Sunday, November 23, 2014

Netflix & Anime 2014!

Oh where to begin...  I've been working 3rd shift (AKA, night shift) so I've been watching more TV than usual, just because...  night shift does that to you.

OK, here's the list that got me through these dark times.  The majority of them are available through streaming on Netflix as of now.

Magi - Labyrinth of Magic 

The story of Magi revolves around three friends: Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana.  It takes place in Arabia... somewhere in the mid east (although the characters travel elsewhere throughout their universe).  Aladdin is a Magi which is sort of like an avatar that appears in the world to choose a king (Alibaba).  The magic used in this universe is called Rukh which is sort of like this energy that flows throughout the world (similar to FFVII's lifestream) and Magi/magicians can use and manipulate it to create spells/magic.

At first I didn't know what to think of this anime but after you get through the first 10 or so episodes, it gets really interesting and omg, the story behind Alibaba and his friend Cassim made me cry so hard!  The story can get pretty deep.

On the surface, Magi might have a childish look but the story is quite complex and there are many, many characters involved with each other.  It's interesting to see all the interactions and country politics as well.  This anime has a pretty good portrayal of history and how the rich shunned the poor and the trials and hardships that people have to go through in this time period. 

I think this anime has it all.  Comedy, romance, drama, action, adventure...  It just makes me feel like as long as I try hard, hold onto hope, and do my best, anything is possible.  That's what the characters teach me at least. :)


Can I just say, FEEEEEEEEEELS!!!!

Noragami will make your eyes puffy from crying so much. 

Yato is an unpopular god who's just trying to make money doing good deeds so he can buy himself a shrine. x3  He crosses paths with a girl named Hiyori who pushes him out of the way of a moving bus, getting injured herself.  Yato meets up with Hiyori in the hospital telling her that he's made sure she's okay and that she really didn't have to save him because he's a god.  Only problem though is that now after the accident, Hiyori's soul has a habit of slipping out of her body making her vulnerable to the phantoms that roam around at night.  Now Yato has to grant Hiyori's wish to fix her current predicament.  Gods in Noragami use weapons that are disembodied spirits with lingering attachment to the living world to fight against phantoms.

Noragami has good comedy and is funny on the surface but is much darker beneath and has a bittersweet feel to it.  The theme is centered around teamwork, trusting, and truly caring about other people.  It also portrays how frustrating some relationships with others can be but how it's important to give others a chance and to have inner strength, not to giving into darkness and negativity so easily.

The animation is gorgeous and the anime takes place in winter, giving some really nice snow effects and pretty scenery.  The opening and closing themes are also great and makes you want to listen to them over and over again. 

Hataraku Maou-Sama!

This is just full of hilarity.  Also called "The Devil is a Part-Timer," the majority of this anime takes place in modern Japan.  Ente Isla is a fictional universe and somehow, the devil, his aid, and a warrior pass through a portal to our world and have to survive in our universe by getting a job.

The devil, 'Mao' gets a job at McRonald's (lol) and works there part time, keeping this new world he's now living in safe from adversaries who've also passed through the portal.

This was lots of fun to watch, probably because I can somewhat relate to the hardships of not only finding a good job, but also being able to survive in this world of ours.  Hataraku Maou-Sama is kind of like those 'ganbatte' anime that are meant to increase the moral of a population and help them get inspired about the working world and convincing people that hard work will pay off.  Sometimes I feel like it's Japan's way of lightly brainwashing people but eh, it's funny so whatevs. xD

Anyway, this is a feel good anime and although there's that Ente Isla backstory with the characters, it's just on the back burner and probably just serves to make the story more entertaining.

A fun watch nonetheless.

Samurai Flamenco

Think of modern day Power Rangers and this is what you get if it's put into an anime.  Masayoshi is a young model with dreams of becoming a superhero inspired by his grandfather, called 'Samurai Flamenco'.  He has an obsession with superheros, mainly the power ranger and kikaida types and has a large amount of merchandise and paraphernalia.  One day, he gets caught naked in an alleyway due to a misunderstanding by a police officer named Goto and their fates intertwine.

Samurai Flamenco has a somewhat realistic portrayal of someone wanting to become a superhero and how they achieve that.  But there's also some sci-fi elements that start midway through the series with the monster adversaries that start to show up.

