Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Detective Conan: Case Closed

I'm currently watching this anime series and sometimes doing a marathon as I am only half of the total currently aired episodes. I've been watching this years ago because this was aired on one of the cable channels in my home back then. I love detective stories and mysteries; it makes my brain work out and think through things and discover stuff that I've never thought that could be possible.

In a nutshell: Detective Conan is an anime(and manga) series by Gosho Aoyama that started in 1996 and is still running. It's about Shinichi Kudo, a young detective, who was drugged by The Black Organization when he sees them blackmail a director for a huge amount of money. Shinichi then turned from a 17-year-old teenager to a 7-year-old kid when he was given the drug. And so, as he finds The Black Organization, solves cases along the way and meets new friends and people who might or might not be associated with the organization. At the same time, he protects his identity from his childhood friend, Ran Mouri, a Karate champion, who lives with her father, Kogoro Mouri who is also a detective. Shinichi named himself Conan Edogawa as a kid and lived with the Mouris to keep a close eye on Ran(though he won't admit it), solve cases by giving Mouri the credits, and searching for the Black Organization to turn himself back to his old body.

Like I said, this series is still ongoing. The mangaka releases the chapters, the new episodes are being shown, movies are still being produced (the 13th movie has just been recently showed), and OVAs and specials that some don't really take notice of. I know I said before that I don't tell stories; but when I make recaps, I'll make an exception as this is something that I've always wanted to try, so please pardon me when I release my first recap as I am just starting. But before I do that, let me just introduce the main characters in the story, and I'll introduce some of them as well as I do the recaps.

Shinichi Kudo is a famous 17-year-old detective, the son of Yusaku Kudo, who is an author of detective stories. He is very well-known in Japan and internationally, and he can also solve cases as good as Shinichi. His wife and Shinichi's mother, Yukiko Kudo, is a former actress who married young against her family's will. She appears occasionally in the series which sometimes annoys Shinichi because of her childishness although she helps him with the cases. The couple is currently in Los Angeles, leaving Shinichi behind by himself, but they are updated on what happened to their son, thus Yukiko showing up to keep track of his whereabouts. When she does visit though, she says that Conan is her nephew.

Kogoro Mouri, a former police officer and now an incompetent detective, and who also despises Shinichi for he can't get any client because of him. But when Conan showed up in his doorstep and solves the cases for him, he became well-known as 'The Sleeping Kogoro'. He loves drinking and the singer Yoko Okino. He's irresponsible, but he loves Ran and sometimes Conan lets him solve the cases when he has a better judgment. He has been separated for 10 years with Eri Kisaki, a big-time lawyer in Japan, who somewhat still loves him for she still wears her wedding ring. Their daughter, Ran Mouri, is Shinichi's childhood friend. Sometimes she can be a tomboy, what with her karate skills that scares Shinichi, but she's afraid of ghosts and she sleeps very deeply, a habit that has once put her almost in danger. She's the opposite of her father, for she takes care of him and Conan most of the time.

Conan Edogawa is the name Shinichi used when he turned into a kid. He solves most of the cases and will continue doing so, until he meets with the Black Organization. He claims that he's Professor Hiroshi Agasa's nephew, a professor who loves making new inventions and devices that sometimes help Conan. He lives next door to the Kudos and he's one of the few people who knows Shinichi's secret.

top row: Kazuha Toyama, Heiji Hattori, Sonoko Suzuki, Ran, Mouri, Eri Kisaki, and Prof. Agasa
front row is The Junior Detective League: Genta Kojima, Mitsuhiko Tsuburaya, Conan, Haibara Ai, and Ayumi Yoshida

our OTP, Shinichi and Ran

Alright, so they're pretty much the main characters in the anime, and as the series moves along, so does the introduction of the new characters, which will be shown in the recaps. So please bear with me here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I used to think that there is no other in the world like Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. I've always been jealous of Elizabeth (the actor and the character) for having him to herself, as he loved her wholeheartedly and fervently. I have seen the BBC 1995 series of Pride and Prejudice, and I must say, Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle are perfect for their roles, and that show was done beautifully. It was very well-adapted, very much like the book, which satisfied a lot of Ms. Austen's fans. Although, I have seen the 2005 version first with Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley, and I have to say, I like it as well, for it was the first I've seen and then I had the chance to read the book.

