“Captain America: Civil War”: Movie Review


I’ve been known to defend DC films in the past because at heart, when it comes to Marvel versus DC, I was (and probably will) stubbornly at DC’s side of the equation. But alas, DC doesn’t have Kevin Feige and I’m quite certain that Marvel had paid him millions (if not billions). And even at that, he was probably still underpaid. That is how good he is in bringing all these stuffs together. Something that DC had tried hard to emulate but thus far, to a very little to no success.

As much as it pains me to say, “Civil War” is, at the point of this writing, the latest and the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date. Perhaps second only to Nolan’s Batman trilogy overall. It was that good.

Civil War Movie Poster

The inevitable comparison.

“Civil War” was built upon the premise that superheroes, even with their very best intention to save the many, in doing so (the saving) would inevitably result in collateral casualities. Some of the bystanders, especially those who had lost their loved ones are inevitably, will held the superheroes (again, with all their best intentions) responsible regardless that their actions had prevented a far bigger disaster. Even the most logical person could and would easily turned off their logic switch when losing someone they held dear and unleash the beast within them, so to speak.

This premise was already explored by “Dawn of Justice” released about just two months ago. In “Dawn of Justice,” the idea is represented by Bruce Wayne as he runs through Metropolis trying to save his employees while two Gods fought and wreak havoc to the city from above. His final say, as he held a child who had presumably lost her parent between the rumbles, was an angry look, an accusing stare toward the heavens. It was an effective scene, actually. I liked that.

In “Civil War,” this very same idea was represented by Daniel Brühl portraying the Villain in this movie, who had lost his family during “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” event. His final say was a quiet, reflective conversation with Chadwick Boseman and augmented by a subtle message shown on his phone screen. Now if the “Dawn of Justice”‘s Metropolis scene was an “effective” one, this scene in “Civil War” punch it in the face, trampled it to dust, blowing it to pieces, and scattered its remains to the four cardinal directions. Daniel Brühl’s character may not have a superpower (yet), but that made his character even more compelling. He earns my respect as one of the best Villain in the superhero genre films, perhaps second only to Heath Ledger’s Joker.

Another major difference between the two, as far as the basic premise involved, is that in “Dawn of Justice,” Bruce Wayne thinks he could beat a God. But in “Civil War,” Daniel Brühl’s character knows that he could not. And from that knowledge, came an understanding, and from there, wisdom. This gives “Civil War” a more humane perspective than “Dawn of Justice” and in turn, made it into a far more superior film.

Dense. A liquid dense.

Its natural. When you pack a whole lot of masked personas in one single movie, there would be a lot things going off at once. Added to that, the film also had to make space to introduce Black Panther (as well as his homeland, Wakanda) and to somewhat re-introduce Spider-Man into the fold. I was pleasantly surprised on how well they execute the transitioning between plot porgression and action set-ups. None of the action set-ups seems to be coming of the left-field (case in point: Batman’s future action set-up in “Dawn of Justice.” Now that is an example of an action set-up that coming in from the left-field). The big showdown in the airport we’ve seen in the trailer turns out to be not the final showdown (end of second act?). But rather than going downhill from there, the film goes even better. The final showdown, although much smaller in space (and participating party) felt even more great as it packs more emotional attachment to it.

The action set-ups were almost flawless. Everyone gets their time to shine and not just simply make things fly and blow and whatever. The airport scene was very well constructed that although there are more characters involved than fingers in my hands, the scene does not drag and more importantly, easy to follow. Really. Props to everyone masterminding that scene because that was truly an awesome work.

Again, it pains me to say it, but after this film, unless they could get someone like Kevin Feige, DC should re-pack they effort to bring their Universe together and concentrate on one-offs instead. Damn, Marvel just handed DC a mic drop they can’t came back from.

Why the Cap works.

When “The First Avenger” was announced, I was curious but skeptical. I mean, in my opinion, Captain America is almost as boring as Superman. Because just like Superman was, I had always associated Captain American with an embodiment of anything that was ideal, pure, and straight as an arrow. There was no gray in his views. Only Black and White, Right and Wrong. At least that is what I thought. Ambiguity was never in his character as you could always expect him to do the “right” thing.

“The First Avenger,” as far as I’m concerned, had never violate this character’s rule and yet, it was, an unexpectedly good entertainment.

Then came “The Winter Soldier.” Before “Civil War,” it was probably one of my top movie from Marvel Cinematic Universe. I liked “The Winter Solider” because of its simplicity, its grounded idea about privacy which, in our present, post-Snowden world, is increasingly becomes a very relevant issue. I also much prefer the hand-to-hand combat approach used in this series.

