Entertainment

Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, Fancy: Now Playing

The shows we love are back!

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This month started really busy with all these updates from the tech world. Facebook graced headlines with its changes and Google announced improvements on its products. Smartphones are also on top of the news, as a cheaper Pixel was revealed and OnePlus unveiled their most premium phone yet in a simultaneous launch in New York, London, and India.

While we’re busy covering these events, we still try to keep up with the latest in pop culture. See what’s Now Playing on GadgetMatch:

Movies to see

Avengers: Endgame
Rodneil: It took 11 years and 22 films before we reached the conclusion of arguably the most ambitious film franchise of our time. This film wraps up over a decade of storytelling and world-building. It has plenty of emotional beats, nostalgic moments, and huge battle sets to put its viewers on a roller coaster of emotions.

Detective Pikachu
Kevin: As a 90s kid who invested hours playing Pokémon Red on Game Boy, flipping coins for Pokémon trading cards, and even now as I walk for hours playing Pokémon Go, I’ve always wondered: What will life be like with Pokémon around? Well, this film is the closest answer I can get. The story is simple but executed well. Ryan Reynolds voicing Pikachu — although still quite humorous — didn’t feel like it was Deadpool and that’s a good thing. Oh, and there’s a lot of Pokémon sightings scattered in the movie, so it’s also a game of “Who’s that Pokémon?” throughout the film.

Aladdin
MJ: Aladdin is back and I’m excited to relive my childhood memories! The trailer got me hooked and I can feel the film will be a spectacle, just like the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. It’s going to be a chance for our generation to share this Disney classic with the young ones so we can sing “A Whole New World” together. The film is scheduled to be released in theaters on May 24 (or May 22 in some countries).

TV shows to binge watch

Trigun
Rodneil: This anime was recently added to Netflix. While I’ve seen this more than a couple of times, it’s one of the shows I keep coming back to. It’s a story of a wanted criminal but his personality betrays the crimes accused of him. As you dive deeper, you’ll see the protagonist’s moral compass and conviction tested multiple times. It also helps that it’s set in a cyberpunk Wild West future.

Street Food
Vincenz: It’s not your typical food show as it doesn’t just focus on street food per se, but also on the history and the stories of notable people who made the food live for its taste. The first season focuses on Asian street cuisine, but not totally exclusive to a country’s capital — Delhi, Osaka, Cebu, Chiayi, Yogyakarta, to name a few.

Dead to Me
Dan: Dead to Me is the new must-see Netflix series. It’s an American dark comedy series that talks about grief, guilt, and relationships. The show is primarily about the newfound friendship between a wounded widow and a free-spirited individual. If you love a show with dark humor, twists, and sensitivity, Dead to Me is worth the binge.

Bonding
MJ: Bonding is a seven-episode TV series on Netflix that can act as a transition show in case you’re looking for a new series to binge-watch. It’s about a dominatrix who hired her gay BFF as her assistant in her adventures in and out of the dungeon. It’s a hilarious show that surprisingly offers lessons about confidence, learning to love and open up, and being yourself.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Fancy by TWICE
Rodneil: I’ve only been following TWICE for a little while but it looks like I jumped on the fandom at the right time. Their latest comeback “Fancy” is a departure from their usual cutesy concept. The choreography on the new song is a lot sexier and while there’s a more mature feel to the verses, it still maintains the bright energy that TWICE has been known for.

SSFWL by OH MY GIRL
Vincenz: OH MY GIRL is among the underrated K-Pop girl groups out there. The versatility of OMG’s concepts can be heard through their title tracks but “SSFWL” (which means “Spring, summer, fall, winter, and love”) is a new whimsical musical piece on a whole new level. Their angelic visuals paired with soothing vocals are just irresistible. Fantasy anime song, anyone?

Trend/s to try

KFC Chaco and Famous Bowl
Vincenz: “Chaco” is a taco with a chicken shell. It honestly tastes like a taco without the beef and, surprisingly, the shell doesn’t taste like salty chicken at all, unlike the Double Down. Meanwhile, the Famous Bowl is back again, and you shouldn’t miss it. The mashed potatoes, Funshots, corn, cheese, and gravy all blend together as they all melt in your mouth.

