Monday, February 20, 2012

nikutai ha gachi volume 2

I didn't know but Nikutai Ha Gachi (肉体派ガチ), the brand-new version of our good old mens love anthology Nikutai Ha (肉体派), has its own section in in Aqua Comics' website. I saw there that Nikutai Ha's first volume was released in 2005. Two thousand five. Considering I was already a seasoned veteran from the Kinniku Otoko days back when Nikutai Ha launched, that sure makes me feel old.

In any case, Nikutai Ha Gachi's 2nd volume is out in a couple days (February 23rd), and the cover is drawn by our very own fan favourite, Shoutaroh Kojima!

This issue's theme is 雄尻 ("oshiri"), or, from what I could understand, "male asses". I can't say I don't appreciate their choice.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

my favourite south park episode

South Park has been one of my favourite shows since I was like, 13. That's well over a decade. A while back I found out the official site had full episodes available and I've been watching it every now and then.

Recently I watched You're Getting Old, the latest season's mid-season finale. It's one of those unconventional episodes that don't follow the typical pattern of the TV shows they are from, and it's extremely difficult to watch if you're a fan. Stan celebrates his 10th birthday and becomes unable to have fun with anything. Everything to him looks and sounds like crap - it's greatly exaggerated, but so many things do seem to become less fun as you grow old. Because he can't have fun with anything, his friends don't want to hang out with him anymore. His family also starts to fall apart and basically his life takes a turn to the worst.

It really had an impact on me. I can only imagine how tough it must have been to the fans when the mid-season ended like that, it pretty much looked like the show was done for! Thankfully I watched it a few months after its original airing and therefore I knew the series didn't end (the solution Stan found to bring his life back to normal in the following episode was becoming an alcoholic). That episode has become one of my favourite in a TV show. I've been listening to the closing song, Fleetwood Mac's Landslide, almost every day since I watched that episode. It's such a beautiful song. Growing old is just so difficult.

Friday, January 13, 2012

the guilt in liking tim tebow

Today, everyone is writing about Tim Tebow being gay for some reason. It compelled me to write a bit to get stuff out of my chest. I'm a Bronco fan, because of Tebow, and that makes me a horrible person. I realise that, but I can't help it, and I'm a bit lost at what to do.

I started caring about American Football several years ago, because of Eyeshield 21, but I never cared specifically about the NFL much. My only exposure to it came from checking sexy players in a now-defunct Yahoo e-mail group in which I met this ridiculously hot quarterback named Tim Tebow. He was still in college then, and I didn't know much about him other than that he was tall and handsome and muscular and smoking hot.

Last August, the boyfriend and I went to New York to celebrate our 6th anniversary. For some unknown reason, I had my mind set that I needed a Tim Tebow jersey. I have no idea why I became fixated on that idea since Tebow was merely one among several hot guys in football, but I simply needed that goddamn jersey. Not wanted – I NEEDED it. After a quick search, I found out he now played for the Denver Broncos. I came to know of the Broncos a long ago from South Park, and finding out Tebow was a Bronco made it an easy choice to support them. Plus, the Broncos jersey is simply gorgeous.

Getting the jersey was a challenge in itself. New York City stores didn't carry Denver apparel, so I had to buy it online. The thing is: the official NFL store wouldn't accept my Brazilian credit card. Eventually, I did find FootballFanatics, an online store that shipped to Brazil, meaning they accepted my Brazilian American Express card (that was accepted in every single brick-and-mortar store in NYC... go figure), and I bought it. I wasn't sure regular free shipping would arrive in time, so I even spent an extra 20 bucks for overnight shipping. $100 for a shirt –pretty expensive, but worth it.

