– Maho Hiyajo, Steins;Gate 0
Original quote in Japanese:
– Maho Hiyajo, Steins;Gate 0
Original quote in Japanese:
Michael Moore, a movie director who was one of the fiercest critics of the George W. Bush administration, predicted Donald Trump’s election victory long before voting day on 9 November. His reasons all make sense and are quite prophetic: Moore predicted that the traditionally Democratic states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would be won by Trump, and that’s what happened during the election as those swing states went to the red side.
To understand why human beings make stupid choices, we need to analyse all the underlying factors that led them to choose Trump. There’s a great quote from George Carlin to describe this election: “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
In 2016, we can probably invent a new quote: Never underestimate what human beings are willing to do when pushed into a corner.
Since Wrestling World 2016 was broadcast live on NJPWworld (the VOD is now up here for subscribers), I won’t go into too much detail on what happened inside the ring. You all already know: Katsuyori Shibata defeated EVIL to regain the NEVER Openweight championship. He is now a double champion, holding both the Revolution Pro Wrestling Heavyweight championship and the Openweight title. Instead, I’ll write my observations on what the cameras didn’t show, as a spectator seated closest to the ring.
The ring-side cameraman has arguably the toughest job throughout the entire 2.5+ hours. He was sprinting endlessly around the ring, trying to get good close-up shots of the in-ring action. I could see his forehead sweating buckets, but he did seem to be enjoying his job. It’s a great cardio workout to burn calories, especially with that heavy camera on his shoulder. There was even a dedicated “wire handler” following the cameraman, his simple task was to make sure that the camera wires dangling behind the cameraman does not get entangled on the ground and cause any obstruction.
The Japanese match announcer also happens to be the timekeeper and ring-keeper. I was seated directly behind him, and what I found slightly amusing was that every time a pinfall or submission attempt happens, the announcer would raise the bell hammer into the air, waiting for the referee’s cue to end the match. If there’s a kickout, or if the submission attempt fails, the announcer would wave his outstretched arm towards the ref, acknowledging that the match would continue, before resting the bell hammer back on the table.
The Singapore wrestling crowd are a notoriously boisterous bunch. As noted by many Twitter users watching live, we love to chant the names of both sides. Eg. “Let’s go Naito!”, followed by a loud chorus of “TA-NA-HA-SHI!” There’s no real specific reason why, it’s just something that we spontaneously and subconsciously do, just to show our support to the wrestlers.
Of course, when Kenny Omega came out for his entrance, the entire arena went ballistic. I’m not sure if the live cameras managed to pick up all of the audio, but it was absolutely deafening from where I was seated. This is probably the loudest support I’ve seen for Omega, you don’t see this level of noise for him back in Japan. We know that he’s a big fan of videogames and anime, and let’s face it: The majority of the crowd at Wrestling World 2016 are all nerds too. We’re just supporting a fellow gamer.
My prediction for the main event did not come true: Shibata would regain his Openweight championship. New Japan are really doing their best to push Shibata for the past year or so, and I think it’s working. While I am grateful to Gedo for allowing the Singapore fans to see a title victory, it’s a little bit sad that EVIL’s reign only lasted a short 10 days. You don’t need to Google or fact-check on Wikipedia: This is the shortest ever reign for an Openweight champion. Hopefully we’ll see EVIL get another push in the future.
My biggest takeaway from the event? I witnessed first hand, the amazing power of the audience. By sheer luck, Baretta spotted the double-sided SGP Vice / Liger City sign that Rocky Romero had borrowed from the fans (one side had “SGP Vice”, the other side had “Liger City”. I assume that this was done in order to save paper). Baretta tore up the sign for fun, with “Liger City” facing outwards, as a jab towards Jushin Thunder Liger. Again, you’ll very rarely see this sort of fan interaction for NJPW’s events in Japan. Maybe it’s because we’re an English-speaking crowd, and we’re able to better communicate our support that the gaijin wrestlers can understand.
Good job Singapore, and I hope everyone around the world watching on NJPWworld had a good time. See you all again at Tokyo Dome.
I am ready. I have finally caught up with all my viewing for New Japan Pro Wrestling on NJPWworld, after lagging behind for almost two months (I only finished G1 Climax in mid-October).
The card for Wrestling World 2016 is already out (pasted below from the NJPW reddit), subject to any last minute changes. This is the first time that Roppongi Vice, the Guerillas of Destiny, Katsuyori Shibata, Yujiro Takahashi, and Kenny Omega are performing in Singapore.
