Month: January 2009

Kannagi – Musuhi no Toki

天つ神 国つ神 八百万神等共に 聞こし食せ
Oh Heavenly Gods, Earthly Gods, may the myriad of gods listen to my plea.

罪と云ふ罪は在らじと
Please make it so that every sin no longer exist.

高山の伊褒理 短山の伊褒理を?き別け 聞こし食さむ
Please listen and fulfill my plea as they break past the clouds and fog of both the high mountains and the low mountains.

罪と云ふ罪は在らじと
Please make it so that every sin no longer exist.

直き真心持ちて 道に違ふことなく
Maintain a honest and sincere heart and don’t stay off.

愛し愛し我が子よ
Ah, my dear, beloved children.

健やかなる命を 共に誓いし杜に
Live a healthy life within this forest where we took a vow together.

安らぎ給え和ぎ給え永久の時を刻む杜に
Be at ease, and be at peace within this forest that is marked in time forever.

稲穗の海 豐饒の雨
The sea of rice. The fertile rain.

娘達の祈り 男達の勤しみ
The prayer of the women. The hard work of the men.

月は微笑み 陽は暖かく
The smile of the moon. The warmth of the sun.

来るみあれに喜び集う
All of them gather delightfully in anticipation of God.

罪と云ふ罪は在らじと
Please make it so that every sin no longer exist.

愛し愛し我が子よ
Ah, my dear, beloved children.

健やかなる命を 共に誓いし杜に
Live a healthy life within this forest where we took a vow together.

安らぎ給え和ぎ給え永久の時を刻む杜に
Be at ease, and be at peace within this forest that is marked in time forever….

Kannagi is a decent, if generic, anime comedy. The ending theme though, is something really special. Soothing, peaceful, even beautiful, it feels like a quiet, heartfelt prayer.

Lyrics shamelessly lifted from アンスウェラー.

John Legend – If You’re Out There

What a fantastic song. Some will take issue with it being inspired by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, but to my mind it has, like all great art, a universal message.

Its performance on Real Time with Bill Maher, where I first heard it, is probably the best solo performance I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long while*. So good I got his album Evolver, though I don’t like modern soul music. Unfortunately I find the album version overproduced, and so I consider this the definitive version.

* – I guess since Chris Cornell’s live @ O-baren in Stockholm bootleg. It is available on the torrents, so fire up your client, ladies and gentlemen.

Redbelt (2008)

redbelt_xlg

4.5 stars outta 5

“A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.”

– Bruce Lee

In my previous review of “Ip Man” I mentioned that I felt strangely dissatisfied with the movie’s lack of wushu spirit in its theme and for the weirdest reason, I just couldn’t let the flaw of the movie go while half wanting to recommend it.

I needed a closure; and what better way do this than watching yet another martial arts movie.

Yet,to call Redbelt “another martial arts movie”, is like saying The Dark Knight was merely another comic book movie. A bold claim, yes. But not entirely unjustified.

The latest movie from David Mamet shows us the fight that most of its peers does not offer enough of: The struggle within.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (quite a mouthful, eh?) plays Mike Terry, a jiujitsu instructor who explains that he doesn’t teach people to fight, but to prevail.  An interesting comment, since his dojo is not making money, has a shattered glass from an incident that may lead to his one of …two(?) students going to jail, he’s unable to pay his rent and to top this off, his wife ends up borrowing money from a loan shark for a bust business deal that she could never pay off.

It sure is a good thing that Mike’s brother in law happens to be running an ‘Ultimate Fighting Champion-ish’ tournament. And with a $40,000 top prize carrot dangling in front of a desperate man, could this finally be the straw to break the camel’s back ?  Does every man, even a honourable one like Mike, truly have a price?

I have but merely scratched Redbelt’s surface in its intricate plot lines, a wonderful character piece case study on the theme of honour, a subject matter sorely missing in many martial arts movies; and to see it  on an American movie actually makes it even more remarkable to me.

Now, the movie does have its flaws.  The overly macho dialogue sounds like they belong to another world (Who talks like that in real life!?!) the fact that everything piece of the puzzle falls oh so neatly into place in the film.  But I am more than willing to ignore this shortcomings because I have simply enjoyed the ride that Mamet is bringing me.

Of course, it would be ridiculous of me to expect all martial arts movies to suddenly stop fighting and to start preaching, what would be the fun in that?

But, dear reader, hear me out.  In today’s world where money seem to be the most important thing, it heartens me to think that old fashioned values like honour and respect still means something to somebody, even he is a work of fiction.

THAT should be the spirit of wushu, of martial arts, and for better or worse, for our lives.

Irregular Oblivioning: Foundations

Before you begin any serious usage of mods, you will need a few resources that will enable some other mods you will be installing.

  • Oblivion Script Extender (OBSE)
    The OBSE is an amazing piece of software. It hooks into the Oblivion executable and provides new scripting functions while keeping things rock-solid. If you don’t understand what that mean, just know that the OBSE enabled the creation of much more complex mods than what would otherwise be realistically possible. Note that D2D users and No-CD crack users are out of luck. Installation is simple, just follow the instructions in the readme file.
  • Pluggy
    This is a multifunction OBSE plugin, and adds more scripting functions.
  • Common Oblivion (Cobl)
    Cobl adds lore-friendly races, books, ingredients by itself, but its true value comes from it being designed as a shared resource for modders. It doesn’t come in an OMOD unfortunately, so read the installation instructions carefully. I have just the Core ESM/ESPs installed. Salmo the Baker is nice but unstable for some users, you’ll have to test it for yourself.

I’ll be doing game play tweaks next.

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