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Kingdom Hearts III Due for Release 2018! + D23 New World and Trailer

15 Jul

Last month, Square-Enix dropped a random trailer at one of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestras.

Yes Kingdom Hearts fans! Yes! This game will be released next year, 2018! We don’t know if it’s a worldwide release or the Japanese release date (as they’ve broken up release dates before), but we know something is coming out as soon as next year!

People, we have waited more than 10 long years for this game to drop. It has been 15 years since Kingdom Hearts I dropped, 12 years since Kingdom Hearts II was released, and years between the side games. We’ve been ready for this. A lot of us are older now (but we’re still into this game). We have more responsibilities, and can’t really focus on this game as much anymore. However, we also now have the money to buy this game. We just need it in our hands.

Tetsuya Nomura showed up at D23 Expo this year, all cool and collected like his character Riku, and expressed how much pressure he felt after the Kingdom Hearts III Orchestra. He felt how much we’ve been anticipating this. We were tired of all the teasing trailers with no release date. Even though we still don’t actually have a date, and things could be moved back, we know they are aiming for 2018.

The “brand new world” happens to be a Pixar classic and fan favorite. Many Kingdom Hearts fans have asked if we could enter a Pixar world. Toy Story, I know, was among the most asked for. It translates really well into this game. So far, most of my dreams are coming true.

All I need is confirmation from Utada Hikaru that she is returning to help with the theme song, and I am good to go.

New things I noticed:

  1. You can actually have more than THREE party members! In the original trailer, we saw that we had three. In this trailer, we had FOUR!
  2. New Keyblade transformations and attacks!
  3. New keyblade!
  4. This Toy Story seems to take place after the first movie since we see the aliens from Pizza planet in Andy’s room. We don’t see Jessie or Bullseye (yet).
  5. We are fighting Heartless and Nobodies in this game.

So, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought about D23 and what you think about it coming out next year! Do you think it might be rushed because of the hype? Or are you just happy the game is coming? Let me know!

To see a timeline of all the Kingdom Hearts games, click here.

Check out a video regarding Kingdom Hearts 3 HATE already!

Another Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer + New Trailer and World At D23 in July!

18 Jun

There have been three Kingdom Hearts teaser trailers since 2013. Now, Square-Enix has given us a fourth. Now, things seem to be moving towards better development. For me, though, these teasers make fans even more hyped up, which can be good and disastrous at the same time (if the game takes too long to be released or if the game doesn’t meet expectations). Fortunately, we’ve been told that Tetsuya Nomura is a “perfectionist” and won’t release the game until it is perfect. Unfortunately, Nomura has also said they had to cut certain things out of the game to push up the release.

It has been more than 10 years since Kingdom Hearts II came out, and mostly the loyal fans (and the fans who can afford to) have played the side games (the most recent one being Kingdom Hearts 2.8). After looking at the reactions to this trailer, I was shocked. The fans really are still around!

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Coming December 2016 + Complete Kingdom Hearts Timeline Finished!

This new trailer was so popular, in fact, even among everything happening at E3’s event (and outside of it) a little over a week ago, Kingdom Hearts was the top story in the gaming world among stories missed, according to IGN!

Most Kingdom Hearts fans were expecting to see information about Kingdom Hearts III at E3. But, surprise! A new trailer was dropped at the Kingdom Hearts ORCHESTRA tour.

Of course, as a Kingdom Hearts fan, I was super excited about the trailer.

Let’s review the trailer, shall we?

1) We’re seeing more from the Olympus Coliseum “Hercules” world.

2) The Command Style from Birth By Sleep Fragmentary Passage 0.2 seems to be adopted.

3) Party member combination attacks seem to be back, but better than before.

4) Hercules is now a party member.

5) Hades, Maleficent, and Pete are back.

6) The “black box” was mentioned. All my fellow fans who watched the Kingdom Hearts Unchained X Back Story cinematic know where that line is going…

7) The magic has taken on the style from Birth By Sleep Fragmentary Passage 0.2. Awesome.

8) We see the drive forms have returned, along with the Sonic Blade command.

9) Sora is trying to bring Roxas back. Dream Drop Distance comes to mind. Sora made new revelations about the Nobodies, so I figured Roxas would come up sooner or later in KHIII.

10) I’m not seeing the “amusement park” attacks here. I hope they weren’t scraped.

11) Keyblade transformation seems awesome.

12) Shotlock has returned.

13) It looks like there will be a dive mode similar to what we had in Dream Drop Distance. Are they discarding the gummi Ship? I really liked the upgrades for the gummi ship in Kingdom Hearts II and was hoping to see better upgrades in the new game… Then again, it got annoying at times. Maybe the dive mode is back because Sora is trying to become what he couldn’t become in Dream Drop Distance… Ya’ll fans know what I’m talking about.

14) Aerial Finish is back!

15) Flowmotion has returned.

16) D23 Expo July 15, 2017 will reveal the trailer and a NEW WORLD. We already got the word that Big Hero 6‘s world will be in the game. I wonder if the new trailer will show a bit of it. This makes me excited, but I’m afraid of spoiling the game for myself. XD I’m so weak to these teasers.

I’ve been watching quite a bit of reaction videos, too. It’s strange when I watch reaction videos that question “the black box” and are confused about certain commands. The fan’s overall Kingdom Hearts experience is exposed when watching these videos, and it’s obvious when a fan hasn’t played the game since Kingdom Hearts II. XD The fans who have really been keeping up with things not only understand what’s going on, but they are creating solid theories.

 

There are many other reaction videos out there! It’s quite entertaining.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the Kingdom Hearts III trailer!