I liked how the main character Masayoshi, literally starts from the bottom and works his way up to becoming a real superhero.

There are many funny moments but towards the end, it gets a bit darker, of course because being a superhero realistically, is very dangerous work.

This is a good breath of fresh air for an anime and worth watching if you want something a bit different, with that power ranger flare.

Gurren Lagann

 I'm sure Gurren Lagann is common knowledge to most anime enthusiasts and somehow, I never really got into it until now.  The story is really interesting with people living underground and being liberated from that lifestyle because of these giant robots called 'Gunmen'.

This is pretty action packed and the art style is edgy but I got slightly annoyed with the filler episodes where the animation is just not up to par.

But that's besides the point.  The story seems to continue on as far as seeing Simon (guy with the goggles) grow up into a smexy beast. :D  I haven't gotten too far with this series yet but I appreciate the theme of brotherhood (never get's old), teamwork, and just believing in oneself.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

 What can I say...  this is such an emotional roller coaster ride.  Be prepared because although this looks cute, some of the themes are pretty heavy.  A big one is loneliness and the basic Human desire of connecting with others.  Some of these characters, mainly the three pictured above, have larger roles in the story because they all have the similar struggle of connecting with other people and making friends.

The center of the story revolves around the relationship between Shizuku and Haru who both have zero experience in love and relationships.  They are a funny pair, because Haru is violent, often prone to accidentally punching Shizuku in the face, yet is innocent and honest with his feelings.  Shizuku comes off as a cold and emotionless girl until she meets Haru.  She is very focused on her studies and at times, puts that before anything else when she really should make time for her friends and relations with others.  

Both Haru and Shizuku are polar opposites yet they're similar at their core because they both have a desire to make friends and become closer with others.  They bring out the best in each other and it's very sweet to see that.

Feeling from this anime?  Bittersweet and at times, emotionally heavy.  This is a bit more realistic than average in the portrayal of real life relationships, I think.

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

Unfortunately, Gundam Unicorn is not available on Netflix.  It's been in production for about 4 years, from 2010-2014.  Each episode is about 45 minutes to an hour.  I was recommended by my brother to watch this and although the name sounds silly, the anime is quite superb.

This story is based off of the novel from 2007.  It has the typical 'gundam' plot: young boy somehow obtains a gundam and has to fight in a war between the space colonies and Earth.  Girl who has a high position and influenced gets involved and kidnapped and held hostage, etc..  Guy feels like he has to protect girl.  You get the idea.

The animation is beautifully crafted, doing a nice job of blending the CGI of the gundams with the animation of the characters.  I highly recommend this anime because although it's a bit more dark and emotionally heavy, the story is engaging and you get attached to the characters.  Just don't watch this if you're feeling really stressed or unhappy... because this will probably make you feel worse. lol

Try it out and see if you like it.  If you like Gundam in general, you'll most likely enjoy this.  The story, although similar to other Gundam series, is still just as entertaining.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hello again after a long, stress-filled hiatus!

Hello hello!  My apologies for only the one millionth procrastination. 

What have I been doing?..  Remember those previous posts where I would write about how I was studying nursing or CNA (certified nurse assistant) class?

Of course you don't because even I don't remember! lol

I got certified about a few months back and from that time, I've been on and off applying like a mad woman for CNA jobs.

Finally, after a month or two, I got a call from an assisted living facility (which is basically a skilled nursing/rehab home with loads of seniors).  I took the job because my plan for getting a hospital job wasn't going so great without 'experience'.  I started my current job this past October.  Btw, now that I think about it, what are the chances of my last few jobs ALL starting in autumn? ( - _ - ; ) . . .
This is why I have a complex with this season.  Too many life changes! *urg...*

After working at a nursing home for a few weeks, I can honestly say that unless a person works in a nursing home, they could never understand what it's truly like.  People can talk about it all they want but unless you're IN it, you won't understand.

Now don't get me wrong, it's fulfilling work helping seniors.  It's just that on your very first day, it's MIND-BLOWING OVERWHELMING AND FRUSTRATING AND DIFFICULT.

I remember getting off my first shift and wondering what I got myself into and if I could ever survive in this profession.  All of the stress buildup would lead me to worry incessantly about almost everything else at home.  I would continue to go to work for the next few days, sitting outside in my car before my shift, and having a little cry because I was so stressed out, not confident in my abilities, and wondering what else would be thrown my way.

