30 November 2011

'Sonic Adventure: Original Sound Track'

Why, oh, why must a physical copy be over $100?!
I never considered seriously listening to video game soundtracks. Heck, I never payed much attention to music in any video game. Is it because the mind is so focused on the distracting graphics or the difficult gameplay that one has no chance to care?

Well, I must thank that darned blue hedgehog who forced me to stop and listen.

Sonic Adventure is nearly fourteen years old, and I can see you sticking your noses in the air and saying, "Hmph! The 90's?! How ancient!" If so, then you deserved to be punched. And shot. And smashed by a hammer. And homing attacked. Repetedly.

But yes, there are some tracks that sound kinda dated. Music in most of today's games don't sound like this anymore. Though a far cry from traditional bleeps and bloops from a Gameboy, Sega Genesis and their siblings and parents, this ain't polished electronic noise. Yes, there are some electronic tracks, but the majority of the music here is rock... and a tinge of hip hop... and jazz. Just a tinge... *squirms*

Some may argue that Sonic Adventure is the cream of the crop in terms of any game in the franchise post-1997. Well, in a way, these folks are right. This soundtrack is has the most variety with - truly - most songs not sounding identical. Every track complements its use in the game and sets the mood perfectly. With "The Dreamy Stage" you feel like you are in a casino, in "Tricky Maze" you wander in the dangerous ruins of an ancient civilization, and with "Red Hot Skull" you can almost feel like you're burning up near lava.

Even simple tracks like "Sadness" or "Happiness" are so genuine, it really affects you, especially when playing the game. As dark and emotional as others have been, not many Sonic games gave more heartbreaking tunes over something dramatic. Not even "Reflection" from Sonic Adventure 2 could top "Sadness."

The main problem is to cover an entire soundtrack with 69 songs that differ from each other so much. Those provided barely represent a third of the pie. But as a few honorable mentions, "Station Square," "Twinkle Circuit," "Mystic Ruin," and "ZERO the Chase-master" are some of the many that are too nostalgic to forget.

Fans of Sonic Adventure should definitely take the time to sit back and recall some of the best music this franchise has offered. Not to single everyone else out, but listening alone is nowhere near as rewarding as experiencing the game. However, that cannot stop you from giving these babies a chance. At the least you might hear some melodies that remind you of music you enjoy. Heck, even "Trickery Way" sounds like a demo from The Birthday Massacre!

Though my childhood is rushing back too quickly for my poor emotional heart, I leave you with this: Sonic Adventure: Original Sound Track is long, but entertaining for road trips or any form of time-consuming travel. It has a good mix of electronic rock, rave, orchestral, jazz, and other fun stuff to keep even the most ADD person to not be bored. At the end of the day it all comes down to preference and experience. The choice between playing the game or not makes all the difference.

Pros: Strong :D
- versatile styles fitting various themes
- universal and easy on the ears
- far, far, FAR from repetitive

Cons: Moderate :/
- sixty nine tracks on two disks = over two hours long
- accessible more to those who played game

4 out of 5

And as a bonus. The track playing to one of the most memorable moments in Sonic games.
Too bad I don't have that exact clip. :P

23 November 2011

Laughing Until The Lungs Bleed

For the past few months I am at my all-time low as a HIM fangirl. The albums have been collecting dust, the official website is still down, and I am detoxing...

Since school started though, my blues have been eased by my friend and fellow HIM fan. Today we went on a full 35 minute spree of quoting all sorts of crazy crap from all sorts of videos of them being random. Way back in the days when I looked up videos and interviews, I only got to laugh with myself. Being able to talk about the same jokes and to share the same amount of humor in it with a friend was the best part of my day. My lungs still hurt so much... X'D

Here's only a fraction of the hilarity...

Oh, and happy belated birthday, Ville! I'm so sorry! T-T

22 November 2011

'Sonic X'

Found on mobianlegends.com
"Goodnight! Have sweet dreams!"
Uh oh.