 

Kingdom Hearts III: The Theme Song Dilemma and the Utada Hikaru Controversy

23 Jun

 

kingdom-hearts-3.jpg

Kingdom Hearts 3 has already been high in anticipation, but it has really been the talk of fans lately since the E3 gameplay trailer was released several days ago. Many speculations, rumors, and desires have been spreading around fiercer than before.

One of those speculations and desires involve the theme song vocalist Utada Hikaru…

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If most of you haven’t heard, Utada Hikaru has been on hiatus since 2011, four years now. Utada Hikaru also stated in a 2009 interview that she wasn’t “paid enough” by the developers of Kingdom Hearts, considering the fact she created the melodies and wrote the songs in both Japanese and English. This was why she never sang new songs for the other Kingdom Hearts versions.

But it seems Utada plans to come out of hiatus soon (YAY!). http://www.khinsider.com/news/Hikaru-Utada-working-on-new-album-5684

Still, we don’t know if she’s willing to work with Square again.

This leaves many to question whether the iconic Japanese pop singer would return as the main theme songstress for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Okay, I know some of you might think that it’s pretty petty for some fans to whine and complain about Utada not being able to sing for the game. Some of you may feel bitter-sweet about her demanding more money to sing for Kingdom Hearts. It does sound kind of selfish, and some of you may wish to move on because of this news.

However, we all know that Utada Hikaru has come to be the staple singer for the series. Without her, it seems that the series isn’t complete. It’s almost like a character is missing. It’s like Kingdom Hearts without Dearly Beloved, the song that introduces Kingdom Hearts.

And sure, let’s not take it as far as to say the game will be awful without her because I’m certain the game will be awesome with or without Utada Hikaru. Whatever new singer, the game may still deliver.

But music has its purpose in any movie or game: It tells a story all its own. A good song and story add to the appeal of a game. This is why game developers work hard to choose the right music for each game. Without the right song, it is hard to advertise the game to appeal to the right demographic. It is hard to grasp the feelings of the characters without the music. The opening theme shapes the tone of the story. It is hard to remind “lost fans” of the games through commercials that remind them of the old days. And let’s face it people: the longevity of the series depends on the sales of the games out now and games coming out. If anyone expects this series to continue, Square-Enix needs to know that the game series isn’t disappointing. And they will know that through sales from hard-core fans, new consumers, and consumers who fell from the series but may want to return. New consumers need to be appealed to.

I remember, if you want the honest truth, that Utada Hikaru’s Simple and Clean was the exact song that really got me into the series. Yes, I would listen to that song on the commercials so much back in 2002, it got stuck in my head. I wanted to buy it. It was also the visuals, the Disney worlds we would fight in, and the foreign appeal. But the song sealed the deal. I mean, why do commercials have songs? To make the product more effective, right? When I bought it, I was fascinated to find the song to be the actual opening theme song! And there were lyrics in the back of the booklet that came with the game. The music drew me into the series. Who knows how many other people were drawn into the series because of the song! What a turn-off it could be for those fans! Some of you may think those fans are immature, but everyone is entitled to their preferences in a game. Is it immature to ask for anything in a game you are paying for? That’s like saying it’s immature to ask for worlds, keyblades, or expect the game to have excellent gameplay. They are all demands. There is no demand that is too immature if you are expected to buy the product. If someone complains, it’s because that’s what they expect from the product. And sure, they can just not buy the series. But think about the bigger picture. If that person doesn’t buy it, that’s one consumer who will not purchase the series. That’s one loss for Square-enix. There could be others who follow suit.

When Kingdom Hears II first came out, I had been waiting for the trailer. I was busy doing chores when I heard a familiar wistful voice on the t.v. I knew it was the same singer from Kingdom Hearts. It reminded me of the game. It was familiar to me. Therefore, I was able to notice Kingdom Hearts II had come out. Had the song been completely different, it would never have caught my ears the same way. So, it is not far-removed for fans to be concerned about the theme song.

The music has always been one of the most iconic things about Kingdom Hearts, and whatever songs they choose will set the mood.

So, this leaves us with two questions: what will be done and what could be done?

If fans want a new song from Utada and no one or nothing else, this could prove to be a challenge, even a legal one. Though Kingdom Hearts 3 is still in development, the release of a game-play trailer shows that development may be winding down. If we want Utada as the theme songstress, with a brand new song, we are going to have to act fast.

A petition will NOT work. The only way Utada will sing for the series is if she is paid to do so. This means Square-Enix has to pay her more than what they have been paying if they expect her to sing in Japanese and English. As fans, there are several things we can do to maneuver this situation in our favor if we really want this.

1) We can urge Square-Enix to loosen their demands and just ask Utada for a Japanese song, just one song, and put it on both games. In this case, they can pay her for less work. Lately, localized ( Dubbed) animes have been adapting the Japanese theme songs straight from the original Japanese animes. Why can’t this be done for Kingdom Hearts? We could still get Utada as the theme songstress and the game could even feel more authentic.

It may sound weird to other regions and it may have a hard time relating to new consumers….But at least the feeling of Kingdom Hearts will not have changed.

We can equally urge them to just ask Utada to make just one song in English, considering it’s a global language. But Nomura is Japanese and his main demographic is Japanese. It just wouldn’t be right.

So perhaps they can have Utada sing the Japanese version and get another artist to sing the English version… But just like with the Final Mixes, you’ll have people who will feel cheated because we weren’t “treated fairly”. And People, it’s very important that everyone feels satisfied with the series. This will increase the game’s popularity and sales.

