Saturday, March 17, 2018

Hokuto ga Gotoku review

Ryu ga Gotoku Studio's latest game after the disappointing Kiwami 2 is Hokuto ga Gotoku, a mashup of Fist of the North Star and Yakuza series of games. The Yakuza series is no stranger to spin offs set in someone else's story such as Kenzan! which was about the Miyamoto Musashi story and Ishin! which was about Sakamoto Ryoma and the Shinsengumi.

Both Kenzan! and Ishin! featured Yakuza characters as historical characters and it was fun figuring out who was going to play which famous character. Hokuto ga Gotoku has the Yakuza voice actors portraying the famous anime characters without changing their appearance.

Alas Hokuto ga Gotoku happens to be the worst spin off Yakuza game ever, not counting Kurohyou 2 on the PSP. 

+ Kiryu kills people or rather we have a RGG game where the main character kills.
+ The Bounty Hunter Reaper story.
+ Kenshiro's exploding moves look nice.
+ Befriending the shopkeepers by pouring them drinks though the storylines feel half assed.

- The most grindy RGG game ever. There isn't that much content and budget so they made it this super grindy look for parts and bolts festival.
- They've turned the fun cabaret club management sim from Yakuza 0 into a boring grind fest.
- They made it very hard to get skill points which are essential to unlocking moves or rather its not very balanced such as needing to perform poorly during the music game in order to attain them.
- Inability to skip exploding scenes with a button.
- The city of Eden does not feel very alive.
- Stupid ending with twists and turns that defy any logical explanation. If you thought Crystal Skull was bad....


Disappointing game. I think Nagoshi said they went with the old Yakuza engine cause it was easier and the team was younger but this plays like a game made with no vision that was hastily slapped together. Stay away.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Anone Episodes 1~4

There were quite a few comments about Anone and I was supposed to do the Hamsapsukebe 2017 awards but I could not wait to see what the fuss regarding Sakamoto Yuji's new jdorama was about. It starts off with two characters looking for a place to die and turns into a sort of comedy about fake money.

+ The twist regarding Hazure's past is really cool. I feel like Sakamoto Yuji could have milked it even more and turned it to more of a horror show.
+ Any scene between Anone and Hazure.
+ The ghost daughter story.

- The kid in the hospital, Kanon. I know he gives Hazure impetus to do things but I don't give a shit about him. Maybe he'll end up not being the person she's been looking at.
- Abe Sadao's character being such a pussy he lets people trample all over him.
- Still haven't figured out where the lawyer guy fits into this.


Anone still hasn't hooked me yet. I kind of still don't get what this show is about except that its about a bunch of people with problems. Its got the acting and writing pedigree but I can't see the whole picture. I'll keep watching just because its Sakamoto. I've been really busy with Hokuto ga Gotoku so its going to be a while before I get to the awards.

Sunday, March 04, 2018


Ishitsubute is yet another WOWOW corruption dorama, this time Kitamira Kazuki as the employee from the Ministry of Foreign affairs who is involved in a very interesting corruption case with Sato Koichi and Eguchi Yusuke as the police investigators from the second division.

If you've seen a WOWOW corruption show, you've seen Ishitsubute; the two main investigators who can't get along, the usual Japanese office politics of people applying political pressure and the slight overacting in showing anger when characters get bad news delivered to them.

Ishitsubute was still fun for me because its still an underdog story about investigators trying to go after some very big fish. The step by step investigation into how the corruption was carried out was interesting and how the investigators slowly built their case.

Ishitsubute was really hard for me to watch and was going to drop it until someone suggested I try to look for Japanese subs and to my surprise jpsubbers had the subs! Before this, I could never get Japanese subs for WOWOW shows and its got my wondering what other WOWOW subs I could find. If I can find Japanese subs for Mosaic Japan, I might be tempted to sub it cause I love that show so much.

Anyway, I just want to say Ishitsubete is a pretty standard WOWOW show that doesn't suck but doesn't do anything good either. I had fun learning all the political jargon, most of which I have forgotten.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Shimokita Die Hard

Shimokita Die Hard is a bunch of short stories told by Furuta Arata to Koike Eiko. Unfortunately, there are no voice overs so you only see them before the story is told and after the story. If Shinya Shokudo is about the weird and interesting people who inhabit Kabukicho, Shimokita Die Hard is about what makes Shimokita this weird, funky cultural centre of Tokyo.

