Monday, April 14, 2014

Black President Ep 1


All hail Ozaki Masaya, one of the best jdorama writers out there having written KDO, Love Generation and Tadano Hitoshi! KDO is one of the greatest jdoramas ever and I never suspected that we would actually get its spiritual sequel in Black President!


Sawamura Ikki is Mitamura Yukio, the president of a black kigyou (business), which means a company that overworks his workers. Mitamura is a very direct person who likes to say what he thinks, actually cares about what other's think of him, always sexually harasses Kuninaka Ryoko who plays his secretary and emphasizes results over the treatment of his workers. Mitamura decides to enter University to study business management and ends up being taught by Kuroki Meisa and he also enters the movie club.


THE GOOD

+ Brilliantly funny like KDO.
+ Ozaki Masaya is a genius at creating jokes that don't need the punchline to be said. For example, he sets up the ball pen thing in the beginning of the episode and the name of his automatic vacuum and makes them pay off at the very end.
+ Sawamura Ikki is very well cast to play the playful Mitamura.
+ Mitamura taking off his trousers when all Dan Mitsu only asked him to unbutton his shirt. lol
+ Dan Mitsu in a role that doesn't require acting. I still need therapy to forget her horrible acting in Hanzawa Naoki.
+ The mature age university student angle is interesting because it hardly happens in Japan.
+ After Dandarin, I'm happy for more worker's rights issues, this time from a management perspective.


THE BAD

- Kuninaka Ryoko should have swapped roles with Kuroki Meisa. This feels like casting according to name value cause Kuroki Meisa just doesn't have chemistry with Sawamura Ikki and Kuninaka Ryoko deserves her chance to play the Hayasaka sensei role since she was basically Natsukawa Yui's understudy in KDO.


THE UGLY

- Sawamura Ikki shaking his shoulders and doing the 'yarou yo...'


SUMMARY

While I doubt Black President will reach the great heights of KDO, I think there's a 90% chance this will be a very good dorama cause I absolutely believe in Ozaki Masaya's writing. He's got the ability to address issues of management and youth looking for their way in life with a deft and funny touch. Must watch jdorama.

Sigh, if only she swapped roles with Kuroki Meisa, Black President would be perfect.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mozu season 1 Ep 1


Ep 1 is an ok set up episode. The whole thing can be summed up into two storylines that are connected but have parts that feel disconnected. First, we have Kuraki's (Nishijima Hidetoshi) story. He's the ace of the public security police, who's wife died in the explosion.


Kuraki is the troubled soul hard boiled detective and as the episode progresses we learn about his troubled past and the incident with his daughter and wife. My only complaint of the Kuraki story is I wish they had revealed the incident with flashbacks only and without explanation and let the viewers put 2 and 2 together instead of the heavy handed I just want to truth and then showing varies unsolved cases.


Supporting Kuraki in his story is Osugi (Kagawa teruyuki), the section 1 investigator who declares many times his hatred for the public security section. He and Densha end up as our exposition characters though I am very skeptical of this boogeyman Daruma storyline. The second Kuraki supporting character is of course, Akeboshi Miki (Maki Yoko) who is from section 2 of public securities and answers directly to Kita Yoshio and was at the scene of the blast.


The second main story is about the killer Shingai who loses his memory. I really don't like the way his eyes turn completely black in two scenes cause it implies that there are supernatural powers at work, especially combined with the Daruma story. Not sure the Shingai actor is the right guy for the role and it doesn't help that the people trying to kill him were overacting.


The one thing I didn't understand was what was Shometani Shota doing in the beginning of the episode. He was filming the results of the blast, dropped his camera as if he were going to save this girl who was saved by Maki Yoko and he was never seen again. Maybe he will resurface in ep 2?


Let's see what happens in episode two when the story should really get going. The preview at the end looks very exciting. I actually watched episode 1 twice because somehow it didn't occur to me that Japanese subs would be available since TBS is doing season 1. It was so much easier for me to understand with Japanese subs. Fingers crossed episode 2 is good.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Looking at Spring 2014 jdoramas

JDORAMAS THAT SHOULD BE SUBBED
--------------------------------------------------

MOSAIC JAPAN


SAKAMOTO YUJI + WOWOW + adult videos? WTF????!!!!! I must be hallucinating!!! Never in a million years could I have thought of such a combination. OMFG. Screw Mozu, this is must watch dorama of the year!!!! My mind is blown! And its rated R15+!!!!!!!!! Thank you jdorama gods!!!!!!!!!! Me so happy!

MOZU

Ep 1 is available for download now!!!!!!!

ALICE NO TOGE

+ Ueno Juri!!!!
+ Who killed my daddy mystery.
+ Trailer looks good.

GOKUAKU GANBO


Ono Machiko with a lot of supporting players . The writer, Izumi Yoshihiro's past works doesn't fill me with confidence but its based on a manga and I just hope its a funny one.

