Hello from California

Hey guys. We haven’t dropped off the face of the blogosphere just yet. Nope, we just relocated. To California.

cali1Okay, so many questions, right? First one most likely being, what happened to Vancouver? What, within 3 months you guys moved again? I’ll save those stories for another day because if I start writing that, this post will be endless.

It has been four LOOOOONG weeks, let me tell you. Four long AND bleeding hot weeks. When I mentioned heat in my previous post, I had no idea what degree of heat it would be like. Now I know. And you know what? It. is. hot. Like 100 degrees hot. Like over 100 degrees of hot.

I have so much to say about the last few weeks – I probably should have written down all that stuff – but somehow my mind is blank right now. This is normal. I do this all the time. Every time I have something exciting to blog about, I think, oh good I’ll blog about it. And by the time I reach home and log in, I go blank. Like, what was I going to say again?

Well, first off, let me tell you that moving sucks. Whoever tells you that moving is fun has obviously had good luck finding a place to stay and settling down. It’s not always like that. Moving is just really, really crappy. It’s stressful – being both mentally and physically tiring especially when you have five large suitcases + five large hand luggage pieces to lug around wherever you go (yay fun, yay strained muscles) – and time-consuming and expensive.

At times I found myself wondering, why the hell did you even bother? I have a friend who is on an exchange program right now – she came all the way from Australia to the US and now we’re in the same continent (exciting!) – and we chatted a lot before we both came here. A couple of days before she was set to come over, she told me, I’ve been questioning myself… like why do this? Why come all the way? And I understood her perfectly because I had been having some of those moments myself.

It’s the comfort zone. You get comfortable at home, you know your daily routine, you know how far school is, you know the people in your area, you’re just familiar and comfortable… (even if you totally sometimes hate the people) and you don’t even realize how comfortable you are until you’re about to leave. But then by this time, you’ve already gone and applied to a school in some country some thousands of miles away and get excited for it and when the time to leave looms closer, you suddenly get those annoying thoughts and feelings like, whyyyyyyy?

But then if you don’t go, you’ll regret it, you know? Or at least that’s what I think. Come for the experience, stay for the experience. Does that even make any sense?

So yeah, California dreaming is now California reality.

Here’s the thing. We are at my mom’s old stomping grounds. We are going to school in the same town (I should say city but it’s not that big here… I mean, it’s 1/4 the population of where we come from) that my mom did years ago. It’s a pretty big deal. She’s even met people from back in her day still living and doing the same things here! It is SO cool for us and Mom. I don’t think she ever imagined herself showing her kids around her old hangout spots all the way in California one day. I’ve heard stories about this place while growing up and loved them all. And now I’m here. Pretty amazing. -cue emotionally-touching soundtrack from a romcom-

Now we’re basking in the 100-112 degree heat. No, we’re actually trying to hide from the sun. Insert laughing-crying smiley here. It’s not working. It is so fricking hot. I haven’t tried it yet but one of these days I’mma put an egg in a pot and leave it out to boil. Anyone ever tried that before? I wouldn’t eat it but it’d be interesting to see if the egg will cook.

We just got internet service yesterday (hallelujah!) but that doesn’t mean all’s good just yet. We’ve got SO much to do. I just want to sleep in and pretend shit will get done while I’m zzzing. Yeah, right.

It’s gonna take me a while to jot everything down. I know I’ve said a couple of times that we’re coming back, we’re gonna blog regularly, we’re gonna revive the blog (for the umpteenth time) but nothing much has happened so I’m not going to make any promises anymore. It’s just that things get busy in real life and blogging has to take a backseat so it’s not always easy to just jump back in here and write up stuff.

That being said, we are thrilled to be here and can’t wait to tell you all our stories. So here’s to probable posts in the future. Thanks for sticking around if you did.

P.S: my old phone died (as you may have read on Twitter a few months ago) and now I have a replacement (yay) and I… lost the password to my Instagram account. I tried to retrieve the password but yeah, no luck. Feel free to throw in more laughing-crying smileys. So now I’m just wondering if I should make a new one. I’d probably have way more to show than I did in Vancouver. Just sayin’.

