Monday, July 30, 2007

Konshu Tsuma ga Uwaki Shimasu ep 8-11

One of the highlights of the series: Shiho-san singing Ayaya's Nee~~ and then all three singing Renai Revolution 21. Classic HP songs in doramas is a good thing. :)

Unfortunately D-fansubs has dropped this series. Its a shame but if they had not subbed the 1st 6 episodes, I would not have started watching it and I had a great time doing so. Tsuma ga Uwaki is like those 'old' doramas from the late 90's early 2000 era. Solid actors, great supporting cast, well paced main story with at least two interesting/funny side stories interwoven to keep it from being a bore.

Finally understood why the writer didn't make Ishida Yuriko's character more emphatic and IMO, it was a good more.

Nowadays its plenty of bishounen who can't act, actresses who are not ready to carry shows and crappy scripts. Of course, the fact that subbed jdoramas were not so available also meant that mostly the good shows get subbed but a lot of the new shows seem to lack the formula of a decent show. Name one good boy meets girl show in the last two years (KDO notwithstanding). Its the basic storyline of 99% of shows yet they just can't churn a decent one.

Love the look on Dodoh's face when he realises that things can never go back to where they were....

Its hard to describe how good or solid the writing is. Like how towards the end they slowly bring the side stories to a close while at the same time nurturing the main story to its climax. Like how the characters all go through a journey and they're not there for the sack of being there. Or like how after Dodoh finally said what he wanted to say and then he realised that he can never forgive his wife. The flash to his wife's former lover's face and the look in his eyes say more than a long monologue.

Too bad the Tomosaka Rie plotline didn't take the detour I hoped it would..

I'm going to hold off burning the series in the faint hope that someone picks it up. Its pretty watchable without subs especially with the subs from the 1st 6 episodes. I have to say so far its the best show I've watched this year. Karei-naru Ichizoku and Watashitachi no Kyokasho unfortunately had crap endings. Still waiting on final ep of Liar Game. If you're feeling the shows this year have been inconsistent, this is the dorama for you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jmovie Review: Nana 2

The highlight of the first movie was definitely Miyazaki Aoi. She truly redefined kawainess. When news that she wouldn't be in part 2 and Ichikawa Yui would be playing Hachi, I think everyone expected the second movie to be crap. Ignore the fact that Miyazaki Aoi personified the exact opposite of Nana. There was going to be issues of chemistry and whether audiences would accept Ichikawa Yui as the same character.

I tried to watch the movie without any prejudices but I couldn't help it. I kept thinking to myself, 'who's this imposter playing Hachi?'. Somewhere down the line, Ichikawa Yui's acting grew on me. There are certain scenes that she looked like or really talked like Nana from the first movie. IMO, she did as good a job as could be expected.

Cheng E-kin wants his hair back.

The one thing that I thought would be bad turned out fine. However, there are two things that really brought the movie down. Firstly, the bond between Nana and Hachi is mostly inferred but you can't really see or feel it. Most of the time Nana talks to Hachi in her head and most of the time they're interacting with other people.

Yes, they can only do so much in two hours and maybe it follows the manga closely but the audience needs to be emotionally invested in their friendship. Whatever the plot might be, the basis of Nana is two very different people who are best of friends. Which brings me to my second problem. The plot is very meh. It feels like the first few episodes of a dorama with an inconclusive ending. Except that Nana and Hachi having a heart to heart. But its not like their non-existent (on screen) friendship went on a journey.

If this were a dorama, I'll be wanting to see the next episode just to see what's going to happen. But its not. Its a movie where things happen but nothing really happens because things never come to their conclusion/climax.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Watashitachi no Kyokasho eps 3 - 12


Tamako (Kanno Miho) deciding on whether to persue the case. I like the fact that they don't explicitly talk about how difficult her decision was. She was basically throwing away her whole life and career just to find justice for this girl.

Naoyuki realising the tough decision Tamako has to make. I like the way he conveys to Tamako the harsh consequences of her actions and then quickly offers her a way back. When he sees Tamako reading the letter, he realises that there is nothing he can do to change her mind.

Switching of allegiances. The PE teacher doing it for revenge and money and finding much more. And of course the battle for Densha's soul between Tamako and the Vice Principal. He's like the young padwan being seduced by the dark side and the dark side does look better. I just love the fact you can never be too sure who's on who's side.

Cliffhangers! OMG, I can't remember a jdorama that ends with so many cliffhangers. Especially for the 2nd last episode.


