Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bodyjam: The music made me do it


The following post is perhaps something quite different than you're used to see from me, but this topic has played a big part in my life for a while now hence I'd like to share it. :) Not to mention it's been ages since I posted something!

BodyJam has been an addiction of mine (and still is) for almost 5 years now. It has made me more confident, more open and more conscious of my body. It gave me tons of new friends, both young and old, whom are continously motivating me to have fun and be myself. It helps me to forget all my worries when I'm down, or vent my frustration when I'm angry. It gives me a sense of rhythm and a sense of unity... In a way, BodyJam has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

But what is BodyJam? BodyJam is one of the many fitness courses by Les Mills, a fitness community originating from New-Zealand, and is a 55 minute-long dance workout to the hippest music styles and the coolest choreography. Before you say "Hey, this sounds a lot like Zumba", I'd like to point out that Les Mills has been around since 1968 and has gone international on 1997 and whereas the effects and choreography of Zumba differs from instructor to instructor, Bodyjam has a more set choreography that works in an entirely different way.

Let's break it down


A BodyJam workout varies from release to release due to the different approach of music in each new release. These releases change around every 3 months with a new choreography and a new tracklist. House, techno, disco, rock, hip-hop, jazz, salsa, merengue, ... BodyJam has it all.

A typical class starts with easy moves and a simple warm-up to get in the groove, next comes a build up where you rehearse the moves one by one and piece them together into a choreography, and finally you break out in a full performance! After that you can take a breather with a recovery track, although not for long because the second phase is usually even more intense. The lesson ends with a fun groove down where you can stretch your tired arms and legs, because that's what they'll definately be after you're done! ;)

So there you have it, I hope to be able to write a little review when the next release is around corner, from the looks of it it's going to be a blast!




Sunday, May 13, 2012

Anime opening/ending top 100 (part X)


Here it finally is, the last part of my anime opening and ending top 100. I hope you'll enjoy this last part as they are my absolute favorites!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anime opening/ending top 100 (part IX)

Dun dun dun, just one month left for the the top 10 of the top 100. It has been a long ride, but I for one am looking forward to see it finished :) No doubt there will be a spin-off list with anime openings and endings of anime I've seen since I've started posting my big list. So in a way, I guess this list is never over. ^^:: I suppose as long as cool opening and ending sequences are made I will keep on posting! *grins*

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Scroll of Resurrection: How to make an epic comeback in Azeroth

Yesterday a friend asked me if I've read about the Scroll of Resurrection promotion of World of Warcraft EU. I've told her I've been contemplating to come back to World of Warcraft for some casual gaming, since I could play with some friends and have some fun time for myself exploring the game. I've been waiting however to get some more time on my hands, as I wouldn't be able to play much, but for this promotion I'm willing to make a small exception.

I've seen a notice about the Scroll of Resurrection pass my mailbox before, but I just thought it was a normal promotion to come back with a bit of gametime on the side... Turns out they're doing one heck of a stunt. After reading the link my friend gave me, I saw there were a lot of benefits I just couldn't ignore. A free boost of one character to level 80 AND a free character transfer AND a free faction change? Hell yes.

I've read there were a lot of issues on the forums however with people who were unable to do all of these things, but so far I don't have any problems. So, especially for you people (and people who are interested of course): here's a guide to set up your character with a scroll of Resurrection. ;)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Anime opening/ending top 100 (part VIII)

A new month, a new countdown of the anime opening/ending top 100, welcome to part 8! From here it sort of became of a list of my favorite anime endings and openings I've seen at that time, so it became hard to give critique about them. What's for sure is that the music played a large part in these choices. I hope you'll be able to enjoy them as much as I do!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Superhero Zoo: Tiger & Bunny


Initially I was a bit reluctant of watching Tiger & Bunny after watching the promo images and material of the show. Mecha's? Not my cup of tea. Superheroes? Has been done so many times before. Character stereotyping? Eehh....

