Review: Magnífica 70

Magnífica 70 is a brazilian TV series produced by HBO Latin America and directed by Claudio Torres. The first season has 13 episodes with 52 min duration each and (as expected from any HBO series) it’s visually amazing! Remarkable work of the cast aside – Costumes, scenarios, every single detail fits perfectly into São Paulo at the 70’s, where the story takes place. Although the plot may sound a bit plain at first, as the story goes on it really catches the interest of the viewer, not to mention all characters are deeply well-developed.

Magnífica 70 promo poster (source: Internet Archives)

Magnífica 70 promo poster (source: Internet Archives) – All rights reserved to HBO and associates

During military regime, Vicente (Marcos Winter) is a censorship agent with a boring life and a failed marriage. But everything changes when he censures a movie that leads him to meet Manolo (Adriano Garib) and Dora (Simone Spoladore) – a producer and an actress that work on that movie. As they try to convince Vicente to release their film, they introduce him to a world of magic and glory called cinema. And the censorship agent falls inexorably in love, initiating the old conflict between what’s desired and what’s forbidden.

Manolo, Dora and Vicente (Source: Internet Archives)

Manolo, Dora and Vicente (Source: Internet Archives) – All rights reserved to HBO and associates

Since Brazilian movies during the 70’s were mostly headed by a genre called “pornochanchada“, a mix between comedy and soft “adult content”, in order to make a faithful recriation of that time and place expect to see a considerable amount of graphic material. So I wouldn’t recommend this series for the ones who are under 18 (as mostly HBO series though). Nevertheless, Magnífica 70 is a series that’s going to get you amazed. Definitely worths watching!


PS: Season Two was already confirmed!

 

Amazonian typical dish: Tacacá

Tacacá” is a northern Brazilian kind of soup and although its recipe can have some variations, it’s usually made of Tucupi (a yellow sauce extracted from cassava), Goma (a sticky cream, also made out of cassava), Jambu leaves (a kind of herb with a very singular taste that makes your mouth feel a little numb) and shrimp. It was originally created by native-brazilian people and even nowadays its traditionally served inside a native recipient called “Cuia” (you can see it at picture below).

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My “shrimp-free” Tacacá, inside a “Cuia”. That chocolate tablet on the table is also made of a typical northern brazilian fruit called Cupuaçu (and it tastes amazingly good).

It’s a very hot dish, a little spicy (and can get even spicer if you wish), sour and bittersweet at the same time. As you can imagine, It’s not easy to describe how it tastes like, it’s something you gotta try by yourself. It’s also low-calorie, around 123 kcal per serving (1 Cuia). It resembles a Japanese Ramen (without the noodles), you even eat it using a kind of chopsticks.

The ingredients are usually stored in separated recipients and only mixed together when it’s time to serve, so you can choose the ones you want and the ones you don’t. Mine’s obviously without shrimp and I like to add some onions and parsley into it.

Felipe and I wearing our best dumb-faces at the “Tacacá da Tia Socorro”! ;D

It’s a typical and really popular dish in Manaus and can be found in many different places, from street vending tents to fancy restaurants. The one I usually go is the “Tacacá da Tia Socorro” (Aunt Socorro’s Tacacá), it’s located in the “Shopping dos carros mall” at Av. Djalma Batista 2010, Chapada. If you are going to visit Manaus, make sure to try it 😀

"Tacacá da tia Socorro" entrance, one of the many places where you try Tacacá in Manaus.

“Tacacá da tia Socorro” entrance, one of the many places where you try Tacacá in Manaus.

[Guest post] Anime review: Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners

This month’s guest post is about the anime Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners and it’s written (again) by our collaborator TuxEGP. TuxEGP writes:


And I’m back again, thanks for the feedback about my last article, really, it was even rebloged. I couldn’t believe, it gave me the motivation to write once again. So, here we go!

Before talking about the anime itself, I want to say some things about the Studio and the writer behind it.

First, Kara no Kyoukai was produced by UFOtable, the best animation studio of Japan. Seriously, look at every work of them, be it an old or new one, all have the best animations of its year. One of their animes have doubled the budget of the average anime budget, and it was amazing (I’ll get to it later, in a future post)! Every work is a piece of art, so Kara no Kyoukai is no exception. I don’t really need to say anything about the animation or the design, they speak for themselves.