Honestly, I liked these two versions, and I don't want to choose one for a favorite for I really did like these adaptations and I could see them all over again sometime in the future. And I would love to take a glimpse on what's going on in Darcy's head, just to see how much of Elizabeth-meter its filled with (okay, bad joke. didn't make sense. that was just random). Thankfully, Amanda Grange came up with that idea first before I though about it, and expect this blog to have a say on that book in the future.

Given the time and a broader knowledge on words, I might be able to write some more about this period drama and do justice on Austen's famous work like the other adaptations. The movie is almost two hours, not enough to fit Austen's wise words; but enough to satisfy an individual. For a fan though, for someone who loved every part of the book, I'm afraid they might be disappointed with some of the changes that Director Joe Wright made. And yes, the movie completely deviated from the book, starting with the costumes up to the characters and most especially the plot. But I find nothing wrong with the direction and the music, for they were just right which added more artistry in the movie adaptation. Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet wasn't bad either; although, I think I'm just being biased as I liked her a lot as the other Elizabeth, the commodore's daughter and a pirate's lover. She played it well, I think, and she deserves to be Ms. Bennet as she is pretty, but not more than Jane, who was very lovely. Knightley's portrayal has made me attached with Eliza Bennet, which urged me to read the book. Matthew MacFadyen wasn't bad either; he played the brooding and sensitive Darcy. And it was through his eyes (and acting) that I became a Darcy and a MacFadyen fangirl. But I'm biased, so I still choose Mr. Darcy.

As for the BBC series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, I think it was made very well if you base it on the book. This was directed by Simon Langton and screenplay by Andrew Davies and was aired in 1995. Not every part was portrayed, obviously, for they only had 6 hours to televise. It was worth watching all the episodes, and you can really feel that they conveyed all the right emotions needed for the film and for their characters. The other supporting characters were played well, and the shots and places that they used were beautiful. I think Firth and Ehle had the Liz and Darcy chemistry needed in order for their partnership to work. And their relationship was more like in the book, indifferent and prideful at first, and grew an admiration as time went by. It was seen well in the series, and if I'm not mistaken (and please do take this with a grain of salt if you didn't know), that they became a couple through this series. Isn't that nice, eh? Oh, as I watch this series over and over again, I must admit that this is the show where I fell in love with the character (in this case, Mr. Darcy), and not the actor. Not that I have anything against Colin Firth, I mean, I think he's a really good actor and he is Mr. Darcy, but I just don't really like him in the way that I love the character. In the future though if I would be given more time, I might just make a summary of this show, like a drama recap, and give it a try. I've always wanted to try it and see how well I do, and I hope I will give justice to one of Austen's most famous work.

I know that there are other adaptations of P&P that were made in the past, but I haven't seen them all yet so I still can't say anything about them. But don't you just love it when you watch these different adaptations that you can't help but grab your copy and read a certain chapter and remind yourself of it? I think Jane Austen is and will always be one of the greatest writers in history. Just imagine, two centuries have passed and she's still known by most people. By the way, if you're an Austen fan and familiar with most of her works, you can visit this blog and go back to where everything first started—Jane Austen's works, from a modern-day woman's point of view.

Friday, October 16, 2009

speech choirs

If you went (or go) to a high school that holds a speech choir annually for each class and year, then you'll know what I'm talking about. So you're a class (or a section), and you'll be given a piece to memorize and perform in front of your schoolmates or batchmates and then three judges would decide which sections would win the award. It's recognition basically, and if you win this award, your class would be known. There was this speech that we did in elementary on my 5th grade that struck my mind and reminisced the past. Unlike in the Northern American schools, schools in the Philippines each have class sections per year, and they don't move and switch rooms; they all stay in that room. So having these kinds of competitions each year is normal, as there are other activities going on so once in a while students can relax and bond with their classmates and friends. 

