). Will need to restart work on my bicycle too to get it ready by 18th May where I'll be heading to Sentosa for 3D2N (Family trip), and I plan to cycle around the place when I have nothing better to do. Signing out.

P.S: Cheers!!! My Nendoroid Miku finally arrived by the postman while I was typing out this post!!! Can't wait to do a photo-shoot on her!! お楽しみに!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Anime Pilgrimages?

These days, I noticed that there is a trend for those anime-lovers who visits Japan, to go through long distances, unknown backalleys and places where only locals would actually go, in order to visit locations that had been animated into some of their favourite animes. I too am no stranger to this, having did a side trip to Kohata to visit Kyoani HQ and Studio when I was in Kyoto.

I know I did say I didn't want to post this photo up as it wasn't well taken, but can't be bothered now ^^. I almost died laughing from taking this photo, always waiting for the locals around to disappear before taking.

I do wonder at times why we're doing this, but came to realise that it was more of trying to relive the moment which was in the anime, to understand what our favourite characters were feeling, and to appreciate the efforts made by animators to draw actual buildings/scenery in animes, giving it a more realistic feel.

Since the other two travelers with me was too lazy to pose for this shot, I tried to do one which just had me in all 4 poses, using photoshop to fuse them together. However, I believe I'm too ugly that the com refused to budge whenever my friend tried to join the 4 pictures together, causing the com to hang. Oh well -.-"

Currently to my knowledge, I only know a few "pilgrimage" that can be done, mainly the Lucky☆Star Pilgrimage into Saitama Region (highlight of this being the Washinomiya Jinja), the LS Kyoani pilgrimage in Kyoto (the one I had already done), and the Byousoku 5cm location visits in Tokyo itself. I'm hoping to find more pilgrimages, and plan to make a full list of them. What I would really hope to find is the locations used for Kanon 2006, and I'm sure Clannad would have some too. Anyone knows where they are?

There's some videos I had found on youtube, that shows real-life locations used in AIR, Kanon and Haruhi (Notice they are all from Kyoani?), but the sad part is there's no specific location/address listed, so in the end would still need to search for those. I'll end off here, rushing out to attend the Asia Dive Expo 2008 (ADEX08, and no it's not related to Odex) now. Signing out.

Comparison videos.

P.S: I'm also going to be doing part of the LS Saitama and Byousoku 5cm pilgrimage this coming June, and thinking of doing one on Honey and Clover too, so stay tuned? ^^

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vocaloid Spotlight: Group Songs Series 1.

Rather than just the usual, having the individual Vocaloid characters singing songs on their own, I've put up some group songs that includes two or more of the chars together.

I forgot who to credit the following pictures
to, but they're all found on PIAPRO.

Miku, Rin, Len, KAITO, MEIKO - Zutto, Zutto... by 黒うさ.

Been wanting to post this song up for quite a long time, but didn't really had the opportunity to do so. The first song I came across which had all 5 of the Japanese Vocaloid family singing together. A nice number to listen to when in a cheerful mood, and the cute artworks in the video makes it even nicer. I'm actually trying to find one of the picture in the video, the first pic which had MEIKO, Miku and Rin together (at the 00:57 - 1:12 mark), but to current date, no success. Uguu~
Mp3 can be gotten here.

Our 3 Vocaloid ladies chibi-fied.
I know it's out of the season, but I just find this
picture really cute that requires it to be posted.

KAITO + Miku - Sakurairo Maiu Koro by ぬこの人 様? (Not sure of the author, and did I get the song name right in the first place?? lol.)

A sweet duet by the two, and the unique voice of theirs seem to match quite nicely together for this single. Nice and peaceful, a song to listen to while watching the rain fall by the window(It's been raining lots these days in Sunny Singapore).
Grab the Mp3 here.

More KAITO and Miku together, with MEIKO in the background.かわええええ。。。。^^

Kagamine Twins (Rin, Len) - Gekoku by the469さん.