“Civil War” still follows this rule but with an increasingly better quality. Hand-to-hand combat? Check. Simple premise? Well, not necessarily “simple” but Check.

Many had pegged Robert Downey Jr. as an irreplaceable as Iron Man. Yes, he’s done a GREAT job donning Tony Stark personae. You could even say that Tony Stark is actually inspired by Robert Downey Jr. To be sure, the next actor who takes Iron Man suit would be scrutinized and compared extensively against him, but for me, personally, after the novelty that was the first “Iron Man” film, watching Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man had quickly worn off. I feel that Tony Stark in the first “Iron Man” and Tony Stark in “Civil War” hasn’t progressed that much. In a way, he is still a Robert Downey Jr-zed Tony Stark of old.

On the contrary, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers is growing. Sure, Chris Evans might not have that much of a range but it actually helped the character. Like I said, Captain America is supposed to be a “boring” superhero. I can’t actually pinpoint the growing part, but his character from the first Captain America film all the way to this latest incarnation, is subtly different. You could actually feel him aging and gained more wisdom in the process and I had had a great joy in following his progression.

In this way, I feel like Chris Evans is actually more irreplacable as Captain America than Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. But, hey, to each his own.

What’s next?

It’s definitely going to get even harder to defend the DC films after this. However, while I’m excited for whatever Marvel had to offer next, I feel that unless they are going to slow down and make things smaller, it’s going to be hard to topple Civil War from the top. And since the next Avenger films will put the superheroes against Thanos, a literal out-of-this-world character, there’s probably no getting smaller for Marvel Cinematic Universe. But still, we have gone this far into MCU and I personally think that people aren’t going to stop investing their time in this universe anytime soon.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”: Movie Review

Considered as Failure.

This might sounds like I’m beating a dead horse because let’s face it. “Batman v Superman” was universally panned by critics (Whopping 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and scored a massive 69% drop in box office in a week suggesting that while the initial interest was high, the word-of-mouth are well, could be better. And probably for a good reason too.

Batman v Superman Movie Poster

I’m not going to write what was wrong with the movie. The professionals are already gnawed at it, accentuated it to a point where my own voice would just another similar note playing way back in the background. Instead, I’m going to write about what I really like from the movie, and why I don’t mind for Zack Snyder to helm the next incarnation of DC’s superhero films

Cautiously Optimistic.

When they first announce this project, my initial thought was “okay, I’m intrigued, but I’m going to set my expectation low.” Because if you are going to collide two of the biggest superheroes in a film, there would be so many things that could go wrong. Added to that, the film was expected to be a setup for a much bigger Justice League. So yeah, so many things that could go wrong, plus possibly too many materials about to be crammed into a preferably under three hours of telling time with an additional requirements of both satisfying to the audiences who are well-versed in DC history, and not too confusing for those who didn’t. The stars had to be aligned in a very specific way in order to put all these together into a solid entertainment that could please both the critics and the general audiences.

Turns out, however, perhaps due to my low expectations, I found myself quite happy with the movie.

Convoluted, Messy Storyline and Plot.

The movie begins with a montage of Batman’s childhood, yet again. I was trying hard not to squirm and telling myself that you know, maybe Snyder would give it a slow-mo action that could at least half as good as Watchmen’s opening scene. I was right about the slow-mo action, I was wrong about it could be half as good as Watchmen’s. Suffice to say that I was very uncomfortable with it.

But then, the Metropolis scene starts, and I enjoyed this part a lot. This scene puts Bruce Wayne on the city that was literally destroyed when Superman takes on Zod during “Man of Steel.” This puny human, — a well trained, not to mention, filthy rich, but still, a mere human — runs around the city that gradually turns into a pile of destruction, trying to warn/save his employees, is an exciting piece of action. This scene, to my eyes, at least easily justified the reason why Batman got so mad at Superman.

But alas, after this scene, the expected mess starts. Scenes come and go in a hurry. Some scenes are somewhat there for the sake of being “cool.” Case in point, the Nightmare Batman scene. This scene is absolutely bonkers. In a world that was reduced to rubble and dust, Batman with his bulky, dirty, but awesome suit, doing a coreographed fight which at this point of the film, a very refreshing scene. The way the film treat this scene, however, indicates nothing about its supposed importance. Bruce Wayne didn’t even seem to be bothered with it, this scene almost felt like a fan service. It’s like saying, “hey, we have this totally cool scene. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it would be a same to cut it, so yeah, we …mmm… create a dream sequence to include this scene. Huh? What? Lazy? Yeah, maybe, but, it’s cool, it’s Batman doing stuffs. You’ll like it. Promise.” I do like it, I really like it. But also a bit disappointed.

