Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Madonna Verde has a very interesting premise. Rie (Kuninaka Ryoko) had her uterus removed because of cancer. However, she had her eggs frozen so that they could be joined with her husband's seed in a petri dish and implanted into a surrogate mother. However, surrogacy is still very new to Japan and the laws do not recognise it. In other words, Japanese law view the surrogate mother as the true mother.
Rie is an emotionally detached person but she has this strong desire to have a child. Desperate, she convinces her mother, Midori played by Matsuzaka Keiko to carry the child for her. Yup, this is a story about a grandmother who is going to give birth to her grandchild or one could look at it as a story where a woman is going to legally get a sibling who is actually her child. Its interesting stuff and what makes it fun is that Rie is this obsessive in her single mindedness to have her mother be the surrogate and her emotional detachment prevents audience empathy and sort of casts her as a sort of antagonistic character.
For Matsuzaka Keiko, this has to be a dream role for her, playing this mother who would risk pregnancy at 55 in order to grant her daughter's desire. Nagatsuka Kyozo plays this haiku dude, Toshi who's infatuated with Midori, finds out about the plan and has to stand in as the child's father. He is in the other dorama that I really want to watch from this season, Kazoku Hotei. I wonder which dorama was shot first cause he appears frequently in Madonna Verde. Speaking of Kazoku Hotei, no one has uploaded it to d-addicts. The last episode is airing today so hopefully it'll show up at my local dvd shop HK translated.
Minami Akira has a supporting role as a 20 year old pregnant gyaru who's boyfriend has left her and she has an admirer who wants to be the father. She's got no future, blah blah blah and is unsure whether to keep the baby. Yawn. Its probably an uplifting story for a country with low birthrate but raising a child costs a lot of $$$ or in this case yen. In the end, its filler plotline and as long as the main story is good, I can't complain.
With Rie's personality and the illegality of the act, you know its not going to be long before things go crazy. Its got two fun characters in the center of it with Midori and Toshi and I'll be interested to see when a rift forms between Rie and her mom. Come to think about it, what makes Madonna Verde fun is how unlikable Kuninaka Ryoko's character is. If this had your typical idol in the main role, her character would be nice, there would be lots of pop songs and the story would be boring. With nothing else really worth watching right now and the upcoming season being barren of any potentially interesting shows, Madonna Verde is an oasis in the jdorama desert. I leave you with a Matsuzaka Keiko singing Ai no sui chu hana.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thanks to Maiku for the heads up on this one. All I have to say is thank the jdorama gods they did not recast Densha as Yukiyo. If you read DarkMirage's review of the manga here, it seems like the dorama is pretty similar to its source which is a bad thing as according to DarkMirage's review, the pacing in the manga goes off because it was only intended to be a one volume story and not to mention that the ending is inconclusive. This is one of those rare instances which I think it would be ok for an adaptation to not follow the source material.
If you have a read of Tokyohive's article which is also where I stole the picture from, Nagasawa Masami plays a magazine editor who meets the Yukiyo through twitter. Sounds different from the dorama. Maybe someone saw the dorama and decided that if they could tighten the script so that Yukiyo fucking up doesn't get repetitive and give it a more definite ending then it might turn out pretty good.
One paragraph from DarkMirage's review of the manga struck me;
Over the course of four volumes, Fujimoto learns that he is not the undesirable loser that he thought he was and that romance is about more than just finding the courage to say, “I love you.” He matures as a person and eventually finds the self confidence to help the girls around him and himself to become (slightly) more well adjusted individuals.
Hhmm. The only thing I got from the dorama besides him fucking him the chance to bed three beautiful women is the going to be someone else's moteki line at the end which says to me that he was going to seek happiness by making someone else happy and not expect it to somehow drop on his lap.Let's see how the movie goes. I really like the dorama cast and the girls for the movie don't seem right. But then I'm guessing the characters will be slightly different. At least there is one thing everyone can agree on, with the Moteki dorama and movie, Moriyama Mirai is one lucky dude.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Kind of forgot about this show because the subbing stalled and it got a bit monotonous in the middle. When you start of a story with a loser character, you usually expect the main character to go through a character arc, ie learn to face his fears/problems, grow a set, clear his first hurdle by the middle and near the end fail his final objective once before ultimately achieve his goal. Its cliched but its the basic template for doing a character arc.
The much harder way to do a story is for the characters not to change which is rarely done and the one dorama I can think of that did it was Enka no joou. Its hard because the characters don't improve and continue to fail. Instead of being about characters reaching their potential or achieving their destiny, its about characters coming to terms with who they are and why they act the way they do.
While I found Enka no joou difficult to enjoy, I watched it all the way because I could see what the dorama was trying to do. Same with Moteki. It is more than just a harem dorama for adults. It certainly starts of as one but later becomes an examination of Yukiyo and his relationship with his harem and his best friend and all characters realising who they are.
The one good side to limited character development is that we don't get the lame ,"I've gotten stronger/more mature" speech at the end. The downside is that it gets pretty repetitive. Granted, Moteki's 12 episodes is more like 6 episodes since each episode is only half an hour but watching Yukiyo screw everything up again and again stops being funny after the first few episodes.
For this type of story to succeed, you really need a lot of humour and one very interesting supporting character to keep the audience guessing. Humour-wise, the first half of the series was pretty good and then suddenly it just drops off. The second half averages one funny moment per episode only.
My gripes aside, there are many reasons to watch Moteki, first of which is the awesome acting. Talent-wise, the cast for this midnight dorama beats 99% of prime time doramas. Second is directing. This show looks bloody awesome and they really maximised whatever limited budget they got. I mean look at the screencaps. It sure doesn't look like some run of the mill boring studio sets dorama. Everything looks inspired.
The third is of course, the soundtrack. Not sure if someone has uploaded it somewhere but it uses a variety of jpop song to great effect and is worth watching for it alone. I didn't enjoy Moteki as much as a wanted after its strong start, but I can't fault it for the way the story went. I just couldn't get behind a character who after all he has been through threw away two birds in his hand for the one in the bush.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Append figure which I have just preordered but it still looks good.
Not much loot this trip. I was held back by the guilt of spending more than I thought I would be and also lack of space. I could have carried an additional efficiently boxed figure and some more books. The Hatsune Miku figure took more than half a bag and its not that big. Big boxes may attract buyers but its just an illusion that wastes space.
After giving it some thought, I realised I should have stopped worrying about money and just spend. Better to regret spending more than regret not spending/buying while on holiday.
Found the Mano Erina song that non-single song that really liked from her concert, Dare ni mo iwanaide.
Mano Erina's routine during the concert just makes it even better. Unfortunately there's no video online of her performing Dare ni mo iwanaide as she didn't sing it during her last concert dvd and its a B-side.
Didn't realise that the Datenshi Eri skit from the concert was actually from a comedy track in her second album.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Two days of being stuck in airplanes and airports and I nearly missed my connecting flight from Brisbane to Melbourne cause I feel asleep next to the gate entrance with my earphones on. Luckily some dude woke me up cause they had started calling people for another flight. I was ran to the gate thinking 'am I in some sort of dark comedy where everything goes wrong?'. The Qantas lady at the gate knew my name cause she's probably been announcing it for the last 5 minutes said that I was the last person. Lesson learned; do not use earphones while waiting for flight. Managed to get back and my brother turns up looking for presents after I told him I would be very tired. After he left, had 12 hours of sleep and I'm probably going to go back to sleep after this. Time to continue the recap of my Japan trip.
DAY 17 PT 2
DAY 17 PT 2