Tuesday, August 28, 2007


It's been a while since my last update. Various events and a busy work schedule didn't really help. There were a lot of concurrent events and projects all happening within the same time frame, and I was tied down with some tasks so it left me very little time to update. And then there was the AHM. It was my 7th time running the annual Army Half Marathon event. Nothing much as changed, but I decided not to push so hard this time. Every year, I pushed myself to the limits and end up having legs which ached so much I had to limp around for 3 days. This time, I took time to enjoy the run, and my legs didn't ache as much and I could even run around the next morning.
Like I promised in a previous entry, I wanted to contribute and to join in the voices of the anime fans in Singapore. The Odex "revolution", due to its scrutiny by the friendly neighbourhood police officers and also other anti riot police, was reduced to a "People's Action Figure Party". Check out the link to find out more. Although not a lot of people turned up, I believe that it was due to the fact that we were being observed by watchful eyes, and that the photo shoot only lasted for a short while, much earlier before the actual stipulated timing. We didn't want to cause any trouble to anybody, and so we dispersed after our mission was complete. For those who turned up but missed the shoot, I thank you and do keep reading to find out what's happening in the saga. :)
I brought along my Ultraman figure to join in the photo shoot. Zero made those nice little banners which the figures held, to show their displeasure against Odex. Check out the link above for more information and pictures from the day.
For a very long time, I had the impression that downloading anime was totally fine and legal. Mp3s and movies were illegal, because the CDs and DVDs are being sold to the general audience. Anime from the net, on the other hand, were just recorded off Japanese TV, which was free to begin with. So until a certain anime becomes licensed and is being picked for distribution, it felt perfectly legal to just watch shows which were broadcastly freely in another country.But still, things aren’t that simple. Realising there is money to be made, intellectual property issues were abused and fans are the ones who suffer.

What could a company such as Odex do to please the fans? It’s tough, because anime fans are already used to getting their anime merely hours after its broadcast in Japan. Speed fan subs with superb quality are dime a dozen, with HD quality raws to boot. And it’s free. Truth is that the people who hate Odex now just want their anime to remain free. And that’s pretty selfish. I have to admit I’m guilty of the same thing too. But I would have no qualms about forking out money on an anime series, provided that the DVDs are of good quality. Many people are using Odex’s inferior goods as a reason to bash them, which is totally right. What’s not so convincing is that I have a lingering suspicion that these very people are the ones who only want free anime.

Back to the question of what can a Singapore company do to ensure that the local anime fans are satisfield, while supporting the anime industry and not violating any IPs? Will high quality DVDs with freebies really suffice? Is the typical Singaporean that easily satisfield, when the option to download is a click away? Do I really want to wait for 3 or 4 episodes of Claymore to be released? Can I really wait that long when I already feel that each episode ends so fast? I’m not sure if I can even convince myself, even though I already see the bigger picture and the problems that come with it.

Is there a win-win situation in such a money centric society? I believe there is, but it’s a long road ahead, and it begins with education. People have to realise that there is a price to everything. I don’t believe that it’s even possible to stop people from downloading songs, animes, and movies, but I believe that a compromise can be reached. If I really liked a movie after seeing it on theaters or even on TV, I make it a point to buy the official DVD. Not so with anime series, because I had paid for some really expensive anime DVD sets before with really terrible translations. To me, this is a good way to show support to the distributors and the animation studios.

While importing R2 DVDs from Japan seems a little too extreme in showing support, my point here is that if a company other than Odex is bringing us quality anime shows, we should really show appreciation by parting some of our hard earned cash on our beloved shows. Even if I have all the episodes of Claymore with me, I would still gladly buy the official DVDs if: the company gives me HD standard encodings, multiple subtitles such as English, Japanese (that would be awesome), Chinese, etc. Add a Clare/Teresa/Flora figure in it and I’ll be sold instantly.

This brings me back to my first point. The only way to bring Odex down is to be its rival. Give what the fans want, and you know there will be people who will support you. I’ve mentioned that it’s a long road with many battles ahead, but I’m sure more and more Singaporeans are aware of what’s happening in this Odex saga. Many will still cling on to P2P downloads, but with a higher level of awareness, hopefully people will start to pay for what they like. Otherwise, we might lose what we love. よく考えてください!

Mabel recently accquired a new culinary skill: Apple pie! Kudos to Jojo who was her sensei, and Im glad that we have such a fabulous neighbour. Thanks for dinner on Saturday, it was great, and sadly I couldn't have a meal too filling due to the marathon the following day. Although I always use the joke that Misa-chan isn't the only guinea pig in my house, I'm actually very glad to try out anything new that Mabel makes. Chances are that it's delicious, and that I'm bound to become more and more horizontally challenged as time goes by. :(

To top things off, Mabel also secretly got for me a new hand phone, which I have been bothering her about recently. Although my O2 Xda still works fine, due to the strict rules of not being able to carry around camera phones I had to resort to bringing around an antique Nokia phone to work. And because I'm getting busier by the day, I really need a phone with PDA functions to sort my stuff out. And my poor memory isn't really helping. So, thanks dar for the phone! But not everything's a bed of roses. The Sony Ericsson has its fair share of problems. What really PISSED me off was that I had unknowing downgraded my firmware by using the online service updater. My phone, from the box had a newer firmware version than what the official SE site was offering. By using their software, my phone went down a notch by losing its better version of the OS. I was really angry because of this, and I couldn't find a way to resolve this issue. There were some other memory and pop3 funtionality issues, but the firmware issue's really triggered this chain of negative emotions. Hopefully they'll release this new firmware for upgrading online soon. If not..... arrrrghhh.

This year's Army Open house will be held from 30 Aug - 03 Sep 07 at Pasir Laba Camp. The Open House will showcase new concepts and capabilities of the 3rd Generation Army - high mobility through precise manoeuvre, lethal targeting through precision fires, and pervasive battlefield knowledge through precision information. AOH 2007 has been thematically organised into 7 "Worlds" to allow visitors to see what it takes to be a soldier in the 3rd Generation Army. Catch the Army in action, get a taste of soldiering skills, the feel of moving through a battlefield in the Army's suite of combat vehicles as well as a glimpse of what the Army of the future will be like. Besides all the action and adventures, you can also check out the Army story by going on a heritage tour and revisiting the good old days. And I'm involved as one of the presenters in Hardware Land! If you decide to go for the open house this year (the freebies and souveniers from each booth should be reason enough), do drop by and I'll try and get more goodies for ya.

And during the same weekend, Vivo City is organising an event with the cast from the hit TV series 'Heroes'. Being a fan, I really wanted to go and see some of the cast members, especially Masi Oka, who plays nerdy Nakamura Hiro in the show. Other than him, the other members who will be in Singapore include: Ali Larter (Niki/Jessica Sanders), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder Suresh), and Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman). Too bad Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet) isn't coming.... I'd make sure my schedule fits and make the trip down to Vivo City. The second season of Heroes will consist of 24 episodes, and the first season of a new spinoff, Heroes: Origins, will include six episodes. The second season is scheduled to premiere on September 24.

Matsuura Aya (松浦亜弥) is releasing her 20th solo single tomorrow, on the 29th of August. Yet another slow ballard, the single is titled "Egao" (笑顔), which means "Smile". The song has yet to grown on me yet, possibly due to the reason that I've been really looking foward to a fast track from Ayaya. The last fast paced song we've heard from her was with Fujimoto Miki in the group "GAM", and I think fans, as much as how we loved GAM, would enjoy another solo track from Aya. Anyways, check out the PV here.