The last episode. The story of Vic Principal's son is rather weak. Plus the fact that no one cares about Densha or the bully makes the hostage scene rather boring. Plus the testimony of Asuka's friend took too long. And combining scenes of the hostage situation and testimony just made it worse. The moment Nishina said they promised to share everything, the big plot twist was revealed. Its just that it took so long for the explanation that I couldn't care less. It was really weired watching the last episode of such a good series and somehow it seemed so bad that I was wondering whether I was too tired or something.

Now, imagine if during the story, they showed undeniable proof that Asuka started some of her bullying herself and there was a strong possibility she was completely nuts. Imagine they never reveal the ringleader until the end. If they had gotten rid of the story of the son who got out of prison and made the series 10 episodes with the climax being testimony. How much more earth shattering the revelation would have been.

The characters I have most empathy with are Tamako and the teachers (except for Densha). They could have done much more with the teachers IMO. This show is an example of how an ending can make or break a show. The 1st 11 episodes were great and sadly the last one was all too forgettable. I'd still recommend this show. There are plenty of WTF moments. Just don't expect much from the finale.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Papa to Musume no Nanokakan eps 1+2

Hilarious comedy with Aragaki Yui. (Do you need any other reasons to watch this?) Aragaki Yui plays Koume, your typical handphone crazy joushikousei who dislike her father. Tachi Hiroshi plays her father, your typical salaryman who has become invisible to everyone around him and who's only hobby seems to be watching old videos of Koume.

One day on a train ride, both of them end up swapping bodies and hilarity ensues. First thing I've gotta say is that the concept of the invisible salaryman/father needs to be explored more in jdoramas. Too much shows about how tough it is being a housewife. What about the poor salaryman who is basically a slave to his work and is taken for granted?

My, what a big mouth you have.....

I've never seen Tachi Hiroshi before but he is a good casting choice. He is convincing playing the high school girl trapped in an old man's body. He's even got that exaggerated stupid smile. On the other hand Aragaki Yui is not so convincing. Maybe they should have cast Masakazu Tamura as her father as he has a distinct way of talking and all Yui has to do is just parody it. Except he's old enough to play her grandfather by now.

What guy wouldn't want to be in the father's body in this pic. :)

It would have helped sell the fact that the father is in Koume's body by having him/her dressed up much less feminine at home. Maybe they should have made the father a more macho type so that Yui can play on that in her acting. But this is just me nitpicking.

Love the carrying the bench but. :)

This show fucking rocks. Its super funny and the pacing is fast. Sentimental scenes are minimal and its just lots of gags and situational comedy. Not to mention the fact that its just 7 episodes. Yes, they concept is comedy gold but a shorter series means that they can keep the script tight and not have to drag in order to pad up the required episodes. I hope to see more series that shy away from just doing the usual 10-12 episodes and instead let the story determine who long it should go for.

Hhhmm, Aragaki Yui. Wait, I shouldn't be drooling at the dad.... I'm so confused..

I have to say its kinda difficult perving at Aragaki Yui, especially when the father's voice is talking. And I don't understand Koume not wanting her father to see her naked body thing. Does he not have to go to toilet? Just ignore my negative comments and catch this show. Its always easier to winge about a show than to find adjectives to praise it. I had a blast watching the first two episodes and was laughing all the way through!

If Koume in her dad's body ends up banging Nishino (Sada Mayumi), is that lesbian sex? Just food for thought. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Ueto Aya is seriously miscast in this show. Moving from shoujo doramas to playing a career woman is a huge step and no matter how much she curls her hair, she still looks too young to be playing the assistant manager of a hotel. She could put on a sailor fukuu and still be convincing as a high school student.

Doramas should stop spreading lies like money does not buy happiness.

Hotelier is based on a Korean drama and many of the hallmarks of Korean shows can be found here. Two guys vying for our heroine's attention. Rich kids who do not appreciate the free wealth they are given. Someone's always coincidentally catching two people alone together thus creating 101 misunderstandings. All I can say is thank god for fast forward.


For me, the highlight of the show is watching Fueki Yuko/Yoo Min in her tight and short OL outfits. Yes, she's Euto Aya's rival from Attention Please. Normally I'm not too much into Korean actresses but she clearly stands out from Euto Aya and Saeko. It would have been better off casting her as the main lead.

If only they had given more story for her character and Morimoto. All Morimoto does is going around slapping women. I want to know why she's so loyal to him despite it being an abusive relationship. Maybe he's the S and she's the M. Not to mention her maternal feelings for Saeko. Unfortunately Morimoto is your generic dad who's daughter does not appreciate the wealth he has bestowed on her. They could have made his character so much more. Dysfunctional family relationships are much more fun.

