Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sōdo Āto Onrain

Literally means Sword Art Online.

The anime is based on the light novel series by Reki Kawahara, who is also the author for Accel World. As the title might suggest, the story involves some sort of online gaming. To be exact, it's Virtual Reality MMORPGs.

Cool isn't it? Imagine how it would feel if we can enjoy life in different worlds - an escape from today's hustle and bustle and play the different roles offered in these virtual worlds. Unfortunately, the story sets in year 2022, so I guess I'll have to wait another 9 years or so before knowing if the idea becomes just another fantasy ;)

Anyway, back to Sword Art Online, or better known as SAO. I have Google-d around and fount that it's quite a popular series with viewers - a few sites even voted it as the best anime in 2012. "Best" can be quite subjective, but SAO can easily be among my top 3 for 2012.

The story is captivating and if you have played MMORPGs before, you will find some parts quite amusing - think 'farming for gold', 'completing specific quests to fight bosses', 'leveling up cooking or fishing skills'. The difference in SAO is you are actually in the game, virtually of course and everything is as real as it can be to real life.

The protagonist in SAO is a player who calls himself "Kirito" (no one uses their real names online, right?), who jacked himself into the game with thousands of other players on the day of the launch only to find themselves unable to log out from the game. The rule, it will become evident, is that they are only allowed to leave the game if a player can win the game, which by virtue means beating the last Boss on the final level (there 100 Levels altogether o_O).

So here's the catch. If your avatar dies in the game, you die in real life as well - the virtual reality head gear will fry your brain. And if someone (maybe a family member) try to forcibly remove the head gear, your brain gets fried as well. Basically, there is no way out apart from playing and winning it.

Sounds a bit unrealistic? Not really. The plot is easy to follow, with several unexpected twist and I find that the writer has managed to make most parts plausible. Of course, this happens in the future, so the writer gets quite a bit of leeway ;)

Anyway, I would highly recommend SAO to anyone looking for a short anime series to watch (25 episodes) - you won't be disappointed :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


One of the things I did while on leave last week was just to sit back and catch up on some anime series. The one that didn't have time to watch previously was the sequel to Darker than Black, named Gemini of the Meteor (Ryūsei no Gemini). Shorter than the first season, the sequel has only 12 episodes - but it was as good as the first. I was thinking of a good and short way to describe how the story picks up from the last...but I think the following from anime-access does it better than what I was able to come up with :)
Two years have passed since Hei and Yin escaped the Syndicate after the events of the first season. Making their way to Russia, Hei encounters a young girl named Suou Pavlichenko, whose family is gradually pulled into the war between contractors and various intelligence factions. Meanwhile, Misaki Kirihara has quit her position in Foreign Affairs to begin her own investigations into Hei, the Contractors and the Syndicate.
The opening for Gemini of the Meteor by Stereopony is catchy - called (Tsukiakari no Michishirube lit. means Moonlight Signpost) and one that I have downloaded for the collection. It was hard finding a version on Youtube that Sony hasn't already blocked out the audio - or removed completely. However, I did manage to find a version of the opening from the anime (let's see how long before this gets blocked as well) and also of the full MV by Stereopony. If you haven't watched this anime yet, go check it out :)

Opening from Gemini of the Meteor

Sunday, March 4, 2012

No Mere Mortal pt.II

A burst of flames suddenly engulfed the dark figure. The dragon eyed lazily at what would be just a pile of ashes – the only other thing left would be the stench of burnt flesh. To its surprise, there he was standing untouched as the fire cleared – a blue light crackled around the intruder. Sensing that magic was at play, the dragon took more interest now and focused its senses on the origins.
Ah…a ring of protection…and a powerful one too. No wonder. But no matter, thought the dragon.
The dragon’s name is Naz’garoth, one of the great fire dragons of the realm. And like all dragons, it is a proud and powerful creature and thinks nothing more of this fool than a fly that needs to be swatted away. Naz’garoth shifted its body and raised its head to full height. With a sudden move, its tail swiped out at the figure, covering the distance in a mere second.
Something’s not right, through the dragon. The figure has disappeared. But even as Naz’garoth recovered from surprise, a pain lanced out from its side – a long thin blade now lodged itself at where the wing joins the body. It roared thunderously, shaking the grounds of the cavern – angry for being caught unawares and wary too, realizing perhaps too late, that this was no ordinary foe.

Monday, February 20, 2012


OK...random thoughts up ahead...trying to write to keep rust from building up.

So I was thinking...and realized that most of us today kind of take it for granted that our eventual goal would be to live as long as we can. It doesn't matter what we do with it, the important thing is that we get to live longer. With this expectation, some of us try really hard to have a healthy lifestyle (eat organic or "go green", take up yoga, etc.), buy various types of insurance (think life and medical), invest in retirement funds and so on - all with the thought of preparing for old age (be it for their family or otherwise).

Then there are others who take life as it comes by without much thoughts whether it's going to end the next day or the next decade - who wants to worry about things like this when it's really not in our control, right? That would be too negative a thought to ponder upon. You might even ask why in the world I'm writing these sort of things on my blog. Like I said, random thoughts :)

As I was chatting with a few friends over dinner on Friday night, we broach the subject from a different angle by asking the question "How long do we think we get to live?" It was a asked in a lighthearted way, mind you. Although it did kind of put things into a different perspective for me. Is living till we are in our 70s or 80s really that important?

Having lived three decades of my life already, if I can reach sixty, i.e. another thirty years of life - wouldn't that already be a great gift? I could be living another "lifetime" or so to speak. Of course, I haven't achieved much in life yet, and certainly no legacy to leave behind, but I have by and large, enjoyed the last three decades.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, "Hey, I got another 30 years to work on!" (Or so I hope I would have that long to live) - so instead of taking life for granted, perhaps I should assume I only have another thirty years to go and really set out to achieve something within that time (let's worry about the retirement fund later). Because I might not live past sixty to begin with. There is a saying that we should live everyday as if it's our last. Well, it's easier said than done - so perhaps I'll think that the next thirty will be my last.

This is if I don't have a family and then the only reason for hanging around is to provide for them and to ensure everyone is doing alright. Perhaps it's a little bit of a selfish thought right now and I'm sure the above perspective will change again when other considerations comes into play i the future. But for now, I just found it interesting to look at all this from a different light.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I think it's been such a long that I sat down at the Starbucks in Borders with a laptop and had the urge to start blogging. To be honest, I haven't been to Borders in a while, much less bring a laptop to its coffee shop. *Well, that's what it is essentially, isn't it?*

It's nice and quiet here now - it's dinner time after all. And I think I missed doing this. Just don't know why I stopped. I read less these days too. Perhaps there is just too much on my mind. Perhaps I have just lost interest on stuff.'t that a song?

Anyway, I think perhaps a change will do me some good. I believe a stagnant life is worse than no life.

Yes...there isn't much point to this post apart from waiting for time to past before catching well as taking some time to scrape off the layer of rust around this brain of mine...hope my writing gets better again. After all, I don't have magic dusts to help me with nor do I grow magic mushroom ;)

Off to the movies. Oh...Happy Valentine's Day to those who are celebrating :)