Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Review: Blood the Last Vampire (2000)

Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) is an original video animation (OAV) that sets place in post-World War II Japan. The story begins on an American Yokota Air Base just a few months before the beginning of the Vietnam War. The protagonist is a mysterious girl named Saya, who hunts monstrous bat-like creatures called Chiroptera for a secret organization known as the Red Sheild. Their sole goal is to destroy them from wreaking havoc on the human population.

What are Chiroptera? They are evil beasts who can emulate humans and only live to drink human blood. They have extraordinary strength and supernatural healing abilities. Saya is the best Chiroptera slayer. She uses a katana sword and her own blood as a poison to kill them. The Red Shield discovers that the Chiroptera are hiding at the Army base. Saya prepares for battle.

The film received major cult status. I particularly enjoyed it for its storyline. It takes the whole vampire genre into another level. The movie ends with an old picture of Saya who has not aged at all. Who is she? What is she? What link does she have with the Chiroptera? Is she a vampire? These questions and the popularity of the video also inspired the next Japanese anime series, Blood+.

Saya resumes her role with a whole cast, history of Saya's origin and contemporary storyline. There will also be a live-action film and it is expected to come out before June 2008. I am very much excited to see this movie.

This movie was also revolutionary at its time in the video and computer animation industry. According to Wikipedia, "the film has been praised for its blend of 2-Dand 3-D elements, with Academy Award winning director James Cameron stating: "Digital imaging has entered a new era. The world will come to consider this work as the standard of top quality in digital animation." It received the Grand Prize for animation at the 2000 Japan Media Arts Festival." Enjoy the trailer below. I highly recommend the anime. (2000, 50 minutes)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Review: Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire #2)

“Sure, Sookie Stackhouse is pretty. But it’s her mind they’re after…

All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly…”

Living Dead in Dallas, by Charlaine Harris, is the second novel of the Southern Vampire series. Sookie Stackhouse, with the gifted ability to read people’s minds, works at Merlotte’s Bar as a cocktail waitress. The setting is northern Louisiana in a rural small town called Bon Temps.

At the bar table is Andy Bellefleur, a local detective, who looks “drunk as a skunk.” Her vampire-boyfriend, Bill, stops by the place to see her. He is “mainstreaming,” a term that describes vampires living among humans and adopting their cultural ways. Vampires have civil rights and are citizens in contemporary America. Sookie contacts Andy's sister, Portia, to retrieve her drunken brother before he attempts to drives himself home.

As Sookie checks inside Bellefleur’s car, she notices an unconscious body. Her co-worker, Lafayette Reynolds, a black queer man, lies dead in the back seat of the car. That night, Bill tells Sookie that she has been summoned to meet Eric (a Viking vampire from the previous novel) about a new case. Before they can travel to Shreveport, a maenad (Greek mythological creature) attacks Sookie as a death message for Eric. Quickly, Bill rushes her to Fangtasia, a vampire nightclub, to help and revive her from near death.

Sookie must find a missing vampire in Dallas in this new case. For protection, Bill accompanies her on this trip. Once she arrives in the Dallas airport, a mysterious man dressed in priest-like clothing approaches her. Who is he and what does he want with her? That evening, Sookie meets Stan Davis, the head vampire of the Dallas nest, and she uses her telepathic skills to locate themissing vampire: Farrell. But she learns that there was another vampire in the house with Farrell. Who is this guy? Why does he want Farrell?

Sookie and a human friend tour the Fellowship, a cult which wants to eliminate vampires in the name of God, so that they can find information on this mysterious vampire and the whereabouts on Farrell. Only Sookie and her friend don’t realize that this is not an ordinary group of people. This group will harm anyone associated with vampires—human or non-human.

This novel incorporates more supernatural/mythological creatures than the previous novel, Dead Until Dark. Sookie goes on more wild adventures that often put her life in danger. There are many sex scenes in this novel. This is definitely not your average teen novel! With more action and less plot development, the reader may not want to stop reading! Sookie just seems to be everywhere in the wrong place and time. She is one confident and smart woman. One thing I do criticize is that Harris tries to put too much in this novel. I felt it would have been better if it was divided into two separate books. There is so much new information and new storylines that it took me a while to digest everything. While I still enjoyed this book, it left me with more questions than answers. I found the ending somewhat random. Will Harris explain this discovery in her next book? Who knows. For some readers, that is a good thing. I just hope the next book of this series takes issue of these questions.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Southern Vampire series, Club Dead.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Review: Cloverfield Movie (2008)

Cloverfield (2008) is finally here. A film has not received such a large cult following since King Leonidas and the Spartans victoriously defeated the much-larger Persian army in the epic graphic film, 300. Now, it's mankind vs. monster!

