PUBLISHED: The Coolest Japan Experience in the Philippines

Authentic Japanese drum performance? Sushi-making from certified Japanese chefs? Yamada Nanami from AKB48’s Team 8? No, we were not talking about Tokyo. Last November 7 and 8, at Trinoma mall, Quezon City, the Philippines experienced a different and authentic perspective of Japan through the Cool Japan Festival 2015.

 

AKB48’s Team 8 in Manila.

 

“The event, being an effort to empower the cultural and economic friendship between the two countries, was an exchange of the coolest Japanese traditions and trends, and the warmest Filipino values” said the article that the Viewfinder wrote for Rappler. Catch the rest of the viewpoints that enlightened Filipinos about the Japanese culture in my published piece entitled, “IN PHOTOS: Highlights from Cool Japan Festival 2015.”

Take a glimpse of some of the other photos that the Viewfinder was able to summon through her lenses.

 

The lovely ladies of AKB48:

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Niigata’s Sato Shiori.

Kyoto’s Nao Ota.

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Nara’s Momoka Onishi.

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Kagawa’s Yurina Gyouten.

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Hyogo’s Yamada Nanami and Gunma’s Maria Shimizu.

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Akishibu Project:

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Alodia Gosiengfiao, cosplaying Hatsune Miku from Project Diva:

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An on-site cosplayer:

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Characters from the anime Doraemon:

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Gian playing with the camera.

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Nobita trying to kiss Shizuka.

The traditional Japanese drum performance by Tokoro Taiko:

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FILM REVIEW: “The Legend Ends” on Nimotsu

“Executing all those superb moves was one thing. But making tears fall out of your eyes and portraying all those emotions while concentrating on the fight choreography was something that requires mastery of the craft.”

These are my thoughts on the performance of Japanese actor Takeru Sato on the last installment of the Rurouni Kenshin live action trilogy.

Keishi Otomo-sensei Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends

With Director Otomo Keishi of the Rurouni Kenshin Live Action trilogy.

 

You can access the full review on my sister blog, Nimotsu Counter.

FILM REVIEW: Kyoto Inferno on Nimotsu

It had been a year since the Asian Red Carpet Premiere of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, when the live-action team visited Manila.

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On the SM Megamall stage during the Asian Red Carpet Premier in Manila. August 6, 2014.

“Keishi Otomo-sensei, said in an interview with Rappler that the fireflies were removed from the live-action movie because first, Kenshin’s and Kaoru’s love for each other was not yet established because only little time had passed from the time-frame of the first movie. In the anime, there had been a lot of episodes to show that love. Secondly, he thinks that drama scenes may be a bit off from the action-packed situation of the Shishio arc.

For me, a film is all about portraying emotion, and letting the viewers feel that emotion. The Shishio arc might have been concerned more on saving the whole of Japan but still, the twists had their roots on certain emotional dilemmas of the characters. So I think emotions had the right to be felt. And this is what they call ‘letting the audience breathe.’”

More of my review in the original entry at my sister blog Nimotsu Counter.

Why? Because it makes me happy

Watching anime. Why? Because it makes me happy.

Heidi. memorabilias from Best of Anime 2014

Heidi. souvenirs from Best of Anime 2014.

Collecting anything anime or anything Japanese. Why? Because it makes me happy.

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“Kailangan pa ba i-memorize ‘yan?” Arigatou for the pic Otomo-sensei. 😀

Fangirling and literally running after the director of one of the best live-action adaptation of one of the best animes of all time. Why? Because it makes me happy.

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Pog. Your childhood is boring if you don’t know them.

As I have been writing in this blog lately, yes, my addiction for Japanese animation have been brewing since before kindergarten.

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Oh yes. Look how happy I was with my first Sailomoon toys. 😀 Circa 1994. With my brother.

We were not rich back then. I wasn’t even aware that original action figures in big boxes even existed. All my parents could buy for me were these toys from the local market of Orion, in the province of Bataan.

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From 1994 to 2014. Twenty years of making me happy.

But I was the most thrifty kid in town. I would save as much from my allowances just to get myself some pogs, teks, mini-teks, bargain posters and stickers. And everytime someone would go to Manila, I would ask them to buy me the famous Questor Magazine and eventually, Culture Crash. But this only happened maybe around once a quarterly.

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Questor. The Ultimate Anime Magazine.

On November 2000, according to Wikipedia, the nearest SM to our place opened in San Fernando, Pampanga. Since then, we went to SM once a year. And this was when Comic Alley collected all my savings: from Sakura cards to laminated photos to playing cards and cassette tapes.

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Original Cassette tapes. And audio recordings of the live TV broadcast. Come on, you know what I meant right? 😀

I and my bestfriend then would also do audio tape recordings of the Tagalized anime broadcasts in TV. Come on 90s kids, you knew what I meant right? 😀

My parents would ask why I was doing all of these. I didn’t know what to tell them at the time. But one thing was for sure. Anime surely made me happy.

Flash forward to the year 2005, I was in my first year at the University of the Philippines. Adjusting for boarding house living in the city was not easy from a girl from the countryside. All the pressure of living on your own and complying to the academic requirements of the premiere university in the country pushed me to set aside my anime addiction for urban survival. And it was not easy to catch up when you had no in-house TV and internet. I was able to attend, for the first time in my life, maybe a couple of anime conventions, but also due to allowance restrictions, I wasn’t able to continue doing it.