I've been to Shimokitazawa quite a few times including twice for plays and its so fun to see landmarks like the Honda gekijou and familiar streets.

Unfortunately after an ok first episode, the next three were very boring and I was close to quitting. Luckily episode 5 about the girlfriend of a musician was really good as well as episode 6 which mixes Terminator with Village Vanguard in Shimokitazawa.

Episodes 7,8 and 9 were ok and I hated episode 10 about the stupid band although it had Kaho. Episode 11 was the final episode and luckily there was a pay off although I was hoping for a better pay off in terms of how Arata knew about the stories. The way they explained it was so lame.

Ultimately, I would describe Shimokita Die Hard as an inconsistent bunch of short stories. I would say just watch episode 5 and 6 as they are the best and skip everything else unless you enjoy going to Shimokitazawa. Meh but do watch episodes 5 and 6. Shimokita Die Hard is unsubbed but someone has retimed the Japanese subs at least to episode 2.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

R.I.P. Ohsugi Ren

I just woke up to a message from bframe that one of Japan's greatest actors has passed away. I am at a lost for words. At least he went out on top with the great Byplayers and Final Fantasy Daddy of Light. I doubt they will continue with Byplayers 2 since it can't work without him. I'm glad a lot of the non-Japanese watching people got to see him act in Daddy of Light besides the Beat Takeshi movies.

I'm trying to think of what other memorable roles he had and the one that comes to mind was his role in Boku no Aruku Michi as the kind boss of the zoo. It was probably the Ohsugi's first role where I really noticed him. 大杉連さんありがとうそしてお疲れ様です。

Monday, February 19, 2018

Yocho Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha

Edit: OK, after thinking about the show some more. I think I finally get what its about which isn't that difficult because the alien spells it out in the end. Its about love and what lengths people in love go for each other. I just didn't feel it until a few days after watching. So upgrading to a watchable rating.

Yocho Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha is a horror/monster movie about an alien is walks around stealing human notions (gainen) such as family and fear. Directed by the talented Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Shokuzai), Yocho Sanpo Suru Shinryakushua is based on a play, which is evident from watching it and I think would have been better if it were shot as a play. Not that it doesn't look beautiful but the story's DNA seems more suited for the stage rather than the screen.

I don't really know what to think of the story. Sometani Shota plays Kaho's husband is was selected by the alien as a guide to provide victims for the alien in exchange for not hurting Kaho and in the process does some very bad things. Kaho meanwhile turns out to be special as she can tell something is wrong and is immune from getting her gainen stolen.

The story is about how this couple would do anything to save each other, even betraying humanity even in the face of earth facing extinction. However, at the end of the movie I just hollow. I just don't get this series and the purpose of the movie. Meh from me. Must be one of those plays where everything is a metaphor . Only Kaho and Kurosawa Kiyoshi fans should check this out but please keep your expectations low.

Looks like Kurosawa Kiyoshi has released a movie version of this story with a different cast including Matsuda Ryuhei, Nagasawa Masami and Hasegawa Hiroki. Seems like the story is different although the setting is the same. Might give it a shot.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Byplayers Episodes 8-12

Really fun dorama with a great ending that is unfortunately very similar to another jdorama that I recently watched. My only criticism of Byplayers is episode 9 where they visit the village filled with lookalike supporting actors. 

In all the other episodes, Byplayers was seemingly set in the real world albeit and then jarringly we have a gag episode making it more anime-like. Completely out of left field weird episodes are not uncommon in Japanese entertainment, especially anime but it just left me cold to the point of considering dropping the series, which I am glad I didn't.

Besides episode 9 which saved itself with a nice cliffhanger, Byplayers is a wonderfully written and acted show about acting. There are plenty of memorable episodes including Terajima Susumu's promise to the kids, the musical episode, the Natsukawa Yui episode etc. Speaking of Natsukawa Yui, the list of guest stars is freaking awesome and you'll never guess who the final one is. :)

One of the best shows of 2017 and must watch. Even if you don't know Japanese, at least watch the first 7 episodes which was been subbed. I'm not really looking forward to season 2 because its going to be hard to top the writing for this one. I also can't wait to do the Hamsapsukebe 2017 awards so I can watch Anone but I've got a few other shows to finish including Yocho Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha.