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BANDAI 1/72 VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie Alto Custom Transformable Variable Fighter


I finally got to finish applying the decals of the BANDAI 1/72 Scale VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie Saotome Alto Custom Variable Fighter from the anime Macross Frontier, after dilly-dallying for over two months. And I got the chance to take some pics at my Lola’s house just across the street from our place.

The kit is snap-built, no-paint, sumire panel-lined, about 85% of decals applied. Decaling is my weakest suit in plamo making, so some of the decals were haphazardly placed. It may not be the best work on plamo-building, but I’m damned proud of my work.

I also finally got the hand of transforming the VF-25F, after doing some mods with the head mount assembly.

Can’t wait to get my pre-order of the Super Pack parts and Sheryl Nome decals due sometime February. I’ll take pics of that as soon as I get them and build them. But for now enjoy these pics of my Messiah Valkyrie!

More pictures of the VF-25F Messiah at my Multiply site.

Proud To Be A Pinoy Otaku

The title says it all, people.

I’ve announced to the world what I am, and I’m not a single bit ashamed of saying so. I am an otaku. Given my age, my upbringing, and what I have humbly accomplished in life, I’m probably your prototypical non-typical choice to be dubbed one. But I’ll accept the title of “otaku” over everything else people I know would call me.

You’re probably wondering why Kuya UC is ranting like this again. This is basically my reaction to the following video, from the GMA7 show Kablog (tama ba title?):
]Otalus on Kablog

To be clear, I have nothing against the two (of the three) persons interviewed in the segment. They’ve tried their best to clearly state why they call themselves otakus and the good points of being one. What I don’t like about the segment is the way the segment was edited. There seems to be a predominate bias against otakus and otaku culture.

It was stupid the way the production was made, giving over-emphasis that a true otaku is someone who overly obsessed with Japanese pop culture at the expense of reality. Any sense of taste in the segment went out of the window by the way they portrayed Otaku No. 3. It left the impression that otakus are weird, obessive people that shouldn’t be seen as role models for the younger generation, but as a bad influence from whom nothing good can be learned from.

Well screw the producer of that segment. He or she doesn’t know what being a true otaku is. An otaku can’t just be stereotyped just because the word otaku was described in dictionary that way – being a person obsessed anime, manga, cosplay and similar interests. A lot of otakus are normal persons who just happen to have interests in Japanese pop culture.

Take me for example: I’m 35 years old, coming from a very traditional family, and I’m into politics and can humbly say that I have run for local government positions several times and won each and everytime. I’m active in Roman Catholic civic organizations and charities, and love serving the public good. I’m into sports that most people won’t associate with being an otaku. But I am an otaku and no one can take me away from my otaku interests.

That being said, I don’t see myself as a obsessive otaku.

I don’t cosplay, and while SO sacred_essence does, I never heard her once forcing me to cosplay like she does. But I happy that the youth of today can find an outlet like cosplay for them to express themselves. It would be a little hypocritical to say that cosplaying is non-mainstream – heck, a lot of the corporate Christmas parties I’ve seen or heard about in 2008 are costume-themed, making them technically cosplay parties.

I’m a toy collector, and most of the toys I collect are anime genre ones. But I’m not the one to impulse buy everything I see just because it came from the anime I watched or liked. I just love to collect them since when I was young, and the collection bug has never left me. Again it would be slightly hypocritical to say otaku toy collectors are obsessive – what do you call older men (even older than I am) who collect more toys than your average otaku could purchase, just because they enjoy that particular toyline in their youth, or the cartoon it came from.

Also, watching anime is NOT a realm restricted to the current youth generation. What do you call those of us (of my generation) who watched shows like Voltes V, Daimos, Mazinger Z, UFO Grandizer and Mekanda Robot during the Marcos years of the mid and late ’70s? Aren’t we otakus then? It would be hypocritical for folks of my ageframe to tell their kids that watching anime is useless and not good, when back in their own childhood they watched giant super robot shows or literary classics-turned anime after school.

Do you know that I use Japanese traditions and thinking that I’ve learned from watching anime or the toys I’ve collected by the way I try to live my life? I hold my hat off for the way the Japanese would present themselves professionally, and how they value their personal honor and integrity when dealing with others. I marvel on how they simplify their products – be it cares, electronics, groceries and foodstuffs, even anime and toys – to make them easy to use but of excellent quality. I always try to integrate what I’ve learned of the beauty of Japanese culture via the otaku lifestyle in my work and public service, and they’ve proven a very valuable help to me.

So there you go folks. I hope you see what I mean. And I hope people like those who made such a demeaning segment will understand that they probably went thru a phase of their lives that they got interested in Japanese pop culture in some way or another, making them a part-otaku.