As tight as my schedule is (or how I claim it is), I still try and make time for Tokusatus shows like Gekiranger and Kamen Rider Den-O, even if it means that I sleep at 1am. Both shows are great, but I'm liking Den-O a lot these days, and although I've mentioned in the first few episodes that this series would probably suck due to its out of the world rider designs, I'm inclined to say that this is probably the best series I've seen, even better than Hibiki, Kabuto, Faiz, and Blade. The humor really works in this series, and there are lots of twists and turns and also emotional scenes thrown in as well. Great show, and I hope it doesn't fall apart like last's year's Kabuto towards the end.
The Gekiranger series, on the other hand seems to take a turn for becoming more and more children oriented, which isn't good. With the appearance of the new animals such as penguin, gorilla and gazalle, it seems more or less like a freak show a la sesame street which kids would dig. This is why some of the previous sentai series turned me off by being kiddy shows. But there is still reason to carry on watching, if not for the 2 totemo kawaii girls in the show. The sub plot regarding the white tiger and the new violet ranger seems promising, and although the humor isn't as good as Den-O's, the show's still pretty enjoyable, at least for the time being.

This post turned out to be longer than I expected. Perhaps due to the lack of 2 weeks of entries I had more to say this time round. For those who dislike reading, I'm sorry but at least I'll end with a PV recommendation this time.... again. Until the next entry, take care, and if you do visit the Army Open House remember to say hi to me at the Army Intelligence booth at Hardware Land, Combat World. Ending off with one of my fave ED themes from Naruto: " Pinocchio" from ORE SKA BAND. Ja and cya!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Singapore anime fans unite against ODEX

For those who have no idea what Odex is and what possible threat it poses to the entire Singapore anime fan community, you can check out this FAQ posted by SWAT from the hardwarezone forums. As a proud anime lover, I have to stand united with the rest of the local otakus. Odex have been taking money from anime downloaders since their business have dwindled due to low quality DVDs which no one enjoys. It's not even a fine, just a "settlement sum", which obviously mean that they have no intention of bringing us quality anime titles, and instead just want to abuse their rights and get as much money as they can from us. This.... has got to stop.

Main picture above and video are created by nch85.

From Odex Revolution:

There will be a collection of Odex cd’s at the youth park for destruction on august 25th, 2007 at the youth park opposite orchard cineleisure! Please bring along your odex box cases to trade them in for a black ribbon. The event will take place at 5:00pm (1700 hrs). Youtubers feel free to visit, all are welcome. Feel free to bring along your 7th month incense burning buckets and containers, paper shredders, sledgehammers, and video cameras.

I'll be taking time off to turn up for the event. Interested parties can link up with me too, but most likely I'm not driving there. For the rest of you anime lovers, spread the word, and let's show Odex that we mean business. For those who do OWN Odex cds, pass'em to me and I'll gladly do the honors. Till my next real post, take care and remember to watch more anime. :)

Friday, August 10, 2007


Update for this week was delayed due to contant procrastination which was a combined result of work related fatigue, training for the Army Half Marathon, and also some other matters which required my attention. Nonetheless, it was still a great week as me and Mabel celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. How time flies. We met 7 years ago, and tied the knot 3 years ago, both dates the 8th of August. 0808!

We told each other that gifts were uncalled for, and the best language of love we could provide for each other out of the 5 was quality time together. And just for the curious, the other 4 languages of love are: acts of service, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, and physical touch. And just to be safe and not fall into any traps, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for her...... just in case.

We had dinner at Mirama hotel, in a Japanese restaurant called Ikoi. It was a buffet kind of dinner, where we could order anything we want, and the dishes came in small, bite sized portions for the noodles and rice. Every now and then, the waitress would come with some other dishes complimentary on the house, such as sea food tea and vegetable soup. It's a very nice place with good food. Though a little pricey, I recommend those who love Japanese cuisine to give this place a visit.

