Bedtime Stories: 3 of 5

My parents and I decided we had to get another dose of Warren Theater balcony luxury, so we decided to go to a second movie during my Christmas visit. I had been interested in Bedtime Stories since the trailer looked pretty funny, plus I like Adam Sandler, and of course I like going to see anything by Disney! My favorite aspect of this movie is that it includes mini-movies of several genres to show the stories that Adam is telling to the kids, so we get to see a Western, a Roman gladiator film, and even a sci-fi epic. All of these are full of cheesy cliches, but that's what makes them fun! My least favorite part of the movie is Bugsy the guinea pig, who seems to only exist for a cheap laugh - he adds absolutely nothing to the plot, and his CGI design is so goofy looking that he's actually distracting. The story is pretty clever and interesting, although there's never a hint of explanation why the kids have the power to make stories affect real life (maybe Bugsy was supposed to be magic). Besides Adam's love interest Keri Russell, there are lots of extra characters thrown into the mix - I thought his hotel work buddy was pretty wild and funny. The finale is exciting, although there's no earth-shattering character development, but since everything else was entertaining I guess I can forgive that. Of course, the best part of seeing Bedtime Stories was being with my parents at Christmas time (and the banana splits that Dad and I ate didn't hurt either!).


Yes Man : 2 of 5

Normally I would have never seen this movie, since I pretty much despise Jim Carrey, but during my Christmas visit to Oklahoma City my parents and I wanted to see something funny and take advantage of the awesome balcony seating at the Warren Theater (complete with butt warmers!). Jim was a little less stupid than usual, which helped me enjoy the film, and I thought the plot was a pretty good idea. The philosophy of saying "yes" to everything was actually kind of cool, so it was interesting to see how things worked out and where they went wrong. Zooey Deschanel was quirky and cute - it was fun to see her again since I enjoyed her performance in Elf and other films. Jim's boss at the bank was pretty hilarious, too - his Harry Potter party was one of the best parts of the movie! The movie was shot in the Hollywood area, so I also thought it was fun to see so many places that I had just visited a few months ago, including the Griffith Observatory, where they shot a scene next to the exact site-seeing telescope that my friends and I looked through! Actually, I enjoyed the plush balcony experience and the Warren's incredible digital screen more than the film itself, but I'm definitely glad Yes Man was much more bearable than Jim's other crappy movies!


Wrapping up Christmas

Christmas was absolutely spectacular this year! I was a little greedier than usual with my wish list, and Santa Dad went crazy and bought everything I wanted! I have so many DVDs, books and games that you'll be reading my reviews of them here on WEBmikey for months. I got a couple of huge gifts that I didn't really expect: a Kodak Zi6 (so I can play around with shooting some HD video) and the Star Wars LEGO Motorized Walking AT-AT! I can't wait to start enjoying all my presents! After all the gift ripping, I enjoyed the Disney parade (first year to see it in 40-inch HD), watched some Looney Tunes DVDs, played Nintendo DS games, ate candy and drank beer until naptime, then woke up for an incredible Christmas dinner by Chef Mom!

Thanks to Christmas falling on Thursday, it's been nice to stay here with Mom & Dad a few more days. We spent more time at the casino (no winnings, but we had lots of fun), saw another movie, and we've been spending each night watching more old home movies. Tomorrow I have to head back to the real world, and I know it will take me a while to adjust, but at least I'll have cool DVDs to help me through the transition! Even though I'm crazy about the stuff I got, the biggest gift of all has been living in a magical Christmas world for the past few days. I love coming to this world every year to spend time with my wonderful parents, where everything is glowing with fun and excitement!

View photos: Christmas 2008


Christmas nostalgia

Christmas is still marching on here in Oklahoma City, and we've been doing fun holiday activities like driving around to look at Christmas lights (the best house of all is actually in my parents' neighborhood!) and going to an amazing concert at church featuring Steve Green! We've also completed our yearly tradition of watching all the old Christmas movies (including my newly edited editions), and it's always fun to see Mom & Dad younger than I am now ripping open their presents. It's also interesting to see myself going nuts over vintage Star Wars stuff, and here I am over 30 years later still getting Star Wars merchandise for Christmas (and loving it)! There's been a nostalgic theme going on, since Mom dug out my old baby clothes so we could look at them, and Dad discovered some old toys of mine (which I immediately photographed to post sometime soon). We even found over 40 VHS-C tapes of even more home movies that I've been dubbing to MiniDV, so I have a lifetime of editing ahead of me! We've also seen a movie in the fabulous Warren Theater balcony, we're still working on the annual jigsaw puzzle, and today we're making our second trip to the casino, looking for a Christmas jackpot!