That was August. We arrived in São Paulo in early September – the week the NFL season would start. I already knew football rules (at least most of them), but I had very little NFL baggage. I knew only a handful of the teams, basically no players, and I didn't know exactly how the League worked. Since I was on vacation from work, I decided I would learn it all before the first kickoff. And I did – I spend days researching everything and ended up with a pretty decent notion of everything NFL. Including that Tebow wasn't a starter, but merely a back-up that probably wouldn't get a chance to play any time soon. And that nobody really liked how he played – he was a joke. Considering I knew Tebow from college, where he was outstanding, the idea he was actually a bad player took a while to settle in my mind.

To make a very long story short, Tebow became a starter, upset several preconceived notions in the NFL, and my Broncos, which, at first, I adopted mostly because of Tebow, but had grown on me to the point I consider myself a full-fledged Bronco fan, Tebow or no Tebow, are two games away from the Super Bowl. What a road that was – one I don’t regret taking part in. And now, here we are, January 2012. Tebow is now basically everywhere you look, including gay websites… which makes my guilt less and less bearable.

The huge problem is Tim Tebow's religion. He's a hardcore Christian who supports horrible pro-"family" groups. While he has never stated specific hatred or dislike towards gays, homophobia and bigotry are basically implicit in everything he believes – heck, on everything he IS, because he IS his faith. I even read gay people calling gay Tebow fans "chickens who support the Colonel" – that made me feel awful, because I do support him as much as any Bronco fan.

Some gay people I met who supported Tebow say the fact he never stated he is homophobic allows us to give him the benefit of doubt. That's an argument I used before to calm my conscience, but I feel it's unadulterated hypocrisy. He's from a family of preachers and he behaves like some sort of incarnation of pure heedless faith. I honestly cannot see how he could be anything other than disapproving of homosexuality. Thinking otherwise feels to me way too much like lying to myself. I'm not sure I can use that argument, especially after Denver refused to take part in the It Gets Better project. "Benefit of doubt" becomes even harder after that attitude. I mean, I can see why the Denver Broncos wouldn’t do it, it’s a football organization – unfortunately, there’s a lot of internalized homophobia in football and things could, and would, get blown out of proportions. But individual players shouldn’t have excuses, especially Tim, who prides himself in being such a selfless, charitable person.

But, as I said, I am a Bronco fan now. I've followed the team through everything we've been through, and as several analysts have pointed out, this Broncos season has been one of the most remarkable in many, many years. They've grown on me, and football has become something I really enjoy. Tebow too has grown on me, not only as a hot guy, but as my quarterback and someone I wish only the best. And there lies my dilemma: I'm supporting someone who probably hates me and is opposed to everything I defend.

I'm not sure what to do. For the most part, I've ignored Tebow's religiousness or my homosexuality by keeping separate "brain switches" ("sports fan" and "gay") that I flip depending on the occasion. When I'm being a sport fan, my homosexuality is irrelevant, and when I'm reading gay stuff, what are sports again?. But that artificial separation of my own character is rapidly faltering now that every single person in the internet talks about Tebow, even gay people. It's like I'm being outed as a "traitor to our cause" (not literally, but metaphorically, in my guilty conscience) for supporting someone like Tebow. And it gets to me, because I don't want to support a bigot – it's contradictory to everything I believe in. The thing is, that bigot isn't a walking stereotype like Rick Santorum (or his Brazilian equivalent, Jair Bolsonaro) - he's gorgeous, he's silent about the issue and he's my team's quarterback. But does that mean just because of that he should be given a free pass? Wouldn’t that be basically supporting intolerance, crumbling my coherence and making my arguments towards equality all but meaningless?

I sincerely cannot answer those questions. It’s hard to be a gay Bronco fan.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

dota 2 and dominion

Dota 2 is amazing.
And League of Legends Dominion appears to be right across the corner too!

It's a good time to be a MOBA player.
Capitalism and competition FTW.

Monday, July 25, 2011

aria di mezzo carattere

While skimming through random articles on Final Fantasy Wikia, I came across the entry for Aria di Mezzo Carattere and I was reminded of which I consider the best scene in a videogame, Final Fantasy VI's opera. Looking back, I'm impressed how such a simple scene can be so powerful. I would say that, even if it isn't the premiere cinematic/dramatic videogame scene, it's the greatest testament to the power of script in videogames.

