Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big Money eps 1-8

Its nice to see Nagase Tomoyo not have to overact in a dorama. It only works with well written and well cast shows like Mukodono and Tiger & Dragon. With shows that are not paced well, his act can get irritating quickly. I'd always wanted to see what he can do with a more serious role. IMO, Masahiro Matsuoka, the drummer from TOKIO is the better actor based on Heaven Cannot Wait.

Hasegawa Kyoko in another boring role. Her character has the best chance to spice up the series, especially the conflict between job and ethics part but alas....

Big Money starts off as a dorama about stock trading. If you've watched as much jdorama as I have, you'll probably expect that the script will oversimplify everything, and it does. Big Money shows the basic stuff that people do to in stock trading but doesn't get deeper than that. While I am not really disappointed at its simplicity, it does pose a problem for the show.

Yes, this show is worth watching for Maki-Michuru!

The main character for a show needs to be a certain type of character in order to arouse empathy. He either has to be the poor underdog character or a gifted character who has to beat unsurmountable odds to learn the game. Tomoyo Nagase's character Shirato is neither. His characters just lucked into getting chosen to be Kozuka-san's apprentice and the stuff that he is taught is so rudimentary that there is no excitement, no challenge. He just walks around in a daze following Kosaka's orders. He does not go through hellfire and brimstone. In order words, character wise, he has not paid his dues to deserve the audience's support. Its like Tommy Dreamer getting the singapore cane back in ECW. A character has the earn the audience's support.

Okamoto Aya is so underused, its a crime. Loved her in Metro ni Notte.

Like the end of ep 7 where he just walks in and issues an empty challenge to Yamazaki. He comes across as naive and stupid because he does not have a plan and it establishes nothing. Basically he does nothing to fight Matsuba ginko. WTF is the mountain the main protagonist is suppose to climb. Yes, we know his final destination but why hasn't Shirato started his ascent? He has only set up his base camp and is just wandering around.

Finally, I get to see Manabe Kaori in a dorama! She's ok as long as she's in a supporting role. :)

That said, I still enjoy this show, primarily because of the Maki-Michiru side story. The part in ep 7 where he follows her is poor gold. She leaves the house and he's standing on the balcony stoicly like a statue. And the side shot under the bridge as he tails her just stands out so much from the pedestrian camera work of the series, evoking a melancholy Koi ga Shitai feel.

Forgot to mention Shirato basically abondoning Michiru as well. It would OK if he were busy doing something or it was really dangerous for her to be involved. But all the moping around just makes him look like an idiot. The two pitfalls of main characters are too idealistic or not empathic enough. I'm not sure which one I'd rather suffer through.

Feel so tempted to get Samba de Amigo for my DC.....

What makes this show watchable is the rest of the characters. Kozuka has the motivation and Yamazaki is a fun villain. Yamazaki's not exactly operating outside the boundaries of the law and he's not making life difficult or Shirato. Every hero needs a great villain. In Big Money's case, the interesting villain needs a hero. Just because Shirato issued an empty challenge does not make him one.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tokumei Kakarichou Tadano Hitoshi season3 ep1

Turtleae86 recommended this show to me and from his description, it sounded like it was my type of show. No johnnys who can't act, lots of chicks with nudity and a bit of action. Managed to find season 3 with crappy HK english subs and decided to take the plunge and buy it. And it was worth the money!

Miura Reiko plays a reporter who Tadano Hitoshi's gf.

Notice the pose of the chick in the background, mmmmmmm

Salaryman Kintaro is one of my fabourite series ever and here Takahashi Katsunori plays Tadano Hitoshi, a seemingly blumbling Clark Kent at work but at night he's real identity is some investigator who does special jobs for the CEO of the company. Yes, its a superhero salaryman dorama! Its got what guys want from jdroamas, cool main character and lots of hot chicks!

Note to self, look for Nagasawa Tsugumi JAVS.

With a face and body like that, she is more than welcome to swindle my money. :)

I can't stress how much fun I had watching the first episode. Tadano Hitoshi follows this IT guy who is being swindled by a girl played by gravure idol turned AV actress Nagasawa Tsugumi. The IT dude has sensitive information and him getting into debt over girl might endanger the company. Its just so freaking refreshing to see a darker jdorama after a year of too many shows that try to cater to everyone and end up doing nothing well. This show knows its audience, knows what they want and does it well.

Ebihara Yuri plays an OL who's in love with Tadano Hitoshi's Clark Kent persona. :)

Hhhmm, me like OLs.

Unlike many midnight doramas, its surprisingly very well written and the acting is decent. Credit goes to the script which moves very fast without boring and pretentious dialogue. If the standard of the rest of series is as good as the 1st episode of the 3rd season, Tadano Hitoshi might be even better than Kintaro. Seriously, they should cast more gravure and JAV actresses in jdoramas. No one can act as badly as Fukada Kyoko and Ito Misaki.

