Sunday, March 01, 2009

Love Shuffle eps 1&2

Beautiful shot of Karina.

This has been a pretty bad season. Probably the worst season I can remember since people start fansubbing raws on d-addicts. As long as a season has a pretty good show or a couple of decent ones, I'm happy. Triangle was my big jdorama hope but unfortunately it looks beyond salvation and the less said about Arifureta Kiseki the better. Will Love Shuffle be good enough to save this season and give me a jdorama to look forward to every week?

Chiaki obviously liking what he's seeing.

Love Shuffle is a show about 4 couples who decide that they want to be swingers, except sex isn't the main reason. Its love. They all have problems with their relationships and rationalised that love shuffling would help solve their problems or at least sort out their feelings for the other party. I find it an intriguing concept because we can see how different they treat each of their lovesha partner for the week.

Shinobu, does an ace mean I can draw the line anywhere I like?

Casting is good. Chiaki from Nodame plays Usami, a salaryman who got his cushy job through his engagement to Kagawa Mai (Kanjiya Shihori). Chiaki basically plays the same role he does in all his shows, the wide eyed, meek person who struggles to deal with situations and problems he is faced with and he does it well. After all, his is the viewpoint the audience mainly sees the show through.

I wish someone could have told me this is what cameramen do when I was young.

Karina is an intepreter who cannot stand her rich geeky boyfriend. Her disregard for economic strength in men is explained by the fact that her parents are beareaucrats. After all, I doubt interpreters can afford to live in such grand mansions. Karina and Chiaki are the main characters in this show and that's a good thing cause they are the strongest actors in it. If only other shows would follow this rule of more talent = more screen time.

Lovely frame of Shinobu. Much props to cinematographer.

Matsuda Shota is a gravure photographer currently in a relationship with a married woman. Besides having everyman's dream job, he's the only one who doesn't seem to have any relationship issues. If I could take pictures of Ogura Yuko and Kadena Reon, every relationship problems would seem trivial. Rounding up the couples is Tanihara Sousuke who seems to want to match Kita Yoshio through appearing in multiple series each season and Shinobu from Kita Yoshio. They have a doctor suicidal patient relationship though there may be more under the surface.

Karina in swimsuit but don't get excited cause it sucks. Can't understand why she or the agency are so protective of her thighs. Its not going to soil her career.

Love Shuffle is all about slowly pulling back layers about the couples' relationships. Just when you think their problem is simple, a nugget of information is revealed that gives you a new perspective on their problems. Two episodes for every shuffle week and two more to deal with the aftermath. I have the mention that the rapid fire dialogue is fun to watch no small thanks to making the four best actors living in the same building so we get to see them more. Chiaki and Karina are the best developed characters and the chemistry between them is good. The only casting change I would do would be to cast Kichise Michiko as the okusan and Nino as the rich nerd.

She's got an extensive filmography so let's see what she can do.

I love the humour in this show. There's anime slapstick bleeding nose and manzai humour but there's also situational humour like peeing in a cup in the elevator. Well written comedy where its people's response to problems that is funny instead loud and obnoxious 'look at me, I'm overacting so it must be funny' jokes. If you have to watch only one show this season (and you should), make it Love Shuffle.


Joe1991 said...


Chris said...

Hmm. I've actually not taken advantage of fansubbed jdorama's for Antique Cake Store. I might have to check out a few (though this one sounds kinda...). I actually found your blog thinking there was another season of the Shuffle anime.

Regardless, nice blog you have here. Keep it up!

sparqi said...

abe hiroshi is in tenchijin...and yep this'll be the first soapy (i.e. non-jidaigeki glory) series Ill check out this season!

Jung said...

And here comes maou Jung to crash everybody's party... *queue Arashi's Maou opening music*

Haha j/k... You guys won't need my help on this one, cause the show's novelty dies faster than weewee going flaccid after a nasty.

I agree with your choice on Michiko Kichise. 2 years ago, she probably would've taken the role. But she's been on a roll lately, so I doubt she would've agreed to a minor role like this one. But I think the show would've been better if they completely god rid of the obasan character along with the dude with the glasses. They really don't play much of anything even through episode 6.

Indeed this has to be the worst season ever overall. And just to make sure I did look at each and every season since 2005. :-/

The only saving grace has been Akai Ito which I just finished. Yeah the ratings are low, but mleh... I think it's a solid show. Makes me want to go back to the middle school days. *sniff sniff*

Btw, does anybody know what apartment these people live in? My god, it's a posh looking pad. Penthouse units like these in prime location probably costs $30k-40k USD / month to rent.

jaycbll said...

im upto ep 9 and i cant wait for the finale....not many shows do that to me.its corny at times..but i wldnt bother with japanese dramas if that annoyed me.
and 'oba-san' does have quite a significant role (Second half anyway)
am i the only one who liked this show? :S
p.s-kojima hijiri is only 33 x_x

jaycbll said...

did i mention yoshitaka yuriko gets better in last 4-5 eps..?

tUrtleAE86 said...

At the drama location site that I normally refer to, the information for the apartment isn't posted yet. But, I think it should be posted once the season is over: