Sunday, February 24, 2008

L は一人で世界を変われますか?

I loved the Death Note series, from the manga to the anime, and eventually to the big screen adaptations. As evil as it may sound, Yagami Light was my hero. Just between you and me, I wish to be the God of the New World as well. But of course, part of me disagree with what Light did too. Not because he killed the innocent, but because he tried to be too smart and did unnecessary things which led to his downfall. Pray that a Shinigami doesn't drop his note near me, because I won't make the mistakes Light did. :)

Anyway, enough bullshit about secret desires. I've just watched the 3rd movie in the Death Note series. Although I have the 2 previous installments on DVD, there was no need to refresh myself with the plot, reasons being first I'm already very familiar with the story in the manga and anime, and secondly, the movie is a spin-0ff from the series, meaning that it was original material not taken from any sources. I enjoyed the previous movies and felt that it was a good effort to conclude the series in just 2 movies, but was a little sad that it ended too quickly without focusing on some of the smaller but more interesting arcs in the manga. For fans, do try and watch the anime or read the manga to find out how Kira actually defeated L.Back to the movie and my take on it. Again, major SPOILERS here so back off if you don't want to know the details. Although most people can understand the movie without ever watching the other 2 movies, they will not be able to understand why L needed to write his own name in the Death Note. He did it to as a measure to prevent Kira's assasination, and eventually used it against Kira to reveal that his Death Note was a fake. With the death of Watari and Kira, L had around 22 days left, in which he dedicated his remaining time to solving other crimes on the international level.

Other than a few cameos from the characters in the first 2 movies (including Shinigami Ryuk), the story featured new characters and a plot revolving around a biological weapon being developed and sold in Japan. Personally, I thought they could have done better with the casting. As quickly as he was introduced to the viewers, Professor Kagami was stabbed in the back by Matoba. A rather unnecessary scene, just to show the brutality of Matoba and his henchmen, particularly the skinny girl who can stab guards with a dagger without blinking. Rambo would have been proud. I didn't like the rest of the 2 henchmen too, being too sterotyped as psychopaths holding an AK and a laptop respectively. Their acting always felt exaggerated, but most Japanese films are like this anyway. While the story wasn't especially full of loop holes, I still found myself questioning the writers. Here are some of the points which in the movie I found not too convincing:
  • The boy F took care of in Thailand didn't have a back story established. We knew that he was in the movie to provide for the antidote and that he would solve the ridiculous puzzle Professor Nikkaido gave his daughter Maki, since he's a mathematical genius and all. I was waiting for his story in a flashback, which didn't come. I was beginning to think that he was a redundant character, until the final scene which revealed that he was L's future successor Near. Honestly, I didn't see that coming (who would have thought N was Thai), so it was a pleasant surprise.
  • Although the virus was explained to be a new breed crossed between exisiting viruses, I thought the it behaved more like a magic potion or curse instead. Maki was immune not because her father reduced her blood sugar level, but because she prayed to Kira. Seriously, the effects of the virus was too preditable and unrealistic (for L at least). What if the virus started to spead in the train? L would have died from a guilty conscience right there on the train. And on the plane itself, the effects of the virus appeared at such an incredible rate one would really think that a voodoo spell was cast instead. And for those who didn't notice, all the bad guys who seemingly died on the plane were escorted to the police van in the end. God bless Professor Matsudo, who made enough instant 3-in-1 antidotes enough for an entire flight immediately after giving L the only syringe he had. Seems his antidote and not only stop the virus but also cure skin diseases and revive the dead. A Nobel Award is coming his way and he will not have to buy beer to bribe his way to a school lab very soon.
  • There wasn't any twist in the movie, although L was conceived to be extremely versatile and intelligent. He could speak in at least 4 different languages, and can take body temperature using his hands. He can make a definate deduction that 1311 referred to KM, and recite medical jargon till a professional virus researcher tells him to stop. A little too far fetched, and the twist I was waiting for never came. I thought Kujo had something up her sleeve and that L had already seen though it, but it didn't happen.
  • And FBI Detective Sugawa was nothing more than a plot device, appearing at the right time to aid L when he was needed. As a driver, decoy, and also for comic relief. I still have no idea what he was doing in L's basement when Kujo came intruding. Although I was a little apprehensive about how smart they made Kujo, but since she was also from Wammy House, it could have explained why she was also a genius. Just a crazy one bent on killing people thats all.
  • There were some scenes which seemed like a joke, such as Professor Nikkaido's death scene. Ok, I understand that by injecting himself with the virus he can achieve a few things, such as giving Kujo and gang a very visually shocking experience, and by eliminating the need to abduct Maki as a hostage. But the way he died was aggravatingly long to watch, and can Kujo just incinerate the room from outside like that? The final scene where he sprang up came off as a weak attempt to scare people. Lame to say the least. And did that guy just by pass the reticle scanner with his handphone? If images can deceive recticle scanners than there's no point in building them, right?
Apart from these little complaints, I enjoyed the movie and found it entertaining, though never appearing to reach the standards set up its predecessors. Matsuyama Kenichi as L was different from the L in the manga, but captured the hearts of the viewers through scenes where as eccentric as he can be, tries to take care of the boy and Maki. I loved the scenes where he offered candy to Maki, and where he tried to straighten his back. I liked his English spoken speech with Near at the end too, explaining the origin of his name.

