All I can say is wow, what a finale. They really built it up this time and I think that the pacing was awesome to split it into 3 episodes. I reckon the animation quality has gone down though, with the characters looking rather bland and undetailed in some of the screens. Though later in the episode 8 they went with a very sombre palette which worked to highlight the mood. The final episode of this arc was a lot darker than the previous ones, when Kanbaru’s inner desires were revealed to Araragi by Oshino. The rainy devil grants 3 wishes, but there were no further conditions besides taking her soul; what Kanbaru said about it granting wishes in ways that were contrary to the wielder’s morals was nothing but self gratification. The rainy devil gave her an excuse to hurt people that she hated, and that was enough for her to give herself to its power.

I really liked this arc because it showed parts of Kanbaru, Araragi and Senjougahara that we have either not yet seen or have seen very little of. Kanbaru clearly hid more than she let on in the last episode and it wasn’t until Oshino put her under the spotlight that Araragi found out that she actually did want to kill him. Why Araragi wanted to save someone who was going to kill him is somewhat a mystery but it was a part of him that Senjougahara is so drawn to. Araragi put it pretty clearly himself before he committed to trying to save Kanbaru when he says “Hating people is a part of life”, he understands Kanbaru’s emotions and forgives her hatred. The main surprise is that Senjougahara turns up and shows that she has borrowed a little of Araragi’s attitude to help Kanbaru out.

I love how the characters in this series all have such human characteristics despite their superhuman circumstances, it really pulls at the right strings to get you involved. Hopefully the next arc will have more on my favourite tsundere-chan… in the meantime, here are some pics from the official site!

PS. did anyone else think the Shinobu scene was really cute?

I had all these grand relaxing plans for the weekend and then I realized I need to fulfill some social commitments before I become a hermit. I was just so glad the week is over that I had forgotten all the things I needed to do this weekend, when I feel like this I guess I just become selfish and do what I want as opposed to do what I am supposed to do. Not to say that social outings are bad of course, but they tend to wear me out as opposed to relax me in some cases. I will probably have to cram in the things I want to do in the morning because I will not have time in the afternoon or at night to do them. But then that defeats the purpose of relaxing because there will be a time constraint on what I wanted to do.

Oh the dilemma.

Time is one thing they don’t make any more or any less of, which is a bit sad especially since I had so much spare time today at work but so little time during the weekend. I forgot what I was going to originally write about after this short rant but hey, I am going to finish some games.

Poetry Wednesday?

August 26, 2009

I got inspired and I missed last week’s poem so here is an early present.

your poem

disaster looms behind darkened clouds
with people crying that
the sky will fall tonight.
last we spoke
i remember we ended on unfavourable terms,
but if the world should end
i at least wanted to see you off with a smile.

the world is on their feet,
trying to drown the catastrophe in their tears.
but even if the streets turn to rivers
i will swim against the current
to see your face again.

there are those who still cling to their pride
in this final hour,
they refuse to open up and continue
with their daily mundanity.
i would rather not pretend anymore-
why hold on to yesterday to throw away tomorrow?

as i near your door,
the pavement cracks and gravity grows stronger;
it was like God himself was against my goal.
but if i had to become a pagan
you would be my reason.

i am falling off the edge of the world
and even as i descend
i will call your name and ask for a second chance
in eternity.

My new favourite anime Bakemonogatari aired its 7th episode on Friday and once again it has made my week in terms of anime viewing. Kanbaru and Araragi doesn’t have the same chemistry as the other girls from what I have seen. I am not sure if that is intentional due to their relationship (Kanbaru being jealous of Araragi over Senjougahara) or if the VAs are finding it hard to work with the script. I think it might be because they were trying to fit too much content into the episode and they couldn’t jam in the character building. The writers couldn’t fit the plot movement with individual character development as well as character relationships, that is how I felt after watching the episode. Not to say that it was a bad episode because it was still freaking awesome, just not as good as the last few eps; perfection is hard to follow up. Nothing beats the service Senjougahara gives Araragi in the first five minutes, it was sheer wtfness but so befitting of her!

FMA is coming along very nicely as well, plot developing at a very good pace, but what I have yet to see is how Ling Yao fits into the story, not much of him has been shown except as comic relief. The last episode was not quite as action focused as episode 19 where Roy absolutely kicked ass burning Lust to kingdom come, but showed Hoenheim for the first time which reveals a little bit about him whilst keeping him shrouded in mystery. Valkyria is not bad, it’s just very random and while the story is good the pacing is a bit sporadic. There aren’t many more episodes left so I will just see how it pans out. Bleach is crap filler arc and doesn’t make sense at the moment. Canaan is kinda crap too despite all the hype and the money dumped into production. All the main characters are really annoying except Alphard so it is really turning me off. Haruhi is Haruhi, I don’t know how to describe it really, more of the same stuff?

