Category Archives: Review

BIMA the Garuda Warrior Episode 3 Review

The story started with Ray had a terrible nightmare regarding his family. Something I have forgotten about this series because the backstory of this series is not exposed much (maybe saved for later plot development). Ray still in confusion whether to accept the task as Earth protector or not. Now the series introduced monster of the week called Lizarion monster and also we heard some informal speech (Apa lo? Rese’ lo!) to my surprise. The monster attacked one basketball athlete and then invade the sport hall to make Ray appeared on the scene “less than a minute”.

After some untransformed fighting scene, Rey transformed and we got a pretty dang good and impressive fighting scene between Bima versus the combatant and Lizarion monster in busway stop. I realized that the pace is still fast (retaining from previous episodes) but this series improved it a little bit. The Lizarion escaped and we got a scene where Ray scolded Rena for not helping her (a scene that will make Ray has more enemies called “JKT48 wota”). Luckily he apologized in the later scene. Still questioning himself about being Bima, he finally made up his mind, he will fight Vudo no matter what it costs. That’s cliche but I think the kids who watched this series will be happy.

Ray then learned from mere random internet page (more like Google search result page) that lizard weakness is the sun. Lizarion only attacked when the sun is covered by the cloud. Some may seen this ridiculous, but considering this series aimed for children, that scene makes the kids think about how to solve difficult problems. Well, that’s the formula of showa Kamen Rider exactly. And for me that means good.

As usual the fighting scenes (for the third time, that’s rare for a 20 minutes duration tokusatsu series) looks very good. Except, there’s one scene where a car suddenly passed both Bima and Lizarion and then gone without explanation. Ah, the last 1/4 portion of the series is edited badly. Also, I don’t see any differences between Bima Blue Storm and Bima Red Fire as finishers. Well, I hope they will explain it later.

Overall, the episode is good on its own. Still we have troubles such as lazy audio editing, stiff acting (but it’s getting better), unresolved scenes, or fast pace of plot. But I see the sign of improvement here and there and I expect more for the next episode.

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BIMA The Garuda Warrior Episode 2 Review

Continuing what was left from previous episode, the enemy, now called Topeng Besi (or Iron Mask) as Vudo’s chief commander, attacked Bima with his own blue power stone. Bima escaped and this commander returned to his flying ship. Now we have serious problem with this series. Whoever responsible for this matter, I have to say audio editing of this series sucks. At least they should have quality control before. I can’t catch up with several conversations, notably between Rasputin and Topeng Besi.

This episode slowly showed character developments such as Ray’s denial of the responsibility becoming Bima. Very typical archetypal pattern of superheroes narration. I really feel this series follows the pattern of Showa Kamen Rider. This is predictable because Indonesian audience is mostly familiar with Kamen Rider Black. Even I start to predict that there will be tensions and conflict between Ray and Randy just like mirroring Minami Kotaro and Akuzuki Nobuhiko. As a series heavily emphasized on fighting scenes, that kind of plot is acceptable.

As this episode itself, it’s full of actions scenes. We only have one melodramatic scene where Rena questioned Ray about Randy’s whereabouts. I don’t need to discuss the detail as the acting is very very stiff.

This episode fixes some problems we previously had in previous one. The pace is still fast but now plausible (unlike in episode 1 where everything seemed in rush mode). The actions scenes are very well choreographed without unnecessary jumps (common trick in most Indonesian silat series). But I am disappointed with Helios. As a dual-wielded sword, it came too fast (without explanation) and just appeared less than one minute. It was cool but felt underwhelmed.

Why I didn’t discuss much of the plot? It’s very simple and predictable, nothing much to complain yet nothing also to praise.

BIMA The Garuda Warrior Episode 1 Review

The story started when certain scientists recorded a message about parallel world when suddenly a VUDO monster with his foot soldiers attacked and blew the house. Fast forward 21 years later, we see our hero named Ray Bramasakti worked in a workshop or garage to repair some motorcycles. Gee, this series is sponsored by Suzuki Satria (hence the name, Satria Garuda), what a way to promote a product here.