Unfortunately we are stuck with Euto Aya crying every episode and generic characters. Avoid unless you want to see Yoo Min running around in her tight skirts. :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Proposal Daisakusen

After the initial surge of happiness of ep 1's combination of Nagasawa Masami + Sailor Fukuu, this series started getting slow for me. Real slow. The 2nd half of the episodes are usually fun. There's no way they can muck up the whole travel back in time and change stuff up. However, I just find myself fast forwarding the 1st half of the episodes.

Proposal Daisakusen is basically a hatsukoi/koukuhaku series, the staple of 99.9% of romance manga/dorama. And the story is always boy and girl like each other but do not realise/don't dare to admit until the final episode. This series works in the reverse. Ken realises it in the end and goes back in time. So its about getting Rei to accept his koukuhaku.

Except that the audience knows that those two like each other. In fact its so fucking blatantly obvious that it gets so tiresome. Unless every Japanese has a osananajimi who gives them secret presents and longing looks.

The Chibi subplot was slightly amusing.

Best way to describe this show is like Densha without Shiraishi Miho and Sakurai-san. You have two standard main characters beating around the bush for 11 episodes and not even Nagasawa Masami could keep me for clicking on the forward button. Ken is like Densha, a character who doesn't evolve and gets on your nerves after a while. However, Densha had two really good supporting characters and the whole bbs support thing while Proposal Daisakusen has the fairy who gets super boring after watching the same thing at the beginning of every episode.

They could really have given the Mikio side story much more screentime to speed up those slow moments..

The concept of this main character chasing this unchasable girl requires an actor who can
get the audience sympathy. Who has great acting skills to make the repetitious story fun to watch. Who is able internalise and convey pain and frustration that seem real. Only Kinpachi sensei from 101 Proposals managed to do that. But then how many actors are in his level in terms of acting skills? The actor for Ken did an OK job but the way the story is structured basically places the whole weight of the show on his shoulders. How much better would the show be with Tsumabuki Satoshi as Ken, especially after seeing his great acting in Nada Sou Sou.

If Kenzou can't understand you, no one can.

As the story is told through Ken's character, Nagasawa Masami's character doesn't really have a character arch to go through. And I don't think she's explained the whole thing about what Ken doesn't understand during the bridge scene in ep 10. Or maybe I missed it while fast forwarding.

This is one show that would have benefited from cutting it down to 9 episodes. In summary, interesting concept but needed better acting and trimming of a lot of unnecessary stuff.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Jdorama Review: Golden Bowl

Currently waiting on the subs for the last ep of the shows that I'm watching so I'll wait until the end before commenting on them. After all, its the ending that makes or breaks a show. I've been copying my old show and I just can't help rewatching the golden oldies. Yes, this was from a time before d-addicts. When Jem was probably the biggest jdorama tracker. It was the time when most shows were either from Hawaii or Singapore tv and posted on newsgroups. The good old days when bt was at its infancy and irc was still the best place to get stuff.

Can't believe Kuroki Hitomi was 42 when she did this show.

Golden Bowl is two stories in one. Its a sports drama and show about a married woman-younger man.What makes this show so good is two things: chemistry and script. Its damn fun watching Akutagawa (Kaneshiro Takeshi) and Hitomi (Kuroki Hitomi) bicker througout the whole show. The younger man genre only works when their chemistry so that the audience can accept the age difference and the guy doesn't look like he just reached puberty. (See Suppli, Majou no Jouken etc)

Cat fight!

The script is amazing. You know who every episode is going to turn out. It always ends in a bowling match with Akutagawa having to do a spare. What is great is that the formation of remaining pins is always connected to the episodes story. This dorama truly shows that its not the ending but how the get to the ending that counts.

Love all those slow mo/sychronise bowling poses.

Plus, there's plenty of side stories to ensure that the pacing is fast. There's Hitomi's marital problems, Akutagawa's history, the bartender and prostitue single mom (Enomoto Kanako) and Matsumoto Rio's infatuation with Akutagawa. However, the people I have passed this show on to have not been so crazy about it but its definitely in my top 10 best jdoramas ever. Its the type of show we hardly ever see anymore, good acting, good script, good supporting cast, and although everyone knows how the last episode is going to end, its still very gripping because the characters are well fleshed out.

Only minor complaint is that the 'old' Hitomi is nowhere as hot as Kuroki Hitomi. And I remember all the hair pulling when the last episode ran long and Jem did not have enough HD to copy the show and was missing the last 10 minutes. Luckily someone taped the show and managed to send it to him . You'll notice that the quality of the last 10 minutes of the last ep is not as good but for a moment there, we were in danger of not being able to see the end.

Umemiya Masako in one of the most memorable scenes of the show. :)

On a final note, back up your jdoramas every 4-5 years and make at least 2 copies of your favourites. I can't fucking believe I've lost Beauty or Beast. Should have made an extra copy. :(