It is May 2009. The main character, Rob, has accepted a job offer in Japan. His brother, Jason, and his girlfriend, Lily, throws a surprise going-away party for Rob. News breaks out that Rob and his friend, Beth, had sex together. Suddenly, buildings shake as an earthquake rocks the Manhattan evening skyline. As everyone ascends to the roof to see what is going on, a ball of fire shoots into the sky as loud animal noises echo throughout the city. Everyone attempts to leave the island via the Brooklyn Bear, but the bridge collapses before they could collapse. The U.S. military armed forces arrive to attack the sea creature. Rob returns to the apartment to rescue Beth. The entire film is presented as an actual recording from their hand-held video camera.

The biggest blockbuster film to start the new year unfortunately did not live up to its name. What was the plot again? I felt like this movie was a rehash of Resident Evil and Godzilla without any innovation and narration. Those who become bitten by the crab-like parasites become infected. No one knows what happens to the infected. The sea monster looks more hideous than the famous Japanese creature. I still don't even know why it chased after Rob. At least the Japanese know how to create good horror films! Wikipedia states the following:

According to J.J. Abrams, the movie's producer, this object is a Tagruato company satellite which fell into the ocean, disturbing the monster, which has been lying dormant at the bottom of the ocean or thousands of years.
I still believe this movie had much more potential. If this was the producer's intent, illustrate this in the plot with background development! Nonetheless, this was a major disappointment.
Recommend This Movie? No. Don't waste your money on this one, folks.
Official Release (Theatres): January 18, 2008

This is the trailer below:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Recent UFO Sightings in San Diego and Texas!

On January 1, 2008, many homeowners saw sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in San Diego. A string of nine lights glowed in the night sky. Local news covered this story.

Two weeks later, CNN , Good Morning America (ABC), and the Today Show (NBC) reported residents in a small Texan town also witnessed UFOs. Today, Larry King plans to do a special about the incident on CNN at 9:00 P.M. EST. It will be interesting to hear what the eyewitnesses say about what they saw.

About 200 UFO sightings are reported each month, mostly in California, Colorado and Texas, according to the Mutual UFO Network, which plans to go to the 17,000-resident town of Stephenville to investigate. Fourteen percent of Americans polled last year by The Associated Press and Ipsos say they have seen a UFO.

UFO sightings are most common in the West: California, Colorado and Texas! Last month, a Japanee official told news reporters that UFOs are indeed real. This month has been very interesting so far. Stay tuned for an update!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Review: Pure Moods Vol. I (Audio CD)

I purchased this album, Pure Moods, Vol.1, in high school (many years ago!). This was my first introduction to New Age music. This is an excellent album of vocal and instrumental music from around the world. Enigma, Adiemus, Enya, the list is endless. The melodies can speak to your soul and transcend time.

What is New Age music? According to Wikipedia, it is "peaceful music of various styles that is intended to make people feel good when they hear it... New Age music is typically relaxing and inspiring, and is often used by listeners for such activities as yoga, massage, meditation, reading, as a method of stress management or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments.

If you ever want to relax yourself and listen to great, sacred and soothing melodies, this is the album to buy!

Most people have heard of "Return to Innocence." Click on the link below for the discography. Here is the video:

  1. "Return to Innocence" - Enigma

  2. "Orinoco Flow" - Enya

  3. "Sweet Lullaby" - Deep Forest

  4. "Oxygene Part IV" - Jean Michel Jarre

  5. "X-Files Theme" - DJ Dado

  6. "Tubular Bells Part 1" - Mike Oldfield

  7. "Sadeness" - Enigma

  8. "Adiemus" - Adiemus

  9. "Crockett's Theme" - Jan Hammer

  10. "Theme from The Mission" - Ennio Morricone

  11. "Main Title Theme from The Last Emperor" - David Byrne

  12. "Yeha-Noha (Wishes Of Happiness And Prosperity)" - Sacred Spirit

  13. "Theme from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" - Angelo Badalamenti

  14. "Makambo" - Geoffrey Oryema

  15. "My Wife with Champagne Shoulders" - Mark Isham

  16. "The Promise" - Michael Nyman

  17. "Lily Was Here" - David A. Stewart featuring Candy Dulfer

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Review: Blood Trail (Vickie Nelson #2)

“Someone was out to exterminate Canada’s most endangered species – the werewolf!”

Blood Trail, by Tanya Huff, is the second book in the Blood series. The setting is contemporary (1990s) London and Toronto, two major Canadian cities in the province of Ontario. Four months have passed since the last supernatural case. It’s a very humid and hot August. Victoria “Vicki” Nelson, former cop and current private investigator, has another case on her hands more wild and strange than she has ever imagined. Henry Fitzroy, 450-year-old vampire needs her help to save his friends, Rose (Cloud) and Peter (Storm). Despite her deteriorating eyesight (retinitis pigmentosa) that leaves her virtually blind at night, her knowledge and skills are needed to find the killer. Vicki heads to London.

His friends are not quite human. They are werewolves, the Heerkens. Despite their human appearances and their sheep farm in London, they have very animalistic behaviors: a strong sense of smell, calloused hands, and strong reflexes. Someone has shot two family members of the pack unnoticed at night, and they want justice immediately – by their court of law. As Vicki accepts the case and checks the property, she loses her way in the forest and finds another house nearby. She meets Carl Biehn and his nephew, Mark Williams. The two men, especially Mark Williams, made her nervous although they couldn’t possibly be the shooters killing the pack with a high-caliber rifle. Carl Biehn is a kind and religious old gentleman, while his young nephew is just self-absorbed with his material things and arrogant attitude.

Meanwhile, police detective-sargeant, Mike Celluci, has a grudge over Henry Fitzory. As Nelson’s former police partner and ex-lover, he knows very little about this new man in Vicki’s life. Showing signs of anxiety and jealousy, he searches records and interviews people who may know him. Despite Fitzroy’s literary career, Celluci concludes Henry is involved in “organized crime.” Fearing for Nelson’s safety, he grabs the keys and drives to London. In the Heerkens’ home, Henry wishes that he can spend more time with Vicki, and he begins to have sexual (and hunger) feelings for her. Since the nights are shorter during the summer months, he spends less time with Vicki, which leaves her with this case solely on her own with the werewolves. Can Mike and Henry get along once they meet each other? Can Vicki settle the jealous tensions in both man’s eyes?

As the case seems like a dead-end without leads, events become even messier. Henry becomes hurt searching for the killer. Another member of the pack is shot in the field. Vicki, Rose and Peter are almost killed in an unnatural automobile accident. Someone knows about the werewolves. Vicki must find the trail that leads to their killer before it’s too late.

Altough I thought the second book of this series would endlessly bore me (I did not care for the previous book), this book surprised me with fear, jealousy, and suspense. I simply LOVED this novel! At 304 pages, I think Huff finally realized what chemistry she was missing from her first book. Some readers might be disappointed that Henry appears less (it’s summer, and the days are longer than the nights, so vampires can’t do much!) , but his interactions with Mike Celluci and Vicki Nelson are quite memorable. I never imagined the jealousy scene between both men! Pure genius!

Stay tuned for the next book in the Blood series, Blood Lines.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Review: Myth Busters (Discovery Channel)

MythBusters is a popular American science TV series that explores the weirdest and most popular urban legends. The show has been active on the Discovery Channel since 2003 (six seasons). The setting is the San Francisco Bay area, although the cast has shot specials in other local and overseas locations. Paranormal themes, such as ghosts and aliens, are not explained because they cannot be tested using the scientific method. You can watch the team debunk and demystify myths before your eyes!

The team members are similar to your modern-day Ghostbusters group: Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara. For very dangerous experiments, Buster, the resident crash dummy, is used as a stand-in for humans. Living animals are never used. At the end of each episode, Hyneman and Savage conclude whether a urban legend is the following: Busted, Plausible or Confirmed.

Some viewers credit the MythbBusters series for influencing their perception of the world, including how to survive instinctly in dangerous situations. The team has a book and DVD for purchase. There is also another DVD on sale about movie myths. I highly recommend this popular television series. If you ever watched Beakman's World or Bill Nye the Science Guy, you should also add this show in your science collection.

Here is a short clip of the sword test from the show. Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Review: Black Blood Brothers (2006)

Black Blood Brothers (2006) is a fantasy anime TV show about vampires.

It is ten years after the Holy War in Hong Kong. Jirou Mochizuki, an Old Blood vampire, sided with the humans and defeated most of the Kowloon Children, a degenerate breed of vampires who threatened to take over the entire vampiric and human race. Although he lost his lover in the aftermath, Jirou returns to Japan with his younger brother, Kotaro Mochizuki. They learn that the Kowloon Children survivors of the Holy War plan to enter the "Special Zone" -- an invisible barrier that forbids them to enter unless they are officially invited.

There are three groups who cohabit in the Special Zone: the Red Bloods (humans), the Black Bloods (vampires), and the Old Bloods (the descendants of elite vampire clans). When compromiser Mimiko Katsuragi of the Order Coffin Company, an organization who is in charge of the Special Zone, inadvertently issues an invitation, all hell breaks loose. When the Kowloon Children abduct Kotaro, Jirou, also known as Silver Blade, has no choice but to fight.

I really liked this series although it was quick and short at 12 episodes. You become quite engaged with the major characters, especially Jirou's emotions. It has its funny moments too where Jirou is allergic to sunlight and water. The music is also excellent. The ending song is sung in Korean and English. This series is available to rent or buy on DVD. Enjoy!
  • Episodes: 12
  • OP Song: "Ashita no Kioku" by Naozumi Takahashi
  • ED Song: "Shinkirou" by LOVEHOLIC

"Ashita no Kioku" by Naozumi Takahashi

"Shinkirou" by LOVEHOLIC

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Stranger in Paradise" by Sarah Brightman

I love the melody of this song, Stranger in Paradise, from her album, Harem. The melody was adopted from Alexander Borodin's Russian epic opera, Prince Igor, and 1953 Broadway musical, Kismet, which takes place in Baghdad in the times of Arabian Nights. Sarah Brightman is an excellent singer. Her career spans Broadway musicals, classical opera, and crossover pop-rock genres. I recommend her music.

I feel like I am in fantasy land where my boyfriend and I are the only people. We enjoy the nature around us, and share precious memories together. Enjoy the music!

Stranger In Paradise - Sarah Brightman

Update: Click here for the lyrics.

Take my hand
I'm a stranger in paradise
All lost in a wonderland
A stranger in paradise
If I stand starry-eyed
That's the danger in paradise
For mortals who stand beside an angel like you

I saw your face ascending
Out of the common place and into the rare
Now somewhere out in space I hang suspended
Until I'm certain that there's a chance that you care

Won't you answer this fervent prayer
Of a stranger in paradise
Don't send me in dark despair
From all that I hunger for
But open your angel's arms
To this stranger in paradise
And tell him that he need be
A stranger no more

Review: Lifeblood (Vampire Files #2) I've got a bunch of crazy vampire-hunters on my trail, armed with crosses, silver bullets, and sharp wooden stakes. How did they find out about me?

...Why are they out for my blood? I don't know, but I going to get some answers even if it kills me....


Lifeblood, the second book of the Vampire File series, begins when Jack Fleming, journalist-turned vampire detective, sits at a midnight bar undercover for a case. He acts in a drunken stupor when his British private agent friend, Charles Escott, comes in his fancy attire (also undercover as a messenger man) waiting for the next move. The deal is almost done until the woman recognizes the money has been marked and leaves the joint. Escott travels to his client, Mr. Swafford, that same night to get his money and contract back for such foolish and life-threatening actions. Fleming and Escott develop a mutual friendship in the meantime where they can trust each other.

The relationship between show-girl Bobbi Smythe and Jack Fleming blossoms as she gradually accepts his supernatural condition. We learn that she is around 24 years of age while Jack is around 36 in the previous novel. However, due to his changed condition, he can pass as young as 22! She is simply beautiful, according to Fleming. Beautiful to have a bite and make love...

Fleming takes a trip to his hometown of Cincinnati to collect more bags of his earth, one of his sacred energy sources, to stash at Escott's place. Driving on the road, he notices a car has been following him for quite some time. Who are they? He wonders anxiously. He want the men to leave him alone! Later, Fleming learns a woman knows information about his ex-girlfriend Maureen. Will this tip help uncover his past and current condition?

Jack runs into a man who happens to be a passerby. So he thought. At the radio station Bobbi is kidnapped for exchange of his ability - to become a vampire. Who wants his blood so badly? Worse, he must battle another vampire! Jack must protect the people close to him from these vampire hunters and freaks. This is a case Jack must solve before it is too late.

Wow! I was simply amazed by the action and suspense in this novel. Jack Fleming is so hilarious that his use of street language makes him very sexy! The idea that Jack must go against another vampire like himself is just asking for more! This book is very personal and emotional from Fleming's perspective because he witnesses death a second time. Personally, I found it a bit much but he still has a human heart in personality. P.N. Elrod is simply amazing. This needs to be a made-for-TV miniseries!

