Friday, March 30, 2007

Death Note: The Last Name

I know wut Ryuk's thinking: wouldn't it be great if the camera angle were lower? My bet's on black. :)

Finally the Second movie is out. I enjoyed the first movie. It had a great concept but flawed execution (like 99% of Japanese movies) but it was fun to watch. Got into the manga but found that it quickly ran out of steam.

So how does the 2nd film fare? For starters, I've gotta address the big issue of the new ending. I think everyone knew that the 2nd half of the manga basically sucked and the mangaka was stretching the concept too thin and the writers of the movie tried to do an ending that was 'fitting' for both our main characters.

Mmmm, Light's imouto played by Hikari Mitsushima who I believe is from Folder 5, one of my fav groups back in uni. It should be a crime to have an imouto this kawaii. :)

And I think they did a pretty decent job though I would have liked to see that in a third movie instead of finishing the series at 2 movies. Still, they'll have to create a lot of original stuff to fill out a third movie and create a good ending for the 2nd. If they ended the 2nd movie with Light regaining his memory and telling Misa to dig out the Death Note they'll have to stretch Light's efforts to have Misa get L's real name and come up with a 'villain' to fill the time.

No, this is not a screencap from an S&M Jav (I wish).

The best thing about the movie was of course Toda Erika as Amane Misa. By all the stars in heaven, she is moest thing I've seen in a long time. You can see my obsession with all the screen captures. She really made the movie worth watching. Its unfortunate that goth-loli girls are usally not kawaii.

Toda Erika is officially my favourite actress not named Matsushima Nanako or Hirosue Ryoko.

The 2nd best thing in the movie is of course, Katase Nana's legs. All those shots of her in the short and tight skirts make me wish they'd cast her in a JAV production of 9 O'clock woman. Seriously, she's the best change that they've done to the main story.

Legs!!!!!!! Seriously, whoever is in charge of Kitade Nana's wardrobe deserves an academy award.

You'd have forgive me for not speaking more about the movie. I was too preoccupied with the scenery to care. Plus the fact that I didn't find the manga that good. Now, if only they'd make a movie version of Hikaru no Go.

Hot women getting tied up seems to be a recurring theme in this show. If you find your eyes averting to the bottom portion of the above pic, you need to watch this show.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Karei-naru Ichizoku ep 9+10


Ep 9 is all about the court battle between Teppei and Daisuke. Unfortunately, there's no twist and turns in this court battle. Good thing the writer/director kept things simple and milked every moment for what its worth. I mentioned before that Teppei is the show's weak link cause he is too 'good' or idealistic. For me, his character lost my empathy when he went on a rambled on a tangent when asked a question by the opposing counsel. For me, it shows that either he is lacking in understanding or he believes that the law should not stand in the way of him 'saving' Japan's future.

The second part which showed Teppei to be a downright loser is his confrontation with his father after he flew the white flag. Instead of being a man and admiting defeat, he blames Daisuke for not treating him like a son. Basically he was appealing to Daisuke's paternal instinct for help. And I loved it when Daisuke basically call him to fuck himself. I mean he issued a challenge in front of the family and lost. Teppei should at least keep his dignity.

Suzuki Kyoko has a bloody nice figure. :) Hiroyuki Sanada is one lucky dude, if the rumours are true. They had such good chemistry in Unmarried Family, one show that would have been in my top 10 if not for the baka ending.

Lastly Teppei is a loser cause he committed suicide. Watching him wallow in self pity is a waste of time for a final episode. We show main characters in depression to see them fight back. Teppei just abandons his wife and child. Yeah, maybe you could say that he took the honourable way out/bushido code etc etc.

But, FFS its not like he lost a company that he himself built from the ground up. He was given the damn company cause he was a Manpyo. He inherited it from the blood, sweat and tears from his grandfather.

Just love Muroi Shinji's facial expressions. He was the best thing about Odoru Daisasousen. Would love to see him play a bad guy.

