Attack on Titan Movie Review

Attack on Titan Theatrical Poster (c) Toho Pictures

Attack on Titan Theatrical Poster (c) Toho Pictures

The live-action film, “Attack on Titan” is based upon the best-selling manga and hit anime series of the same title (Japanese Title: Shingeki no Kyojin) by mangaka Hajime Isayama. 100 years ago, Titans suddenly appeared on Earth. Soon, human civilization veered on collapse due to the Titans. Humans then built a giant wall to defend themselves. Within the giant walls, humans lived in peace, but, 100 years later, the giant wall is broken.

The film started on a rather slow paced and alterations on the original material immediately hailed hardcore manga and anime fans including me. It is worth noting that I haven’t seen a single trailer prior to watching this film because the otaku in me would always inevitably compare the original and the adapted work early on.

One could agree that the original material (manga) is well-received because of the core genre which is “revenge” and yet there is a balance of “action” and “narrative” – at least on the original manga. The movie however was a dire adaptation of one of the most celebrated mangas in recent years. Case in point: let me tell you, Eren Yeager is the “HEART” and “SOUL” of the whole Titan-verse, period. But the movie shied away from the original material and insinuates as if Mikasa Ackerman is the lead character.

For the benefit of those who doesn’t follow the manga and haven’t seen the first season of the anime (yes, there’s a second season coming this 2016), Eren wanted to be part of the Survey Corps right from the start and his resolve to be part of the elite soldiers was intensified even more when he witnessed his mother’s gruesome death at the hand of a Titan.

The Eren I grew to love, is a strong man fueled with determination to protect mankind; with her adoptive-sister, Mikasa – a remarkably strong and talented fighter; and Armin Arlert, Eren’s childhood friend, that at first lacks courage and strength but is an invaluable asset to the group because of his high intelligence. Together, the three of them sets out on a journey for a common goal – to protect humanity. Unfortunately, this wasn’t mirrored on the film version. For me the characterizations of these three are intricate parts of the whole story-telling. These are the basics, sure, you can replace or add new characters but fans will always look for the fundamentals.

Instead, the film took a different turn, but even on their own version, the story is still shallow. Eren mourned when Misaka was believed to be dead and yet there’s no proper closure on his mother’s demise. There’s a moment when the scene cuts to a drunken Souda, still coping for the death of his wife that became a laughing stuff at the cinema, but wait, the guy got a point. He’s been drinking to ease the pain; to grieve. But Eren? Yeah my mother died, okay let’s move on. The writers basically wanted to build a fan service out of Erin and Mikasa so they rushed everything. Shame.

The film is full of non-sense dialogues; hence, wasted screen time. They could have utilized these to let the moviegoers delve deeper into the whole Titan mythology. Moreover, the fighting scenes weren’t choreographed well; there’s a lackluster display of three dimensional maneuver gears; and well, the whole movie is a disaster.

The second-part, “Attack on Titan: End of the World” is due this September. Will it fair better is yet to be seen. In the meantime, if you’re a hardcore manga and anime fan and doesn’t want to get Dragonball: Evolution-ized, then don’t watch this film.

Rating: 6.5/10

#Windows10: A true #ninja riding a T.Rex

A true ‪#‎ninja‬ riding a TRex! ‪#‎Windows10‬ ‪#‎Ninjacat‬ ‪#‎UpgradeYourWorld‬ ‪#‎UpgradeYourDay‬ ‪#‎BestWindowsEver‬ ‪#‎MicrosoftFanboy‬ ‪#‎Technology‬ ‪#‎Tech‬ ‪#‎TechToday‬ ‪#‎Naruto

A true ‪#‎ninja‬ riding a TRex! ‪#‎Windows10‬ ‪#‎Ninjacat‬ ‪#‎UpgradeYourWorld‬ ‪#‎UpgradeYourDay‬ ‪#‎BestWindowsEver‬ ‪#‎MicrosoftFanboy‬ ‪#‎Technology‬ ‪#‎Tech‬ ‪#‎TechToday‬ ‪#‎Naruto

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Movie Review

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Theatrical/Character Poster. Image (c) Warner Bros. Japan

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Theatrical/Character Poster. Image (c) Warner Bros. Japan

“Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno” is the first of the two live-action installment sequels on the continuing saga of Himura Kenshin – the wanderer, or otherwise known as “Battosai”, and is loosely based on the “Kyoto Arc”, which is undeniably one of the most-celebrated arcs from the manga and eventually on anime material created by mangaka Nobuhiro Watsuki.