This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To read the rest of my post about my anime addiction, plus some memorabilias from the band “Heidi,” kindly click here.

A Salute to Team Otomo

(WARNING: This film review contains spoilers and loads of fangirl sentiments. Read at your own risk.)

rurouni kenshin the legend ends

The first live action movie of Rurouni Kenshin gave me “a reason to keep my heart beating.” Kyoto Inferno made “this side of me … want a little more.” And now The Legend Ends just made me say “I miss you,” just after the film’s end credits.

I was literally crying, during the first few minutes of the film not only because Kenshin was crying on screen but also because that was such an unexpected opening! There were deviations from what happened in the anime but, oh my, all elemetnes were really working now and the pay-offs of the second movie were now materializing and… and… they were all just… just… BRILLIANT! (Ok. Sheen, breathe. Breathe.)

Kyoto Inferno ended at the beach so I was anticipating some water and sand at the opening but no, Otomo-sensei and the writer chose to start with Kenshin’s childhood, which was just so unexpectantly awesome. It was so orgasmic for me that it sent tears of joy out of my eyes very early in the movie.  I never thought that Kenshin’s childhood would be the best opening for this one.  It just… worked.

And just when I was starting to contain my emotions, Takeru cried. In the anime, Kenshin didn’t cry when begging Hiko-sensei to teach him the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki. But Takeru did, and he just earned all my respect there. And then there was the bamboo forest fight scene. Executing all those superb moves was one thing. But making tears fall out of your eyes and portraying all those emotions while concentrating on the fight choreography was something that requires mastery of the craft.

And this did not apply only to Takeru but also to Fujiwara-san, Iseya-san, Eguchi-san, Fukuyama-san, Kamiki-san and to the whole cast.

And my tears just kept on falling.  Dialogue was so heartfelt and I loved how the writer retained some of the actual dialogue.  “Your own life is worth as much as any other,” was Hiko-sensei’s final words to Kenshin after teaching him the final technique. And the “Stay alive” that everybody was telling Kenshin worked so well, no matter how many times it was said on screen.

But my favorite dialogue that was retained from the Original Video Animation (OVA) was “Cherry blossoms in spring, stars in summer, full moon in autumn, and snow in winter. That’s enough for sake to taste good. If it tastes bad, something in you is ill.”

And this was what I called emotion. The emotion that I was looking for in the second movie all poured in The Legend Ends. The third movie had all the moments I was wishing for. There were now time to walk along the beach (scene when Kaoru finally woke up). Kenshin had time to look up into the sky (after he wore the red yukata again) and even to pay respect to the Kamiya Kasshin dojo. The Battousai also had time to think things over (a lot of this happened at Hiko’s place).

And the most important thing of all, there was time for tears to fall, not only my own tears and not just Kenshin’s but also for Kaoru’s and Aoshi’s. Or at least for tears to accumulate, in the case of Misao. Tsuchiya-san’s tears flooded her eyes, but were not enough for them to overflow.

There was also space for slow mo’s in the fight scenes, a lot of these actually. And these made me admire more the signature moves that the fight director, Kenji Tanigaki-san put in every fight.

Kyoto Inferno now seemed to be the master establishing of them all.  This was the main reason why it felt squished for me, trying to fit in as much information as possible for the grand pay-off in the third movie (to read my review on the second movie, click here.)

Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno

With the signature RED yukata at the Glorietta exhibit.

I also loved the jackstones at the lunch table with Shishio.  And the entirety of Hiko’s place made the best atmosphere for such crucial scenes.  And of course, who would have not noticed Hiko’s red costume?  For me it was elegantly made to compensate the big cape he had in the anime.  And it suited Masaharu Fukuyama-san perfectly.

And then there was the ever-divine musical scoring that never failed to enhance each scene.

But the fangirl inside of me was still shouting for more. I was caught off guard when Anji started telling Sano about Houji’s, Yumi’s, Soujiro’s and his own past. I would want their awesome back stories to be shown and not just to be told but, yeah, that would take up a lot of screen time. So I think maybe it would have been better if Soujiro didn’t had his breakdown at all because it wasn’t really clearly established. Or maybe the dialogue about “survival of the fittest” could have started early on in that Kenshin-Soujiro battle so at least the moral dilemma was established early on. Nonetheless, the fight and the acting was still remarkable.

And the greatest fangirl sentiment was about Tomoe. I was really looking forward that the story of the second half of the cross-shaped scar would be mentioned in the third movie. My hopes lightened up when Hiko started asking Kenshin about his scar. But Tomoe was never mentioned.

I thought maybe at the end of the film, Kenshin would visit her grave just like in the anime.   But then I remembered that they were not in Kyoto anymore.  The story was set back to Tokyo.

And so my final hope was maybe when Yumi would thrust herself between Kenshin and Shishio’s blade, Tomoe would finally appear, because that was exactly how Tomoe died. But that scene went on without any mention of Tomoe. Boo! Haha. AND NOW I AM DEMANDING FOR A PREQUEL. Please Warner Japan, I am begging you. Tomoe also deserves a live representation. PREQUEL! PREQUEL! PREQUEL! 🙂

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Posting this for nth time. Hands down, Sensei!

