Entertainment

Fortnite on Android, Meteor Garden: Now Playing

OPPO and Vivo phones contribute to class divide on Meteor Garden

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This month has been nothing short of crazy for us at GadgetMatch, what with leaks and teasers of upcoming devices, back-to-back smartphone launches, and Android Pie’s release. Here are some of the things that have kept us sane the last few weeks!

Games to play

Fortnite on Android
Chay: You read that right. The highly successful battle royale game is finally coming to Android. At Samsung Unpacked, Epic Games announced that Galaxy devices will get exclusive early access to the game through the Game Launcher app. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes available in even more devices, and if we’re being honest, we can’t wait to see more memes (and dances!) as more people get to play it.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Android
Rodneil: If you’re itching for a Spider-Man game to help tide you over until the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4, then this mobile game released back in 2014 should tide you over. It looks good, the controls are simple, and the game also gives you the satisfaction of swinging around New York City as you please.

Movies to see

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Marvin: It’s tough to believe, but Mission: Impossible is on its sixth installment, and the latest may be the most death-defying one yet. Tom Cruise is once again Ethan Hunt, an agent who needs to track down a terrorist group before they blow the world up. His stunts are jaw-dropping to say the least, and the twists are surprising enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen. My advice: Watch this in a cinema with great seats — it’s a long ride!

TV shows to binge watch

Kim’s Convenience
Kevin: Having been released back in 2016 and now waiting on its third season, Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian TV sitcom that focuses on a Korean family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. The show centers on everyday happenings and mishaps of the family. It presents characters who fit, and at the same time, break certain stereotypes while injecting a hint of moral in different (mostly funny) ways.

Orange is the New Black (Season 6)
Chay: Is there hope for the inmates of Litchfield? Will there ever be justice? These are always the questions you have after watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black. The longer the series goes on, the more invested you become in these women’s stories. This season, the spotlight is even brighter on my all-time favorite OINTB character: Taystee goes on trial to clear her name and fight the injustice she and fellow inmates have been suffering behind bars.

Final Space
Kevin: If you’re into Rick and Morty’s tandem and outer space adventures, Final Space might be something you’d want to check out. The story follows a smart-mouthed prisoner who works on a space station, meets a cute alien life form, and immediately becomes friends with it, not knowing that it’s a valuable entity to the menacing Lord Commander. I’m just a few episodes in but it’s been entertaining and funny — something I would expect from Conan O’Brien producing the show.

Meteor Garden (2018)
Rodneil: If you loved the Taiwanese version that first aired in the early 2000s, then I suggest you give the 2018 version a chance. It’s great to see how the setting has been updated to modern times with some of the bullying part of the story happening in social media. There are cool tidbits too about how transactions are mostly made through QR codes and how the phones of the less privileged are OPPO while the elite F4 carry Vivo phones. It’s a nice glimpse to the current state of technology in China. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the cast actually looks like they’re still students versus the already adult-looking cast of the original adaptation.

https://youtu.be/XLAMQUpxDsk

Mob Psycho 100
Rodneil: I held out for quite a bit before watching this anime but when I found out that season two is already arriving at the start of 2019, I knew I had to binge the 12-episode first season. From the same creator as One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 features Shigeo Kageyama — a young, overpowered psychic who’s trying his best to live life without taking advantage of his psychic ability. If you loved the over-the-top action and the ridiculously overpowered lead in One-Punch Man, there’s plenty for you to enjoy in Mob Psycho 100.

Terrace House: Opening New Doors (Part 3)
Marvin: It’s been a grueling couple of months, but Part 3 of Terrace House: Opening New Doors is finally available on Netflix outside Japan, and it’s certainly worth the wait. The cast gets a near overhaul, and with the new members come much more drama and the awkward first dates we’ve grown to love. But the real highlight of Part 3 are the commentators, who are able to turn any sad moment into a laughing fit for both the viewers and themselves. Part 4 can’t come soon enough!

Music and podcasts to listen to

Honey by Scandal
Rodneil: My fascination for Asian girl groups continues. Scandal has had plenty of their songs appear on several animé, and this album gives you plenty of those types of tracks. My favorites are “platformsyndrome,” “OVER,” “Koisuru Universe,” and “Short Short.”

“Long Gone” and “Lover Boy” by Phum Viphurit
Kevin: Thai-born, but New Zealand-raised, indie artist Phum Viphurit’s “Long Gone” is a mellow tune with just the right soul to make you groove and nod your head to the rhythm. “Lover Boy,” on the other hand, has more funk to its bass lines which is then overlayed with Viphurit’s smooth vocals — almost reminiscent of how John Legend made “P.D.A.” a chill, sexy track.