The true 'hero' of the show is Manpyo Daisuke. The difference between them was thet Teppei did what he thought was right while Daisuke did what he had to. And talk about the end revelation. This is like some tragic comedy without the comedy. For want of a second blood test, everything would have turned out differently. I believe that the show would have fared much better if it were less on Teppei and more evenly spread.

Aibu Saki is so innocent and hot. They should have put more of her characters onichan complex in, hehe.

And the revelation by the finance minister at the end. Someone do a dorama special! I wanna see how Daisuke will protect Toyo Ginko. Adventures of idealistic, rich ppl who don't even know how to answer questions in court don't interest me. On the whole, its another average series that could have been great. I'd still say its the best show this season based on what I've seen.

And check out the synopsis of the 1974 movie here. And it confirms my suspicion that Teppei potrayed too 'perfect' According to the reviewer, the movie potrays Teppei as being weak in business and was overwhelmed whereas the series tries to make him a victim of circumstance. And it seems like the movie does the dysfunctional family bit better. The series should have been more about the family rather then focus on Teppei as the main story.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wonderful Life 5+6

Great to see SARS picking up this show from where mugen_dorama left off. Wonderful Life is a story of redemption and also about the underdog. Two concepts which make this show impossible to fuck up. Sorimachi Takashi (GTO) plays Kirishima, once a superstar in baseball and now reduced to coaching a kids baseball team to make ends meet. Hasegawa Kyoko plays a teacher who gets him to coach the team and her main role is to be pleasing to our eyes. :)

How can someone in a chisai no heia with two bijin joseis have a glum face?

Yes, you all know where this show is going. But it doesn't make it any less enjoyable. I just want to say its great to watch a show with a strong male lead. By strong I mean having charisma/acting skills or both. Actresses who are not named Matsushima Nanako need them. Contrast Kyoko san and Takisawa Hideaki in Boku dake no Madonna. Neither able to carry the show and have zero chemistry. Effeminine guy + hot chick = no chemistry.

Still the coolest dude in jdoramas.

Its great to see GTO in a watchable show. Hotman 2 was an utter waste of time. He should be in two doramas a year. He may be lacking in acting skills but he just oozes charisma. He can out-act any of those Johnny bishounen any day. Plus, who else can play a convincing (former) athelete?

Kyoko-san, I'm exactly what you're looking for! Call me now!

One thing I don't enjoy in doramas are kids. I got sick of watching doramas about kids after Kinpachi Sensei season 6. Jyoou no Koushitsu was great because it didn't simplify the issues made showed that the politics etc in the kids' world also happens in the adult world. But they've got the whole underdog team has me rooting for them.

Too bad Ichikawa Yui has such a minor role. :(

Its not a must watch show but its definitely better than average. What prevents this show from reaching greatness is a good side story or two. The whole poor shopkeepers v big corporation shopping malls this is just boring. What would be interesting is to show that the ppl who condemn Kirishima for his misdeeds are actually no better. Show how society builds heroes so that we can pull them down. The supporting character stuff is just not funny enough, but that's just a minor gripe.

Looks like next episode, Kirishima is getting his chance to get back into the limelight. With another 6 episodes to go, we can guess what will happen. I'd highly recommend anyone to check this show out, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Karei-naru Ichizoku ep 3-8

KimuTaku looking very pissed off. Can't wait to watch Bushi no Ichibun, the third film in Yamada's Yoji samurai series.

Fuck, this show is good. Looks like this season is not a bust after all. Potential to enter my all time top 10? Maybe, depending on how it holds up on a second viewing. But seriously this show very addictive. I'm already feeling the urge to watch ep 9 raw.

Hasegawa Kyoko looking exquisitely beautiful. Her role is limited but IMO, she does a fine job.

Probably the best feature of the show is that the story moves at a fast pace and they've managed to devote adequate time to give us a look at each of the important supporting characters. And what I like is that a lot of the characters are shades of grey. Only Teppei and his band can be considered 'purely good'. It'd be more interesting if there were no 'good guy' on the show. But then, it would take more than 10 eps to tell the story.

