Saturday, August 21, 2010

MINI Countryman

MINI Countryman

It may be its first crossover utility vehicle that defies the MINI nameplate, but the MINI Countryman is built for the most active people who are getting used to their active lifestyles, especially from work.

The design of the MINI Countryman was based on the MINI Crossover Concept as seen on the 2008 Mondial D' Automobile at Paris, France, taking a new approach from the MINI lineup consisting from the original, the cabriolet, and the odd-looking Clubman. If looks can be distinctive, the MINI Countryman has three different forms; the base One variant offers an entry-level experience, suited for the starters while the Cooper variant offers a balance of sportiness and cuteness inside and out. The flagship Cooper S variant offers the best looks and it comes with MINI's first ALL4 four-wheel drive system, which brings excitement to the next level.

To add fun for the MINI Countryman, the interior comes with the multi-functional center rail that allows its amenities to be slided, great for those who are hungry for sushi and ask them for your order, then slided for you. Aside from the center rail, the MINI Countryman is the first MINI to have five doors for easy access.

On the MINI One Countryman, this base variant comes with a petrol (98 PS) engine, and the diesel (90 PS) engine. The Cooper variant also comes with the petrol (122 PS) engine and the diesel (112 PS) engine. The flagship Cooper S Countryman is available only with the high-performance, turbocharged, direct-injection, four-cylinder petrol engine with 184 PS of power output.

Most car enthusiasts prefer the Cooper S variant because of such sporty performance thanks to the turbocharged engine but for those who are interested in eco-cars prefer the MINI One variant because of its fuel efficiency.

My thoughts about the Countryman:

From the airport, the countdown before the baby's unexpected jingle, the sushi bar, to sheep's clothing, this MINI is all-round fun no matter which situation you are facing while having fun with the brand's first dedicated crossover utility vehicle. If I would choose between the MINI Countryman and the BMW X1, I would rather switch to the X1 because of the luxury amenities offered. If the pricing is the issue on these two, the MINI Countryman is a winner because of the suggested retail price of 20,200 Euros for the MINI One Countryman to 29,440 Euros for the MINI Cooper S Countryman with ALL4. This car will be on sale all over Europe this September and as expected, the MINI Countryman will come to our shores if MINI Global City announced when this crossover would come to our shores. I am sure that this crossover will come late next year or sooner.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kaichou Wa Maid Sama Character Concept CD Series

With the Maid-sama manga and anime shared a decent success for both teens and adults, Geneon Universal Entertainment spreads the Maid-sama enjoyment with these Character Concept CDs based on the perception of our favorite Maid-sama characters, from Misaki Ayuzawa, Takami Usui, and the rest.

The Maid-sama storyline changes quickly, as so from the comments coming out from the fans. With these Character Concept CDs, fans will be tremble themselves for more Maid-sama fun as from what they saw on TV. There are different Maid-sama sides to take place with your faithful ears, something to chill out from watching Maid-sama episodes.

1) School Side features a audio drama and two songs fresh from Misaki Ayuzawa (CV: Ayumi Fujimura) with Sakura Hanazono (CV: Kana Hanazawa) and Shizuko Kaga (CV: Yu Kobayashi)

Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama Character Concept CD 1 - School Side

2) Maid Side features another audio drama and songs from Misaki Ayuzawa again and Aoi Hyodo (CV: Hiromi Igarashi)

Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama Character Concept CD 2 - Maid Side

3) Maid Side 2 continues where Maid Side left off and songs from our favorite Maid Latte maids, Satsuki (CV: Aki Toyosaki) and Honoka (CV: Kana Asumi)

Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama Character Concept CD 3 - Maid Side 2

4) For the teenage boys, Another Side welcomes them with a fresh new audio drama and songs from the 3 Baka Trio Brothers (CV: Mitsuhiro Ichiki, Takuma Terashima, and Yoshimasa Hosoya) and Takami Usui (CV: Nobuhiko Okamoto) himself.

Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama Character Concept CD 4 - Another Side

5) Another Side 2 is the last part of the Maid-sama Character Concept CD series, packed with the finale and songs from Shoichiro Yukimura (CV: Kazuyoshi Shibashi) and Hinata Shintani (CV: Atsushi Abe)

Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama Character Concept CD 5 - Another Side 2

1) School Side - May 26, 2010
2) Maid Side - June 23, 2010
3) Maid Side 2 - July 22, 2010
4) Another Side - Same date as Maid Side 2
5) Another Side 2 (Final) - August 25, 2010

My comment: With the Maid-sama storyline gone M3 (malay mo ma-develop), and the exciting appeal from our favorite Maid-sama characters, these Character Concept CDs are great enough to get to know more about your favorite Maid-sama characters.

Samurai Code (Toyota Mark X Special Drama)

Samurai Code

To up the ante of Toyota Mark X's slogan "Samurai X", the special drama titled Samurai Code aired in TV Tokyo from January to March 2010, and streamed to Japan's GyaO! site.

In Samurai Code, Koichi Sato (The Magic Hour, Amalfi: Megami No Hoshu) played the role of the fictitious Wise Coleman Funds senior director, Kohei Sudo, as he negotiates this company in the brink of the global financial crisis. With the Urban Sun Square project needed a lot of funding, will Kohei Sudo negotiate before its too late? This mission is not going to be easy for him, as he goes through different perspectives against his rival, the senior director of Credit Stars, Hajime Makimura (played by Shingo Tsurumi). Their unlikely past between them and a woman named Kaori Seto (played by Manami Honjo) became a thing in their past. As the story progresses, Sudo deals with his boss, the Wise Coleman Funds director of Asian affairs, Akira Kutsuwada (played by Takeo Nakahara) because of the reason what happened to this company.