Christmas catch-up

Christmas is completely underway, so I thought I should take a break from building the yearly jigsaw puzzle with Dad to update WEBmikey! Things got off to a foggy start when Rudolph's nose didn't show up to help my flight get to Oklahoma City, so I had to spend the night in Dallas, but thankfully everything went smoothly the next morning and soon I was with Mom & Dad in Christmas Town USA! Mom got a new beautiful tree this year with more lights, plus new pearl garland that looks spectacular. Right away I got started with the usual holiday technology services - this year I hooked up a better wireless router for Dad, then got the new DVR going and trained everyone on how to use it. Mom has been meeting my holiday calorie requirement with hamburgers and homemade chips, eggs benedict, and macaroni and cheese! Of course, we've also been opening gifts each night and watching home videos of Christmases from years ago. It seems like we've had so much fun already, and there's so many more things to do - I'll try to write more often so I won't forget to mention it all!


Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Vol 1 & Vol 2 : 4 of 5

It's time to start a new anime series, and after looking through my "watch someday" list, I decided to take on Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (even though it's a long 10 DVD series that will keep me cranking for a while). The Gundam genre is a true staple of anime fandom, but this is my first time to watch one of these popular mecha shows, so I was worried about getting into this huge universe and understanding what's going on. I had read lots of comments praising SEED as a favorite series of the bunch, and fortunately the show is just so cool that it doesn't really matter if the background story is a little fuzzy (and it was easy to educate myself with Wikipedia anyway)! There's no point into trying to explain the plot here, except to mention that the main character Kira (who pilots a cool Gundam with phase shift armor) often has to face his childhood friend Athrun, who is fighting on the other side of the war. There's actually a lot of semi-philosophical moments about the purpose of war, how it affects both sides and no one is truly "right", which fleshes out the characters well, but for now I just want to mention the cool battles and machinery! The mobile suits themselves are really detailed, and I love how they launch on foot sleds kind of like Battlestar Galactica Vipers. The space battles are really exciting, with lots of attention to realism and devices like maneuvering jets, and it's interesting to watch the characters move around in the zero gravity interiors of the giant warships (I also like the naval terminology such as "sinking" an enemy ship). Unfortunately, this series was completed before most anime was produced in 16:9, even though it's not that old, but at least the visuals are so stunning (with surprisingly few CG crutches) that it doesn't matter. I'm really excited about continuing this series and watching the further battles between Earth and ZAFT!


Last of the Jedi Vol 5 / Jude Watson : 3 of 5

Even though I keep hoping this series will focus more on Obi-Wan, it's becoming obvious that the Last of the Jedi is really about Feris Olin and his band of Jedi remnants that are slowly forming into an Alliance of their own. I love it when these stories have solid connections into characters and worlds in the Star Wars movie universe, but this volume is particularly cool since it also directly ties in with plotlines from the Jedi Quest series! The major bad guy this time is Bog Divnian, who went up against Feris and Anakin both in another story, and the plot also involves Astri, who was actually kind of a love interest for young Obi-Wan! Darth Vader also plays a part in this story, and there is an amazing moment where he has to meet Feris (who is blackmailed into working for the Empire). Of course, he recognizes his childhood friend, but can't say anything since his identity as Anakin is lost to the personna of Darth Vader. Jude Watson really writes Vader well, always getting into his head and revealing his inner thoughts to the reader, which really expands on the character, since he's the true center of the Star Wars saga after all! Although the Emperor also has scenes in this story, he certainly never lets loose with Force lightening, so I have no idea why the cover of this book is so scary! As usual, this is a great story (even a little better than usual) and a quick read, and it makes me want to get into the next book really soon!