The only overall conclusion to this solution is for Square to ask Utada to sing one Japanese song and apply it to both games, risking the judgment of those overseas who do not understand the language. There are more pros. Old-time fans will get to hear Utada and the Japanese will be happy. And who knows what new fans may like it better because of the authenticity…It may be an effective risk.

2) We can raise money towards the Utada Project. I’ve thought of this little idea where I could donate some money every month towards the project of Kingdom Hearts III to speed up development. Considering Utada is looking for money, (And who can blame her! Think about how much work it is to make two songs) we, as fans, could donate money towards the theme song. We could organize a plan between Square-Enix and Utada. We could talk to both parties. Somehow, we could pitch in to keep Utada as the theme songstress, at least for one last game in this saga.

If you are not willing to put time and energy into getting anything, then it is not worth fighting for. How many of you would like to organize this sort of project? Leave me a comment and select an option in my poll below if you do. Then we can discuss further.

But if you are not willing to do all of this… Then there’s always option number 1….If you really want Utada back….And you really want a new song from Utada….

If you want Utada but don’t mind using an old song, this would probably be the easiest option for Square, but not the most creative. I mean, come on, this is our LAST GAME for this saga. We need to reminisce on the series through the music. We have to feel this series is coming to an end. We have to feel completely whole by the end of this series. We have to feel we have gone through this journey. Kingdom Hearts II managed to feel like Kingdom Hearts but it also felt like a major leap forward in the story because the song was so different. And let’s face it, using the same song over and over can get boring. We want KHIII to be epic, right? Maybe you don’t care. But we do want this game to appeal to everyone. This will decide sales. Music can influence sales, believe it or not.

I think in order to appeal to everyone the best idea would be to use an orchestrated version of Utada’s songs. That could make it feel new but also give an old feeling. The orchestrated version could be re-mastered in some way.

If you want a completely new song, with Utada or not, there are several things to consider here.

1) If they choose a completely new artist, the artist would have to “feel” like the game. Choosing any random anime Jpop/Jrock artist could completely take away the story-telling tone of the music. It would sound unfamiliar in commercials. Some people learn of the game’s arrival through commercials if they haven’t been following the series closely. Music really connects others to advertisements. Would they really take notice if the song had a completely different feeling? Some may, some may not. It may not feel like the final KH game, but more like we’ve already started on a new game entirely. It wouldn’t feel like a “wrap-up”. The game could lose its identity. Theme songs, characters, worlds, game-play-they all cater to a game’s identity. We want a game that has everything well-presented, especially if we are the ones spending money, correct?

They would really have to choose an artist that can match Utada’s melancholy, yet wistful, voice. She had a distinct voice. She also spoke excellent English and Japanese. Keep this in mind. Choosing the right artist is very important.

2) They don’t have to actually have a singer. Perhaps they can have an epic orchestrated song as the opening to show that this is the finale. It doesn’t have to be a Utada song, but they don’t have to screw up the “feeling of nostalgia” signing some other singer into the series at the very end of one of its most anticipated sagas. When we anticipate a saga, we anticipate how everything will fit, including the music. This solution might be the best one.

3) They could use one of Utada’s other songs even if it isn’t specifically written for KHIII. They could buy a song from her. Perhaps they could use a song she never got to release or something…

Even though Utada has showed disinterest when it comes to being involved with Kingdom Hearts, she doesn’t seem to be on bad terms with Tetsuya Nomura. Last year, Tetsuya Nomura made a beautiful design of Utada in Kingdom Hearts style for her 15th Anniversary album. It seems to be a sign that the two are on good terms…

utada-hikaru-tetsuya-nomura

Overall, this theme song mess really tells me that KHIII still has a lot of kinks to iron out before anything is released. Tell me, readers, Which solution appeals to you? Leave me a comment in the comments’ section and tell me what you think!

Kingdom Hearts 3 and Kingdom Hearts Unchained @ E3 2015!!!!

17 Jun

Yes, Kingdom Hearts fans and potential fans, KH3’s gameplay trailer has officially been released! Even in my adult years, this big kid has been waiting patiently for this game for 9 YEARS.

I’ve been waiting for this game for too long. We all have. And now, finally, Tetsuya Nomura has caved and teased us with an official, mouth-watering trailer.

It has been a while since the developers at Square-Enix gave us some footage or updates on the development. Finally, they have showed us what they have sharpened up on at E3 2015. I also hear there will be more gameplay trailers November 2015. So excited!

I just want to go over the things I noticed in this trailer with fellow readers and Kingdom Hearts fans.

1) The visuals-Despite doubters of the Unreal Engine 4, it has translated extremely well to Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts’s visuals have obviously improved over the years (I mean, 2002’s game and console had the best programming and technology for its time, but come on…). Most modern games that are based off of old-time games have a hard time appearing like an upgrade. But Kingdom Hearts managed to appear like an upgrade, and get this, without taking away the feeling of Kingdom Hearts.

Doubters of the Unreal Engine 4, including Nomura himself (one of the lead developers of the series), didn’t think that Kingdom Hearts could work with the new software. They were afraid it wouldn’t keep its feeling. Surprise! It did.

And that command list, though! It’s so not in the way like previous command lists.

The developers wanted the game to feel like a Disney movie, and it really shows. It really carries the same Disney magic and imagination. Yet, this looks like a game even a macho person would want to play.

2) Characters Present-We obviously know that Sora is returning as the lead character, along with Donald and Goofy. But we also see a younger Master Eraqus and a young Master Xehanort before they were masters themselves. They obviously know something about the future and it has to do with the darkness taking over. If you have played Kingdom Hearts X Chi, you might understand what they are talking about. If you haven’t, you may be in for a surprise or rude awakening, however you may see it.

