Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jdorama ramblings 23/1/11


The tale of the aquarium worker Kengo who, after his fiancee declined to the donor for decides that its time to kill to birds with one stone: save his sister and in the process get married to a young wife. He finds a prostitute Risa and pays her money for her to marry him and be his sister's donor. Kengo relies on the fact that Risa will feel sorry for his family's plight and pretends to be a nice guy by not bedding her. Any guy who pays a prostitute to be his wife would at least take the opportunity to sample her professional skills.

However, Kengo is smart because girls like having a relationship with guys who do not look at them without thinking about sex. I know it doesn't make sense but whoever said women did? Kengo's ingenious plan worked and finally at the end of ep 8, they hugged. Aaawwww. Along the way we have such exciting subplots such as Kengo's sister refusing the surgery because it would make the brother a criminal for deceiving the system and her crush in the same hospital who eventually dies. Doesn't it warm your heart? Throw in Risa's boring brother who keeps being a thorn in the side of our protagonists and we have an afternoon soap opera.

She looks so familiar but I can't recall what dorama I've seen her in. Is she the idol from Densha?

Sigh. I thought the synopsis said Kengo had a secret that that he would sacrifice everything to protect. I've been fast forwarding certain scenes in Nagareboshi but there is no way I could have missed a revelation so big. This is the first Ueto Aya role I like in ages but the whole dorama just gets bogged down in predictable over-sentimentality. I am so happy the sick boy died so that storyline is over. Strangely, I feel compelled to finish the show despite its flaws.


I couldn't bear even finishing the first episode. Its got Renbutsu Misako who I haven't seen since Nanase Futatabi but I'm better off rewatching Air Doll or Chobits if I feel a need for a generic guy meets robot girl story.


I'm pretty sure all Japanese women would love to look like Fujii Mina.

Face Maker is basically short stories about what happens when people change their face for one reason or another. In 3 episodes, its all about normal looking women changing their face to look like idorus. Its sort of fun to watch but I didn't like how much time they spent on the mysterious doctor with his posturing and cryptic talk. Having Hinata Chiho as the nurse helps but the doctor is just a mcguffin and the less time spent on the mcguffin the better.

Ueto Aya syndrome: casting someone who looks like a schoolgirl as a nurse. Maybe the doctor changed her face....


Housewife goes to rural area, loses memory and ends up staying with nice country dude who lives with his sick mom. Housewife is afraid of regaining memories because she is afraid of something in her past and we need no greater hint than a bird in a cage in her flashbacks. Most likely evil husband and loveless marriage. End of first episode, we find housewife is going to die. Yawn. Fuyu no Sakura screams by the numbers housewife fantasy. If you want housewife in countryside fantasy, you're better off watching Aoi Tori. This is Imai Miki's first dorama since Brand, which was 10 years ago.

CONTROL ep 1+2

Matsushita Nao as the annoying(uzai) iron lady detective Segawa Rio, a fact that the series keeps telling the audience in a ham fisted way during the course of the first episode that makes me wonder whether the writer knows the meaning of the word subtlety. Fujiki Naohito is the very straightforward uni psychologist  Nagumo Jun. Control is trying to the Trick formula of having two flawed characters who complement each other skill wise as protagonists but the chemistry isn't there because its Control is too.... unrefined. Its just a generic cop show with the usual Japanese cliche I hate of the other cops being incompetent loud mouths who take credit for the protagonists' work. I can never understand the stupid need for inept colleagues in cop shows to serve as antagonists when the crime and criminal(s) is enough. If its for comedy reasons I understand but most Japanese cop doramas straddle the world between ineffective comedy and pretentious seriousness with in adequate realism. Control is a watchable generic police dorama but I'd rather spend my time watching older doramas that I missed out on.