Raine

K Missing Kings review

First off, let me just say that it was one of the worst/best cinema experiences EVER. Worst because — everyone was screaming their heads off and the girl screaming beside me was so full of it that she was choking on her spit and everything. Like, yes, we’re all excited, but if you’re gonna be so extreme about it….. I’d rather you not. Scream at the appropriate parts, people. Not everyone wants the same cinema experience. Plus, the screaming during the movie was so distracting and I couldn’t even hear some of the dialog. The laughing at unfunny parts was also ridiculous. My eardrums hurt from that girl’s screaming. Ugh.

The best experience – because I could clap when there were amazing parts. Admittedly, I shouted excitedly at one part, but that was all. It was the best because I watched it with Raine and we could enjoy the feels together. We waited so long for this anime and we love K and everything so it was indescribably fantastic.

Now, on to the review!! (HEAVY SPOILER ALERT. Do not read if you want to fully enjoy the movie.)

It picks up right where the last season left off (and if you haven’t listened to the radio drama CD, please do so that you have a better understanding of what happens) – Shiro disappeared, HOMRA disbanded and it’s just another day at the Scepter 4 headquarters. But what happens when Kuroh and Neko see Kamamoto and Anna running away from someone?

[You can read Raine's review here. It's quite wonderful and different from my thoughts.]

After a really, really long and unnecessary recap of the first season (narrated by Kuroh whose voice is made of gold), the story quickly reintroduces Munakata and Scepter 4. The Green King attacks the Gold King’s building because the Green Clan are after the Dresden Slate for some weird reason. They are also after Anna because they want to know where Shiro, the Silver King, is.

Mishakuji Yukari makes the sassiest debut with his lovely long lashes and multicolored tresses. When he shows up at the scene and pulls all kind of classy stunts, awe is the word that one would use to describe when looking at him. The bird on his shoulder also proves to be an interesting addition to his appearance. (Don’t underestimate this bird, though, because the Green King can send messages through him!) The Gold Clansmen, also known as the Usagi, are pretty badass in this scene as well, thanks to the great animation.

Yukari meets Kuroh again and they spar because they are on different sides of the war. Kuroh is ever the gentleman and still the true blue disciple of Miwa Ichigen because he is willing to protect the Red Clan members even though they have never been on good terms. This is the part where I say that this movie has a lot of Kuroh scenes that are totally worth watching. Neko is also a great sidekick who has some seriously formidable Illusion powers.

The story wastes no time showing Yata as he deals with the loss of Mikoto, Kusanagi’s departure to god-knows-where and the disbandment of HOMRA. I really loved his scenes because he is truly the heart of the Red Clan with his hotblooded personality and genuine love for his friends in the clan. It was totally natural to see him bounce back up so quickly to get help for Anna and fight alongside Kuroh. These two work together so well!

Kusanagi Izumo also joins the action not long after that with a badass entrance by displaying his truly intimidating Aura. He didn’t show off his powers much in the first season, but this movie reminds us why he is second-in-command when it comes to HOMRA matters.

When Anna became the Red King… When Anna became the Red King… mind you she isn’t even the Red Queen, she’s the KING. I, and literally everyone in the cinema, screamed and cheered. One of the best scenes in the movie, especially when a song sung by her voice talent started playing. There was a little flashback of her with Totsuka and Mikoto and I seriously didn’t know how my crying didn’t dissolve into ugly sobbing at that moment because I really wanted to. My heart feels so heavy now that it’s really true that Mikoto is gone. He didn’t have enough scenes in the first season… but I guess, he’ll still forever be in his Red Clansmen’s hearts. As Kusanagi said to Anna, it’s time to accept the reality.

More fighting scenes with Kuroh and Yukari. Kuroh gets his chance to ‘level up’ his skills after Yukari says that his sword is ‘empty’ by reminding himself of his cause for fighting. It reminded me that after joining the Silver Clan, Kuroh stopped announcing his status as a vassal and that was probably why he didn’t use his full strength in fighting.

