So let’s take care of the elephant in the room. One Piece, Netflix’s live-action adaptation, is precisely that: an adaptation, but one that is joyous, heartfelt, and entrenched with sea-riously raucous action choreography and sea-nematography.
While it relies heavily (and joyfully) on Eiichiro Oda’s source materials and embellishes to perfection the casting, writing, set-art, music, and costumes, some hardcore fans may have been aggrieved by the multiple minor/major storyline tweaks that were adapted to make this 8-part Netflix masterpiece.
So let’s just enjoy it for what it is and not get too gummy about the con-sea-quences of compressing over 60 anime episodes or over 100 hrs of material.
While Oda’s story arcs may have been sacrificed, a little, for brevity, nevertheless it has rolled up a delectable red carpet for new viewers to appreciate One Piece: a rag-tag band of coming-of-age pirates, where every fleshed-out character is driven by dreams, propelled by dogged determinations and aided with a very unique set of ‘survival’ skills.
The man-boy captain of the Straw-hat pirates, Monkey D. Luffy, has candourly made it his life mission to find the elusive ‘One Piece’, while uniting and enjoining his shipmates towards righteous and earnest ‘piracy’. He advocates camaraderie towards innocent lives and property, bravely battling those that get in the way of their dreams.
Ultimately he offsets the weight of carrying his team by listening attentively, making uncomplicated-albeit-impulsive decisions, and extending rubbery limbs.
The devil is in the details.
Recreating anime art to real life is never easy and the production team’s devilish attention to detail shines brightly– from the hung drawings and garnishes on dishes at the Baratie to the map drawings and game stalls at Arlong Park — as world-building was not spared a dime or should I say ‘berry’.
The various sets and soundtrack were crafted beautifully, immaculately, and passionately, putting to worth every $150mm production budget.
The blissful watching though, lies within the depths of the characters and their banters/quips. Great writing makes great stories, and here is one of the show’s strength, even though it may be a little campy, it is barrel-loads of fun and reins in viewers unsuspectingly.
Coupled with the trippy, melancholic, and dramatic soundtrack, every beat amplifies scenes and delivers moods desirably. The music is so well produced, that it cuts your ears like hot knife through butter, gliding every scene to ebb and flow perfectly.
What long-time fans have appreciated these last 26 years, new viewers have now learned to embrace the quirky, goofy, yet lovable charm of the Straw-hat pirates’ fun and free-spirited adventures, without skipping a beat nor episode.
Thank you Oda and Netflix, for agreeing to and for adapting this. Truly brought out the nostalgic goosebumps as I got a reminder and refresher of my love for One Piece.
Remember that teaser for this movie that you saw a while ago, that led you to watch this movie?
Well think of this movie as a 2hr version of THAT teaser for the actual movie (which i’m hoping James Cameron will helm, if ever he has the time off from directing the 4 sequels to Avatar!), where Aalita busts balls in Zalem.
No disrespect to director, Rodriguez, it’s an uphill battle taking over from JC, but he made it his own and as it turns out, what is actually a good entertaining movie that’s fast-paced with self-explanatory dialogues, beautifully carved buildings and cyborgs — but it does leave me wanting at the end.
What do I want? A better, tighter, script? Breathable 3D cinematography? Bigger character development and story arc? Expansive action sequences with deeper meaning? A score that will render my senses numb and make me forget that I’m in a cinema?
Don’t get me wrong, they could’ve called this ‘Motorball: The movie” and I’d still leave wanting more out of Aalita, performance captured by Roza Salazar, who may not have invoked much of a soulful justice of a protagonist but she’s definitely punched above her weight here, carrying the titular character from scene to scene.
Although I secretly wish she had had me believe that good-hearted Aalita is emotionally hurting than just playing out emotions, stomping stomp stomp her way through the various sped up stage of adolescent and self-discovery.
Now even though my human heart is dying to give 10/10 to this prehistoric warrior on steampunked rollerblades, it’s still just a teaser to me, especially when it was revealed to us that the villain, Nova, bore too much of a resemblance to a certain fight club hero.
And you know the first rule of Fight Club? We don’t talk about it or you might just get panzer kunst-ed..
.. In any case, I don’t mean to be rude, but am I seriously supposed to expect a sequel here?
A quick sms and I ended what I started, grew, developed, nourished and loved.
Sure there were second thoughts, but I could never be more convinced or committed to carve a brand new old me, elsewhere.
But firsts, Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha to all my Muslim brothers and sisters! Wishing you and family a blessed day filled with fun, food and joy.
