Monday, October 31, 2011

Suzuki sensei ep 4

How bloody good is this dorama?! Ep 4 was so good I've forgotten what to write about ep 3. Ep 4 is basically the self destruction of Takechi, the class representative. Takechi is this smart student who has a crush on Ogawa and has a tendency to look down on people. He causes an accident to happen to Nakamura who just reminds me of ex Momusu Koharu Kasumi.

A simple apology from Takechi would have sufficed but somehow he fells like he has to vindicate himself in front of the whole class. Chalk that up to his attitude of superiority. With all the secrets and tension behind the incident, Takechi's whole plan was sure to blow up and it did.

The fun thing is watching him unravel piece by piece. Part of it is good writing and part of it is great acting by the kid. After watching so much overacting and trying to be cool acting from students in jdoramas, its so refreshing to see a flawed character being portrayed. Was Takechi the evil kid in Koukuhaku? Anyway, kudos to his awesome acting.

The implosion of Takechi is done is such a way that you can see what he's thinking and why he does certain things, only that he doesn't realise what he looks like from other perspectives. A true self centred character but I think everyone can sympathise with Takechi having bouts of being self absorbed and not realising the effects of single minded kamikaze revelations.

Ep 4 ends with the mother of all revelations. A revelation so genius that it just blows my mind. All the freaking while I thought Asami was having problems with depression or something. Even better, the revelation leads on to a possibility with Ogawa which the writer could possibly have fun teasing the audience into doubting whether it is actually true.

With so many doramas out right now, I don't feel like watching anything else. Suzuki sensei is so much better than everything else at the moment. So tempted to just watch it till the end. D-addicts has only up to ep 7 but myasiancinema has the whole thing, thought half of it is in flv format. Suzuki sensei is certainly the strongest contender of best dorama of 2011. There has to be more than 200+ people downloading the subs. Can't believe the subs for ep 1 went from 400+ to 288 in ep 2 and we have shit like Hunter going for 1k sub downloads. FFS can the people at d-addicts not realise the greatness they are missing here?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mitsu no Aji eps 1+2

How to get your not real niece who is very kawaii to fall in love with you. Step 1: Meet her at train station on rainy day and tell her you can't come see her anymore because of work/study.

Mitsu no Aji has a premise that seems to have come out straight from an eroge. Naoko (Eikura Nana) falls in love her her uncle Masato (Arata) when he shields her from water being splashed by a bus during a rainy walk from the station and his mole on his chest is apparently a big turn on for her. At that moment, she decided that she would study hard and enter the medical school that her oni-san was studying to stalk him.

Step 2:  Ignore all wet schoolgirl fantasies and do not stare so she'll think you are nice guy. Because she is from the country, she has no idea that the only guys who do not stare are gay.

Yes, there's nothing that says eroge like a niece that calls her uncle oni-san.Unlike your typical eroge main character, Masato does not experience any nose bleeding at the sight of his drenched niece in a high school uniform. Oh yes, in true let's put a loop hole in fashion, Masato is not Naoko's true uncle. He was adopted by relatives when his parents died which would make him a distant relative.

Step 3: Use splashing water from bus as excuse to initiate body contact.

So, innocent country girl goes off to wild Tokyo to be with uncle. Except Masato oni-san now has a girlfriend Aya (Kanno Miho). Aya doesn't want to get married and doesn't want kids which is a godsend to all men. However, upon meeting Naoko, she realises the truth about Naoko's feelings for Masato and quickly accepts his marriage proposal and wants it done asap.

Step 4: Have a body mark such as a mole (use a fake if you have to) so it can be seen through your shirt and arouse her. Hey girls have wet t-shirt fantasies too.

Naoko using her innocent niece powers sees that Aya does not really love her uncle as much as her job and is marrying Masato to because of Naoko. So basic premise so far is innocent country niece wanting to save dumb uncle from scheming fiancee who doesn't love him as much.

Step 5: Don't say anything because it will take all your willpower to resist the urge too look at bra through the wet top.

I really enjoyed the whole evil Aya acting like this perfect girlfriend in front of everyone and only Naoko being able to see through her. Its kind of an eroge twist to your perfectly innocent protagonist having the kitchen sink thrown at her to stop her saving her true love in the mold of Hoshi no Kinka.

Step 6: Wait for her to finish high school and don't hook up with a two faced girlfriend who looks like Kanno Miho.

Now, there are two things that could ruin Mitsu no Aji. First is making Aya not so evil. They've already started making excuses for her with her parents being workaholic doctors and her not being loved. Zzzzz, boring. I want bloody conflict and when I say bloody I mean going for the jugular stuff. Second is Naoko having a potential love interest in Hachi one Diver.

Ooops, too late.