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Now, talking about the man behind it, well, I guess most of you have heard (or are watching) this anime that was finished last season, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (also produced by UFOtable and it has the best animation I’ve seen on an anime, and this isn’t a onverstatement. Fate/Stay Night UBW was part of a visual novel released in 2004, but I’ll get to it when talking about the Fate franchise. It was written by Kinoko Nasu, he wrote a great number of works, all of them happen in the same universe (called by the fans Nasuverse). So, they share the same “laws” and sometimes they even cross paths with each other, the thing is the work that started it all, all of the mythology and laws (and those two are really, really extensive) was Kara no Kyoukai, a series of light novels released digitally in a blog in 1998. It was the first work of Nasu (but not the first prototype), it reached a certain amount of popularity, but only in the year of 2007 an anime was announced. It would be divided in 7 movies and would follow the original story the way it was (the chapters in the light novel are out of chronological order), and here we are with this masterpiece.

The protagonist, Ryougi Shiki

The protagonist, Ryougi Shiki

Kara no Kyoukai takes place between 1995 and 1999, telling the story of Ryougi Shiki. After waking up from a coma she discovers she has the ability to see the “Lines of Death” of the things. When she touch these lines, she kills the thing. In posession of this power, she decides to help Aozaki Touko, a paranormal investigator doing a series of jobs along with her childhood friend Kokutou, a guy that knows Shiki since they were classmates. However, due to an accident Shiki doesn’t remember what happened in that time and Kokutou decides to hide the truth from her.

There is one more thing, Shiki has another special characteristic in her that makes her so special as a character, emotionally speaking, but that’s a huge spoiler.

Again, as it was with Ergo Proxy (read more), pretty much everything past this point is spoiler, but what I can say is: the first movie is about one of those “jobs” in the city, there’s a case of a great number of girls committing suicide by jumping off of a building, passing by it at night. Shiki sees some spirits floating around and is attacked by the one behind the suicides, the antagonist then puts Kokutou in comatose and Shiki needs to save him and stop the suicides.

The chronological order of the movies is: 2, 4, 3, 1, 5, 6, 7. But the “correct” way to watch them is the order of release, it was meant to be that way, maintaining the suspense until the last second. Also, some of them contain spoilers about the others, so watching in the chronological order will give you spoilers (be warned).

It has a great character developement, specially in the second movie, because it shows how everything begun and the fifth one. Seriously, it’s my favorite!

Besides the great plot and animation, Kara no Kyoukai has a heavenly good soundtrack. Some of you might know the musical trio Kalafina, that produces music for a great number of animes (like the opening of Aldnoah Zero, the ending of both Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night UBW and the ending of Puella Magi Madoka Magica). The group was created (hell yeah!) for the OST of the Kara no Kyoukai movies, every movie features musics from the trio and every one of them is fantastic. They fit perfectly well in the movies, both the action/drama scenes and the openings/endings.

The movies have an average duration of 50 min, some of them have more and some have less, so you can perfectly watch more than one in a row (I watched 4 of them in an evening).

At last but no least, Kara no Kyoukai is a great anime for fans of suspense, supernatural, thrillers, good character developement and a good Seinen, taking its plot seriously (well, there’s a character in the sixth movie… But that’d be spoiler too) and great moments, helped by a perfect animation and a great OST. I’m sure you’ll not regret seeing it.

Here’s a video to show how great the animation combined with the soundtrack is (relax, it’s spoiler free):

Dorama Review: Death Note (2015) – Part II

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a review about the recently released Death Note Japanese “dorama” series and at that time I didn’t have many good things to say about it. But I gotta redeem myself and hand to it, it’s getting really exciting now.

They’re still “trying to transform Light Yagami into a fallen hero” (as I said on the last review) but the way they are developing his character is working pretty good. Plus, who doesn’t like disturbed, tragic, fallen heroes? Anakin Skywalker is out there to prove it!

They changed many things on the original story but that just gave it a whole new sparkle, making it interesting for anyone, old and new fans. The actors are doing a wonderful job and the only thing that remains below average compared to the original anime is the soundtrack (it’s not really that bad, but it’s not good either).

I’m glad I decided to give it a second shot and if you stopped at the first episode I strongly recommend you to watch a few more of them, I’m certain there’s a great possibility you’ll fall in love too (and again). It’s being simultaneously broadcasted by Crunchyroll and I’m already anticipating this week’s episode. 😀

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Light Yagami’s (Masataka Kubota) psychotic “Kira’s face”

Memories for a lifetime

I’ve been home for a week now and (almost) everything is alright. My dog got a little sick but he’s recovering well already and truth be told: I couldn’t realize how much I really missed here until I returned.