So I tendered my resignation from the office where I poured my blood, sweat and tears since circa mid-2007, a ponderous move I’ve contemplated and deliberated on countless heavy occasions before but never seriously pulling the trigger until I was finally triggered myself.
Case in point: I should have exited earlier if only to cut my losses and maximise my potential to tap into an open market, and rebuild myself from the ground up.
Instead, my losses gained momentum, the market cornered me up, and the struggles to grow a nascent company in an ageing industry gets close to home: and one fine day, together with my beloved Sister, Supercyan Pte Ltd (wordplay: SuperSaiyan) was born — much thanks to a very generous contribution of an outside partner looking in.
But, oh the struggles! They got really close to home, and it’s uncomfortable, it’s eating my skin and the worst part is that it’s affecting the loved ones around me more than myself.
And strangely that gives me hope — fuel for my drive, food for my soul, fever for my dreams.
Seeds have been sown, and we’re readying ourselves for war.
Over the years, there have been occasions where I’ve metamorphosed into persons (or personas) via an organic naturally occuring manner, induced from the situations that I’ve been placed in, such as the passing of your beloved parent, the adaptation of a new job role or even as simple as the act of falling head over heels in love.
Nevertheless, I managed to scantily grow along the way and am thoroughly grateful as well as fortunate that these developments have carried me forward into territories where I otherwise could never have imagined I’ll be in.
From an ambitiously carefree Bpian to a holistic Graphic Designer, to an aspiring Manager, there has truly only been a constant singularity throughout — perserverence.
Friends and families on the outside will only get to view the me that’s mildly successful, the overly cheerful and one that’s able to tackle anything, anywhere and solve things. Only a few will get the chance to take a peek into the deeper layers of my life, the one that’s full of struggles, inconsistencies, fears and tears.
Lately, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity of creating something new — and I love creating and developing new things. This is something that I believe I truly excel at, and have thoroughly enjoyed working and spending my days.
And as September 2016 creeps closer towards October 2016, it is now time to realise that I am nearing a crescendo of hard work, of pain and struggles as well as immense pleasures.
As it is now, It’s nigh time for me to reinvent myself and my future.
Gamersaurus Rex, the name of the venue that played host to me, Farid and Hamzah’s first ever (Blizzard’s) Hearthstone’s (HS) Fireside gathering!
Fresh from a 2-2 soccer game in the morning at Saint Wilfred, a quick shower at the office and a mad dash to Upper Thomson, I managed to squeeze my name as one of the registrant for Gamersaurus’ 9th Fireside Gathering, a free event for fervent HS enthusiasts.
Bringing along my Aggro Paladin, Patron Warrior and Tempo Mage decks, I was confident that I could perform well but knew that I could never match up to the upper echelon decks with powerful cards, but I knew I had to give it a try.
While my first match-up developed promisingly, with my opponent in tatters, a stroke of luck flashed for him and he rode it to victory — in HS we call it RNG, and there’s truly nothing you can do to fight it.
Sometimes RNG just screws you, and you take it on the chin and move on to the next game, which I did half-thinking that I’m probably never gonna win any games, due to my inexperience.
But lo and behold, I got paired with a young lady by the nick of Improbable and went on to clinch my first win, nervously and via a few lucky strokes as she fumbled and stumbled and made numerous mistakes in-game.
And that was truly the highlight of the day — meeting a fair young lady, and gaining my first ever victory in a HS Fireside Gathering!
The day soon unfolded, proving that I lacked the mental strength to last 6 rounds, as both me and hamzah ended the day with bad headaches — from viewing on small screen for so long!
Truly, I am fully not a boss, and I certainly don’t know what it feels like to be giving away my money to my staff, if I had any money.
Maybe the altruistic nature in me isn’t cut out to be the top boss that I aspire to be, and by boss, I mean a figure at the workplace that is respected and followed with authority via respect, and not just fear.
Again, I have never asked to be given this role nor to partake a position with these responsibilities of mine, but somehow I am entrusted to lead and develop my charges dutifuly — and that equates to giving them ample opportunity to grow.
But for any entity to grow, there have to be a sense of achievement or reward at the end of the rainbow, and it just feels good whenever my team is rewarded reasonably.
Of course, different people have different perceptions of reasonable, and lately I’ve discovered that mine differs a lot by my big boss– where I aim to remunerate my staff appropriately, he prefers to squeeze as much as possible, so that the ‘boss’ will always retain that authority, else you set precedence of a lost government at the workplace.
When people start making demands, or ransom, the boss loses athority. Or does he?
Actually, I beg to differ. In my case, I believe in everything being justified accordingly and that everyone has ample opportunity to be rewarded as they delivered.
Hais, maybe that’s why I’m still not ‘there’ yet as a big boss, because I’m just too nice and champion my people more so than ever.
Nevertheless, in my eyes, it’s the delivery at the end of the day that matters — and this is what I believe in, and after more than a decade, I think things aren’t that bad after all.
I rarely celebrate my birthdays and don’t expectantly look forward nor really revel to it, except for my best celebrated day ever when Iris whisked me in a whirlwind back in the memorable and lovable Jan 2012! Of Orchard road! Of Sentosa! & Of Songs of the Sea! But times have lapsed, and though I never imagined it to be like this, I respect her decisions. I desperately needed us to stay as we were, but if it’s God’s will, then it’s God’s will. Your happiness is all that matters to me.
Even if the price was mine.
I suppose I’ve always been that bigger man, in a lot of situations — but not in the grandiose kind, but the generally speaking kind. The kind that a daily situation usually demands of, such as the calling for a leadership figure to rise to the occasion. Whether it’s at the office, at home, or in a neutral event, I’ve always been looked upon to be that level-headed and thinking fella that will always provide the listening ear, the shoulder to cry on and magically come up with the decisions and everyone will feel better. And that happens usually, that everyone feels better.
Even if the price was mine.
These burdens took its toll eventually where I realised that at most times I’ve not been taking care of the right things in a relationship — as I tend to see bigger pictures and root solutions instead of the critical tiny details and the most important thing: the heartbeat. I don’t know what God has in his plans for me, for you, or for us, but I’ll gladly gulp down these bitterest of bitterest pills just so that everyone around us can live and breathe again.
What’s in store in the future of us? Only time will tell..
So I really enjoyed my birthday session this year! Something to truly cherish, as I found out what was in store in ‘The Future of Us’ – that exhibition at Gardens By The Bay (aka ‘GBTB’)! So it was spent there instead with my doting and affable lil Sis! Well, she’s not lil anymore, but in my eyes, she still is! Can’t be too overprotective, can I?
I booked tickets (FREE!) from home for the exhibition, because firstly, I have no idea what this exhibition is all about and would like to find out, secondly, it’s free, and thirdly, I finally get to bring Sis out!
But it rained. Whilst on our journey, I had to detour by making a ‘pit-stop’ at Tiong Bahru estate, shortly after entering CTE from AYE.
We were slightly drenched, but our spirits were high flying (or maybe just me? lol), as we waited patiently at a nearby kopitiam, drinking a can of coke, for the rain to subside. In our search for a good place to wait, we passed by a number of really interesting shops, which drew our imaginations. From antiquated floral boutiques to a quaint little printing shop, the passageway made you turn your head more than once as you walked on by.
As soon as the weather sobered up, we made a mad dash through town for GBTB, and thankfully it was nearly empty, save for a few classes of secondary school students and the staff onsite. We arrived much earlier than the exhibition’s designated timeslot, so we explored the garden’s Dragonfly lake, and couldn’t help but feel it’s stagnancy and weariness. It may look like a garden, but the overall ambience felt fabricated and strangely contriteful for a ‘world-class tourist attraction’. We didn’t enter the air-conditioned dome nor climbed the ‘supertrees’ so maybe that’s why our experience of the garden was muted, at best. Sure, the flowers were pretty and the canopies were aplenty, but overall the experience fell short and je ne sais qois~
Thankfully, the Future Of Us exhibition kicked off shortly to end our much dreary afternoon, but as much as we were left delighted by the immersive dome silver-screen and fancy laser displays, the show felt like it wasn’t really meant for us working adult Singaporeans. Maybe for students and children more. The only good thing that I could take home with me out of this experience was this lengthy playground of swings, located just outside the exhibition hall as you exit it. Without needing any invitations, our inner child took over and we were soon swinging ourselves!
But of course, the best part of the day was at VivoCity when Sis insisted that she got me a little present from Typo, even though I know that she’d have to dig deep, like really really really deep into her pockets to pay for the gift that I chose, because financially it hasn’t been kind lately. And it’s so touching, and lovely, and sweet, and beautiful of her to do that for me. She’d call me the annoying and irritating brother of hers, but I know that she cares and tries to take care of me too!
So yeah, a wrench-pen! The most beautiful wrench/pen that one will ever receive.
So indeed, my birthdays have never been one that I look forward to as it’s a date that coincides with some of my greatest losses. Instead it’s a day that I reflect and chew upon as I ponder on what God has in store for me, my loved ones, my work and my friends.
Thankfully, despite the dampening rain, the dreary GBTB, and the increasingly notion that my birthday will be one not to be remembered, Sis threw a wrench into the works and reversed the day into a wonderful occasion, one that I will cherish for a very long time, because it’s up there with my best celebrated day ever!