The scenes rambling on, until Wonder Woman scene.

The Princess.

Wonder Woman’s entry scene is arguably the best scene of the whole film. Hands down. Few could take away the fact that at least Snyder, gets Wonder Woman right. It has an amazing soundtrack. Her bracelets, her shield, her sword, and her lasso, all are making a good lasting impression, and the way she moves, the way she fights, the way she smirks after she received her first blow from Doomsday, I didn’t know any better but those are all marks of the Warrior that she is. I have a huge crush on Gal Gadot ever since “Fast Furious” (so huge that I came to HATE that Asian dude who gets to kiss her on screen. Ugh), and her role in this film further cemented that affection. I would get her figurines, put up her posters, adorning my computer’s wallpaper with her (as a Wonder Woman) if I was a teenager still experimenting with his sexual desires.

Also, last but not least, I was interested in how Snyder handles Batman. Oh, it is clear. Batman clearly violates his number one principle in this film. An act that sends enough ripple among Batman fans that Snyder himself, felt the need to explicitly explain the decision. I was, however, simply amused, I want to be surprised, and the Batman’s treatment was clearly qualified as a surprise (I was like, “Oh, okay, that is interesting”). But I don’t feel like it was out of place. I mean, in fact, I think it was necessary because later, as Batman goes into his second choreographed fight scene in the film (which is even more awesome than the first), it clearly shows that Batman, is currently live in a dangerous world. Unlike Superman, he can be hurt (and killed) by a stab of steel into his artery, or a bullet. And therefore his violation to his rule in this film, I think, is not a luxury that he could live without, but it has become a necessity.

Conclusion. Flawed but Enjoyable.

Final word, despite its many flaws, “Batman v Superman” boils into a film about three characters. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. I liked how Snyder portrays Batman here, I got super excited with Wonder Woman’s treatment here, so that is two out of three. Which is good. Superman? Well, many had said that Snyder didn’t understand Superman. I personally don’t care about Superman. I had the same view for this guy as Lex Luthor. He is nigh invincible, his fights are boring (because odds are, he always wins), and therefore, the whole idea about him is, for me, boring. Although I do think that Cavill is the best Superman to date. Yes, even better than (the late) Reeve.

Conclusion, Batman v Superman is a confusing mess. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much, thinks that Batman and Wonder Woman was awesome here, and didn’t mind at all with the idea of Snyder directing the next DC’s repertoires of superheroes.

FF-TCG Entry: Auron (1)

Believe me or not, I’m playing Final Fantasy series usually not because of its story, but rather for the grinding. Yes, the mindless repetitive action just to unlock the next “cool” stuff that the game has to offer.

So, while I am familiar with Auron and Final Fantasy X (unlocked everything, including Wakka’s special ability that requires you to waste hours and hours of time in Blitzball mini-game. Not a “fun” idea for most, I gather), I can’t exactly tell how to fit his role in the story beyond the fact that he is sorta a guardian for Tidus, the main character, and somehow linked to Tidus’s mysterious father in the past which in turn, held a significant role in the game’s story. Maybe.

There are at least two cards featuring Auron in FF TCG. They are as follows (translation under each image):


This card costs 6 crystal, and of a Fire element (red color). It is of a Forward type, which means it could attack, with a power of 9000. This power number also doubles as toughness. When it receives damage bigger than this number, then this card is removed from the active field. It also has Guard as its designated job. Note that this Guard is a literal translation from ガード because most likely if this game ever localized into English, I’m betting it would say “Guardian” instead. Semantics, really, but localization job has to be consistent throughout the series.

The original text of this card is as follows:


The literal translation is When Auron deals damage to your opponent, you may play one Backup of Fire Element from your hand into the field, in a dull position. Not really great ability because you need Auron to survives another turn, and then use it to attack the opponent (instead of removing other active threats in the field), and then you have to have a Fire element Backup ready in your hand. And you play this Backup in Dull position, meaning you cannot use it until your next turn which is maybe, a bit too slow. But 9000 Power is not to be frowned upon.


This card costs 5 crystal, also of a Fire element (red color). Coincidentally (or not), Auron also wears red cloak so his inherent element is quickly recognizable. One less crystal is required to play than the previous Auron card although it has the same power level (9000), same type (Forward) and same job (Guardian). Therefore, this card has to has an ability weaker than the previous card to justify its one less cost. Not necessarily, though, as bad design in card game is sometimes intentional. Maybe required even.