“Kyoto Inferno” basically covers the story of an ex-assassin – Shishio’s foundation and his evil plan to overthrow the current Meiji government. While there are few alterations in the live-action adaptation, the writers clearly established that Kenshin is a changed man, repenting for his sins by protecting Tokyo. This is why Kaoru got worried when she heard of the looming war because she fears that Kenshin might go back to his old self again in the form of killing – this, if you didn’t know is basically the whole point of Kenshin as a wanderer, armed with a reversed-blade sword to protect and not to kill.

When Sojiro Seta, Shishio’s right-hand man was introduced in the anime, he easily became one of my favourite villains that’s known for not displaying emotions and always smiling even when fighting and possesses swordsmanship skills at par with Kenshin. So, it was rather disappointing that it felt like their fight scenes were rushed but boy, those fight sequences were choreographed perfectly.

Telling a good story is one thing, but the real challenge here when adapting an anime or manga material would be the execution. The anime, of course, works like magic because you can do almost anything, there is no limit (except when it’s a total fantasy genre) long as it is believable. One can easily jump from one rooftop to the other; suspend oneself up in the air; and other tricks that you can recall from your favourite anime or manga. But having that shown in a live-action film was a different level and it brings some guts to do that (let us not talk mess here that is “Dragonball Evolution”). Having staged the fight sequence on a dry surface is really challenging, so kudos on the last few minutes when Kenshin is fighting Shishio’s team on a wet surface/ship. Suffice to say, those equally hard fight scenes were choreographed really, really well that I couldn’t help but ask for more!

Couple of things: these are subtle but as a hard-core fan I really enjoyed that part when Kenshin is fighting with Shishio’s thugs, the fight sequence is way moving too fast, but it didn’t escape my eyes when the camera focused on how Kenshin “tilt” his reversed-blade sword. Another one was during his fight with Cho when his blade cuts Cho’s hair. There’s also this particular scene that I’m a bit worried at first because I thought people in the cinema would find it over-the-top and would just laugh over it, but they didn’t. It was when Kenshin thought he killed Cho, and he remains in his fighting stance – this is a recurring theme in any anime/manga and I’m glad that nobody reacted on the scene (or perhaps they didn’t care too much?). And lastly, during Aoshi and Nenji’s fight where the latter had to say his parting words (while in his fighting stance) to the former before he fell off his knees and dies. These are just some of the feats that I got to love from the original material that the producers successfully injected on this film.

What I like about this whole Rurouni franchise is that the producers were able to pick-up the right materials. The first Rurouni film back in 2012, I thought, was really the beginning of the saga. Takani Megumi’s back-story was rather complicated and it fits perfectly on that category to build up the conflict without trying too hard on the narrative side. While on the other hand, villains like Udo Jin-e and Takeda Kanryu sits really well too on the “villainous” category: one that spells power/influence, and the other with strength/skills. Having said that, it’s a good thing that the producers picked-up the “Kyoto Arc” from the original material because this was really the highlight of Kenshin’s post-assassin life.

What’s ahead? I won’t mind if the writers would have a different approach on how to end the whole Shishio story via the second installment “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” but it would be a feat for me seeing a four-way battle between Kenshin-Aoshi-Saito-Shishio. We’ll also see if Kenshin will finally succumbed on killing again to save the people that are dear to him. And as Shishio said, “the strong will live and the weak will die” so, who will live? And who dies?

