Thursday, November 08, 2018

Champon Tabetaka

Its taken me quite a while to get around to watching Champon Tabetaka. Nothing about the poster makes me want to watch this show. Not the guy from Dele nor the guy with the most punchable faced in all of jdorama sitting on the right of the poster.

In fact, the only appealing thing that Champon Tabetaka is that Ozaki Masaya, the writer of KDO adapted the novel written by Sada Masashi who sang Kanpaku Sengen.

Champon Tabetaka is a story about being young and not knowing what to do with life from the perspective of a young man who went all the way from Nagasaki to Tokyo just to study the violin.

From the first episode with one of the characters trying to woo this tsundere girl with a guiter, Champon Tabetaka took hold my attention and never let go because there was such an authenticity to it. Its got the feel good element and innocence of an asadora flavoured with the realism of Sada Masashi's experience.

I got to know the characters and could emphatise with all their worries. I enjoyed watching them grow and navigate real life and meeting a host of interesting characters who helped them grow.

One thing I really liked about Champon Tabetake was that it was set in a world where one could put in a mountain load of effort and still not succeed because the chances of success was that low compared with jdoramas where characters put in a tiny bit of effort and somehow everything falls into place.

If you want a feel good and fun jdorama with a 60s and 70s vibe, Champon Tabetaka is for you. Almost a must watch show for me. Very well made and very watchable.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

One more month to JLPT N3!

The end is near! Winter is coming! Last year I chickened out and went for the much easier N4. This year I am doing the much harder N3. Harder as in I actually need to study.

My initial strategy was the same as what i was doing last year, do sample exam questions, reverse engineer and try to figure out the formula to the question but that proved very difficult because I do not know so many basic Japanese grammar things.

I can usually whittle down the four answers to two but the two always sound right to me which is my main problem. I do not know why things are right or wrong, only that they sound right. Plus, I find googling for reasons why doesn't really work.

I've ditched reverse engineering the answers and I'm slowly working my way through the grammar speedmaster book. Things are starting to make my sense now and there are things that I couldn't believe and things that are so simple that I never even realised.

Its do or die time. Don't want to waste $90 exam fee to go to waste. Once I finish my first grammar book, I'll try to finish a second one before jumping into the mock exam book. I'm not going to do vocabulary because hopefully years of jdorama and manga and gaming will have provided me with enough vocabulary knowledge.

I signed up for JLPT to force me to study grammar. I have no idea if it will get any better after this. (I doubt it but its opened my eyes to a lot of basic things I never realised) I've got no choice but to put in the effort this final month.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Blanket Cats Episodes 1+2

Blanket Cats is a show about Nishijima Hidetoshi trying or rather being very difficult about giving away the 7 cats left by his late wife. He wants people to adopt the cats for the right reasons and gives them a trial period of 3 days before he gives his approval.

Blanket Cats is a sob story/feel good collection of stories that just happen to have cute cats in them. They also have Renbutsu Misako in episode 1. However at 50 minutes, the stories are way too long and drag on way too much. Imagine if Shinya Shokudo episodes were 50 minutes instead of the usual breezy 25.

Watching episode 1 I was thinking there's so much fat in the story and its trying way too hard to wring out tears from the audience that the only thing I could think of was when would this story end.

It doesn't help that the relationship between Nishijima Hidetoshi and Kichise Michiko is the most boring childhood friend relationship I've ever seen. It goes through the motions of some of the tropes but it falls completely flat and there is nothing to Hidetoshi's character besides being grumpy and stale.

If you want human stories, watch the four seasons of Shinya Shokudo. If you've seen them already, rewatching them is better than watching Blanket Cats. If you really want a show with cats, watch Neko Samurai. Blanket Cats could have been decent if they had cut the runtime in half but otherwise, avoid.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


From the pretty good Eerie Mienai Kao, we go back the to usual WOWOW/jdorama staple; an old murder mystery where every few minutes someone will utter the world the 34 year old murder incident, everyone of the police investigators will have this very concerned face all the time and of course the higher ranking people are always corrupt and incompetent.