It's bad enough that the Sonic fanbase is split into so many factions and the last thing we needed is yet ANOTHER show. In terms of likability the very general consensus appears to be that The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was a drug-induced wonderland, Sonic the Hedgehog (aka Sonic SatAM) was epic and short-lived, Sonic Underground was denied for its stupidity, and Sonic X was "meh." Yet in the world where only my opinion matters [but is ignored anyway], this was amazing... depending on the version.

Sonic X is a three season, 78 episode anime that debuted in 2003 and still airs in Europe and North America. With it being an undead zombie outside Japan, easily it can be considered as the most popular and successful Sonic show ever made. Seeing how much video game shows and movies are crucified for being absolute crap, this really is a gem. Depending on the version.

Yes, it really matters if you watch it in Japanese or in English.

The English version, dubbed by the Intergalactic Empire of Evil known as 4Kids Entertainment, is despised by many. If you watch it, prepare for the abysmal voice acting (Shadow, Rouge, and most of the human characters are the worst), horrible script with confusing details, and absolutely no death at all! And since the plot of Sonic Adventure 2 was adapted into this show, the once well-executed drama is completely childish, stupid and pointless. That's nothing in comparison to other cases. Worst of all, so much was censored or altered for the sake of Sonic X being "appropriate for children."

*Gasp!* A grave?! Oh, God!
The children will be traumatized
by the concept of DEATH!
  • The writting is severely thumbed down to stupid puns, braindead common sense, and annoying tantrums by characters that had no such abuse in the Japanese version. (Shadow is significantly more "emo" in this version. "MARIAAAAA!!! T-T")
  • The once decent dialogue has been completely deconstructed and built up to have little to no resemblence to the original. (Oh I don't know where to begin... how about from start to finish?!)
  • Certain scenes were eliminated outright for being too "violent," "mature," or "depressing." (two minor character deaths were completely eliminated and poorly handled)
  • Some of these edits are so obvious that many characters have completely different personalities. (Sonic is far more incompetent, Amy's more of a bitch, etc.)
  • Must I repeat the voice actors suck? (Dan Green as Knuckles was a tolerable, but unfitting exception. And don't get me started on Jason Griffith...) 

In comparasion, the Japanese version is uncut and is much easier to follow. The adaptations of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 are very faithful and translate very well. This version of Sonic X makes fun of itself and repeatedly demolishes the fourth wall; yet it gets serious in the most appropriate events. Despite my not knowing a lick of the Japanese, the voice actors give believable and natural performances across the board. From a technical standpoint, this version is far more mature, honest, and open then its sophomoric counterpart.

Amy shall destroy all Mary Sues.
HOWEVER, both versions have a large problem. Sonic X is a decent piece of fanfiction: it has good ideas behind it, but the execution is lackluster. Character development tends to be an alien concept in more recent Sonic games and thankfully this show attempt to bring it back. Still, the cast is all over the place in terms of quality. The general human cast is practically useless and forgettable and it crosses in both languages. Only Sonic and the gang are the most likable overall with interesting interactions and conflicts. As for the human kid Chris? Typical Mary Sue in a piece of fanfiction who wants the fabrics of imagination come to life and befriend them.

Is it worth saving these humans?
When one puts this next to other anime, Sonic X is pretty bland and uninteresting. In a way this is an anime that doesn't quite seem like an anime. Season one is a chore to watch with Filler Episode Syndrome until everything picks up from then on out. Some plot lines are left hanging and episode 78 leaves a gaping hole inside. The animation is generic overall with some CGI effects and a low budget finish at the end. Numerous anime series are like that; however, Sonic X is toned down enough for those new to the style can be headache-free.

At the end of the day I strongly recommend every English-speaker to sit down and learn to read subtitles and watch the superior version of this show. Your intelligence will thank you for it. Sonic fans might enjoy the few music samples from the Adventure games that appear at times, otherwise it's up to them. As for the casual viewer, this show is not horrible, but not great.

Yes, Sonic, there are giant mecha in your show.

4Kids, thanks for introducing this to me when I was young, but man you love to kill any anime you get your hands on, do you? No wonder otaku and other anime fans avoid anything licensed by you.

