Saturday, November 26, 2016

Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2016 (AFA SG 2016)

AFA has grown so huge and so crowded as compared to the first one that I went in 2010. The good thing with that is the whole atmosphere really feels like those anime fair in Japan. On the flip side, I usually hate the crowd so yeah, it kinda suck. Well, can't seem to have the best from both sides after all.

I reached about 1130am and the queue for the ticket was shocking. I never remembered having to queue that long for any of the previous AFA. The queue moved pretty quickly but in the end it still took about 20 minutes. The ticket (just for the exhibition) costs $13 this year. It seems that nowadays they only give a wristband and there is no more 'ticket' per se. The wrist band is of much higher quality too. It has holes (like a watch) to cater for different wrist sizes. Once the plastic part is pushed in, you can't remove it so you cannot share with with other people I guess. Going in and out of the exhibition hall requires the wrist band to be scanned. There is a notice that says if you go out without scanning, you may not be allowed re-entry. Hmm.. is that so?
The ticket-cum-wrist band
My highlight this year is taking a photo with Animax mascot, OO-kun. Sadly, as I leaned towards him, our heads knocked and in the picture, Oo-kun is not not looking at the camera T_T I decided to buy the plush and small pillow for $35. Gotta admit that I was tempted because of the ~30% off as compared to buying individually. I was only interested in the plush and it was $26 alone.

The crowd inside the hall was terrible too. I did not enter a lot of the shops as it was too crowded. I personally don't really like shops as even if I entered, I would have nothing to buy anyway. I skipped the Creators Hub area as I could not even move to pass by that section. Wow. I prefer to have more booths by companies/developers/etc. The shops do not really bring in interesting things and the prices are still sky high that there is no incentive to buy.

Bandai is the star and the booth features almost 90% about Gundam. The remaining display is for One Piece and shockingly, there is no Sailor Moon and Saint Seiya. I am not a fan of One Piece so I only took photos of the Gundams.
PG 1/60 which will cost $550
Sword Art Online has interesting display of Kirito and Asuna wearing clothes from different countries. It was so difficult to take pictures of these standees as the area is too narrow and the traffic was.. gosh.. These are the most frustrating photos to take.
Yeah I cannot get the picture of all the standees in 1 shot
Singapore!! (Singapore boys don't wear those clothes though lol)
Thailand (the one that I thought was the most interesting)
I took some pictures from Good Smile Company too. I am not into Touken Ranbu but if I were into it, I am pretty sure that I would be interested in their figures. It seems that Miku's hype is not as much as few years back.
This Link really looks gorgeous!!
I own these guys already :)
The food section seems much bigger but I find it too troublesome to get coupon first. By the time I was going to leave (i.e lunch time), the queue was too crazy. I only bought potato chips with Nissin noodle tom yum flavour. The black pepper crab flavour was already sold out. Sianz...

Overall I find this year is better than last year's AFA which I left after only about 1 hour. Surprisingly I took a lot of photos too. It was not as bad as 1 of the AFA (I can't remember which year but the one when Attack on Titan was all the hype) when it was super crowded that I could not even take any pictures without strangers appearing in the pictures. I am usually excited to go to AFA in hope of getting some merchandises. If the trend with what the shops are doing this year continues, I think I have less incentive to go again next year. Not to mention that the crowd would just grow bigger and bigger every year. When I left, the queue for the ticket had become CRAZY. It stretched literally from one end to the other end of the whole Suntec floor. And it was rather stagnant. I guess if I want to go next year, I better remember to go earlier!
The 4 fans are free for buying the OO-kun plush set. While the Squid Girl wrist rest is due to my luck!! Hehe.. It was from one of the 'lucky' chance by putting a ball at the top of a tower and see where it landed. I was prepared to get none but hey I got this ^^

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

At the conclusion of Harry Potter, JK Rowling promised that this would be the end of Harry Potter. Fast forward a few years later, there is sequel (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and there is prequel (this Fantastic Beasts movie). After the initial great reviews, it is announced that Fantastic Beasts will be made into a series of 5 movies. Wow.. if I am not a Harry Potter fan, I surely think that this is just a money grab.

I read the wikia for the Cursed Child and it got me hooked for a few hours. JK Rowling surely has not lost her magic touch yet. That made me even more excited with the Fantastic Beasts movie which already got me excited since it was announced. I am so happy to see that its duration is quite long (133 minutes) and that is a good candidate to justify watching it at Gold Class. I am frustrated that the Gold Class are always almost full house since the release. I am planning to take time off tomorrow to specially watch this. But after seeing the magic popcorn combo at GV, I decided that I should just watch it today and get the magic wand while stock lasts.

Welcome back to the new world of Harry Potter :) The plot is actually pretty simple and can be summarised as such: Newt Scamander arrived in New York with a briefcase full of magical creatures. There has been weird incidences in New York City which cannot be explained human-ly and MACUSA (USA's equivalent to Ministry of Magic) is concerned this disturbances will expose the magical community to the No-Maj (USA's equivalent to Muggles). With certain creatures escaping from Newt's briefcase, it is convenient to blame all the disturbances to these creatures. So Newt has to find all the escaped creatures to proof his innocence and at the same time, the 'thing' that cause the disturbances finally decide to lose control at the same time. The 'thing' is revealed to be an obscurus and Newt decides to do something since a few months earlier he just encountered one in Sudan. At the end, everything is revealed to be Grindelwald's scheme to bring war between human and wizards in America.

