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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

BLOG -- Recap of January

January was a very shut-in month for me. Besides going to work and doing minor shopping some days after work, I only went out once. Of course the weather played a big factor as I I don't like cold weathers all that much.

Work-wise things have been busy and not busy, but thankfully not as busy. Hopefully it stays that way! I have vacation time coming up and I'd like to keep it if possible.


Outings/Events in January:
- Hung out with friends overall x0

- Took a Lieu Day for the crazy work week I had in December.

- Took advantage of the major points redemption event at Shopper's Dug Mart.

- Stayed over at my sister's place x0.


Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn achievements / news: 
-I re-subbed but haven't done much. I've finally beaten Heavensward and started Stormblood a few days ago.

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius achievements / news: 
-My rank is currently 141 (yay I can leave the game alone for 13 hours 20 mins)
-I didn't get any notable summons this month. :(


Exposures:
- (Video Game -- PS4): Swap Quest -- It's an interesting idea but it stresses me out, lol. I don't like the limited time to finish a stage. Co-op helps with that somewhat.

- (Food): Rice Burger -- This is a new menu item at Rolltations. It was pretty good but messy to eat. The next time I eat this I'll use a fork.


Finished...
Watching:
(Movie): Baby Driver -- Really high energy and fun!

- (Movie): X-Men Origins: Wolverine -- This is my first time watching the movie, and wow -- so bad that it's entertaining.

- (Movie): The Wolverine -- This was okay, though the last 30 mins were... uh... not that good.

- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho 


Playing:
- Nothing this month.


Reading:
- Nothing this month. 


Currently... 
Playing (not all at once):
- (PS4): J-Stars Victory Vs+
- (PS4): Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
- (PS4): iDOLM@STER: Platinum Stars
- (PS4): Fez
- (PS4): Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
- (PS4): Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reigns
- (PS4): Monster Hunter World
- (PS3): Borderlands 2
- (PS2): Chulip
- (Xbox 360): Magna Carta II
- (3DS): Story of Seasons
- (3DS): Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
- (3DS): Culdcept Revolt
- (GBA): The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition   
- (PSP): Persona
- (PSP): Corpse Party
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PC): UnEpic  
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend
- (PC): Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- (Mobile): Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius


Watching:
- (TV Show): The Walking Dead (Season 7)
- (TV Show): Orphan Black (Season 3)
- (TV Show): Criminal Minds (Season 11)
- (TV Show): Six Feet Under (Season 1 - Episode 3)
- (TV Show): X-Files (Season 11)
- (TV Show): The Strain (Season 2)
- (Anime): Log Horizon (episode 3)
(Anime): Attack on Titan: Season 2 (episode 8)
- (Anime): Dragon Ball Z Kai (episode 99)
- (Anime): Shiki (episode 5)



Reading:
- (Manga): Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori (Volume 16)


That's it for January. Here are a couple pics I took this month plus a YouTube video.


Rice burger at Rolltations.


Morgana plushie! Shipping costs were killer.

"The Fall of the Simpsons: How it Happened" by Super Eyepatch Wolf.
The analysis is really interesting.


Thanks for reading!

As usual, if you have any questions / comments about anything, feel free. :)

Sunday, 28 January 2018

REVIEW/THOUGHTS [ANIME] -- Yu Yu Hakusho (TV series)

Number of Episodes: 112 [25-ish minutes each episode]
Language Watched: Japanese with English subtitles
Licensed? (As of this entry): YES
Genre(s): Fighting, Supernatural, Psychological, Comedy, Drama
Overall Impression: It's really good for an old-ish show. I highly recommend! :)



SPOILER ALERT WARNING!!
This review will contain some spoilers -- or rather, there will be a "Spoilers" section at the end of the review to go into further detail about certain things. There may still be slight spoilers throughout the review, but I've tried my best to keep them at a minimum.


