Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Utada Hikaru at Sephora New York City

All of you know how big of a fan of Utada Hikaru I am, and I was so psyched to have an opportunity to see her in person for the Utada at Sephora New York City Listening Party. Of course I would have liked to see her in concert, but it was awesome listening to her speak in English and do a short Q&A session. She recently released a new English album This is The One. Please support it in itunes or buy the album when it comes out! My favorite song on it is Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, FYI. Yes, some of you remember how obsessed I am with that song and even used it as Nadeshiko's Theme. :) Ah, sychronicity. Anyhow, I love the remix of the lovely tune.

Utada Hikaru probably introduced me to J-Pop in the first place, and her songs will always hold a sentimental value for me. Moreover, I admire her because she actually writes her own songs and lyrics. She started out so young too, and she's been through so much, and if there is a role model for aspiring singers, Utada Hikaru is one. She even has brains--she got into Columbia University though she took leave because she already has an awesome career going. Ah, she's only a couple years older than me, and she's already done so much in life; how inspiring!
She looked very beautiful and very petite! Click on the photos if you want to see larger quality. There was a mob of fans waiting outside and it was pretty cold. I felt very blessed to be able to see her inside. And I was lucky enough to be front of the line when she was passing by, so I have a short clip of her entering. (Kya, she was literally a hand's reach away from me!)

If you didn't know, Hikki was born in New York, so she's bilingual. In her interview, she was amazingly sweet and humble, but you can definitely tell she's a confidant, mature woamn. It seems like she likes drawing as well-- I loved the part where she said that she would haved liked to pursue art if she wasn't into music. There was a girl who asked her what advise she would give to an aspiring singer, and I loved Hikki's response. She said basically that no matter what other people say, it's important to know what you think of yourself. I'm paraphrasing, but she was met with a tremendous cheer. Of course my favorite moment was when she sang a line from Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" when asked what were her inspirations growing up. Oh my gosh, I knew I loved her--she loves Disney too!

And of course, I was lucky enough to get a clip of that. It's in the second half of the clip. She sings a line of Metallia too. Lol. You will also hear Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, FYI playing in the background for a while.

I got a signed poster and a little Utada bag (and a bunch of Sephora samples). Anyhow, Utada Hikaru is such an awesome individual on top of being a talented singer and songwriter, and I hope her a long, illustrious career both in Japan and internationally. And remember to check out her US album!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Full Metal Alchemist 2 2009 Trailer

Gosh, I am such a big fan of Full Metal Alchemist if you don't already know that. The anime was perfect (albeit I was not to crazy about the departure from the manga and the ending.) Still, I think of the 21st century, FMA might be my favorite shounen anime, and I watch more shounen than shoujo. Everything about it was stellar, voice actors, music, animation quality, plot (yes, every episode was brimming with tension, emotions, etc.), the fight scenes were brilliantly executed. I do not have enough praise for FMA. I remember when I first heard of it, I thought the premise sounded grim and serious--and I thought the "guy in the armor" was older. But it's cute little Alphonse trapped in the armor. For those of you not familiar with the story, it's about two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who lose their mother. They try to use alchemy to bring her back and result Edward loses a limb and Alphonse his body. Edward sacrifices his arm to seal Alphonse's soul into an empty armor lying about. It is their quest to find the philosopher's stone in order to bring back Al's body and for Ed to regain his limbs (he uses automail as artificial limbs, hence "Full Metal.") A central theme of FMA is "to gain something, you have to give up something equivalent in return."

Yes, does this sound familiar? Yes, it sounds a lot like Youko-san's motto from XXXHolic. I always relate everything back to CLAMP, but when Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles came out, I thought, wow, some principals are a lot like FMA. Especially since we learned Fei Wong Reed wants to bring back someone? But of course, CLAMP always held a fascination with alchemy (if you couldn't tell with Clow Reed.) After all, Clow Reed was based after magi Aleister Crowley who held a fascination for the occult and alchemy. And there's of course Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with Lord Voldemort's desire to return to a physical body. Bringing back someone from the dead is a universal theme related with humans' dread for mortality. Anyhow, I've been reading up on alchemy ever since FMA came out, which in return let me to understand CLAMP better and also the way magic theory works in CCS and TRC.

I'm excited and still a bit skeptical about the FMA remake. I like the idea of a more manga-faithful version. But truthfull, the first half of the anime did an even better job than the manga in terms of plot execution, pacing, etc. Some of the most memorable scenes were in the anime and not as striking in the manga. And the music, as I stated in an earlier post, was so spectacular I can't imagine a new OST. But I'm excited to see the latter part of the manga animated and at least Paku Romi is back. I have a weird hobby of tracing the7 degress of separation in the anime seiyuu world. Miki Shinichirou (King Touya of TRC) is voicing Roy Mustang, my favorite character, so I'm not too bitter about the change in the voice cast. Anyhow, that officially connects FMA to the CLAMP franchise. Lol... Well, I recommend FMA if you haven't already seen it. The plot has everything you can ask for--political intrigue, brotherhood, military fun, tons of action, war, genocide, a dash of romance potential, comedy, alchemy, adventure, mystery...

The trailer got me excited-the ending song sounds awesome.

Sometimes, I like trailers even better than the actual show. That happens a lot for Hollywood movies, it seems. Especially some comedies--they ruin all the best punch lines in the trailer and the actual movie is a waste of two hours, unfortunately.

The trailer for Eden of the East is AWESOME, one of the best trailers I've seen of late. (I should do an entry on trailers lol.) Interesting note is that Oasis is doing the opening song (yes, the English band that did "Wonderwall," an awesome song.) And the designs were done by Chika Umino of Honey and Clover (my favorite slice-of-life anime), hence the male lead looks like Morita-senpai! Oh, and it's Production I.G. so you know the animation is going to be stellar.

Anyhow, 2009 seems like an awesome year for anime, with Kobato coming along too for a good shoujo fix. I have to say I watched a lot less anime for the past year or two than I used to, and very few shows really have caught my attention. So, I'm excited!

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Trials of Card Captor Sakura Family Trees

I never meant my fanfiction to have so many characters. As we all know, the whole lineage of the Amamiyas, the Lis, the Mizukis, the Changs, the Reeds and the Kinomotos are very very confusing. Heck, I get confused all the time. Lol...

Moonlitdragon7 from has done something wonderful and made a beautiful compilation of the family trees for us. I am so grateful and impressed. Of course, there are some gaps here and there, but that is because the information is not present yet in New Trials canon. :P

So, here is the Li Clan Family Tree:

Reed and Li Family Tree by ~moonlitdragon7 on deviantART

The Kinomoto/Amamiya Tree:

Amamiya Kinomoto Family Tree by ~moonlitdragon7 on deviantART

The Mizuki/Tanaka Tree:

Mizuki and Tanaka Family Tree by ~moonlitdragon7 on deviantART

The Chang Tree:

Chang Family Tree by ~moonlitdragon7 on deviantART

The Li family tree if by far the most complicated, nee? I like how the Kinomoto and Amamiya one is so neatly tied up. Same with the Mizuki one, which is pretty much errorless. (There are some vague points in New Trials about various lineages that I left vague on purpose...) It would be interesting to see a "complete" family tree some day. And the Chang tree just makes me a little sad too. So, many thanks to Moonlightdragon7 and hope this would be great reference to everybody!

I also LOVE the twelve-point star that can be seen here:

P.S. It makes me depressed that I can't make this blog look pretty. Oh well...