The original text of this card’s ability is as follows:


And the literal translation. Your controlled backups cannot be broken as a result of your opponent’s effect. While the ability is kinda “meh,” I actually kinda prefer this ability than previous Auron’s. This might boils down to my personality in playing a trading card games. I usually prefer my cards to “stick” in the field rather than to aggressively playing card after card. This card’s ability fits more into that personality than the previous Auron’s ability. And therefore, the previous card, in my opinion, simply did not justify its cost of one more crystal. Plus, because one of the Rules in FF-TCG says that you cannot have more than one card with the same name in the field unless the card has the “multiple” icon on its top-right corner (Auron cards doesn’t have this icon), you can only put one Auron in the field. Should an effect either from you or your opponent put another Auron in the field, then both Auron were sent to the Break zone. This makes this card, in my opinion, even more viable to play rather than previous card.

Also, this card’s rarity is “Uncommon” which is slightly more commonly found in packs rather than previous Auron which is “Rare.” This leads me to believe that FF-TCG did not take off because issues like this. It seems more like Square Enix wants to bet on this series’ fanbase who would blindly buy something from this series even if it merely slapping existing illustration into a bunch of rectangle cartons with some texts and arbitrary Rules on it.

Well, at least it works on me.

“Perdido Street Station”: Book Review

Perdido Street Station - Cover
Perdido Street Station – Cover

“Perdido Street Station” easily takes me to both a familiar and an utterly strange world from the first page. It first remind me to a street in Agrabah from Aladdin, and then to a steampunk-ized version of our world where mechanical things with gears, pistons, steams, on an uneven arrangements roaming clumsily, noisily, mechanically. Going deeper into this world, however, we see a scarred world, wondrous, fantastical, but also made of stuffs from nightmares. Terrifying, almost repulsive at times. A fantasy genre unlike most of its brethren.

This is the first time I read China Miéville and I was led to believe that “Perdido Street Station” is going to be a hard science-fiction because I had intended to read a hard science-fiction when I finally pick “Perdido” from my long queue of “to-read” section from my library.

And so I was a bit surprised after flipping the first few pages and found out that “Perdido” is not strictly belongs to science-fiction genre, but rather to fantasy genre. And not the High-kind fantasy I used to read too.

But my surprise turns into pleasant as I quickly found my way into the world of “Perdido Street Station,” getting acquainted with its many inhabitants although they were not always pleasant or easy to read (and imagine) to.

It takes a little while for the story to get its engine going. Most of early chapters were devoted to characters as they were introduced, and the many threads that eventually led to the story’s fight against its main antagonist in a series of epic action set-pieces.

The story is also not particularly kind to its designated protagonists as well. I personally feel that this kind of direction is a rather refreshing although obviously won’t bode well to readers who seek a “feel-good” story.

In fear of spoiling the story more than it already has, let’s just say that there are a lot of ways the story could have ended that would leave its readers in a pleasant smile, rather than perhaps, a bit too real, and a bit too depressing direction that Miéville chose.

With so many fantasy books being adapted to a movie or a tv series, as I read this book, I kept thinking about the feasibility of this book turned into a moving picture. It has many great ingredients. A lot of visually enchanting characters, there are magic involved, also machines, epic battles with guns and beasts and multi-dimension movements (think of X-Men’s Nightcrawler), a sprawling city, a mysterious desert, a haunted forest, even a bit disgusting Red district. Although, well, it is a bit depressing and a bit hard to enjoy. But hey, Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice and Fire) works.

All in all, great intro to Miéville although I’m going to venture to a lighter literature first before heading back to Miéville’s Bas-Lag. But I’m definitely going to be back.

Rating: ★★★ – Great read. A bit hard to swallow at first, and its ending is perhaps a bit too depressing for some.

“All You Need is Kill”: Let’s Read #4

“Let’s Read” is an attempt on my behalf to master Japanese language by reading Japanese texts found in books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

In this edition, the text is from “All You Need is Kill.” A military sci-fi written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and has been adapted to what I think as one of the better sci-fi films with Tom Cruise in the lead, “Edge of Tomorrow.

See all previous posts on this series from its dedicated category.