But guess what?  After that magical two week mark, all that stress was lifted and I could breathe again.  I could enjoy life again.  It was like waking up from a fog of negativity and stress.  In a way, I was reborn.  I'd gotten over another hurdle of growing pains.

And not only am I working in this job that's drastically different from every other job I've had, but I'm also on the 3rd shift (AKA, night shift)!  One would think that this is what's difficult for me in this job but noooooooo, staying up on night shift is easy-peasy for me.  And it's generally only 8 hr shifts so I still have my afternoons to enjoy.  :D

I actually feel fortunate that I work night shifts at the nursing home because from what I've heard, it's 100x easier than working day or evening shifts.  I do notice that it's much quieter.  But we still have stuff to get done such as cleaning wheelchairs, changings, charting, and restocking.

I'm glad that I'm not so stressed out anymore and hopefully, I can continue to blog more because nursing school hasn't started yet.

If anyone is wondering, I'm still committing to myfitnesspal and a big focus in my life has been on eating healthy and exercising to stay fit (especially in this job).  And omg, I actually had stress weight loss from this job!!  I was trying to get to 100 lbs and I made it there with that one final push from stress.  I was so stressed out, that I easily lost 3-5 lbs within a week!  And I've stayed at this weight since then. Hopefully I don't just gain it all back. x)  Take care guys.  Hope you all had a fun and Happy Halloween and are staying warm and healthy-!!

Maybe in my next post, I can talk about the anime and shows that got me through my 'severe stress'. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What I've Learned From Living a Healthy Lifestyle

According to myfitnesspal (an amazing app I'm using for counting calories and tracking exercise), I've logged in for 49 days so far!  I've made it through a month and it feels like such an accomplishment. ヽ(*´Д`*)ノ  I've also lost 4 kg~!!! 

I found out about myfitnesspal through a nutrition class I was required to take a few years ago.  I remember absolutely hating counting calories.  I thought it was depressing and a nuisance.  But that was when I was younger and stupid.  Counting calories has never been easier.  I think it's improved greatly over the years because now, it's an app available on the phone where you can conveniently scan a barcode on a food product.

On top of counting calories, I've also taken up treadmill running.  I try to run every other day and I've started to up that to a couple more days a week. ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ  I just need to keep in mind that a person should always allow their body at least one day a week off from rigorous exercise.  For in-between days, I do a thing called 'cross training' with lighter exercises like power-walking, yoga, and/or pilates.

While living this brand new lifestyle, I've found some interesting things along the way.  Especially for losing weight.  I would love to share these new found revelations to anyone who's interested in the adventure of a healthier lifestyle.

1. Your body is a temple for your soul.
Both are connected spiritually.  If there's something wrong with the soul, the body will suffer and vice verse.  Basically, take good care of your body and your soul will benefit greatly.  Of course, don't forget it goes the other way around too. :)

2. If your body hurts while doing something listen to it.
This is a saying where most people will nod their heads and make remarks like, "Obviously, that's common sense!"  But how many people actually take their own advice?  Not many seeing that so many people hurt themselves doing stupid things like expecting their body to do something it's not ready for or is incapable of doing.  If your body hurts doing something, be it eating or exercising, that probably means that you shouldn't be doing that.  Just stop, listen to your body, and avoid unnecessary injury to yourself.

3. Fast food and heavily processed food really is BAD for you.
Last night, my sister bought some Burger King and I ended up eating an entire medium fries that night (I know, so bad of me...).  I recall enjoying it but it really didn't taste as good as I thought it would (probably since I've abstained for so long and enjoyed mostly fresh foods).  The next morning, the lower part of my abdomen felt like it was all twisted inside and it was really painful!  I also found some interesting info on processed food, particularly instant ramen noodles (which I'm also guilty for).  A study was done on how quickly the noodles broke down through the digestive system.  There was a comparison of fresh food and the processed ramen noodles.  A camera was installed in a pill and consumed to follow both foods through the digestive tract.  It was pretty disgusting because it took so long for the ramen noodles to break down.  Ramen noodles are made to survive a world catastrophe.  They contain a preservative called tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) which is a petroleum bi-product that will, as I simply put it, really f*ck up your body.

