April 15, 2012

Anime Review: Pokemon

Bring in the nostalgia! It's our favourite anime from years ago, Pokemon! Don't forget to stock up on potions 'cos there's always a battle in every turn. The original Pokemon series hit the world by storm and we all know and love the cute little mascot- Pikachu.

A young boy named Satoshi embarks on a journey to become a "Pokemon Master" with his first Pokemon, Pikachu. Joining him on his travels are Takeshi, a girl-obsessed Rock Pokemon Trainer, and Kasumi, a tomboyish Water Pokemon Trainer who may have a crush on him. Satoshi and Co. end up traveling through various regions, including Kanto, the Orange Islands, and Johto, and then enter the Pokemon League competitions there. Along the way, they run into many confrontations with Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyarth, a trio of Pokemon thieves who are apart of an evil organization called "Team Rocket". But everytime Team Rocket try to do their evil deeds, they fail thanks to Satoshi and his Pokemon.

Pokemon was probably my first ever anime that I have watched started back then when I was a kid. Back then, I had no knowledge about Japanese or anime is general so I watched Pokemon in English. It was a nostalgic experience to rewatch some episodes from long ago that brought back plenty of childhood memories where I would wake up early and watch Pokemon on my 32" CRT TV in the family lounge room at 7am in the morning. Back then it was all the rage, Pokemon trading cards and video games were the talk of the schoolyard. Since then, the rage is pretty much vanished except we all know that Pokemon is somewhere in our hearts even if we are not kids anymore. Ok, enough of this background information, time to talk about the plot of Pokemon. Firstly, we see a boy named Satoshi(Ash) which embarks on a journey to become to "Pokemon Master". Pretty original storyline right there. Along the way he meets new friends and discovers many mysterious along with temporal villians (except for Team Rocket who never gives up). In the end, he enters the Pokemon League to defeat the Pokemon trainers there. The overall story was engaging to the very end.

To be honest, the art wasn;t that spectacular or detailed but considering this anime was released a while back, I have to say that the art was pretty convincing for me as a kid. I was totally hooked into the fight scenes and all the special effects on attacks such as 'Flame Thrower' and 'Hydropump'. The characters were plainly illustrated and the Pokemon were all cute. The sceneries were beautifully illustrated in SD quality and so I saw a lot of blurring watching on a HD screen.

Since I watched Pokemon in English I can;t really do a honest opinion on the original Japanese voice acting. I should say though that most anime dubs are pretty bad. Somehow watching anime in its original language seems to feel much better than watching in another language. In Pokemon, I think I have gotten used to its English dub since I was a kid so I can't complain about it. As for theme songs, I totally remember the original songs. It was just so nostalgic and memorable.

I was a total fan of Ash Ketchum. Who wouldn't be? After all, we see him in every episode for who-knows how many episodes there were in total. Of course his companions change over time and old ones are tend to be forgotten, but not the original trio, Misty and Brock. Somehow they make a comeback in the later seasons of Pokemon. There are so many characters throughout Pokemon that you probably won't remember most of them. The focus here is mainly the Pokemon themselves. Who can forget the cute Pikachu?

Overall, Pokemon is just nostalgic. Even though I have watched it a long time ago, I can vividly remember some of the episodes in that series. Of course, Pokemon continues to live on now and have changed a lot over time. I still think the original is the best and it always will be. Once a Pokemon fan, always a Pokemon fan. It's in our heart.

Engaging battles with a interesting storyline. Side quests are pretty interesting too!

ART: 6
The art was standard and character weren't that highly detailed, however the Pokemon moves looked cool.

Good voice acting with catchy, memorable theme songs that you will never forget.

Plenty of characters of different personalities.

Who can not hate the original Pokemon series?

It was good, memorable and exciting. The newer series really just rinsed and repeated what the original Pokemon had done.

Rhythmbox: Powerful Linux Media Organizer

I have been using Linux on my laptop for a while and I have tried many different media players. In the end, I finally settled in with Rhythmbox. Think of Rhythmbox as iTunes. 

It features an easy to use music browser that lets you select your music instantly from the browser or from the sound panel integrated into Ubuntu's sound applet. Also, Rhythmbox allows you to easily search and sort your music by artist, album or song. Rhythmbox uses the widely supported GSteamer to comprehensively playback varieties of audio formats. 

That said, Rhythmbox also supports Internet Radio including last.fm streams. Your music can also be sorted in playlists so that you will have your favourite music on the go. To even further enhance your listening experience, Rhythmbox also features audio visualizations that are similar to Windows Media Player. 

Another feature that is quite useful is support for external devices. This allows you to easily transfer music to and from iPod, MTP and USB mass storage device, it works for Androids as well! Your music can be easily associated with downloaded album art and lyrics from the internet. Your audio CDs can also be played, ripped and burned within Rhythmbox.

Podcasting is also supported in the application and you can automatically download audio podcasts from the internet. The Magnatune, Jamendo, and Ubuntu One Music Store are widely available from Rhythmbox that you can easily browser, preview and download albums from.

Lastly, Rhythmbox supports plugins that extends the capabilities of your music player to make it even more awesome! Third-party plugins can be found here. There's also a set of tools here that add some Rhythmbox features to other applications.

I have been using Rhythmbox quite a while now and I have come to love it. I have tried Banshee but that was giving some problems in Linux Mint 12. I also liked the music sorting in Rhythmbox than in Banshee. Other music players such as Audacious and Clementine did not contain the features I needed. In the end, Rhythmbox is still the best music player for me. In Ubuntu 12.04, Rhythmbox has replaced Banshee as default music player.