Then we are introduced to other characters as well, Iskandar siblings (Randy and Rena). Rena is starred by Stella from JKT48 and we got eyes candy (hurray) for this series. Move on, we then see Ray and Rena went on a date in National Monument (Ind: Monas) when Ray saw a light struck on a building. Being irresponsible by leaving a cute girl behind, he went there to find that a warrior fought several monsters (or foot soldiers or whatever) with cool design. Ray and this warrior named Mikhail fought as best as they could which unfortunately brought us to the typical scene of Mikhail fell from building. Ray catch his hand but the foot soldiers strike Ray brutally with their weapons until Mikhail decided to choose Ray as a warrior based on bravery he saw in front of his eyes.

Then Mikhail gave Ray red power stone that has the ability to transform Ray into BIMA the Garuda Warrior. Just then other foot soldiers attacked people at Monas. They really know who to catch, the cutest girl there without apparent reason. And finally we saw a good fighting scene where BIMA kicked that foot soldiers’ butt until a new monster appeared and attacked BIMA. Yes, this episode ended with cliffhanger.

Okay, that’s the synopsis I can tell because honestly I am confused with the pace of the plot. It runs way too fast as most of the scenes jumped without enough explanation. I think duration is the problem here. I realize that 20+ minutes for a series in Indonesia is not enough. We are accustomed to 1 hour format like other series. I feel strange though, I have to see it as superhero series which usually runs only for half-hour format (with commercial included), but the way most of the stories being told here is mostly in 1 hour (even 2 hours if they want to).

The acting? I have to say it’s passable but could be better. Yes, acting is the weakest feature we have from this series. It’s okay but I wish they act more natural, not as stiff as we saw. Luckily this is just the first episode and the chance of improvements are there to come. I feel like I am watching a usual sinetron (sinema elektronik or common drama series) when watching and listening their conversations. As of the tone, this series is surprisingly serious and dark as I couldn’t remember any humorous scene or dialogues here.

The actions here is pretty dang cool. By far, the fighting scenes here is one of the best if not the best in Indonesian series. Yes, it’s not as good as usual Kamen Rider or Super Sentai level, but at least it’s better than I have expected. As a series targeted for kids, the action scenes are the main selling point, and they made a good job delivering it.

Overall, the first episode has a good start. Having a cliffhanger ending is a good decision to attract people to watch this series. I hope there will be improvements as the story progress further.

By the way, I really want Bandai to make SHFiguarts of this BIMA!

Game Dev Tycoon

This is a unique game but not an original creation. Game Dev Tycoon (GDT) is a business simulation game where the focus of this game is to manage a game company. The basic idea is borrowed or inspired heavily from Game Dev Story by Kairosoft. While GDS set as sandbox simulation game with small scale, as their platforms are only in iOS and Android, GDT simply enhanced the experience by adding more realistic mechanism and realistic approach. Greenheart Games as the developer of this game successfully simulate how game developer’s life would be in real life.

Those who have played GDS will have no difficulties or take more times to understand how the game works, but this is GDS in steroids. GDT is a difficult game to be played (or in this sense, to be managed) because this game basically enlarge what Kairosoft had done from their game, in larger and realistic scale. The gameplay is simple and very addictive, at the same time, difficult and can be frustrating.This is not a game for newbie, this is a game for those who appreciate the world of video games in general.

The developer of the game knows how to add easter eggs, real life references, even absurd jokes implemented on the gameplay. From game console parody to scam/fraud mail reference, this game is so familiar to those who follow the history of video games since the era of Commodore 64 until today.

Yes, this game is not for beginner. Easy in gameplay but difficult in finishing it. For a game with price tag of $8, this game really worth the price.

Score: 4 out of 5

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger

Super Sentai series is reaching its burnout state as this movie proves it.

As annual tradition, this versus movie feels a little bit awkward because previously Go-Busters and Gokaiger worked together in Super Hero Taisen so their meeting feels not as fateful as previous Super Sentai cross-over before. Somehow their cross-over is not exciting at all other than pretty good action scenes that fill this movie as whole. Probably due to underwhelming reception of Go-Busters as the series itself is a major blow in ratings and the quality of the series itself is seriously panned.

