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Why the CRAZY RICH ASIANS Mahjong Scene Slays Me (and not just for the reason you think)

Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young in CRAZY RICH ASIANS

Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to catch a showing of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, and like many other viewers afterward, I went running to the Internet to read reviews, look up the cast, and – most importantly – find out what the heck was going on in that mahjong scene!?!?

There are a number of in-depth articles explaining the symbolism behind the scene (I recommend Jeff Yang’s at Vox, which was adapted from his original post at Angry Asian Man). And while the underlying symbolism is ingenious, I want to discuss another aspect of the scene that resonated with me even more.

(Spoilers below!)

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5 Reasons Pokémon GO is My Favorite Pokémon Game Ever

Remember in the classic Sailor Moon anime, when Jedite would come up with crazy convoluted plans in order to collect energy for the Negaverse?

I'm pretty sure if we lived in the Sailor Moon universe, the newly released Pokémon GO would be the latest Negaverse plot.

Pokémon GO is essentially a dream come true for diehard Pokémon fans. To be honest, I don't even consider myself that big of a fan, considering I haven't watched all of the anime seasons, nor have I played through all the games. But Pokémon GO is by far the best game app I have ever downloaded on my phone. Here's why:

1. It's free.
The other Pokémon games by Nintendo will generally run you $30-$40, and they don't really get discounted by much after their initial release. You also have to take into consideration the fact that you have to keep up with Nintendo's handheld consoles in order to play the newest games, and those aren't cheap, either. (As of now, a Nintendo 2DS, which is an older model and was released in 2013, costs about $80 new.)

In contrast, Pokémon GO is free to download, and while it does feature in-app purchases, you don't actually have to purchase anything to progress in the game, because you can pick up all the items you need. It's true that you will need a compatible smartphone in order to play, and ideally a robust enough data plan, but considering I have both of those already, it doesn't seem like an extra cost.

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Are there some things about Pokémon GO that could be improved? Yes, of course -- stabilizing server uptime, guaranteeing player safety, and minimizing potential security risks. But on the whole, Pokémon GO is one of the most engaging mobile games ever released, and it really is like part of my childhood came true.

Now I just need a Yu-Gi-Oh! version. 8D

JJ Lin 林俊傑 - "By Your Side" Concert at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles

This past weekend, two of my high school friends and I met up in San Diego to catch up, eat good food, and (most importantly) attend JJ Lin's "By Your Side" concert in Los Angeles on February 21st.

Some backstory: a few months ago, one of my friends made a totally offhand comment about how we should go to a JJ Lin concert if he ever came to the U.S. (The three of us are all casual JJ Lin fans, as in we like the majority of his music and would definitely pick some of his songs at karaoke, but none of us knows any of his songs by heart or owns a physical copy of his albums.) We all agreed in the joking "haha, of course it'll never happen" manner.

Fast-forward to early January, when I happen to pass by a Chinese bookstore and see a poster advertising JJ Lin's concert in Reno. Since it was scheduled for February 14th and I already had plans (anime convention, nothing romantically related at all LOL), I texted my friend something along the lines of "JJ Lin's performing in Reno on Valentine's Day. If you find yourself a boyfriend before then, you should go." Still, of course, maintaining the joking "haha, of course it'll never happen" tone.

Long story short: my friend found out about the LA concert taking place a week after, we hurriedly bought the cheapest tickets possible and booked plane tickets to SD (where our other friend was letting us crash), and the joke about going to a JJ Lin concert became true.

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Animation on Display 2016

So this weekend is Animation on Display (AOD), a local anime convention that's much smaller than Fanime but still has a lot of cool stuff. AOD also has Fanime beat in terms of venue, because this year they held it at the Santa Clara Convention Center, which boasts free parking (and beats trying to park in downtown San Jose any day).

Unfortunately, I was not familiar with any of the guests this year, apart from Liz Climo, who is an artist for The Simpsons but whom I actually know because of the cute comics she posts on her Tumblr. It seems like people were pretty excited about the guests, though, even if I didn't know any of them. The biggest names were probably Hato Moa & Damurushi, the creators of Hatoful Boyfriend, which I've definitely heard of but have never checked out.

Anyway, this is just a quick recap of Saturday, since I don't think I'll get the chance to go back tomorrow. No pictures, unfortunately.

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Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

I just came back from my fourth viewing of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, this time in IMAX 3D*. I think I'm finally ready to talk about it.

In case you couldn't tell from the fact that I've watched it four times in theaters now, I really liked The Force Awakens. It doesn't rank above The Empire Strikes Back or even A New Hope, but it's easily as rewatchable as Return of the Jedi, though it does leave me an emotional wreck at the end each time.

This is going to be a lot of babble and incoherence and fangirling. And spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.

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2015 Drama Recap

It feels like every year, I make some sort of excuse as to why I didn't watch as many dramas as I could have. So this year, I'm just going straight into the recap.

Total Number of Dramas: 8 (5 cdramas, 2 twdramas, 1 jdrama)
Breakdown: 6 finished, 1 still watching, 1 on hold

Someone Like You

Someone Like You was broadcast from January to May, and usually having an air date so early in the year means I have little to no recollection of it when I put together my yearly recap, but this one was different. The story of how Fang Zhancheng (Kingone Wang) loses his fiancee and eyesight in a car accident and later meets and falls in love with her twin sister Chen Yuxi (Kirsten Ren), Someone Like You never really broke any ground with its storytelling and characters, but I loved it anyway, and it is by far my favorite drama from 2015. It started the year off right.