“Sana” by I Belong To The Zoo
Rodneil: “Sana” is a gut-wrenching Filipino track that tells the story of a romance that has gone stale. While that sounds like a run-of-the-mill heartbreak song, singer Argee Guerrero delivers each line with so much conviction that it’s hard not to imagine yourself in the shoes of the aggrieved party.

Psychobabble with Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl
Chay: In their first episode back after an eight-month hiatus, #TeamTylerandKorey discusses the top trends of the year, Bernie Mac, and how hotels are homophobic. Korey also reveals he had a vocal box replacement and was on vocal rest during the hiatus. It’s not clear whether that’s the only reason the podcast was MIA for a while, but it’s possible the Fullscreen shut down, which picked up Psychobabble for a video version in early 2017, is also a culprit. That’s bad news for anyone who paid for a subscription on the streaming service, but good news is all episodes are now available on Spotify, as well.

Cities to visit

Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain

Madrid
Rodneil: Madrid is a beautiful city filled with mid-rise buildings that feature stunning European architecture. For some street entertainment, check out Plaza del Sol at night. If you’re looking for a place to eat, the cochinillo (suckling pig) in Las Cuevas De Luis Candelas, located just right outside Plaza Mayor is to die for. There’s also the restaurant Mr. Frank which seems like a nice date place. Definitely order the Provoleta con chorizo and Presa Ibérica con frutos rojos. The restaurant is located near the Congreso de los Diputados which is a great backdrop for your touristy photo.


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

Netflix’s new animé Sol Levante is a visual spectacle

A hand-drawn 4K HDR short

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Netflix has been ultra aggressive in expanding its animé library especially in the last two years. The latest installment — Sol Levante — is a visual spectacle that the company says is a “culmination of art, technology, and curiosity.”

The primary purpose of the project is to explore how Japanese animé projects can be translated into 4K HDR. The tech, after all, isn’t all that new. Plenty of Netflix originals like Marvel’s Daredevil, Bird Box, and even To All The Boys P.S. I Still Love You are available in this format.

The challenge is how to get hand-drawn animation up to speed. Ultraman, another Netflix animé project, is available in 4K HDR. However, it uses CG animation versus hand drawings. That’s what Haruka Miyagawa (Creative Technology Engineer) and Akira Saitoh (Director, involved in Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, et. al) — the leads of the Sol Levante project, pursued.

Sol Levante – a visual spectacle

Netflix gave us an early look at the final output. Sol Levante is a four-minute showcase of years worth of work by a lean six-person team and it’s a sight to behold.

Its synopsis reads: A young warrior and her familiar search for the sacred place said to fulfill wishes. It’s best not to anger the ancient guardians and spirits.

If you’re an animé fan — especially of the more popular battle-type ones — your mind will race right away thinking how this level of visuals can translate to an iconic sequence or battle scene. And for the most part, that’s what this short is — an iconic sequence. As a hand drawn 4K HDR animé, it’s one of the firsts of its kind.

Without spoiling anything, the narrative of the short mirrors the theme of the project. It’s not an easy journey, but if you push through, you’ll come out of it feeling renewed.

Netflix pushing to innovate

There are two main driving forces in the development of this project:

  1. To support creatives in bringing more of their ideas to life
  2. Offer an outstanding and more immersive user experience for Netflix subscribers

The Sol Levante project was a test of how feasible it is to produce hand-drawn animé in 4K HDR resolution. In the duration of the project, they have identified a process but it might take a while before anyone else gets onboard.

During a media briefing, Miyagawa highlighted how the biggest hurdle is 4K. It requires a major overhaul of the artists workstation and workflow.

One of their first learnings is that the resolution meant hand drawings needed to be completed on a much larger piece of paper than standard A4, or scanned at a very high resolution. This wasn’t a viable solution which meant drawings had to be done digitally on a tablet. The challenge is that most animé artists lack training and equipment to go digital.

The HDR part involves less friction. Animation studios need only to invest in professional monitors with high dynamic range. At present though, the options are still quite pricey — even for professional studios.

Encouraging other creators

The team behind Sol Levante, while ambitious, aren’t delusional. They realize the challenges it will take to get more people interested. They know that “change is hard” and the whole workflow overhaul “can be seen as intimidating to studios and artists.” So they are more than willing to cooperate and collaborate.

Netflix will release the raw materials used in Sol Levante for download and experimentation. By doing so, they hope to connect with more animators about new technology, to partner with manufacturers to better support the animé industry, and to work with anime studios to apply findings to future productions.

Being veterans in the industry, they feel Japanese animation studios might not be immediately open to the idea. So they’re hoping animators from other countries step in.

Building hope and excitement 

Director Akira Saitoh hopes those who will watch Sol Levante will feel heightened levels of excitement and immersiveness. While reactions will vary due to personal preference she hopes it inspires thoughts of “Okay, I would like to see other types of content or genre done in this technology.”