Nonetheless… OK FINE. Otomo-sensei, you won. You proved that all my efforts (literally running after you) during your Manila visit was all worth it. This film truly was a legend that ended. 🙂

And Kenshin’s execution was well-planned. Fine. One thing led to another.  It surely was not in the anime, but yeah, it fit! And the film would not be as awesome as it is without that scene.

And as what One Ok Rock sang in the movie’s OST, “So this is heartache?” Would this be the last leg of fangirling with Amilou? 😦 But this film truly created a significant space in my heart. Not only the three movies but all the fangirling escapades accompanying it. I will miss this. Awww.

And so as my final salute to Team Otomo and to the whole cast and crew, here is my cover of One Ok Rock’s Heartache. Hope you like it. 🙂

 


Lyrics from One Ok Rock’s songs:

The Beginning

Mighty Long Fall

Heartache

Lupin III: Another Case of Trailer Grandness

(WARNING: This film review contains spoilers and loads of fangirl sentiments. Read at your own risk.)

Lupin III. Cosplayer.

Lupin cosplayer at the Best of Anime 2014 and Hero Face Off 2014 that happened last September 21 at SMX Convention Center.

Unlike Rurouni Kenshin, Lupin was one of the animes that was easier to adapt. There was no main story arc to follow. The live-action team needed only to be faithful to the characterization of Lupin, Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko; and to relive the gang’s passion, which was stealing.

And I should say that the film’s cast was able to capture that. Performances were top-notched, as well as their looks. Lupin (Shun Oguri), Jigen (Tetsuji Tamayama) and Goemon (Go Ayano) had never been this handsome in the anime. Even Tadanobu Asano who played Detective Zenigata was too good-looking for Lupin’s best friend from Interpol. Jerry Yan surely matured from being Dao Ming Si to Michael Lee here. The mustache suited him well.

And I had to admit, Meisa Kuroki was truly gorgeous and definitely captured Fujiko’s deceitful beauty.

Shun Oguri’s performance was remarkable, and I loved how he twitched his face to portray emotion, which was so Lupin. But, it seemed that he was not able to capture Lupin’s sense of humor, as what my brother hinted. According to my fangirl friend, Amilou, she thought this project was a milestone for Shun since he usually played dramatic roles. And I thought Shun could have been funny if only he was told to do so.

The whole film lacked authentic humor. Lupin III is a comedy and adventure anime.


This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To read the rest of this review for the live-action movie of Lupin III, kindly click here.

Studio 23 Retold my Childhood

Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno movie ticket

8/26/2014. Yes, this fangirl review was long overdue.

(WARNING: This film review contains spoilers and loads of fangirl sentiments. Read at your own risk.)

Yes, Kabarkada retold my Kenshin childhood. Or it could have been the censorship of MTRCB during the 90s. Or was it the discretion of Studio 23 or ABS-CBN during those times? Or was it just my poor memory, which was worsened by stress and lack of sleep over the years?

After watching Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, I and my dearest fangirl friend, Amilou, had quite a long discussion. I started questioning my not-so-reliable-memory about certain details in the anime. So I started my marathon of the anime’s Shishio Arc.

Some of my biggest questions to Otomo-sensei for the second live-action movie were about:

  • The fireflies
  • The Kidnapping of Kaoru
  • The Purgatory
  • The Burning of Kyoto
  • Tokyo being Shishio’s real target

But before I delve into the details, this review would give you three different perspectives: the Filmmaker’s, the Fangirl’s and Sheen’s point-of-view, which is a combination of both plus the comments of the writer in me.

THE FILMMAKER’S POINT-OF-VIEW

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With the director, Keishi Otomo-sensei 😀

The film was technically remarkable as what was expected after the first movie.

However, I found the opening scene a bit dark. I actually wondered how Saito (Yosuke Eguchi-san) and the other policemen registered to the camera with very little lighting, without being too grainy and defocused. Did they shot in film or digital camera? But then, when the doors to Shishio’s fires of hell were opened, the question about light sources readily vanquished.

The fight scenes were superb as ever and I really commend the fight director, Kenji Tanigaki-san for this. The performances of most of the actors were also applaudable and I really loved how Takeru Sato did the battoujutsu stance. I would like to congratulate him for that fight with Cho wherein he was in that signature position, without showing signs of being tired, for maybe around 5 minutes or more. I was also looking forward to Ryonosuke Kamiki’s portrayal of Soujiro Seta. So far his performance in Kyoto Inferno seems ok, but the challenge would be in The Legend Ends where his past will resurface because of his second fight with Kenshin. Tatsuya Fujiwara-san’s performance was also remarkable. Acting and portraying emotion in a fully-bandaged face was no joke.

I said “most of the actors” because I found Tao Tsuchiya’s acting a bit underwhelming, especially in that scene when Misao saw Aoshi “kill” Okina. That reaction simply did not suit someone who saw the man of his dreams “kill” the one who took care of her since she was a little girl.

I also appreciated Kenshin’s change in wardrobe. The leaving behind of that red yukata given to him by Kaoru symbolized Kenshin’s attempt to rid himself of the rurouni life to venture once again to being a hitokiri. In which, according to the trailer of The Legend Ends, will be given back to him by Megumi. But why her? This is something that needs to be further explained in the third installment of this adaptation of a Nobuhiro Watsuki-san masterpiece.

