Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oyaji no Senaka Eps 1-4


Oyaji no Senaka is what happens when you put Japan's best scriptwriters together with the best actors. Its not rocket science but its something that does not happen a lot in the world of jdoramas. Oyaji no Senaka is a collection of short stories about fathers and I went in expecting the worst oversentimental stuff and came out being impressed by the quality and nuance in the writing.


Episode 1 puts Okada Yoshikazu (Saigo Kara Nibanmeno Koi) together with Matsu Takako and Furuhata Ninzaburo in a beautiful story about a father and his daughter that suffers from panic attacks. Matsu Takako is so good it makes me wonder why she not in more jdoramas. The last time I saw her was in Unmei no Hito.


Episode 2 is my favourite so far. Sakamoto Yuji with Yakusho Koji (Shall We Dansu) and Mitsushima Hikari in a story about this sleazy boxing dad. The dialogue and chemistry is just funny as hell and the Matsuura Aya story got a huge pop from me. Sakamoto Yuji is king of writing great dialogue that say important stuff with spelling it out. Mitsushima Hikari is not convincing as a boxer though. lol


Episode 3 is something very different and funny while episode 4 is a more straightforward father son story. I must say the very plastic face of the dad in episode 4 was distracting.


Oyaji no Senaka is a must watch for episodes 1 and 2. I am not looking forward to ep 5 with Horikita Maki. (She clearly does not belong in the same sentence as Matsu Takako and Mitsushima Hikari) The question is of course whether the other writers are as good as the Okada Yoshikazu and Sakamoto Yuji and whether the stories will get repetitive.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Kazokugari Episodes 1-6


Kazokugari or family hunting is a whodunnit show where a bunch of murder suicides have been happening. Children have been killing their parents and then committing suicide afterwards. Endo Kenichi (Shiroi Haru) is the cop investigating the cases and he has an interesting past and a connection with Mizuno Miki's character.


Matsuyuki Yasuko is our main character who works in a child care centre and has a senile dad and a mom that goes to line up at the pachinko every morning. Ito Atsushi is the art teacher who is having a bit of trouble with another fellow teacher played by Yamaguchi Sayaka. All three characters somehow get involved with the murder suicides and with each other.


WHAT I LIKED

+ Matsuyuki Yasuko, Endo Kenichi and Mizuno Miki bring the acting talent.
+ This show is about multiple forms of family hunting and troubled characters.
+ After watching Wakamonotachi 2014 where every stupid act has some oversentimental reason, its nice to see a family show where people just act out of anger, frustration and fear and lash out at others.
+ The relationship between the Matsuyuki Yasuko and her mom. Its complicated, depressing and even melancholy at times.
+ Matsuyuki Yasuko's child care character who does so much to help people with dire problems but her own family problems are driving her and her mom to the brink. I love their fight at the end of ep 3 because its uncomfortable and real.


WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

- You can cast Ito Atsushi for comedy but he can't bring it when its time to be very serious (see end of ep 7) and I feel they need a good character actor to make his story arc interesting.
- The last few episodes have been very slow because its just presenting the audience with a red herring that no one will bite on, which is the inherent weakness of a whodunnit show.


SUMMARY

Kazokugari does a lot and does most of it pretty good but as a package, its a bit all over the place. Its definitely not as tightly packaged as Petero no Souretsu but its still entertaining enough.Watchable whodunnit show (so far) that tries to be more than average and I respect that. Episodes 1 and 2 have been English subbed and I've retimed the Japanese subs for 3-7.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wakamonotachi 2014 Eps 1-5


Wakamonotachi 2014 is basically Under the Same Roof 2014. An old school huge family without parents dorama. I'm guessing Under the Same Roof / Hitotsu Yane no Shita is probably a copy of the original Wakamonotachi series. I love both seasons of Under the Same Roof and Wakamonotachi 2014 has the acting talent to be as good.


WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

- Too much shouting and moral arguments such as the good old money is not everything speech. Tsumabuki Satoshi's Asahi is just irritating and not as fun as Eguchi Yosuke's An-chan. I think he was wrongly cast or they shouldn't have made him shout and overact so much.


- Tries so hard to be heartwarming that everything feels too telegraphed. Convict brother's girfriend story with Hikari's doctor lover just put me to sleep.



- Not enough Mitsushima Hikari. She turns everything into gold and should be involved in all the stories.  


WHAT I LIKE


+ Mitushima Hikari owns the role Hikari. The scene where Tsumabuki Satoshi asks Hikari if she's ok and she suddenly couldn't stop herself cying is crazy good acting.


+ I'll watch anything with Ao Yu and Mitsushima Hikari in it.


SUMMARY

Wakamonotachi 2014 makes me want to rewatch Under the Same Roof cause I'm interesting to see whether it holds up. I think there's something about the writing that makes Wakamonotachi 2014 more soapy and less of a 'pure' family show though Under the Same Roof is essentially a soap opera about two brothers in love with the adopted Sakai Noriko.