BLACK PRESIDENT


Main reason this should be subbed is that Ozaki Masaya is writing it. I didn't watch Doubles (no idea how good he is as a cop show writer) but if anyone can pull off a comedy about management, its him.

KOHIYA NO HITOBITO

+ Salaryman Kintaro as a coffee maker with a past.
+ Kimura Tae + Kurashina Kana
+ Trailer looks really good though it kinda spoils the plot too much.

WATASHI TO IU UNMEI TSUITE

A WOWOW dorama that's not about a cover up? Must at least give this a try. Looks like 3 episodes are already up!

ROOSEVELT GAME

 Plot sounds complicated and that's a good thing!

LONG GOODBYE

NHK 1950s dorama based on a famous novel.

TOKUSOU

WOWOW bribery investigation dorama. Yes, please.


JDORAMAS I'M ON THE FENCE ABOUT
--------------------------------------------------

SAIGO KARA NIBANME NO KOI 2

+ Koizumi Kyoko and Nakai Kiichi are always fun to watch
- Is there any more story left to tell?

BORDER

+ Oguri Shun sees dead people.
- The writer of SP
+ Episode 2 trailer looks interesting.


PLATONIC

+ Nojima Shinji !!!!!
+ Nakayama Miho !!!!!!
- Kinki Kid. Why did they cast him? Why?????!!!!!!

SILENT POOR

+ A show about social worker.
- Social worker is being played by Fukada Kyoko.
+ Its NHK so might be good.
- Its probably going to oversentimental mush.
+ Tokkan is in it.


YOWAKU DEMO KATEMASU

+ Nino can act.
+ Hard to go wrong with underdog sports story.
- Lots of johnnys.
As as they don't cry as much as Rookies, might be watchable.


JDORAMAS THAT SHOULD NOT BE SUBBED (but probably will)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

FIRST CLASS

+ Eye candy cast.
- Cast lacking in acting ability.

SMOKING GUN


By the writer of Zettai Reido. Stay very far away.

BITTER BLOOD


Kenshin and Watabe Atsuro are father and son in the first division comedy. How old is Kenshin again and I thought first division are for like the top veteran cops. Is Kutsuna Shiori old enought to be playing a detective?

SHINIGAMI-KUN


WHITE LAB


The trailer doesn't look good. Not another anime murder investigation show.Its got Kitamura Kazuki, Tanihara Shosuke and Osugi Ren but I'm not even going to bother.

HANASAKI MAI DAMATTE INAI

Sounds like Hanzawa Naoki light. As long as the acting is better (which shouldn't be too hard), might be watchable but too many potentially good shows this season.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Mozu: The great jdorama hope of 2014?


Two years ago, TBS and WOWOW did co-operated to make Double Face, a remake of Infernal Affairs which showed that outside of Gaiji Keisatsu/Rinjo/Gonzo, the Japanese could make a cop show that was serious and did not end up looking like a tokusatsu.


Tomorrow will be the first episode of Mozu season 1 showing on TBS. Jadefrost has been writing character introductions for the series which is going to help me understand the series easier when I watch it. The two main actors from Double Face are back along with Maki Yoko along with the director. Mozu also has Kita Yoshio (who has in Double Face), Suzuki Sensei, Yabe Kenzo, Ishida Yuriko and Densha who did not overact in Double Face.


WOWOW is going to show season 2 which starts on 22nd June which tells me there's going to be (hopefully) a great ending to season 1 to entice viewers to pay for their WOWOW subscription. Like a lot of WOWOW shows, Mozu is going to have a lot of characters and hopefully they link together like Lady Joker instead of Link.


I need to figure out what sacrifices to offer the jdorama gods so that this ends up being a good dorama. Please be good. Can't wait to watch it!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Chi no Wadachi


Sigh, how did WOWOW get so many things wrong with Chi no Wadachi. The basic story is that Tanihara Shosuke and Harada Taizo are former best friends from the first investigation division. Harada attacks a murder suspect is suspended but is given a new lease on his career when he is recruited to the Public Security division aka the we can do anything as long as we claim its for the good of Japan division.


Tanihara Shosuke's daughter get leukemia and was about to undergo a life saving operation when Public Security arrests the doctor and she dies leading to the breakdown of Tanihara's marriage and his hatred for Public Security. Yes, ladies and gentlemen that is the crux for this jdorama underneath all the abuse of power by the Public Security division.


Tanihara is aided by the extremely tall and slender hacker played by TAO who luckily doesn't possess the superhuman hacking powers of the guy from Bloody Monday. To compound the problem with the flimsy basis of the good friends are now mortal enemies story, we have the worst and most laughable excuse ever for adultery in the middle of episode 4 which just forced me to stop watching.