All eyes will be on Match 5, the six-man tag: Tanahashi is challenging Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental title on 4 January, and this match will be the start of their feud leading up to Tokyo Dome.
Match 6 will be a continuation of Omega and Okada’s lead-up to their showdown on 4 January for the Heavyweight title. Omega managed to score a pinfall against Okada during a tag match at Power Struggle (5 November), so I’m predicting that CHAOS will get the victory this time. Please please please, I hope Kenny will be given some time on the microphone. We’re an English-speaking audience, we wanna hear all of your trash talking.
The main event is an interesting one, thank you Gedo for giving us a title match in Singapore. EVIL just won the Openweight title from Shibata at Power Struggle, I highly doubt he’s going to drop it back to Shibata after only 10 days. If he retains it, the question now is who’s going to challenge for it at Tokyo Dome. My friend said he would love to see YOSHI-HASHI vs EVIL for the title, and I think it would work. YOSHI-HASHI is long overdue for a title run, he’s the most underrated wrestler of NJPW’s mid-card right now.
I find it quite amazing that the majority of my blog posts for the past couple of months are mostly about pro wrestling. I’ll just end this post with a short quote from VA-11 Hall-A, one of the most underrated videogames of the year (which also has pro wrestling):
“Never underestimate the power of putting on a good show.”
– ★Kira★ Miki, VA-11 Hall-A
I don’t drink in real-life, and I very rarely visit bars or clubs. Mainly because of my alcohol allergy, and that alcohol is really expensive here in Singapore compared to other countries (most of my friends prefer to drink when they travel to Japan — alcohol there is way cheaper). We even had a law passed in Singapore recently that prohibits alcohol from being sold (but not from being consumed) after 10pm.
Which is why I was really hooked by VA-11 Hall-A’s premise within five minutes of booting up the game. I play videogames for escapism, to experience things that I will never get to do in the real world. Playing as Jill, the game’s protagonist, even as an outsider watching events unfold through her eyes, gave me some fascinating insight into the world of bartending, cocktails, and socialising over drinks.
VA-11 Hall-A labels itself as a “Cyberpunk Bartender Action” game. One of the hallmark traits of cyberpunk are self-aware sentient robots, a dystopia setting, and a futuristic neo-retro soundtrack (think Blade Runner), all of which VA-11 Hall-A nailed perfectly. Especially the soundtrack. It’s very relaxing, uplifting, and totally in-sync with the bartender setting.
What I liked about VA-11 Hall-A as I continued playing was how “natural” it felt. Everything in this visual novel was told naturally though your daily dialogue with Jill’s co-workers and customers, and from reading the daily newspaper articles and online updates from Jill’s apartment. Unlike many other visual novels, there’s no exposition, no heroic character development, no mystery to be solved, and no evil villain that must be defeated. Yes, there is a “story” going on around Jill outside the bar — greedy corporations, politics, and an uprising in a bank — but it’s all presented in a slice-of-life manner as part of Jill’s daily routine.
And I’m sure everyone can relate to Jill’s relationship problems, on how she painfully regrets a past decision that she made, but can no longer make amends for. She just has to continue with her daily motions of life, and find a way to move on from her mistakes while earning her paycheck and paying her bills. She’s a loyal friend to those closest to her; she’s unsure of what her future holds and whether she’ll continue to be a bartender; she likes cats. Yet at the same time, Jill laughs at dirty jokes, she smokes on her bed, and can be very cynical to strangers who don’t give a good first impression. I don’t know a thing about bartending or mixing drinks, but I can emphatise with the flaws and character traits that Jill has. It’s what makes us human.
I have blogged in the past about how pro wrestling automatically makes anything better. I was totally not expecting the repetition of pro wrestling references and memes in VA-11 Hall-A. There’s even a reference to Jushin Thunder Liger, Sting, and New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual Wrestle Kingdom event at Tokyo Dome (an event that I’m attending live this coming 4 January). Remember Volition, the developers of Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV? It’s clear that Sukeban Games are big fans of pro wrestling too. I would love to have a badass, former-pro-wrestler boss like Dana
who randomly suplexes her employees at work.
Just like the best drinks or cocktails, VA-11 Hall-A is a surprisingly perfect blend of many smaller ingredients: Memorable characters, witty writing, excellent artwork, stunning music, and pro wrestling. One Steam reviewer even called it a GOTY contender and I find it very difficult to argue against that claim. A videogame from a niche genre that dares to be different, and created with a lot of love and attention by the developers. And pro wrestling. PRO WRESTLING.