Rating: 10/10

One Great Adventure with Nokia Lumia 1020

Holy Week is one of the biggest and most-celebrated holidays in the Philippines. And if you’re from the Philippines, chances are, you knew that Filipinos spend Holy Week in many different ways. You could spend it on beach with your friends and families; join the “station of the cross” (procession) and pray the rosary on every station; watch or join a “sinakulo” (play) showing Jesus Christ’s sufferings; stretching your vocal chords by joining “pasyon” – an act of reading in a singsong manner; fasting; “Visita Iglesia” where you visit different churches in a day; self-flagellation/carrying a cross/crucifixion (yes, you read it right); and hiking. So to repent for our sins, we went hiking.

Armed with the Nokia Lumia 1020, we reached Mt. Gulugod Baboy just in time for sunrise. Located at Anilao, Batangas, Philippines and approximately 525 meters above sea-level, the view from the top was just breath-taking! I was blown away by the scenic, 360 view of nearby cities, which made this trekking adventure a perfect experience away from the busy streets of the metro.

What made this trekking adventure unique though was the camera used to capture the (stunning) views. While this is not the first time that I brought my Nokia Lumia 1020 for an outdoor or in this case, trekking shoot, this was the longest time I spent with this beastie device with 41 megapixel shooter!

If you’re following either my Flickr, Twitter or Instragram feeds, then you’ll know that I’m a sucker for sunsets. This adventure however was a showcase of sunrise to sunset and different capabilities of the Nokia Lumia 1020. I will now let these photos speak for themselves.

The latter part of the day was spent at the beach and what better way to end the day is thru the beautiful sunset (and a timelapse video).

You can click on the photos to view the hi-res (and the details within) untouched and unedited jpeg photos.

The king has risen!

The king has risen!

Overseeing Balayan Bay and Sombrero Island.

Overseeing Balayan Bay and Sombrero Island.

An astonishing view of the mist covering the sun.

An astonishing view of the mist covering the sun.

It was really cold up there because of the mist and strong wind.

It was really cold up there because of the mist and strong wind.

The clouds and the sun, fighting it out…

The clouds and the sun, fighting it out…

And the clouds prevails…

And the clouds prevails…

It is also perfect for wedding proposals…

It is also perfect for wedding proposals…


Race to top!

Race to top!

Yet another nostalgic shot of the sun covered by mist!

Yet another nostalgic shot of the sun covered by mist!

Overseeing Mabini.

Overseeing Mabini.

The sun and the mist still at it…

The sun and the mist still at it…

The sun finally shining through…

The sun finally shining through…

Oh panorama!

Oh panorama!

I know it’s blue: sea + sky

I know it’s blue: sea + sky

One last shot before leaving Mt. Gulugod Baboy. I hate goodbyes…

One last shot before leaving Mt. Gulugod Baboy. I hate goodbyes…

And now, to the beach…

And now, to the beach…

Beach please!

Beach please!

Up for a challenge? Zoom in! No, that’s not a shark… Someone’s sailing…

Up for a challenge? Zoom in! No, that’s not a shark… Someone’s sailing…

Ending the day with a beautiful sunset by the beach perfectly captured by Nokia Cinemagraph!

Ending the day with a beautiful sunset by the beach perfectly captured by Nokia Cinemagraph!

But wait, there’s more! I’m bad at planning, I know! I initially thought of filming the sunset (through a time-lapse video) but I wasn’t prepared yet. Or maybe, blame it to my high school classmate that I bumped into (the odds of meeting your classmate that you haven’t seen for more than 10 years) that’s why I totally forgot it and I only realized when I’m taking shot of the sunset. So, I decided to film “the golden hour”.

Here’s a time-lapse video that I’m really proud of. Filmed with the Nokia Lumia 1020 with an improvised tripod (I don’t have camera grip yet so the whole filming was really challenging but nevertheless, FUN!). This was also my first attempt to do a time-lapse video so any comments and suggestions will be highly appreciated!

More photos!

All photos Copyright by Hethler De Chavez.

