Tag Archives: Final Fantasy

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

23 Jun

 

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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…

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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!

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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).

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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!

Kingdom Hearts DREAM DROP DISTANCE @JumpFest 2012

23 Jan

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance coming soon!

10 Feb

Just in: the next Kingdom Hearts installment has finally been announced: Kingdom Hearts 3d: Dream Drop Distance.

Is this FINALLY Kingdom Hearts 3?

Kingdom Hearts is a video game series that combines the Final Fantasy franchise with that of Disney creating a successfully popular RPG. It follows the hero, Sora, as he travels through various Disney worlds, trying to keep the darkness from swallowing the worlds. In Chain of Memories, he enters a castle of memories that ends up swiping his memories, so he’s forced to get his memories back, which is through the same worlds  Throughout the series, the designers, Square-Enix, have created several games for the franchise, most of which are considered “side stories”. Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts Coded. The only games that Tetsuya, the official creator of the series, said were important were Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. The others are considered “side games”, considering that they only REVEAL more of the older stories but they don’t ADD to the actual storyline. And they keep seeming to grow in numbers in the game, adding more and more confusing plot twists.

With that said, fans are getting a little irritated.

They’re wondering about Kingdom Hearts 3D. Is this finally the REAL DEAL? Many fans are crying that if it is KH3, why is it going to be on another portable console? They would expect it to be on one of the next gen consoles that are BIGGER in storage space and size, like PS3. They also know that more effort will be put into it than the last games if it is put on a bigger console. Though really, Birth By Sleep didn’t disappoint. It was pretty good for a portable game. However, people want Kingdom Hearts to go out with a bang, and if this is 3, many will be sadly disappointed. At the same time, if this is not a 3, many of the fans are going to be whining about how they’ve just introduced, yet again, another “side story”.

It’s just safe to say that either way, the fans won’t be satisfied with this game 100%. BUT if you take a peek at this game, the gameplay is not only promising, it looks like it’s moving Sora’s story along, AND we’ll be going to new worlds (one of my personal Disney movies will be in this game! So I’m SUPER excited):

This game looks like it will be awesome. I understand the fans’ concern about it not being a sequel, or not really moving the story along. I, too, started playing this game at age 12 and now I am a grown-up person who doesn’t have as much time for fun and games anymore (well, half of my time), and I’m not getting any younger. Neither do I want to die before I get to find out what is going to happen next. I also am getting more and more responsibilities. So I can understand the frustration fans are having when they say “Hurry up, I’ve had this since I was 12!”. This game came out when most of my generation were tweens. Now, we’re all adults, and this game still hasn’t reached a conclusion. And the funny part is, many in my generation still play the game. Maybe we just have a hard time growing out of childish things. We haven’t completed the “rites of passage” where we give up all of our childhood loves yet…not until we actually have no time left for it anymore. We’re breaking that old tradition, I suppose.

Some fans are just angry that the story is getting more and more confusing with every new “side story”. Now the story seems to get a whole new chapter every new game that just keeps getting more and more complicated.

But I think the fans should chill. Think about it. If you’ve loved it this far, do you really think you will stop loving it? You might not have as much time for it, sure, but it doesn’t mean it will completely fall away from you. Besides, rushing the release of Kingdom Hearts is the worst thing to do. Besides, the complication of Kingdom Hearts is the best part. There are several reasons why I think KH3 should not come out as soon as we want it:

1) Okay, we’re getting older. So, just stop playing if you think you can’t keep up with it. Square-Enix now has to cater to the younger crowd. Our time is up. So, they have to sort of reintroduce the story to the new-comers, and make it appealing to the new generation. What better way then to make a bunch of games? But the only way to do that without having it end quickly is to put in a bunch of side games. Without them, the story would’ve been over several years ago. And this series would be invisible to the next generation. Not a smart business tactic, right?