Asked why it’s called Sol Levante, Saitoh explained, “Sol Levante means sunrise in Italy. In ancient Egypt when the sun sets in the west, it dies. When it comes up in the east, it’s a symbol of resurrection. It’s been reborn. Reborn was a big theme in this project.”

That sense of hope and feeling renewed is something the project hopes to evoke in both animé viewers and creators.

Sol Levante will be available on Netflix globally on April 2, 2020.

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Entertainment

Now Playing: Women’s Month Edition

Let’s all celebrate women!

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Happy Women’s Month! To celebrate women all over the world, we asked women and allies about movies, shows, music, and podcasts you can watch and listen to, along with books you should read.

This list is also a good pick me up, in case you’re looking for something to empower you as a woman. You may refer to this article — Women’s Month or not! Here’s what’s Now Playing at Her GadgetMatch!

Movies to see

On the Basis of Sex

Carol: A bit late to the party but I can’t believe I didn’t watch this sooner. On the Basis of Sex is the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s struggle to make discrimination based on gender illegal in the United States. Brilliantly poignant with a script teeming with wit, On the Basis of Sex is a movie that should be required for all children to see. A movie that will also give any adult woman a confidence boost when and wherever needed.

Little Women

Leez: If you’ve read the classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, this film isn’t the first. It’s the most recent iteration of a film adaptation to the book and before you click away and lose interest, you might want to seriously watch this film. It dabbles in the complexity of family, womanhood, and standing up for one’s self. There’s more to this book and film adaptation than just four sisters. There’s love, sorrow, and growth wrapped up in such a timeless impactful story.

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana

MJ: Miss Americana is a glimpse of Taylor Swift’s personal life. A peek at her vulnerable moments, life-changing opportunities, and chances at redefining herself and the way she sees love and praise. For Swifties (and even most viewers), this documentary allowed people to connect with Swift. It’s so raw, honest, and emotional that it felt like she’s just one of us — fragile, pregnable, and most of all, human.

Shows to binge-watch

Sex Education Season 2

Leez: It’s exhausting to live in a world where sex is shoved aside as too taboo to educate people with. The science? Abstinence is an absolute lip service. Doesn’t work, never have, and never will. Sex Education dives deep into the complexity of sex with a stunning grip of contextual circumstances. It’s a show about getting into the nitty and the gritty of emotions, sexuality, gender, sex of course, and even trauma. How it all pans out is never how we expect it to and this show depicts that perfectly.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Carol: Becoming a comedian in the 1950s was no easy feat, even harder as a woman whose marriage was falling apart. Rachel Brosnahan shines as Midge Maisel, Jewish housewife who realizes that her wit and humor are not out of place in society — she just needed a stage to go with them. Great story and a script written by Gilmore Girls’ Amy Sherman Palladino, you’ll keep re-watching the series while waiting for the next season. Bonus: Mrs. Maisel’s outfits are utterly fabulous, proving that a lady can be smart and funny while being pretty and fashionable.

The Bold Type

MJ: Millennials — who were always mistaken as Gen Z — are now at the forefront of the working force. Live everyone else, millenials have have struggled to find direction. The Bold Type perfectly illustrates this struggle, featuring three young women working in a fictional magazine while navigating modern life and struggle in love, career, and identity. For the most part, the show tackled stories women can relate to, with some themes centralizing on pressing social and cultural issues. This gives The Bold Type that perfect, woke millennial vibe.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Living Out Loud by Sia

MJ: When you feel like the only way is to go up or move forward, this song will be the perfect soundtrack to accompany you. ‘Living out loud’ played when The Bold Type‘s main characters decided to go after what they want in life: Kat Edison realizing there’s more to life than social media and heading out to travel, Sutton Brady enjoying her dream job and taking another chance at love, and Jane Sloan leaving her comfort zone to pursue something that will make her grow. Listen to this song when you want to make the most out of every moment in life.

Listen to The Bold Type‘s playlist.

Butterfly by Loona

Vincenz: LOONA (or known as 이달의 소녀 / idarui sonyeo or Girl of the Month) has been known as an ally of both the LGBT+ community and women for their empowering tracks. Butterfly is meant for all the LOONAs around the world — and the music video storyline proves that you’re beautiful just like a “butterfly” regardless of one’s race and age.

Listen to 12 K-Pop tracks to empower every woman.

Dying for Sex

Chay: Funny, compelling, and heart-warming, Dying for Sex is a podcast about Molly’s life and sexcapades after she was diagnosed terminal with stage IV breast cancer. Her sexual adventures will make you laugh, but her insights on life and relationships are what will resonate more.

Conservative Ako

MJ: ‘Conservative Ako’, translated to ‘I’m Conservative’, is the Philippines’ first-ever podcast about female pleasure and sexuality. Hosted by licensed psychologist and sex & relationships therapist Rica Cruz, ‘Conservative Ako’ breaks barriers by giving voice to questions that Filipinas have been afraid to ask.