Initially, the starting of the song gave off the vibe of a enka-styled song, but it was not to be as soon as the tune changed and Len went rapping. Though I was never a fan for raps, the song eventually grew onto me. There was a part which I nearly burst out in a sudden laughter, while during Rin's cute rap, came to a part where she asked whether she was cuter than Miku-nee (Well Miku is considered their older sister, since she came out before them). I felt that the "comment" by Rin came out so random that I nearly couldn't resist laughing.
Mp3 and Lyrics can be found here. Enjoy ^^.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not so happy Black Day?

A huge majority wouldn't know of this day, and I'm not even sure if anyone still actually "celebrates" this unknown day of the year. Today, being the 14th of April, is the so-called Black Day, where singles get together and eat noodles in black bean sauce, a "celebration" originated from South Korea (or only done in South Korea lol).

Gothic Lolita Shana looks good ^^.

It's not so bad being single though, having the freedom to do anything you want, whatever money you have you can just spend it on yourself, no need to be at the mercy of anyone (if your partner is abusive, you should dump anyway lol) etc. But of course, not having a significant other is kind of ronery ><. No one to be with to cuddle up and share a moment of warmth, no one to have close to you when you're sad/depressed, no one to waste time chatting with for hours and not feel bored about it etc. *stabs self ><*

Bring her home, we all know we want it.

Anyway, time for me to start my Honey and Clover anime marathon (4th time doing this, but doesn't beat the 12 times I had for Uchuu no Stellvia), and here's wishing all you singles (like me ><) out there to have an enjoyable singlehood, until you get attached and forced to live a double life lol, "Happy" Black Day!! Signing out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hirai Ken - Canvas.

Just finished watching the Honey and Clover TV Drama by FujiTV, and I totally loved it. Even though the story is slightly different from the original manga by Chika Umino, it still carries the main message/story across to its audience (and yes I still cry through the drama once a while). Will do a write up on the series (both anime and drama) in the near future. For now, I just want to share the beautiful ending song for the drama series, Hirai Ken's Canvas.

Hirai Ken - Canvas / 平井 堅 - キャンバ

作詩:Ken Hirai 作曲:Ken Hirai

いつの日かまた会おうと手を振る 君の笑顔を永遠にやきつけた
そうだねと答えた僕の顔は 上手に 上手に 笑えていたかな

僕の胸をゴロゴロ転がり くすぐったいんだ

このままじゃいられなくても これからに流されても
決して変わらない 決して汚せない ぼくらだけのキャンバス

ごめんねと言った君の答えを 見つめて 探して 歩いていくから

放り投げる強さも 捨てるズルさも無くて

過ぎて行く時の中で 変わりゆく空の下で
決して忘れない 決して解けない 絆がきっと強さになる
雲の様にちぎれやすくて 虹の様につかめなくて
決して戻れない 決して汚せない ぼくらの青 キャンバス

君の目を見ていた 本当がいつも言えなくて…

このままじゃいられなくても これからに流されても
決して変わらない 決して嘘じゃない 僕らが今出会えた事
鳥の様に自由なのに 風の様に寂しかった
決して戻れない 決して汚せない 涙で塗ったキャンバス

Translated Version

One of these days when we'll meet again I will wave my hand,
your smiling face will be forever burned in my mind.
"That's it, eh?" was the response on my face,
I wonder if I can smile well and convincingly?

Although I still can't hand over the ball with "I love you" written on it,
My heart scatters, tumbles, and tickles.

Even if things can't remain like this, and are drifted away from here on,
It'll never change, it'll never be soiled, our only canvas.

Because I am looking, searching, and walking for the "sorry" uttered in your response.

Although the words "I love you" that were written on the ball are fading,
I have no strength to throw it away nor the will to cast it aside.