Stay tuned for the next book in te Vampire Files series, Bloodcircle.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Cry for the Moon" by Epica

Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal rock band. The band has been active since 2003, and their lead singer is the lovely and very talented Simone Simons. She has one of the most beautiful mezzo-soprano voices I have ever heard. Unfortunately, recent news have stated that Simone contracted MRSA! I hope she heals from this awful hospital bacteria soon. Epica has had to cancel most of their shows on their tour. The other band members are the following:
  • Mark Jansen - guitar and grunts/screams
  • Ad Sluijter - guitar
  • Yves Huts - bass guitar
  • Coen Janssen - synthesizer and piano
  • AriĆ«n Van Weesenbeek - drums
This is one of their first singles, Cry for the Moon.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Review: Love Bites (Argeneau Vampire #2)

"Then she saw the man of her dreams emerging from his…coffin? And the look in his bright silver eyes said they’d be spending a lot of time together. She just hoped he tasted as good as he looked.”

Love Bites, by Lynsay Sands, is the second novel of the Argeneau Family Vampire series. As a prequel, it takes place before Lucern ever meets Kate and focuses on how Rachel Garnett and Etienne Argeneau met each other. Rachel works as a coroner on the night shift at the local hospital in Toronto. She dislikes the night shift, but she looks forward to the day shift promotion. One evening, an unconscious man with a gunshot wound is lead into the infirmary room. Looking at the body before her, she notices how handsome he is. Just who is this man, she wonders? Immediately, an unknown man walks into the room with an ax and brings it down on the body. With a quick reaction, Rachel tries to protect the body from danger—even if it meant forsaking her own life.

Etienne, finally conscious from his unfortunate encounter with the crazed vampire slayer, notices the unconscious woman lying on top of him dying. She had saved his life, and now she was dying before his very own eyes. Etienne, 300-year-old vampire, must make a serious decision. According to the life-mate vampire rule, a vampire can only turn one human in his lifetime. Is this woman the right person to spend together for eternity? With time racing against him, Etienne and his family (Marguerite, Lucern and Bastien) rush the woman to his home to save her. It’s the best he can do for her gratitude.

Rachel wakes up the next evening feeling better and hungry. Wait a second—didn’t she just die from a deadly blow? Surely there must be large blood wounds everywhere on her. She stands in the mirror and notices physical changes: vibrant hair, flawless skin, and pointy canine teeth!? Despite her dislike for the night, she must accept her new condition. Before she can curse Etienne, the two fall in love together. Etienne notices he cannot read her thoughts. (Vampires have the ability to tap into people’s thoughts and control them.)

Unfortunately, the crazed vampire slayer intrudes into Etienne’s home. He kidnaps Rachel and leaves Etienne vulnerable and unable to follow her. Can he rescue Rachel in time?

I read the first book of this series, Single White Vampire, with much delight and enthusiasm. When I heard that the second book was already in stores, I immediately bought and read the next story. Although this book is a prequel (Lucern and Kate have not even met yet, so expect the surly, grumpy Lucern personality), it does a nice job of introducing Etienne Argeneau in the series. Etienne was mentioned in the prior novel as a weird, younger brother of Lucern’s. In fact, the wedding in Single White Vampire, was Rachel’s and Etienne’s. I highly recommend this book!

Stay tuned for the next book in the series, Tall, Dark and Hungry.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Review: Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire #1)

“But Bill has a disability of his own: He’s a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of—big surprise—murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next…

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea…”

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, is the first book of the Southern Vampire series. The story introduces Sookie Stackhouse, a confident cocktail waitress around 25 years old at her boss’s (Sam Merlotte) bar in the rural Louisianan town of Bon Temps. Sookie has a secret: she can read people’s minds! A vampire walks into the bar and sits himself at a table. Vampires are legally recognized as citizens with protective laws. For example, vampire draining is illegal. She notices that she cannot tap into this vampire’s mind, which makes her even more curious about him.

However, she learns that a group plans to drain her mysterious vampire outside the bar that night. Quickly, she takes a chain and attacks them. After they leave with haste and panic, Sookie learns the vampire’s identity: Bill. He fought in the American Civil War! Once she arrives home from work, Granny (Sookie’s grandmother, Adele) anxiously wants Bill to talk to her club, the Descendants of the Glorious Dead, about the war. At least this gives Sookie another reason to see her vampire friend again. The next evening, the same group attacks and attempts to kill her. Bill the vampire magically saves her from near death.