Morning Musume / Cover You : 4 of 5

Normally I would wait until I had some other CDs to review in my usual Music Moments post, but Morning Musume's latest CD is so unique and enjoyable that I thought it deserves a solo review! Cover You is a collection of classic Japanese pop hits by the lyricist Yuu Aku, most famous for writing Pink Lady hits like Pepper Keibu and UFO (both of which are on this CD). I wasn't sure what to expect from an album full of 1970s era music sung by Morning Musume, but I'm totally impressed by the production quality, the awesome Momusu-ized arrangements, and the great variety of styles on this CD! Of course, there's an abundance of Ai-chan's strong singing voice all over the place, but everyone else does an amazing job filling these often cheesy songs with emotion and energy (I always love hearing Sayumi's voice giving it all she's got!). It's really wonderful to listen to a whole CD of practically new material, since only two of these songs were released on the Pepper Keibu single. My favorite tracks are Seishun Jidai, which has some fantastic piano work and sounds just like a tokusatsu theme song to me, and I also love Koi no Dial 6700 with its rock and roll feel. It was fun to recognize many of these songs from watching Japanese music TV shows - I had already heard hits like Watashi no Aoi Tori and Izakaya many times. There's only one track that I keep skipping over, since Koharu's antics make me queasy, but other than that I've really enjoyed hearing this CD over and over in my car! I'm interested in finding out if and how these great songs will be integrated into Morning Musume's future concerts - I really want to see them performed live!


Three Small Things 12.15.08

I promise I do a lot more with my time than watching TV, but today's things all have to do with the magical entertainment box. By far the coolest thing to come along recently is Netflix Watch Instantly streaming on TiVo, which is working beautifully on my wireless network! It's really cool to have 12,000 movies and TV shows ready to play anytime with no additional charge, and the quality is great. It looks especially spectacular on newer shows that are actually streaming in HD! The only negative aspect is now I'm tempted to watch crappy movies that I would never actually rent, just because they are instantly available, but hopefully that feeling will wear off. I'm mainly enjoying catching up on 30 Rock, since I haven't seen the first couple seasons, and I also watched The Santa Clause 3 again recently (which is definitely kind of a dud, but I have to watch Christmas stuff this time of year!).

I finally got a call from Time Warner about the availability of the almost mythical tuning adapter (so I can watch switched digital video (SDV) channels on my cable card TiVo), so I picked one up this weekend. It was easy to hook up, with only a small snag in getting authorized (which was painlessly solved thanks to the great people on the TiVo Community forums), and now I have several more channels to watch, most in HD! None of the new stuff is really earth-shattering (I'm mostly excited to have Boomerang again), but now as new HD channels get added I'll be able to check them out.

I also have to admit that over the past month or so I actually re-watched all 50 episodes of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (the live action series). I don't know what gave me the urge to check it out again, but it was still lots of fun! Surprisingly, I had forgotten some major plot points of the story, so it was pretty exciting, too. I really enjoyed being able to understand much more Japanese this time, since I originally saw the show four years ago - it's nice to have an indicator that my language skills really have improved a little!


Kung Fu Panda : 5 of 5

Even though I try to see all animated features at the theater, I'm ashamed to say I let this one slip away, which is a shame since it turned out to be one of the best animated movies of the year! I'm sure everyone who saw the trailer knows that Kung Fu Panda is the story of Po the panda, who idolizes the Kung Fu masters called the Furious Five, and ends up being selected as the Dragon Warrior, even though the only thing that motivates his training is food! The story sounds like it's going to be full of slapstick, and while it certainly has some hilarious moments, it's surprisingly serious and subtle at times! Of course, the fighting scenes are incredibly clever and well animated (some of the best I've ever scene, and totally true to Kung Fu cinema style), but there are simple dialogue scenes where the combination of voice acting and amazing character animation just blew me away! Po and his teacher Shifu are real, flesh and blood characters, expressing complex emotions in a way that makes Kung Fu Panda easily the best animated movie to come along that wasn't created by Pixar! The Furious Five have some great fighting poses and look cool, but unfortunately I think they blew the budget getting star voice actors for such small roles (seriously, anyone could have read Angelina Jolie's lines with the same deadpan impact). I've already praised the animation (and this movie made some breakthroughs in fur/clothing contact methods), but I also have to mention the truly awesome opening sequence and ending credits in glorious 2D - the style is so amazing that I would love to see the entire movie done this way just for fun! I really wish there had been a few more emotion tugging scenes (I'm always looking for those), but overall Kung Fu Panda is a fantastic achievement in non-Pixar animated film!


Studying Japanese is fun and free!