I even missed things I thought I disliked, such as washing dishes and the incredibly hot weather of Manaus. And I started to value little things I used to barely notice before: Like my city pretty pale skies, always full of clouds. The sight of the majestic Negro river while I take my daily walks. The humid air outdoors, the dry air-conditioned air indoors. Being surrounded by familiar places and familiar people and obviously, being around the ones I love and cherish.
Nevertheless, I probably need to thank my trip to Santa Fe for all those realizations. It was a really good experience indeed. Not only because it made me recognize all of that, but also because of the great places and people I met in the process. People, I must add, I’ll make sure to never forget even if I never see them again and whom certainly became part of who I currently am.
As a goodbye thanks to that “city different”, I made a list of the places I enjoined most there, I already wrote about some of them like the Museums of International Folk Arts and the Tent Rocks of Kasha Katue and they are all very interesting and beautiful. Here it goes:


New Mexico Wildlife Center
Among all the places I’ve been in New Mexico, this was probably one of my favourites!

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New Mexico Wildlife Center

It’s not secret I’m not a big fan of zoos (for many reasons). But the NW Wildlife Center is not really a zoo. It’s a place where they try to rehabilitate animals and return them to where they belong, which is in my opinion, what every place that works with wild animals should do, even though some animals can’t be rehabilitated (unfortunately). It was founded by a veterinary years ago.

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This hawk was blinded by gunshot and couldn’t be rehabilitated. Now it helps teaching people about hawks

There you can learn about and sometimes see different species of owls, hawks, reptiles, bobcats and even a gray fox that was once sold as a pet and sadly will never be able to return to its true home. But the center tries to provide the best care possible for those animals in this kind of situation.


Isotopes Baseball Park

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Isotopes Park

When I was a kid I was a big fan of baseball. Once I grew up I kinda putted it aside, but New Mexico resurrected it in me. Watching this baseball game was fantastic, the stadium is awesome and even though the home team had lost, it was really great to be able to witness a live home run!

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Me at the Las Vegas x Albuquerque baseball match


Tsuque Flea Market
Surprising (or not) there were no fleas at all! Only amazing turquoise jewelery, pottery and exotic food. I tasted a truly pink lemonade made of cactus fruits and brought Felipe a real Sheriff star (for he is the sheriff of my heart <3)!

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Tsuque Flea Market entrance yard


Cliff’s amusement park
As the name suggests, it’s an amusement park! With cool roller coasts and some other nice rides. It’s not very big but it’s certainly fun!

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When I was there at Cliff’s I decided it would be a good opportunity to test my brand new selfie stick and then some photobombs appeared. Seriously I have no idea of who those people were, they just photobombed and it was fun! xD


Kakawa’s Chocolates

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Kakawa’s front door

I truly believe they sell the best chocolate in the world! Seriously, there are many different kinds of chocolates and ice cream and every single one of them looked deliciously amazing!

It’s located in downtown Santa Fe (and there are many other interesting places to see around there as well, like the cathedral and passing artists at the main square).

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Some of the great variety of chocolates they have!


Jean Cocteau Cinema

A movie theater owned by George R. R. Martin himself, do I have to say more?

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I watched “Pixels” with some of my classmates. It was a really good day!

Well, whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not, you’d love it. This is one of the oldest movie theaters in New Mexico, it was opened as the Collective Fantasy Cinema in 1976, later renamed and, a few years ago, Mr. George R. R. Martin bought and got it all reformed. Now it regularly shows both classic and new movies, apart from being a coffee house.

There’s only one screen and it’s kinda small but high quality. There are cute little curtains covering the screen that open up once the movie starts, giving you that old fashioned cinema mood. You can also buy signed books and other cool memorabilia. It’s a one of a kind experience!

There are also rumors that when he’s not busy writing or doing GoT related stuff, George R. R. Martin would be found hanging around there, although I didn’t see him on that day. 😦


There are other places where I couldn’t go but I heard about them from other people who went and they all seemed really incredible. Like the Santa Fe Opera, the Gravity park, the Ghost Ranch, the Taos Pueblo and the Bandelier National Monument (I really wish I’d went to this one, maybe next time?).

I’m really grateful for being able to been through this and like I said before, I’ll never forget it. Not to mention I had this huge upgrade in my English skills. It’ll probably take a while though until I stop automatically saying “excuse me” to people I pass by or throwing toilet paper into the toilet seat (yes, in Brazil we throw it inside the trash bin).

The state of New Mexico have many different, sometimes curious and always amazing places. Santa Fe is a calm and sunny city and its surrounded by many interesting things to do, to go and to see. Surely worths your visit!