Just take this as an introduction into anime. The action is decent enough in this overhyped but entertaining ride. And as a show based on a video game series, this ain't bad.

2.8 out of 5

17 November 2011

"Houston, We Have a Problem."

Word has been spread about this lately and the more I learn about it, the more disturbed I get.

If this bill passes, I might as well say goodbye to my days of watching anime that will never be released on this side of the globe. Farewell, entertainment that takes me hours to find and access.

I might sound very melodramatic, but I'm pretty PO'ed about this. Maybe the world won't end, but a lot of my favorite sites, with their music, images, and videos might get banned. It's a scary thought that I take so much for granted.

UPDATE: I just emailed my Congressmen to oppose the bill. The land of red, white, and blue is proud of her citizen. *jazz fingers*

13 November 2011

Fangirl's Mini Shots: Sonic Games

Because I can never seem to have any organized thoughts about a particular series of... anything, why not I do so now? With that darned blue hedgehog still in my mind I might as well make my opinion of certain aspects of the Sonic franchise. It might clear up some of the mess from a crappy review made this year, as well as set up any later reviews or rants. When it comes to Rants From a Fangirl, I have no clue where the heck my mind will wander next month. @_@

Just as a quick note, I hopped on the Sonic bandwagon right before Sonic Heroes in 2004. Therefore I am more familiar with "modern Sonic" and the gang.

With that out of the way... begin:

It took skill to save all the critters from the evil Eggman!
It's pretty embarrassing to be a casual fan but have never played the game that started it all. (The mini game version in Sonic Adventure does not count.) And as an owner of a Gamecube, I have no excuse to not buy Sonic Mega Collection. Better dash to it!

Sonic and pals at one of their happiest and finest!
Yay, the game that marked the beginning of the 3D era! Supposedly it's the only one handled right. Character-wise, this is absolutely true: Adventure made me fall in love with the cast. Gameplay-wise, this is the most memorable, albeit slightly dated.

Back when the reflection was not solely a piece of reusable "fanservice."
Being the first Sonic game I ever played, Adventure 2 is tightly knit to my heart. The addictive Chao Gardens, the awesome soundtrack, and Shadow. ...Okay, the Fangirl confesses: it was just Shadow and his story. Still, this was just as fun as its elder brother, even if the gameplay was polarized and split into three styles. These were my good old days...

And thus the bullcrap continues to pile up...
Love to hate it and hate to love it. The only game in this series I have lost all interest to beat. Everything is a humongous pile of "meh." Some cool new characters were thrown in, but severely underused. The gameplay was so repetitive I wanted to throw my controller at my TV. And poor amnesiac Shadow forgot to die. I call bull.

That joke's so old...
Say hello to the unkempt black sheep no one will ever stop bitching about. I freaking love Shadow the Hedgehog for the amazing variety in level designs, soundtrack, and storylines (think somewhat-kinda on the lines of Higurashi.) Sadly I cannot defend how the execution was confusing and messy. Even though I now think it would have been fine if Shadow died in SA2, this game gave his story a satisfying resolution. This was the last time a Sonic character ever had decent development though. *sad*

Another hedgehog with a human friend? REALLY?!
Four words: HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?! Glitchy, stupid, buggy, sloppy, glitchy, insulting, broken, pretentious, glitchy, and depressing. It's pretty damn sad that Sonic is the most useless and incompetent part of this game. He pretty much lets his human-phobic rival and a telekinetic kid be the true heroes! The only good thing? "Dreams of an Absolution."
Did I forget to say this game is glitchy? And Elise? REALLY?! Even Maria wasn't as pointless!

Day + speed - entertainment = BAD.
Sonic Unleashed is yet another hair-and-spike-ball of "meh." Say goodbye to whatever made the 3D games likable. This is the Eat Me, Drink Me of the Sonic games: a degraded, disappointing model of what was decent. The 2D gameplay fails to impress and the Daytime stages are mind-numbingly boring. At least the Nighttime stages gave me the chance to let out my frustration! The Warehog - though a stupid concept - was actually fun!