Places to visit

Paris, France
Marvin: Having been around Europe a few times in the past — from Berlin and Prague, to Madrid and Zurich — it was a shame that I never got a chance to visit Paris. Until now, that is. To my delight, the hype is real. Although the Notre Dame Cathedral is no longer open to tourists, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Arc de Triomphe are still worth the journey. Airbnb options are plenty now, so low-cost lodging is easier than ever to find.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

Entertainment

Smart brings 25 K-Pop acts closer to the Philippines with KCON:TACT 4U

+1 J-Pop group to complete the lineup

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KCONTACT 4U
OT12 LOONA comeback let's go!

Some people behind the GadgetMatch team (including me) are total fans of K-Pop. With this in mind, we’re here to give you the best news for any K-Pop fan out there!

Smart Communications Inc. is bringing back the most-awaited K-Event of the year. Lo and behold, the KCON:TACT 4U virtual festival that will be held from June 19 (Saturday) to June 27 (Sunday). All you have to do is to access gigafest.smart every 8PM (Philippine time) to access the online concert. For the best streaming experience, just register to Double GIGA Video on the GigaLife App.

There aren’t just one, two, not even just ten K-Pop acts. There are a total of 25 K-Pop acts ranging from female and male groups, plus one J-Pop boy group to make it a whole lot fun, sizzling, and entertaining. Here are all the acts you should watch out! (in no particular order).

Female Groups

LOONA

LOONA is gearing up for their latest comeback with the album [&]. Orbits shouldn’t feel too excited about “Paint The Town” as the song wouldn’t be released within the whole duration of the virtual festival. Instead, expect them to perform their latest hits “Why Not” and“Star” (or “Voice”, its Korean track counterpart).

fromis_9

You’ll go head over heels with fromis_9‘s visuals and vocals — especially with their latest summer bop WE GO”. This is one of (if not) the best 2021 summer releases out there.

OH MY GIRL

Another summer hit pop track in the list is OH MY GIRL’s “Dun Dun Dance” that will surely make you dance all day and all night long with its catchy tune and soothing vocals of each member.

EVERGLOW

EVERGLOW is also one of the latest girl groups to release a fresh new track last month. While it’s not as refreshing as other tracks, “FIRST” will totally make your heads and ears flip because of how powerful it is.

ITZY

Speaking of powerful, ITZY’s “M.A.F.I.A. In the morning” is one of the most streamed K-Pop tracks around. With thousands of MIDZYs in the Philippines, expect them to populate the viewer count once the virtual festival starts.

Weeekly

Weeekly is currently one of the most popular new generation of female idols. With the ever increasing attention among the girls and their 2021 hit track “After School” plus the release of their latest collaborative track “7 Days Tension”, these cute yet refreshing bops would definitely make a lot of fans sing along and giggle with their cuteness!

Weki Meki

Weki Meki is one of the most underrated girl groups out there that you should definitely check out. “COOL” may not be their latest track this 2021 but it’s totally catchy alongside their other releases such as “OOPSY” and “DAZZLE DAZZLE”.

Male Groups

SEVENTEEN

Just like LOONA, SEVENTEEN is one among the K-Pop acts in the lineup that’s also gearing up for their comeback. While “Ready To Love” isn’t confirmed to be in the performance list, “HOME;RUN” should definitely be performed by these 13 amazing boys.

Stray Kids (SKZ)

Stray Kids (also known as “SKZ”) are TWICE and ITZY’s brothers! Not to confuse you with the K-Drama, but they recently won the survival show Kingdom.  Expect them to perform hit tracks such as “Back Door” and more.

THE BOYZ (TBZ)

Another group in the list that participated in the survival show Kingdom was THE BOYZ (or TBZ). Recently, their song “The Stealer” is gaining rounds online — and that song should definitely be performed in this virtual festival.

SF9

Dubbed as FNC Entertainment’s “First Boy Dance Group”, SF9 will surely make a lot of FANTASYs swoon. Even non-fans would surely drool over them.

iKON

After so many years of dispute between Mnet and YG Entertainment, iKON is ready to amaze iKONICs with their amazing performances. They’re also one among the competitors in Kingdom. And yes, they’re BLACKPINK’s older brother group — and Lisa performed with them during their “Classy Savage” sing and dance craze. Love Scenario” in 2021, anyone?

BTOB

Another Kingdom competitor is none other than BTOB. Known for their angelic voices, they surely threw a punch in the survival show — even if they’re the oldest competing group out of the bunch. After years of hiatus, they’re finally back on track. Coincidence or not, they’re sub-unit BTOB 4U will make your eyes bawl with “Show Your Love”.

PENTAGON

BTOB’s younger group, PENTAGON is also set to perform in this year’s KCON:TACT. Other than their latest track “DO or NOT”, they’re also popular for their hit song “Shine”.

