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Start Visiting my New Web Site!

February 2, 2013

I want everyone to start visiting marzgurlproductions.com in the place of this blog.  I once had marzgurproductions.com redirecting to this blog, so for those of you who were using that link, you won’t have a problem.  But for everybody else using marzgurl.wordpress.com, you’ll need to start headed over to the official address to start getting updates from me.  Thank you for understanding the transition.  I think once you see the site for yourself you’ll see why the switch is being made.  I’m thrilled about it!   Thanks to Marc the Engineer, I have a beautifully rebuilt web page! Also, a big thanks to Mark aka Psychotaku who had previously gifted me with the Japanese graphic which Marc then used in the title banner.  Ah, I’m terribly thrilled and have really talented people to thank for their hard work and effort. Thank you!  I hope you’ll all like the site, too!

MarzGurl Reviews Final Fantasy XIII – Episode 1

December 22, 2012

Here’s a project I’ve been very passionate about, and I hope that it shows. I’ve been working on the whole series for a very, very long time. I actually have the entirety of the script written, and now the whole rest of it is simply in the editing stages. So, hopefully, you won’t have to wait terribly long between episodes. I actually wrote the whole thing BY HAND first while I was at my other job, which took a couple weeks between the work I ACTUALLY had to do, and then I transferred it over to my laptop.

If YouTube is your viewing method of choice, I do also have a second upload over here. – http://youtu.be/CZhOff9MDqo

I do want to address that, yes, Spoony is releasing his Final Fantasy XIII reviews at nearly the exact same time as I am. I can assure you, this was completely unplanned, nor is anybody copying anybody (most would suggest that I’m the copier). I’m not exactly a huge fan of the “review dibs” idea. You can’t honestly tell me you would expect IGN to do a review of a game and then NOT have Gamespot do a review because IGN was doing it. Then where would you go for a variety of opinions?

Actually, Noah and I talked at great length about XIII back during the year THREE movie for TGWTG. We made each other aware way back then that we were planning on doing our own thing, and nobody really seemed to care. It’s completely crazy that we’re releasing our videos at nearly the same time without having otherwise talked to one another.

Really, our videos are pretty drastically different. Actually, I LOVE his Part 1. I agree with just about everything stated in it, and I laughed. Laughed hard in some cases. I’d really encourage you to watch his as well to get a feeling of how different we are. – http://spoonyexperiment.com/2012/12/15/final-fantasy-xiii-part-1/

Noah’s reviews are very much set up for people who are already familiar with his reviews, especially his previous Final Fantasy reviews. Mine, however, his highly informative and comparative to previous game installments, and I would hope that this would mean that even someone who isn’t a Final Fantasy fan can jump in and understand what I’m talking about without having to already sort of “get the joke”.

Speaking of jokes, I’m not really much of a jokester. I can throw a quip here and there as well as the next guy, but they have to be really well placed. I decided a long time ago that I’m just not the snarky reviewer type. That’s why I think I’m much better with the analytically style.

All I can hope for is that my passion for the Final Fantasy series as a whole and my disappointment with what became of Final Fantasy XIII is what really shines through without having to visibly or vulgarly “tear it a new one”. I think I can far more elaborately rip it up and have it make sense. I hope you’ll join me in doing so!

Thank you for your patience and your support.

Upcoming Convention Attendance and Appearances

December 4, 2012

I wanted to make a list of upcoming events that I’ll either be attending, working, or appearing at within the coming months.  I hope to see you at some of these, too!

Ikkicon (Dec. 28 – 30, 2012, Austin, TX) - http://ikkicon.com/ – Working the SWAG Expo table.
MAGFest (Jan. 3 – 6, 2013, National Harbor, MD) – http://magfest.org/ – Attending, panel appearance
GATOCon (Feb. 16 – 17, 2013, Texas A&M University Kingsville) – http://gatocon.com/ – Guest appearance
All-Con (Mar. 8 – 10, 2013) – http://all-con.org/ – Attending
Anime Expo (Jul. 4 – 7, 2013) – http://www.anime-expo.org/ – Attending, possible panel appearance

For now, this is it.  Will post an update if anything changes.  Thanks, guys!