A couple months ago, I decided to take a break from my years of studying Japanese, and it's been nice to have more free time lately. But I knew I wouldn't be able to completely stay away from Japanese very long, and I was concerned about forgetting vocabulary and things that I've worked so hard to learn. Recently I decided to try out a new study method, thanks to an amazing website called iKnow that I read about on Tofugu! I can easily say that iKnow is one of the best, most interesting, and fun ways to brush up on Japanese that I've ever seen, and I'm already addicted to it! The website is run by a language learning company in Japan, and it uses fantastic Flash-based applications with a brilliant interface that makes studying feel like playing a video game (at least to me). The vocabulary section runs through various words and simultaneously teaches usage (through excellent sample sentences and photos), pronunciation (through native speaker sound clips), and even kanji, since everything is presented in kana right from the start. The quizes are multiple choice, but sometimes there are 10 responses to choose from (often including a "none of the above" choice), and each question has a time limit! There's also a dictation section that really exercises listening (was that a wa or a ga?) and typing skills. There is literally a mountain of classes available at all levels - I'm working on the lowest level, which is way below my skill, but it's really fun to remember words I already know, plus I'm learning lots of kanji that I haven't studied before. And best of all, iKnow is free - I just can't believe it! I would even recommend iKnow's method over Rosetta Stone, since it has much more variety so it doesn't get boring. I've been having a blast completing a few 5-10 minute lessons each day, and it's fun to watch my stats go up (you can see my live badge below). It feels great to keep my Japanese going in a stress-free, fun way!


World Without a Superman : 3 of 5

After reading The Death of Superman, it's simply impossible not to continue the story with this next collection! World Without a Superman is a really thick volume that collects the Funeral for a Friend series that was published in various DC titles after Superman's big battle with Doomsday. The best parts of these stories focus on individual character emotions, which are dramatic as you would expect. Of course, Lois is in bad shape, Jonathan and Martha Kent are in the terrible situation where they can't even publicly mourn their son's death because of his secret identity, and even Lex Luthor is bent out of shape since his entire life has been devoted to destroying the Man of Steel! There's a wild storyline where scientists from Cadmus actually steal Superman's body to try to create a clone, and the rest of the book is filled with plots about other heroes who try to take over Superman's role as protector of Metropolis. Some of these tales are fantastic, but there are some that are a little too cheesy for my taste. Unfortunately, the end of the book has this really weird out of body sequence after Jonathan Kent's heart attack, and somehow Jonathan converses with Clark/Kal-El in an etherial afterlife and starts to convince him to come back (which we all know will happen somehow!). But even with the mystical ending, this collection was really interesting to read, and I'll definitely be checking out the next volume eventually!


A few Disneyland videos

Lately I've been spending some time editing old Disney vacation video footage and making short clips for YouTube. During my years of Disneyland trips I've shot quite a lot of stuff, and it's really fun to go over again to chop it up into parades and performances and things. This is one of those projects that I've always wanted to do, but I never made the time for it before. But since I already had the ball rolling with editing old Christmas video, it was easy to keep going! Most of these movies won't be too interesting unless you're a Disneyland fan, and I'm sure there are much better videos that capture these same things, but I like getting them off the tapes I never watch and putting them on YouTube where I might take a peek every now and then. And there's lots more to come (eventually)! If you check these out, be sure to click the Watch in high quality link below the video if it's available, since I've finally started uploading stuff with better resolution.

Watch video: Disney's Parade of the Stars
Watch video: Royal Street Bachelors
Watch video: Winnie the Pooh Attraction
Watch video: Disney's Electrical Parade


Pampers and pie

Last weekend the two party events of the year were on the same day! It's hard to believe that one year ago I was sitting in the hospital with Chris & Eliza holding the first baby I've ever held, but now Emiliano is a one-year old bundle of fun. His birthday party was a big bash, with tons of kids and presents all over the place. The highlight was the Elmo pinata, who got everything he deserved (total annihilation), and watching Baby E open his gifts and crawl around was great, too!

Immediately after the birthday party, Jonathan's 10th Annual Pie Party began! As usual, there were tons of people, tons of pie, and some surprise music. This time Steve started the impromptu concert, with the rest of Casa del Swanko soon joining in. It was fun to have an audience, and I enjoyed playing bongos for the first time in a long while. I didn't get too many pie pictures, but you can find them at the end of Emiliano's party pics.