PERSONAL STANDING (Pre-exposures, thoughts, etc.)
So my initial exposures to Yu Yu Hakusho back in the day were hit and miss. Through my unbiased collecting of anime music years and years ago (probably back when I was in Grade 11), I got a hold of several ending themes and one opening theme for Yu Yu Hakusho... and I didn't like them. Many of the songs sounded so 80s / 90s that I thought the series would be just as dated.

Then fast forward to maybe a couple years later. Through my unbiased collecting of SNES ROMs (yes, I did those back in the day -- I don't exactly do that anymore), I got a hold of this ROM file named "yuyut". When I tried it out with my sister, we got treated to the intro below:

Yu Yu Hakusho: Tokubetsu Hen's (SNES) intro scene.

I couldn't read anything in the intro but I thought, This is interesting. These characters look interesting. My sister and I then struggled with trying to figure out how to play the game. And even that experience was interesting. Below is a clip of the gameplay:

Gameplay clip of Yu Yu Hakusho: Tokubetsu Hen.
For an SNES game, the action sequences are really exciting and cool!

After playing it, I was so curious about the characters and their stories / abilities. Since the game's title was in Japanese, I had no idea it was Yu Yu Hakusho until much, much later.


STORY
Through a series of events, delinquent Yusuke Urameshi finds himself recruited as a "spirit realm detective", a person who investigates supernatural situations and takes down demons (AKA yokai). And from him being a "spirit realm detective", Yusuke and his friends find themselves in battle after battle against those who would threaten the balance of the world.

On a whole, the story comes off as being pretty generic. But -- Buuuuut... there is more to it than just that. It's more than just a "good guys fight bad guys" series. There's character depth, emotional drive, relatable themes, and a kind of charm that makes it interesting even if you may have seen the same setup so many times before -- but only if you invest yourself in the characters and their struggles. At its core, Yu Yu Hakusho's story is largely character-driven (and I'm not talking about just the "I must get stronger!" kind of drive).

One thing that I like and also dislike about Yu Yu Hakusho is the idea that "nothing / nobody is safe". At least, that is the impression I have for older anime. For some reason I felt that older anime series often took more liberties with a character's life and whether they would live or just suddenly get killed off / die. This might not be true, but I watched Yu Yu Hakusho with that thought in the back of my mind, which raised the stakes emotionally for a number of episodes.

If I were to give any criticisms to the story, it would be to the beginning and the ending. The beginning is quite slow, and the ending is quite abrupt. However, at the same time, both served their own purpose. The beginning does a good job of establishing character and the light yet dramatic tone to the series. The ending, well, I'll mention the ending at my "Closing Thoughts" section.

To summarize, the story is good depending on your own investment on the characters.

PACING
The pacing in Yu Yu Hakusho is great. There was one arc that felt a little bit like the Frieza saga, but that still resolved itself in wayyy less episodes. Almost every fight, with the exception of the big fights and a few others, is resolved in one episode. And through almost each episode a bit more character development happens.

And Yu Yu Hakusho's pacing isn't great just because of episode length. This series -- it knows to be suspenseful; it knows how to make your heart race with fear; with excitement; it knows how to hit you in the gut with pain and sadness. To me, Yu Yu Hakusho is quite the master at invoking emotions.

I'll mention some of those "paceful" moments in the "Spoilers" section.

ANIMATION STYLE
This is the first time I've ever experienced this, but Yu Yu Hakusho's animation style isn't all that consistent. Character designs generally stay the same, but the style starts off more thicker and less "shady". Then in later episodes more shading is let in and styles get a bit sharper. Then for specific episodes things get really experimental, and styles get smoother and the colour palette changes. It's really interesting and I enjoy the changes from the starting style. I think some of changes really help to set the tone and make action sequences more exciting. Below are some examples of style changes:

First episode.  

Around episode 41.

Episode 58. One of the smooth "experimental" styles.
Not all fight / action sequences are like this.

One nitpicky thing: there are brief times when some animation frames are re-used. Personally I can forgive them for that, given how many episodes there are and how much work I imagine went into those frames.