  • ついさっき. Expression. “Just now.”
  • で. Particle.
  • 動き. Noun. “Move.” Compare with its verb version. うごく. “Moving.”
  • 笑い. Noun. “Laugh.” Just like 動き・動く, also has a verb version ending in う. わらう. “To laugh.”
  • 冗談. Noun. “Joke.”
  • を. Particle. Marked every noun that precedes it into a direct object.
  • 投げっていた. Verb. Non-present continuous form of げる. “To throw.”
  • あいつ. Noun. “That dude.”
  • が. Marks the previous part as a subject.
  • The marked subject, 「ついさっきで動き、笑い、冗談を投げっていたあいつ」 is a verb-noun construction that then could be translated into “that dude who was just now, move, laugh, and throwing jokes,”
  • 次. Noun. “Next; Following.”
  • の. Particle.
  • 瞬間. Noun. “Moment; Instant.”
  • 生暖かい. Adjective. “Lukewarm; Tepid.” A combination between なま “raw,” and あたたかい “warm.” This adjective will modify the noun that follows it.
  • 肉. Noun. “Meat.” Explained by the previous adjective to becomes “lukewarm meat.”
  • の. Particle.
  • 塊. Noun. “Lump.”
  • に. Particle. Target particle.
  • なる. “Becomes.”
  • The phrase then becomes “the next moment, turns into a lump of warm meat.”
  • And finally the whole sentence becomes “that dude who was just now, move, laugh, and throwing jokes, at the next moment, turns into a lump of warm meat.” Pretty grim.


  • 死. Noun. “Death.”
  • という. Expression. “That was called.”
  • やつ. Pronoun. “That guy; That dude.”
  • Therefore, 死というやつ “that guy who was dead.”
  • は. Particle. Marks the previous phrase as a topic.
  • 唐突. Adjective. “Abrupt.”
  • で. Particle. In this case, gives a “by” nuance.
  • あっという間. Expression. “A blink of time.” Interestingly, this expression literal meaning is “the time it takes to say あ.”
  • で. Particle. Similar to the previous で particle, gives a “by” nuance.
  • 容赦. Noun. “Mercy.”
  • を. Particle. Marks 容赦 as a direct object.
  • 知らない. Negative form of a verb 知る “to know.”
  • 容赦を知らない then could simply be translated into “not knowing mercy.”
  • And this give the whole sentence a translation of, “that guy who was dead, abruptly. In a blink of time. No mercy.”


  • それでも. Conjunction. “But still; Nevertheless; Even so.”
  • 考える. Verb. “To think.”
  • 間もなく. Adverb. Continuation form of 間もない. “Without time to…; Soon.”
  • 命. Noun. “Life.”
  • を. Particle. Marked 命 as a direct object.
  • 奪われる. Verb. Passive form of うばう. “To steal; To rob.”
  • 者. Noun. “Person.”
  • 命を奪われる者 then becomes verb-noun construct that translates into, “the person whose life was stolen.”
  • は. Particle. Marked 命を奪われる者 as a topic.
  • 幸運. Noun. “Good luck; Fortunate.”
  • である. Formal/literary form of “to be.”
  • This 幸運である then explains the topic that “the person whose life was stolen was lucky.”
  • Why? Because 考える間もなく “(it was stolen) without time to think.”
  • And overall the whole sentence becomes, “even so, he whose life was stolen without time to think (as in quickly), was the lucky one.”


Kanji Disassembled #142: 算 “Calculation”

Calculation Calculation top Calculation middle Calculation bottom

Calculation. On its own, this kanji represents this meaning. Although you don’t get to see this kanji on its own fairly often. This kanji usually a part of another compound and lent its “calculation” meaning into it. Examples are:

  • けいさん “Calculation.” Combined with 計 “to measure,” this compound gives a stronger sense of calculation. Should invoke an image of doing the actual calculation.
  • さん “Estimate; Budget.” Combined with 予 “prediction,” it is fairly natural to goes from “prediction” and “calculation” to “estimate.”
  • さんすう “Arithmetic.” Combined with 数 “number,” this kanji represents the nightmare for most students. Maths. Calculating number? Maths? Obvious connection.

This kanji is probably divisible into three separate parts shown at the top of this post. The top part of this kanji is a radical for “bamboo.” Basically, whenever you see this on a kanji, it almost always represents a “bamboo” meaning. Observe its resemblance to an actual bamboo from this image.


The middle part of this kanji is said to represent a picture of an “abacus.” And the bottom part of this kanji is said to represent fingers that were using the said “abacus.” It is probably too complicated to draw the individual beads on the abacus and the ten fingers that were using it, so they were simplified as such.