The story is predictable, which is why Super Sentai is burnout now, using the same formula, the same setting, and the same cliche method. The only thing that is special from this movie is that their mechas transformed (Gokai Change) into past Super Sentai mechas according to their resemblances. Even though Kyoryugers have their appearance earlier and Kyoryu Red interacts directly with Gokai Red and Red Buster, unlike previous early-bird Sentai cameo, but their appearance is not that special.

Surprisingly, the acting of Gokaiger’s cast is pretty bad, unlike their previous appearances (series or movies). Their acting is stiff, awkward, and seems they forgot their previous characterizations naturally.

Overall, this is a pretty messed-up versus movie.

Score: 2 out of 5

Uchuu Keiji Gavan The Movie

Uchuu Keiji Gavan the Movie is the commemorative celebration of 30th anniversary of Metal Heroes. There are lot of issues to be noted from this movie.

Storywise, it is about Gavan’s successor (dubbed Gavan Type-G) facing his own personal problem with “for the sake of protecting the universe” as the ingredient. The story is somewhat very weak and cliche, confusing the audience whether it is for kids or technically for adult. While it is understandable that most of them are adult who enjoyed Gavan as their childhood superhero, both types of audience will find this movie seems made in a rush. Character’s development is very predictable, actions scenes are decent, and overused CGI ruin this movie’s charm.

The protagonist, Geki Jumonji, is not interesting at all. Nothing can be described from the character (hence bad acting from the actor himself). Retsu (original Gavan) only served as secondary character, no, maybe even can be considered as cameo. Sharivan and Shaider only appear less than five minutes, used as fans-service and nothing else. This is the worst Japanese superhero storyline that deals with love triangle after Kamen Rider the First. Even Gavan the Movie feels like repeating the same mistake as The First did in the past. They are superheroes that supposed to protect people (or in Uchuu Keji case, universe), instead audience were given ridiculous love twist that is just as predictable as the character development itself.

To make it worse, this movie lacks of nostalgic elements. Even Gokaiger vs Gavan did the job better than this movie.

This movie is very disappointing, there are lots to be desired. If only they did not make this movie in a rush, the result would be significantly different.

Score: 2 out of 5

Generasi-90an

Pengarang: Marchella FP

Generasi yang menikmati segala hal yang terjadi antara tahun 1990-2000 adalah generasi dengan segudang cerita dan kenangan indah. Dari dunia televisi, permainan, gaya hidup, semua meninggalkan kesan yang mendalam terutama bagi mereka yang lahir dari era ’80-an.

Buku Generasi-90an karangan Marchella FP ini berusaha mengumpulkan kembali koleksi-koleksi kenangan yang sangat jauh berbeda dibandingkan dengan keadaan yang terjadi saat ini. Secara akurat buku ini mencoba mengilustrasikan kembali betapa banyaknya elemen-elemen yang sepele sekalipun mampu mengisi dekade tersebut dengan rapi. Fungsi buku ini menjadi begitu penting dalam sejarah perkembangan budaya populer di Indonesia. Boleh dianggap ini semacam rekaman masa lalu yang beberapa di antaranya nyaris terlupakan. Buku Generasi-90an adalah potret (yang walau hanya dalam ilustrasi) jujur bagaimana manusia era ’90-an hidup dan menikmati hidup tersebut.

Terlepas dari fungsi utamanya sebagai nostalgia, buku ini sedikit banyak mampu membawa pembacanya kembali ke dunia saat Indonesia masih menjadi macan Asia, saat segala usia dimanja tontonan yang menghibur dan mendidik, saat komunikasi yang terbatas justru menimbulkan banyak kreativitas, hingga yang paling sederhana dan menyentuh, bahwa dulunya manusia memang senang berinteraksi secara langsung bukan virtual dan dibatasi teknologi. Buku ini adalah bukti bagaimana manusia pernah hidup di zaman tersebut. Buku ini bisa menjadi sangat vital sebagai usaha preservasi kenangan yang selama ini memang kurang dilakukan oleh berbagai pihak.

