Tuesday, July 26, 2016

OL Desu ga, Kyabajou Hajimemashita Episode 1

Kuramochi Asuka stars in a idoru filled show about being a hostess.

She plays a 25 year old OL working in advertising agency called Nanako. Her specialties are eating, sleeping and running.

This is Nanako's boss who's specialty is banning all sorts of things. In this scene, he is banning Nanako from talking to herself.

Nanako is in dire need of money.  Her electricity has been cut off and she applies to be a kyabajou but finds out that the starting salary is not as high as she thought.

Her boss tells her how to properly sit with a poor guy to rip off I mean customer and maintain a distance as well as deal with unwanted touching.

Then we are introduced to the club's 7 goddesses.

No. 1 being Ishikawa Rika from Momusu!!!!! Me so happy me doing dance of joy!! WTF is Yossie?

Let's skip no 2 and go straight to no 3 Mari who apparently has the biggest boobs.

No 4 Kyouka who I'm 100% is an idoru.

No 5 Megumi.

Let's skip no 6 and go straight for no. 7 Kazumi.

So Nanako is a complete newbie so the show has to explain what shimei (nominate) is and what a help's job is.

No. 4 Kyouka is asked by this customer what colour underwear she was wearing.

Kyouka skillfully asks him what his favourite colour is and promises to wear that colour next time he nominates her.

Kyouka has to leave and horny dude turns his attention to the newbie Nanako promising to nominate her if she gives her a kiss.

Rika skillfully comes in to save the day.

OL Desu ga, Kyabajou Hajimemashita basically functions as a hostess instruction video done in an entertaining fashion. The raws for the first three episodes can be found on nyaa. Its not so bad its good like Giragira but its fun. There needs to be a jdorama about the skills to not get ripped off by kyabakura.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Toki wo kakeru Shoujo (1983)

The 1983 movie for The Girl who Leapt Through Time is the story about the aunt character in the anime starring 80s idoru Harada Tomoyo.

Being an idol movie, its got a catchy 80s theme song.

The anime was a more fun time travelling story but the 1983 is more of a sad story about a love that can never be.

The most fun for me was watching a young Noguchi sensei from Iryuu as the teacher cum comedy relief. Too bad his role was very limited.

I get why it was popular and why the heartrending ending would work in the 1930s but the lack of chemistry between the two leads was a problem for me. The song at the nursery was nice though.

Nothing says 80s Japan like buruma. :)

Its an ok movie which I would rate behind the anime and the 2010 movie and fans of 80s Japan will get more of a kick from this movie.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo : anime vs jdorama vs jmovie

ANIME (2006)

Can't believe I somehow never wrote a review for the anime. Its a superbly done movie about high school angst wrapped up in an exciting time travel yarn. I absolutely love the kinetic pacing of the movie and Naka Riisa is awesome as Makoto, making her feel less anime and more real character. Must watch anime with so many layers that kids and adults will love it.

JDORAMA (2016)

WTF decided it was a great idea to spoil the big reveal within the first minute of the dorama?!! That's not actually the dorama's greatest sin. Its greatest sin is turning such a great story into a generic idoru dorama.

Its already got such a great template already with the anime. Maybe its more faithful to the original book but the dorama feels so bland. Avoid. Watch the anime instead. If you've seen the anime before, then watch it again.

JMOVIE (2010)

The movie is a lot better than the dorama and is a pseudo sequel to the anime with Naka Riisa playing the protagonist role.

Instead of a constantly rewinding time story, the movie has more in common with Back to the Future as Naka Riisa goes back in time to look for someone. With more polish to the script it could have been a real classic but I rather enjoyed it.


Watch the anime, then the movie and avoid the dorama.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Koekoi Eps 1+2

There are only 3 things I ask from Shoujo doramas. First, they have to be funny like Ore Monogatari, secondly eye candy for me and thirdly some sort of twist on the typical shoujo formula.

The surprising show of the new season so far, Koekoi ticks all three boxes for me and the twist is that the main dude Matsubara wears a paper bag on his head.

Not only is the idea of the paper bag guy with a good voice (apparently) funny, it can represent a lot of things and can be used to represent a character with any sort of quirk/physical difference. Speaking of voice, Matsubara's voice reminds me of the boss of this famous tsukemen place in Shinjuku called Fuunji.

He sort of uses a similar put on voice which is suppose to be yasashii for lack of an appropriate English term. Anyone who's been to Japan might notice that employees at eating places might use a softer/higher tone when speaking to customers to show servitude.

Anyway, its been a pretty funny two episodes. I hope they never ever explain Matsubara's reason for having the paper bag on his head and never show his face, though it seems unlikely. I recommend Koekoi and hope it can keep it up! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hibana Spark

Hibana Spark is the second Japanese netflix show after the horrible Underwear. I couldn't even finish the first episode of Underwear because it smelled like a crappy prime time Japanese dorama show. Hibana Spark smells different. Thats because its a philosophical movie about the nature of comedy wrapped up in a story about  a struggling manzai duo Sparks.

Also central to the story is Tokunaga's (one half of Sparks) relationship with Kamiya (one half of Ahodora), a senpai who he respects with a skewed sense of humour. Together, they are like monks living a life dedicated to making people laugh while musing about the nature of their occupation. They find in each other the ideal audience for their jokes but the question is whether they can find enough of an audience out there for their acts?