In a nutshell, your party needs to cross the ocean in order to get to raid the Empire's capital city. It happens that the free-spirited rogue gambler who owns the world's only airship is an opera fanatic who has disclosed his intention of kidnapping and marrying the opera's main singer. Therefore, your party devise a plan of having the battle-hardened, former Empire general - who happens to look uncannily like the opera's main singer - take her place in the next performance, be kidnapped and convince the gambler to take your group across the ocean.

That's the unconventional background to the greatest scene in videogame history, the Aria di Mezzo Carattere. Mechanically, there's no challenge whatsoever: you play as Celes, the general, and just have to choose the right line three times among two available (which are conveniently presented to you right before you start the scene). Looking today, the mechanical constraints might even make it seem dated to some - to me, it makes it all the more charming. The song is intensely evocative and emotional, perfectly setting the appropriate mood. Without a doubt, it is one of my favourite pieces of videogame music, up there with masterpieces such as To Far Away Times from Chrono Trigger and Angel's Fear from Secret of Mana. I have a hard time listening to either of these without tearing up.

The opera's originality, lyricism, feeling and perfect composition are, in my opinion, still unparalleled to this day. That's why it's my favourite videogame scene.

Monday, June 13, 2011

fairy tail

I started reading Fairy Tail when it was released locally, around 7 months ago. It had been at least five years since I last bought manga from the newsstands. When I saw Fairy Tail was going to be released, it felt appropriate to rekindle that long forgotten habit. The first manga I read was Groove Adventure Rave, from Fairy Tail's own Hiro Mishima, about 10 years ago. I used to download it from a scanlation group called MangaHelpers back then. In that site few months later I found One Piece, which ended up becoming my quintessential manga series.

Fairy Tail reads just like One Piece-lite. It's entertaining in a generic shounen sort of way. It doesn't engage you completely the way Jump series do (such as the aforementioned One Piece, Eyeshield 21 or even Hikaru no Go), but I admit I was looking forward to next month's release after finishing each volume. I admire its concise fight scenes, most conflicts so far (just finished vol.7) haven't stretched further than I felt it was necessary, but at the same time it lacks brilliance. Something the series I can't help but compare Fairy Tail to (One Piece) has in spades.

I'd say it's a great introductory shounen manga. I'm not sure if I would recommend One Piece to a newcomer, since it sets an awfully high standard for a shounen manga, and it might lean a tad too heavily on the emotional side - far more than most shounen manga, and that might be deceiving to a newbie. Fairy Tail is more direct to the point. It's an adventure shounen manga that's filled with...well, actual adventures, instead of emotionally-draining, heartwarming (or at times heart-wrenching) moments of heavenly inspiration. It doesn't feel like a masterpiece, but it's been a pleasant read so far. And, to be honest, One Piece only evolved into a true manga masterpiece with the Usopp-Sanji-Nami backstories in the Capt. Kuro, Krieg and Arlong sagas, respectively. I'd love to be surprised by Fairy Tail.

My biggest complaint is the rampant abuse of female fanservice. Young girls with impossibly thin waists and watermelon breasts get old after a while. Particularly when there's no serviceable muscular manly men in sight, I'd say only Elfman and Laxus scratched that itch. Gray would have, if only he was older, or larger, or both (I sure appreciate his stripping antics).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

doujin game by kojiman

Gay manga artist and personal god Shoutaroh Kojima said on Twitter he's thinking of making a doujin game.
Kojiman, one of my favourite things in the world, possibly making a game, ANOTHER of my favourite things in the world. Time to explode in joy already?

This post is now diamonds.

(he still doesn't know how to make a game, so it isn't properly an announcement, more of a request for suggestions on how to do it... still, diamonds!)