Great Concert! The Legend Of Zelda:Symphony Of The Goddesses

November 3, 2012

Just got back home from a sudden surprise for the evening.  I was graciously gifted with a free ticket to see The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses.  And only with about three hours advance notice!  But it was quite the awesome surprise.

This particular performance took place in downtown San Antonio’s very own Majestic Theatre.  Ticket holders were greeted with the sounds of classic Legend of Zelda songs lightly playing throughout the performance hall while the logo was projected onto a large screen behind the symphony while the symphony themselves began slowly filtering onto the stage and began getting prepared.

Now, before I continue, I feel compelled to comment on the activity of the ticket holders at the event.  For starters, I was one of the many, many people who brought their Nintendo 3DS to the concert.  Yeah, I Street Passed.  Would you believe how many people changed their hats to Link’s cap or the Triforce along with their greeting phrase just for the sake of the concert?  I guess that makes pretty decent sense.  But then there’s the way people dressed.  I get it, the concert is based on music from a series of video games.  Believe me, I understand.  I’ve been to several other symphonic video game concerts.  But this is the most casual event I’ve seen yet.  I thought everyone at Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy was bad.  No, this was much worse.  The fact is, I feel like there’s a certain level of respect that people tend to ignore.  I mean, forget the fact that it’s music from a video game.  The fact is that it’s still symphonic music.  And past that, you’re in the nicest theatre in the city.  Look at what you’re walking in to!

For this reason, I find casual clothes particularly rude.  And there were very few people who dressed nicely for the event at all.  I mean, I suppose the most I can understand is wearing your oh-so-awesome Legend of Zelda T-shirt to the concert.  That’s one thing.  But sloppy jeans and a sloppy, unrelated T-shirt is another.  Then there were cosplayers.  Again, I still felt like it was rude, as I often do at orchestrated events, but at least most everyone was dressed as Link.  Even a single Zelda was there (how nice, after all, the games are named after her).  But then there’s cosplayers who just want to be looked at and are obviously just doing it because they’re begging for attention.  I am talking directly to you, guy who dressed up as Ness from Earthbound and guy who dressed up as Marluxia of Organization XIII from the Kingdom Hearts francise and your terrible pink wig that couldn’t even fit over your head and had just as much natural hair sticking out.  If you ever read this, good.  You should see me wagging my finger at you.  Symphonic concerts aren’t conventions.  I’m sorry if you missed the memo.  Now go home and change.

Back to the show…

This show was so pro.  Now, I consider myself a much bigger Final Fantasy fan than a Legend of Zelda fan.  However, as the music played, I couldn’t help but realize what an impact the games really have had on me over the course of time.  I walked in expecting to appreciate the music, sure, but not to be moved to tears, and that’s indeed what happened.

This feeling was aided by the fact that the entire production was so well organized and thought out that I don’t know how they can possibly outdo themselves.  The performance features game footage being played along with the music from that particular game.  And while I’ve seen this done in many other concert series’ before it, never have I seen it done with such precision and accuracy.  Even the Final Fantasy concerts have never pulled it off this well.  In the Distant Worlds concerts, there would be some game footage sloppily pasted together while the orchestra played along with it, not entirely matching the visuals on the screen at that given moment in time.  However, with Zelda Symphony, we have a far more technologically advanced system.  It starts with the conductor (an Irish woman, might I add!  I have to admit, I’ve so rarely seen female conductors that I was pleasantly surprised).  She, along with the rest of the orchestra, wear little Apple-style ear buds to listen to something.  A digital metronome, perhaps?  Each other?  Anyway, in front of the conductor was a large tablet where I could indeed see what appeared to be some variety of metronome.  It at least had a bar that would scroll across it from the left side to the right side, maybe even counting out the beats in a measure.  When it got to the last bar in a song, I saw the line turn red, and then disappear.  She ended the songs just as soon as that last line would reach the far right side of the screen.  I assume that this is what keeps the orchestra so perfectly in sync with the video being displayed.  That video, by the way, is edited perfectly, to display the proper game play footage at just the right moment, where it fits both rhythmically and emotionally.  This far surpasses the editing I’d previously known from the Distant Worlds concerts.  The only thing that may be wrong with this is that no less than five games were completely spoiled to anyone who hadn’t beaten them.  There were five full overtures, from Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess, all of which had footage in order from beginning to end (including final battle and defeat footage) playing during the performance.  I suppose for a room full of LoZ nuts, that’s fine.  But… I’unno, I’m not a huge fan of that.