4. A good session of cardio will do wonders for your skin, and the results are immediate!
To achieve an immediate clear complexion, just do a 30 minute session of cardio (and make sure you sweat it out).  I've noticed that my skin always looks really good after even a short 30 min work out.  Probably from all the toxins being released through sweating.  Forget spending tons of money on expensive facial products.  Want instant results?  Just sweat it out and you'll see the difference right away.

5. When treadmill running, don't force the body to run too fast too soon.  Take it slow, you'll definitely get to the speed you want.
On the first day that I decided to try treadmill running, I noticed that my body was sort of shocked into it.  Before this, I've never done any kind of cardio exercise for years!  I made sure not to run too fast and even researched the proper way to run.  What I didn't know is that I should have slowly worked up to certain speeds.  I found that a good way to do it is to work from speed walking, around 3.5 mph, and stay at that for 5 min.  From there, work up to the next speed every 5 minutes.  If the next speed is too much for you, stay at the lower speed and build your endurance.  This makes all the difference when treadmill running because you're slowly working up to the next level without pushing your body too hard. 

6. Take small bites and chew slowly while eating.
It's always good to appreciate and savor the taste of food instead of gobbling it down as fast as you can.  I know it's sometimes difficult not to, especially when you're running late and just wanna down your breakfast as quickly as possible.  It takes about 20 minutes for one's brain to realize the stomach is full.  This is why it's imperative that people eat slowly.  I think it's actually nice to take your time and enjoy the taste of the food you're eating.  I feel like when I do this, I can appreciate the fresh taste of healthy quality food and understand that THIS is what good food tastes like.

7. Your stomach will shrink when you eat less per meal.
After putting the tip above to good use, I've noticed that I eat much less per meal than what I used to eat.  If I eat more, I feel bloated.  I like to go by the Japanese motto where one should only eat until they're about 80% full.  This will prevent any unwanted feelings of having eaten too much.

8. Always have a healthy, low kcal snack on hand.
This is for all you fellow snackers out there, especially late night snackers like myself.  I've found that it's an awesome idea to have a low calorie and healthy - somewhat healthy snack on hand.  The reason this is a good idea is because for those moments of light hunger, if you don't have an easy light snack ready to grab, it's tempting to go for some unhealthy convenience food like those oily chips or that sugary cookie.  A healthier snack can be fruits, vegetables, nuts, rice crackers, tea, lightly seasoned chips, you name it.  As long as you stay within your kcal limits and these snacks aren't overly processed or have high amounts of saturated/trans fat and sugar/sodium, the sky's the limit. 
[If I make a list of my own healthy snacks, I'll add a link here.]

9. When counting calories, if you're going to estimate, you should overestimate instead of underestimate.
This is a tip from my previous nutrition instructor.  She said that if one wishes to lose weight, it's always better to overestimate kcals instead of underestimate.  This is because people in general have a tendency to underestimate the amount of kcals they're eating when they're actually eating more.  Not only that, but people also have a tendency to overestimate how many kcals they burn while exercising. 

10. Salad CAN be a meal.
I never thought salad could be filling.  I learned that it's all about using the salad as a 'base' and adding all kinds of nutritious goodies to it like hummus, avocados, nuts, chicken breast, grapes, and pretty much anything else you think is tasty and healthy.

11. Don't be alarmed if you appear to be stuck at a certain weight.  
The body does this to stabilize.  It's not uncommon for you to stay at a certain weight for a while during the weight loss process.  It's not an easy thing to change one's body composition.  We all know about homeostasis.  Let the body do its thing and don't feel like you need to rush and lose weight 'fast'.  Doing things too fast has never been a good thing for the body, and this includes losing weight.  Also remember that we all have 'water weight' which can fluctuate weight between 1-2 kg or more.  Plus, if you're in the process of losing weight and eating less calories, your body will retain more water because it's breaking down carbohydrate and protein stores which releases water.

12. Green tea helps with weight loss.
It's scientifically proven.  Green tea activates certain enzymes in the body to break down extra triglycerides that are responsible for being stored as excess fats.  And although green tea may not be as effective as say, a diet pill, it's much safer and healthier for the body.  Along with its weight loss/maintenance benefits, it's also packed with antioxidants to detox the body and has anti-aging properties.  Just keep in mind that tea is known to block the absorption of iron and calcium.  So if you want to absorb those things, save your tea for a few hours later.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fashion blunder (for a short person)

Today I'd like to talk about a big fashion blunder I made yesterday.