Hunter × Hunter: The Last Mission Movie Review

Hunter × Hunter: The Last Mission Theatrical Poster. Image (c) MADHOUSE

Hunter × Hunter: The Last Mission Theatrical Poster. Image (c) MADHOUSE

Inquisitive and enjoyable fights – these are just some of the legacies that mangaka Yoshihiro Togashi sets on his manga, Hunter × Hunter, which is also rumored to return this April (so take this news with a grain of salt). It is confirmed that H×H will be back this June joining Weekly Shonen Jump line-up. Unfortunately, these legacies weren’t mirrored on the movie version, at least in my opinion. The first movie, “Phantom Rogue”, was a total let down and “The Last Mission” is competing on that same level too. It is worth noting though that Togashi didn’t contribute anything on these two feature films. Heck no, the guy can’t even finish the manga material and was on indefinite hiatus since 2012 for unknown reason (aka laziness) .

Revenge is a recurring theme on most of the shounen anime movies and even on mainstream TV/movie. I have no qualms about it but there’s a better way to put it on story-telling. Look at One Piece Film: Z, how Eiichiro Oda managed to put a huge amount of depth on Z’s character that I actually developed an emotional attachment with him, and yes, he’s the antagonist of the story. But with “The Last Mission”, BLEACH’s Grimmjow Jed’s (the antagonist) story just didn’t work out as they expected. The back story was so shallow, everything was boring. With the first movie, they hardly explain “nen” (a technique that lets you manipulate your own life energy known as aura) and I was surprised that on this new movie, moviegoers were suddenly introduced to “on” (a technique that drawn from your hatred). Okay, I’ll let this one slip.

If I’m not following the manga/anime, I will immediately get lost when they introduced Bisky, Wing and Zushi, like who are these guys? They even flashed Kaito’s image, who is Kaito? Suffice to say, the overall narrative was really bad. I’m guessing that moviegoers that doesn’t follow the manga/anime knew nothing about these four. Too bad. I also didn’t get the sense that Chairman Netero, if not the strongest in the world, maybe, at least from Hunter Association, can’t do anything when bound by Rengoku’s power. Seriously? You’ll let Jed blow the Heaven’s Arena, because again, if I’m new to Hunter-verse, I’ll view Netero as a useless old-geezer which is actually NOT. Then the bad guys dumped Leorio on the sewer but ended up on the “higher levels” of the Heaven’s Arena… okay, let’s not be silly in here. But the major letdown for me was when in the end, it was still Gon on super saiyan mode that defeated Jed. I would have preferred Netero and Jed settling their issues as they basically represents the two faces/sides of the coin.

On the plus side, MADHOUSE’s animation this time was crispier and there’s noticeable change on the characters’ illustration which I really don’t mind. And if there’s anything good that happened in this film, it’s probably the ending theme: “Hyōri Ittai” by Yuzu at the epilogue which is also the current ending theme of Hunter × Hunter anime which is nearing its conclusion for the “Chimera Ants” arc.

If the writers can’t come up with a decent non-canon story-line, then I hope “The Last Mission” would be Hunter × Hunter’s “Last Film” because it’s really a shame.

Rating: 6.5/10

Hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 925

Hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 925

Lock-screen automatically pulled-off from my Facebook cover. Another unique feature of Windows Phone 8 OS.

Ever think on making a switch but you are not familiar with the device well enough? Basically, walking inside on your local smartphone store would only allow you to have few swipes and taps on the device and that’s it – there was no real test.  That has been addressed by Nokia via their unique “Trial Programme” that is not present on their competitors.  They will let you trial the device of your choice (depending on the device’s availability) for 2 weeks and from there, they expect you to finally make a switch.  My first generation Samsung Focus Windows Phone died few weeks back and apparently there’s a Nokia Lumia 925 device available for trial so I was really happy and excited when friends from Nokia contacted me for the trial opportunity.