Earlier in June I declared on Twitter that 2016 would be “The year of the visual novel invasion.” There are so many re-releases and localisations of popular visual novels on Steam (Muv-Luv, Steins;Gate, Umineko), combined with cool and original releases like VA-11 Hall-A. It’s a very unique and special time to be a fan of visual novels again.
Your Name (Kimi no Naha 君の名は), was released in Singapore theatres yesterday. I had heard a lot about this Japanese anime film — first from my Japanese friends, and then later it was even reported by BBC News and the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ hailed the film’s director, Makoto Shinkai, as a “changing of the guard”, someone with the quality to take over the reins of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.
Warning: Spoilers follow for Your Name. I will also reveal some light spoilers for Steins;Gate, so please stop reading if you don’t want to be spoiled.
This is my fourth time watching a Singapore Pro Wrestling event, but my first time blogging about it. SPW is our country’s indie wrestling promotion, founded at around 2012. They have a decent, well represented roster with all the different wrestling styles. SPW also frequently invites wrestlers from other promotions, and the main highlights tonight were two Japanese males from Dragon Gate, and one Japanese female freelancer. Also, a new inaugural mid-tier title belt, the SPW Singapore Championship, was up for grabs.
– Five-way dance (one-fall finish): Bellum Roy vs Alejandro Cuevo vs Aiden Rex vs Sayn vs Luqman Adam. Rex wins by triangle choke submission after making Roy tap out.
This was my first time watching Roy in action, who is also nicknamed The Butcher because of his gimmick: He carries a giant cleaver into the ring. Cuevo is a Puerto Rican wrestler. He looks very young and I’m not sure which promotion he’s from. Rex, Sayn, and Luqman are longtime regulars of the SPW roster. Rex is a real joy to watch because of his high-flying.
Five-way matches can quickly become very messy because of the numbers, and that’s what happened as the wrestlers started spilling outside of the ring and creating chaos near the spectators. I was seated in the third row, so I was mostly unaffected by the carnage. Cuevo was super agile, wrestling with a lucha libre style. Rex performed a modified Asai moonsault to the outside of the ring. In the end, Rex got the victory by making Roy tap out to a modified triangle choke.
– SPW Singapore Championship three-way: Power Warrior vs Doctor Gore vs Eurasian Dragon. Dragon with the pinfall on Gore after a powerbomb.
Dragon’s real name is Kenneth Teixeira (a Portuguese surname). He is half-Portuguese and half-Singaporean. His wrestling name is a reference to pro wrestler American Dragon (aka Daniel Bryan). Dragon had actually won the Malaysia Pro Wrestling World-to-Regional Championship in a July SPW event. But he didn’t walk out into the ring with that title, so I assume that he dropped it at another event.
This was an okay match with lots of strikes. I think everyone already knew the outcome. Dragon is one of the veterans of SPW’s roster and deserves to hold a belt. But I know that some people in the crowd were not happy with how he won it: Gore and Warrior did most of the work before Dragon landed one big move to win it. Sadly, this is one of the problems of having three-way matches.
– Destroyer Dharma defeats Rowdy Ranga. Match was (kayfabe) stopped midway because of a thrown towel.
Dharma and Ranga both made their debuts back in July, and this was their first singles match. Dharma is a huge bodybuilder who kind of reminds me of Bobby Lashley. He even has Lashley’s nickname, “Destroyer”. Ranga’s gimmick is that of a fun loving dancer with a Bollywood vibe (think Mahabali Shera, but with more catchy music). Before the match even started, the fans were already chanting “Deepavali, Deepavali!” (Deepavali falls on 30 October this year).
This was an okay match with one big problem: The finish was terrible. Dharma was in control for most of the match using his strength and power. He landed a chokeslam on Ranga when suddenly a towel was thrown into the ring by Sayn. I was seated ringside and I honestly didn’t know where he came from. Good job with your sneaking and sabotage skills, Sayn. The referee immediately stopped the match and the victory was awarded to Dharma. Sayn, who lost the earlier five-way match, said that he was sick of newbie wrestlers like Ranga getting opportunities while he himself, a three-year veteran, gets none.
This was only Ranga’s second SPW appearance and his first singles match. I was scratching my head at Sayn’s tirade. It made no sense, and it felt like they were trying too hard to push a “story” for Sayn.