Thank you, my dear Sis, and love ya much for spending time with this overly-pensive brother of yours. Oh, and I pray that you find your jodoh soon, because a beautiful person like you deserves a beautiful leader of the home, and also just so that you’ll stop entertaining me with these annoying requests of mine. InsyaAllah.
And what could one up my day thus far? My night of course! Especially when I returned to a pleasant surprise, seeing my baby cousin Irfan greeting me (totally unexpectedly!) and seeing the whole family dim the lights so that the burning candle on my cupcake could lit the darkened room. Like a lighthouse that guides the lost ship, this gesture reminded me that no matter what happens to you in life, there’s only one thing that matters: family.
It mattered to me that they took the trouble to get the candle burning, getting the cupcake itself, fetching my lovely cousin irfan, and most of all, to wait till I came home at just before midnight to enjoy a mini celebration with me. Loving everyone to pieces already, and I pray that our future will continue to be told with stories like tonight!
A timely reminder to me: family comes first. Their happiness is utmost.
Chandelier wasn’t a flash in the pan, and she’s certainly no one-trick pony.
Maddie Ziegler, that little girl you see performing along to her songs in MVs, is another talent too.
Then there is the consistent and inextinguishable Shia LaBeouf, whom together with these two girls, gave birth to this delectable monster:
“I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” Sia croons, as the emptiness in you slowly dissipates and you feel yourself coming back gradually, gathering courage and what-nots from the depths of your inner-most fears.
“But your blade it might’ve been too sharp.” And as the strength creeps in, you feel vulnerable. Your knees weak, arms heavy, yet you shrug off the exhaustion, and dive head-first. You stubbornly try again.
“I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard.” You keep thinking why? You keep wondering when? You never doubt your nerves of steel, but you realise you’re only human.
“Yeah I may snap and I move fast. But you won’t see me fall apart. Cause I’ve got an elastic heart.”Life won’t be easy, but it goes on.
I’m a pretty good listener — I’m sure some of my friends and colleagues will attest to that claim, but the ‘listen’ here is really more in relation to actions than words, because as the cliche goes, action speaks louder than words.
Wha, wait, how does one even ‘listen’ to an action?
Well, if you think of it as interpreting an amalgamation of gestures, words, intonations, body postures and of course, the all telling signs of a pair of eyes that are the surest giveaway of emotions whenever you’re in a conversation, then yes you can certainly listen to actions.
Yep, I read into actions a lot.
And so I got good at masking emotions too — a skill that I’ve honed for the past 33 years, and especially ever since late mum passed on — and maybe that’s why sometimes I behave like a noble gas of the periodic table, unreactive at room temperature.
It’s not that I’m guarded, introverted, or braindead or anything, but it’s more of a tendency to be calm and collected when emotions run high — so that I am able to think, and let my mouth spout calculated, calm words while my brain is desperately trying to digest chunks of data, where if it was a country, a state of emergency would’ve been voted for unconditionally.
Um, so it got voted for sooner than I’d like it to be.
This afternoon when big Boss HQ mentioned of leaving Stalwart to ourselves, due to the team’s inactions, a state of emergency was called for, but fortunately I had spent the full week working on our ‘secret’ project and incidentally knew what was needed to be said diplomatically, and curfew was averted.
That cruise missile was on my radar for a while but didn’t expect it to hit today.
And then tonight, when Iris finally ‘let loose’, it was the ballistic missile that you could see creeping in and out of the atmosphere, heading towards you while you stand in stupor, unsure of taking cover or running away.
After days of trying to communicate her thoughts to me, where me being me was frequently ‘out of office’, if you knew what I mean so… a state of emergency was probably what woul’ve been called for tonight, but not of the bad kind, but more of the ‘hmmm this seriously needs some deep thinking and rendez-vous’ kind.
So I’m really happy that we talked of things past and things future and a little bit of things present, and while there’s still a lot more to talk of, I’m determined that this year, 2016, is the year where I’m going to give that little bit more focus into everything little and big things that I do, so I’m very prepared to listen.
I’ve been ‘listening’ for a long while now and I’m glad we had the little private talk, although I’m still a little unsure where we’re heading towards, ‘cos things are still a little blurry as they’re falling into place.
I can’t even remember the last occurrence of intermittent intimacies or late nights of endless giggles, but one thing for sure, I know that if Iris needs me, I will always be there for her.
Even in a curfew.
2016 has just arrived, but I’m hoping that my emotional quotient stays sane a little bit longer.