Sunday, June 17, 2018

10 things I like about Unnatural

 
I am very, very impressed by Unnatural. When was the last time a mainstream aka non WOWOW medical show impressed me? Probably the first season of Doctors Saikyou no Meii but that was more comedy than a serious medical show. Iryu? Anyway, here are 10 things I liked about Unnatural:

1)  The police in this show were not incompetent.

2) Supporting character gets multiple pay offs.

3) Ishihara Satomi gets put between a rock and a hard place often and has to make difficult decisions.

4) Boss of group is actually smart, not lazy, thinks big picture and is willing to take the heat for his people.

5) Arata is awesome and works well with Ishihara Satomi.

6) Deals with a lot of real life issues like overworking, date-rape, bullying, unidentified bodies etc.

7) Did a great job building up the main story over the course of 8 episodes that when episode 9 happened, I was at the edge of my seat.

8) Every character got their chance to shine.

9) No one tried to act too cool.

10) No incompetent rookies.

SUMMARY

Very good job by the writer Nogi Akiko who also wrote Juhan Shuttai!, I am Hero and Ore Monogatari. However, she also wrote a whole bunch of Aragaki Yui shows which I don't want to watch and Library Wars which I hated. Unnatural and Juhan Shuttai! clearly shows that she is very good. Must watch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Daisy Luck Episodes 1-4

It seemed just like yesterday when Sasaki Nozomi was playing a high school girl in Tenshi no Koi and now she's starring in a arasa aka around 30 dorama. I generally cannot stand arasa doramas not just because every single character is a walking cliche of a 30 year old woman, they are usually bloody annoying whinging about how horrible their lives are when they know nothing of true hardship. (Tokyo Tarareba Musume)


The good news about Daisy Luck is that while everyone and every story is a walking cliche, it actually is fun. Why? I'm not so sure. I certainly don't hate the characters like Tokyo Tarareba Musume and I somehow enjoy how cheesy and predictable everything is.


Maybe the combination of Sasaki Nozomi, Shokotan and Kishimoto Kei from the Gantz movies is better than Yoshitaka Yuriko, Eikura Nana and Oshima Yuko? Or maybe Daisy Luck just doesn't take itself too seriously.


I'm not saying go out and get it. I'm saying Daisy Luck is the first arasa jdorama I can remember where I'm having fun. Surprisingly watchable. Unfortunately not being subbed as far as I know but Daisy Luck is pretty easy to watch. It doesn't hurt that Ashina Sei is in it as well.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Jdorama ramblings 7 June 2018

MOB Psycho 100 Episodes 1+2

MOB Psycho 100 feels like a bad version of Minna Esper Dayo! Its got the same premise set in a world of super powered people, the main character is a virgin high schooler but its not even half as funny. I only got through two episodes before deciding to pull the plug although it ended in a cliffhanger. Do not watch.

MISS SHERLOCK Episodes 1-5

I wish I could be more excited about Miss Sherlock since it was two of my favourite actresses Takeuchi Yuko and Kanjiya Shihori but there's something that's preventing Miss Sherlock from reaching good status from me. I can't complain about the production values or the acting. The stories have been so-so but maybe its the chemistry.

I'm not saying its not good but it should be better. Hopefully it ramps up in the second half. Watchable.

UNNATURAL Episodes 1-3

The surprise show of the year maybe. I really don't want to see Ishihara Satomi's lips again after seeing them in so many bad shows, (Rich Man Poor Woman, Shingeki no Kyoujin and Shin Gojira) but Unnatural at least for the first three episodes is above average though not yet reaching good levels.

I was really impressed with the 'action' scene in episode 2 and the sexism in episode 3. It also helps that Arata's charisma is in it. He will always be Tachibana from Yakuza 0 for me.

On a side note, a thought just came to my mind. For murder mystery shows like Miss Sherlock and Unnatural, its very hard to write very good mysteries. What makes these type of shows good is the chemistry between the characters and the side stories and details in the story like sexism in episode 3 of Unnatural and I liked that it wasn't a preachy thing. Surprisingly watchable and I'm going all the way to the end!

MONTE CRISTO HAKU Episodes 1-3

Monte Cristo is a very bad jdorama that feels like a vanity project for Dean Fujioka where an old novel is supplanted into a modern day setting without any delicacy much like forcing a square peg into a round hole. Do not watch.