However... After forcing myself to give the show a chance and watching the first episode I decided I was horribly wrong with my judgement. First things first: Tiger & Bunny has absolutely nothing to do with big giant robots... and the superhero spin? Brilliantly executed with an original twist.

Tiger & Bunny easily became one of my favorite anime this year, and I will tell you why:

In the city of Sternbild people with superpowers are commonly called NEXT. Some of these people have made it their duty to use their special abilities to help and protect people, somtimes even against other NEXT. Pretty normal so far now right? Well, think again. Being a superhero is not a walk in the park. While solving cases and saving lives these heroes have a serious reputation to maintain: they need to cater to the needs and image of their sponsors (think on the scale of Amazon and Pepsi) by being as popular as possible and flashing off their sponsors logo's on national television. That's right: every hero's activity gets heavily documented in total reality-tv style on Hero TV, the most popular program in Sternbild, which also chooses the "King of Heroes" through a yearly ranking... Talking about pressure.

Work that thing baby.
The story starts with Kotetsu, a veteran hero who goes by the name of Wild Tiger. He has always been operating on his own, that is, until his sponsor company decided to quit. Luckily for Kotetsu his ex-boss is a good bloke and leaves Kotetsu in the hands of Apollon Media where they just have the "perfect" job for him. Much to the annoyance of Kotetsu he has to team up with the rookie Barnaby Brooks jr. who can increase his physical strength 100 times for 5 minutes, which is the same power Kotetsu has. His alter ego Wild Tiger gets a total make-over and together with Barnaby they get marketed as the first superhero "team" in the history of Hero TV. (In reality, Kotetsu gets casted as Barnaby's sidekick to boost Barnaby's popularity, leaving him even more out of the spotlights as usual)

Both hero's also have quite different views on what it means to be one. Kotetsu steadily holds on to the old superhero principles such as making dramatic entrees (and destroying things in the progress), keeping a secret indentity (the mask doesn't really hide much though) and being generally kindhearted and helping everyone in need. Barnaby finds Kotetsu's views terribly old fashioned and aims for the top, making no secret of his identity, even to the point of doing talkshows and photoshoots.

In the beginning their conflicting views put a strain on their partnership, but as the series progresses their teamwork gets better and their relationship grows, although with their ups and downs. It's this relationship, together with those of the other characters, that makes the series really enjoyable. One of the things I really found silly and endearing is Kotetsu's nickname for Barnaby which he continues using for Barnaby, much to Barnaby's annoyance. "Because you hop around and have the ears of a cute bunny rabbit" he decides to call him Bunny-chan.

        

My favorite characters

Tiger & Bunny has a lot of memorable characters, which makes it really hard to not like them all. I do have a few favorites however. :)

Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Wild Tiger)
Kotetsu is your typical loveable goofball. He cares more about helping other people than receiving points for his good deeds. This is probably why he's not afraid to break some property if it means getting the job done, much to the frustration of his sponsors who have to pay for the damage. As a young child he resented his powers, but the legendary superhero mr. Legend showed him that he had what it takes to be a hero.  He eventually got married but lost his wife to an illness, leaving him and his only child behind. His wife supported him to the very end, hoping he would be continue being a hero she could be proud about. After that he left his daughter in the care of his mother on the countryside to fullfill his wife's wish and even though he tries to keep in contact with his child, their relationship has watered down as his daughter has no idea of his work as a superhero.

His biggest dream is to hear his daughter say that her dad is cool.


Barnaby Brooks (Barnaby/"Bunny")
Barnaby is the newest hero around the block in Sternbild City and is quite an unconventional one at that too. While he is certainly not coldhearted, he doesn't share the views of his partner Wild Tiger, whom he calls an "Old Man" because of his old fashioned views. Barnaby quickly becomes one of the most liked heroes because of his handsomeness and coolness.

Barnaby has lost his parents at a very young age. They were renowned scientists and were conducting revolutionary research on the field of robotics. His memories about how he has lost them are quite vague however. The only thing he knows is that someone has killed his parents and he has been living a solitary life ever since.