We see that Eraqus wants to change the future predicted by the Foretellers. If you don’t know who they are, you might want to play KHX….

3) Worlds Present-So far, it’s already pretty confirmed that Hercules’s world is going to be in the game. This time, we’re visiting Mount Olympus.

Tangled’s world has been confirmed to be one of the worlds that will also be in Kingdom Hearts 3.

We are also returning to Twilight Town…

I just want to point out that the landscape and free playing field has always been the gem of the Kingdom Hearts series. That gem was highlighted in this trailer.

4) Gameplay-Now here comes the juicy part. The gameplay definitely looks interesting. Flowmotion (from KH Dream Drop Distance) looks like it has made a comeback. Bravo! But there are also some interesting commands and surprises that have improved the gaming experience in small, yet tremendous ways.

For starters, we have many moves that activate Disney World theme park rides. While fighting Rock Titan from Hercules, Sora activates some roller coaster. In Twilight Town, he’s seen fighting in what resembles the Tea Cup ride. And they didn’t make it look boring and cheesy. Just like they did with Mickey Mouse for Kingdom Hearts II, they made it look pretty darn epic.

In the world that seems to resemble Tangled, a boat ride is activated from the water, so perhaps many of these moves are activated according to the environment. Then again, a chariot was activated in Twilight Town…so…maybe we can use them anywhere. It’s pretty epic, I have to say.

Sora has come out as a true blue master in this trailer. He’s not holding back. He’s gotten good with his fighting techniques and he’s not afraid to flaunt it.

And since they never could improve on their crappy camera angles, it appears they found a better use for it: dizzying us with epic fighting techniques!

One thing I can say about this trailer is that the series has actually shown evolution through this one game. Through this one game, Kingdom Hearts has shown tremendous improvement and has reflected the hard work of all designers and developers. Despite the length of time it took, I have no doubts that the game won’t disappoint.

Of course, this is the hype of the trailer. I can’t wait to see the real thing.

5) Kingdom Hearts X Chi-Yes, everyone. KHX Chi is coming to mobile phone devices. So, if you haven’t played this game yet, I advise you do. Sure, you may have heard Nomura say that it’s not important to play if you want to progress to the next game. But ya’ll should know by now that Nomura is on some bull crap. Remember how Chain of Memories was not supposed to be so “important”? Or Kingdom Hearts Coded? Or Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days? Remember how Birth By Sleep was only supposed to be a side story? All of you unfortunate people who didn’t get those games were lost when the next major console game was released and will be lost when KH III is released. I realized early on how important each Kingdom Hearts game is to the entire story. X Chi is no exception.

Though you’re only playing a made-up keyblade wielder, there is information throughout the game that tells us more about KH3 and the keyblade wars. So don’t you think for a second that you can just skip out on this game. You will be missing out on something.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you gathered from the Kingdom Hearts trailer and the confirmation of KH Chi!

Want to understand more about the Kingdom Hearts stories? Want to see how fans reacted to the news? Want to see a rank of favorites and worsts? Click below!

Tekken 7

13 Jul

TEKKEN 7: That’s ALL I have to say…*FAINT* And this is supposed to be the FINAL BATTLE. I can’t. I can’t go.

There was an announcement a while ago stating that there would be no more Tekken games made…

TekkenxStreetfighter was supposed to come out, too…So what’s happened with that?

I just knew Namco wasn’t going to stay away long. Tekken is coming back. IGN gave a little teaser today, coming from Evo 2014, and the news is spreading like WILDFIRE. I can’t wait.

I honestly can’t wrap my mind around the fact that this is the FINAL battle. In fact, I don’t believe it. Call me delusional. I don’t.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking! I’m speechless. I just had to share the news.

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 + Kingdom Hearts 3 HINTS REVEALED in the new E3 Trailer!

28 Jun

Kingdom-Hearts-3-Release-Date

For all of you Kingdom Hearts lovers, three weeks ago, E3 released a trailer for Kingdom Heart‘s second “remix” called Kingdom Hearts 2.5, which has arrived in stores December 12, 2014.

But wait, it doesn’t STOP there.

At the end of the trailer is a small segment that hints towards KINGDOM HEARTS III, the highly anticipated “trilogy” to the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

For those who don’t know what Kingdom Hearts is, it is the joint project between Square-Enix and Disney that turned out to be a major success. The game centers on a young teenage boy (who basically would be a grown man by now) named Sora who lost his island and his friends one day, due to a “strange” storm. During this storm, Sora gets a strange, long key. Sora is then swept away in this storm to a different world. While in this world, he teams up with Donald and Goofy who had been looking for the “Keyblade Master”. Sora discovers that he’s the Keyblade Master, and is chosen to restore the worlds back to normal. Sora sets off on a journey to find his friends and to save the world. Thus, the story continues…

The series takes Sora through several Disney worlds, where the player gets to interact with Disney characters and fight Disney villains. And no, they aren’t weak. The game is praised for being one of the few role-playing games that adapts well to next-gen graphics. The story is engaging, and other installments constantly add to the story, making the players anticipate what will happen next. “You Never Know What Happens Next” was the original slogan for Kingdom Hearts because unexpected things would happen that would take players off-guard. Kingdom Hearts was also praised for it’s “free-playing field”.

Kingdom Hearts was released in 2002. The sequel was released in 2005. Ever since, fans have been waiting for the third part. After 2005, to tie fans over, Square-Enix and Disney released “side stories” to help fill in gaps and add to the overall twisted story. But fans still wanted that part three.