2) What great gaming series only has three games? What legendary gaming series doesn’t have a bunch of side games dedicated to the fans? The fans asked for more info about the Black Organization, and they released 358/2 Days. We asked to fight with new characters besides Sora, we got Birth By Sleep, what more do you want? Plus, think of all the Disney Worlds they can make use of? Disney has so many movies. And they’re going to get more as the years progress, so they are trying to make use of as many of the old movies as possible before our generation grows completely up. After they’ve done all the movies catered to us, they can then focus on the next generation. We have to be patient with KH3.

3) Last time the fans complain, Kingdom Hearts 2 came out way sooner than it was supposed to. And fans now claim that as the worst game in the franchise. Well, if the fans hadn’t been pressuring Square-Enix to hurry up and release it, they would’ve been able to take more time on the game. To add, people saw so many spoilers online it spoiled the game for many people. But aside from that, they didn’t give the company enough time to develop the game, or receive feedback. The longer they wait on releasing the game, the more time they have to work on it. These side games are sort of like tests to see exactly what the fans like v.s. what the fans want to discard. This is a chance for them to use their creativity to the full and expand it to all kinds of platforms.

4) Expectations were WAY to high for KH2. They don’t want to release KH3 too soon, not knowing exactly what will “work”, and it turns around and ends up being a disappointment, like with KH2. They want to make sure that the game goes on the next big platform, one that will have new age technology. Sure, for now PS3 and XBox are the next gen game consoles, but who knows what will be invented in the future…if you’re willing to wait that long. By waiting to come out with the game, the game has the chance to come out by the time an epic gaming system is released.

5) Do you really and truly want the series to end? A great majority of fans say they’re ready to hear the end of the story already and solve the mysteries of Kingdom Hearts. They’re anxious, and tired of waiting. They don’t want to be dead before the series ends. But when it’s over, think about it. No more Sora, Donald, and Goofy. There will never be another gaming franchise like this, one where two extremely different companies come together to make the most spectacular game a success. And even if they DO have another saga, it, more than likely, won’t have the same characters, story, and may not even have the same appeal. Be careful what you wish for. Once something is over, it is over, and the joys that came with it are too. All of those Kingdom Hearts forums? A thing of the past. Closed. Or losing traffic. All of the cosplay and merchandise are going to skyrocket in prices online, and will be very hard to find. And if this was the only game series you played, tough luck. You are now a bored little cookie. Think about that mental picture, and then come back to me and tell me you want the series to end. TRULY.

So everyone, watch out for commercials dealing with the next game in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, coming soon!

Birth By Sleep on the PSP Review

12 Sep

This game…is awesome….

Did I finish it that fast? No. That’s how good this is. This game to me, is better than Kingdom Hearts 2, which despite it’s anticipation rate, didn’t deliver quite what everyone expected it to. Well, it was a great game, and delivered more than Kingdom Hearts 1 as far as gameplay. But it was much easier to beat and the story was more confusing. It just seemed to be trying to explain heavily what went on in Chain of Memories…which confused people who didn’t realize that Chain of Memories was a mandatory game. I mean, who would think a game where you go back to the same worlds you did in Kingdom Hearts would be so important? Even in 358/2 Days, a repeat of worlds and heavy dose of missions caused some exhasperation.

But Birth By Sleep is like a fresh spring of clear water. A brand new story, all new characters, multi-player modes, brand new worlds, and new gameplay and fighting styles….adding weapons. The music still has the same appeal as well. My favorite opening song, Simple and Clean by Utada Hikaru, showed up on there too.  The bosses are challenging and fullfilling, and it takes about 4 days to beat one story….about as long, if not longer, than Kingdom Hearts 1. Well, the good thing is no Kingdom Hearts game takes just one day to beat. At least 3 daysof your time are mandatory. If someone says they beat it in two days, they are lying and never played the game. Even if you whipped bosses smoothly without dying, you couldn’t beat the game in 24 hours. Not even 48 hours.

I would say Birth By Sleep is everything I expected it to be. But I’m waiting for some surprises as I continue through the game. I know the storyline will definitely be a major plus of this game, as many questions that were left in the last four games will be answered. Maybe not all, but some will.

So, for all who want to know if they should get this game. This is a definite must. It’s a shame it’s only for the PSP. I think Square-Enix listened to the demand of the fans for this one. 10/10 From me.