CHARACTERS
From left to right: Koenma, Kurama, Hiei, Botan, Yusuke, Keiko, 
Shizuru, Kuwabara, Genkai.

While the image above features the main cast of Yu Yu Hakusho (though I consider Shizuru more secondary), there are many more characters.

Personally, I love the cast of Yu Yu Hakusho, especially the core four: Yusuke, Hiei, Kurama, and Kuwabara. They are likable in their own ways and tend to have very relatable internal struggles and drives. Even Kuwabara, who's not the brightest one -- I can't help but admire his endurance and earnest emotions.

Every now and then there would be brief downtime where the characters just interact with each other. I enjoyed seeing those moments -- to get a bit more of their personalities and seeing them more as characters with "life". I'll mention a few downtime moments I really enjoyed in the "Spoilers" section.

My favourite character is Kurama. He is... muah! Perfection! Hahaha. I love his analytical mind, his ability of controlling plants (for a personal reason), and his fierce loyalty to those he cares for. I also really connected with his personal struggle, and enjoyed seeing his development through the series.

I also really enjoyed seeing Hiei's development as well as Genkai's. They are all fun and good characters!

As an aside, I discovered another role (Koenma) voice acted by Mayumi Tanaka, the voice actor for Luffy in One Piece, hahaha. :)

Kurama! This guy is something else <3
.

MUSIC
The music is largely atmospheric, 80s / 90s synth with eerie sounds. Sometimes I don't even notice it but I know it's there working its music magic. Sometimes it's at the foreground, just hitting you with the emotion of the current scene. It fits well with the series. Also, now that I've watched the opening / ending themes and can associate the music to the series, I like the opening / ending tracks a lot more, though... with the exception of one, I prefer the TV size edits more than the full version.

Here are a couple of tracks that I like:


"Monster Suit". I really enjoy the part starting from 1:35 to 3:00.
I could honestly listen to that part looping for hours on end.

"Struggle of Sadness".
What a gut-wrenching track.


JAPANESE / ENGLISH DUBBING
The Japanese dubbing is great. While I've read that the English dubbing is great, I watched my favourite episode in English -- and I didn't like it. Kurama's voice was changed :( I may give the dub another shot in the future.


YU YU HAKUSHO AND THE MANGA
I actually haven't read the manga, so I can't comment on this. I'm just leaving this as a placeholder until I do (if I ever get the chance!).


YU YU HAKUSHO AND THE MOVIES + EIZOU HAKUSHO OVA
Same as above -- this is just a placeholder for now.


YU YU HAKUSHO AND THE NEW OVA
Same as above -- this is just a placeholder, and I really hope I get to see this new OVA someday!


CLOSING THOUGHTS
Yu Yu Hakusho is great. For an old-ish series, it's aged very well. I could see myself re-watching certain episodes for years to come. Some of the action scenes plus character moments are just that good.

Now, please keep in mind that I haven't watched Hunter x Hunter, the other series made by the creator of Yu Yu Hakusho (Yoshihiro Togashi). I've read that Hunter x Hunter draws similarities from Yu Yu Hakusho so I'm not sure if it would come off as samey for those who have already watched Hunter x Hunter. Just note that Yu Yu Hakusho came first, so if anything, it helped set the foundation for some things for Hunter x Hunter. :)

And guess what? Almost all the episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho are now available to watch on Crunchyroll! So if you are curious at all, please do check it out! :) Make sure to click on the series and not the OVA.

I mentioned I would talk about the abrupt ending. Without giving any spoilers, I recommend still watching to the end because almost everything gets tied up and character developments are resolved. I just can't fault the abrupt ending because it was due to external reasons affecting the creator's (Togashi) health and outlook on his work. In the last manga volume of Yu Yu Hakusho, supposedly Togashi wrote a long note explaining the reason for the abrupt ending. You can read the long note on this Reddit thread. While it saddens me that Yu Yu Hakusho will probably never get the fleshed out ending it could have had, I can appreciate the ending we do have and empathize with his situation.