Next season is not really very epic, with Darker than black being amongst the exceptions. Last season we were left with Hei’s choice to be both human and a contractor, this season I think we will see the results of his choice especially after he destroyed the facility. Maybe I will also watch Nyan Koi which would be quite hilarious i believe. Fairy Tail will be THE anime to watch next season for sure, if anybody has read the manga then I reckon they will also agree. The only issue I can foresee is that they will run out of content since the manga doesn’t even have 150 chapters, so I think they will only cover the first arc. I also saw a pic of Kurenai OAV but have not heard news about it through my regular channels… That will be very interesting if it does eventuate since it seems to show a Murasaki in junior high.

Here is the list of fall anime I managed to google.

Writing from work

August 21, 2009

I am writing this post from work since my manager couldn’t find someone to do monitoring for the night shift. It is so different working in an empty office as compared to being on field or working during the day. The silence is a bit discerning, though I am kept company by the sound of computers whirring.

Today I managed to talk to my manager about getting a company phone which I can use for work, which would be pretty awesome really. The reason I brought it up was that my phone bill skyrocketed this month and I need to bring it back down to manageable levels. I was paying about 3 times more than what I would usually spend in a month so it was time to get that sorted ASAP.

Apparently the topic was brought up earlier before I started doing this technician business but somehow something didn’t go through and the idea was abandoned. Good thing I brought it up again!

No poem today because I am working a 14 hour day.

List of nigglies

August 19, 2009

Theres been a few things that has been bugging me lately, pretty much all of which revolve around my indecisiveness in spending money on stuff. Given my recent tax return I have been itching to buy a few things and get a few things done which will save me heartache and pain in the future. It’s pretty amazing what a little bit of extra cash can do really, I wouldn’t have given these things much thought when I was a poorer man but now I am debating whether or not to spend now or later.

Get various car things out of the way

  1. HIDs installed for around $200. My friend says he can cut me a deal and my headlights are so dim I can barely see at night, the only good thing about them right now is that they look pretty.
  2. Window tinting. Summer is in 3 months and I need some UV protection… and so does the car.
  3. Get my climate control fixed. I have been meaning to send it off for a good month or two now, but have put it off due to it being a hassle.

Pay off various debts

Luckily I don’t have a mountain of debt, so I really only have to ask my parents what I owe them and pay them back. I could also try to pay off my HECs but I am a bit against that at this point in time since it is pretty much a loan with no repayment date and no interest, just that it adjusts itself to inflation.

Buy some new clothes

I have wanted some new clothes to put in my wardrobe, but I keep thinking that what I have is good enough. I still stand by that, though it wouldn’t hurt for me to dress a little nicer and keep myself looking respectable. I’d like to have clothes for all sorts of occasions but at the moment I don’t have that luxury.

Save up

  1. For possible future trips. Maybe Japan, Europe or even Hong Kong. I’d like to go snowboarding in Japan too!
  2. For a house. Holy shit I am going to need a hundred more tax returns before it becomes a reality now that I think about it.
  3. For my next car. Probably something more economical and more current even though my soarer has a pretty timeless design.
  4. Quality AV equipment is a good investment since that stuff can last for decades.

This post was delayed by random bouts of feeling ill and me playing Tales of Vesperia to forget about the pain.

Random piano music + stuff

August 17, 2009

I found some random Japanese piano music (applique and akatsuki works) on a forum I frequent and was pleasantly surprised when I listened to it. It actually sounded like a score from a video game, notably sounding like the soundtrack for Eternal Sonata of which I have also listened to. I don’t really listen to too much instrumental stuff but this album is pretty simple and relaxing stuff which I need. My only gripe is that the tracks all sound too similar, with minor variations to differentiate one song from another. Can’t have too much of a good thing though… right?

I have also been playing a lot of Tales of Vesperia for x360 lately and I realized that the voice acting has improved over Tales of Symphonia by leaps and bounds unless I have gotten used to the dodgy (admittedly difficult) translation jobs that JRPGs are so well known for. There are so many subtle aspects of Japanese culture that are programmed into the game dialogue that makes series like Tales very difficult to translate effectively. The VAs also don’t really understand how to voice certain situations very well due to the lackluster translation in Symphonia. In Vesperia the translation work seems to be better done, making the VA more convincing and more likable.