There are so many thing wrong with this show from the stilted dialogue to the need to explain every single emotion to the audience instead of showing it and some crappy looking action scenese. As bad is Chi no Wadachi is, its still not as bad as Kinkyuu Torishirabe Shitsu or the laughable Saigo no Keikan which says a lot of the quality of police jdoramas in general. After such a great 2003 from WOWOW, are we due for a horrible year from them?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Snowpiercer


I have been waiting for this movie for so long. Its been a long time since Bong Joon-ho's Host and Mother, two of the best Korean movies I've seen. Snowpiercer came out in South Korea last year and there was the bruhaha about Harvey Weinstein wanting to cut the movie by 20 minutes. Bong Joon-ho managed to keep its cut but the movie is now having a limited release (not in Australia) but its finally found its way to the interwebs.


Snowpiercer is a sci-fi, post apocalyptic tale about a world that has basically gone back into the ice ages and the only remaining humans are on this self-sustaining train that travels all over the world. People on the train are divided based on class with the poorest people at the back. Hellboy's dad is the leader of the people at the end of the train and Captain America is his right arms who leads the people at the back in revolt against Tilda Swinston's evil Minister Mason. Song Kang-ho (JSA/Mr. Vengeance/The Host) is in this movie as a drug addicted security expert and since its a sci-fi, he gets to speak Korean throughout.


Elysium turned out to be a skin deep analogy for class warfare but Snowpiercer thankfully turns out to be a thinking man's sci-fi which presents interesting ideas to the viewer but doesn't provide the viewer with easy answers. Let's just say its not a simple story of haves versus the have-nots.


Like Park Chan-Wook's Stoker, its nice to see my favourite Korean filmakers put their sensibilities in English language movies. Bong Joon-ho isn't afraid to get into some nice twisted humour with the classroom scene. The only complaint I have is that the movie doesn't explain some of the rooms in the middle of the train and I kept looking for where all the higher class people were staying. Snowpiercer didn't blow my mind but it stayed in my mind long after watching. Must watch.


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Solider, Project Diva F2 and the latest Sambomaster Owaranai Miracle no Yokan Album.


The best way to sum up Winter Soldier is that it makes me want to see Cap 3 more than I want Avengers 2 which is shooting now. Playing Cap as Jason Bourne is a great idea. This is the solo Marvel movie where the tone of the movie is given more importance than making a movie that pleases everyone. Marvel movies will generally never suck because they know what makes the characters tick but there is that element of playing to all sorts of audiences.

Although Cap 2 is based on the Winter Soldier storyline in the comics, it plays second fiddle to the story of Cap finding his place in this world and is pretty much a team movie. Falcon is not just shoe-horned in because he plays an important role as someone Cap can relate to. Kinda wished they had put Black Widow's story from the comics in this but oh well. Marvel continue doing a great job of making boy scout Cap interesting by playing him off other characters and this movie doesn't have the time waster of until Avengers feel cause interesting stuff happens in Winter Soldier that changes the Marvel cinematic universe.


There are things that happen that are a bit outrageous including the big threat but the movie moves at a good pace and there are many great character moments that I didn't have time to dwell on issues of why which makes a strong action movie. As long as there is a strong central theme, character moments and not too many coincidences with plenty of action, I'm happy to sit along for the ride.

Kinda sad I just saw one of the best car chase scenes ever in The Raid 2 last week, but while the car chase and fighting can't match The Raid or even Bourne, they are pretty good, especially the 1v1 fights. The GSP fight was cool. Cap works best as a street level superhero in a world of espionage. Great job by Marvel making their second best movie so far and fingers crossed for Guardians. Don't go in expecting your mind to be blown and you'll find Winter Soldier is a very good action movie.

HATSUNE MIKU PROJECT DIVA F

Ordered the game from HMV Japan. If I had not gotten the PS3 controller last year, I don't think I would have bothered with the PS3 version cause its only 3D when watching the music videos and not playing the game. The game came with a todoke hibike code which allowed me to get the Vita version for 5000 yen.

My order came with a bag which no dude will ever use.

And a boring mouse pad.

SAMBOMASTER: OWARANAI MIRACLE NO YOKAN ALBUM

For the first time in forever, I bought a music CD. I have concert DVDs and game soundtrack CDs which  are more bonus items but I think this is my first ever non-street performer Japanese music CD. lol The reason I got it is that I could not find the album to leech online. Seriously. Sambomaster is that unpopular that I even tried to buy the album digitally from Amazon Japan only to find out I can't buy it cause I'm not in Japan. WTF.

Thought about trying Winny which I think is still going but I couldn't be stuffed. It came with the live DVD of their performances during their tour which is awesome. Album, looks like crap and I hate the pink. Anything Sambomaster puts out is great and they are the one band I don't feel like I only like a certain period of stuff. Should have bought their album when I went to their live last year.