With all the positive reviews since the release, I have pretty high expectations. With the story being loosely or distantly related to the Harry Potter series that I am familiar with, the plot is certainly interesting enough to be made into a movie. However, for the 2+hours duration, there is too much 'filler' on the parts of recapturing the escaped beasts. Despite being titled Fantastic Beasts, there is too little screentime to feature the beasts. The journey inside Newt's briefcase is like a visit to the zoo and you just see various creatures and that's it. You don't really catch their names or know anything much about them. The action and adventure part is also pretty weak. The fights are not that exciting and too much of the black cloud CGI. Bleah.. It is really a waste that we don't see any action from Queenie and Seraphina. Tina is supposed to be an Auror but we don't really see much from her.

Eddie Redmayne is great as a lot of his interactions are with CGI monsters. However, I find his accent quite difficult to catch at times. So apt for Queenie to say that it is not easy to read minds of people like him because of the British accent. Lol. I know Newt is supposed to be a shy person but I find it awkward when he speaks to someone but he is not looking into the person! Tina's persona on screen is also rather lacking while Queenie and Jacob's screen presence is so enjoyable.

I feel that there are certain parts which are glossed over in the movie. If magical community is supposed to keep themselves secret, why do our protagonists so easily involve Jacob Kowalski (who is a No-Maj) into the wizarding world? Even MACUSA's president seems to tolerate it and think that everything can be settled just by obliviation. What is Newt's actual purpose of going to New York?

With all the high expectations, I find this rather underwhelming. I will give it 3.5-4 stars at most: not enough magic and not enough fantastic beasts. Having said that, I still look forward to the continuation. I am pretty sure the Shaw family will somehow have some memory about all the magical events despite the obliviation and will play a role subsequently. I look forward to more action from Tina, Queenie, and Seraphina. Surprisingly, I am not really excited to see how this is going to tie up with the eventual Harry Potter timeline that we are familiar with. I guess that is a proof that JK Rowling does a great job in creating a whole new story that is relatively independent from the original Harry Potter.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Kimi No Na Wa

I usually avoid watching Japanese anime movies as somehow they will be available for download online (yep.. shame on me!). So I have to admit that I am sort of drawn to all the positive reviews about Kimi No Na Wa which is likely going to be the no 1 film in Japan this year. That poster is not a lie haha.. Of course I am pretty sceptical considering those Studio Ghibli movies are not really that impressive to me. I read reviews about Kimi No Na Wa and they make me even more curious. How can a story about a boy and a girl who swap bodies be that interesting?

Hmm.. Kimi No Na Wa is actually not only about a gender-swapping story. It has elements of everything. We start with the typical comedy from gender-swapping experiences, then to mystery and science fiction as we realise the swap happened during different periods of time, then to adventure as Taki (the male character) tries to solve the mystery behind this and eventually for Mitsuha to save her city from a falling comet, and it ends with some kind of romance. I would say it is a roller coaster ride for a movie but it is great the these elements are interwoven nicely.

It is also a roller coaster ride for my emotion. I will go crazy if what happens in the movie actually happens to me. Firstly, during their body-swapping experiences, both Taki and Mitsuha think that everything happens in their dreams while it is actually a reality. The body-swapping happen in random manner so you can be living as 1 person today and as the other person tomorrow. Wow... Realising that it is a reality is already shocking, so how shocking it will be for Taki to find out that he is swapping with someone from 3 years ago and that person is already dead. Similarly for Mitsuha, how does it feel when 'someone' from the future informs you that a comet will strike your town tonight and it will kill everyone? How to convince everyone to run away from the impending doom when everyone is so eager to view the comet? Whooo.. I got chills imagining it.

Although I mention that the last part is sort of romance, it is not really a romance. It is actually quite heart wrenching that both Taki and Mitsuha (yep in the end she successfully save her town.. don't ask me about time paradox lol) cannot remember about anything that has happened and yet they always feel that there is something 'missing' and they are constantly looking for 'it' without exactly knowing what they are looking for. I guess that strikes a chord with me because I am feeling quite lost in my life and I am searching what actually is my purpose here.

Ultimately, this movie is not really my cup of tea. It is interesting, it is great, it is unique, but it does not make me wanting to go watch it again. Well, I guess the Japanese really has a unique taste for movies because all their hyped movies turn out to be only quite so-so for me.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Night life

This post is 1 week late. It is about last weekend. It has been a long while since I got out in the evening. After all, I am just a lazy bum who prefers sleeping around and slacking doing nothing. Well, Pokemon Go decided to do something special for Halloween and thanks to the adjustment to the walking distance to hatch the egg, I went out in the evening.