For the love of all that is good and holy, please do not give it a peaceful happy ending where Aya cries out her excuses turns over a new leaf with Naoko going with Hachi one and everyone saying out loud that they have learned something from this ordeal. Anyway I enjoyed the hell out of the first two episodes. It really appeals to ero ojisans like me but fingers crossed it doesn't turn pedestrian like Guilty. Actually I can't wait for Masato's brother to find out about Aya.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Perfect Report 1-7

Perfect Report is dorama about a underdog tv journalist department headed by Aoyama Kana (Matsuyuki Matsuko). They are the general of back up section staffed by rejects and their job is to back up whatever tv journalist group needs help whether it be politics or staking out an idol.

Once again, we have another job dorama where the main protagonists are hated by everyone else for no reason. Someone needs to explain to me why in so many jdoramas, they writers feel a need to create unnecessary obstacles which don't make sense. Actually its not the hated part that doesn't make sense, rather the continue to depise our main characters while they continue to succeed and prove their worth part that makes no sense.

There  the sub story that the head of the news section is merely using Aoyama for his own end but so far nothing has come of it. Usually in jdoramas, the main characters just take this abuse and bullying on the cheek and continue to do so despite doing what the bullies could not. Is this a reflection of Japanese work practices? That capable people should be aware of their place on the totem pole and not rock the boat?

The one show that keeps popping into my head is Beauty or Beast which was a very fun show about tv reporting with a bunch of underdogs. Perfect Report follows the same formula with stories that highlight each character but with some episodes, Perfect Report tries too hard to be cool. The on that comes to mind is the Aibu Saki episode. Not to mention how she could have caught up with a bus while waddling with an injury unless bus driver in Japan go 20 km/h.

The highlight for me is Akasaka Shu (Keisuke Koide). He starts of as one of the bullies, is career minded and is transferred to spy on Aoyama but we soon see that he has journalistic integrity as well as a host of problems which make him more of the main protagonist of the show. His got a good story arc and his main story is the driving force for the series while Aoyama's pops in and out at times. Actually Akasaka wins the main character spot because everyone else is a one note character.

Perfect Report starts off shaky but the two main stories especially Akasaka's has kept it from being a generic sob story with tryhard cool moments of investigative reporting. My gut feeling is that it will end strong. Perfect Report is just above the sea of mediocrity. Compared to Beauty or Beast, the quality of the episodes has not been consistent. Let's see if the main stories will make up for it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kaseifu no Mita ep 1

My first thought when watching Kaseifu no Mita was what happened to Matsushima Nanako's nose? Did she go see Michael Jackson's plastic surgeon?

Housekeeper Mita who likes to wear a lot of dark make up works for the Asuda family where the mom just passed away. Mita is very competent and is able to recite the name of all members of AKB48. However, she is very robot like in that she can only take orders and sometimes, too literally. Kaseifu no Mita is not Jyoou no Kyoushitsu in a house. Its more of a housekeeper who strictly follows orders with disastrous consequences that end happily.

Despite having two good actors in Matsushima Nanako and Suzuki sensei, this dorama does not hinge on their acting abilities. Rather, how good it is will be decided by the writing and the acting of the kids. That's because Mita is more of a robot housekeeper and the father, played by Suzuki sensei is doesn't have much to do besides act incompetent and order Mita around.

Didn't like the kids in episode 1. I felt they were trying way too hard, especially the scene where they took turns crying. They are trying to milk the youngest daughter for the kawaii factor but it just comes off as too fake.

The writing is a disappointment, specifically the scene where the son punches Mita multiple times in the face. That was a so WTF scene. You're pissed off at your housekeeper and you assault her face instead of maybe, taking the clothes away from her? There is no excuse for beating up on a woman unless you are an evil villain!

Seriously, there was no apology for the assault and no WTF have I done moment following the attack. Only more crying about his mom. Does the writer expect the viewer to care about the piece of crap son who did not have second thoughts about abusing the housekeeper or the father for not reprimanding his son and offering his sincere apologies to Mita? Too early to say don't watch but it is not promising at all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mano Erina 2012 calender

There was only one calender that I knew I had to get and it turns out to be one kick ass calender. The cover picture is awesome.

This one's ok. Sorry about the light reflection but I can confirm that she is wearing blue shorts in this picture. (Probably jean shorts)

Hhmm, I think Hello Project needs to do an equivalent to the AKB1/48 game and include in the Dream Momusu members. I would gladly pay $200 for a special edition of that.

Love her smile.

Almost bought a Kurashina Kana calender but the small preview pictures on the front of the calender don't look good. I've got also ordered a Nozomi Sasaki desktop calender for use at work but it hasn't been sent yet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Suzuki Sensei ep 2

I just had to write about ep 2 after watching it. Problem is its hard to say why Suzuki sensei is such a good dorama besides great acting, writing etc. Its difficult to describe because while it is like your typical teacher dealing with school problems and students, its the execution that makes it interesting.