Listen to other female-centric podcasts hosted by PumaPodcast.

Women at Work

Chay: Gender bias and discrimination at the workplace is still a problem we face in 2020. Harvard Business Review’s Women at Work talks issues and real life experiences, and poses solutions and advice to help women overcome obstacles  that hinder them from having a successful career.

Books to read

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Chay: Reading this will make women (and men) feel both hopeful and helpless at times. If you need convincing why feminism is still necessary in this day and age, look no further.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Suzie: This book is a testament that hard work, determination, and drive never go out of style. Michelle Obama’s journey from the Southside of Chicago to the White House serves as an inspiration for readers to daringly dream and courageously break the status quo.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Leslie: If you want to remind yourself what young love’s like, this is a good choice.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Ali: Yes, Circe, as in the daughter of Helios. The story is about making a place for yourself in a world that doesn’t understand you. A bold and feminist take on Greek mythology.

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire Series) by Naomi Novik

Geneva: The Napoleonic era fought with dragons! Reading sci-fi fantasy broadens even the most practical of minds, and this strong story by an amazing female writer is a must

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Marian: I cannot stress this enough. It’s one of those few books where I vividly remember how I felt when I finished it. You’ll know that feeling when you read it.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Mik: It’s a simple story of the right person, wrong timing. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Bonnie: Dear Girls is a series of candid, hilarious letters from Ali Wong to her two daughters about topics from working women to Asian culture to love. I pulled an all-nighter in a hotel room reading this entire book and cackling to myself

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Leez: This is a strikingly quirky collection of comics that dabbles into silly, borderline psychopathic, memories and tendencies Allie Brosh embodies. This book is relatable, hilarious, and shamelessly Allie Brosh that you have to read it.

Check out: 22 must-read books written by women.


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!

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Accessories

5 reasons why you should stick to wired earphones

You don’t have to give up comfort and familiarity!

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Photo by Daniel Fontenele

The advent of wireless earbuds has become gospel among my friends — techie and geeks alike. It’s like everyone’s preaching about switching to wireless like it’s some mandatory rite of passage for adults who’ve been in the workforce for god knows how long.

Though I have my own pair of wireless earbuds, I still have my trusty wired earphones — one that has a 3.5mm jack for my laptop, and one that comes in USB-C for my phone that has no headphone jack. Even before, wired earphones were my savior — from strangers and familiar people approaching me, to keep me entertained in between idle moments, and for being a companion in trying times.

Just like most people, I’m still having a hard time letting go of wired earphones. People had been asking me to stop using one, but I still stand to a few reasons why it’s perfectly okay to stick to the familiar.

You’re a plug-and-play person

A lot of times, I find myself having trouble with pairing my smartphones to my wireless earbuds. To ensure seamless pairing, you must be using top-of-the-line and/or premium earbuds. Imagine the time you spent trying to connect so you can listen to music when you can just plug your wired earphones to a headphone jack, play your music, and enjoy.

You love the feeling of being connected

I thrive in connections — whether it’s people, conversations, or earphones. I feel most reassured when I know I’m connected, and the tangibility of my earphones’ connection to my smartphone is comforting — especially when I’m commuting. I’ll know right away where my phone is, and having a wired connection makes my loving smartphone safe.

On certain occasions, my smartphone was saved from falling because of my wired earphones. It’s these prevented tragedies that reassure me a tangible connection is still a good choice.

You’re practical about your choices

Let’s admit it: wireless earbuds are expensive. As someone who follows a strict budget, wired earphones are a tad cheaper and is more accessible to most of us. There are plenty of us can’t live without music, and wired earphones sometimes become a necessity to keep us from falling apart in between trying times.

On the other hand, wireless earbuds are considered a luxury — a want, not a need. Imagine losing a pair, or even misplacing it when a pair of wireless earbuds is priced around US$ 100. I don’t have the money to replace it easily even with access to a credit card.

You find comfort in familiarity

Some people aren’t comfortable with change. Most are hesitant, and even resistant to it — even with the advent of functional and bang-for-the-buck wireless earbuds. If you find comfort in familiarity a.k.a. choosing wired earphones because you’ve been using it for a long time, that’s absolutely fine.

You don’t have to change your preferences in life just because someone asked you to do so. Stay unique and love your individuality!

You haven’t felt the urge to switch

Lastly, there comes a time in every modern individual where they need to switch to a wireless lifestyle. It could be for convenience, for more flexibility, or for safety during a commute. Whatever it is, you’ll always feel the urge to switch and when you do, heed the call.

When you feel like you’re being called to the other side, that’s when you take a leap of faith. If you’re still content with using wired earphones, just enjoy it and stop caring what the world thinks. You have your music with you, just keep playing!

SEE ALSO: 6 reasons why you should switch to wireless earbuds

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