My favorite part on Samurai Code is the part where Sudo questioning Makimura with his strong expression after they got off the Toyota Mark X (model shown: 250G S Package, chassis code: GRX130). that part really got it interesting, as for Sato-san's unbelievably strong expression on Samurai Code. The background concept of this drama defines the concept of faith, trust, and responsibility for Koichi Sato's role of a fictitious senior director. With the participation of two X-Girls (Yuno Nakazono as Miki Akiyama and Chigusa Takaku as Hitomi Tsujimoto), and one of Japan's most respectful artists, Samurai Code made JDM fans the most interesting mini-series to see.


Koichi Sato as Kohei Sudo, the senior director of Wise Coleman Funds

Shingo Tsurumi as Hajime Makimura, Sudo's rival and the senior director of Credit Stars

Manami Honjo as Kaori Seto, a woman from both Sudo and Makimura's past.

Sawa Suzuki as Shoko Itakura, the Wise Coleman Funds fund manager with a strict personality.

Yuno Nakazono (who passed the X-Girl auditions) as Miki Akiyama, one of Wise Coleman Funds employees.

Munetaka Aoki as Shinji Mototani, the Wise Coleman Funds fund manager. He's different from Shoko.

Chigusa Takaku (who passed the X-Girl auditions) as Hitomi Tsujimoto, one of Wise Coleman Funds employees.

Takeo Nakahara as Akira Kutsuwada, the Wise Coleman Funds director for Asian operations.


Directed by: Eiichiro Hasumi

Screenplay: Kenya Hirata

Music: Kenji Kawai

Production work: Dentsu

Produced by: ROBOT

Japan DVD Sale: August 18, 2010

Distribution: Pony Canyon

Carmaker made possible for this drama: Toyota Motor Corporation

Skoda Fabia II RS

2011 Skoda Fabia II RS Hatch and Kombi

The year 2010 marks the return of the Skoda Fabia's flagship variant, the RS (commonly called vRS), changes the game in the world of sport compacts. With the Volkswagen Polo V gained its much-awaited GTi variant, Volkswagen's Czech arm, Skoda, has a few different tricks to its sleeves. Following with the Fabia II entering its second phase, the Skoda Fabia II brings back the RS variant that dates back to the first-generation Fabia.

The new Skoda Fabia II RS comes in hatchback and Kombi and it comes with the same engine you normally seen on the VW Polo V GTi, the super turbo (a turbocharger and supercharger fused into one) 1.4 TSi engine producing 180HP of power output that is about the same as the Polo V GTi. While the Polo V GTi has the 7-speed DSG, the Skoda Fabia RS also comes with the 7-speed DSG as well! Talk about these two hot hatches separated at birth but share the same knowledge!

With the same suspension, same technology, and same expertise, what differentiates the Skoda Fabia II RS to its siblings? With the Seat Ibiza Cupra's pricing is 23,540 Euros (about over 3.8 Million Pesos) and the Polo GTi's pricing is about 22,500 Euros (about 3.5 Million Pesos), the Fabia II RS hatch's suggested retail price is 21,890 Euros (that is about 3.35 Million Pesos) and 22,490 Euros (3.49 Million Pesos) for the Kombi grade. This kind of Fabia is the cheapest alternative to the VW Polo V GTi and the Ibiza Cupra you can get. This car declares checkmate against all odds but one question is would it be enough to tackle the likes of the Renault Sport Clio/Lutecia?

My thoughts about the Fabia RS:
The pricing of these VW-engineered blood brothers reached its agitation point because the Fabia RS's SRP is cheaper than the Polo GTi and the Ibiza Cupra, despite these three hot hatches shared the same frame, same technology, same engine, and same expertise. Most European men who are willing to purchase the Polo V GTi may think twice because the Fabia RS's pricing will tempt them to buy this Czech wonder. The Fabia RS is the second of the Skoda RS line-up carried from the medium-sized Octavia sedan and Kombi.

Photo: Volkswagen Group

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Akumajo Dracula (Castlevania): Harmony Of Despair

The classic Akumajo Dracula (Castlevania in the world market) video game gets remixed for the first time available as a downloadable game exclusively for the XBOX 360 console, and boy, could this game be any fun than this either by yourself or co-op with pals worldwide?

If you had it with your PSP's Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, you might grab your XBOX 360 controller and if your have 1200 Microsoft Points, you should try Akumajo Dracula (Castlevania): Harmony Of Despair. On this game, you and your friends worldwide take against monstrous foes, solve puzzles, and even take on the king of darkness himself, Dracula. So what more would you ask for?

Seems this Dracula game is a whole new gimmick for the video game enthusiasts and fans of this series because up to six players fight cooperatively in areas as seen on classic Akumajo Dracula/Castlevania games. At start, players can choose from their favorite Akumajo Dracula/Castlevania heroes, each with their different style of fighting. Once they were ready, it's on!

Good strategies, good camaraderies, and a good sense is required to master the whole Harmony of Despair game because this game might be troublesome if you're solo. Only a help of your online buddies can do the thing for you and once more, Konami plans for more DLC for this game for added challenge and added excitement for fans.

NOTE: This game is available exclusively on XBOX Live from your XBOX 360 console for the cost of 1200 Microsoft Points.
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