The best thing I can say about Shinhannin is that at least its only 5 episodes. As for bad things, well, I've got a lot of bones to pick with this show.

The story is told from two timelines, present day when the father of the kidnapped child is killed and the past when the investigation was reopened. Because we already know what's happening in the present day, its up to the writer to make what happened in the past interesting so we can guess how it affects present day. Best example of this would be 20th Century Boys.

Unfortunately, nothing really surprising happens in the past timeline. All the red herrings seem like very obvious red herrings. The worst crime of all is that at the end of the episodes, I never thought; this piece of information has got me all excited, I can't see what happens next! Shinhannin never gave me any clues or crumbs that got me intrigued like most mystery shows. (See Yami no Bansosha or Kageri Yuku Natsu)

I plodded through 5 episodes just to see the ending and what a disappointment it was. Surely there must be a reason WOWOW adapted this novel. They tried to portray the ending like some great tragedy of misguided family love and I could not believe the words that came out of Tamikawa Takaya's mouth. Very disappointing below average jdorama from WOWOW.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dele Episodes 4-8

Dele starts off as a show with an interesting concept as its about a company that deletes people's data after they have passed away. Somewhere down the line, Dele turns into a benriya/detective agency type show where the characters are more champions of justice than this secret hush hush company for a world where everyone has huge digital footprints.

The main characters so easily break their client confidentiality by always peeking at the date (so that they can solve the case) and sometimes I just wondered why some people gave them the data to be deleted in the first place? A show about erasing or altering digital footprints would make more sense or even a show where data is to transmitted to certain people upon someone's death.

The chemistry is interesting but Dele fails to make to take advantage of its premise and distinguish itself from our average show. Dele is watchable but it is far from show like River's Edge or Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi. Watchable but forgettable.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sachiiro no One Room Episodes 1-4

Most jdoramas are wish fulfillments of some kind. The suburban housewife wish fulfillment, the schoolgirl wish fulfillment. Sachiiro no One Room is basically a loli wish fulfillment that is horribly written.

While I'm watching Sachiiro no One Room, I'm just thinking this show is about thinking all the boxes of how a lolicon could justifiably end up living with a loli in one room. Its like 90% of anime where the set up is just so some stupid generic main character can have relationships with a harem of women without being proactive. (End of rant)

My problem is not really the concept but really the execution. The dialogue is just so bad it was like torture. The stilted dialogue between the two characters was so stiff. Its not shot in a way like a thriller nor does it seem to be about child abuse. The first four episodes did not give me the impression that there is a story worth telling.

I stayed for four episodes hoping for some turn that would make it interesting but ultimately Sachiiro no One Room feels like an amateurish lolicon wish fulfillment show not worth anyone's time. Avoid.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Eerie Mienai Kao

Its been a while since I can remember WOWOW doing a show that was outside their usual police show with corrupt bosses or the cover up conspiracy story. Eerie Mienai Kao is more of a suburban suspense show with three main characters, a University lecturer played by Odagiri Joe, a nurse played by Kuroshina Yuina and this schoolgirl who gets involved with this bullying problem at school.

From the first episode, what stands out for Eerie Mienai Kao is the mood. The director who also did Miss Sherlock is very good at creating little moments of tension where something just feels a little off.

We find out quickly that the recently widowed Odagiri has been doing the deed with his sister-in-law played by Naka Riisa, Kuroshina Yuina can't say no to anyone and the high school bullying problem is getting worse. What makes Eerie Mienai Kao intriguing besides the suspense is how all three storylines will intersect and what the hell is actually going on.

There is a discourse about human behaviour going on in the story. There are some things in the ending that puzzled me especially the chikan part. I would probably need to do a rewatch of the show to fully appreciate it and see if the writer left any obvious clues that I missed.

I can't call it must watch but Eerie Mienai Kao is a very well done 5 episode series which I enjoyed very much. No subtitles are out for it as far as I know.