I guess you could say Wakamonotachi 2014 is just not as fun. I won't stop watching because of the cast but its very average show.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mozu season 2: Maboroshi no Tsubasa


It took me up to season two to realise two things about Mozu. Firstly, its set in an alternate reality Japan despite no real signs in the first season that this is not our reality. The second is that this is a superpower show or at least a reality where characters don't blink an eye when other people exhibit special powers.


I'm not talking just about Shingai exhibiting powers to survive multiple gunshots and being pierced by a huge spike through his chest at the end of season 1. I'm talking about the other Shingai being able to teleport and Kuraki not batting an eyelid.


Kuraki himself also exhibits the special power of being able to walk around in broad daylight without a disguise despite being wanted by the police and his face being shown in all medias. Osugi had the power to somehow find Kuraki at an abandoned railway track.


My biggest disappointment was that there was no decent action scene like the chase sequence of Episode 5 in season 1. Its hard for me to hate on Mozu like Saigo no Keikan because the effort is there but whatever possessed TBS and WOWOW to think that this story would make a good series with the talents from Double Face? Did anyone think that the scene with Suzuki sensai exiting a warehouse window by grabbing on a line from a helicopter make sense?


I don't want to think about the story cause its a waste of time. Mozu never had a good foundation to build upon in the first place and there was no decent action to keep me entertained. I can't give it a 'don't watch this crap' because this is one of the very rare big budget doramas which was not created to push some idoru but because they thought they had a good story. Unfortunately, they didn't.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Tokumei Tantei Season 2 Eps 1-4


In season 2 of Tokumei Tantei, the fanservice element has really been stripped down to the point that it feels a lot more like any other generic detective series instead of a hard boiled detective comedy. The comedic fan service running jokes from Tadano Hitoshi were stripped down in season 1 and now they barely exist at all.


Takahashi Katsunori has gone from sleeping with a beautiful woman every episode of Tandano Hitoshi for information complete with dick jokes to getting whipped by Miura Reiko in Tokumei Tantai season 1 and now he doesn't even get close to a love hotel in season 2.


I know fanservice isn't the end all be all but its what separated this series from the rest and was part of the detective's character. Also part of the appeal was that the show could go places where your generic family friendly detective shows would not dare to tread. Now the not funny running jokes are the detective going for a basic massage and visiting the barber.


So far, season 2 of Tokumei Tantei feels tired and generic. Its still watchable, just not as fun. Hopefully it picks up soon.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Fukuie Keibuho no Aisatsu


I've been watching Fukuie here and there one episode at a time and I've finally finished it. Its basically an attempt to create a new Furuhata Ninzaburo. Let's get the things I dislike out of the way, for which they are two. Firstly, there's the jdorama cliche that makes no sense of this Assistant Inspector who has solved multiple cases yet her colleagues grow and abuse her as if she is standing in the way of justice.


The second thing I dislike is that I just want to tell the killer to shut the hell up. Its something that I never got from Furuhata and I think its because Furuhata is a more playful and theatrical jdorama and it usually takes place on the same day so there's no time for the killer to calm down and think "wait a minute, I'll just shut up cause they've got no case against me anyway." This is probably Fukuie's Achilles heel IMO.


I like the effort in Fukuie Keibuho no Aisatsu, especially with Fukuie ending every episode with a good line. They also do the Furuhata thing of revealing little bits about Fukuie but not giving you the details though things get a bit personal in the end. Good try. A watchable but forgettable show that lives under the shadow of Furuhata Ninzaburo.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Petero no Souretsu Eps 1-4


My other favourite show this season which is surprisingly unsubbed. Petero no Souretsu is the sequel to Namonaki Doku.which was an interesting story about this very nice vanilla character called Sugimura who gets involved in certain incidents and acts more like a detective rather than a publisher. At the end of Namonaki Doku was pushed to the point where he forgot himself, which I guess was what the writer was aiming for.


Suginuma is back in Petero no Souretsu and this time he gets caught up in a bus jacking incident. While he is still Mr. Nice Guy, Suginuma is a nice guy who has been through a lot and is able to think with a clear head in pressure situations.


Episode 1 deals with the tense bus jack where the hijacker's motives are unknown. We have an assortment of various characters in the bus and the hijacker seems to be in full control of the situation and knows what he is doing. The hijacker requests that 3 evil people be brought to him also promises the hostages one million yen in compensation.


The busjack ends in episode 1 but we are left with more questions than answers as the former hostages try to find out the truth and what to do with the money. At the beginning of episode 1, Suginuma says that evil is contagious and the root cause is a crime committed 30 years ago.


As with Namonaki Doku, the pacing in Petero no Souretsu is deliberate but engaging. Its a mystery dorama that knews how to constantly feed the viewer information but without repeating things ad nauseum (Triangle) or has really inane dialogue (Gekiryuu). There are a lot of unknowns such as Hasegawa Kyoko's character or the useless new transfer colleague but I look forward to see how it all comes together.


Ep 4 is interesting as it looks into the Head Editor's past but also links it to the busjack and gives us a nice mini resolution at the end. I really like the 4 episodes so far but I can't give it a must watch until the end. Very good series so far. The retimed Japanese subs are available here.