Within the passing time, underneath the ever-changing sky,
It'll never be forgotten, it'll never be parted, the bond will surely become stronger.
Scattered easily like the clouds, unreachable like a rainbow,
It'll never return, it'll never be soiled, our blue canvas.

Whether it is love, dream, or the last train, I ran after them in confusion.
When I grasped your hand, you said "it hurts".
Whether it is love, dream, or the last train, they were all alive.
When I saw your eyes, it's true that I'm always speechless.

Even if things can't remain like this, and are drifted away from here on,
It'll never change, it'll never be a lie, the two of us were able to meet now.
As free as a bird, lonesome like the wind,
It'll never return, it'll never be soiled, the tears-covered canvas.

Hirai Ken - Canvas.
Lyrics and Translation taken from here, where you can find the romanji version too. Not done by me, I'm too lazy and tired to do my own now. Enjoy the song.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Sky's the Limit.

Non anime/otaku related post, again.
As one who is always interested in learning new things, and also being adventurous at doing things others usually don't, I have taken another step at advancing into new areas. This time round, I'm taking to the skies!!

Now that I have captured your attention with
a nice wallpaper quality picture, let's move on.

Through my dad's old friend from the Air Force, he came to know about Flughaven, a flying school (Singapore based, but flies in Malaysia) recently setup for those interested in flying, and my dad and me were invited to take a ride with them. Located a mere 5mins once crossing the Second Link from Tuas (Singapore) into Johor, it is quite accessible to all.

Traveling along the Second Link into Johor, Malaysia.

Meeting up with my dad's friend, Darren, who is doing the ground teaching for Flughaven (he's a former C130 Navigator), we talked about taking up a [Restricted] Private Pilot License (R-PPL, restricted to Malaysia Airspace), and what we can do while having this license. We also talked about future advancement in the license up to the stage of a commercial pilot, some of the aircraft specifications, future plans of the company etc.

The hanger where the aircrafts are housed, the J160 is currently airborne at this moment. The other flyable/non-flyable aircrafts you see in the photo belongs to other people. Flughaven has only 1 aircraft now, but they are going to get more aircrafts into their fleet soon.

After all the talking, we headed for a joyride around in their current aircraft, the Jabiru J160, but since it's a 2-seater, we took turns and I went first. Even though I wasn't a student pilot, I was given a chance to handle the machine, mainly mid-flight stabilizing (keeping the aircraft steady and moving straight while heading in the correct direction) and some turning around. When in control, I could really feel the quick response in the flight controls, doing minor adjustments once a while to counteract the uneven weight (the instructor said it was due to his weight lol) and the wind forces that act on this lightweight aircraft (300kg when empty). The view from above was also really beautiful, but sadly I couldn't (didn't actually asked though) bring the camera onboard to take some photos.

The 2-seater Jabiru J160.
Interior/cockpit view. It may look small, but
it's actually quite comfortable sitting in it.

Once my 2 feet were on the ground and my dad went up for his turn, I chatted more with Darren on the capabilities of the aircraft, and places in Malaysia where we could land at. One location which I had particular interest was Tioman, which seems to be only a 1hr - 1 1/2 hrs flight away, and with the J160 fuel consumption at 15litres per hour, it's only about RM30-45 for that trip in petrol cost? (The engine can take petrol, and cheers for cheap petrol in Malaysia!) If I had my own plane (the J160 cost about S$100,000...which is cheaper than all those luxury petrol-drinking cars in Singapore!), I could fly to Tioman, grab a few dives, then fly back home in a day, talk about the amount of time (and money) saved if you would drive (2-3hrs), then take a speedboat (45min - 1hr) there!

Taking off by one of the students who was there for lessons.

But like all things that I really like to do, my Hand of Midas came to work again. The cost of picking up this hobby would set me back about S$7,000 minimum, up to about estimated S$10,000, but still it's alot cheaper than most flying schools. I guess for now, I'll need to source some kind of funding for this if I decide to pick it up. A good thing is that payment for the training is not a one-time fee, but you only pay for each lesson you take at any time, so depending on how long one would take, the S$7k - S$10k cost is spread out, so you don't feel the pinch at one shot.