Let our bias against Japanese stuff end with the end of World War II – the Japanese are not our enemy now but our friends and the same goes with their culture. Just because they are influencing how some of the youth are living today doesn’t mean it’s totally useless and wrong. Heck we are surrounded by things Japanese that are beneficial to our lives – our cars are predominantly Japanese and same goes with our electronics.

I do advice moderation though. As we can see from Otaku No. 3, being totally obsessed with otaku culture can be harmful to one’s health. I suggest to the youth of today to approach the otaku lifestyle the same way a person should approach such things as smoking or drinking – be an otaku moderately. Use what you learn about being an otaku to benefit your life and future, and don’t use being an otaku as an escape from reality and its responsibilities. I approach my otakuness as an inspiration and a way to keep myself youthful in mind, if not body.

Again, I hope mainstream people would understand what I am trying to say, and look at otakus – be it people they know or their relatives or kids – as normal folks who just love the otaku lifestyle, and don’t discriminate and prejudge them for that. Hopefully the media will be fair in their description of otakus – we are a part of the Filipino way of life now, if not the way of life of a good portion of the worldwide village.

And for those otakus who think they can live in reality but still be happy with their otaku interests, be proud of who we are.

Lapsing Into Road Rage

I really hate Manila road traffic.


There’s this saying that anyone who learns how to drive and gain experience in driving on the roads of Manila are considered the best drivers in the world. I believe in that saying, considering how tough it is to maneuver your car around the city, with its bumper-to-bumper traffic, bad roads, and road hazard public utility vehicles driven by obnoxious drivers. Driving here is a daily exercise in Zen-like patience.


Thankfully for me, I’m a very patient driver in general. I’m not the super-safe driver that will take an extra hour to get to a place because I’m terrified to get my car dented – my life as a midnight, underground street racer in the ‘90s contradicts that fact. My 1998 Honda Civic is so dented I can challenge the Yukarimobile of Yukari Tanizaki of Azumanga Daioh in sheer numbers of road scars. But it doesn’t mean I’m completely reckless as well. I’m just an ordinary motorist whose experience with these things sways between the safe and the speedster. It’s just that I am not easily susceptible to succumb to the bane of all motorists and commuters alike – road rage.


But like everyone else, I have a limit to my patience.


Just a few hours ago, I was on my way to pick up my dad at his law office along EDSA-San Juan. I was stuck in traffic along Ortigas Avenue, near the gate to the MERALCO compound. I was crossing a stoplight when a Jeepney (that a Public Utility Jeepney – a crossbreed mongrel public transport vehicle made from salvaged US Army WWII Jeeps that crisscross the entire country like ants), cut in front of me. That alone would have raised my tension levels, but since it was traffic and everyone was doing it (cutting lanes), I let it be.


We crossed the intersection, and stopped in the traffic. I was listening to the radio when I noticed the Jeepney sliding backwards (we were on an incline road), so I pumped into my horn to signal him. Apparently the driver didn’t hear me, so his Jeepney slid towards me. Thankfully he managed to hit his brakes, but he still nudged my car.


That alone would have sent me ballistic – I mean my car wasn’t the newest and best looking on the streets, but damned if I’m gonna let some feeling-badass Jeepney driver bump it like it was nothing. But that wasn’t the reason I was really riled. Right before the jerk hit me, an elderly couple was trying to get off the Jeepney and the woman (who was getting off first) was already on the road and got pushed back to my car by the Jeepney.


I muttered a curse at the driver.


The last thing I wanted to happen was to be involved in a traffic accident, so I prepared to get off the car. Thankfully she was frightened but unhurt, and the woman and her husband frantically scampered away, helped by a MMDA traffic enforcer who luckily was nearby. I got out and talked to the enforcer, who told me the lady was lucky she was to the side of my car when she got off, or else the Jeepney driver would have pinned her between us.


I checked the damage to my car (thankfully, besides a bend plate number and few more scratches, there was none), and thanked the enforcer, who asking me if I wanted to press charges against the Jeepney driver, who was hovering a few meters away, apparently scared and not knowing what to do. Telling the enforcer that it wasn’t necessary, I got back in and floored the gas, cut the Jeepney, got out and gave the driver the finger. Seeing that my lane going to Greenhills was open, and his lane towards Ortigas was clogged, I gave his Jeepney’s hood a good slam with an open palm, got back in my car and drove away.


I know I’m not showing anything good to fellow drivers and young kids with my actions, and I apologize for that. But the driver had it coming, and he was lucky that was all I did. I know of a friend who threw a rock at the windshield of Jeepney one time for tagging him. And with the spat of road rage shootings of late in Manila, if it was someone else with a gun, he’d be dead. If I was caught by the enforcer by doing that, I would have accepted that. But I needed was to release my anger.


But like I said, I don’t want you guys to emulate what I did. Road rage is wrong, however you justify it. Sometime road rage kills.


But nobody’s perfect – we all blow fuses once in awhile.