The women of house Manpyo.

There's two aspects of the story that I love. First is the story of Teppei's two fathers. Daisuke and Okawa. Teppei find the father that he is searching for in Okawa only for Daisuke to 'sacrifice' Okawa and destroy his career and Teppei's crutch. You can feel Teppei's strong desire for revenge. Yet, they hint that Daisuke did not come to decision easily. And the ironic thing is that what pushed him to make the decision was Teppei informing his Daisuke that Okawa was in hospital. They could have explored this dichotomy in another one or two more shows. Just have Daisuke try to sabotage Teppei more only to have Okawa save him and then have both fathers suspect each other.

Another part I like is that they don't make Daisuke to be a tragic character, although behind his steely facade, he is the most pitiful character of all. The writers hint that his reasons are not selfish but rather that he has the balls to do what must be done.

Suzuki Kyoka, ever the temptress.

Similarly with Aiko. She does not make excuses for her choices in life, even when faced with what could have been. I just hope they don't give these two characters the typical villain ending when they decided they were wrong etc. Nothing in real life is black and white and characters who can see that are more interesting.

Hope Saki Aibu gets more jobs after this. She positively glows everytime she's on screen. Or maybe that's just my infatuation. :)

The second part is of course the twist in ep 7. Its hinted all over the show and yet I didn't even see it coming. Yet it makes sense of the whole mess of the family, though it casts doubt on how good a person Keisuke is. Ep 9 is the big court trial and I'm not sure how they're going to wrap it up nicely in ep 10. Still, I'd rather it be a compact 10 ep series than some stretched out 20+ eps of family feud.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Karei-naru Ichizoku ep 1+2

Can't believe I nearly missed out on this show. Noticed the1st ep sitting in my dorama folder without subs and wondering why I downloaded in the first place. Then I remembered it was a KimuTaku show. Figuring it was weird that a KimuTaku show's not subbed, I looked around and found out that its being subbed by S-Project, the same ppl who did Nadame.

I can't believe this guy gets to be the last act on Kouhaku every year, and they can't even sing that well!

And I must say, Karei-naru Ichizoku has become my best dorama of the season (which still isn't saying much). 1st thing I gotta say is, holy fuck, there are a shit lot of good actors on this show. No wonder there were no big names for this season. And some of them are just playing bit parts in this show.

Anyway, KimuTaku plays Manpyo Teppei, the son of a super rich family who's doing steel and destined to be some bigshot blah blah blah. The interesting part is that Teppei's dad run a bank and the finance ministry is trying to force the banks to merge. I love anything with politics and money and power.

The mistress and the wife...

The other interesting aspect of the show is that Teppei's dad has a mistress played by the MILF Suzuki Kyoko who literally runs the house. I just love her performance as the very sexy and scheming mistress. And the scene where they try to get Teppei's mom into a threesome....

MILF alert!

Yes, your eyes did not deceive you. Ok, you don't get to see anything but the interesting thing is about how the mistress wields her power. Teppei himself is not an interesting character. KimiTaku IMO, is less suited for intellectual type of people. Hiroyuki Sanada would be perfect for Teppei. Or even Yamamoto Koji, who plays Teppei's bro Ginpei. His role as Hijikata in Shinsengumi is one of the best acting jobs I've ever seen.

Chick wise, this show is loaded. Besides Suzuki Kyoka, you've got Hasegawa Kyoko, Inamori Izumi (doc from Iryu) and Aibu Saiki (Attention Please). Of course it suffers from your typical 'historical show' type problems, namely generic, boring dialogue, lots of characters who hardly do anything. But it makes up for it with the dysfunctional family thing. Still 2 eps is too early to judge. But I'd watch it all the way for Suzuki Kyoka. :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hana Yori Dango Season 2, ep 1-8

Sigh, had much more fun rewatching Galcir this weekend than slowly catching up with my backlog of jdoramas. Which is not to say that this show is bad. Its probably the 2nd best show this season after Himitsu no Hanazo. To borrow an overused phrase, if you loved the 1st season, you'd like the 2nd. If you are thought the 1st season was OK, the second is watchable.