Generation Next: Do you remember the late 90s, Y2K?

5 Jul

Anyone who grew up in Generation Next probably remembers the following between 1995-2003:

Pop culture……We are generation “Scorpio” which also defines our generation. All we care about is sex, violence, and power. Our generation is marked by everything dark and mysterious…we hate superficiality and anything “cheerful”…anything mystical, psychic, and occult. We transformed ideas of tranformation, lost the adult “rites of passage” other generations before us had, and are the only generation who can’t find jobs in the recession, still living with parents well into our twenties, and take a while to get married, if at all. But we still find ways to rebel against society, use the internet as our way of gaining social power, and stick to ourselves in our secretive and mistrustful minds. We are also quite an emotional generation….dangerously emotional.

Television

Anyone who is anybody can’t forget the grand children Networks of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel. Rugrats and ALL That defined Nick, until the Rugrats grew up and Kenan and Kel left All That and so did Nick Cannon, and Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, Toonami, Ed Edd and Eddy, and Powerpuff Girls defined Cartoon Network. But MTV was infested with a bunch of teeny boppers who began filling the channel with their pop videos. At least we still had Michael Jackson… VH1 was filled with oldies. And BET actually had funny comedians on Comic View and showed black movies and shows. Let’s not forget Nick Jr. owned Blues Clues, Face, and Little Bill, while Playhouse Disney had Little Mermaid and Madeline…they even used to show Timon and Pumba, Arabian Nights, and other “Disney-like shows”. Back then, cable was just becoming the “It” thing. I still remember My Brother and Me and Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina the Teenage witch. Fox and ABC were big back then, UPN too…Sister, Sister, Smart Guy, which also came on Disney Channel along with Boy Meets World, Growing Pains, and Brotherly Love…with those Lawrence Brothers that everyone loved. Disney even had shows like the Famous Jett Jackson, So Weird, and The Jersey. Courage the Cowardly Dog was like So Weird…except weirder…Scooby-Doo was still big. We liked a lot of mysteries like Shelby Woo and the occult like So Weird and Goosbumps….we also loved Power Rangers and Anime as kids. Barney was even in our slot time, though I always preferred Kid Songs….and Zoom, the new version. Aurthur was our show too! And even Sesame Street, especially Elmo’s World. And we weren’t too far from old classic cartoons from Tex Avery, Toonheads like Bugs Bunny, and even some Animaniacs….best time for television. In later years, we supported shows like Lizzie Maguire, the first tween show to make over a million viewers, and That’s So Raven which was the first longest running show on Disney Channel. We loved Lindsey Lohan…until she got cracked up.

Remember tha babies who could talk?

What a creative show! Back when Klasky was running things: Rugrats!

The Simpsons, South Park, 90210, Living Single, Baywatch, X-Files, Law and Order, and other nighttime television. Not to mention, watching the Bulls game was far more entertaining than it is now.

Technology

Computer was just becoming a part of the home, and laptops was spreading jobs across the nation. And everyone used to chat on AOL…it used to talk back and say “You’ve got Mail” which used to be so cool. Of course, I was always on yahoo…..Then MP3s came out, though you could only play one song at the time. CDs were still pretty big. Downloading became big like two years after 2000. But people still bought CDs, and everyone had a CD player with big headphones….The DVD player was it, but then everyone found out Playstation 2 could play DVDs and it was done. Playstation 2 was like the biggest thing, though Dreamcast and Gamecube also marked the generation. Of course, realistic graphics were the biggest thing back then. LOL Remember Street Fighter, Tekken, Final Fantasy? And NBA Live was regular too.

Playstation, remember? LOL

Literature

It varied, actually towards the end, kids stopped reading and started again. Babysitters’ Club, Sweet Valley, and American Girl marked the generation. For boys it was between How to Eat Fried Worms, There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, Help! I’m trapped in Obedient School Again, Anamorphs, and Goooooosssbumpsss!!!! Who doesn’t remember Goosbumps? That was like the biggest thing. Then Harry Potter came out like in 1999 or before, and that took over. A Series of Unfortunate Events was big too. And Pirates of the Caribbean marked the later generation.