It was very apparent that everyone who had produced this concert wanted to make sure they were doing exactly what the fan’s hearts desired.  I apologize for comparing Zelda Symphony to Distant Worlds so much, but it’s just proved that it doesn’t matter whether my heart is given to Final Fantasy or not, sometimes another company just plain does it better.  In this situation, Nintendo has cared greatly more than Square Enix has.  One of the producers of the concert series would occasionally step out and talk about the upcoming pieces that would be performed.  It was somewhat charming the way he would prattle on about how much of a fan of the Zelda series he’s been throughout his life (and it was plainly obvious that this was the truth), but in some instances it was somewhat painful.  It would last too long, and then he would try to make in-jokes or make the audience geek-guess what the next song would be, and he’d have this big, geeky, doofy smile on his face.  I’m sure he’s a great guy and fun to talk Zelda with.  But in some places it got to a point where I wanted him to get off stage and let the music play.  At one point, the conductor began introducing the Wind Waker movement, and she actually switched out her baton for the Wind Waker baton to conduct the orchestra with for the duration of said piece.  Very nerdy, and the audience adored it, of course.

The concert was quite long.  Especially with the encores.  That’s right.  Encores is plural.  Three encores.  Three of them!  Boy, it must suck to be those guys who walked out before even the first one played.  I hope they get online later and see that they missed another three long songs and feel at least slightly dumb, like they missed out.  ‘Cause they did.  They were great.

The concert merchandise sold out like crazy.  During intermission there was just no getting up and walking around.  The Majestic isn’t particularly huge, and the line for merchandise was this insane blob in the middle of the biggest artery the Majestic has.  They had sold out of T-shirts before the end of intermission, and at least by the end of the concert they had sold out of posters, too.  I’d heard they’d had to start giving people order forms to purchase stuff and get it shipped to them later.  Nintendo is rolling in dough just from this concert series.  And why shouldn’t they be?  They made a pretty friggin’ solid presentation.

All in all, I would definitely see this concert series again.  It ended up being far grander and nicer than I expected, a presentation worthy of the price of admission.  Which is why it was even sweeter that I managed to see it for free, because I got way more than I paid for.  If it ever rolls through your town, set aside the funds to go and see it!  But, please, leave your Solid Snake costume at home.  Nobody cares.

 

Thanks to http://original-gamer.com/ for helping me see this performance.

It’s Halloween Season. How About Some Bad Japanese?

October 4, 2012

Halloween is so cool. It’s legitimately one of my favorite holidays all year. I love costuming. So when it’s Halloween time, I’m psyched because stores such as Party City really start to stock up on stuff I can use to create all kinds of costumes.

That’s just what I was thinking when I stumbled across this particular prop ninja sword in stores.

Josh displays how awesome he can look when he holds this plastic ninja sword prop.

But upon closer inspection, there was something funny about it… yes! The sword in fact has Japanese written across the blade on both sides!

One side of the sword, with Japanese written across it.

 

But… hmm… what does it mean?  Is it just nonsense?  Or is it… something more?  Luckily, I’M here to save the day!

A little bit of closer inspection shows that it says this…

“Please drink your milk.  Your mom’s name.  Honesty/Honest person.  Are you truly kind to animals?  Please give … Please … parents/loved ones.”

…Or something like that.  Look, I’m gonna be honest, the writing on this sword is GOD AWFUL.  Those places where you see I’ve left a gap in what the sword says, I’m pretty sure they just made crap up.  I don’t know every single kanji, admittedly, so maybe a native would be able to better recognize what the kanji was they were TRYING to write.  But I went and hunted through online kanji dictionaries, tried to figure it out by the different radicals in each character, and I STILL didn’t find anything for those two kanji I couldn’t figure out.  In some cases, like in the case of “Your mom’s name”, I’m even sort of stretching that, ’cause it’s missing a line that would make “name”.  And there’s no punctuation, so it just all looks like one big run-on sentence, so in some cases it was hard to determine what was part of what statement.