To this day, abacus were still used as a calculator in China. I personally think that the merchants purposely kept this practice of counting with an abacus because it looks cool, and it exudes a certain mystic aura that may help their business. Who knows?

Now because there are still demands for this little thing, some people are undoubtedly made a living by making them. Chances are, you name a material, wood, plastic, stone, metal, even gold, there’s an abacus made from it. But back then, during the time when kanji was invented, abacus was maybe mostly made by the most common material found back then. A bamboo.

And there you have it. An image of fingers, using an abacus, made from bamboo to indicate the meaning of “calculation.”

“Final Fantasy IV – Advance”: Let’s Play #3

“Let’s Play” is a yet another attempt on my behalf to actually learn Japanese. Through game.

The game I’m covering this time is a “Final Fantasy IV – Advance” for Game Boy Advance platform.

See other part of this series.

Final Fantasy IV Advance 2015-12-25 23.03.27


  • いったい. Adverb. “What?” Now you have to say this word with a conviction not unlike when you’re saying “what the heck?” in English.
  • 何. Pronoun. “What.”
  • が. Particle. Marked 何 as a subject.
  • 起こっている. ている-form of 起こる “to occur.” ている-form is generally used to indicate progressive.
  • の. Particle. Nominalized 起こっている.
  • か. Particle. Question Marker.
  • This sentence then simply translates into, “Just what is happening?” Although don’t forget to insinuate “what the heck” when saying it.

Final Fantasy IV Advance 2015-12-25 23.03.44


  • 伝説. Noun. “Legend; Myth.” Kanjis for this compound are つた “transmit” often found in verb つたえる “to tell; to convey,” and せつ “opinion.”
  • の. Particle. Possessive. Representing an English’s “of” here.
  • クリスタル. Noun. “Crystal.”
  • 伝説のクリスタル then would translate into, “Crystal of Legend.”
  • は. Particle. Marks 伝説のクリスタル as a topic.
  • ただ. Adverb. “Merely; Only.”
  • 静かに. Adverb. “Calmly; Quietly.” This adverb will add quality to the noun that follows it.
  • 光. Noun. “Light.”
  • 静かに光 then translates into, “Calm/quiet light.”
  • を. Particle. Marks 静かに光る as a direct object.
  • たたえていた. Non-present ている form of たたえる “to praise.” ている form then gives this a progressive quality.
  • The whole sentence then becomes, “The Crystal of Legend merely shedding its calm light.”

Final Fantasy IV Advance 2015-12-25 23.03.50


  • あたかも. Adverb. “As if.”
  • すべて. Noun. “Everything; All.”
  • を. Particle. Marks すべて as a direct object.
  • 知っている. ている form of 知る “to know.”
  • の. Particle. Nominalized 知っている.
  • ように. I found that this expression ように and its counterpart ような is rather difficult to explain. A lot of times I would peg these as “just like,” or something similar. But, other that these could also mean “in order to,” or “hoping,” or something else entirely. The only way to grasp its meaning is just practicing it a lot.
  • The whole sentence of this part could loosely translated to, “As if they know everything.”

“All You Need is Kill”: Let’s Read #3

“Let’s Read” is an attempt on my behalf to master Japanese language by reading Japanese texts found in books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

In this edition, the text is from “All You Need is Kill.” A military sci-fi written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and has been adapted to what I think as one of the better sci-fi films with Tom Cruise in the lead, “Edge of Tomorrow.

See all previous posts on this series from its dedicated category.


  • 土埃. Noun. “Cloud of dust.” Kanjis for this compound are つち “soil” and ほこり “dust.” You could maybe use けむり “smoke” instead of 埃 as in 土煙 to deliver the same information of “cloud of dust.”
  • を. Particle. Marks 土埃 as a direct object.
  • 巻き上げる. Verb. “To roll up.” I found 巻 here is an interesting kanji because it invokes an image of rolling something flat with your hands into something that takes 己 shape. Just like a rice roll sushi which was colloquially called “maki sushi.”
  • 巻き上げる is a transitive verb so it requires a direct object. On the contrary, 巻き上がる is an intransitive verb with the same meaning. The rule of thumb is perhaps that if a verb ends with an える, it is most likely a transitive verb. The same could be said with intransitive verb and ある.
  • This sentence then becomes a simple “A を B” sentence that translates into, “cloud of dust rolled up.”