Getting Started with #MoWithLove and Nokia Refocus
You can laugh at me but the very first photo I’ve taken with the device was a “selfie” one for the #MoWithLove campaign of Nokia. This is not just a random thing though, if you are not familiar, “Movember” (a portmanteau of moustache and November), is an annual month-long event in which men around the world grow moustaches to raise awareness on men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, and other male cancers and associated charities. Quick note, apart from being a “Devices & Services” company, Nokia actively supports various social projects that covers education, sustainable environment and women empowerment projects among others and they too, recently responded to Haiyan victims. Back on the business, luck was on my side as the Nokia Refocus app was also released the day I received the device. I played around on the Refocus app but I opted to play more with the “Color Pop” sub-feature. What’s good about this app is that you can shoot your photo, save it then refocus everything later, the same principle applies to the color pop.

Low-light
I’ve already heard so many good things about the low-light photos shot from Nokia Lumia with PureView Technology camera but having a first-hand experience is another thing. I was really impressed with the low-light photos I’ve taken from my Lumia 925 trial device. I suggests don’t ever use flash except on extremely dark places, let the LED flash handle everything. As pictured below, I was chasing Yuno, the cat to go into a dark place for this test and I succeed, he went into hiding under and then I had this innocent shot of him. More low-light photos after the break.

Sports Mode
I haven’t heard so much about the “Sports Mode” so this one is worth noting. I’m sure it happened to a lot of us when we are on the road and seen the beautiful sunset. It is not a problem when you are on your own car but what if you are travelling on a public transportation? You can’t just tell the driver to stop because you want to snap the sunset. This is where the “Sports Mode” comes in, and to make it even more exciting, I had it “reversed”. Technically speaking “Sports Mode” is meant for fast moving objects but in this case, I am the one that’s on the move while in a public bus. I nevertheless took the chance and I was blown away by the result. These photos were taken via “Sports Mode” and again, with flash off. At first, I was a bit hesitant with the LED flash since I’m taking shots through a glass window and it might reflect on the photos. Apparently, I was wrong, I’ve got outstanding photos.

Taking full advantage of the Nokia Camera
See the details of the ladders? And this was taken at night with just an 8.7MP shooter. Imagine if it’s the Nokia Lumia 1020 with 41MP shooter. Now, I played a little bit on the f-stop, exposure time and ISO speed to take fully advantage of the Nokia Camera app. The one on the left was set at f/2 stop; 1/14secs exposure time and ISO set at 800 respectively while the second picture was set at f/2 stop; 0.88secs exposure time and ISO to just 100. The first picture was fine and bright basically because of the ISO speed but the second image if not identical, was closer to the actual paint color of the tower.

That Fountain that Blows
Heck, I won’t let this trial end without trying this. If you’ve done this before via your beloved DSLR, then you can do it also here on Lumia 925, again, by taking advantage of the Nokia Camera app and full access to WB, f/stop; exposure time; focus and ISO speed. Achieving these shots however requires a lot of patience if you are new with this feature. The first few photos were taken daytime so I don’t have to tweak that much as I already knew what would be my shutter’s speed and all. But those shots at nightfall was really a challenge because you have to consider your surrounding and I guess these can be classified also as a “low-light” photos plus catching high speed images of running water.

Then Comes the Cinemagraph
This exclusive app for Lumia lines lets you capture photo and create movie-like animation. The latest update on the app bring HD support, cross-fading transitions and color pop features on your photo. Let’s see how it goes… (Click on the image for hires version)

Nokia Cinemagraph
NOKIA Cinemagraph! #Anilao @nokia @nokiaus @nokia_connects @nokiapilipinas #Lumia925

Oh Panorama!
You can basically take up to 5 photos then the app will put them together for you in a breath-taking panorama view! This requires a little bit of patience and if you’re shaky, don’t worry because of the OIS (optical image stabilization) feature (that’s also present on video recording) will help you stabilize your shots. Based on my experience and from the angle/position where I’m in when I took 5 photos max, it equates to almost 180-degrees turn. I will let the photos speaks for themselves!