Then, last summer, Square-Enix shocked the pants off of everyone when they released a teaser trailer for Kingdom Hearts III. Ever since, there has been much anticipation.

Last year, Disney grew as a huge phenomenon thanks to the movie Frozen and Disney’s success with Marvel. There has been a surge of interest in Disney’s classical movies lately, and there are tons of speculations about what worlds to expect in the next installment.

There are rumors that it is scheduled to come out early 2015. I simply can’t wait that long!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! What new worlds do you want to be in the next KH game? I’m hoping for Chronicles of Narnia, but since Fox bought the rights, my hopes are dim.

I’m just hoping they focus on the Disney movies and not too much on Marvel. Marvel would just feel awkward. Marvel worlds wouldn’t be very interesting, either. Unless, they use Thor…He and Hercules at it? Okay, that sounds awesome.

There are still some Disney movies left undone that I think the two companies should focus on. I also hope I never see Aladdin again. It looks like Hercules will return…AGAIN. I honestly don’t want to see Hercules again.

http://www.latintimes.com/kingdom-hearts-3-release-date-news-title-not-expected-until-after-2014-186194

My thoughts on Kingdom Hearts 2.5?

You can’t get any better than two major role-playing games and a theater mode all in one game. And it’s half of the price it would’ve cost for each game. Perfection.

The Korean Wave “Hallyu”

17 Apr

I first heard the coined term on an article about f(x) being the first K-pop act to perform at Texas’s SXSW South By Southwest.

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Brings the Korean Wave to Texas

I know you’re wondering why I suddenly have this inspiration to create an article about the Korean Wave. Well, the other day (as in last week), I was watching Crayon Pop’s song “Uh-ee” and “Bar Bar Bar” when I heard the news that Lady Gaga wants to have Crayon Pop open for her Live Concert Tour. If anyone knows Crayon Pop, they are an all-female K-pop group that went viral awhile back due to their quirky dance moves, bike helmets, and wholesome attire entirely. They are definitely unique, and they seem like they would be Lady Gaga’s taste.

But just hearing how even Lady Gaga is into Korean pop music got me thinking: Just how many people listen to K-pop?

So, I did some research on this subject.

The “Korean Wave” reminds me of the Tulip Era in Turkey in the 18th Century…for all of you historians who are interested…

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What is the Korean Wave?

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It is a sudden “wave” of interest in South Korean “pop” culture. Yes, not just any Korean culture, but “modern” and “popular” Korean culture. And it has developed into a sub-culture with some cult followers in the mix…

The term “Korean Wave”, also called Hallyu, was said to have been coined by Beijing journalists who noticed a growing interest in South Korean culture in China. More and more Chinese people were exporting Korean merchandise, and supporting Korean music and film.

The Korean Wave shows a huge thrust toward entertainment media mostly, but many foreigners are more aware of the lifestyle in Korea as a result, such as the food (I learned about Kimchi), fashion, language, and even literature. The only thing excluded from this category is history, but that may come soon with the rising popularity of Korean dramas.

Due to increase internet availability and usage around the world, and the Technological Revolution of the early 21st Century, K-pop and Korean dramas are more available to people all over the world! So, Korean pop culture is spreading quicker and easier.

The Korean government hopes they can use this “wave” of interest to gain “soft power”. Not the kind of power where you take over other nations, but the kind that introduces Korean beauty, culture, and art to the rest of the world. They hope to make peace through this “wave”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Wave

Where Did the Korean Wave Come From?

After World War II, Japan put a limit on entertainment that came in and out of the country. Once Japan lifted restrictions on international imports (and exports) in the 1980’s, entertainment could be distributed more freely worldwide. This brought about a “Japanese Wave” that was at a much smaller scale than the Korean Wave (mostly due to the fact that internet was a newer concept and not available everywhere around the world), but still, relatively large.

With the “Japanese Wave” came an increased interest in Japanese animation and comics called mangas. Japanese cartoons were fed to children in the 1990’s (I was one of those children). My first Japanese anime cartoon was Sailor Moon. Every day before school, I watched this show! Of course, at that time, the show was butchered so much because they wanted the animes to “relate to American children”. Later, Cartoon Network’s popularity increased as more and more people had access to cable channels in the late 1990’s.

Then came the Pokemon phenomenon, the first major Japanese animation to make millions in the West. It even had a very successful theatrical release! Pokemon is still being aired today.

Cartoon Network began to band together with the popular American animation company Funimation, a company that translated Japanese anime to make it more understandable to American audiences. Toonami, a segment of the day that mostly aired anime, was born afterwards. My next favorite anime to watch on that segment was Dragon Ball Z. This was the start of Japanese influence seeping into the minds of children.

There was also an increased interest in Japanese role-playing games. Sony, a Japanese company, made Playstation and Playstation 2, which made characters come alive on the television screen. The graphics were more real-looking than they had ever been before on any console, controls were easy to use, and Japanese game-makers began to sell their games to the world using this console.

Square-Enix was one such company. They are known for making the popular Final Fantasy series as well as the phenomenon Kingdom Hearts.

Japanese anime brought a wave of interest from the generation exposed to it. Interest in animes like Inuyasha and video games like Kingdom Hearts led to a growing interest in J-pop music (as you can hear an artist at the end of every anime or video game, particularly the legend Ayumi Hamasaki), Japanese food (teriyaki and goyza), Japanese language (Kawaii, Sugoi), fashion (cosplays and lolita came out of this wave), holidays, festivals (like Hinamatsuri), and destinations (like Osaka and Tokyo).