THE CONFIDENCE MAN JP Episodes 1+2

I know I made a promise I would not watch another show featuring Nagasawa Masami's legs but there are nowhere to be seen ...yet. The Confidence Man is a show about super elaborate scams. The overacting is horrible so you know not to take this show seriously and it seems to be about how much more elaborate they can make the scams and keep the audience and the characters guessing is real or fake? Probably worth watching if you want something mindless. I haven't decided if I'll keep watching.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Innocent Days Episodes 3-6 spoiler review

I finally finished Innocent Days despite the fact I wasn't really into it and it turns out Innocent Days is about this depressed, suicidal woman named Tanaka Yukino who willingly admits to a crime she did not do because she is afraid of being abandoned again. I have no idea how that is supposed to be entertaining or thought provoking in any way.

Throughout the series we get to meet people who have wronged Tanaka Yukino and except for when she was a child, Yukino was also partly responsible for the wrongs. Am I suppose to feel sorry because she's had some bad luck but is also mentally unstable to the point of losing the will to live?


Throughout the series, I did not feel anything for not just Yukino but the other characters as well. Innocent Days seemed like a story about people who did not know how to be happy and did it did not bring me much entertainment despite the talent involve. Maybe someone got something out of this but I tried and did not. Meh.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Yami no Bansosha Henshucho no Joken Eps 4+5

What a fun mystery jdorama the second season of Yamiban was especially after watching Signal and Innocent Days. Nowhere as good as the first season though, but they've largely kept all the things that made Yamiban fun and told the story ina tight 5 episodes.

However, I want to talk about the ending which I wasn't that happy with and what I think would be a better ending, so spoiler alert!

SPOILERS

One of the biggest mysteries in season two of Yamiban was the Shimoyama incident where President Shimoyama's death was unclear whether it was a murder or suicide. What was clear however was that President Shimoyama was caught between a rock and a hard place. This also parallels the Chief Editor Nanbu's situation where he was caught between obeying his corrupt boss or protecting his staff.

In the manga, it is suggested that President Shimoyama caused his own death by hiring an otoshiya to do him in. The kamishibai old man also did the same thing, causing him to limp.

The question is, did Chief Editor Nanbu cause his own death by purposely provoking the former chief editor to push him over the roof or was he just being an asshole as usual?

The overly sappy ending saw away that theory. Nanbu had already prepared an escape plan for him and his staff so there was no way he was in despair and wanted to end his life. Watching the ending with all the crying editors, it felt like just another typical sappy Saturday afternoon dorama where this person wasn't a bad person like everyone said.

I don't know. I just feel that if they had left the cause of Nanbu's death open to interpretation like the Shimoyama incident it would have been better. Making it conclusive that Nanbu died because he liked provoking people takes the mystery out of it especially after introducing the idea of hiring one's own assassin in the Shimoyama Incident and the Kamishibai person's story.

Still, the mizuiro explanation was a great way to finish the story off.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Seigi no Sei Episode 1

Me like Yoshitaka Yuriko but Seigi no Sei is another one of those jdoramas where the main chatacter is new at doing a particularly difficult job which in this case is being a prosecutor acts like a completely inexperienced 17 year old shoujo manga/asadora heroine rather than someone who has studied, worked and beaten the best of the best to this plum job.

I have no idea how one gets to a criminal prosecutor in Japan but I guarantee its a lot more than doing just a law degree and passing the bar exam. This reminds me of the horrible Code Blue where a bunch of ER doctors act like total newbies who had just finished high school.

For people who enjoy these sort of shows, I don't blame you cause there obviously must be an audience for them. Obviously Japanese producers do not think mature characters who act like adults are not relatable to viewers. I just don't know why this show exists. Avoid.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Harmonium jmovie review

Harmonium has been sitting in my hard disk for a long time. I had read somewhere it was critically acclaimed which in my experience doesn't mean anything and the fact that it was low budget meant that it could be one of those artsy fartsy movies that use artistic tropes to hide the lack of storytelling ability like that piece of crap movie Koibitotachi.

Being in the rut of crappy jdoramas except for Yami no Bansosha made me more willing to take the risk to cleanse my pallet and let me say, Harmonium is a pretty good movie.

Harmonium is a story about how Asano Tadanobu who just got of prison goes to his old friend's (Furutachi Kanji) workshop to ask a favour. The ex-con gets caught up in the daily lives of the old friend and his wife and daughter and then one day something bad happens. I shall say no more except that Harmonium is a story about guilt and how people deal with blame and how they try to live their lives with it.


I was transfixed to the screen during the two hour runtime as the characters go through emotions I cannot begin to comprehend. The acting is just incredible and I have no idea who this Fukada Koji is but he managed to make this no budget no soundtrack look so good but relying on the acting abilities of the performers.


Another thing I want to say is that Harmonium is such a lousy name and the Japanese name of Fuchi ni Tatsu (Standing at the Abyss) is a much better description of this movie.

If you are after a Soredemo Ikite Yuku style movie with tense situations and masterful acting that will haunt you long after the credits roll, Harmonium is the movie for you. Must watch.