Although Barnaby is the complete opposite of his partner, Kotetsu eventually breaks through his stoicness and cool demeanor and Barnaby manages to enjoy himself more. It quickly becomes clear however that Barnaby remains emotionally unstable whenever his parents death is concerned.


Keith Goodman (Sky High)
Keith is probably the most positive and goodhearted person you will ever meet, like his name suggests. He places a lot of emphasis on being polite and is the former King of Heroes. He's very gullible however and a bit of an airhead as he often repeats himself and his catchphrase is "Arigato, soushite arigatou". (Thank you, and again, thank you) The producer of Hero TV finds this one of his charms though.

He has the ability to make strong gusts of wind and makes use of a jetpack attached to his suit to maneuver in the air.

He also has a dog called John.








Nathan Seymour (Fire Emblem)
Nathan is transgendered and is alway seen wearing distinctive make-up. He likes to call himself "one of the girls" and openly flirts with the other male heroes. He's very flamboyant and also has his own sponsor company called "Helios Energy".

He's shown to be a skilled driver, as he drives a highly maneuverable race car and he has the power to generate and control fire.

Although he has a flashy personality he's seen as one of the more mature characters in the series, quickly catching on on people's worries and problems.








Saito
Saito is the head engineer of Appolon Media and the builder of both Tiger's and Barnaby's suits. He's very quiet in person and only Kotetsu seems to be able to understand him. This is entirely a different case when he speaks through a phone or telecom, where he is incredibly loud to almost screaming. He also installed the "Good Luck Mode" in Tiger and Barnaby's suit which enlarges part of Tiger's hand and part of Barnaby's foot. Being amazed by this feature Barnaby asks Saito if the Good Luck Mode enhances their performance,  but Saito said it was designed because it looked cool.

         


Conclusion
Although Tiger & Bunny makes use of some old and sometimes overdone concepts it really makes those concepts its own and gives an interesting twist on them so it doesn't become boring. The characters and the wonderful voice acting sucked me in right away. It's also nice to see an older hero steal the spotlight as Kotetsu is somewhat in his mid thirties and has a child he has to worry about, as opposed to the standard young shounen anime hero. I could also really appreciate the humor and little nuances of certain things which made me chuckle multiple times.

Tiger & Bunny might not be the most amazing anime but it is highly entertaining and amusing, certainly for young adults. The ending was satisfactory but leaves the door open to a second season, I for one am hoping there will be more. ^^

Friday, February 17, 2012

Anime opening/ending top 100 (part VII)

We're coming closer to the finish! It has been a long time already, almost a year since I started this top 100. I've fallen behind a little, but I'm keen on getting this list fully published! To keep up with the more recent posts I've checked the videolinks of older entries and replaced them with newer video's if they became unavailable. Either way, here are entries number 40  'til 31. Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Now you're thinking with portals

If you would ask me upfront I would say I've been a big Portal fan for a while, but I have to admit, I've only bought the game previous summer. Everything I knew about it before was from viral videos, gameplay descriptions and well... just the crazy promotional videos from Valve itself.

So, half a year ago I found the original Portal game heavily discounted in my local mediastore. I just couldn't resist the temptation and brought it home with me the same day. After a quick install and setting up a Steam account, I was ready to go... and I was gone for the next few hours. 


What's so fun about Portal is that it utilises a learning curve and combines humor with a great storyline into an addictive game that makes use of your brain juice and makes you wish for more...
Making you wish for more is by the way the only flaw of the game. It is just too darn short! You roughly need about 8 hours to finish the game, which is a real shame as the setting makes for so many interesting storylines and gives so many possibilities to exploit. Nevertheless, the quality of the gameplay and the design of the levels and characters is topnotch. This is where Portal really shines.