I also loved that blue yukata that Kenshin wore in that scene when he changed the handle of Shaku Arai’s original sakabatou. This scene was a variation from the reveal of Arai’s signature engravings in the anime but it gave another perspective on Kenshin’s knowledge about swords.

And of course, the scenes would not be complete without the exceptional musical score. The one that sent the most shivers down my spine was the background during the bridge battle scene, when Kenshin attacked Shishio’s men who were about to burn Kyoto. It started with some nerve-wracking vocals, but instead of orchestra, drums and electric guitars followed making it insanely awesome.

I just wished there were English/Romaji versions of the final credits. I wanted to see the names of the production team and congratulate them in my head. I also wanted to know the locations of the shoot. I want to include them in my Japan itinerary in the future. I also wanted to know who among the actors required stunt doubles or if they themselves where doing all the moves.

Also, according to Rappler’s article about Kyoto Inferno, the film utilized around 5,000 talents, I just hoped they were credited because the closing billboard only lasted around 4 minutes, within the duration of the song Mighty Long Fall by One OK Rock. The usual Hollywood credits were about 3 to 4 songs long.

THE FANGIRL’S POINT-OF-VIEW

Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno

With the signature RED yukata at the Glorietta exhibit.

As what I mentioned in my previous fangirling entry (click here to read), I grew up with the Studio 23 broadcast of the then english-dubbed Samurai X.

It was a shame that I was calling myself a fan and not remember anything about the Purgatory, the Ikegaya or the Burning of Kyoto and even Tokyo being Shishio’s real target. But it seemed that it wasn’t only me. Amilou also can’t remember any of it, even my brother who was with me when I watched every succeeding replays of Samurai X that happened in Studio 23. We all grew up with Kenshin as a Kabarkada.

The copy of the anime that I was able to find online was English-dubbed. And true enough, the Purgatory and the Ikegaya really existed in the anime. I knew at once that my memory was not to blame. The english-dubbed that Studio 23 broadcasted called Kaoru as Kaori and Yahiko as Yoshi. This one that I found online called the second master of Kamiya Kashin as Kaoru and her apprentice as Yahiko. Kabarkada‘s Kenshin also told me that Aoshi was pronounced as Ae-yo-shi when it was really Ah-oh-shi, which was how the live-action movie and most probably the Nihonggo anime pronounced it. Same thing happened with the name of Usui.

And so I came to the conclusion that this part might have been cut either by MTRCB or by Studio 23 or by ABS-CBN (in case of the Tagalized version). Well, cutting scenes was a trend then, especially with what they did with Neon Genesis Evangelion. But that was a different story. MTRCB might have thought that burning a whole town was a rebellious insight for kids to watch during those times. And this was how they retold my childhood Kenshin memory.

SHEEN’S POINT-OF-VIEW

Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno

😀 Photo by Amilou Gatchalian.

The first Kenshin movie still had time to show emotion and to let that emotion sink into the hearts of its viewers. It had time for Kenshin to think and to look up to the sky. It had time for Kaoru to cry and look into Kenshin’s eyes. It also had more time for the fight scenes, it even had the luxury of slowing the most awesome moves down. But Kyoto Inferno did not have that advantage.

The fangirl writer-filmmaker in me said that it could have been three movies, each portraying around ten episodes from the 34 episodes of the Shishio Arc. But they made just two films. And now everything felt squished.

Keishi Otomo-sensei, said in an interview with Rappler that the fireflies were removed from the live-action movie because first, Kenshin’s and Kaoru’s love for each other was not yet established because only little time had passed from the time-frame of the first movie. In the anime, there had been a lot of episodes to show that love. Secondly, he thinks that drama scenes may be a bit off from the action-packed situation of the Shishio arc.

For me, a film is all about portraying emotion, and letting the viewers feel that emotion. The Shishio arc might have been concerned more on saving the whole of Japan but still, the twists had their roots on certain emotional dilemmas of the characters. So I think emotions had the right to be felt. And this is what they call “letting the audience breathe”.

Regarding the love that was not established, I think a passage of time could have worked. Kyoto Inferno could have started when the love among them was already fully established, not only between Kenshin and Kaoru but also for their whole family, including Sanosuke, Megumi, and Yahiko.

And the fireflies scene could have been saved if Okubo’s assassination happened at sunset, as my fangirl friend Amilou suggested. Then by the time Kenshin already made his decision, it was already night and the fireflies could have appeared during the goodbye scene.

But I believed the more important thing about that scene from the anime were not the fireflies but the fact that Kaoru cried. In the anime, she even locked herself in her room and was miserable days after that goodbye. And there was this scene wherein Megumi was about to slap her in the face just to tell her that the feeling is worse for not even able to receive such a goodbye. This simply meant that they all were badly hurt about Kenshin’s decision to go to Kyoto.

But in the live action, Kaoru never shed a single tear for that. There was a line there wherein Megumi told Kaoru not to pretend that she was all right after that goodbye. OK. Maybe too much drama like crying could have ruined the atmosphere but I just wished this scene wherein Kaoru was looking at Kenshin’s red yukata could have been extended even just for a few minutes, enough for the audience to feel Kaoru’s pain. Nonetheless, there were no crying on-screen but the tears seemed to have transported instead out of my own eyes. I did not know if Otomo-sensei planned it that way, but ok fine, I still cried during those scenes.

Next were the fight scenes. I wrote earlier, yes, that they were superb. But the fight scenes were put so close to each other that the audience were not given enough time to breathe again. I was still digesting the first fight scene when the next was already introducing itself. Nonetheless, they were still outstanding, but could have been more glorious with slow motion.

Next, and I believed the most important comment of all, was the kidnapping of Kaoru. My immediate reaction when I saw that in the movie house was “Why?”. First of all, Kaoru was never a damsel in distress. Kaoru was a strong woman who carried the spirit of the Kamiya Kashin style with her. And the kidnapping of the leading lady was so cliche.

According to Rappler’s interview again, Otomo-sensei explained that for him, the kidnapping was a trigger for Kenshin because, though the love was not yet established, Kenshin could not afford to lose someone with whom he shared a common advocacy with. The Kamiya Kashin style was for protecting the people, and not harming them. And this too became Kenshin’s beliefs as a wanderer.

But I was not satisfied with this explanation.

But after my anime marathon, I realized that maybe Otomo-sensei and the rest of the creative team needed something that will make Kenshin worry during his battle with Shishio.

In the anime, when Kenshin, Sanosuke and Saito arrived at the Shrine of the Six Arches to face Shishio, Yumi told them that they will be fighting only three members of the Juppongatana because the rest were sent to extinguish the Aioya where Kaoru and the others were. And this made him worry all through out his three battles with Aoshi, Soujiro and Shishio.

In the live-action movie, Kenshin and the others already won the battle in Aoiya before Kenshin went to the Purgatory so the only thing now that would make Kenshin worry the most was no one but Kaoru. OK FINE.

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE LEGEND ENDS

And now, I am really looking forward about the pay-off of all of these on the Legend Ends. The trailer says that Kenshin would be executed and I am asking “why?” again this very early.  Then Megumi seemed to be playing a bigger role here in the live-action than in the anime for the Shishio Arc.  The trailer also suggested that all the succeeding battles, well except for Aoshi’s, would took place in the Purgatory, which I think was a good idea because I personally don’t think that such a big vessel would sink just because of Sanosuke’s home-made bombs, just as what happened in the anime.

I am also expecting some insert of Tomoe/ Kenshin’s past during the third movie because the anime’s ending to the Shishio Arc showed Kenshin visiting Tomoe’s grave.  Also in the first movie, the origin of the first half of Kenshin’s scar was revealed. Now, in the third movie, I would like the story of the scar to be complete, simply because I was more of a Kenshin-Tomoe fan that a Kenshin-Kaoru one. And of course, the battle with Soujiro and Shishio should be awesome or else…

Otomo-sensei, just make sure I didn’t waste my time when I ran after you during your visit to the Philippines. 🙂

Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. Opens September 24, 2014 in the Philippines. Photo by Amilou Gatchalian.


Video from Pechu Mori Youtube Channel
Keishi Otomo interview from Rappler – http://www.rappler.com/entertainment/movies/66697-rurouni-kenshin-kyoto-inferno-movie-spoiler-interview


This post had also been posted by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To access it, kindly click here.

RuroKen: The Ultimate Fangirling Escapade (Philippine Leg)

DISCLAIMER: Please play the acoustic version of The Beginning by One Ok Rock while enjoying this blog entry.  Yes, the acoustic version for more dramatic effect. And yes, put it on loop. You’ll never regret this, I promise. 🙂
Keishi Otomo. Takeru Sato. Emi Takei. Aoki Munetaka. Rurouni Kenshin. Philippines

The RK Team during their visit to the Philippines.

“Just give me a reason to keep my heart beating.”

I believe that the 90s was the golden age of anime in the Philippines. I was in elementary then, and I was introduced to early anime intoxication and addiction.

Rurouni Kenshin, the anime, was first aired by Studio 23, on June 1998 and was English-dubbed. The following year, ABS-CBN aired it on September 1999 and was Filipino-dubbed. This information was thanks to my dear friend and fellow fangirl OF THE ANIME ONLY, Sheig.

I was readily hooked then in Studio 23 since the timeslot was at seven in the evening. I was on my fourth grade then while my brother was on his first grade. My father used to get mad then when I and my brother would not do our homework just because of watching anime. And he would really remove the TV antenna, just to make us do our homework. So, seven in the evening was the perfect time to be a fangirl.

And that was the reason that kept my heart beating.

Rurouni Kenshin Movie 1 Poster

My Rurouni Kenshin Movie 1 Poster.

“Blinded I can’t see the end. So where do I begin?”

It was on July 26, Saturday when I first heard of the news that the RuroKen cast and director would come to the Philippines. And I was in Singapore then.

So when I came back to the Philippines, I asked myself, “So where do I begin?”

I am an event writer. So I first asked my event contacts if they know who were the possible organizers of the event. All I got were trunkline numbers. And I thought they were of very little use.

And then on August 1, one of the leading malls in the Philippines released a Facebook promo for event passes for the Red Carpet Procession of Rurouni Kenshin.

I was never lucky when it came to promos, raffle and the kind of stuff but this was just really where I could begin.

On August 2, Saturday, I told my mother in Bataan (a province north of Metro Manila), that I would not be able to come home to get my poster of the first RK Live Action movie so I asked her to send it via courier service. After two hours, (yes that’s how much my Mom loved me) she texted me that she was able to send it and it would arrive on Monday.

I was a film graduate, and a fangirl. So when a good friend gave me a poster of the first RK movie, I was elated. And I was determined to have it signed, even just by the director, Otomo-sensei. I really loved the way he faithfully translated the anime into the live action movie and this was definitely one of the best film adaptations I had ever seen. (To read about how I felt about the first movie, click here.)

On the morning of August 3, they released the question for the third batch of winners. And finally, I won.

On the night before the Red Carpet Procession, though swamped by work, I was able to find out that one of my colleagues from film school was part of the video coverage team hired by Warner Philippines. And she became my ever reliable source for this escapade.

I was not able to sleep much that night because I need to finish and submit a script. But nothing could stop me from fangirling. I even asked a good friend, who was now in Japan, for the proper way to ask “Can you sign my poster, please?”

“It finally begins.”

Rurouni Kenshin Philippine visit

Yes, with Kamiki at the background. It was already 5:30pm but still I could not see any of them on the stage.

“Kono mama ja mada owara seru koto wa deki nai desho? Nando kuta bari sou demo kuchi hate you to mo, owari wa nai sa.”
“このままじゃまだ終わらせる事は出来ないでしょ. 何度くたばりそうでも朽ち果てようとも. 終わりはないさ.”
“We can’t end it yet, right? No matter how many times we’re close to dying or rotting away, there will be no end.”
 
It was August 6.  I was there at 12nn at one of the biggest malls in Mandaluyong City. And when I got there, I was disappointed about the set-up.  In the area where the promo winners where supposed to be, there were high barricades and another line of stanchions in front of that.  Define security.
Rurouni Kenshin. Philippines. Japanese Press. Disappointing event set-up.

Define layers of security for the supposedly “privileged” promo winners.

This Japanese reporter was about to interview the fangirls beside me at the barricades. One of the girls’ arm was resting on the barricade and seen here at the lower right hand corner of the photo.

And according to this set-up, after the barricades were the press. Then the stanchions. Then the red carpet. Then the stage. Define layers of security for the supposedly “privileged” promo winners.

Meanwhile, outside the stage area, here was the scenario, as this video showed:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203374986989346

The video was from another friend, Pat Lugartos.

And good grief. Outside the stage area, the security was minimal, compared to the security given to our area, so fans positioned at the red carpet area were able to get their precious autographs. The mall management told me, when I got my passes, that even promo winners would not be given autograph-signing opportunities. And then this. My heart broke. Where is luck when I needed it most? Am I really this unlucky when it came to these things? Gah.

When the team finally got near the stage, we, the promo winners, tried our best to stretch out our hands so that any of the RK team would get down from the stage and sign them. But to no avail. How could you notice the arms stretching behind the lenses and the microphones of the press people that were in front of us? Good grief. I really thanked the mall management for this very awesome privilege they had given their promo winners.

Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit. SM Megamall.

So when the show finally started, the scenario was this. Great. The promo winners were really “privileged”.

I tried raising my poster to catch their attention, hoping they might come down and sign it. But the poster was too big for a little Filipina like me. It was cinema size so it was really huge. I really believed that Otomo-sensei saw it because I saw his smile changed when he glanced at our direction. And Munetaka-san too.

The program ended and my poster bore no trace of an autograph. And apparently, the event passes we got were just for the Red Carpet Procession and not for the premiere. And that was another privilege for the promo winners. Great.

“We can’t end it yet right, no matter how many times we’re close to dying?”

I told myself that I would not settle for just this. I asked my colleague if she had the power to have my poster signed. She told me there would be no guarantee. But I took the risk. I gave her my poster and I started crossing my fingers that night as I and my friend enjoyed our bottles of Tanduay Ice because of too much frustration that day.

We were tipped that the RK team was going to a restaurant in a big mall in one of the business districts of Metro Manila. AND WE WERE STUPID ENOUGH TO NOT GO THERE THAT NIGHT.

“As the world falls apart around us, all we can do is hold on.”

After almost a whole day of spending time with the RK team, work came running after me the day after. I needed to finish revising my script in the morning of August 7 and I had a meeting in the afternoon. My meeting ended at 4:30pm and I rushed to another big mall in Makati just to see the RK team again.

I paid an awesome amount for the passes just to have the same experience like the Red Carpet Procession. There were no privileges given to those who have passes. We had the same experience as those who did not purchase the passes.

And since I thought this was my last chance, I did a first on this day. I, literally, ran after them, still hoping to have an autograph. Just when the on-stage program was about to end, I ran towards the barricades on the path where they will exit. But they did not give away any autograph that day. Maybe they were told by the management not to, after what happened the day before.

And so after the event, we sat there waiting for my colleague, hoping that my poster was signed. She invited us to a hotel where they were dumping their video files. And there, she told me something that made my “world fall apart”. My colleague said that she had to rush to a meeting this afternoon during the mall event so she entrusted my poster to her friend from Warner. But just before we came to the hotel, the poster was discovered missing and was said to might have been accidentally included in the signed posters given away by Warner on the program that afternoon. Did luck really hated me?

But maybe God had other plans. That night we received a tip again about their hotel and the time of their flight to Japan the following day. “All we can do is hold on.”

 “This time demo yuzure nai mono.”
“This timeでも 譲れないもの.”
“This time, however, I’ve found something that I’ll never give up.”

They sure were Japanese. For us Filipinos, we would normally arrive at the airport around three hours before our flight. But they were getting ready to go to the airport when we arrive at the hotel lobby around five hours before their flight.

When the cab made a turn to drop my friend Ami and I in front of the hotel lobby, I already saw two vans waiting outside. I became worried.

But right in the nick of time, when we came down from the cab, Otomo-sensei just told Munetaka-san that he would go the van already. I readily asked him for a photo and he granted our wish! And the “Arigatou sensei” that I told him after the photo opportunity was probably the most heartfelt “Arigatou” I ever said in my whole life.

Keishi Otomo-sensei. Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit.

With Keishi Otomo-sensei. 😀

And then we also asked Munetaka-san for a photo. He told us “Salamat” when we told him “Arigatou”. He was really “ASHTEEG!”

Munetaka Aoki. Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit.

With Munetaka Aoki-san. “ASHTEEG!”

And then we sat there waiting for Takeru. I saw again, for the third time, this cute Japanese guy who apparently was from Warner Bros. Japan, according to my ever reliable source.

Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit.

The guy who caught my attention. Photo by May Natorilla.

I saw him first on the event last Wednesday, then on Thursday and when we went to the hotel to see my colleague.

He really got my attention and because I was looking at him, I did not notice that Takeru already passed by, who went straight to the van.  I apologized to my friend, who was a Takeru fan.  I said I was distracted.  Anyhow, Otomo-sensei was really my number one reason for going through all of these and my friend got her photo with Munetaka-san anyway so we left the hotel grinning.

“Look how far we’ve made it. I’ll risk everything if it’s for you.”

And that was the perfect ending to a rollercoaster fangirling escapade.

God really was the best writer and plot-twister in the universe.

And now, that was what I call luck. Maybe God won’t just give it away that easily. And maybe He just gives it to people who worked hard for it. Thank you Lord for this. And to Otomo-sensei and Munetaka-san, “度もう ありがとう ございました”, for accommodating us.

And to my ever reliable source, thank you very much for everything. 🙂

Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine tour.

We are wiser fans now. 🙂

P.S. I wrote “Philippine Leg” because my friend and I were planning another fangirling escapade in Japan.  HOHOHO. But we still need to earn more money for that. 🙂  And to the person who got my poster, please, I am begging you.  What can I trade you for that? Or can I buy it? You could message me here if ever you got to read this.


Romaji, Kanji and English lyrics from http://jpoptime.com/

Video from Pat Lugartos
Other photo from May Natorilla


This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To access it, kindly click here.

Tsuduku

to be continued copy

 

When fatigue and lazyness begin to conquer the system, an anime simply uplifts the spirits again.  It is a visual and spiritual stimulant that boosts self-confidence and perseverance: things that coffee and other energy drinks cannot supply.  And this is one of the reasons why I still love anime…  and will continue to love it up to the very end.

 

 

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Day 34 of the 365 Challenge

 


YEAR-END SALE AT THE UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE CENTER

Welcome to my Unclaimed Baggage Center, where you can see a catalog of baggage left permanently on my baggage counter.  And just like in any unclaimed baggage center, items here are for sale… if I hadn’t bought them yet 🙂

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BAGGAGE NAME  Nandito Ako
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION  Mini-serye
BAGGAGE TAG  02202012
STATUS  sold to me
 
 
 

with David Archuleta

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February 2012 was filled with screaming fans worldwide with the launch of  David Archuleta’s mini-serye, Nandito Ako.  I handled the promo campaigns used for the show.  Here is the AVP I produced for the show’s press conference:

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The show became a trending topic worldwide every single night of airing, for the whole five weeks of conquering primetime television.

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Nandito ako worldwide trending

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BAGGAGE NAME Pinoy Explorer Rebrand
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Adventure/ Travel Show
BAGGAGE TAG 04222012
STATUS sold to me

aga

On the summer of 2012, I did the launching promo campaigns for the rebranding of Pinoy Explorer, showcasing a more adventurous Aga Muhlach.  Here is the re-brand launch campaign:

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The launch was a 2-part special in the wonderful islands of Batanes.

 

BAGGAGE NAME Resignation
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Straight to the point
BAGGAGE TAG 04242011
STATUS sold to me

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With two launches at the first quarter of the year, one may think that I’m doing good at work.  But it was not that simple.  Work is not only the act of doing what you need to do at the work place.  A lot of factors and outside consequences contribute to my decision to finally hear what my heart has been telling me for the longest time already.

I believe one of the highlights of my 2012 was my resignation at my job then as a Promo Producer.  Quitting a job is not easy.  It’s like saying goodbye, for good, not just to the work load but also to friends and colleagues.  Drafting a resignation letter is a piece of cake, but gathering all the guts to submit it and finally tell the boss is a whole new baking process.  Luckily, after months and months of brain-wrecking decision-making sessions, on April 24, I was able to bid everyone goodbye.

Here is a late christmas gift I received from a friend named Nessa Gabrillo. The lanyard was on a buy-one-take-one promo on The T-shirt Factory and so she has the same lanyard and said she will wear it to work.

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Fed Up lanyard

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BAGGAGE NAME Hong Kong
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Travel
BAGGAGE TAG 05262012
STATUS sold to me

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Being my first out-of-the-country trip, this one is really memorable.  And simply because I was with the most awesome people in the universe.