That over the top 'profiling simulation' scene in the beginning of episode 1 was so bad I don't where to start. I wonder how many years of profiling experience Kitagawa Keiko's character has had? Out of interest, I did a little research and this is what I found:

In order to get into the FBI Academy, one must be at least 23, a U.S. citizen or a citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands, four year degree, three years professional work experience, valid driver's license, available for assignment anywhere the FBI has jurisdiction. Must qualify in one of the following - Accounting, Law, Language, Computer Science/IT, Diversified.

Assuming Kitagawa Keiko got in through some US-Japan exchange program, how old must she be in order to have the qualifications to be sent to the US, representing japan to be trained in profiling? How old is Kitagawa Keiko again? It wasn't that long ago when I first saw her in Sailor Moon. This is the fucking Ueto Aya syndrome of miscasting a young actress in a role that should go to someone in their 30s. Would the audience care that Lady is saying Japan would send a fresh graduate with no experience for profiling training so that she can be one of the founding members of this profiling group? This whole trained by FBI thing in jdoramas is as cliched as Steven Seagle's cook/policeman who used to be in the navy seals/marines/power rangers storylines. If I were Prime Minister of Japan, the first bill I would pass would be to ban all tv stations except for Wowow to produce any more police shows.

GOLD ep 4

The subbing may be slow but Nojima Shinji's writing and Amami Yuki's acting makes it worth watching no matter how flawed the concept and in episode 4, we get a huge revelation which will threaten to tear the walls of the Saotome family down. Nojima Shinji is a writing god. Funny enough, his lists of credits in his dramawiki has Koinu no Waltz but the page has someone else as the writer.


Anonymous said...

My winter/11 season Jdorama ramblings:

LADY - avoid at all costs as it went even further downhill after ep.1 (if you can imagine that).

CONTROL - just a hastily produced police drama to capitalize on the current popularity of Matsushita Nao because of "Gegege no Nyobo". Pedestrian acting/execution and cliche'd plots.

Gaikoukan Kuroda Kousaku - spinoff of Oda Yuji's character in Amalfi, a mystery/action/thriller w/ even lamer action set pieces than in the movie. Unless you're a fanboy of Shibasaki Kou....

Quartet - 20+ min drama w/ lots of OK hand to hand combat scenes (quite violent based on JDorama standards), still waiting for the plot to kick in.

Saiijo no Meii - decent adaptation of a manga w/ the same title, worth a watch if you're a fan of Higa Manami but I don't care much for the male lead.

Akutou - another police drama, but w/ Takahashi Katsunori as lead! A keeper so far...

GOU - 2011 Taiga, w/ Ueno Juri playing a 7 yr old and Miyazawa Rie playing an 11 yr. old for the first 15 or so episodes, penned by the same writer as Atsuhime - droppped after 2 episodes. Sorry, not my type of Taiga, and to have adults playing 7 - 11 year old is just too jarring IMO.

Special mention for Saka no Ue no Kumo - special NHK 3 part mini series w/ Abe Hiroshi. Best historical drama I've watched in years, w/ top notch production values and literally cast of thousands (see ). Must watch IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed "NAGAREBOSHI". If only real life was as glamourous because I would never fall for a hooker..haha.

maiku said...

Q10 was actually pretty deep. The first few episodes make it seem like a generic high school drama with an unusual twist, but it gets more philosophical later on. The ending is just plain bizarre.

It's by no means good. Just noting that it's not what it appears to be.

Akiramike said...

Akutou is my hope for this season.

As an Abe fan, I am ashamed to note have heard of Saka no Ue no Kumo. I think I'll probably get it HKsubbed since no one is fansubbing it.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree on the too young actress comments. Makes no sense with all the really hot actresses in their 30's. If any Japanese producers read this blog, I would be happy to handle the casting couch.

Anonymous said...

I agree with maiku about Q10. I was also initially very reluctant to watch it because the synopsis just sounded stupid but after watching the first episode and seeing that the writer was also the same that wrote Nobuta wo Produce, I continued on. It turned out to be much better than anticipated with how it touches on certain issues. I definetely recommend you give it another try again when you have time.