Memang buku ini tidak benar-benar mencakup keseluruhan peninggalan era ’90-an tersebut. Ada beberapa hal yang boleh dibilang “tertinggal” seperti tayangan serial kung fu (semacam Return of the Condor Heroes, Monkey King, Judge/Justice Bao, Drunken fist, dll), Asia Bagus, suasana krisis moneter dan reformasi 1998, dan banyak lainnya. Tapi secara proporsi, buku ini sudah lebih dari cukup.

Buku ini sangat direkomendasikan baik sebagai nostalgia bagi yang mengalami, maupun bagi mereka yang tidak tahu atau melupakan era emas Indonesia saat itu.

Nilai: 5 dari 5

 

2012 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Rurouni Kenshin (2012)

Condensing a storyline from manga or anime is not an easy task. It often creates tension and complains merely from the fan (since the most targeted audience are the fans), adaptation of popular media into another will take the essence not only for profit orientation, but also fan receptions. Thankfully, this live-action of Rurouni Kenshin is a great adaptation.

The storyline of the movie is slightly altered from original manga which is reasonable, still it is entertaining on its own. It pleases fans and common audiences who had no idea about the franchise better known as Samurai X in some localizations. The acting is superb. Takeru Satoh as Kenshin Himura, the main protagonist, gives new and realistic incarnation of what an ex-assassins would be portrayed. The only notable difference adaptation goes to Hajime Saito but still the actor played it well.

The setting is convincing us that it is the real beginning of Meiji era in 19th century of Japan. Whoever does the set, it pays attention to details, and the result is beautiful. From scary night of Bakumatsu era in Kyoto into Kamiya-Kashin dojo set, nothing to be complained. Also, the sets help the fighting scenes feel realistic, gory, at the same time, true rendition of samurai sword fights.

This movie is really fun to watch, and satisfying until the end. Very recommended to watch.

Score: 5 out of 5

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (Series)

Gundam AGE is a perfect example of how everything should not be messed up from the beginning. The biased of how the series is just a commercial to sell toys (gunpla) is not too aplicable here. While the toy sales seems good, the series suffers a lot of issues.

The idea was actually promising. Combining elements from Universal Century mixed up with three generations lineage are fresh, something new for a Gundam franchise. But Gundam AGE already suffered major complain, the series design is way too “kiddie”. Whether this thing contributed greatly to the series or not, still this found by some people to be an annoying element.

The storyline at the beginning run too slow, notably from character developments. It takes 15 episodes, interrupted by Zalam vs Euba conflict that did not help at all, to overturn this slow progression. Starting episode 16, everything runs way too fast. Now the other way around happened. So many characters only appear within 1-4 episodes and perished without development. From slow into no development is surprising for a Gundam series.

The worst part came at the last generation. While the MS designs at their finest, the progression of the storyline went nowhere. Everything made in a rush, confusing messed up conflict,

Gundam AGE returns the “naive black and white character” previously ommited from Gundam 00 (saves for Saji Crossroad, which is not a true main character). Some viewers already had enough with Kira Yamato and everything that ruined Gundam SEED Destiny. While Flit Asuno and Asemu Asuno treated greatly for their character develeopments, Kio Asuno got nothing but being immature childish annoying philosophy for such war scale happened between Earth Federation and Vagan. And to sum up the whole series’ disaster, the ending is fast (made in a rush), predictable, wasted conclusion, and cheap attempt to replicate the glorious cooperations seen from episode 17 of Gundam 00’s second season.

There are some good parts can be noticed from this series. Good “if not great” MS and battleship designs, cute character designs, some Universal Century references or easter eggs, awesome MS fighting scenes, and sad memorable scenes which repetitive for a Gundam series, still capturing viewers’ emotion.

Overall, a bad series. Still enjoyable but can be boring easily.

Score: 2 out of 5