Thank you Togashi for creating Yu Yu Hakusho!!


And... thank you for reading! If you want some more input about something I didn't cover, feel free to ask. :)

So I'll do the scrolly thing and the "Spoilers" section will appear after that. Then I'll add some more scrolly things after the "Spoilers" section in case anybody wants to comment, but not see the spoilers.

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SPOILERS

I'll mention some of those "paceful" moments.
If I think of any more, I'll list more.

-In the episode where Keiko needs to kiss Yusuke by midnight to bring him back to life. That made my heart race so bad, haha.

-Genkai's and Kuwabara's "deaths". It felt like Time stopped completely.

-In Kurama's fight against Shigure, I was so, sooooo worried, I could barely breathe. It didn't help that the episode was titled "Farewell, Kurama". When we see that Shigure's last attack was stopped by the tree just inches away from Kurama's face, I was so relieved that I cried. I feared for his safety that much, hahaha... I'm such a dork ^.^''

-The time when Raizen's old fighting pals visit Raizen's grave. Then they gather together and charge up all their yoki. For some reason, that got me super pumped up and excited.


I'll mention a few downtime moments I really enjoyed.
-The moments when Yusuke is resting against Keiko. I thought it was sweet.

-The time when Yusuke comes back as a Yokai, and he says his heart has still stopped. Then Hiei and Kurama laugh. I think it was one of the first times Hiei ever laughed out loud.

-Mukuro's brief embrace on Hiei ^-^

-Keiko's kiss on Yusuke. Yusuke can take on the strongest ppl and he can be blitzed by Keiko? Cute.

-In the last episode when Kurama and Kuwabara are chatting at the train stop, and some of Kuwabara's classmates mistake Kurama as a girl... Kurama's look of annoyance is adorable.

Kurama's annoyed look. Click to enlarge.


Thanks again for reading and feel free to comment :D

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Sunday, 14 January 2018

BLOG -- My Movie-Watching History (in Theatres) [2017]

Here is my movie-watching (in theatres) history for 2017. I wish I could have watched more. Even though I've covered these throughout the year in my end-of-month blogs, here is my full list, with additional commentary for most, if not for all.


SPOILER ALERT WARNING!!
Since I will be mentioning a good number of movies in this blog, some of them will contain spoilers. Any movie that will contain a spoiler will be marked.



MOVIE: La La Land [SPOILER]
DATE: January 17
DATE: January 28
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: It's great, but I do not like parts of it. Why couldn't we get a happy cliched ending like in most movies? Mia and Sebastian totally deserve it. The acting and singing was great. Emma Stone is so adorable and Ryan Gosling is rough, but warm. It'll be a movie that will stay with me for a long time.

************************************************************************************



MOVIE: Fifty Shades Darker
DATE: March 7
RATING (OUT OF 5): *

COMMENTS: Bad -- much worse than the first movie. Several times during the kinky scenes I was thinking, Why is this being shown to me? This doesn't do anything for the movie.

************************************************************************************


MOVIE: John Wick 2 [SPOILER]
DATE: March 22
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: Not bad, but I enjoyed the first movie a lot more. It was nice seeing some parts fleshed out, but certain parts in the end I did not agree with. I don't think John would really disrespect the hotel's rules.

************************************************************************************


MOVIE: Logan
DATE: March 26
RATING (OUT OF 5): *****

COMMENTS: Unexpectedly really, really good. Very different from a regular Marvel movie and from what I hear, very different from the older Wolverine movies. It was too dark for me, though.

************************************************************************************


MOVIE: Beauty and the Beast
DATE: March 28
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: It was good. I've never watched the original Disney version so this was a nice exposure. I really liked Emma Watson as Belle -- her singing was really nice. I also really liked Belle's character.

************************************************************************************


MOVIE: Get Out
DATE: June 6
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: Very good and creepy. Also quite funny. Very nicely done.