20100130-Cooking-742-Edit

pan-fried-gyoza

kawaii.1

hp1-35a

Bratz tokyo

An interest in Japanese culture, thus, led to an interest in all modern Asian culture.

This is where Korea comes in.

Korean Dramas and Manga

Korean film producers banked on this rising interest in Mangas and Animes. Korean drama adaptations of these animes spurred a fascination for Korean dramas in general. One of the biggest dramas a part of the “Korean Wave” is the drama Boys Over Flowers, based off of the popular Japanese manga series Hana Yori Dango. Meteor Garden, a Chinese version made in Taiwan in 1999, was the first live adaptation of the popular manga series. It was big in all of Asia. Since most southeastern Asian countries speak Chinese, other people were exposed to the drama. The Korean Boys Over Flowers had come out a decade later in 2009, updating the original adaptation and giving a modern feeling. Other Asian countries remembered Meteor Garden and heard about the new adaptation, which exposed many people to Korean culture.

Winter Sonata was Korea’s own major masterpiece, and it equaled the success of  Meteor Garden. This drama was said to have been the drama that launched the “Korean Wave”.

These Korean dramas were popular because of two factors as quoted from Wikipedia:

  • Emotional engagement of the audience with particular emphasis on forging an emotional bond with the protagonist
  • Explicit attention to female sexual desires — Departing from conventional dramas that tend to eroticize the female body, these dramas market the sexual attraction of the male actors, giving women a certain freedom of sexual expression.

 SM Entertainment

“Powerhouse” label SM Entertainment brought Korean music to the world for the first time. H.O.T. was the first all-boy Korean group to perform a sold-out Concert outside of Korea. This group particularly targeted teenagers and were the first of their kind. They were the pioneers of what we know as the “idol group trend”. They were meant to bring K-pop to the younger generation. Their debut was in 1996.

Then came BoA Kwon, the reigning Princess of K-Pop. BoA was the first Korean artist to sell over a million copies of her albums outside of Korea. She was Korea’s first international superstar. She was an extremely young artist, and the youngest artist to debut at the time of her debut (2000 at age 14).

My first taste of K-pop was also through BoA. I was first introduced to BoA after my favorite doll brand, Bratz, did a collaboration with BoA and Howie D (Backstreet Boys) back in 2003. It was my second taste of foreign music (my first was Utada Hikaru from the Kingdom Hearts series, but she sounded so “American”, I didn’t realize she was a Japanese superstar at the time).

I started looking up more about BoA. That’s when I found out she sang the ending song to the popular anime, Inuyasha, which also made BoA more popular. That’s when I realized just how popular BoA was in Japan.

Then I found out she wasn’t Japanese. Little did I know, at the time, I was a part of a movement that shaped the next generation.

She is still the only Korean artist to have six consecutive hits in Japan, and is considered a household name in many Asian countries.

Soon, other K-pop artists from SM began to pop their way to stardom.

The groups I remember distinctly popping up was TVXQ (DBSK), Super Junior, SHINee, and Girls’ Generation. With the Youtube phenomenon, these groups spread Korean pop music internationally. Many of those groups had international members in them. The male groups broke Asian stereotypes around the world, and gave Asian men a “beautiful face” in the Western world.

At the time, SHINee was the most unique. SHINee embraced their more “feminine features” and made it more attractive to girls! They also started the new generation of dance-pop music with complex dance moves. After their debut, the other artists started imitating their style. Originally K-pop boys showed more edge, but SHINee softened their blows, wearing eyeliner, long hair, and shaking their butts in “Ring ding dong”.

Girls Generation brought Asian beauties to international audiences, and paved the way for the female “idol group” trend.

My biggest sweep into the Korean Wave was with the group f(x). Amber was Korea’s first androgynous pop star! Ever since, I’ve been an adamant follower of K-pop “idol groups” rather than Japanese, and recently, C-pop (Chinese pop). I’m just so darn addicted to that group! Once you get swept into the ocean of K-pop, with your favorite K-pop artist, it’s hard to swim back to shore…rather, it’s hard to want to.

The rising popularity of these groups contributed to the “group” trend that is known in Korea today…

Adding these idols to K-dramas spreads Hallyu further.

Psy and Gangnam Style

Psy made K-pop a global phenomenon in 2012 to 2013 with his smash Youtube hit “Gangnam Style”, an upbeat, electro-dance pop/rap song, put to funny, satirical lyrics, and choreographed with humorous “galloping” dance moves. Psy made a statement in Korea, and brought Korea to everyone’s backyard. He was the first viral artist to have over a billion views! He broke a world record!

Unlike most idols, he wasn’t slim-trim, with a “Justin Bieber” haircut, skinny jeans, and hot dance moves. He was an “average” guy. His music also made a statement. He pointed out satirically about the lavish lifestyle in Gangnam, a district in Seoul, Korea, the center of Korean pop culture. This appealed to audiences worldwide.

Psy also put his label, YG, on the map. Korea hopes to use his fandom as a sign of diplomacy and “soft power”.

What Makes the Korean Wave Unique from other “Asian Waves”?

The Korean phenomenon wasn’t the first international fascination with Asian culture. Asian persuasion has been around since the growing popularity of Kung Fu films in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which put Chinese cinema on the map and popularized Chinese culture and history in many parts of the world. The growing popularity of Japanese culture dominated the 1990’s.

But what makes the “Korean Wave” unique is that it is getting popular in an era that is influenced by the “Digital Revolution”. It is spreading at a much faster rate and on a more universal scale than the other two phenomenons.