  • 埃. Noun. “Dust.”
  • の. Particle. Possessive.
  • カーテン. Noun. “Curtain.”
  • 埃のカーテン then translates into, “curtain of dust.”
  • に. Particle. Marks 埃のカーテン as a target for the next action.
  • 次. Noun. “Next; The following.”
  • の. Particle. Possessive.
  • 一弾. Noun. “One bullet.”
  • が. Particle. Marks 次の一弾 as a subject.
  • 孔. Noun. “Hole.” Probably an alternative kanji for あな.
  • を. Particle. Marks 孔 as a direct object.
  • 開ける. Verb. “To open.”
  • This sentence then translates into, “the next one bullet opens a hole in the curtain of dust.”


  • 空. Noun. “Sky.”
  • を. Particle. Marks 空 as a direct object.
  • 焦がす. Verb. “To burn; To scorch.”
  • 空を焦がす then translates into “burning the sky.”
  • 幾千. Noun. “Several thousands.”
  • 幾万. Noun. “Several ten thousands.” Combined with 幾千, this actually doesn’t add anything except to over exaggerate the “a lot” meaning.
  • の. Particle. “of.”
  • うち. Noun. “Within.”
  • 幾千幾万のうち then translates into “from a lot of.” Combined with 空をこがす, it then becomes verb-noun construct meaning “from a lot of (things) that burn the sky.”
  • たった. “Only.”
  • 一発. Noun. “One shot.”
  • This first phrase, 空を焦がす幾千幾万のうちたった一発 then could be translated into, “only one shot from a lot of (things) that burn the sky.”
  • 指. Noun. “Finger.”
  • ほど. Adverbial noun. “Degree; Extent; Bounds; Limit.”
  • Aほど is a fairly common occurrence in Japanese and could be taken to mean “as much as A.” In this case, 指ほど then translates into “as much as finger.”
  • の. Particle. Possessive.
  • 塊. Noun. “Mass; Lump.”
  • Together, 指ほどの塊 then translates into “lump as big as a finger.”
  • が. Particle. Marks 指ほどの塊 as a subject.
  • 体. Noun. “Body.”
  • を. Particle. Marks 体 as a direct object.
  • 通り抜ける. Verb. “To pass through.” A combination of とおり “road,” and ける “to come out.”
  • だけ. Particle. “Only; Merely”
  • で. Particle. Instrumentation particle often translates as “by.”
  • 体を通り抜けるだけで then could be translated into “by merely passing through the body.”
  • ヒト. Noun. “Person.” Written with katakana here perhaps to highlight its importance.
  • は. Particle. Marks ヒト as a topic.
  • 死ぬ. Verb. “To die.”
  • All these then, combined and came out as a relatively simple translation, “only one shot from these many that burns the sky, a lump no bigger than your finger, merely passing through your body, a man is dead.”

“Final Fantasy IV – Advance”: Let’s Play #2

“Let’s Play” is a yet another attempt on my behalf to actually learn Japanese. Through game.

The game I’m covering this time is a “Final Fantasy IV – Advance” for Game Boy Advance platform.

See other part of this series.

Final Fantasy IV Advance 2015-12-25 23.01.58


  • いま. Adverbial noun. Also written as a kanji, 今, it usually means “now.”
  • この. Pronoun. “This.”
  • 国. Noun. “Country.”
  • の. Particle. Often used as a possession marker.
  • 歯車. Noun. “Gear; Cog-wheel.” Kanjis for this compound are 歯 “tooth,” and 車 “car.”
  • この国の歯車 then would literally translates to “this country’s cogwheel.” Which doesn’t make much sense. However, the cog-wheel here is not to be taken literally. Similar with how “cog-wheel” functions in English, it could mean the way things work. Take an English sentence, “like a cog-wheel in a big machine” which means that it’s a moving part of some bigger things. Therefore, “this country’s cogwheel” could be taken to mean as “this country’s ways” or something similar.
  • が. Particle. Marks この国の歯車 as a subject.
  • 狂い. Noun. “Deviation; Disorder”
  • 始めている. ている-form of verb 始める “to begin.” ている-form is usually translated as a progressive form.
  • The whole sentence then translates to, “this country’s ways, as of now, has begin to deviate.”

Final Fantasy IV Advance 2015-12-25 23.02.24


  • 不吉な. Na-adjective. “Ominous.” Explains the noun that follows it.
  • 影. Noun. “Shadow.” Explained by the previous adjective to become “ominous shadow.”
  • が. Particle. Marks 不吉な影 as a subject.
  • 世界. Noun. “The world.”
  • を. Particle. Marks 世界 as a direct object.
  • 覆う. Verb. “To cover; to hide; to conceal.”
  • This kind of sentence is perhaps the simplest form of Japanese sentence. “A が B を C” which translates to “A is C-ing on B” or in this case, “an ominous shadow, covers the world.”

