Monday, May 23, 2016

Utenai Keikan Episode 1

Utenai Keikan or the policeman who cannot shoot is an interesting show about a career policeman Shibasaki who is forced to take sole responsibility when a policeman who has mental problems commits suicide.

Shibasaki's boss leaves him out to dry and Shibasaki's father, a former policeman gives him advice and tells him to investigate the matter more. Shibasaki is under a lot of stress not just from his workplace but also his family with plans to buy a home next year with his dad providing the deposit.

So at the mid point I'm thinking this is your everyman uncovering a conspiracy show. Shibasaki is transferred away from the main HQ as he continues his investigation. By the end of the episode, Shibasaki finds out who the main culprit is and I'm wondering where the story was going.

Shibasaki tells the culprit to be his spy in HQ and proclaims that he will work his way back to HQ. This got me excited because Shibasaki is not your nice guy protagonist. Its a dog eat dog world of police politics plus the fact that he is obviously a smart cop having to do non-administrative duties will be interesting.

Utenai Keikan does not have the smell of a family friendly guy learns to be a better person kind of story and I look forward to watching the remaining 4 episodes after a good first episode.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Arechi no Koi

After a string of crappy jdoramas, it was time to reach back into my unsubbed jdorama backlog and watch WOWOW Arechi no Koi.

Arechi no Koi is a reflective story about life centered around this poet Kitazawa Taro played by Toyokawa Etsushi who has slaved for 20 plus years as a salaryman and begins to have an affair with Suzuki Kyoka, the wife of poet friend

Arechi no Koi is not your typical salaryman  affair jdorama.

Its a show about the meaning of life and the approach the different characters take to it and what they each hold dear.

The relationships between people who are comrades, family members, lovers and how people need each other to survive.

As it is a story about poets, there's a lot of poetry in Arechi no Koi which means a lot of freaking difficult Japanese with words no one uses in real life. :(

Aside from that the story is pretty straightforward and there are plenty of beautiful and funny lines.

One of my favourite lines is when Kawashima Umika is sitting in a tax near the end and she says (paraphrasing) I can handle the truth because I am the daughter of a poet.

Arechi no Koi looks awesome and has a movie-like soundtrack. You know someone really spent a lot of time working on the look and feel of this dorama.

Performances are good though Kawashima Umika is a bit too young for the role but since the story stretches from the 70s to the 80s it can't be helped.

Its hard to write about Arechi no Koi not just because there's a lot of poetry but its show that says a lot of things similar to Lady Joker but with a lot less suspense.

Very watchable show for me. Never once did I feel like skipping a scene and I really enjoyed watching all the characters and their complicated relationships. Arechi no Koi deserves to be subbed. If the poetry stuff ever gets subbed then I might be able to really say whether Arechi no Koi deserves to be labelled must watch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dias Police Eps 1-4

Matsuda Shota is the lone policeman for this secret group of illegal immigrants who live in Tokyo. Dias Police is more like a private detective show about immigrants and the show is surprisingly sympathetic to their plight with Matsuda's character talking about how Japan hardly recognises any refugees.

My problem with Dias Police is tone. It deals with some dark issues like organ and children selling to suicide by tongue biting but it doesn't go for realism at all and is closer to a afternoon cop dorama or even a tokusatsu show rather than a WOWOW one. It tries to be light hearted but I never even smirked once.

I just find the tone all over the place and nothing clicked with me. The only reason I lasted 4 episodes is that they were pretty short. Then I saw the preview for episode 5 and Kaho is in it! Looks like I'll be staying on another 2 episodes. Otherwise, meh. Nothing to see here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Kakko no Tamago Dare no Mono Eps 5+6

I stuck around until the end because of Higashino Keigo. As expected there is a tragic story behind the twist but I couldn't give a damn. The bad guy turns out to the the person who was so prominent in this show but had no reason for reason to be.

I just can't buy how easily the person who set up the bomb was induced to do so for the money. Really forgettable series by WOWOW. Avoid.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rewatching Civil War

After rewatching Civil War multiple times, (not necessarily legally) I have come to the conclusion not only is this the best comicbook movie ever, its an expertly crafted move. Not just because it expertly juggles so many characters and has so many quotable lines but also there are so many themes that are explored among all the punching and size changing.

First off Zemo. The promotion of the movie was that both sides are right and here we have a 'villain' who is actually right. One could even argue Zemo is the protagonist. This is a movie about his plan for revenge. Zemo is the voice of innocent bystanders given form. He is the tactical genius smart enough to decrypt the Hydra files and realise that there might be skeletons in the Avengers' closet that he could use. Best of all, the twist has been implied in Winter Soldier.

Speaking of revenge, we've got two other characters seeking revenge as well. Black Panther who ultimately comes to different terms with his need for vengeance (thank the Marvel gods that he stopped Zemo cause Zemo is the best villain since Loki) and Stark who is just I don't care Winter Soldier was mind controlled because everything in my life has fallen apart and revenge is the only thing that can make me feel better.

Civil War is great because it pays off the character development from previous movies. The soldier who was used to chain of command who comes to realise that all organisations are easily corruptible and the safest hands are in his. The rebel who has made so many mistakes who realises that he can't keep running away from accountability.

The scary thing is how can Marvel movies get any better? Can the peak get any higher? 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kono Machi no Inochi ni

Kono Machi no Inochi ni is a WOWOW dorama special about dog catchers starring Toda Erika, Kase Ryo and Tanaka Yuko (Mother). I usually avoid dog doramas and movies because they are basically feel good fluff and how can anything stand up to Hachiko Monogatari?

Kono Machi no Inochi ni starts off as this morbid dark comedy about people who's job is to dispose of dogs that people no longer want to keep. We have a dude who's girlfriend just ran away who wants to get rid of the dog she left him although from his actions he is clearly attached to the dog. One of the staff members starts hearing dogs speak and experiences a meltdown.

It was an interesting first half with people from the centre getting calls from angry people for disposing of the cats and dogs when the main cause of it is members of the public being irresponsible and abandoning the animals. As they keep saying, disposing of animals is a job no one wants but someone has to do it.

Kono Machi no Inochi ni then veers into feel good territory and a meh ending. It felt like whoever wrote this had a great concept but didn't know to finish it and went for the safest ending. Could have been good but should not have been good but the script is incomplete. Meh.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Seirei no Moribito dorama

I had just watched this anime last year and was pretty surprised to see a fantasy dorama instead of your usual taiga dorama with 500 characters that require you to know who's in what clan and where they are on the map. I never got around to writing the review for the anime but what I remember is was the beautiful art, iconic character of Balsa, lots of world building stuff, a story about raising a boy who would be a good king and a ho-hum ending.

First off, Ayase Haruka is the wrong casting decision for Balsa, at least compared to the anime. She tries with the voice but physically she is not imposing. You know who would have been my choice? Ando Sakura. (100 Yen Love) She may be shorter than Ayase Haruka but she can look like someone who's been through hell and survive. I can't think of any tall actress in Japan who's not skinny as a twig. Not saying Haruka is random johnny who can't act bad but she just doesn't project tough. She didn't make me hate her acting, so I may have complained too much.

I rather enjoyed how similar it was to the anime despite the limited budget. My favourite thing about the dorama is that it continues past the anime's story and there's going to be a season two! The anime finished with a meh happy ending but it felt like the start of something so the cliffhanger at the end of the dorama got me really excited! (Its based on a long running series of books after all. And speaking of long running books, if only someone made season 2 of Guin Saga.)

Seirei no Moribito is a watchable fantasy jdorama that does what it can with its limited budget and I just want to see what happens next!