One of the instructor (or instructor-to-be soon) is building his own aircraft. Even though it's from a kit, it isn't easy to build one, and there's alot of fine-tuning required to make sure everything is working well. Would love to do one myself too ^^.

Once my dad was back from his joyride, we bid our farewells and headed back to homeland. Along the way we discussed about the cost and various others, including trying to psycho some more friends to join me if I do pick it up. But there's definitely one thing I learnt: To save cost from traveling into Malaysia, don't go by Second Link (Unless you can't stand the possible jam at the Woodlands Causeway). An average of S$10 for going into Malaysia and another S$10 for coming out just for using that bridge, and the amount of petrol used to travel to Tuas is a waste of money. I rather take the Causeway (nearer to my house too) and top up on cheap petrol on the way out, I calculate that to be cheaper.

Anyone else interested in taking to the skies? Time to go back to watching Honey and Clover Jdrama. Signing out.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quick Post: Operation Reconstruct.

Non-anime/otaku related post.
What is this Operation Reconstruct you might be thinking... It's actually just me reworking on my bicycle. I'm going to cleanup and repaint my mountain bike, at the same time convert it to a hybrid bike, change current threaded tyres to reinforced 26" slick tyres. It's going to be a very weird hybrid bike though, since my current mountain bike is full-suspension fitted. However, after working for about 2hrs this morning, I'm hitting lots of road-blocks on this rework, like can't find spray paints I need, lack of Allen-key sizes, Allen-keys getting rounded against bolt/screw as key material is weak, certain bolts too tightly screwed in and unable to come out etc. I'm really rethinking whether to continue work on this (Est. Cost: less than S$200), or to burn my wallet and just get an actual road bike for training (Est. Cost: about S$1,000 for a basic). AAAaaaahhhh choices choices choices...and lack of money. Rushing off to work now, so here's some photos. Signing out.

The mountain bike in question. It's quite a old bike, about 7-8 years old. It is using a disc brake system, which alot of people tells me is overkill for a bicycle.
My baby niece Mikaela watching me as I work. Eh I haven't
posted any pictures on her yet right? Here's one then lol.
After 2 hours of work, this is all I managed to do... so little done ><.
One of the problematic points, I don't have any Allen-key
size big enough to take out those pedals.
Another problematic point, my Allen-key gets rounded trying to take out this part. Stupid bolt material so strong, and it's screwed in sooo tightly too. Look at the amount of rust on the surface....aaaaahhhh more work to remove them. I got to spend more time cleaning up my bicycle in the future to prevent such corrosion from happening.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Vocaloid Spotlight: Hatsune Miku - Yuuhizaka.

My initial writeup on this entry was totally forgotten (I blame the procrastinating me), thus I'll be trying a slightly different approach to this post. I'll be conveying my thoughts through a poem-like style, or something I would like to call "Expression of Thoughts".

Illustration by nezuki. Same goes for the other
picture and illustration within the video later.


The cogwheels of time is always moving forward,
Never stopping for anyone, nor anything.
Losing sight of an objective for a moment,
An eternity it may take to find it again.

Reminiscing the bittersweet events of the past,
The time spent during our youths with each other.
Those days felt like spring all year round,
As we cuddle up to enjoy the warm together.

The overwhelming feelings of being in love,
No one can stop this racing beat that is within me.
Chancing across a simple smile on your face,
Brightens up my day that puts the sun to shame.

But all of that was just a moment in time,
As time’s cruel prank returned to haunt us.
Dreams and commitment ensures within our lives,
As the distances that grew within both hearts and mind.

Once again walking up this hill that represents our past,
I can’t help but look back on the path that we once thread.
A part of this life that can never be relived again,
A memory is all I have left to carry me through.