It’s also unique in the fact that Koreans are popular for their “modern” culture, and not stereotyped, historical depictions of them that may no longer ring true (like all Asian men learning martial arts). Koreans are looked at as more of an advancing society, as their modern culture is more popular than their ancient one, and that’s what makes this “wave” special.

Finally, what makes the “Korean Wave” unique from the other two “Waves” is the fact that the “Korean Wave” shows a huge support from the female audience. Kung Fu movies and the “Japanese Wave” mostly had male audiences wrapped around their fingers. Though, as a female, I’ve been into all the waves at one time…

This also helps to change the world’s views on Asian culture. It helps to diminish biases, prejudices, and stereotypes. It creates mutual understanding and peace between nations.

What are characteristics of those involved with the Korean Wave?

1) Lots and Lots of fan girls-Because of the increased female fan-base, men are more objectified in K-pop and K-dramas, and female sexuality is highlighted. This makes Asian men more desirable to women.

2) K-pop Group biases and fan wars-With the rising popularity of K-pop groups, you find tons of fans defending their favorite “idol” groups. My favorite is f(x) recently. They helped sweep me into this “Korean Wave”. But I hate fan wars.

3) K-Drama discussions-K-dramas can be so dramatic, you will find tons of message boards about them. Prepare to cry.

4) Eclectic clothing-Korean clothing can be trendy and sometimes downright eccentric.

5) A bunch of young college kids-While you might think mostly teenagers are into this wave, sources show that the biggest support comes from young adults in their 20’s. So, this is what the college kids are into. I sort…of…um…am apart of that demographic. :3

Well, that’s all for now folks! Leave me a comment let me know what you think about Korea’s growing popularity!

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Kids’ Choice Awards 2014 is Coming This Weekend!

28 Mar

kca

Click the Link Below:

http://www.nick.com/kids-choice-awards

Go online and vote! The line-up this year is better than it’s been in years! Actors and Actresses who can actually act, comedians who are actually funny, musical artists worthy of the attention, and movies that each deserve a blimp! Check it out!

KCA has always been a big event for kids. It was the first awards’ show where kids could have a voice in choosing what’s popular according to entertainment geared toward them. Of course, many teens and adults also vote. He he Guilty…

Let’s walk down Memory Lane…

So much nostalgia, I can’t breathe…cough…cough…

Let’s hope the performances are good this year, and hopefully it’s exciting…just as it used to be.

KCA will be held tomorrow, March 29, 2014, 8/7c so stay tuned!

You can also vote for Teen Nick’s Your Choice Awards!

https://www.facebook.com/90sAreAllThat

The winning show will air TONIGHT!

Apps Are Taking Over the Gaming Universe!

16 Sep
Ipads-shouldn't everyone have these? I don't...

Ipads-shouldn’t everyone have these? I don’t…

Apple is a multi-million dollar American electronics company that gained widespread success for designing the computers, iphones, and ipads everyone knows today in the second decade of the 21st Century.

Apple is a company that has been sweeping the nation into the future with it’s state-of-the-art touch screen functions, entertainment availability, and it’s ‘apps’.

I have only owned one product from Apple in my lifetime, and that was the ipod. Many of my friends own iphones, ipads, and many of their other devices, and I just look at it as another phone or computer. It never used to effect my entertainment life. I was always perfectly content with my laptop computer and my regular old phone. Apple products were always too expensive for my tastes, and too fragile to last. To add, as soon as one comes out, another one of their products comes out to replace it. Why chase it all down?

Hey, I’m not judging anyone who enjoys Apple products. Some people have a hobby of collecting their products. And some people just have the money to spend on these products. I’m not an upgrade queen, but I’m not condemning anyone who is.

And yet, I have to say, there is one thing I’m about fed up with: the App function.

Aside from the fact that it adds to the generation of “lazy words”, it has literally taken over the gaming world. The gaming world has always been an important part of my entertainment world. If I needed a little down-time, I knew that I could always rely on going to a good-old fashion website, press one of their games, and just enjoy myself online, to my hearts content. I also could indulge myself for hours on my console games. I never felt like I needed any of Apple products.

But then, suddenly, all of the games I used to enjoy became unavailable. Why? They became solely available as an “App”. This would mean that in order to play this game or enjoy this program, one would have to buy an iphone or an ipad to enjoy it.

I personally believe that soon “Apps” will replace regular console games. One reason being is because that’s what all the kids are playing. I work at a school, and all the children talk about is “Temple Run” and “Angry Birds”, but no mention of hardly any console games. Second reason is that so many people use their iphones or ipads everywhere they go, and these items don’t have to be plugged up (if charged) to any television or outlet to work. “Games on the go”; It’s very appealing. People can play on the toilet, at the job when bored or on lunch, or to pass time, though personally, I think this is why so many workers are inattentive and lazy. It’s no wonder so many gaming companies are trying to make hand-held consoles. Third, “Apps” are cheaper than console games.

And yet it’s so annoying for those of us who don’t want to pay an expensive iphone bill to play a fun game.

Going out to buy an ipad is no different than going out to buy the latest console. The only difference is “App” games take over more than just console gaming, but  PC gaming. It takes over all gaming options.

I understand change is inevitable, but I think there should be more options for playing these Apple games. Possibly, there should be a way to play these programs on regular computers, or a way to purchase these games through a program that is made exclusively for Apple games. A program similar to itunes. With iphones, many people don’t use itunes quite as much anymore. But some people still use it, and so a program for those who would like to play app only games would be an excellent idea.

To add, if you have two kids fighting over one ipad to play a game, why not have that same program available for any computer through an Apple Program so that other children can play? They could still make a profit.