So that's how you get upskirt pics. :)

For all you sukebes out there, this show has tons of eye candy. I started blogging straight away after the 1st episode cause there's just so many lovely screencaps I wanted to take. I'll need to watch the rest of the series before I can be certain this is a good series but based on one episode I'd recommend that ppl get it. Yes, the english subs which are horribly translated from chinese are bad but that's better than no subs at all.

OMFG, its Maria Ozawa!!!!! If there is a jdorama god, please put Takako Kitahara into a dorama as well!

Her JAV acting doesn't really turn me on, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the view. :)

If you're in Melbourne, you can get it from the asian DVD shop opposite hungry jacks near the corner of Russell and Bourke. Why did I have to start watching this show on a Sunday night? I have half a mind to marathon the series until morning but I'll be dead at work. Sigh.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Koori no Sekai/ Ice World

Its unfortunate they don't make mystery doramas any more. I really enjoyed One Million Stars, Midnight Rain and Sleeping Forest so I was looking forward to this one. I think I watched an old vhs rip of this show before but wasn't able to finish it cause I couldn't find the rest of the series on streamload or something.

Its kinda hard to talk about mystery doramas without spoiling stuff so I'll try to be vague. Basically, mystery doramas boil down to two things, pacing of red herrings and ending. The basis of mystery shows is to slowly reveal some important information every episode that will hopefully make the audience rethink who the villain actually is. At the beginning everyone will have their own suspect.

What this show really needed were leggy shots of Uchida Yuki in her uniform. :)

Personally, I don't try to think too much during doramas cause flaws in logic diminish my enjoyment, unless of course the flaw is too big to ignore. The biggest pitfall for writers of mystery doramas to avoid are too many red herrings that don't provide clues to the identity of the villain and characters spending too much time looking for stuff the audience already knows.

I like the way the series stars, showing what people are willing to do to get insurance money and how difficult Eiki's (Takenouchi Yukata) job is. Matsushima Nanako plays the part of the mysterious Egi Toko to perfection. This stoic, serial black widow who attracts any man who comes into contact with her. I can see why Eiki is drawn to her despite this aura of danger around her.

Unfortunately, the show gets pretty slow in the middle. I was hoping they would avoid what they did with KimuTaku in sleeping forest. The fun is keeping the audience guessing on the motivations of an enigmatic character. Once the cloud of mystery is dispelled, there is only the revelation to look forward to which took quite a while and the revelation was kind of meh. The fact that there are no clues as to the identity of the villain just brings apathy. Actually, there was one clue but it was more of a why a certain character who had no more of a role to play was still there.

As Midnight Rain showed, the truth doesn't need to be some twisty and turning story from left field. It can be something simple. The important thing is how the clues are presented. When you have the villain doing a 30 minute monologue in order to link it with the mystery, you know you're in trouble. When the villain is revealed the audience should be already piecing everything together and thinking 'oh, so this is what happened'. Instead we have a villain who could have been any random character. Matsushima Nanako's performance makes it watchable but Koori no Sekai cannot match the three shows I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Chocolate trailer

Chocolate is a new Thai movie coming out this year by the director of Ong Bak/Tom Yum Goong. Best thing about it is Abe Hiroshi as a yakuza! I'm really looking forward to see Abe Hiroshi in a kick ass fight scene. Fingers crossed that he's not the villain who just stands back and lets his henchmen fight.

Probably the selling point for the movie is that the main character is a chick. I was watching her doing all those Ong Bak stunts thinking the mopy hair makes it easy for a stuntman to hide his face until the trailer showed some horrific accidents that happened in shooting. They really wanted to show that it was here doing all those stunts.

While the Bourne Ultimatum has changed the way I view action movies, I'm sold on a chick who puts her body on the line to do real painful fight scenes. Plus Abe Hiroshi! Can't wait! You can watch the trailer here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Toda Erika - Note

Had this sitting on my HD for a long time but didn't notice. Its a DVD that came out in May last year but its more documentary rather than a gravure vid. Basically Note follows Toda Erika as she goes around promoting Death Note and doing photoshoots. The DVD has a running time of 53 minutes and unfortunately is not in widescreen.

OMG, who is this normal looking girl on my screen?! Masaka?

Yatta! The impostor has disappeared and Toda Erika is back! Kawaii~~~~!

IMO, she looks good with glasses.

Erika doing the Nacchi pout. :)

Gaaahhh! Toda Erika without makeup! My eyes are burning! Seriously, someone needs to do a series on which idol looks best without makeup.