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MOVIE: Wonder Woman [SPOILER]
DATE: July 25
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: Gal Gadot was good as Wonder Woman, but I felt the romance was a bit too rushed and obligatory. Trevor was a really good guy -- just didn't feel much chemistry between him and Wonder Woman. I think he would have been better being a support for her instead.

************************************************************************************



MOVIE: Spider-Man: Homecoming
DATE: September 5
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: The after-credits scene was the best for a Marvel movie! I watched this in 4DX and it was an interesting experience, with the seat moving around and blocks softly punching my back when somebody got hit in the movie.

************************************************************************************


MOVIE: Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle
DATE: September 26
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: It was good, but not as good as the first movie. I mean -- the first one is already so perfect. How can it be topped? Lol.

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MOVIE: Jigsaw
DATE: November 4
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: Better than the 7th movie. It's not overly bloody and there's a bit more focus on the story. Sooo... good job! It didn't completely suck, lol.


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Movies I wanted to watch in theatres but missed:
The Foreigner
Thor 3: Ragnarok
Justice League

Movies I wanted to watch, BUT GLAD that I missed:
The Circle

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That's it for this blog. Thanks for reading! If you have any comments about anything (even if you greatly disagree with anything I've said, or if this made you think about the movies you've watched and want to share), feel free to comment! :)

Sunday, 7 January 2018

BLOG (PERSONAL) -- Perspectives/Memories in 2017, Top Whatevers, Top Exposures, and New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! Here is the long blog I do every year -- taking a look back at the previous year. Even though it takes quite a while for me to do it, it helps keep me organized for the new year. I also know I'll enjoy reading all the memories and whatnot when I re-read this years from now.


Yummy donuts I had with friends while in Vancouver.


(REVIEW) New Year's Resolutions for 2017
Spend at least 100 hours on learning Python -- NOPE (I didn't spend any time on this =_=)

Spend at least 100 hours on learning Japanese -- NOPE (I didn't spend any time on this =_=)

Create a text-based game -- NOPE (I was hoping to work on this in December *sigh*) 

Create at least 1 story (short story, play, whatever) -- NOPE (Ditto with this one *sigh*)

Watch a minimum of 400 episodes' worth of anime I haven't watched that are in my collection (movies count as 1 episode per 30 minutes runtime, rounded down) -- DONE (GetBackers | Persona 4 Animation | Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles (Season 1 & 2) | Danganronpa: The Animation | Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei | K-On (Season 2) | Saiyuki | Spice & Wolf | Kanon | Dragon Ball Z Kai (Season 1 - 4) | K-On! The Movie | Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 | Angel Beats! | Angel Beats! OVA | xxxHolic: The Movie - A Midsummer Night's Dream | Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles: The Movie - The Princess in the Birdcage Kingdom | The Girl Who Leapt Through Time | The Boy and the Beast | Persona 4 the Golden Animation)

Read a minimum of 1000 pages' worth of books I haven't read that are in my collection (manga and comics included) -- DONE (The Neverending Story by Michael Ende | Gravitation: The Novel by Jun Lennon | Gravitation: Voice of Temptation by Jun Lennon | Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise by Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru || + 1 more book)

Listen to at least 10 (or ALL) music CDs I haven't listened to that are in my collection -- DONE (I did the former. Janne Da Arc: Joker || Paradise Lunch: Gun's & Roses | Criminal Girls Invitation -Oshioki Voice CD | Uura Saeka: Sha La La -Ayakashi NIGHT | Eufonius: Anemoi | Ali Project: Waga Routashi Aku no Hana | Rina Aiuchi & U-ka saegusa: 100 mono tobira | Nana Mizuki: Kindan no Resistance | Shin Sekaiju no MeiQ: Rough Sketch ver + Live Recording ver. | Persona 4: B Side || + 1 more CD)

Watch at least 20 (or ALL) movies / TV shows I haven't watched that are in my collection (TV shows will be counted by season) -- DONE (I did the former. Mud | X-Files (Season 3) | The Strain (Season 1) | Piranha | Piranha DD | Phonebooth | Veronica Mars Movie | Outbreak | X-Files (Season 4) | X-Files (Season 5) | The X-Files: Fight the Future | Tooken | X-Files (Season 6) | X-Files (Season 7) | Criminal Minds (Season 10) | Maze Runner: Scorch Trials | Machete | X-Files (Season 8) | Hot Tub Time Machine | X-Files (Season 9) || + 1 more movie / TV show)

Watch through all the seasons and movies of X-Files -- DONE (Going from Season 3 to the end of Season 10 in the span of one year -- I consider this a proud accomplishment!)