As we approach the fork at the end of the road,
Decisions we must make to decide our paths.
Looking back on my path you might not be there,
But with you in my heart I will continue to take that step.


music & lyric :  doriko (きりたんP)
illustration : nezuki
guitar : rebu


顔も見ず 私に手を差し出す

ありふれてる 幸せに恋した
そんな時が 今も優しくて
振り返れば その手がすぐそこに

いつのまにか 君だけを見ていた
君がいれば 笑っていられた
触れた指に 伝う鼓動さえも


君の話すこと 君の描くもの
けど想うほどに なぜだか怖くて
長い影の私もまた 揺らいだ

ありふれてる 幸せに恋した
そんな時が 続く気がしてた
何もかもが はじめての思い出


ありふれてる 幸せに恋した
そんな時が 今も優しくて
振り返れば その手がすぐそこに

夕日を背に 長い影を連れて
今一人で この坂を上る
目を閉じれば 誰がを探している

Hatsune Miku - Yuuhizaka
Mp3 can be found at doriko's site under music. Go and grab 「歌に形はないけれど」 (Uta ni Katachi wa Nai Keredo) too, one of my favourite Miku's songs.

P.S: I used to write lots of these "Expression of Thoughts" during my Poly School days when bored in lectures, but haven't done one after graduation. I'll check to see if I can find some of my older (and surely better as I had lots of time to revise them) versions. As for the lyrics, would it be preferred if I also include a romanji version, or a translation for it? (But I'm not that good with translations ><) Throw me some feedback k? ^^ Enjoy and Signing out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Vocaloid Spotlight: Hatsune Miku Series 1.

It has been more than a week since the last Vocaloid Spotlight post, and wished I had posted this much sooner. I got a few Miku songs that I want to put up, but I shall limit myself to 3 videos for today.

Illustration done by Kintaro.

Hatsune Miku - Celestial Symphony. Done by HALL & minato.

From listening to the song, it gives the vibes of a trance song, but slightly slower, seems like a nice song to dance to nevertheless. I read somewhere that MAD is going to do a Gundam 00 AMV using this song soon, I'll try to find it once it's out.
Mp3 and Lyrics can be found here.

Illustration done by yushu-san.

Hatsune Miku - Soar. Done by minato.

I would say this song's pace is similar to the above, trance-like? Catchy tune, though truthfully nothing really outstanding, just nice to listen to.
Mp3 can be found here, but I think you'll need a nico account for this too.

Cute illustration of Miku by Kuroneko.

Hatsune Miku - Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru♪ [Shite yanyo]. Made by Ika if not wrong, I'm not sure for this.

Initially a request by Zero for the mp3, I decided to add this entry here. Despite it coming out on last year September, it's still going strong on the Weekly Vocaloid Ranking, taking 2nd placing for last week (#26). Apparently there's a full version for this song floating around (not sure if it's fan-made or original), but Nico had taken it down, though I did found the youtube link instead here.
Mp3 can be found here, but it is also using nicosound like above, so I guess will need to get an account?

One more cute illustration by nezuki.

I believe that alot of people doesn't use Nico Nico Douga, which I do find nicer to watch Vocaloid/anime related videos from. The only sad thing about this site is that it's only in Japanese, so those who doesn't know the language most likely wouldn't be able to navigate, nor even make an account on this site. However... never fear!! ミクミク has kindly did a post in english on how to create an account!! I also get my weekly updates of the Vocaloid Weekly Ranking from this site, which in turn I do these Vocaloid Spotlight to highlight the songs I liked.

That's about it for now, and will start working on the next post which is going to be also another Vocaloid Spotlight, soo enjoy these for the time being. Signing out.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

La Tendo Outing with some SG Bloggers - 5th April 2008.