Anyway, the sword it just littered with bad Japanese writing, stating nothing but complete gibberish.  So, who made this sword?

 

Disguise.  Got it.  Now I know what company to make fun of when Halloween shopping.

 

Pick up YOUR Ninja Cyber Sword TODAY!

 

About a Side Project – Expect More: Kamen Rider Fourze, by JoshKnightTheFirst

September 2, 2012

I thought that this would be worth everyone’s attention because I worked on editing this video for Josh for well over a week. For the product that you end up seeing here, that might seem ridiculous. I mean, there’s quite a lot I would have liked to have done differently. But if you’ve been following what I’ve been up to for the last one to two months, this is abso-friggin’-lutely amazing. My PC has been shutting itself down when put under much of any stress, and my laptop only has about enough RAM to run Windows 7. And Josh not having the camera or editing equipment he would need to accomplish his vision, I had to give something, even if it wasn’t the greatest result I would have liked to have come up with. And with Fourze having just ended and Wizard having just begun today, time was of the essence. We had to work while the topic was still relevant.

The editing process was ridiculous. Converting video files into easily editable formats had to be done on my laptop, which, as I mentioned, was painful because my laptop barely runs itself. Since that was so painful, I realized I was going to have to edit on my PC no matter what. But the problem was that the PC would overheat and shut itself down if I made it render anything over, like, 20 seconds long. So, it turned out YouTube has this editor, right? So, what I ended up having to do was edit fragments of things mixing Josh’s narration with the imagery he wanted to portray, then upload it to YouTube, and piece it together on their editing page. I did all this jumping between my PC and my laptop. It was painful as hell. And yet, somehow, amazingly, I managed to come up with what you see now. So, for a video that I would have much rather done much better, this result is rather pleasing to me.

The entirety of information being presented to you is all courtesy of Josh. Though I must admit, that Nabisco joke was all me (sorry, Josh, had to take credit for that where my credit is due). So, for your tokusatsu information, I can’t take the credit there. All I’m taking credit for is putting together the imagery he wanted to portray to his audience. I’m not certain yet whether or not he will continue to need my assistance, but if he does you can be sure I will continue to help present the material he’s passionate about.

Frankly, this video could have gone on for much, much longer. The complaints could have filled two videos this size. But we both knew that nobody really knows Josh, so people most likely weren’t going to care. So, I think it ended up at a pretty tolerable length.

So, there it is! My explanation of this video. If this is the kind of topic that interests you, please feel free to watch more as it gets presented. Thank you!

Picking Apart Twilight: The Novel, Chapter 18

July 27, 2012

18. THE HUNT

They emerged one by one from the forest edge, ranging a dozen meters apart. The first male into the clearing fell back immediately, allowing the other male to take the front, orienting himself around the tall, dark-haired man in a manner that clearly displayed who led the pack. The third was a woman; from this distance, all I could see of her was that her hair was a startling shade of red.

Awwwwwwww, SNAP, y’all! It’s goin’ DOWN!

…Please tell me none of you thought I was legitimately that excited.

You’ll remember from the previous chapter that we had a sudden plot whiplash that involved introducing a pack of legit man-eating vampires who are totally going to be out for Bella’s blood here in a few minutes. Now here they come, just wanting to make friends.

Both men had cropped hair, but the woman’s brilliant orange hair was filled with leaves and debris from the woods.

I thought… I thought you just said her hair was red. Red and orange may be similar, but they’re not the same color. Also, I take it the movie took liberties with these characters, as neither of the male vampires had cropped hair. I mean, no big deal, just an observation.
JamesLaurent

Introducing Laurent, Victoria, and James. They seriously just want to play baseball and make friends. And Carlisle steps forward to talk casually, all like, “Yeah, come to our house, we’ll talk to you about how we set up permanent residence and stuff. Everybody here? Yeah, we’re all one big happy vampire family, nothing to see.” But then all that hiding is for nothing ’cause Bella’s got human stench just dripping from her, and everybody immediately freaks the hell out.