Sookie and Bill have an extraordinary friendship that gradually turns romantic. Unable to hypnotize Sookie, the question “what are you?” frequently fascinates him. She learns about Bill’s past: he fought in the war and became a vampire in 1870. His family was the Comptons, whose house sits directly across the road from the Stackhouse home. Sookie can see his pale skin glow in the dark. The next evening, when Sookie approaches his home, she meets more vampires (who clearly and hungrily see humans as food) and fang-bangers. Who are they and what kind of association does Bill have with them?

The next morning, Sookie discovers that one of her co-workers from the bar is dead in their own home. The female victim lied on her bed with bite marks and died from strangulation at the neck. Who could have done this? Did a vampire in Bon Temps do this? When Sookie finds her own grandmother dead in a similar manner, constant agony and painful memories invade her mind. Who is the murderer behind these crimes? Are they also after Sookie?

This series is a drastic contrast from other vampire novels I have read previously. The setting is in the American South so I can imagine the characters speaking in a Southern (bayou?) drawl. Vampires are legal citizens of the United States, therefore they have civil liberties and do not hide their presence from humans. They drink synthetic blood for their nutrition. Vampire blood supposedly can make one more sexually erotic. The relationship between Bill and Sookie is also intriguing. If you think there are only vampires in this novel, there are other supernatural characters! Stay tuned to the next book in the Southern Vampire series, Living Dead in Dallas.

Note: There is a new HBO series under production based on the novels called "True Blood
." I will write a review about the show when it premieres!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Movie: "Bara no Konrei" (Bridal of Rose) by Malice Mizer

I will always be a Malice Mizer fan for life. Although they are no longer together, they are still one of the best Japanese gothic rock bands of all time. Their popularity was at its peak in the late 1990s. I don't know what attracted me to this Malice Mizer back in high school, but their songs are simply awesome (Yes, they are all men.). This song, "Mayonaka Ni Kawashita Yakusoku," was released in 2001 and had the leader singer, Khala (vocals), who replaced Gackt. The three other members were Mana (guitar, synthesizer), Kozi (guitar, synthesizer), and Yuki (bass). The music video for this song is at the end of this post.

Their music video is from the "silent" movie, "Bara no Konrei" (Bridal of Rose), about vampires in Victorian-era London. Click here for more detailed character and plot information about the film. Although his character is similar to Jonathan Parker from Bram Stoker's Dracula, Khala also reminds me of Johnny Depp from the movie, Sleepy Hollow.

You can also watch the Japanese film online! Click on the different parts below.

The entire film is about 1 hour and 20 minutes in length.

I will have more reviews on Malice Mizer in the future. Enjoy the music video!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Review: Angel Heart (2005)

Angel Heart is a contemporary television drama that follows the life of 15-year-old Taiwanese assassin, Xiang Ying (also code name Glass Heart), who attempts to commit suicide by falling from a skyscraper and imapling her heart on a fence in the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo. Kaori Makimura is on her way to take wedding photos with her husband, Saeba Ryo (also known as the legendary City Hunter). She saves Xiang's body before a truck kills her instantly. In a miraculous life-saving operation, she inherits Kaori's heart and the two become one spiritually.

Xiang Ying is haunted by the images and dreams of the people she has killed for the Organization as well as Kaori and her husband. She decides to track down Saebo in Japan. He had since retired from his role as City Hunter after his wife's death. When he realizes that Xiang inherited Kaori's heart, he adopts her as his own daughter. Saebo, a former mercernary, tries to help the former assassin adapt move on to a new role in the outside world.

I like this show because of its spiritual elements throughout the series. Xiang Ying inherits Kaori's heart and soul, and anyone who knew Kaori can see right into her soul. You see how over time matures Kaori and the main characters nurture her into a strong and compassionate young woman. She adopts Saeba as her father and Kaori's soul as her mother. She later participates in Saeba's cases and sometimes assumes the moniker, City Hunter.

I also love the two soundtracks for this series!! I highly recommend Gendou or Nipponsei to download Japanese anime music.

  • Episodes: 50

  • Opening (OP) Song: Three ("Finally" by Sowelu; "Lion" by Koji Tamaki; "Battlefield of Love" by Asami Izawa)

  • Ending (OP) Song: Three ("Dare ka ga Kimi wo Omotteru" by Skoop on Somebody; "Daydream Tripper" by U_WAVE; "My Destiny" by Kanon)

"Battlfield of Love" by Asami Izawa

"My Destiny" by Kanon

Review: Blood Price (Vickie Nelson #1)

“Can One Ex-Policewoman and A Vampire Defeat the Magic-Spawned Evil Which is Devastating Toronto?"