For this outing I didn't bring a camera, so I'm ninja-ing the group photo off Panther (Hope you don't mind ^^). Yesterday, a group of Singapore Otakus met at the magically hour of 3pm @ City Hall MRT for a mission, a 15 man raid on La Tendo, which its new store (not that new) is located at Kallang Leisure Park. The initial meeting/greets were a little awkward, as we did not know each other in real life (or even seen each other before), and our only knowledge of one another was off a 15"/17"/whichever size is your monitor", and like quoted from Misaki-chii/BK "it was a small step out of my comfort zone, my room and computer that is."

Roll call!! Left to Right. (Photo and listing taken from Panther, I have trouble remembering everybody's name truthfully, only a hand-full lol)
Back row: Sabar, Hirito (Me), Misaki-chii, wongtcsg, Squee, La Tendo Shop Owner (he is called Reedy it seems), Gordon, Panther, Akabane.
Bending down slightly Mid row: CK, Zero (not old man Zer0)
Front row: Fariz Asuka, Raven, Wcloudxkumo.

However like how all friendships start, the conversions of similar interest (anime of course!) eventually broke the ice, and we were quite comfortable with chatting with each other in time (took about 15mins?). We made our way on bus service 16, traveling from the bus-stop outside Raffles Hotel, and stopping at Kallang Leisure Park, and proceeded to the 2nd floor where La Tendo is nicely located at the escalator. Upon reaching, everyone went wild (not really, just walking around chatting and looking at figures).

My thoughts: The variety of figures that can be found in the store amounts to quite a lot, taking in the fact that this isn't Akihabara, and it's definitely more than what one would find in KKnM or Ani-Play located at Sunshine Plaza, but I'm not sure if it's more than Toys&Toys, would need to go there (at Clementi right?) one day to compare (sounds like time to have another outing!). I spotted a few figures that I wanted to buy, but seeing their price-tags (one was S$180, another at S$95, and the Lucky Star Nendoroids was priced at S$132 for all 11 figures), I could only cry and pray to strike some lottery.

After La Tendo, we spent some time in the arcade above on the 3rd floor, before having our dinner at the food court. About half of the group left at this point (including Misaki-chii who went to collect his Nendoroid Miku /stab /stab /cry), and the remainder of us headed to Bugis for more arcade fun. Along the way, I was told lots of stories by Panther and his group of friends, their gaming slip-ups (Self-G FTW!) and NS stints, which was really interesting.

Everything ended at about 10.30pm, which we made our way back to our Home Sweet Home. To my surprised most of us are living quite close to each other (Braddell, Bishan etc), in fact Squee is staying about a 5-10mins bicycle ride from my house!! Singapore is really a small place lol.

Before this outing, I was really nervous at meeting people whom I had only known behind the monitor. I did meet with online friends from WoW before, but I had a few RL friends with me then. However for this outing I was on my own, and I didn't really know what to expect. Overall, at the end of the day, I'm glad I had gone for this outing, and had made quite a few new friends. Would definitely love to go out with them again, and it was great fun at the arcade (time to train on STGs so that we can play Otomedius again without losing face lol).

P.S: I tend to use some WoW terms at times (ninja/raid etc.), and for those who doesn't know what it means might have trouble understanding at times. So to aid the non-WoW players, here's a terminology to WoW-terms just for you. Time to chase my cousin for the S$200 he still owes me for the Japan trip so that I can go grab the S$180 figure!! Muahahahahaha!!!!

Here's a list of the coverage of the trip done by the other bloggers
(Will update as it comes):
Fairz Asuka
Gordon Wins Most interesting post!

Edit: Photo and
Panther blog link to coverage added @ 3.25 PM.
Added Fairz Asuka coverage link @ 9.35 PM. Am also wondering why this post doesn't appear on lol.
Added Wcloudxkumo coverage @ 12.20 AM (7th April). I'm stalking you all! (Nah I'm just bored lol.)
Added Gordon coverage @ 1.41 AM (8th April).

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Anime Influences.