Expose myself to at least 5 games that I physically own -- DONE (Onimusha Blade Warriors | Danganronpa 1-2 Reload | Super Mario 3D Land | Persona 5 | Avatar: The Last Airbender || + 8 more games)

- Expose myself to at least 5 games that I digitally own -- DONE (Caladrius Blaze | Adventure Bar Story | Letter Quest Remastered | The Deadly Tower of Monsters | Lovers in a Dangerous Time Space || + 14 more games)

Find 500 hours and put that towards catching up on either the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or Persona series -- DONE (Due to this resolution, I beat Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Persona 5, Final Fantasy XV, and Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. I also spent a lot of time on Persona Q. Fun times, for the most part ^-^)

- Beat at least 10 games that I physically own -- DONE (Akiba's Trip | Persona 4: Dancing All Night | Atelier Iris 2: Azoth of Destiny | Fantasy Life | Hatsune MIku: Project Diva X | Persona 5 | Akai Katana | Otomedius Excellent | Fable II | Danganronpa 1-2 Reload)

- Beat at least 10 games that I digitally own -- HALF (I beat 6 games. Caladrius Blaze | Letter Quest Remastered | Shantae | Final Fantasy XV | Hatsune Miku: Future Tone | Final Fantasy Type-0 HD)

Reduce my overall collection! This would be my collection for books, video games, music, movies, TV shows, figures -- DONE (I reduced my overall collection by 95 items. Sadly my room still feels full of stuffs, but I'm sure there'd be more space if I re-organized my shelves)

To sum up: Out of my 15 resolutions, I completed 10.5. *sigh* I'm slacking =_='' On top of the two resolutions that keep evading me over the years (learning Japanese and Python), I'm very disappointed in not being able to create a text-based game. Creating one is hard work, but I always enjoy it. It's one of the few times I get to create and experiment and feel proud if I do things right. 

*sigh* I didn't go to Japan this year and my blogging was nearly non-existent and I still couldn't finish all my resolutions? I wouldn't say all my free time went towards my resolutions, but I think it's a sign I need to give myself a small break... in order to challenge myself, but still "live".

Below are my resolutions for 2018:


New Year's Resolutions for 2018
- Spend at least 100 hours on learning Python
- Spend at least 100 hours on learning Japanese
- Create 2 text-based games 
- Create at least 1 story (short story, play, fanfiction, whatever)
- Watch a minimum of 300 episodes' worth of anime I haven't watched that are in my collection (movies count as 1 episode per 30 minutes runtime, rounded down)
- Read a minimum of 800 pages' worth of books I haven't read that are in my collection (manga and comics included)
- Listen to at least 10 (or ALL) music CDs I haven't listened to that are in my collection
- Watch at least 10 (or ALL) movies / TV shows I haven't watched that are in my collection (TV shows will be counted by season)
- Expose myself to at least 5 games that I physically own
- Expose myself to at least 5 games that I digitally own
- Find 500 hours and put that towards catching up on either the Atelier, Ys, or Shin Megami Tensei (SMT includes Persona, DDS, Devil Summoner, etc) series
- Beat at least 10 games that I physically own
- Beat at least 5 games that I digitally own
- Reduce my overall collection! This would be my collection for books, video games, music, movies, TV shows, figures.


It's not much of a break, but it's a bit, and every little bit helps. Maybe I'm generally really tough on myself? I can't let go that I couldn't do a text-based game last year, so I'm going to make it up by doing 2 this year.