“She’s with us.” Carlisle’s firm rebuff was directed toward James. Laurent seemed to catch my scent less powerfully than James, but awareness now dawned on his face.
“You brought a snack?” he asked, his expression incredulous as he took an involuntary step forward.

Carlisle offers to take the new vampires to his home to sit down and talk while Edward, Alice, and Emmett take Bella to the Jeep, where they promptly GTFO. From this point on, nobody tries explaining any sort of plan to Bella. They just kidnap her. But they’re doing it out of LOVE!

We hit the main road, and though our speed increased, I could see much better where we were going. And we were headed south, away from Forks.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
No one answered. No one even looked at me.
“Dammit, Edward! Where are you taking me?”
“We have to get you away from here – far away – now.” He didn’t look back, his eyes on the road. The speedometer read a hundred and five miles an hour.
“Turn around! You have to take me home!” I shouted. I struggled with the stupid harness, tearing at the straps.
“Emmett,” Edward said grimly.
And Emmett secured my hands in his steely grasp.
“No! Edward! No, you can’t do this.”
“I have to, Bella, now please be quiet.”

How about asking this girl about what she wants? Was that ever an option? I know you want to keep her safe and all, but she IS just a regular person with regular old human problems. But I guess that doesn’t matter. And holding her against her will is totally cool because it’s for her safety and junk. Never mind not just opening up and explaining things to her at the very least.

From here, the book starts formulating the plan right in front of the audience, where the movie just shows the plan take action. I guess since it’s a book you have all the time in the world to do that, but still, we’re basically going to have to see it all written twice – once to tell us how it’s going to happen and once more when they actually execute the plan.

So, Edward’s making it seem like the only solution is to drive Bella as far away from James as possible, as he’s the guy who’s decided to turn Bella into an interesting hunt. Doesn’t it stand to reason, then, that no matter how far Bella travels, he’s not going to stop hunting her, if he is in fact the incredible tracker Edward starts claiming he is? Horrible plan there, Edward.

…The silence lasted for a long minute as Edward and Alice stared each other down.
I broke it. “Does anyone want to hear my plan?”
“No,” Edward growled.

LOL.

Okay, to further elaborate, I think it’s absolutely hilarious that Bella’s getting ignored and shot down. However, isn’t this supposed to be her boyfriend? Like, he’s supposed to care about her and junk, right? ‘Cause he’s not really showing it. He’s telling her exactly what she can and can’t do, not giving her all the information, and not listening to her when the whole situation involves her. Controlling, much?

I glared at him and continued. “You take me back. I tell my dad I want to go home to Phoenix. I pack my bags. We wait till this tracker is watching, and then we run. He’ll follow us and leave Charlie alone. Charlie won’t call the FBI on your family. Then you can take me any damned place you want.”

Oh, the immense number of reasons why this is a bad idea. Why would her dad let her go? Just like that? Edward tells Bella she has 15 minutes to convince her dad that she’s leaving, and that’s it. Yeah, like that’s gonna work…

…Oh, you’re telling me it IS about to work? Well, aren’t I the complete idiot!

“I think you should let me go alone,” I said even more quietly.
He heard that.
“Bella, please just do this my way, just this once,” he said between clenched teeth.

Just this once? You say that as if you DON’T use your magical vampire powers to dictate what it is she says and does all the time. Or are you planning on having trackers be a regular thing for a while? Is that what you meant by “just this once”?

He turned to Alice.
“Can Jasper handle this?”
“Give him some credit, Edward. He’s been doing very, very well, all things considered.”
“Can you handle this?” he asked.
And graceful little Alice pulled back her lips in a horrific grimace and let loose with a guttural snarl that had me cowering against the seat in terror.
Edward smiled at her. “But keep your opinions to yourself,” he muttered suddenly.

Yay! Who’s ready to take on the task of having a jackass kid suddenly leave her father on a night when her new boyfriend was supposed to be taking care of her and have him totally be cool with the whole thing? I have my hopes set on the tracker catching and eating Bella.

…Though I know that doesn’t happen.

Next up, chapter 19!

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