Warning: Long wall of text (not as long as others though).
With the wide genres of animations, and the infinite possibilities that could occur in this world, and the amount of emotion that animators are able to fill each series with, it would certainly have an effect/influence (even slight) on our daily lives, be it the way our mind thinks, the activities that we do, or dreams that we want to achieve. So far for me it does have its positive effects, but it surely does have its negatives too.

1. Sports. My interest in playing Basketball definitely came about from reading/watching Slam Dunk(SD) back then in 2000, when I just started watching anime more often. I had always enjoyed playing sports, but I could never find the passion to grab myself off the computer and go out to play, be it soccer or anything. However after watching SD, I found myself going out to the nearby basketball court to train, nearly everyday, to improve myself to a level where I could play much more competitively against others.

From watching SD's, I found a liking to Mitsui's playing style, and developed myself around that style (3-point shooting). Even when I started watching NBA, I liked the way how Peja Stojakovic played, with the devastation from the 3-point line. In a way SD leaded the way in my passion towards basketball, and I had never looked back and still enjoy playing it today (but I'm seriously out of touch since the demolition of the basketball court and will need to re-train again, but will leave that till after ORD).

If you were thinking of a Slam Dunk picture, couldn't
really find one I liked, so here's one of Kyou ^^.

2. PR Skill. I used to be quite bias in thinking before, mainly taking sides/making decisions without thinking about it in deeper detail, and I was pretty naive too, with a very much flickering mind. From watching anime, an environment where we observe the characters from a 3rd person viewpoint, even at times with their mental thoughts process being spoken out as narration, I had developed the need to have a deeper understanding of others, preferring to grasp the whole situation and think from each individual's point of view, before making crucial decisions.

I would certainly say that my relations to others had definitely improved for the better, but at times it surely lacks the speed for instant answers when needed, due to a longer processing time, and at times I find myself at the short end of the stick in which I would tend to lose out (in order not to strain relations). This skill certainly needs improvement for better usage.
Waitress Shana would surely have great PR Skills,
just silence them all with her Urusai.

3. Motivation. I used to give up quite easily when things doesn't turn out for the better, preferring to run away from the problem and forget about it, something I really hate myself for, but that isn't the case now. In many animes, the protagonist would undergo various hardships, hurt, depression, defeat, but at the end of it all they tend to find that last ounce of strength to turn the tables around and rise up to the occasion and ending it all in an epic finisher. I'm guilty of drawing motivation from these individuals (despite it not being real), constantly trying to push myself to see how far I can go, but I'm not crazy enough, and still do give up once reaching a certain limit, in order not to cause physical long-term harm to myself (I surely don't want to drop dead from running).
Most GAR character EVER, Kamina. A great source of motivation.

4. Dreams and Aspiration. With infinite possibilities, there is no boundary to anything, and that makes me daydream alot on the many "What if" in life. I'm now working towards the goal of creating a Mobile Suit, despite the facts that many would say it's not practical nor possible with it's weight; but I'm sure as technology advances at the current rapid rate that it is going, it's surely not impossible. Even if I only manage to develop the needed theories on its creation, or at least the control system before I disappear from this world, I believe I would had played a part in opening the Pandora box to another possible future.

Besides my main project on the MS, I have two other side/pet projects I'm planning to work on. One of them is an inspiration from anime, while another is just continuing a project my father started, which currently I'm working on the theories behind both of them. No information/name of these 2 projects shall be given, top secret ^^, and when it works I'm going to change the world (and break the Law of Physics at the same time). Once again anime plays a part in spurring me on these crazy but not too impossible dreams.
I couldn't find my ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam (my favourite all time MS) picture after an hour of search in my picture library (way too big), so here's one of S.Freedom/Destiny.