GOOOOSSSEEEBUMMMPSS!

Music

It sucked balls. Pop idols like Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls took over the industry. Who can forget the Hansen brothers? Pure lamety. Then here came Britney, the first teen solo act, and she influenced the whole world to come out with pop imitations. Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore who dyed her hair for the “occasion”, and all of these pop groups like Dream and Play, and just too many pop artists to count. And then the boy Britney Spears came out, Aaron Carter. Even black people changed genres like After Dark and Blaque…TLC was the biggest group…until, well you know. It was back when Jesse McCartney was part of the group Dreamstreet. Hoku and Myra marked Disney and Nick movies for their contributions, and Baha Men music swept the world by storm. Then in 2001, it seemed Dark Child took over everything, and so did 50 cent…later Avril Lavigne stole Britney’s shine in the early Y2K years. Then all these poprock artists came out of the closet, of course singers like Michelle Branch, Lindsay Pagano, Vanessa…can’t remember the rest of her name, and even Pink came out of the closet with her “real self”. Evanescence also dominated the industry. Metallic and Coldplay were even at their peek. All the most hard-core music marked our generation….along with the most giddy… If only Panic! At the Disco had been around….

Britney Spears when she was a little innocent...only a little...

The wildest group around! Spice Girls!

Original famous style! Avril Lavigne!

50 Cent back in 2003...

Fashion

I remember overalls….which no one wears anymore. Jordans were popular too…Capri pants were the “it” thing…and for some reason…ponchos….baggy pants, bandannas and scarves, and surfer boy hair cuts. Jean jackets and Timbaland boots were in too. That’s what Spongbob used to remind me of back in 2002, his debut…a surfer, valley dude, which those bleached-blond idiots were the “it” thing. Now, Spongebob is just a geeky idiot…Ponytails, and scrunchies were popular. Lip gloss had just become a big thing. Belly tops were “oh-so revealing” but not compared to now…especially if you consider Gaga’s “no pants rule”. Skorts were popular, and no one wear those either. Numbered tees, like with “57” or “23” and words all over the pants. And because of 9/11, everyone was wearing red, white, and blue. Feathery and hot looking jackets marked later generations. Like this:

Jackets of early Y2K...

jacket

And these checkered and worded jeans:

checkered pants?

Backstreet Boys look...LOL

Words and Sayings

The words and sayings that came back were “Cool” and “Awesome”, but we also added “Totally hot” and “bogus” and “wack” and “corny” and “lame” and who can forget “psyche”. “Wicked Cool” and other sayings that are too funny to repeat. “For shizzle my nizzle” was popular too, and you could add of “izzles” if you liked. And” then “it’s off the heezy for sheezy. “Da Bomb” was it too. And “Bad” or “Sharp” was in too. “Totally Rad” was in too. LOL This is funny.

This is really a walk down memory lane…

I feel sorry for this generation. Sorry later generation, you missed out on the best age to be a kid. Your Television Network producers have gotten so stupid they can’t even read their own network titles. Instead they show everything but music on MTV and live actions on Cartoon Network. Not to mention, the face of Disney is no longer Mickey, but Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus….

No one uses their voices in music anymore, it’s now been replaced by cheap equipments that electronically “disguises” real voices.

Glad I grew up in Generation Next.

Movies

Movies ranged between Sixth Sense, Scissors hands, well really anything with Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp. Matrix marked the 21st Century. We also had “Ritchie Rich”, remember the little blond boy from Home Alone? And let’s not forget the Disney movies. The best movies in the 90s were the Disney movies, hands down, like Lion King, Huntchback of Notre Dame, and Beauty and the Beast. Of course, there were some pretty good thrillers here and there, and other children’s movies like Little Rascals which had Mary-Kate and Ashley, America’s Twins. Also, Dennis the Menace. Remember Free Willy? LOL That movie still makes me laugh. Childrens’ movies had reach their peak in the 90s. The first child actor won an acting award, Haley Joel Osment, and you used to see him everywhere before his sister went all “Hannah Montana”…though he still acts as Sora on Kingdom Hearts, which is all I care about.

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