All in all, not much happening in my life really, just trying to keep distracted from things I should be doing just because I can.

starlight

it dawned upon me
that only i could see this rain of starlight
that pours from your presence-

people seem to drown in it
and be unaware that they are in the light
when they are with you;
they all come to life,
animated by your heavenly rays.

i never knew why i was the only one
who could see your secret;
my heart flutters when submerged
in your starry glow
and i run short
of breath.

although it is tough to stay so close
to your blinding radiance,
i would rather be blind to the world
than yearn your brightness from afar.

i will keep your secret safe;
(it’s not like they believe me)
even from yourself,
for i feel that you will leave me in the dark
when i reveal to you
this secret of mine.

Music stuff + new songs

August 12, 2009

I was talking to a customer the other day about music, since he works in the industry as a sound technician and he was saying how he is needed less and less as time passes by, attributing the lack of business as as result of the move to digital distribution and the decline of live performances. I found it kind of sad that someone who was so passionate about their work would be finding themselves out of a job after so long in the industry. He seemed somewhat reminiscent about the past, how the only affordable way of listening to music when he was young was to go out to live local performances.

I feel a little sad about how people these days take music for granted. Music permeates all environments, walk into a shopping mall and you will hear the soothing (irritating) background music, go to work and somebody will have a radio on, get on the train and somebody is listening to their mp3 player. Do they ever wonder how much time and effort it takes to produce music like that? Or will they go home and just listen to anything which will fill the silence?

I have always found that there is something special in the creation of music; especially how you can arrange instruments together and it will typically net an improved result over the individual items. The insight required to compose music and to make the most out of individual instruments to create a finished piece is something that I can only dream to grasp. From that, of all 5 senses, hearing is something which I feel is the most unique.

People usually associate senses together: taste and smell are physically linked, you touch what you see; but you don’t usually associate taste, smell, touch or see what you actually hear (unless you are synesthetic). This is why I like music so much, because I feel that it is so unique. I regret a little that I didn’t learn any instrument when I was younger because now I have limited time and don’t have the same learning ability as before…

Moving on, I have been listening to 1 song for the past 24 hours playing on repeat and I cannot stop. “Supercell – kimi no shiranai monogatari” is composed by ryo and sung by nagi aka gazelle from niconico fame, her voice is so damn sweet I just love it, and the composition is fabulous, simple with only 4 instruments: drums, electric guitar, bass and piano. The playing of the instruments isn’t fantastic or outstanding but it is just the composition and gazelle’s voice which makes the whole song. Also because it is the theme to Bakemonogatari. I also have “Nico touches the walls – Hologram” which is awesomely rocktastic.

That’s about it for me today, poetry Friday will have a music inspired poem I think, we shall see what my muse brings.

On Saturday I was going to pay a deposit for some tyres I was planning on buying, which originally totaled around $800 + fitting. But after some contemplation I decided to go with the original deal he gave me which was about $660 + fitting. Reason being is that I would probably not notice any performance difference between 2 similarly classed tyres and also I couldn’t justify the cost when there is a cheaper alternative which weighed up as equal in my mind. In the end I got kumho ecsta asx fronts in 235/45 R17 and kumho ecsta mx rears in 255/40 R17. The total amount was just under $800 including fitting, balancing and alignment. Considering that I got quotes from several other places which gave me prices upwards of $1k for what I perceive as equivalent tyres from my research, I think I did pretty well.

I remember last time I visited a tyre shop for my corolla there was change from $400 for tyres + the works. It is amazing how much an extra 4-6cm of width on your tyres will inflate the price. But apples and oranges, since those were generic tyres that will pass RWC and my current ones are performance. So far I am impressed with my purchase since I already notice a reduction of road noise and more linear handling but it is early days since I have only driven 150km with them on. Not that I didn’t already know, but I have to say that anything car related is an expensive affair, especially if you are not sure of pricing or the product since people will always try to pull a fast one on you.

My friend bought a car recently, a base model civic which I like to call an upmarket corolla. In reality that’s all the car is. Everything the corolla does the civic does better just a bit, it’s just the more refined car; but does it actually justify the cost increase? Personally I don’t think it does. Sticker price for the corolla I think is around $23k for a base model auto, for the civic around $26k.

If I were after a small practical car for shopping and just being out and about town I would just buy a corolla and spend the $3k difference on optional creature comforts or just save the money. The civic is more costly to maintain also, while corolla parts are cheap and plentiful. The main thing civics are better at is design, simply put it is just a better looking car with a better looking interior than the simple corolla. Maybe I am looking at it from too much of a black and white perspective but that’s the way I see it.

I still have to get new brake discs and suspension bushes which will probably total around $1k including parts and labour. Maybe next payday…