NJPW’s Gedo once said this: “We are not a soap opera. We are not sports entertainment, we are not acting and not dancing. We wrestle and we are wrestling – we are New Japan Pro Wrestling.”
SPW, there is no need to try so hard to create “stories”. Let the wrestlers tell their stories in the ring, and let feuds and rivalries build from there naturally. I was hoping for a clean finish for Dharma vs Ranga, it’s their first singles match after all. Instead, we got a thrown towel (???).
– Jason Lee pins Arsenal Affi after a knee-strike to the head.
I was really looking forward to this match. Jason Lee (in yellow, above) is from Hong Kong Pro-Wrestling Federation (HKWF), and he has actually wrestled for WWE in 2016 for their Cruiserweight Classic tournament and Dusty Rhodes Classic tag-team tournament. Sadly, the majority of the spectators around me didn’t seem to know who he is (!). I was expecting a bit more fanfare for someone who has wrestled for WWE.
Lee’s experience and ring psychology made this a fun match to watch. The SPW fans kept cheering “Pikachu, Pikachu!” because of his yellow attire and hair wax. There was interference from a masked man, who invaded the ring and delivered a brainbuster to Affi. But the finish was clean, as Lee got the pinfall after a knee strike to Affi’s head.
– Singapore Pro Wrestling SEA tag-team title match: Bad Company (Golem Thai, P-Nutz) vs Mighty Arrow (Mighty Mighty, Black Arrow). Arrow pins P-Nutz after a top-rope senton.
Defending champions Bad Company are from Thailand’s Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling promotion. Their entrance theme is actually the Hell March 2 theme from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. Mighty Mighty is SPW’s biggest wrestler in terms of body size (think Brodus Clay), while Black Arrow is another high flyer.
Golem Thai, the bigger member of Bad Company, managed to body slam Mighty Mighty. Arrow delivered a moonsault from the top rope to the outside of the ring. He eventually pinned P-Nutz after a top-rope senton splash. I believe this is the first time that Mighty Mighty and Black Arrow have won a title belt, be it singles or tag team. Congrats to them, they deserve to hold a belt.
– Hiroyo Matsumoto pins Alexis Lee after a back-drop suplex
A women’s singles match featuring Singapore’s first female pro wrestler, Alexis Lee. Alexis was wearing some new facepaint and body paint — a black and white “skull” motif, slightly similar to Sting’s and Tama Tonga’s. It’s an interesting new look and I’m curious to see where she’ll go with this.
I’ve not watched Matsumoto wrestle before, but I googled about her beforehand. She is currently a freelancer wrestling for many indie promotions, including the prestigious all-female Shimmer Women Athletes. What I really liked about Matsumoto was her natural charisma the moment she came out on the ramp — she’s very comfortable in front of a crowd and knows how to keep them entertained. This seems to be a common characteristic among Japanese female wrestlers.
The match did not get off to a good start as Alexis’s hair got entangled in one of Matsumoto’s bracelets, forcing the referee to step in and untangle it. Matsumoto’s nickname is “Lady Godzilla”, and there were plenty of “Gojira, gojira” chants throughout the match. She managed to deliver a lot of lifted slams to Alexis, and I could see Alexis’s lower back sustaining some welts from the impact. Matsumoto won the match with a back-drop suplex, to the delight of me and my friend — that’s Yuji Nagata’s favourite finisher.
– Team of Cima and Big R Shimizu defeats the team of Statement and Trexxus. Cima with the pinfall on Statement after double knees from the top rope.
Statement is Singapore’s most experienced pro wrestler, he’s also wrestled for other indie promotions in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Australia. This feud started back in July, when Cima had a singles match against Statement for the SPW SEA title. Dharma interfered in that match, delivering a chokeslam to Cima to help Statement win the bout. So this time Cima returned with a fellow wrestler from Dragon Gate to settle the score. Dharma was banished from ringside by the referee before the match started to make sure that this would be a fair two-on-two.
It was my first time seeing Shimizu in action. He’s big but also fairly fast, and with his mohawk and bright yellow attire, the fans kept calling him “Raichu, Raichu”, the evolved and larger version of Pikachu. Statement managed to deliver a fireman’s carry slam to Shimizu, before the wrestlers spilled to the outside of the ring and fought near the spectators. Cima eventually got the pinfall after delivering a double knee drop from the top rope to Statement.
Overall, yet another fun two hours of indie pro wrestling action. Thank you for the entertainment. See you guys again on 10 December for the next event.