You know you've made a fashion blunder when you see yourself in a nearby mirror and realize how BAD you look.

That was me yesterday at the mall.  I decided to go after work and I decided to wear a T-shirt under my work shirt.  I also wore a light knit cardigan over my T-shirt.  But this is not the worst part.

To top it off, I was wearing tight black jeans/jeggings and old sneakers.  

Yes... sneakers. ( > ~ < )

I'm a short person.  My legs aren't that long and so I need to be careful of what I wear.

Even if a person isn't that short, depending on if their proportions are such that their upper body or lower body are longer or shorter than the other, they'll need to compensate.

What I mean is that if you wear something top heavy, you'll probably want to wear something tight or slimming for your lower body.  And vice verse.

I'll be real here, my old sneakers are ugly.  AND my legs are short.  Pair up tight black jeans, ugly sneakers, short legs, and top heavy clothing and that creates a recipe for disaster.

I'm sure there are exceptions such as if the sneakers weren't ugly and perhaps matched the color of the pants so that it will elongate the legs but alas, that's another topic.

To remedy this situation, I should have worn something tighter for my upper body.  Maybe a fitted T-shirt without the cardigan or a tighter fitting jacket.

Even better, I should NOT have worn those old sneakers with my black jeans.  The color of my jeans and the sneakers do not match so that combination just cut off a few inches of my legs and made them appear even shorter.  Maybe I should have worn different footwear.

I'll be sure to post a picture of this fashion blunder and a solution.

I always like to learn from my fashion mistakes and hopefully this tip is helpful to anyone else who has short legs like me.

It's good to create balance in outfits, especially if your upper or lower body is somewhat longer or shorter than the other. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Current Anime & Legend of Korra Book 3

Space Dandy

One of my coworkers convinced me to try out this anime and it's the most f*cking hilarious thing I've ever seen.

Space Dandy is unique in the sense that it doesn't follow a plot and goes in whatever direction it sees fit.  The characters even die in some episodes, only magically coming back to life in new ones.  It's also playful and experimental in its art and animation styles and explores various concepts and topics.

 Sailor Moon Crystal

I'm not sure how I found out about this reboot but since Sailor Moon is so popular, I would have found out some way or another.

I've only watched a few episodes and I'm excited to see where the story goes once all the scouts are introduced.  The animation style also seems to be loyal to the manga art style.

Free! Eternal Summer

Watched the first anime, and I'm really happy the second didn't take too long to be released.

I'm glad Rin got a much needed attitude adjustment.  He's actually likeable now!  With the main conflict removed, there's been a new character introduction so that's interesting.  I also like the new theme of the guys transitioning into adulthood and having to anticipate life out of high school.

Sword Art Online

I stick with this anime just because it's so damn pretty.  The story in my honest opinion, is good but not great.  It doesn't have that suspense factor to keep me hooked; basically, I'm not anticipating the next episode and can go months on end without watching.

This is a rare and a perfect example of an anime with a so-so story and gorgeous animation that makes me want to at least finish it.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Produced by the same studio (A-1 Pictures) as Sword Art Online, Magi has a slightly less serious tone and is more about fun and adventure.

The art style is also more relaxed and although not as beautiful as Sword Art Online, still just as lovely to watch.  I think I saw lots of exotic cosplays of this anime and finally decided to watch it .

Kill La Kill

Don't let the cutesy art style fool you. Kill La Kill is all about high energy and high action.  The art style is VERY flexible.  In one moment it can be 'Lucky Star' cute and a few seconds later, a nuclear warhead goes off and it switches up to a Gurren Lagann-like action sequence.

The story also has an interesting theme of upper and lower class; status and power revolve around a peculiar system of special uniforms that people earn through being the best fighter at a school.

Avatar Legend of Korra Book 3:  Change

My fav, fav, fav American anime-styled animation ever~!  I'm super excited about this season, especially with all the fun new characters being introduced and the new locations the story will explore.

If you haven't heard of Avatar the Last Airbender (not the shitty movie btw), then where have you been??  Under a rock?!!  Well go online and watch this show NOW! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

2014 Summer Hawaii Trip Pt 1: Shirokiya and USS Arizona Memorial

Here's my long awaited pictures from my family visit back to sunny HI~!  I had lots of fun on this trip and re-visited many places.

Pretty red ginger that's forever growing near grandma's apartment.
Bird of Paradise
 Shirokiya is a really popular Japanese store in Ala Moana shopping mall.  It's been there since Ala Moana opened in 1959!

I was surprised at how different Shirokiya was when I visited with grams and my auntie.  It's been maybe 5-8 years since I've been there.  

It seems like they have less stuff like books and magazines and opted for having lots of food and beauty items instead.
All the food is on the upper level.  It's set up quite similarly to Japan with various cubic-like spaces for each seller resulting in a sort of food maze.

 You'll find bento's galore up here.
  Lower level.  They set up a pretty seating area.  Downstairs you'll find a couple of bakeries and other various items like plants, omiyage, electronics, beauty items, etc.  Not much selection for the books and magazines though..

 Nice view of some fancy apartment buildings outside.

Dad and I went to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.  I thought it would be good to pay respects.  It's been a while since I've been there.  Last time I went was on a school trip in elementary or middle school.  It didn't seem like much changed.

Lots of these myna birds all over the place.  They can be noisy. D:
People board this ferry at scheduled times to see the Arizona Memorial after watching a theatrical video about the events of Pearl Harbor.

The entire memorial is white in color, including the interior.
 You can see the top of the ship.  There's still oil leaking out of it.
While I was reading the wall of names, I noticed how none of the names were of Asian men.  Well, maybe there might have been one or two but overall, they were all white men.  I learned that it was uncommon for people of various ethnicity's to be enlisted in the military at the time; only later would other ethnicity's enlist.

Lots of neat stuff to look at.... like this bomb.
 Man powered 'suicide' torpedo that Japanese soldiers would pilot.  
 Me being a doofus.  I'm too short for this thing.. lmao
$3 hot dogs but they really hit the spot on this hot day. ^^

We had a good time.  I'm glad I visited even though it was slightly brief.  It's always a good thing to remember and reflect on history so that we can learn from it and become more civilized.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Movie night: Lucy

Today I decided to go see the movie "Lucy" after work with sis.

After meeting incentives for my job, me and other coworkers on our team all got gift cards and one of them was for the local theater. ^^

"Lucy" is about an American woman studying in Taiwan who gets thrown into a drug trafficking deal.  She's knocked out and wakes up on a hotel bed to find out she's been turned into a 'drug mule' that's assigned to transport drugs to Europe.

Under unknown circumstances she becomes held captive by Taiwanese thugs, gets abused and kicked in the abdomen, and that causes the bag of drugs to break and wreak havoc in her system.  Eventually, she finds that the drug somehow gave her superhuman control over her brain.

The movie was really entertaining and I was always anticipating what she would do next as her ability to control her brain increased.

In the beginning of the movie, I took note of how the scenes would switch between 'Discovery Channel-like' recordings of animal behavior in the wild and how they related to the context of the scenes with Lucy or whatever Morgan Freeman Science guy was explaining.

There were many skeptical questions (regarding the plausibility of scientific facts) that came to mind but I put my criticism on the back burner since this was such a treat to watch.

 Scarlett Johansson is so badass in this movie.

The visuals and the way everything was set up created just the right moods to fit each of the scenes.  It also helps that all the settings are just so pretty to look at!  I especially enjoyed the beginning of the movie where Lucy was first taken to the drug dealers and the operating room scene where she has the heartfelt phone call with her mother.

This is one of those movies where there is only ONE main character and no other characters have much significance.  Most movies place great importance on character interaction.  "Lucy" is unique in the way that it doesn't rely on character's deeper relations to one another.

But that's okay because the character Lucy is truly a piece of work.  One of the main themes around her is the fact that the more percentage of her brain she uses, the less Human she becomes.

At the very beginning of the movie, viewers can take note of how she's so vulnerable and scared but as time goes on, she loses her fear and eventually becomes an emotionless shell of what she once was.

Just look at those beautiful colors... the dramatic lighting!

The ending of this movie also gave arise to a whole new set of questions and skepticism.  But I like movies that make me question and think about them long after watching.  I also think that the main theme of this movie wasn't so much on scientific facts anyway, but life's purpose on a grand scale.