As expected of all SETTV dramas, Someone Like You began very strong (the first two episodes were amazing) and slows down a bit afterward, but as a whole, the drama was still very cute and enjoyable to watch. There was one slightly annoying plot point, in which Zhancheng's dead fiancee had her heart donated to a girl named Xu Yati, who becomes Yuxi's friend and sparks some minor drama because Yuxi notices that when she and and Zhancheng together, Yati's heart from the dead fiancee starts to hurt, so Yuxi wants to be all noble and break up with Zhancheng, and blah blah blah. Luckily, the melodrama over this isn't as crazy as it could have been, but I could have done without the whole plotline, to be honest.

My favorite things about Someone Like You? One, that Kingone's character is actually a really nice guy. Usually, male leads are such overbearing and obnoxious jerks that you wonder why there are girls falling all over them. With Fang Zhancheng, I can understand why. Two, Bii contributed a wonderful, wonderful song, "We Are Walking in Love" (我們在愛中漫步), to the soundtrack. There is a beautiful instrumental version that plays in episode 15, and I'm sad that the OST (which is great overall) didn't include it. If only Kingone had sung something, though, since he used to be in a boyband. c:

Bonus gif because Kingone is too good-looking for his own good.
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Eight more days 'til Star Wars~~~~

Lucasfilm released a new Chinese-language trailer for The Force Awakens earlier today with some new footage, but the lulziest part is that Luhan (the ex-EXO member) is now the "Chinese ambassador of Star Wars" or something so he has a dorky intro clip in the video. Like... why. Why does Star Wars need an ambassador in China? And why Luhan, of all the celebs you could have picked from? LOL.


How Huang Xiaoming and Angelababy's Wedding Was Twisted by Western Media

For those living under a rock (or those who simply don't care about celebrity relationships), my Huang Xiaoming got married to his long-time girlfriend Angelababy in a super-extravagant wedding on October 8. To no one's surprise, the gorgeous wedding ceremony was all over Chinese news sites and social media, with all sorts of opinions from everyone and their grandmothers. Which is totally expected and okay.

About a week later, Western media* picked up on the story, and after I recovered from the shock of my "Huang Xiaoming" Google Alert blowing up**, I began to observe an uncomfortably pejorative slant in the reporting. Almost all of the news reports from Western media outlets, which ranged from sites like Forbes and The Telegraph to Cosmopolitan and Daily Mail, focused obsessively on the wedding's price tag and the newlyweds' comparative celebrity status.

Take a look at the headlines, for example:

Carbonated.TV tries to go for a more ~interesting~ perspective with the title $43 Million Wedding Highlights Severe Economic Inequality In China, but the URL and the structure of the article both suggest that the original title ran just like many of the others: "This is what a $$$$$$ wedding looks like."

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Final thoughts on "Whirlwind Girl"

a.k.a. the "I can't believe I have to wait until next summer for season 2" rant

In July, I started watching the drama Whirlwind Girl (旋風少女), also known as Tornado Girl, despite knowing nothing about it except that Chen Xiang, one of my favorite singer-turned-actors, was playing a supporting role. And that it was martial arts-related, which I was kind of craving after watching the decidedly not-really-fighting in The Journey of Flower.

To no one's surprise, the "taekwondo" in Whirlwind Girl turned out to be kind of a joke, but I ended up loving the drama anyway. The series is actually based off a story by Ming Xiaoxi, the author of Summer of Bubbles, which was later adapted into a pretty terrible drama with Da S, Peter Ho, and Huang Xiaoming. You'd think Ming Xiaoxi would have refused to allow any of her stories to get adapted in the future, but I'm glad she didn't because us viewers really lucked out with Whirlwind Girl.

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Anyone here a fan of Wallace Huo?

Or more specifically, Wallace Huo's face?

I wasn't planning on watching The Journey of Flower (花千骨), Wallace's latest fantasy-wuxia drama, but holy crap, just look at him!

I knew from watching Swordman that Wallace could pull off the ancient drama look as well as he does modern styles, but I didn't expect him to look so breathtakingly beautiful in The Journey of Flower. I mean, this is a drama that I've written news articles about, and I've seen these pictures posted by other people before, but for some reason, it never really hit me how beautiful he was until I was watching the actual drama.

I could talk about the plot of the drama, but I'm not really an expert on the storyline, having never read the novel that it's based on, and let's be honest, I'm not really watching for the plot! LOL. I'm not even really watching for the romance between him and Zhao Liying, which is one of those taboo master-disciple relationships, although they do have a cute chemistry together. They are not really "together" as of yet, though. I imagine the angst will shoot through the roof once that happens.

Anyhow, I'm already 12 episodes in, despite telling myself to just "check it out." Looks like I will continue checking it out until all 54 episodes are released. Luckily, the drama only airs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so it's not like the usual crazy cdrama release schedule.

I predict I will have nothing of worth to add to my ramblings about The Journey of Flower, since I am basically just drooling over Wallace, so have a bunch of pictures below. Oh, and can we have him star in an ancient drama with Liu Yifei someday? Seeing him in all white really reminded me of Liu Yifei as Xiaolongnv in Return of the Condor Heroes.

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