– Stick (played by Scott Glenn), Daredevil Season 1 Episode 7
A great quote about how anger, if left unchecked, will eventually lead to one’s downfall.
I wonder where all these Asian zombie movies are coming from all of a sudden. Last month, I watched Train to Busan, a South Korean zombie action flick with a unique setting and a powerful ending. This month, I Am A Hero was just released in theatres here. My friend informed me that I Am A Hero was originally a Japanese manga, and it actually inspired the Train to Busan film.
Warning: Some spoilers follow. Stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoiled.
I have been pondering about going on an Internet or videogaming “detox” lately, where I don’t play games or use the Internet for about a year. It’s a bit hard to explain why, it’s not something that can be easily put down in words. Until I came across this blog post on ArseBlog.com. It summarises my thoughts precisely. I’ll highlight the most important bits below:
Do you ever look at what’s happening in the world and feel kinda scared? The stuff that’s going on at the moment is genuinely frightening. A big shift to the right, intolerance on the rise, it doesn’t matter if you lie any more apparently. You can say whatever you want and people can disprove it, but it makes no difference to anything. War, people treating each other like they’re less than human simply because of where they come from, or the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, what they believe in, or even how desperate they are.
Sometimes I think we attach too much importance to football. A thing that can provide us with an escape, some entertainment, or a way of putting all that other stuff in the background, becomes all-consuming to the point where lose touch with what it actually is.
Yet there’s now a demand for perfection that goes against that completely. Every game must be a convincing win, otherwise we’re failing somehow. And in that people forget to enjoy the game, the company, the people, the friendships, the occasion, the fact that it can lift you up and make you forget your troubles – even for a little while.
If someone spends their day fighting and arguing online – even at a time when things are going relatively well – then what hope is there when their default position is anger?
Sometimes I attach too much importance to the things I enjoy in life. Football, pro wrestling, videogames. Especially pro wrestling. After Roman Reigns won the WWE title at this year’s Wrestlemania, I was absolutely livid and defiantly changed my Steam profile nickname to “Fuck Roman Reigns _|_ ” for three months until he dropped it to Dean Ambrose. I think I lost a couple of Steam friends because of this.
When we invest so much in something, especially our time and money, we feel obligated to get something good in return. We want instant, positive results from our favourite football teams. We want every videogame we play to be a perfect experience. We want every pro wrestler that holds the title belt to be “worthy”, to have earned it. Every championship final or cup final must be a AAA five-star match. And when these things don’t meet our expectations, we become angry and vent our frustrations on the Internet.
To use a videogame example, look at what happened to No Man’s Sky. Instead of just learning from the game’s mistakes and overhyped features, gamers are refusing to move on and feel like it’s their entitlement, their right to bash the game and the developers. It’s supposed to be a game, yet people are treating it like some global disaster that killed millions of people.
And I’m starting to become very tired of reading stuff like this. There’s so much hate speech, bigotry, and reckless comments on the Internet everywhere. It’s even made its way to traditional mainstream media like television and newspapers. Just look at what Donald Trump or Rodrigo Duterte are saying every day.
One of my friends once casually asked me awhile back: “Do you even use Facebook?”
I don’t post a lot of stuff on Facebook. I use it mainly to see what my friends are up to, to view interesting articles, photos, and maybe the occasional troll post or joke video. I prefer to post stuff on Twitter instead. Short, sharp, concise thoughts about the topics that interest me. That’s what the true power of social media is about: the ability to socialise and share things with each other. Instead, most of the stuff I see on my Facebook feed are angry rants. People complaining about the most insignificant inconveniences in their lives. One of the dumbest posts I’ve seen was from a fellow Singaporean complaining about being spot-checked in our country’s Changi Airport by a security officer. He went into a full, multi-paragraph tirade about how the officer had deliberately singled him out, and even dared to challenge the officer.
Huh?? In this post-September 11 age, with the influence of ISIS spreading closer and closer to home, you’re complaining about a security officer carrying out a routine check? It’s part of his fucking job, he’s doing his part to keep our nation safe.
I promised myself in my previous blog post that I’ll lower the aggressive tone of my posts, so I’ll end this short and sweetly. To everyone that continues making the effort to post well-researched or well-constructed articles with the aim of educating others and to encourage discussion, keep doing what you do. Knowledge is power but only if it can be passed on.
I can’t believe I’m writing this all because of an Arsenal blog post. Pure banter.