CNBLUE

If you’re one among the veteran K-Pop fans like I am, you’d know that CNBLUE is one among the classic boy bands out there. Known for their great vocals and musical instrument skills, you’d be delighted to see them again after years of hiatus. Who knows, they might perform their classic hits this 2021?

HIGHLIGHT

Other than CNBLUE, HIGHLIGHT is also one of the classic K-Pop groups in this list. TL:DR, they originally came from Cube Entertainment (yes, the sole agency of BTOB and PENTAGON) under the name BEAST. If it rings any bell, they’re that boy group who made a lot of fans cheer and roar for years. Their latest track surely proves it’s “Not The End” of their journey together.

ASTRO

From the same company as Weki Meki and other prominent actors in South Korea, ASTRO surely knows how to act hot and cool while singing and dancing in their latest track “One”. And for all Cha Eunwoo supremacists out there, you should know by now that he belongs to this group.

ONEUS

If you weren’t aware, this group comes from the same label as MAMAMOO and their latest group PURPLE KISS. While both weren’t included in this year’s KCON:TACT lineup, ONEUS will make viewers dance such to a groovy and psychedelic track.

ONF

ONF (pronounced as On and Off) is OH MY GIRL’s younger brother group! Not sure if “Dun Dun Dance” and “Ugly Dance” were both coincidental with their “dance” naming scheme, but this crazy awesome Cyberpunk-ish concept has continued from their last release “Beautiful Beautiful”.

Golden Child

Home of INFINITE, Lovelyz, ROCKET PUNCH, and DRIPPIN, Golden Child is one of the underrated groups that need to be recognized for their talent. While completely going with their concept, they still try other concepts that surely suit their group image — and “Breathe” is one of those tracks that deserve more recognition.

A.C.E

This 4-year-old group is also set to step their foot on KCON:TACT 4U. Among other acts in the list, A.C.E is also preparing for their upcoming comeback with the title track “Higher”. But don’t expect too much and just enjoy their latest released track, “Down” for now.

P1Harmony

The third group from FNC Entertainment in this list alongside CNBLUE and SF9 is none other than P1Harmony. Their ultra-catchy hip-popping track “Scared” makes them look and sound distinct from their brother groups.

VERIVERY

“Get Away” is just three months old, but Filipino VERRERs would actually want to hear this charismatic and sexy track live — even if it means of just watching it virtually this pandemic.

TO1

‘TO1’ was rebranded from ‘TOO’ and their latest comeback song surely proves how powerful they are as a group. TL:DR, they were also formed in a survival show called ‘To Be World Klass”.

BONUS: GHOST9

A group composed of popular members from the survival shows “MIXNINE” and “PRODUCE X 101”, GHOST9’s set to have a “cinematic live” segment instead of a live performance during this year’s festival. It might be their latest track “Up All Night” that will surely make you up all night.

Soloist

Ha Sung Woon

Haneuls would definitely stay online to watch Ha Sungwoon’s latest track ‘Sneakers’ especially with its refreshing summer song. If you’re still unaware, he’s one of the original members of WANNA ONE, a project group formed from the PRODUCE survival show series.

The only J-Pop act in the roster

JO1

They’re the only J-Pop act in the lineup. Also, they’re the only active group from the PRODUCE series franchise.

Not to be confused with the group ‘TO1’, JO1 hopes to be one of the most sought after J-Pop acts with amazing vocals and visuals on the line. Watching and listening to “Born To Be Wild” further proves that.

Here’s the full schedule lineup if you want to catch your faves!

KCONTACT 4U

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E3 2021

Rocksmith+: Learn how to play guitar easily

With a massive song library, progress checks, and real-time feedback

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Rocksmith+

I have an acoustic guitar at home, yet I’ve never really taken the time to learn it. In my younger years, I watched YouTube videos and still couldn’t place my fingers properly to strum a chord. Now, I’m pretty sure a lot of other people feel the same way, and you’re looking for easier ways to learn. Fear not, Ubisoft is here with its new music-learning service, Rocksmith+.

Announced during the company’s E3 2021 presentation, Rocksmith+ takes its roots from the 2011 music video game, Rocksmith. Essentially, this subscription service allows you to learn and play chord charts and arrangements of a wide variety of songs. Unlike the 2011 video game, Rocksmith+ has a music library that isn’t limited to just rock music.