Our adventures and misadventures in Hong Kong and Macau is detailed in Oh Yeah! This is First World!

 

BAGGAGE NAME Freedom
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Greatest Separation Pay Ever
BAGGAGE TAG 062012
STATUS sold to me

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“Newly unemployed, I found this kind of life refreshing. No more commuting to work…. And best of all, I could read any book I wanted, anytime I wanted. I had no idea how long this relaxed lifestyle would continue….  It would have to end sometime, but until it did I was determined to enjoy it.” – Toru Okada in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Mt. Samat in Bataan

Mt. Samat in Bataan

Being out of a daily work, I came to appreciate the small things in my life: the silence in the province, the good air in the province, the trees that are older than me, the wonderful chirping of the birds, the magnificent cloud formations… things I was taking for granted because of hectic schedules at work.  And I’m happy enjoying these things this way. (An entry about rural life in Bataan is soon to be published here so stay tuned.)

If Toru Okada is excited to be reading anytime he wanted, I was excited to write… to finally write a script that I wanted to do several months before but just can’t find the time to do it.  And I’m thankful I was able to write my short film script.  I intended it to be a short film but the consequences are telling me that maybe the concept is one for a full-length film.  I’ll see about that 🙂

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BAGGAGE NAME Baggage Counter
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION My very own blog
BAGGAGE TAG 08312012
STATUS you definitely cannot buy this

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And speaking of writing, I started blogging on August.  And so here’s my baggage counter.  Our Mt. Batulao trip was the lucky one to be deposited here first.  You can view it here: Ang Labing-Tatlong Rurok ng Bundok Batulao.

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BAGGAGE NAME Quarter-life crisis
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Depression-inducing part of everybody’s life
BAGGAGE TAG 092012
STATUS For sale

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I believe I experienced my first wave of quarter-life crisis after my college graduation: the pressure to find a job in the soonest possible time, a job that should be related to my field of study.  This was accompanied by one of the greatest dilemmas in the world: which path to take.  Then, I decided the path to TV5.

During the time I resigned, quarter-life crisis came haunting me again.  And Diana Ross’ “do you know where you’re going to?” song became the official soundtrack of my life then.  I believe this is the downside of the freedom I got.  I was given all the time to think.  Even the things that I need not to be thinking of eventually entered my mind and I cannot stop them.

Eventually, I happened to see the good side of quarter-life crisis, it let’s you discover who you really are.

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BAGGAGE NAME Self
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION fragile
BAGGAGE TAG 2012
STATUS sold to me

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“I had simply been too busy to think about myself.” – Toru Okada in Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Maybe the good side of this too much thinking is that I was able to seek the deepest portions of my conscious mind.  Even my subconscious gave me hints on who I really am.  In one of the rakets that I managed to get, I did research on some psychological stuff that ended up triggering my suppressed memories out.

I had reasons for suppressing them, reasons that eventually turned to questions that I address to God.  But may I say that these were not the kind of questions that doubt His greatness but rather questions that later on turned to requests to make me understand why these particular things happened to me.

And during this second wave of quarter-life crisis was the time when God granted my requests.

Caloy’s story would gave you a hint on what I’m talking about here. View it at: Caloy, the Infamous Master of an Infamous Art.

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BAGGAGE NAME Rakets
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Making a living
BAGGAGE TAG 092012
STATUS sold to me

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I would want to thank all the people who entrusted their projects to me.

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raket montage copy

 

BAGGAGE NAME Android phone
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION one of the latest gadgets today
BAGGAGE TAG 112012
STATUS sold to me

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Like I was always saying, I really have difficulty dealing with technology, technobobo ika nga.  But recently my Nokia 6680 phone, yes my NOKIA 6680 phone finally wanted to retire from its almost 8 years of service. So I finally need to buy a new one.

At first I was hesitant to buy techie phones because a phone that can text, call and alarm is all I need.

But I was happy to buy an android phone.  Because of it, I can write even when I’m on the bus on a trip to the province.

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BAGGAGE NAME Rurouni Kenshin
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION fan-girling to the nth level
BAGGAGE TAG 12082012
STATUS sold to me

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Ruruoni Kenshin live action movie was really one of the greatest anime adaptation ever.  My deepest fan-girling thoughts were best described in Memory is a Knife, or rather a Katana.  And thanks to Kaoru Kamiya, Emi Takei and Kathryn Bernardo, my blog is gaining more and more views. So keep it up! 🙂

 

BAGGAGE NAME My 24th
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION a heavenly celebration
BAGGAGE TAG 12142012
STATUS sold to me

On my 24th, I had a Parade, Fireworks and a Royal Banquet.  And it had been really really great!

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And that was my 2012: emotional, nostalgic, victorious, tragic, depressing, enlightening.  But overall I’m thankful for this year.  Realizations came up this 2012, realizations that may not have come if things went differently.  So on 2013, it’s time to deal with life with a completely different perspective, an entirely positive one.  And I would want to ask God to accompany me in doing so.

And if you have observed, I have that habit of keeping every baggage.  Only a few items were on sale and ready for disposal.  This is also one of the reasons why I put up this baggage counter.  So in 2013, I want to change that habit and start learning to let go of things.

How about you? How’s your 2012 and how do you plan to deal with 2013?  May everybody have a glorious new year.  And I want to thank all my readers.  May you continue to enjoy my baggage counter 🙂