I changed up my series for the "Find 500 hours" resolution this year. I'm still really behind in Dragon Quest, and Final Fantasy, but I wanted to shift my focus a bit. I'm still quite miffed that the controls for Dragon Quest III was so... not responsive on my phone. Do I need to find another way to play it?

Like in past years, my main goal is still going through my media collection. There are a couple things I'd really like for myself this year:

1. Subscribe to either Crunchyroll or Netflix
2. Clean up my room so I'd have enough space to "prance around" and not knock over / step on my stuff

For the first point, I just won't subscribe to Crunchyroll or Netflix until I've gone through all my anime and movies / TV series. It just wouldn't feel like I'd be making the most of the subscription if I still have new things to watch in my physical collection. For the second point, I wouldn't have to go through everything in my collection, but enough so that I have space to move around. 

I'll tell you an embarrassing secret: back when I did have adequate space in my room, every now and then I would try to learn dance routines for certain songs from Idolm@ster and Hatsune Miku. Even though I can't dance for beans, I had lots of fun trying to learn and I wanna try doing it again. 

If you were curious at all, the dance routines I tried learning back then were "Kosmos, Cosmos" and "Little Match Girl" from Idolm@ster and "World is Mine" by Hatsune Miku. I was also trying to learn "Yellow" by Hatsune Miku, but I kept messing up on the fancy footwork, haha.

Okay, I filled my embarrassing secret quota for the year. Moving on, lol.


2017 in Review
I think in terms of movies and video games, 2017 was a great year. There was a lot of good stuff to experience.

For me personally, 2017 was kinda tough. There were some good times, but also a lot of hard times. It got me thinking about the "hard" questions on Life more often than usual. Sorry, I can't share the questions, but you can probably imagine what they are. I think after my experiences in 2017, my outlook on Life has adjusted slightly.

Back then I used to think a lot about the future and wonder if I'm prepping myself properly for it, whatever that future may be. Now I don't think I should worry too much about it anymore. It's still important to prep for the future, but it's also important to take some time for yourself and just "Live" -- whatever it means to "Live" for you.

I don't want to think about this but -- for example, what if I'm prepping for 10 years from now but in actuality I don't have 10 years? What if I have less? A person's lifespan... ideally it'd be a long time, but it's just hard to predict. That's why I think it's important to "Live" now while also thinking about the future.

I think my new personal motto in 2018 will be something like "Live, but Live smartly".

"My theme song" this year: Audition from La La Land. The first time I listened to this all the way back in January, I knew it was going to be my theme song. It really speaks to me, as I consider myself a dreamer.


Audition from La La Land.
Emma Stone does a great job singing this.


Notable/Significant Memories/Events in 2017
HMV closing down in Toronto: Thank you for all the deals and fun memories *tips hat*.

Travelled to Vancouver to visit my friends: It was only for a couple days, but they are days that I will cherish always. x3 <3 <3

Attended mass for the first time: It was an interesting experience.

Attended Fan Expo 2017: This will always be mentioned.

Getting that weirdo message from a stranger on PSN: This was just bad, lol. I still remember this from time to time, though I wish I could just forget it.

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius: Well, considering that I'm at rank 137 and I started playing this year... I totally spent a lot of time on this game -- and money. I need to put a cap on myself next year, lol.

Switching to a different department at work: Aside from the long hours, I enjoy the work and team a lot more.

Eating at Kaiju one last time: I wish I dined more often at this place. Hopefully they find a new home soon! :3

Waiting for 3.5 hours to be seated at the Cheesecake Factory: Never again, lol. I'm not even willing to wait 1 hour -- I have other things to do, lol.

Spending time with my friends: This is always going to be mentioned here. I wish I could have more time to spend with them.


Top Whatevers in 2017
This is my top list of what was released in 2017 that I experienced. There won't be much here since I rarely experience anything current.