Blood Price, by Tanya Huff, is the first book in the Blood series. The setting is contemporary (1990s) Toronto, a major Canadian metropolis in the province of Ontario. Victoria “Vicki” Nelson, former policewoman and current private investigator, has her first major homicidal unit case since she left the police force. The reason why Vicki left the force is her deteriorating eyesight (retinitis pigmentosa), which makes her vision virtually blind at night. Tall, smart and independent, she quickly rushes to aid a victim. As she discovers the first body in a Toronto subway, she requests the police for emergency. She meets ex-partner (and ex-lover), Mike Celluci, at the crime scene. Silent, temperamental and cynical, you wonder how he and Vicki ever got along—they seem like total opposites always in argument! “You could’ve stayed on the force!” recalls Mike to Vicki. She insistently straightens her glasses on her nose and sighs in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the newspapers read “Vampire Stalks City!” after three victims have fallen dead in these bloody, merciless murders inthe night. Henry Fitzroy, the mysterious 450-year-old vampire living in Toronto, hears the news from his condominium. Short stature with reddish-blonde hair but incredible supernatural strength as a vampire, this news outrages him because vampires are naturally a “solitary breed.” If the perpetrator is a vampire, it has to be a ‘child,’ a newly formed vampire who has not adjusted enough to their new change. Vampires are also territorial creatures who cannot live in the same city with one another. It was important for people to know less about the true nature of vampires. These crimes have become a high priority to Henry.

Norman Birdwell, famous weird college nerd, has always wanted to fit in with his peers. He will go to the extremes just to hang with the guys and attract the chicks. When he finds the newspaper clipping, “Vampire Stalks City!” in his lecture hall, his knuckles whiten with apprehension. What relationship does Norman have to do with these crimes? The girlfriend of the first victim begs Vicki to solve this case and avenge her lover’s death. As dead victims continue to escalate with their throats torn from the flesh, Vicki realizes after finding enough evidence that this suspect is no ordinary human. Before she can react, she finds herself unconscious in Henry’s place. Why did he bring her to his place? He tells Vicki that he is (was) the bastard son of Henry VIII (1491–1547), King of England. They strike a deal to defeat whoever is summoning this demon together.

I thought the book was great to introduce the series. Huff uses diverse characters that represent the Toronto area culturally and racially. It is also written from the third person. Henry Fitzroy is not allergic to garlic or mirrors but sunlight, wood and heavy loss of blood can kill him. He even summarizes how he became a vampire! It’s a really touching story once you have read it While reading the story, if you don’t know much about Toronto, you will have to research on your spare time. You will need to know these terms: TTC (Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto’s subway authority), Police Constable (police officier of the lowest rank) and Yonge Street (probably the most popular street in Toronto, what is Michigan Avenue to Chicago is Yonge Street to Toronto).

Stay tuned to the next book in the Vickie Nelson series, Blood Trail.

NOTE: There is also a paranormal television series based on the Vickie Nelson novel series, Blood Ties, playing currently on the Lifetime Channel. Click here to purchase the DVD.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"Innocent Days" by hitomi

I am currently watching Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. This dramatic supernatural mecha anime is also slated for a sequel in Spring 2008. I cannot wait to see it! My boyfriend showed me this Insert song from the Code Geass soundtrack, and I fell in love with it! It has a very beautiful, spiritual melody to it. It makes me feel like I am flying and dancing in the moonlight.

I will do a review on Code Geass soon. Enjoy the video! :)

The English translation lyrics can be found here.

Review: Bloodlist (Jack Fleming #1) guessed it. I, Jack Fleming, ace reporter, have been transformed into...a vampire!

Which has its advantages.

You never die, you never grow old, you sleep all day, and best of all... You can hunt down your own murderer.

Bloodlist, the first book of the Vampire Files series, by P. N. Elrod, is an adventurous, suspenseful story of the journalist-turned-vampire hero, Jack Fleming. It is the 1930s, and the Great Depression has impacted the nation. The bootlegging industry is king. The ganglords rule half the city of Chicago. If you cross the line, you may not see the next dawn. In the beginning, all Jack could remember was that someone was after him for a special *list*. When he finally wakes up, someone tries to kill him. He realizes after killing the thug that his clothes were in ruins and he was unharmed! He quickly gathers his things, and drinks blood before the sun rises and stays in a hotel. He has become a vampire!