View photos: Emiliano's First Birthday


Three Small Things 12.7.08

Most of my decluttering projects seem to be digital these days, and recently I've finished working through my entire iTunes library (over 15,000 tracks) to organize things with correct artist names and so on. I've also made sure I have album art for every single track, and I've even deleted some duplicate songs and bombs that I never listen to. Going through everything with multiple views (by artist or by album) was a big help, and it feels great to have it all complete. Now I can move on to my next project, which is pruning seven years worth of photos!

Each year when my parents visit my relatives in Ohio, they go to an orchard and bring me back some fresh apples to enjoy! I've been munching on them for a couple weeks, and they were really delicious. Normally I only buy Gala apples at the grocery store, but it's often hard to find really good ones and I come home empty handed, so it's been nice to have tons of wonderful apples each day. Ohio apples are a nice holiday tradition for me - unfortunately, they're all gone now!

I'm not ashamed of being an Amazon addict, and I use my Amazon Visa every chance I get so I can earn gift certificates to use. Since I recently bought my new MacBook and a few Christmas gifts, my points really went through the roof, and the other day I received four $25 certificates all at once! Of course, right now I'm trying not to buy anything to prepare for Santa's avalanche of gifts, but it's really cool to have $100 waiting for me to spend at my favorite store.


War of the Gargantuas : 3 of 5

I probably wouldn't have been interested in this particular film, because the monsters are basically humanoid and I would rather see true kaiju, but since this was a double-feature included on Classic Media's Rodan DVD, I had the chance to enjoy this unique and cool movie. The story starts off with a dramatic battle with a giant octopus at sea, which quickly goes from bad to worse when a huge "Frankenstein" appears! After consulting with the scientists who created Frankenstein in the lab, there's some confusion about the origins of this creature, since the Frankenstein they made was gentle (and now lives in the mountains, rather than the sea). Eventually they discover that a second monster has grown from cells of the first, meaning there are two "brother" Frankensteins on the loose - Sanda, the original "good" monster, and Gailah, the violent one living in the sea. The miniature effects are pretty cool, even though most of the action takes place in the mountains and forest. The detail of each individual tree is amazing! Gailah is extremely destructive, and there are some surprising scenes where he totally just picks up humans and eats them! He also likes to throw tanks into houses and other buildings, and his appearance at Haneda airport is particularly well done. Although the monsters aren't very interesting to me, it's good to see some nice character development. I think Kumi Mizuno is wonderful, so it was nice to see her as the scientist with a motherly heart. Unfortunately, there's no commentary track for this movie (although it gets several mentions in the accompanying special effects documentary), which would have given me a greater appreciation for the film. Watching any kaiju movie is always fun, though, so I just look at it as a long bonus feature to go along with Rodan!


Manga Mentions 12.08

These two sentence reviews of the same old series are probably getting boring, and this time around all of the series I'm reading weren't very exciting. I promise I'll start something new to mention next time!

Hikaru no Go Vol 13: Sai (the Go master spirit that haunts Hikaru) really wants to play against Toya Meijin, and since he's in the hospital, it's the perfect chance to face him in an online game. There are scenes of Go fans all over the world watching the game on their computer monitors, which is kind of exciting, but I'm still waiting to know what this "divine move" is all about!

Monster Vol 12: This volume follows Inspector Lunge and Tenma as they track down Johan's past through the creepy storybook, and includes some terrifying psychological manipulation of some poor kid by Johan! Although it seems like things are beginning to wrap up, I have a feeling this series has a long way to go!

Kaze Hikaru Vol 10: As always, this series boasts wonderful artwork and interesting historical accuracy, but hardly anything happened in the story this time. Ito Kashitaro, a legendary effeminate samurai, arrives and tries to get it on with Sei, which kicks up some good emotions between Sei and Soji, but overall this was a snoozer volume.

Nodame Cantabile Vol 9: After Nodame's piano competition, she goes home to stay with her family, and I thought it was cool how the translator decided to leave their rural dialect in Japanese for effect! After a few funny boyfriend moments when Chiaki goes to find her, they agree to study abroad together, thus ending the first broad Japan arc of the story.

Video Girl Ai Vol 9: This volume is all about teenage tension, with hardly any mention of the video tape aspects of the plot. Yota and Moemi are together, but Moemi is jealous since Ai is helping Yota work on his children's book, and there are pages of agony over who should call who and what to say. I love these characters, but I wish they would do something rather than just think about it all the time!