1. Social Life. Even though this part is mainly an effect from gaming (WoW is addictive), anime does play a part. I used to be so engrossed into anime/gaming that I didn't even want to go out and spend time with friends, preferring to be raiding in WoW, watching countless animes, doing an entire anime series marathon, to an extent I felt was really scary when thinking back to the times. In one way, anime can be thought of as an escape from reality, something which I wanted as I couldn't handle the ongoing things in this worthless/heartless world. Thank goodness for me I have stepped out of that phrase, and got back to living in reality, but at times I still don't wish to go out (some of the various reasons: Save money for figures!! Lazy!! Go out also same thing, boring, stay home watch anime better.)

Never drag an Otaku from his com without permission, you
might not survive, or just get the finger. Sayuri from Gad Guard.

2. Emotions: I do find myself dropping into depression once a while, especially when a favourite series end, or having certain characters getting the boot, or the situation was just so depressing (Hantsuki, in which when I watched in BMT, 3 days of depression, talked with platoon mates about it, got the whole platoon depressed eventually ><). My worst bout was from watching Saikano, which I started hating this world, and fell into on-off depression mode for about 3 months. Something weird, but whenever I feel slightly depressed, I have the urge to watch more depressing series/movies, in order to further throw myself into depression. Anyone else the same as me? Even though when I'm depressed, I don't usually show it, as I tend to act normal with everyone, but when I'm alone or an occasionally bout of depressing thoughts that suddenly fills my mind even while with others, then I'll be quite downcast.

I believed I used this pic before, but it clearly sums up the emotions of the scene. Can't stop brawling my eyes out when watching Kanon.

3. Eyesight. The amount of time I'm on the computer could be considered crazy by normal standards. As long as I'm at home and not helping around the house, I'm sure to be at my com, even up to 18 hours a day (longest: 3 days marathon playing Team Fortress non-stop online, break only for food and toilet, just before my Chinese 'O' Levels. I still got a B3 thankfully.) Despite 8-10 years of this routine, amazingly I'm still not wearing any spectacles. Even though I do take a longer time to focus on objects especially at long distance, I have no need for them, but it is slowly deteriorating; worst come to worst there's always Lasik surgery. Anime influence? not really, but surely a possible effect.

I don't have a Megane-ko fetish, but it can be cute
as shown by Eva from Mahou Sensei Negima.

4. Fitness: Enough said. Sitting at the computer watching anime for so long isn't good for one's health, especially if you don't go out for a exercise once a while, in which you'll just balloon.

5. Misc: Constant nosebleeds and Moe~ overdose could be considered as negative no? Over-pushing oneself to the limit with the impression of GAR could be bad too lol. No money from figure/merchandise buying is also bad >< style="text-align: center;"> Death by moe~ has got to be the only way I'm going to die.

With all these pros and cons (there's more but I'm lazy to touch on them), overall I still find that anime has played a positive influence in my life, and I don't think I can stop watching them anytime soon (an addiction? not quite, but could be a fairly thin line). To the rest, how has anime affected you? For the good, or for the worse? Plans to stop anytime soon?
Side note: A trip that is also influenced by anime. I had been thinking of doing this trip when I would had been studying in Japan after finishing my NS, but now since I'm heading to NTU first, I intend to do this trip once I graduate after 3 years of studies. I intend to go on a 3 months (maximum length of stay on visa for Singaporeans) cycling tour of Japan, traveling from Tokyo towards the west coast, then moving up towards Aomori, cross over to Hokkaido, travel up to Wakkanai, come down the eastern coast of Hokkaido, cross back to mainland Honshu, travel down the east coast and back to Tokyo.

I blame Takemoto from Honey and Clover for this inspiration, but I'm was always interested in going on an adventure and this trip is also mainly to take in the sights of the more rural side to Japan. Well definitely need to have near flawless planning and training up on fitness for this, but I got 3 years so there's still alot of time. Anyone else interested in going nuts and going on a trip similar to this? Though I'm not even sure if I could go on this trip eventually, but it's something to work on. Enjoy the post and Signing out ^^.