On Saturday after dinner, I decided to walk back home. I was deciding if I should go to Kinokuniya to see if there was anything to buy to utilise the 20% off. I missed the buses that went to Orchard so I told myself never mind and to just continue walking home. If the next bus came when I reached the bus stop nearer to my home, then I would go. That did not happen but my egg almost hatched so I decided to walk to the next bus stop before turning back and going home. The bus came when I was at the next stop and I was off to Orchard.

I did not know Orchard Road was closed for traffic due to the SJ50 celebration (50th anniversary of diplomatic relationship of Singapore-Japan). I was very worried if the bus would only stop at Suntec or something. Thank goodness it stopped somewhere opposite Wheelock Place, although that is not the usual stop for bus 162. It was not too far to walk back to Orchard. It was raining the whole morning so the weather was humid and sticky so I did not really bother about the matsuri at the road.

My intention was only to check out books to buy since I already met my $500 credit card spending for October's rebate. I did not know why I decided to buy Justice League 8 and Injustice Year 4 Volume 2. And I suddenly had the desire to buy them from Kinokuniya Bugis to get CapitaStars. Haha.. It was 830pm and still I decided to go. Lol.

Perhaps it was due to Manga Genesis 2 that I saw at an exhibit at Thomson Plaza when I went for lunch. In fact, the reason why I went for dinner there was also to buy this at the same time. I shall write more about the manga at a separate post as this is already quite a long post. Hehe...
On Sunday, I decided to go to MBS to hunt pokemons. Yep.. again because of the egg hatching as well as for the double candy. Unbelievably, I spent 2 hours hunting there!! Haha.. My intention was actually to just walk once along the bay and then went home but there were too many rare pokemons. I got to evolve Shellder, found a wild Pikachu (for the very first time), countless Magikarp, but no Snorlax, Dragonite, or the ones that I was specifically looking for: Magnemite and Voltorb. Whoever thought Pokemon Go is dying should go hunt at MBS because it seems that all the Pokemon hunters are flocking there.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Being FON

It has been a bad week that forces me to be a bring out the bitchy nasty customer in me. The first problem that I have is with Ta-Q-Bin. It is a shame to their Japanese parents company as a lot of the items I buy from Yahoo Auction Japan will offer Kuroneko Yamato domestic shipping and so far everything is good. Ta-Q-Bin Singapore, however, is the worst courier service. DHL, UPS, and FedEx never gave me such a lousy service.

I had a delivery from Premium Bandai and I specifically requested for 5-8pm delivery. On Wednesday morning, I received an sms to inform that delivery would happen in the evening. It did not happen. I called the customer service at 730pm and the lady could not even confirm if a delivery would happen. Gosh! They informed me to wait, they failed to deliver, and they did not inform anything about it. They attempted to delivery on the next day at noon which is ridiculous since the packaging has a big sticker to hightlight 5-8pm delivery timing -_-".

It is a good thing that they were willing to deliver on Saturday which happened to be public holiday. I opted for 8am-12pm delivery timing. I asked if I could get a 'narrower' time frame to wait: nope. I asked if the courier could call me before arriving: nope. Imagine my shock when on Friday, I received an sms to inform me that they were still unable to locate my items but they assured me that delivery would still happen on Saturday. How can I be assured!! Gosh..

Saturday delivery was late again. At 1145am, the customer service called me to mention that delivery would be late. I could understand delays but I could not accept that he could not advise me how long I had to bloody wait. He just said 'afternoon'. Seriously what the fuck! You failed to deliver your service and still had the cheek to ask me to wait for the whole afternoon??? I don't care if your driver has 100 parcels to deliver because it is your problem. As far as I am concerned, you failed to deliver, you made me waited 7 hours already now you are expecting me to waste the whole Saturday.

So yeah, I sent email to them as well as to Premium Bandai. I don't care if they label me as FON as long as they really do what they promise: they will assign someone more experienced for my future deliveries. Seeing similar complaints online that people write about Ta-Q-Bin from previous years, I am a bit skeptical of any promised improvements.

The next problem I have is with The end product that I received were cut. In the software, there are blue edges and red edges. The advise was for writings not to exceed red edges while pictures/items should be until the blue edges. The end product that I received basically had everything printed until the red edges.

Firstly, I did not receive any reply for 2 freaking weeks after I replied them with sample pictures. Today, I received their explanation. Erm.. more like excuse. They said that from printing can be anywhere between red edges and blue edges. Hey.. that's not what their software prompt me!! And if as they mention that the red to blue edges is 3mm-wide, 3-mm wide is a HUGE MARGIN for goodness sake. I am sorry but I will find other providers as I am not going to live with 3-mm variability.

They offered me 80% off if I want to have my photo book reprinted but I have to edit my pictures all to the red edges. Will that solve the problem? What if the end product that I receive will be printed until the blue edges this time? I will have 3mm empty borders surrounding all pages? Fucked up! Anyway the money is not the issue, it is the time and effort! It took me 1 month to complete the photobook and asking me to reshuffle everything.. man.. easier said than done.

It seems that whoever replied my email is just smoking me. Prior to this, I had completed 3 different photobooks with them and all were printed until the blue edges. The end products are according to what the software showed me and I am happy. I did exactly the same thing with my latest one and now they are telling me that I did the wrong thing. Seriously..