Labrat
You start the game by waking up in a facility without knowing who you are. The only thing that keeps you company is a slightly sarcastic female AI, who challenges you to do a series of tests and promises  you delicious cake at the end of these tests. ( The cake is a lie! >:( )

It soon becomes clear that you are in the playground of a huge testing facility named Aperture Science, which conducts tests on portal technology and the teleportation through them. Early on you find a portal gun which makes you able to shoot 2 portals in distinct colors, namely orange and blue. You need two portals to travel through them, as you will need to enter one to exit in the other. The portal gun is vital for progressing the testing rooms.

As you wrestle yourself through the many testchambers, you explore things that go beyond simple testing.You get to know more about the facility, what you're actually doing there and what the purpose of that sinister AI is, who indentifies herself as GLaDOS.


Characters

Next to the inovative gameplay, the one thing that makes a big impression is the characters you meet throughout the game. The most stunning fact about these characters is that they're actually objects, some with or without an AI equiped. When playing the game, I developed great fondness for my weightened companion cube, which, as GLaDOS gladly elaborates, "will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak. In the event that the Weighted Companion Cube does speak, the Enrichment Center urges you to disregard its advice." And I mean, the cube has friggin' hearts on it, what's not to love about it?

 
The next thing that has stolen my heart is a bit more lethal. As you advance to the more difficult chambers of the game, you will find some of them equiped with turrets. They can not move, yet they are quite painful if you stand in their vision scope, which is luckily not too broad. Because they are  immobile by themselves, you can hide behind them without becoming wounded by them (unless there's another turret facing you, of course!)  For being deadly sentry's they have a remarkable polite AI. If they've spotted you but lost you out of sight they ask if you're "still there", and if you tip them over to make them shut down they "don't blame you" for it.


The last one is probably the best known. GLaDOS is without a doubt the star of the game. With her witty, yet sinister remarks it becomes very hard to not love her. It is not very difficult either, because she is in fact the only character that actively communicates with you. As the game progresses she becomes more sadistic and although this is not necessarily a good thing for you, you feel there is some sort of eerie bond between the character you're playing and GLaDOS which makes the ending kind of bittersweet. (Unless you know what happens in Portal 2 of course)



There's a lot of chemistry between the characters and I'm sure that even though the story itself is great, it wouldn't be the same if it weren't for these characters. Because of this, Portal is, together with Portal 2, easily one of my favorite games. I'm secretely hoping for a spin-off as I'd love to know more of the history of Aperture science and the making of GLaDOS... There's a lot of information about it already out there and Portal 2 has partially answered that wish already, but it would be great to experience those in an actual game.

And... last but not least, the cake is not a lie!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vote to befriend a Pokémon: Arceus event on Black & White

A few months ago, people got the chance to vote for their favorite Pokémon they wanted to get for free on their copy of Pokémon Black or White. It pretty much became clear that this Pokémon would be Arceus, as could be seen by the massive amount of votes he got. (I voted for Mew by the way!)

As of today you can befriend him by clicking on the Promotions tab on the Pokémon Global Link website, click on the Arceus event and type in the following password: ARCEUSVOTE


Do be quick as this event will end on the 1st of May, 2012, Giving you about roughly 3 months to befriend him. (Seriously, who doesn't want to have a god Pokémon in their game?)

Now I only need a good nickname, but what name do you give to God? :(
The Arceus you befriended will be Level 100 and will have the ability Multitype (this makes it change its type depending on the Plate it holds) and has the following moves: Recover, Hyper Beam, Perish Song and Judgement.

Arceus will be in the deepest clearing of the forest, so it's different from the other Dream World Pokémon you befriend. Truely befitting a God Pokémon if you ask me. Good luck snagging yourself one!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Anime opening/ending top 100 (part VI)

We're halfway through the top 100 and coming closer to my absolute favorite anime openings and endings. Around now it already got pretty hard deciding what the list was going to look like, because there are so many clips that are just amazing, whether it's the music or the imagery. It's not only that though, if I find an anime really good it has a chance to rank higher because of the characters that appear in the opening or ending sequence, so in the end it's a big mix of everything.

Time for part 6!