Yet another adventure to stop Baldy McNosehair...
by saving alien critters!
A much better effort to appeal to the classics, but still missed the mark. The music is a bit too cookie-cutter and repetitive, even for very polished, electronic pop. But... so... pwetty... @o@ The dialogue in the Wii version is so hilarious I cried many times. AND NEW VOICE ACTORS! *waves goodbye to 4Kids cast*

Now that you're all tired out from this topic...

You're welcome.

11 November 2011

November 2011

824 visits last month? Holy sugar crackers! Where is everyone coming from?! o_O

Just the other day I retook the pictures of what I wore on Halloween. My first attempt failed miserably thanks to poor lighting and a crappy camera. I will have it up shortly-ish. :)

To get some of the bottled-up energy off my chest, I will make a few Sonic-related posts (as forewarned.) Sadly I am unable to buy the latest release, Sonic Generations, due to my out-of-date consoles. But in this day and age, there's Youtube for reviews and walkthroughs! All for free!! XD

School is school. Home life is home life. My blog is my blog. Pretty dull, eh? That's the real life me in a nutshell. ;)

In the meantime I have more music to listen until I can make decent reviews. Hopefully I can get though Mechanical Animals enough to get a review up by December.

Speaking of which...

By far my favorite of his.

09 November 2011

Have a Point

Hello, readers.

Goodbye, readers.

Pretty annoying, eh?

Don't worry, Steve Martin, I'm getting to it... unlike some I know...

Every day in Health class I walk through a sea of molasses, chainsaws, and hydrochloric acid.
*smacks self* Fine, I'll cut the cynical crap and get to the point.

Because of being in honors classes since freshman year, I skipped out on Health class in sophomore year. I have to take the course in order to graduate and fulfill my dream of... growing up. Though I still dreaded it, thankfully it lasts for a semester. Sadly, this is far worse than any previous health-related class I ever forced myself to endure. Simply put, my teacher goes at a pace so slow a snail would laugh and he rarely has a point to his digressions.

One time we went over the three aspects of health: physical, mental/emotional, and social. We must keep our lives balanced by how we take care of our bodies, manage our stress, and communicate with others. Sounds reasonable, right? Two minutes later my teacher pulls up a Word document listing the Ten Commandments and claims that spiritual health is also essential.  Without attempting to acknowledge that he threw a wrench in an already well-explained concept, he says this needed to be added because "we're a Catholic school. Too bad if you don't like it."

Fine. You want to preach about religion in a religious school. Fair enough. But how does it tie into HEALTH? Ever since he brought up his "new, unique concept" he has never tried to tie up some hanging thread. For example, how does spiritual health affect our wellbeing? Does it throw off our mental stability? Does it affect how you care for your body? Does it improve or worsen your relationships? Or is it just an excuse to never get God off our minds?

So far the only health we covered was strictly based on nutrition. Oh, and that alcohol and sex are the devil incarnate because they are. ...Yeah, forget mental and social wellbeing since they are no huge concern! Let's make sure we stay away from cancer and heart attacks because of all the junk we eat! It's not like there are paranoid schizophrenics and recluses to worry about because they dont exist!

Right. The point: I am ranting about health class... and it sucks.

On one hand it's wonderful that my mom is a nurse and that I grew up with her endlessly helpful words of medical wisdom. However, having that upbringing mixed with an "everything in moderation" philosophy drilled into me, the black and white world of basic education teaches the same information that never successfully sticks.

I know I should be thankful for my "privileged" position in a school that actually makes every student take a health class so he/she is somewhat educated. Many don't have such a luxury to access information about food and how to care for one's wellbeing. It's a heavy burden I must bear and will never be happy with.

But have a point. This goes for anything. If you are going to throw religion in some discussion, have a reason and explanation as to how everything connects. Just because I go to a Catholic school that does not mean someone should bring up God in algebra, especially if no logical connection can be made. If you bring up God, religion, or spirituality in a health class, you better go deeper than posting up the Ten Commandments and saying "it is what it is, so deal with it."

On a brighter note, my classes in general are very practical and fairly enjoyable. There's enough to counteract the sleepiness I succumb to as a result of pointless banter. Thankfully I only have two more months of it to go...