Munakata stepping in to help the Red Clan from the Green Clan pulling a destructive attack on them was very touching. For the first time ever, my heart swelled with pride for the Blue King. Very impressive show of his Aura.

I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the Green King, but I guess that leaves more doors open for the second season. Yukari is just so fabulous, by the way. And his sidekick/partner a.k.a female ninja, Douhan, was kinda meh. Her ‘fight’ with Fushimi was an odd moment because the scene only seemed to be there to show Fushimi flipping a knife left and right. Other than that, they weren’t shown fighting. Pretty anti-climatic.

When Shiro finally shows up, he is beside the dying Gold King, Daikoku. He says something about having to take responsibility for the conflict that is happening. Daikoku dies and I end up crying a lot because I recently read the K Side: Black and White and their friendship is beyond words. The movie ends with Shiro standing at the edge of the air ship, saying that it’s time for him to fulfill his duties as a King.

I had no idea the movie was ending until the rock music started playing. Honestly it felt so short and the story was yet again left unfinished. It didn’t feel like a really solid plot, but I guess that’s what you get for a ‘second season’ that is a 1-hour-20-minutes movie. It felt more like a segment where we got to see Anna become the new Red King and some in-between parts that would lead to a potential season 2.

Still, I love how there are so many doors left to be explored in this anime. The concept is compelling and the characters are what make the story whole. I think people who expect to see lots of SaruMi and Shiro will be disappointed. Either way, because the plot execution was so excellent, the movie was worth every second.

Yatogami Kuroh, I loved you at first sight. His new attire is wonderfully designed and his personality is just as beautiful as before. He stands for his own beliefs and he doesn’t let anyone stop him from believing them. The moment when his hands shook while he was wielding his sword before his duel with Yukari is a great reminder that mowing people down to reach his objective is not his style. I also loved how he protected Kamamoto and Anna at the beginning. He’s a true hero. Ono Daisuke’s voice is smoldering and perfect. I loved every second that he spoke. I don’t know what else to say about his voice. It’s just… lovely.

I really love Neko in the movie because she is still her upbeat self and her involvement isĀ  more than just hugging Shiro, which she did a lot in the first season. She can fight on her own and she also showed how strong her Strain powers were. She’s truly a great fighter, physically and mentally. The movie’s serious tone is balanced by her hilarious antics and adorable childishness, thanks to dear Neko. Together with Kuroh, they form an excellent duo who determinedly search for their King. Komatsu Mikako, her voice actress, did an amazing job portraying Neko. There is no other for the voice of this lovable cat.

Mishakuji Yukari… did I honestly say that I loved his character already so many months ago? Because I finally got to see him and he was more than just amazing. He’s the cool-as-cucumbers and slightly sadistic character type. He barely needs to use his sword in fights because his level (according to Kuroh in K Side: Black and White) is almost on par with Ichigen. All he needs to do is dodge blows and attacks effortlessly and flawlessly. His outfit is super stylish, especially those cool gloves, and let’s not even begin with his voice. Morita Masakazu did a super stellar job, perfecting Yukari’s effeminate but incredibly gorgeous voice to suit his calm semi-antihero and jeering senpai personality. It’s very different from the usual angry shounen typecast so that’s a good thing. A really good thing. The fact that he got so many lines and scenes made everything so worth it.

Yata Misaki is just a funny and quick-tempered kind of guy in the first season, but we actually get to see him grow up in the movie. Although he’s still very rash in making decisions and hot-tempered, he actually makes a difficult phone call to his ex-best friend, Fushimi just so he can save Anna. He is also willing to join forces with Kuroh to make the best out of his situation. I loved Yata even more in this movie. Fukuyama Jun’s voice acting was nothing less than I expected. There’s a reason why he has gained so much respect and so many roles and that’s because he never once fails to disappoint. As Yata, he expresses the strong emotions – sadness, anger, embarrassment, reluctance, surprise, resentment – perfectly through his voice.

As for Munakata Reisi, he is his usual whacky and oddball self, and for once, I appreciate him for that. I also appreciate that he actually respects Anna’s feelings by not shying away from the topic of Mikoto’s death. Sugita Tomokazu is also really amazing at voice acting. I’m used to hearing him do the deadpan/monotone in Gintama and other animes, but it was nice to hear a touch of emotion in the things Munakata said.

Kushina Anna is one of the wonderfully developed characters in this movie. Her reason for being in denial is very human and how she comes to accept it is even more realistic. As one would expect from the girl who always clung onto Mikoto’s hand, she’s very regal in terms of behavior and words of choice. She tells Munakata that while she accepts and respects Mikoto’s wish to be killed to prevent the Kagutsu Crater from repeating again, she does not wish to thank him. All I can say is, Anna is one classy girl with the job of a king and a personality of a queen. Horie Yui will always be the perfect voice actress for Anna. Her singing in that scene when Anna became the Red King gave me the goosebumps. It was that amazing.

Kusanagi scenes are lacking in this movie, but that doesn’t mean his appearances aren’t impressive. The whole cinema was swooning at his coolness. He seems to have gotten over losing Mikoto since he behaves the same way as before. It would’ve been nice to get an update on his feelings, though. Either way, I admire him because that shows what a strong man he is. Sakurai Takahiro as Kusanagi… no words. This man always delivers a great performance.

Kamamoto’s part is short and sweet as are the appearances of other HOMRA members. Nakamura Yuuichi’s voice, no matter how little lines there are, is always worth fangirling over.

Fushimi didn’t get a lot of scenes and he did show a good side of him by exchanging information with Yata, but not without all that tsundere behavior at first. I thought that there were going to be more Fushimi parts, but thankfully, the creators didn’t. It can get annoying if the story caters too much to the audience because ultimately the story will become crappy.

Mikoto and Totsuka makes me want to cry a lot. Seeing them is just so heartbreaking. Thinking of how Kusanagi is alone makes it even worse. I love how they appeared in Anna’s dream and helped her move forwards in her new life as a Red King. And the way Mikoto held Anna’s face before the dream ends… *ugly sobbing* I hope they can continue to appear in her memories and still be as wonderful.

Honorable mentions: All the other voice talents involved in K Missing Kings. I didn’t manage to list them all down because I have run out of words, but just so you know, I love all the voice actors and actresses of the characters in K. Without them, I don’t think the movie would’ve been as good.

Just when I thought the first season’s OST was beautiful, the soundtrack for K Missing Kings was ten times more beautiful. The soundtrack is SO AMAZING I CAN’T EVEN DESCRIBE IT IN WORDS. It is BEAUTIFUL. It is everything that love is made of. No other soundtrack can beat the music in this movie this summer. The first song played in the very first scene already stole my heart. I like how the OSTs weren’t wasted. Like, there was music made of sweet symphonies and melodies in almost every other scene. Angela’s Different Colors was also uh-may-zing. Glad I stayed for the whole song. OST: A+++

The art is similar to the first season so I have no complaints on this end since the art is simple and beautiful. The animation and visuals are a whole different story… in an extremely breathtaking way. The animation is even more fluid and the action scenes are even more intense, especially when shown from different camera angles and paired with music that suits the mood. The scenery and cityscapes are jaw-dropping beautiful and just pure stunning. I love how they kept the rainbow hues and filters.

It was worth every penny and second to watch K Missing Kings at the cinema. The experience – except for the rowdy audience that screamed way too much – of hearing Japanese words and super amazing OSTs play from the speakers as well as cheering loudly (without waking the whole neighborhood) was super fun and very memorable. Well, the subtitles were a bit distracting, but ah whatever. I’m really happy that there will be probably/most definitely be another season because I love K infinitely.

Thank you to my mom for the tickets and the ride to the cinema! Thank you to the cast and crew members and everyone who worked on K for making it worth the wait.

My rating: 11/10. Is this too ridiculous? If so, then please accept 10/10, thank you.

No blood! No bone! No ash!