A few weeks ago, I suddenly remembered this speech that we did entitled 'I am a Filipino' by Carlos P. Romulo, the first Asian President of the United Nations Assembly. Of course, this piece was edited, to lessen the complicated words we 5th graders have never heard of. This is just something that I want to share not just for the readers, but for myself as well, to remind me of my roots and be proud of who I am, despite of the negations and disappointments happening on the beloved land. 

I am a Filipino 
by Carlos P. Romulo

I am a Filipino - inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such I must prove equal to a two-fold task- the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future. I sprung from a hardy race - child of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries, the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope- hope in the free abundance of new land that was to be their home and their children's forever.

This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green and purple invitation, every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promise a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is a hollowed spot to me.

By the strength of their hearts and hands, by every right of law, human and divine, this land and all the appurtenances thereof - the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth in wild life and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals - the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them and in trust will pass it to my children, and so on until the world no more.

I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes - seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapulapu to battle against the alien foe that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor.

That seed is immortal. It is the self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gergorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, of Antonio Luna at Calumpit; that bloomed in flowers of frustration in the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst fourth royally again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the threshold of ancient Malacañang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession and racial vindication.

The seed I bear within me is an immortal seed. It is the mark of my manhood, the symbol of dignity as a human being. Like the seeds that were once buried in the tomb of Tutankhamen many thousand years ago, it shall grow and flower and bear fruit again. It is the insigne of my race, and my generation is but a stage in the unending search of my people for freedom and happiness. 

I am a Filipino, child of the marriage of the East and the West. The East, with its languor and mysticism, its passivity and endurance, was my mother, and my sire was the West that came thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine. I am of the East, an eager participant in its struggles for liberation from the imperialist yoke. But I also know that the East must awake from its centuried sleep, shape of the lethargy that has bound his limbs, and start moving where destiny awaits.

For, I, too, am of the West, and the vigorous peoples of the West have destroyed forever the peace and quiet that once were ours. I can no longer live, being apart from those world now trembles to the roar of bomb and cannon shot. For no man and no nation is an island, but a part of the main, there is no longer any East and West - only individuals and nations making those momentous choices that are hinges upon which history resolves. 

At the vanguard of progress in this part of the world I stand - a forlorn figure in the eyes of some, but not one defeated and lost. For through the thick, interlacing branches of habit and custom above me I have seen the light of the sun, and I know that it is good. I have seen the light of justice and equality and freedom and my heart has been lifted by the vision of democracy, and I shall not rest until my land and my people shall have been blessed by these, beyond the power of any man or nation to subvert or destroy.

I am a Filipino, and this is my inheritance. What pledge shall I give that I may prove worthy of my inheritance? I shall give the pledge that has come ringing down the corridors of the centuries, and it shall be compounded of the joyous cries of my Malayan forebears when they first saw the contours of this land loom before their eyes, of the battle cries that have resounded in every field of combat from Mactan to Tirad pass, of the voices of my people when they sing: 

Land of the Morning, Child of the sun returning…Ne'er shall invaders Trample thy sacred shore.

Out of the lush green of these seven thousand isles, out of the heartstrings of sixteen million people all vibrating to one song, I shall weave the mighty fabric of my pledge. Out of the songs of the farmers at sunrise when they go to labor in the fields; out of the sweat of the hard-bitten pioneers in Mal-ig and Koronadal; out of the silent endurance of stevedores at the piers and the ominous grumbling of peasants Pampanga; out of the first cries of babies newly born and the lullabies that mothers sing; out of the crashing of gears and the whine of turbines in the factories; out of the crunch of ploughs upturning the earth; out of the limitless patience of teachers in the classrooms and doctors in the clinics; out of the tramp of soldiers marching, I shall make the pattern of my pledge:
"I am a Filipino born of freedom and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance - for myself and my children's children - forever.

Monday, October 5, 2009

a movie to remember

I have no idea how to start this post. But this is about a 2004 Korean movie that I saw years ago, a movie that has made me shed tears like no other, no matter how many times I see it. That movie is  'A Moment to Remember' or Nae Meorisogui Jiugae (내 머리 속의 지우개), a film by John H. Lee and starred by Jung Woo Sung and Son Ye Jin. The story is about a newly-married couple dealing with Alzheimer's disease that the wife has. The first part is mostly about their meeting and interactions as a new couple, and the second part is about how they dealt with her disease and what the husband feels on this matter.