07 November 2011


Strikingly awesome poster. 'Nuff said.
(CREDIT: found on Wikipedia)
Shakespeare, a fraud? Try saying that to your English teacher. I know I did... playfully.

The greatest playwrite of the English language. Any pieces of fiction writen in books, sung in poetry, and performed on stage or film is subject to copywrite thanks to a dead man. The Einstein, the god, of literature. And it has been a solid fact for hundreds of years. Denial and skepticism will send you to the guillitine, electric chair, or the gallows.

But honestly, this whole debate about the authorship of Shakespeare is long and heavily researched to the point that an average human brain will hemorrhage. You might catch me spending more time in a library than the science lab, but even I don't have the attention span to tackle a controversy on life support thanks to stubborn scholars. I'll stick to extensive research on vampire mythology, thank you very much. Both might be overrated topics, but I have more patience with the latter.

Anonymous is a movie you should not take as historically acurate or factual. (For that matter, doubt that anything "based on a true story" is completely authentic.) And unless you are a Shakespearian scholar or history nut, don't overanalyze every single thing this film does wrong. Again, your brain will explode and I won't be there to clean you up.

To simplify things this film states that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford was the real "Shakespeare" who gave his written works to Ben Johnson, who was to take the credit. But the real actor Shakespeare decided to take it for himself. ...It's complicated.

Standing on its own as a film, Anonymous is very entertaining. The look and atmosphere of London is absolutely beautiful - though the darker imagery made it felt more Victorian than Elizabethan, especially when it feels dark and cold all the time. (Even though I went to England over the summer, I had no clue the country was always like winter!) However, the cast is very good and solid with great performances. Shakespeare was an annoying drunken idiot, but he grows on you albiet very slowly. Everyone else... great. There is a lot of personality in the cast, but it gets so hard to remember names past the "big players."

The story, however, is a mess. The main cast is easy to recognize, but everyone's roles blur together and create an entangled confusion. Once Anonymous dives into the political drama - or "facts" - it gets really hard to stay on top on the banter. Some information was either extraneous or poorly conveyed to the casual viewer. Furthermore, most of the characters contradict their historical counterparts.

Worst of all the sequence of events were severely disconnected as the jump cuts jerk you back and forth between various periods of time. At first, the film was nice enough to give you the years but later you will be left asking "when in the heck are we?" The flow of time simply makes no sense.

If you can easily sit through an entertaining movie, you might enjoy this. Everyone else might bust their brains into the wall. As for me, I might or might not watch it again to pick up on the bullshit. It looks nice, but the storytelling is pretty darn confusing. At the end of the day, this conspiracy theory did not make me believe everything really happened. But then again I'm mature enough...

Maybe I'm too moderate for this type of thing...

2 out of 5

04 November 2011

Next Post

20 years of animals on speed. Oh boy...

I told ya. I'm so literal. :)

Instead of Halloween consuming my life, a spiky blue hedgehog and his anthropomorphic escaped inmates from a Japanese zoo are bending reality. I swear, I'm not lying! T-T

Despite that I invested some time in Halloween-related videos via the last post. That's not much, but I have been feeling really "meh" lately. On the bright side, I further fulfilled my life as a vampire fan by finally watching Interview with the Vampire and Daybreakers (Hallelujah to emos with no sparkles!) Going down memory lane, I re-watched the Distressed Watcher's Marilyn Manson's Spooky Donut. And dad and I watched The Thing... the "prequel." Oh the enjoyment from laughing, nitpicking, and reminiscing.

Let's see you sitting on your butt writing
suicidal essays, you damn laid-back hedgehog!
Life seemed to start to get pretty spooky...

... until that pesky hedgehog ruined my life!

On the bright side, I feel like a kid when I really need it. Applying to colleges has fried my nerves beyond overcooked-dead. And I still have more applications to fill out in case I get rejected. Must seek refuge with my Gamecube...

EDIT: Halloween plans were a minor failure on my end. But I got to show off my "costume" to my best friend and hung out at her place. I might post up my pics if I get to it. XD

Music Mood (unrelated to anything):

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