Final Fantasy IV Advance 2015-12-25 23.02.48


  • 砲声. Noun. “Sound of a gun; Roar of cannon.” Kanjis for this compound are ほう “gun,” and こえ “sound.”
  • 土煙. Noun. “Cloud of dust.” Kanjis for this compound are つち “soil,” and けむり “smoke.”
  • 逃げ惑う. Verb. “To run about trying to escape.” This verb could be separated into げる and まど う both of which could stand on their own as a separate verb that means, “to escape,” and “to be perplexed; to be puzzled” respectively.
  • 人々. Noun. “People.”
  • 逃げ惑う人々 then becomes verb-noun construct where the verb explains the noun. Therefore this construct then translates into “people running about trying to escape.”
  • The whole sentence is just a series of words. “Sound of guns, cloud of dusts, people running about trying to escape.”

Final Fantasy IV Advance 2015-12-25 23.03.01


  • なぜ. Adverb. “Why.”
  • バロン. Noun. “Baron.”
  • は. Particle. Marks バロン as a topic.
  • クリスタル. Noun. “Crystal.”
  • に. Target particle, marks クリスタル as a ‘target’ for the following actions.
  • 執着する. Verb. “Attachment; Obsession.”
  • の. Particle. In this case functions as nominalizer, turns the preceding クリスタルに執着する into a pseudo-noun.
  • か. Particle. Question marker.
  • Thus, the sentence simply translates into, “why does Baron obsessed with Crystals?”

“The Hateful Eight”: Movie Review

The Hateful Eight - Poster“The Hateful Eight” is a kind of film that could only be made by someone with a high reputation. It’s three hours long, it has lots of dialogues that literally the first ninety minutes is filled almost completely with dialogues, and it demands stellar performances from each and every characters involved. And stellar performances and cheap rarely goes the same road. No, sir, you need someone like Tarantino to convince some businessman to hand you their investment money for this kind of film.

And boy, what a film it turns out to be.

“The Hateful Eight” is easily my pick for the best film of 2015. In fact, given time, I could see it as my pick for the best film of all time. It was that good.

At least for me.

A disclaimer. If you think that Tarantino’s films are a bit on the extreme side of violence, and/or involves too much dialogues, and you don’t quite fancy it as such, then this film is definitely not for you.

“The Hateful Eight” rightfully involves (at least) eight different characters, huddled together in a confined space, which eventuality would dictate that these characters are going into something… chaotic.

Now in order to enjoy this film you had to be invested in the characters. If you can’t find yourself remotely interested to any of its characters during the first few minutes, you might as well leave the film be as you won’t like this film a bit.

The characters, in turn, had to be at their absolute best in order to carry the script. It doesn’t going to matter how good the script was if the characters aren’t going to deliver. There are sayings that some directors are able to pull the best from some actors. I find it to be true as far as Tarantino and his few regulars here. Samuel L. Jackson is an ever commanding presence. Every scene where he leads, he does so in a convincing and menacing demeanour that you had no other choice but to pay attention. Tim Roth draws too much semblance with Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained,” but still is a unique presence. Kurt Russell was at his best, and I think only Tarantino who could make Michael Madsen into a fierce method actor as is evident here. Heck, even the actors who portrays Señor Bob and O.B. who each had a very limited screen time exudes their own best here.

However, I had to give it to Walton Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Goggins’ character had a complete arc from being what appears to be a “clown token” at the beginning of the film progressing into something else during the entire film and finally turning into something else at the end of the film. You had to watch it to understand but it has been a pleasure to watch.

Jennifer Jason Leigh’s role in this film, however, will draw a separating line. Arguably, the main plot of this film revolves around her character and some will undeniably see her merely as a victim of abuse whose existence is nothing but becoming an object for the other male characters. This of course, won’t bode well with feminists. Can’t really do anything about that. However, as have I, some will see her as the scariest character to walk this film. She had it coming, and she brings it home with such force that both terrifies and awes me. Her resolves at the end of the film which involves a hatchet is a marvel to watch. This, in my book, makes her as one of the strongest female character I’ve seen in a film this year.

All in all, “The Hateful Eight” might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think this is Tarantino at his most smug, and most pretentious. And I am absolutely okay with that. You’re either going to love it as much as I do or not at all. It depends on how you perceive Tarantino. Although love him or hate him, he is still undeniably one of the great directors left active today.