Mabel, on the other hand, got for us a pair of african cannibals. As cute as they are, I'm not very sure if I want to be depicted as the male african with a bone in my hair, while Mabel's portrayed as the female cannibal. More and more little photo sets and figurines are beginning to appear on our shoe rack, which is good but will require more cleaning up due to the ever green flow of dust particles coming into our house..... Sigh.

We visited Compasspoint mall the next day, and had a full lunch at Swensons. It was so filling that we missed dinner back home, and while Mabel watched the National Day parade on TV I was trying to finish an assignment from work. It's another video production for an upcoming event. Seems my last video received good feedback and now I've been arrowed...err, tasked to do another one. This time just bigger and more time taking. And not forgetting Misa, we actually took 3 pieces of "presents" for her from our dinner at the Japanese restaurant. She received a carrot stick, a celery stick, and also a cucumber stick. Check out the video to find out which one's her favourite.

Haven't been showing much of Mabel's home cooked delights, possibly because we've been eating out more frequently these days, and also eating back at both our parents' places. I'm sure that nobody voting for her in the poll has nothing to do with it. :) Anyway she's got the ingredients ready for the Oyako don, and most probably you'll get to see the pics here on this blog next week.

Completed my Japanese course Upper Intermediate 2 course last week, and have already paid up my course fees for the next level. More importantly, I've registered for this year's Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level 3 exams. Although I'm currently in preparations for my level 2 exam next year, I feel that there is a need to clear my level 3 first, like the rest of my classmates. I've missed last year's due to an overseas work assignment, but rest assured nothing's going to stop me this year. For those interested in taking up Japanese, you may want to check out my school at http://www.yanolas.com.sg/.

One of the more senior officers in my work place got to know about my passion for Japanese stuff, and he passed 2 DVDs of Japanese movies to me this week. I've heard about these 2 titles, and getting to watch them at home's going to be a great experience. I've also been trying to hunt down the 300 DVD which was recently released, but it seems that not all stalls carry it, possibly due to its mature theme. Can't wait till I get that DVD and blast it over my home entertainment system. :p

I've been getting really psyched up for the Kamen Rider Den-O movie. The past few episodes of the series have been steadily leading up to the climax scene in the movie, where 4 Den-Os are gathered from different points in time to battle the new movie exclusive rider. Kamen Rider Den-O: I am Born! (仮面ライダー電王 俺、誕生) will be shown in theaters in August 4, 2007. The film will feature the renegade Kamen Rider Gaoh who takes control of the DenLiner to bring it to the Edo period in order to find his own train, the GaohLiner, so he can take over all of time and space. Along side I am Born!, the Juken Sentai Gekiranger movie Juken Sentai Gekiranger: Nei-Nei! Hō-Hō! Hong Kong Decisive Battle will be shown as a double feature. A short animated feature called Momotaros's Summer Vacation will also be shown. Kamen Rider Den-O has been parodied and referenced in recent episodes of various anime, such as Sgt. Frog (ケロロ軍曹) & Hayate the Combat Butler (ハヤテのごとく!, Hayate no Gotoku!).

Recently, Crayon Shin-chan has a special episode where characters from Den-O made appearances on the show. This special is titled "Crayon Shin-chan Midsummer Night: Ora (I) Have Arrived! The Storm is Called Den-O vs. Shin-O 60 Minute Special!!" (クレヨンしんちゃん 真夏の夜にオラ 参上!嵐を呼ぶ 電王VSしん王 60分スペシャル!) Check out the video linked below for a good laugh!

I've installed a new feature on this site recently, and it enables me to check out where my visitors are coming from. Surprisingly, I've got a number of hits from Japan. I'd expect people from the States, Canada and Hong Kong based on some of the other sites I visit, but having guests from 日本really cheers me up. Well, hopefully this post is lengthly enough to make up for my late submission. For those yet to poll, please check out the column to the right. Mabel's dishes needs your vote! Haha~ Ja!
Ending off with a very nice song from B'z called Eien no Tsubasa (永遠の翼)