Fleming notices that his items are missing from his hotel room. He reads a note that states if he ever want to see this belongings, he must meet the mystery man at a station. With no other choice, Fleming obliges. This is when Fleming meets Chicago's unofficial British private agent, Charles Escott. Clever and innovative, he helps Fleming on a new case to discover why someone wants Jack dead. The two work together to find clues from local friends and villains like Frank Paco and Slick Morelli. Meanwhile, Jack falls in love with a showgirl singer, Bobbi, at Morelli's She reminds him of his previous girlfriend, Maureen. Fleming has a few surprises for both these villains as he seeks his revenge and discovers why he was wanted dead.

As the first book of the Vampire File series, it introduces the main characters and sets the stage for the rest of the series. The protagonist, Jack Fleming, is your street-smart, ex-journalist who demands answers about his death and whereabouts before his supernatural change. I love Elrod's writing style because it flows well, and her anguage is humorous and clever. She knows her history and popular culture of 1930s Chicago very well. I highly recommend this series to paranormal history and romance readers. There are at least eleven more books in this series on the adventures of Jack and Charles. Keep in touch!

Stay tuned to the review of the 2nd book of the Vampire Files series, Lifeblood

We learn that Jack Fleming has a few supernatural tricks and weaknesses:

  • He cannot age and looks much younger than his real age before death.

  • He can disappear completely or become a faint shadow.

  • He can hypnotize people and scare away animals.

  • He has no reflection in mirrors. (He's un-dead!)

  • His canine fangs lengthen to the smell or taste of blood.

  • He has supernatural body strength (twice as strong as the average man).

  • He refuses to drink human blood (only feeds on cow's blood).

  • Sunlight, water and wood can paralze and kill vampires.

  • He pumps his lungs or fake pain to act human around people.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

"White Reflection" by TWO-MIX

I was nostalgic on songs tonight, and I found this anniversary video on Gundam Wing's "White Reflection" by TWO-MIX. If you have never heard of this group, they are one of the best Japanese pop-techno groups ever! Minami Takayama (vocals and composer) and Shiina Nagano (synthezier and lyricist) are legends. This song was written back in 1997! It is over ten years old now. The melody of this song always reminds me of snow falling outside or crystals sparking in a winter fantasy wonderland. Enjoy the video! (Lyrics in Japanese)

The English translation is here.

{Last updated January 2019] This video bought back so many memories that I decided to add another song from the Gundam Wing series, Last Impression ~Endless Waltz~. The song can be found on the same album as White Reflection (click on the image above).

Friday, January 4, 2008

Review: Supernatural (Season One, 2006)

Supernatural is a paranormal television drama series that follows the lives of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, as they travel across the country as demon hunters in a black 1967 Chevrolet Impala investigating and combating paranormal events, supernatural creatures and other unexplained occurrences based on American folklore and urban legends.

When Sam Winchester was just an infant and Dean was merely four years old, a yellow-eyed demon visited the Winchesters home in Lawrence, Kansas. Their mother, Mary, was mysteriously murdered as the father, John, and the young sons escaped the burning house. Later, the three become paranormal experts and hunters to help save lives from evil supernatural forces and to solve the puzzle behind their mother's death. However, Sam rebels from this lifestyle to live a normal life as a college student at Stanford University. When he finds his girlfriend dead in a similar manner like his mother decades ago, Sam has no choice but to reunite with Dean, abandon college, and find their missing father.

John eventually reveals his knowledge of the yellow-eyed demon to his sons, but does not want them to join the hunt. The legendary Samuel Colt gun can kill any demonic creature. His greatest weakness is losing his sons. During the last episodes, the three Winchesters face the yellow-eyed demon and his minions. In one of their paranormal investigations, they endure a catastrophic incident that leaves them injured and near death.

This is one of the best television series on the paranormal. The creators used extensive research on magic, folklore, urban legends, and spirituality to make an interesting and captivating show!Sam and Dean use fake identifications to gain access to confidential records and interview witnesses in several cases. The humor and juxtaposition is also excellent throughout the show. The Season One ending leaves audiences anxious to find out what happens after the incident! The Winchesters experienced a very tragic event with the death of Mary that changed their lives forever. In the meantime, they investigate and exorcise dark paranormal occurrences in towns across America in their Chevy Imapala. I highly recommend this series!

Season One is available to buy or rent on DVD.

  • 22 Episodes Total

  • Season One: 2006-2007

  • Station: The WB/The CW

Season One Promo