Disney Christmas spirit

Every year I like to watch my small collection of holiday DVDs, and this year I've been getting through them kind of early, thanks to a cold that's been keeping me stuck in my rocking chair for the past few nights. But blowing my nose can't keep my Christmas spirit down, especially when it comes to Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas! The first DVD was a low budget production with cheap animation quality, but I love the stories! Goofy and his son Max have some really emotional moments, and Mickey & Minnie's version of Gift of the Magi is so great that watching it made me make a donation to Toys for Tots right there on the spot! The second DVD was originally controversial since it presents the classic Disney characters in full CG, but I'm still really impressed with the results. The opening ice skating battle between Minnie & Daisy is spectacular and funny, and the story of Pluto running away (to the North Pole) and Mickey wandering the town searching for him is so dramatic. I also always watch Mickey's Magical Christmas, which is essentially a long episode of the House of Mouse TV series. Most of the DVD is pretty bad, but I still watch it since the second half includes the classic Mickey's Christmas Carol, which I always enjoy. I always laugh at the giant from Mickey and the Beanstalk playing the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the way they used all the Mr. Toad characters is pure genius. It's also cool that so many of today's star animators worked on that film when they were just getting started at Disney!


The Nightmare Before Christmas / Collector's Edition : 5 of 5

I like to watch this movie every year, either before Halloween or Christmas, but I wasn't sure if I was going to buy this new DVD release until I heard that it included a special feature about the Haunted Mansion Holiday make-over at Disneyland! To a Disneyland fan like me, this feature alone makes it worth owning this DVD, and the coverage is even better than I expected! The complete ride-through is really professional, starting from the outside queue to the very end of the attraction, and it looks better than any fan-made video could ever be, with great lighting and angles that aren't even possible from inside the Doom Buggy. Besides the option to show a trivia subtitle track, there's also an incredible 37 minute documentary just on the creation of the ride! The rest of this DVD set includes most of the bonus features from the previous DVD release, including the wonderful Making Of feature that shows all of the incredible sets and puppets in detail. I learned a few new things this time, like how some of Zero's ghostly effects were done in-camera through the use of glass reflections. There's also an all-new commentary track, which isn't as interesting as it could be, but it was really cool listening to Danny Elfman talk about the composition process (most of the songs were written before any kind of script or final story structure existed). Finally, the movie itself was fun to watch again as always - it's really a great, original story that somehow makes both holidays more fun! If you don't already have The Nightmare Before Christmas on DVD, or if you're a Disneyland fan that loves the Haunted Mansion, then you definitely should have this DVD in your collection!


Hello! Project 2008 Summer Wonderful Hearts Koen : 3 of 5

It's kind of weird watching Hello! Project's summer concert in the middle of December, but I really enjoyed seeing this big show full of summer-themed songs showcasing Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou, and C-ute! Although this show wasn't as large-scale as previous combined concerts that I've seen (no race track stage this time), the set design and camera work were great, with the girls playing to cameras every chance they could get. Unfortunately, too much of this show was lip-synched for my taste, but when they really did decide to sing, the sound was great (especially C-ute, who had surprisingly mature voices with actual vibrato)! I always enjoy the solo and small group sections the most during these big concerts, so after enduring the usual Koharu crap (sorry, she's just so annoying!) there were plenty of fine performances. Ai-chan came across as a really elegant adult, Lin Lin got to sing Hajimete Kuchibiru wo Kasaneta Yoru (one of my favorite H!P songs), and Sayumi and Risako did a fantastic duet version of Chu! Natsu Party, which was almost as good as their previous Robokiss performance! But by far the best part of the concert is the final song, a really moving tune that everyone sings with a little actual harmony thrown in. There's a moment when Lin Lin and Jun Jun get to sing solo with Chinese lyrics, and the results are incredible! Both of them just light-up with the confidence of singing in their native language, and their voices really shine - it was a definitely a teary-eyed moment for me! Overall, this concert was really hit and miss - some moments were amazing, the MC work was pretty boring, and I really missed the older pros like Nacchi who used to appear in these combined shows. But of course I still enjoyed watching this DVD, and I'm sure I'll continue buying and loving these concerts for a long time!