Some may think that this is another 'Hallyu' movie, since this was made in 2004, when that wave was still fresh to the audience. Some may say that this is very typical and Korean drama-like, where it has a million and one tragedies that you could imagine. It's true, really. And I'll say it again. The woman, played by Son Ye Jin, is sick with Alzheimer's disease. This isn't a spoiler, really, since its already in the synopsis that she's sick. But it's because of this sickness that she meets Jung Woo Sung's character, Chul Soo, and leaves him because of it. And also, I'll try not to post some spoilers, like some of my fave scenes in the movie, and what happens in the end. But just to let you know, at first I was disappointed with the ending, but after seeing it a few more times, I became satisfied with it.

Let's side-track for a bit and talk about those dramas, shall we? The Endless Love season series is very, very 'hallyu'-like. Cancers, child-swapping, abuse, abandonment, amnesia, one-sided love, heart attacks, lost childhood sweethearts, love triangles and anything that goes on in your imagination. It's basically got all the tragedies that you see in a typical drama. Oh, let's not forget Stairway to Heaven, shall we? I'm proud to say that I finished this show, no matter how depressing it was, as it was shown on my television every night. Mind you, you won't just be depressed, you'll get exasperated too. Choi Ji Woo and Kwon Sang Woo shed a lot of tears on this show, and I give the credits to them. Despite all that though, I think this is what defined the wave and they became more well-known around Asia, or in the Philippines. And I'm not gonna lie, I did like all those shows. I like the Endless Love series, although I don't think I can watch it all over again. And also, just to let you know, I didn't use any Kleenex on those shows. It was only on this movie that I bawled my eyes out every time I watch it.

So how exactly did I get to like this movie, 'A Moment to Remember'? First off, the actors. I first saw Son Ye Jin in 'Endless Love: Summer Scent', and I had a girl-crush on her. I still see her as one of the most beautiful and talented Korean actress today. And she was indeed pretty on this movie. She was a total eyecandy, and it was a treat for me to see her lovely and tender face. So for guys who will see this movie, she won't disappoint you with her charm and looks. Now on to Jung Woo Sung. He is a God. That's all I can say. With his rugged looks, rough attitude and soft eyes, you just can't help but fall in love with him. Women can just stare at him throughout the whole film and still love him. And you'll start to get interested with his other movies, because he's not just pretty, he's talented as well. An amazing man indeed. So what happens when these two lovely actors get together on screen? Chemistry. And they have lots of it. You would really feel the emotions and the love that they have for each other and that's what makes this movie so unforgettable.

I got no problem with the direction and the shots, they were well taken. I have no complaints about it. In fact, I like most of their shots together, and some scenes that makes me want to watch it again and again. Some shots maybe really simple, but Lee makes it memorable by adding his personal touch. The music was compelling, I must say. It makes you hum whenever you hear it all over again. Or you'll get nostalgic, that you'll suddenly remember a tune from the movie and then you'll want to watch that scene again. That's how wonderful the music was.

As for the plot? Well, I became completely satisfied with the ending after watching it a few times, as I find it fulfilling, not just for me, but the characters as well. And again, I warn you. This is a tearjerker, so be sure to prepare yourself for the worse. It has romance, lots of drama and drama. Okay, I know this may sound too much for you, as I've said it many times about this movie, but if you will ever get the chance to watch it, try seeing it when you're in the mood or when you're alone. You might also watch a light and funny show after this. But that never worked for me. Every time I see this and it ends, it still lingers on my mind on how the couple dealt with her disease, and how their relationship grew and matured.

But if you're the kind of person who has seen a lot of movies or series with terminal diseases, you might not be fascinated with this as I was. But hey, I still see this movie even if I know it's tragic. Tragedy can be exciting. It makes life interesting. And too much drama won't hurt once in a while. And when you do watch it, I hope you'll love the characters and the movie as much as I did and everyone else that I know who adore this movie.