I have however, one problem with Hibana Spark and that is I didn't find it funny. Not the manzai jokes about curry or nabe or even the dry humour like the scene where Sparks are watching their appearance on tv and Tokunaga's partner Masato asks his girlfriend if she recorded the thing. I know why its suppose to be funny but it just didn't work for me.

I think people who enjoy manzai would like Hibana Spark but I found it too dry and didn't really enjoy watching any of the characters. Actually, the character I was most interested in was kamiya's girlfriend, Maki because I was interested to know what she though of all this.

Its surprising Netflix chose Hibana Spark to do because I don't think it plays well to a foreign audience except for the underdog trying to make it in a difficult industry part. I like that its not your usual jdorama but I sort of get what its trying to say but I don't feel it. Hibana Sparks gets a meh from me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shizumanu Taiyo Eps 1-8

By the jdorama gods, I think I just watched 8 episodes of the best jdorama this year. On a side note, if jdorama gods really existed, would they have permitted overpushed Takei Emi, Goriki, Kiritani Mirei and Kitagawa Keiko to each have their own shows in the same season?

Gnosticism aside, Shizumanu Taiyo is really Fumo Chitai 2.0 and completely blows the movie out of the sky. I had many doubts coming in and everytime I thought the show might drag, the way the story is executed just kept me going.

Unfortunately at this time, I do not know of a download source besides streaming it from dailymotion here, although one can easily download from dailymotion. The Chinese subs are distracting and I hate it when they cover the Japanese subs when someone is speaking a foreign language. I need a clean no Chinese sub rip and Shizumanu Taiyo deserves to be freaking subbed in English. If you've got basic Japanese, you can watch the movie first and be able to follow the dorama in terms of plot.

Now I need to get to spoiler talk so don't continue reading if you haven't seen it. If you need English subs, write to your senators, petition in d-addicts and raise awareness for Shizumanu Taiyo because it deserves to be watched by as many people as possible instead of stupid Kiritani Mirei romance doramas.


+ OMFG, I need to start of with this. Onchi taking the stand in episode 8 was so fucking cathartic after all that he had been through.

+ The dorama really built up all the trials and difficulties that he encounters so well and I love that the show has time to show all the cultural differences of the three places Onchi is stationed.

+ Onchi taking up hunting is a sort of release and the only way to keep himself sane works really well.

+ The looks his family gives him when they see his house of stuffed animals. As a viewer, you are surprised to see how much his kids have grown but for Onchi's family, they are surprised at how much he has changed and I could really feel that in the acting.

+ There were times during the show I really felt Onchi should quit his freaking job or just promise no more union involvement for his family. The president already lied to him twice and Onchi doesn't need to keep him word anyway.

+ Speaking of the president, what a useless old man who can't even muster the political strength to save one of the few good employees of the company.

- One thing I do hate about Shizumanu Taiyo are the bad guys sneering all the time as if they are in Hanzawa Naoki. OK, the overacting is not as bad but its one of those Japanese things that gets on my nerves. Bad guys don't act like bad guys in real life.

= I can't believe all those accidents happened and the airline was so freaking corrupt. I'm assuming everything that happened are based on real incidents.

+ I was so happy for the Samurai Boss cause it was getting tiring watching Onchi get beat down at every turn.

= I missed Gyoten's relationship with the stewardess from the movie though.

= I liked that they series had more time to develop Gyoten and show why he turned but after that he was just a faceless bad guy. In the end its more Onchi's story rather than Onchi and Gyoten.


Two more episodes for season 1 and I have no doubt it will be awesome. The question is the remaining 10 episodes of season 2 about Onchi's investigating the sneering bad guys. Its always better for a dorama to have a stronger second half than a first. However, the first 8 episodes truly made for a memorable viewing experience and nothing that happens later can spoil that. Absolutely, positively must watch jdorama.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Shizumanu Taiyo movie / The Unbroken (2009)

In getting ready to watch WOWOW's Shizumanu Taiyo, I decided to watch the 2009 movie on which the dorama is based on. The 3 hour plus movie starts off with Japan's biggest air disaster and then through flashbacks we see the relationship between Onchi and Gyoten, two leaders of the airline workers union.

Onchi sticks to his guns and his banished to Karachi while Gyoten helps management to set up a new union and works his way up the ranks. Shizumanu Taiyo is the story of two friends that go on two very different paths and is set against the corruption politicians and people in charge of the airline who only want to protect their own interests.

The main character of Onchi reminds me of Goda in WOWOW's Marks no Yama and Lady Joker; the straightforward person who is trying to do the right thing while working in an organisation that is corrupted. Coincidentally, Goda plays Onchi in the dorama version.

However, the movie just feels too uneven and unwieldy. The 3 hour runtime is too short for what the story tried to do and Gyoten and the female characters feel very shortchanged. The movie should have been streamlined even more and the scenes about the air disaster reduced.

My main reason for watching was to prepare myself for the WOWOW dorama so I wasn't really thinking about the shows problems.  As a movie its kind of ok but nothing special. You can grab it from avistaz or you can just watch it on youtube with English subs.

Gonna start watching the WOWOW version after this. Fingers crossed it doesn't get bogged down like the movie but I am very concerned how they are going to fill the 20 episodes based on what I saw in the movie. 8-10 episodes yes but 20? There better be enough character fleshing out stuff to keep things interesting.

My other concern is whether it might feel too similar to so many WOWOW shows about corruption. If you want to watch the dorama, you can stream it here.