She certainly knows what men want. And Domyouji is a frigging idiot.

Part of my lack of enjoyment is are the shoujo cliche/plot devices so I won't whinge about it being based on a shoujo manga. Like the stupid excuse about the arrange marriage needed to save the company and Domyouji's responsibility. Yeah I know, its just an excuse for round 2 and they didn't dwell on it too much but... sigh.

Anyways. my main complaint for this season is that its basically another ride on the merry go around for Makino and Domyoji with Hanazawa Rui and Shigeru playing the supporting roles of roadblocks. Which isn't so bad except that we've seen all this before, albeit without Shigeru in pt 1. Worse, its so fucking slow and uninspired.

Seriously, the side story of Sara was way more interesting. One of the main rules of a good dorama is that if the main story is lagging, push the side stories. Unfortunately, the scripwriter/director seems happy showing Makino/Domyouji doing their indecisive thing and making everyone take a back seat.

The one improvement is that there's more chicks in this one so i guess I can't complain too much.

Matsushima Nanako! The jdorama world needs you! Goddamit, we need to stop giving main acting roles to gravure idols and get real actresses. Idols should hone their craft as supporting acts 1st and pay their dues.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

more Ryuga Gotoku movie stuff

Nishiki, Yumi and Kazuma, before everything went to jigoku..

According to Siliconera, Sega already released a movie on RyugGa Gotoku, set before the game. Apparently, a subtitled version was uploaded to the Sega of Europe site but it doesn't seem to be there. As seen from the pic above, its too bad Kazuma is miscast. He may look like he can fight but unfortunately the actor looks nothing like him. I'd love to see some backstory between the 3. Can you smell a prequel game?

A new 6 minute trailer of the Takashi Miike's Ryuga Gotoku (coming out in March) is out and it looks very promising. Kitamura Kazuki seems to pull of the quiet badass nature of Kazuma pretty well. Of note is the fight scene between Kazuma and Majima. Majima basically does all his wild stabs with his knife while Kazuma deftly dodges and hits body blows. The trailer starts off just showing Kazuma walking around Tokyo it gave me goosebumps. Can this be the first video game movie to actually be good?

Yeah, for some reason I love the blue fist effect. Yeah its cheesy but if its in the game, it needs to be in the movie. I just hope they cram as many moves from the game into the movie.

What has me concerned is the Saeko side story. It seems to be a new side story and frankly I couldn't give a damn. If this were a 12 ep dorama, you'd need something to fill in time but for a movie, I'd imagine they have trouble fitting in all the stuff from the game in 2 hours. We don't need characters fans don't give a shit about. I'd rather see the Date's daughter side story. Wait, what if Saeko is playing Date's daughter? Then all is forgiven and the writer is a genius. However I doubt this is so as judging from the trailer, Date seems to be a really minor character.

OMG, Yumi is hot. Need to google name of actress.

Doubt she'd have much of a role here. :( Maybe they'll change the ending. Imagine Yumi and Sayama in the sequel!

The actress potraying Haruka IMO is horribly cast. Ok, she doesn't seem that bad but she's just not 'innocent' enough. She's just doesn't look likable.

Nishiki actually looks dangerous. I just hope they don't reduce him to generic last boss role. Seriously, they need to devote at least 15 minutes into their backstory. Or its gonna lack emotional omph.

I can't bloody wait for this movie to come out. Screw the subs. I just wanna see Kazuma kick arse all over Tokyo. Hope Takashi Miike doesn't mess it up. He does niche movies but Zebraman proved that he can do crowd good crowd pleasing movies as well. Can't imagine the last time I was this excited about a movie....

Uuhh, Haruka with shredded clothes?!! Are they aiming for a more Leon: Directors cut story?