Another great feature this service will bring is real-time feedback and progress tracking, especially for beginners. If you download the service’s companion mobile app, it will pick up any guitar you’re playing on through your phone’s microphone. This way, Rocksmith+ will keep track of the chords you know and even show you where to place your fingers for other chords.

Rocksmith+ will be available through Ubisoft Connect for the PC, Android, and iOS, and you can sign up for a closed PC beta starting today until July 22. It will also be available for both the current and next-gen consoles.

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Entertainment

Trese: Three things to expect on the Netflix Original Anime

Quick thoughts on the highly anticipated series

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Trese
All images courtesy of Netflix

Hype for the Netflix Original Animé Trese will hit a fever pitch as the episodes officially drop. The show carries a lot of hopes and expectations since it’s the first Philippine graphic novel to receive this treatment.

Created by Budjette Tan and KaJO Baldisimo, Trese is set in Manila where the mythical creatures of Philippine folklore live in hiding amongst humans. Series protagonist detective Alexandra Trese finds herself going head to head with a criminal underworld composed of malevolent supernatural beings.

Netflix was kind enough to give GadgetMatch early access so, here’s what I think you should look out for before you watch the Netflix Original Animé. And don’t worry, no spoilers here.

1. Don’t think of it as an “Animé” 

While it technically is an animé since by definition animé is really just any animated work whether hand drawn or computer generated, outside of Japan it’s more popularly known as animation that originated in Japan.

The term also comes with certain aesthetic ✨expectations✨ and that’s not really what you’ll get here. That isn’t a bad thing though.

The art style and overall animation more closely resembles the previous work of series Showrunner Jay Oliva. He’s worked on outstanding DC Animated films — Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League: War, Batman vs. Robin — to name a few.

You can tell me Bagyon Kulimlim is a DC villain and I wouldn’t bat an eye

Die hard animé fans will likely have a more open mind watching this with the expectation that the visuals of Trese are more Justice League or Batman The Animated Series than Tokyo Ghoul or Bleach.

I think with this in mind, you’ll enjoy the series more and appreciate better what it’s trying to do visually.

2. The Filipino/Tagalog dub sounds like your regular animé dub 

Yes, as a person of the Internet I have seen the comments and the conversations online about how the Filipino dub was executed. But I wanna say about 70 to 80 percent of the series will sound natural as you get deeper into the episodes.

If you grew up watching Slam Dunk’s Hanamichi Sakuragi calling Kaede Rukawa “Gunggong” (idiot) or are a fan of the “Tapusin, tapusin, tapusin” (Kill him, Finish him) chants of the monsters in Ghost Fighter (Yu Yu Hakusho), you should feel right at him with the dubbing work.

It isn’t perfectly natural and it does have awkward sounding dialogue. However, that’s par for the course at least from what I remember from watching Philippine TV in my childhood. Could it have been done better? Perhaps.

I watched the first two episodes repeating scenes while switching between the English and Filipino dub. My impression is that this was written first in English and then translated later on to Filipino. I should be able to confirm whether this was the case or not soon but for now, I think the series was certainly written in English first, then other languages later.

That said, the English dub does put on some accents that I don’t know how most people will feel about. Some of it does sound Filipino and they also mix in some Filipino words here and there. Personally, I wasn’t too bothered but I’m interested to see what the reaction of the general audience will be.

3. The music is fantastic

The intro starts with tribal chants that’s then super charged with some electronica. It perfectly mirrors the theme of the show — mystic creatures terrorizing humans in the modern world.

Does the Emissary give you an eerie feeling?

The show’s score also perfectly evokes the feeling of dread of living among aggressive ghouls claiming the lives of humans. Scenes of dialogue that further the detective side of the story also have this air of mystery to it.

When the action cranks up to eleven, we get a modern twist to traditional Filipino musical instruments played during festivities.

Trese

Alexandra Trese kicks ass

All these come together to bring the world of Trese to life and helps with the show’s overall identity.

Overall impressions

Around the time that this animated series was announced, I recall watching (or reading, my memory’s hazy) an interview by the original creators of the title about how they patiently waited for the right people to work with. I think the wait paid off.

The series as a whole is well done. The animation is fantastic if you look at it the way I did. It has a certain look that feels familiar and distinct at the same time. The pace never slows to a crawl. Instead, it slowly builds up to an emotional crescendo.

It’s such a treat to see Philippine folklore in this treatment. Personally, I’ve long wished for something like this. I believe our folklore is rich and deserves to be seen by the world. I pray Trese is just the beginning.

Watch Trese on Netflix.

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