So will there be another movie? Unlikely, since L's dead and all. Although there is still the BB Case in which happened before the Kira case with Naomi, it's unlikely that a movie will be made. Another possibility is that Near grows up, and they introduce Mello. Once again a new Kira emerges (like the manga to a certain extent) and challenges the world. Either way, I certainly enjoyed this movie way more than Kung Fu Dunk. Ending off this review with a quote from L: "You alone cannot change the World. But that is the beauty of it."
Iron Man is an upcoming superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Iron Man. The film is directed by Jon Favreau and stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a billionaire industralist who is captured by terrorists in Afghanistan. Ordered to build a missile, Stark uses his resources instead to build a suit of armor and make his escape. Returning to America, Stark improves his armor and becomes the technologically advanced superhero Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow plays his secretary and love interest Virginia Potts, Terrence Howard plays jet pilot James Rhodes, and Jeff Bridges plays the villainous Iron Monger. Due for international release in early May, this will be one of the next wave of Marvel movies, with the Hulk and Wolverine movies also on the horizon. Downey is also reprising his role in The Incredible Hulk, as Marvel has plans for a film adaptation of The Avengers. Favourite Ironman quote at the moment: "You're not a soldier, Tony." "You're right. I'm an army." Check out the trailer for the show here. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an upcoming film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Wolverine, due for release on May 1, 2009. The film is directed by Gavin Hood and stars Hugh Jackman as the title character. It is a prequel to the X-Men film trilogy, focusing on the mutant Wolverine and Team X, before his skeleton was bonded with the indestructible metal adamantium. Set seventeen years before X-Men, the film will focus on Wolverine's violent past, and his early encounters with William Stryker. The Weapon X program and his interactions with other mutants will be explored, including his complex relationship with Sabretooth. The Gekirangers have ended their series on a high note. The first Super Sentai series which I have finished, and I thought it was awesome. Although some main characters died, their deaths were extremely well thought out, as it ties up some loops and also gives a satisfying conclusion to some characters' background stories. Rio's nightmares with the rain finally cleared up, and Mele was there with him even after death.

With such a outstanding series, it would be tough for Disney to top them with the Americanised version of Gekirangers, called Power Rangers: Jungle Fury. I've already watched the first 2 pilot episodes, and while I liked some of the new fights, I prefer the Japanese version because I still can't get used to the American cast. I also loved the lengthy roll calls in the Japanese vesion, you know, when they can each take notes doing fancy moves and introduce themselves one by one while the enemy stares at them. Awesome.... I love it. Check out a video I made, comparing some of the scenes taken from the first 2 episodes of both Gekirangers and Jungle Fury.

Since Dekaranger, it has been a tradition for each year's red ranger to "pass the torch" to the next season's red ranger. Sure they will meet soon enough in the spin off movies, but it's a cool scene nonetheless. I've compiled some of the scenes here, so check them out.
Deka Red to Magi Red

Magi Red to Bouken Red
Bouken Red to Geki Red
This year, Gekired passes the torch to Go-on Red.
I've always been a fighting game fanatic since the Street Fighter II days, where I will save pocket money just to go to the game shops to play SFII. And I've bought almost all the SF and KOF games for my consoles, and in my poly days I could play any character in KOF and even entered competitions.... in which I lost both the entrance fee and pride. Not that I suck, but those guys in the arcades were awesome didn't have a life. :) Well, I haven't been playing in recent years but with the coming of Street Fighter IV that could change. The trailers and screens of the returning characters got me excited, and I'll be looking forward to the game.The characters and environments will be rendered in 3D computer graphics and appear to use a stylized cel-shading effect to lend the characters and environments a hand-drawn look. The gameplay video featured a full 3D, cel-shaded environment and characters, fighting on a 2D plane that shifted and rotated. The version of the game shown to EGM ran at consistent 60 frames per second.
SNK Playmore is also releasing a new game, called KOF98 Ultimate Match. It uses the old 98 system, which was a fan favourite, and adds in characters such as Geese, Kasumi, Eiji, etc. KOF was my favorite fighting game of all time, so it would be interesting to see how this game comes out. But it will definately be overshadowed by KOF XII, which boosts all new engines as well as characters. check out the trailer here:
Ok, this post worked out longer than I expected, but it was a good way to spend Sunday morning. Until the next post, do take part in the survey I created on the right. It's a good way for me to see where the hits are coming from, and whether the fact that my blog entry titles being written in Japanese is really the reason I'm getting so many visitors from Japan. Until then, ja!

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