Monday, March 03, 2008

Ashita no Kita Yoshio eps 1-8


I always look forward to seeing supporting actors get a chance to play the main character. They've paid their dues, done their time and honed their craft so they deserve a chance unlike those johnnys who can't act. In Kohinata Fumiyo's case, he has more than paid his dues. Name doesn't ring a bell? He's the dude holding the bag in the above picture. He's been in so many freaking doramas and he's acted beside so many actresses and idols. He's always the invisible character, created just to advance the plot except for his role in Ruri no Shima.

Stupid cameraman go left!!!!!

In Ashita no Kita Yoshio, he finally gets his chance to show his acting skills. Fumiyo plays Kita Yoshio, an unlucky man who decides to end his life in 11 days. Why he has decided so is part of the fun of the show. He bumps into Heita, played by Matsuda Ryuhei and thus begins the tale. I'll try to refrain from the plot though there will be some minor spoilers in regards to performances.

Will Yoshio actually die in the end?

Fumiyo does a decent job as Yoshio. Its the same typical role we've always seen from him. The invisible character with a heart of gold and dark past. Nothing impressive but its the twist in his character that allows him to show a different side to his acting and I think he certainly revels in it. I hope to see more of negative in the remaining episodes. Still, he definitely lacks the x factor in screen presence. Perhaps it just that we've seen him play too many similar characters before and it may be better for him to play a character that's totally opposite from his usual ones.

For some reason I feel like jumping the bed......

Good thing that Ashita no Kita Yoshio is primarily a mystery dorama. Its basically a show where seemingly random people revolve around a mystery and how they interact against each other. The writer for Koshonin should take note, mystery is about building suspense, asking questions, red herrings and having developments every episode, not characters posturing while the plot is at a standstill.

Would you commit suicide in 11 days just to spend it with Shinobu?

I really enjoy Yoshio's interaction with people around him. Heita feels compassion for him yet at the same time is using Yoshio for his own goals. Rika at first is reluctant and later gets more desperate. And best of all, Yoshitaka Yuriko as Yoimachi Shinobu! OMFG, how fucking good is she? I wish I could edit this dorama and call it Hatachi no Koibito. This is how you fucking do show about a 20 year old girl and an old man and make it work! I finally finished watching Hatachi no Koibito last week and it was so disappointing. I knew chances were it was going to fail as the set up just doesn't lay the groundwork to make the relationship work.

Go Yoshio! You can do it! Dry hump Shinobu!


Yoshitaka Yuriko just shines everytime she's on screen. The interplay between her and Yoshio just kept me glued on my screen. OK, I was glued to my screen everytime she was on but words cannot describe how good she is. Actually she's sorta like less bitchy Fujimoto Miki with more empathy. And the scenes when she finally meets Mizuho in ep 8!!!!! Just brilliant!

What I wouldn't do to be alone with these two....

Oh yes, I forget to mention Konishi Manami as Mizuho. When I think of her, I just think of staring at the deep pools of her eyes. I'm still waiting to see her actually try to act instead of standing around looking pretty. Actually she was pretty good in Hotman but I realised that after comparing her acting to Itoh Misaki. Anyone is better than Itoh Misaki except for Fukada Kyoko. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that despite lack of evidence of acting ability Konishi Manami actually does well as a supporting actress and since Mizuho is all mysterious, the stoic act works. Never understood why Kuriyama Chiaki gets so much work and Namase Katsuhisa just imports his cop from Trick to an insurance investigator in this show.

Yes, I have an unheathy obsession with Shinobu. I'm sure you appreciate why.

This show won't become a classic, largely due to pedestrian camera work and sets but so far all 8 episodes have been fun for me to watch. Its just very disappointing that the ratings have been declining. Goes to prove that Japanese viewers care about idols rather than tight scripting. If anything, just watch it for Yoshitaka Yuriko. Maybe the audience lost empathy for Yoshio because he got to spend so much time with Shinobu? Just a word of warning, you might develop a foot fetish watching this show. :)

Hello legs!!!!!!!

14 comments:

hl said...

I was so shocked when I saw and heard Shinobu, and I think that's what kept me going for all of these episodes. There's something about her voice...

Data said...

You do realize, Akiramike, that they created Shinobu just to mess with your mind. Her character is precisely one of those idols who can neither sing nor act (see the hilarious bit in ep2, around the 8th minute), and yet you're smitten with her :P

Anyway, I'm enjoying Kita Yoshio too, especially the jazzy soundtrack. It's indeed eerie how Namase's character resembles Yabe in Trick; even his blonde sidekick resembles the fellow in Trick 1 & 2.

As shown in Kirakira Kenshui, Konishi Manami would do best to stay out of comedy. I think it's great that she can pull off certain roles well - the coldhearted yet vulnerable type. At least she's got a niche.

Akiramike said...

Actually Shinobu can act. But she pretends not to be able to act, shades of Ogura Yuko.

Julia said...

I beg to differ on the point that Yoshitaka "can't act," above commenter. Watching Noriko's Dinner Table would completely change your mind about that, though I wouldn't recommend watching it without having seen Suicide Circle (it's more of an experience that way). She AMAZED me in that movie. She's got both the skills and the beauty going for her.

Data said...

Well it looks like my attempt at humour flopped badly. What I was trying to say was, the character "Shinobu" is like the extreme case of a talentless tarento, and yet that's part of her charm! Like how she runs off to the onsen with Yoshio and tries to seduce him 'cause she's bored and wants to rebel a bit, only to get sucked back into the geinokai.

So, yes, I do get that Yoshitaka was pretending not to act. But thanks for the recommendation julia :) Her voice is pretty unique, like hl above said. It's like with Shinohara Ryoko: you can identify it immediately.

tUrtleAE86 said...

In 11 days... Yoshitaka Yuriko will become my girlfriend. =D

Data said...

By the way, for all you Yoshitaka Yuriko fans, there's a new show where she plays the schoolgirl lead, Let’s Play with Konno-san. I haven't checked it out yet so I don't know what it's like, but comments on d-addicts have been favourable :)

miz said...

My issue with this jdrama is the fact that I cannot get into the plot... I like the fact that Kohinata Fumiyo got the lead... I liked him in the other jdrama he has been in, but the plot is hard to comprehend.

Akiramike said...

What's so hard about understand about a down on his luck dude who just wants to end his own miserable existence?

I want to play with Kanno-san!

hl said...

What I don't understand is why Shinobu is not present in the promotional banner, and why she is lower than Rika on the cast list. She got shafted!

Anonymous said...

I think Shinobu got shafted in the entire series. I mean, yes she has a good amount of screen time during the first couple of episodes, but as later episodes go by her scenes dwindle.

Plus the ending MV, it's like they barely even cared about putting her in, she was a stop-motion picture in the first 7 episodes, then she throws something to make Yoshio fall in the last couple episodes MV.

They really gyped us over with some precious Yoshitaka screen time.

rin said...

for the world's unluckiest person, he sure got pretty lucky when he tried to crash into his ex-wife's office!

Gita Madhu said...

How do I get stills and such for my blog?
I'm a big fan of your reviews of Japanese films and doramas and have started watching many that were reviewed here.

Akiramike said...

Take screenshots with VLC.