Not just an “Action Shot”
“Action Shot” became an overnight hit when it launched on PureView-powered Lumia devices and the creativity (output) from different Lumia users was overwhelming with their stunning action shots. Now to differentiate from everybody else, I utilized the “action shot” to create an illusion that one may actually think that my subject (HA! Did I just called my sister a test subject?) are triplets. Whether you admit it or not and if I am totally stranger to you, and viewing my action shot photo outside of my Nokia review – you would think that they are indeed “triplets”. Well they’re not. I made it looked like the three of them are holding each other’s hand. And this is the beauty of “action shot” feature. There’s a lot to enjoy with this feature.

Favorite Photo
Ultimately, the sunset was my favorite shot throughout this 2-week trial period. Taking outdoor photos work like a charm too leaving the settings in to “Auto Mode”. Head past break for more photos!

But Nokia Lumia wasn’t all about (GREAT) photos
Indeed, HERE suite may arrived a little bit late from the party but it is one promising navigation app that is definitely “HERE” to stay for a long time. The beauty about this app is that it works even on offline mode (yep, you won’t be needing active data or wifi connection). One of the biggest question for me though was, yes, it works really well based on the review but these reviewers resides on “more developed/advanced” territories like the US/UK where “mapping technologies” are way advanced than ours. But that was immediately addressed when I took HERE Drive on road test on my way home. With HERE Drive on the go – it’s effortless! It will tell you turn-by-turn navigation with a voice command. The GPS was so accurate that when I took the flyover bridge, it exactly displays the same thing on HERE where I actually am — on the center of the intersection! Going to work the next day was a tricky one because obviously there are several routes that you can take depending on your preference. Initially, it displays the most common route; but the moment I took the flyover bridge and HERE realized this, the direction was immediately changed to the path that I am currently in, really impressive! I also used HERE Drive back in the province and the result was also commendable.

Final thoughts
The Nokia Lumia 925 is a very powerful device that can be at par or even surpass its competitors. Taking the full advantage of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS that features resizable and “Live Tiles”; intuitive UI design; built-in Office and cloud service via SkyDrive; the Nokia Lumia 925 also boasts an 8.7MP PureView; lens by Zeiss; dual-LED flash, Optical Image Stabilization and exclusive apps like City Lens (another cool and very reliable app!), Creative Studio, Cinemagraph, HERE suites and MixRadio. Popular apps like Vine, Waze, Mint, Flipboard and Instagram BETA are already available via the Windows Phone Store so don’t be an outsider and make the switch now! The Holiday Season is just around the corner so go visit your local store and get Lumia 925 for you, your family and friends, highly recommended!

Here’s hoping that friends from Nokia will let me review the beastie Lumia 1020 with 41MP PureView; the Lumia 1520 which was announced last October 22nd at Nokia World: Abu Dhabi along with their first ever tablet, the Lumia 2520. Special thanks to Paul, Laura, Denise and the whole Nokia Connects Team for making this trial possible.

More trial photos!

Instagram finally made its debut on Windows Phone

Instagram finally made its debut on Windows Phone

Instagram finally made its debut on Windows Phone

Widely popular photo sharing app Instagram finally made its much-awaited debut on Windows Phone. The (half-baked) app basically replicates the IU design present on iOS and Android. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to upload and play videos but Instagram was quick to note that the app is currently on BETA version.

Really? Who told them to release a half-baked app? I mean, the Windows Phone community already waited long enough for the official app. We wouldn’t mind waiting another month or so but give us the solid experience. I won’t even dwell on comparing Instagram and 6tag. I just can’t imagine the number of Instagram developers working on the app versus Rudy Huyn himself.

Nevertheless, it’s good news that the official app is now on Windows Phone. The app’s absence on Windows Phone is a deal breaker for some consumers and hopefully, this will finally close that gap.

Here’s my first post via the official app!

The official (and half-baked) @instragram app for @WindowsPhone is now available @nokia #smh #halfbaked

The official (and half-baked) @instragram app for@WindowsPhone is now available @nokia #smh#halfbaked