So, as you can tell, I’m just coming to grips with the fact that Apps are the future of gaming, and possibly soon, if I expect to enjoy games in the future, I might have to spend some money on an Apple product.

iphones-for only the cool people!

iphones-for only the cool people!

Playstation 4: Next Gen or Getting by on XBox One’s Failures?

6 Jul

Recently, I did an article on Microsoft’s XBox One, so check that out before you read.

https://soratothamax.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/xbox-one-360-ps4-playstation/

This time, I’m tackling the PS4.

Sony has been one happy camper following the recent backlash Microsoft has been receiving for it’s XBox One. Due to MS’s problems, Sony has found a way to advertise their system by trying to promote the EXACT opposite thing of MS. Sony is sitting back, laughing. You can take this as Sony actually listening to gamers, or Sony looking at XBox One’s response from gamers, and trying to further discourage Xbox One purchases. It doesn’t matter, either way Sony knows what not to do. However, Sony needs to slow down. While Sony doesn’t have the restrictions that MS’s XBox One has, their console isn’t what I would call up-to-par either. Don’t get me wrong, Sony is more flexible as a company. When they didn’t have backwards compatibility on the PS3, they soon adapted it on the console, knowing it was one of the failures of their system. They should have learned from the Ps3 that backwards compatibility was their main issue (along with others). But Is PS4 the next gen answer? Or is it just lucky XBox One has so many rules? I would like to discuss the pros and cons.

1) Backwards Compatibility

The #1 issue that is plaguing so many people about both the new consoles is that there is no backwards compatibility on either one. Sony isn’t as bad as MS. You will be able to play PS 1 and 2 games, but PS3 games won’t be able to play on Ps4 until 2014, where it will only be available for download. This is because Sony plans on releasing games for Ps3 for the next 10 years. To ensure that people who just bought the PS3 gets to have the gaming experience, and to gain revenue while the PS4 slowly begins to sell, Ps3 will be their fall-back just in case. If you could play it on Ps4, that wouldn’t be possible. And as Ps4 slowly sells, they wouldn’t be gaining much from it.

This is neither a pro or a con.It isn’t a good thing. If this were truly the ultimate next gen system, it would have backwards compatibility. But considering they’re at least trying to make up for it (unlike MS), it’s not hurting the PS4 either.

2) Playstation Plus

Before, online play on the PS3 was free. Now, on the Ps4, if you want to play online, you have to pay a monthly subscription on the Playstation Plus. Playstation Plus was once an option for online gaming, now IT is mandatory. This to me is almost like MS’s mandatory “rules”, and says to me that gamers are restricted from the gaming experience more and more lately. Thankfully, it isn’t mandatory to have internet, because I wouldn’t be buying anything for online play. If it isn’t free with my console, forget it.

While it isn’t as bad as MS’s restrictions (such as internet being mandatory and still paying for XBox Live), I wouldn’t call it an IMPROVEMENT. The problem with these companies is they think “progress” is becoming more robotic and letting computer own and run everything. They think “progress” is making everything more accessible and making games more life-like. And they are a part of progress. But true progress is when you IMPROVE on a mistake or problem that your system formerly had. The answer is not changing it to fit another vision. If it’s not broken, why change it?

If PS4 was truly an improvement from Ps3, online gaming would be free. This is what makes Ps3’s online experience simpler than XBox’s. Now, Sony wants to make it’s own “Live”. Really dumb idea. Who told them this was going to work? MS?

To add, you can’t play multi-player games without plus either. This restriction is not good. This sucks. This is it for my Street Fighter and Tekken games.

This is a MAJOR con.

3) Physical Look

This is where MS’s XBox One owns. Ps4’s system looks like they just added a layer to the Ps3 and called it Ps4. No improvements were made to the overall system. Nothing has really changed. While XBox has had plenty of changes and improvements (not all good), Ps4 has not changed from Ps3 really. Even though it has a streaming function, it can basically do the same things a PS3 could do. Or an XBox One could do. Or even a 360. It isn’t “OMG” amazing. It’s standard. At least the Wii U improved it’s controller with a touch screen pad. What has Ps3 brought to the table besides keeping gamer freedom that MS failed to do?

Even though the graphics are technically better, whether that shows up on-screen is left to be seen, and we know that history has shown Sony to fail in that regard.

This is a con.

4) Game Exclusives

It’s pretty obvious that more appealing games will be released on the One than the PS4. Sony hasn’t been releasing games that people can even take seriously. And so far, it doesn’t look like it will be any different this year. If PS4 could even suport games that people actually cared about, it would be better. This is a MAJOR con.

5) Downloadable Games

All PS4 games will be made for internet download, as most all consoles want to encourage online usage. They are trying to keep up with other media entertainment like movies, television, and music. But Sony has said they will continue to make hard copies. So if you want to buy at the store, re-sell, trade, share, or even display the game as part of your proud collection, you may. This is a MAJOR pro.

Looking at the PS4 for itself, especially comparing it to the PS3, it actually has more cons. But at least the difference isn’t as wide as XBox one’s to the 360. However, I wouldn’t yet call it “Next Gen”. With all the negativity going around about XBox One, people are ignoring the fact that the PS4 on it’s own is sub-par to anything with the name “next gen”. MS is a very good building that Sony can hide behind right now, but it doesn’t excuse their lack of quality in consoles and game exclusives. Sony is the longest console to exist, so I expect some bumps and bruises a long the way. But let’s try to actually improve the system next time, kay?

But hey, is next gen so important when you have freedom with your gaming console? Or is next gen very important because if it weren’t, you’d keep your old system? Those questions are left up to the consumer.

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