"Lucy" was great fun to watch.  The settings were pretty and exotic (esp. since this was partially shot in Taiwan).  This is also one of the most visually appealing action movies I've ever watched.  The action scenes were amazingly choreographed, the car chase being the shining gem that stands apart from the rest.

The scientific facts are so outlandish yet the movie is so entertaining that I still have fun watching.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Losing weight

I've started this thing called a diet.

And this thing called cardio.

And this thing called pilates.

I know this is quite strange for me because I'm one to shun away from any kind of exercise and opt for eating less.

So what inspired me to lose weight?  Well, after a while of seeing all these Asian celebrities and Kpop idols being so slim, I thought, "hey!  I want to be skinny too!"

And that's my shallow reason for wanting to lose weight.

But don't get me wrong, I don't believe in starving myself to death.  I want to become slimmer, but a healthy slim, not the anorexic kind.

At first when I started weighing myself, it looked like I suddenly lost 2kg, but then I realized that I was probably just bloated and it was all water weight. haha

It's been a blast though.  After downloading the 'myfitnesspal' app, I've put in my goal of losing 5kg.

The myfitnesspal is quite useful because it spans out the calories so a person isn't starving themselves to death.  I think it's about 0.5kg per week.  It also logs nutrients, exercise, etc and it's really good at looking up food by scanning a barcode.

We'll see how this goes.  I'm excited because I can run on a treadmill while watching Kpop music videos.  Can't get much more inspiration than that!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Why does Lightning look so different in FFXIII Lightning Returns? [SPOILERS-!]

I finally finished the game Lightning Returns recently and zomg, why does her face look so different?  I mean, she looks like she got plastic surgery.

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that I am not criticizing the game in its entirety.  This is solely about the change in Lightning's hair and facial design.  The game play of Lightning Returns has nothing to do with this. :)

I didn't really notice her face change until I beat the game and watched the ending CG animation scene.  (pic above is from the opening CG scene)

I was a bit disappointed that the animators weren't consistent in her facial design, especially when it was so beautiful to begin with.

Here's some compare/contrast pics I found.

This one is of the CG animation for FFXIII, FFXIII-2, and FFXIII Lightning Returns.

And here's the cutscene animation.  It's a bit more difficult to tell the difference in the cutscene animation unless you look closely.

The hair quality is quite varied.  FFXIII had very nice hair rendering at the time and it got even better in FFXIII-2.  But in Lightning Returns, it seems like the hair texture isn't as sharp.  Lightning's hair also seems to get pinker and pinker as the series goes on. 

It's a bit difficult to tell the difference in her face with the pictures above so I made a few of my own comparisons.

I tried my best use pictures that had the most similarity in the position of her face.

Does this even look like Lightning anymore? 

In my opinion, she really looks like a whole different person!

What do you think?

As for the changes in Lightning's face...

  • Her eyes are smaller, rounder, and farther apart.  They're not as heavy-lidded and the hue of blue in her eyes is different.
  • Her eyebrows are lighter and aren't as arched.  
  • Her nose is now angled downward.
  • Her lips are a different shape.
  • Her face isn't as long or sharply angled.
  • Her hair color is different, isn't as textured, and isn't as sharply rendered.

My theory for these changes is that the animators wanted to make Lightning look more like Lumina as she was a part of Lightning and they eventually fused back into one.  I also think that they were attempting to make Lightning appear more Human-like (with the ending showing that all the characters were reincarnated in our world) and that's why her hair texture in Lightning Returns looks more like a real person's instead of the typical, perfectly textured and styled Final Fantasy hair (at least in the CG scenes).  But really, I'm more bothered by the drastic change in her facial design.

Who knows, maybe the animators just weren't consistent.  I personally wish that regardless of the reason, they stuck with Lightning's original character design because it was so great!  She had a beautiful face and her hair texture and color was gorgeous..






Now she looks sort of.... weird.  Basically like a different person.  I'm not saying she's ugly but this design isn't the Lightning I know.

Do you think she looks different?

I don't see many forums about this so maybe it's just a minor detail but part of the reason why I love Final Fantasy is for their gorgeous CG cutscenes and characters.  So if the creators change an originally awesome character design this much, it leaves me a bit disappointed, especially when all the other characters' designs are consistent.