(Movie): Logan
For anybody who watched the first two Wolverine movies: don't let those deter you from watching this! This movie -- as much as I'd like to criticize it by saying "It's way too grim" ('cuz I generally like happier movies), I can't, because it works. Technically, story-wise, performance, atmosphere -- it's near-perfect and just well done. Not at all your typical Superhero Marvel movie. I highly recommend! 

(Board Game): Heart of Crown
I backed this game on Kickstarter, and it turned out to be a really fun game. Out of all board games I've played with my friends, this lasted the longest. I'll have to get the Steam version sometime.

(Video Game): Persona 5 [PS4]
I'd say this was a given, considering how much I loved Persona 4 Golden. Persona 5 is not perfect, but it's darn close. I love almost everything about it, especially its core theme. Bravo, Atlus -- you did it again! *clap clap clap*

(Song): Tie between Rivers in the Desert and Life Will Change from Persona 5
If I could, I'd list the whole soundtrack from Persona 5. But since I have to choose a top song -- Rivers in the Desert and Life Will Change pop out the most.


"Rivers in the Desert" from Persona 5. I actually listened to this track for the 
first time outisde of the game, and I was super excited to see where this 
track would play in-game.

"Life Will Change" from Persona 5. I get so revved up when I hear this, 
and I can listen to this fine without the lyrics.


Top Exposures in 2017
This is my top list of what I was exposed to this year, regardless of what year it really came out in. Any titles with two years indicate the original release date, then the English release date. If I list here the same thing from my "Top Whatevers", I will also mention a runner-up.

(Anime): Saiyuki (2000/2004)
For a series that's kinda old now (if you consider 17 years old), it holds up well. The stylistic choices for some of the episodes were interesting and experimental, and I can appreciate their attempts. The music is also quite nice.

(Movie): Logan
Runner-up would be John Wick (2014). Before watching it, I heard that John Wick was awesome. And it was! If you've already watched John Wick, the "HONEST REACTIONS: John Wick Directors React to the Honest Trailer" YouTube video is amusing and informative.

(Video Game): Persona 5 [PS4]
Runner-up would be a tie between Danganronpa 1-2 Reload [PS4] (2017) and Final Fantasy Type-0 HD [PS4] (2015). I almost feel these two are a given -- well, I guess if you know me personally. Danganronpa is a great series -- really twisted, but great. I'm looking forward to experiencing Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony after beating (and platinuming) Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.

And Final Fantasy Type-0 HD... it's simply enjoyable. I like that not all secrets are told outright. I like that sometimes random "nobody" NPCs have quests that aren't obvious until you speak with them. I like that the game throws curveballs every now and then, dropping a crazy-high level boss on a mission, but still giving a way to continue if you can't beat it. And the story -- I want to understand the story. For a game to make me want to know more about its world, it must be doing something right. 

(Song - Japanese): Mind Voice by Samfree featuring IA (2015)
For this song, the context and translated lyrics really grab me. Samfree passed away two years ago due to an illness and this was his last song. I think it expresses some things that I think are truthful. The lyrics that especially stand out to me are:

There's no such thing as "freedom", so why bother searching for it?
You're at the whim of your heart's desires

"Mind Voice" by Samfree featuring IA.
I love the lyrics.


-----------------------------------

And that's that for my review of 2017.

For 2018, below are some things I'd like to do:

-Karaoke more often
-Have more space in my room (please please please let this one happen! lol)
-Blog more (I think this is a given)


If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! Below is a % breakdown of my spending in 2017. I broke out some of the categories so they can't be compared to previous years. It doesn't show here, but I did a decent job saving my money. This excludes necessities like my cell phone plan, transportation expenses, etc. Click on the image to enlarge it.

I'm surprised that I spent more in digital games than physical games, though I'm sure I know the culprit for that... *shakes loving fist at FFBE!* lol. My Movie Ticket spending needs to increase -- and my DVD/Blu-Rays spending needs to decrease.


Thanks again for reading! I hope 2018 will be a wonderful year for you all. Be healthy, stay safe, and keep on "living". :)