For the whole, complete 45 minutes, ep 2 had my complete attention. Even for something seemingly as mundane as something being taken off the lunch menu, I was hanging on every word, laughing at the appropriate moments and just being absorbed into the story. Even a teachers' meeting was very exciting.

Actually, if I had to come up with a description of Suzuki sensei, it would be a person narrative of a teacher, done in a way that is amusing and entertaining not because the teacher is a larger than life character or has personality quirks but because the writing allows you to get into his thought processes, it makes sense and you end up thinking along with him.

Examples of the humour in this dorama is when Suzuki sensei tries to convince himself of something but we know its not true, like when he runs into Ogawa Somi at school after his dream. The punchline is when he succumbs to her smell and he is sniffing the air like an idiot at the school gate. The joke continues during lunchtime when Suzuki sensei comments that he was glad it was curry because it would wipe out the shampoo smell. To me, its just hilarious and brilliantly funny.

Episode 2 had two storylines; the lunch menu story and the mystery of the disgusting behaviour. The execution of it was masterful. You get to see it from his point of view and share his stress as the time limit drew near. Its not a detective movie where you watch from afar as the detective declares he has solved the mystery and explains it at the end. The viewer stands in Suzuki sensei's shoes and tries to solve it along with him.

An anonymous commentator mentioned that the writer is Furusawa Ryoto who wrote Gaiji Keisatsu, probably the best police jdorama ever along with Gonzo. You can't click on his name on dramawiki and I had to go to the Japanese wiki to find his the list of his body of work. So he has done:

1) Always san chome movies which are pretty good feel good movies.

2) Aibou police series which I would occasionally see news of on Tokyohive, seems to be popular and has 9 seasons!

3) Gaiji Keisatsu.

4) Gonzo. Yes, he has written two of the best police jdoramas I have seen! I've never watched Aibo though.

5) Oishii gohan which is subbed and which I will definitely check out.

Can't read the rest of the list as my kanji is still shit but WTF??!! This guy is one of the gods of jdorama writing along with Nojima Shinji and Ozaki Masaya and he has no drama wiki entry? I am ashamed that I did not realise that the writer of Gaiji Keisatsu and Gonzo was the same person.

Hhmm, Vulcan 300 fansubs have subbed 2 eps of Aibou season but the last update was in March so its pretty much dead. Maybe I can find the HK English subbed dvds. JT also mentioned that the ratings are very bad, averaging about 2%. WTF???!! Its a 10pm dorama, not a midnight dorama! Has there ever been a non midnight dorama which was so good and has such horrible writing??!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

AKB1/48: Idol to Guam to Koishitara First Print Limited Edition unboxed!

Everything came in this box about the size of an arcade stick.

AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara is probably the best game for studying kanji. As mentioned in a previous post, learning kanji is a bitch. I don't have a patience to slowly work my way through a kanji book. So what makes AKB1/48 for PSP such a great game for studying Japanese?

Back of the box.

First, its all pure text gameplay like a dating sim and its fully voiced except for the words from the protagonist, which is the player. Second, it doesn't auto go the next line so you can take your time looking up the kanji dictionary. Third, its got the can look through all the lines of dialogue and play the voices again.This helps when I see a kanji character that I think I saw a few lines back and I go back and its voiced. If I don't know what the word means at least I know the pronunciation so I don't need to waddle my way through the kanji dictionary.

Game, card with download code for 48 PSP themes and blu ray of all the movies in the first game. I am happy to report that the blu ray is region free! If only Oz had the same blue ray region as Japan, I would be buying Japanese blue rays.

Lastly its basically basic spoken dialogue. I tried replaying this old SRPG Terra Phantastica and as it was a political middle ages type story, its was old Japanese and lots of kanji that I can't be stuff learning. Hhm, come to think of it, its a bishoujo game without sex. When I play, its in front of my pc with two tabs on, a tab for Denshi Jisho kanji dictionary and a tab for romanji to hiragana converter. I have a notebook that I write the kanji I look up. It doesn't help me as much as coming across certain words multiple times during gameplay which will hopefully reinforce it in my memory.

UMD of game and making of video. I've not even watched the making of UMD from the first game.

I wasn't planning on getting the first print limited edition but I thought my preorder of the special edition of another game, Ico/Shadow of Colossus Collection wasn't coming through because play-asia marked the game as sold out but my copy had not been sent and went in search of another source. The reason I wasn't sure was that the preorders had sold out long ago but one morning before work, I spotted a preorder button and made my order hoping that it was because someone canceled and not because of a glitch, which has happened. My search took me to HMV Japan, Ico was sold out but they still had AKB1/48 First Print. I was pissed off thinking I missed out on the Ico Collectors Edition and decided to get another special edition in its place.

Three making of DVDs for each of the 3 teams and a fashion collection DVD which I hope translates into cosplay. No idea what the team 4 special DVD is.

Anyway, because of the crazy drop of the Australian dollar and HMV Japan charging in yen, this has become a very painful purchase. Essentially, its the same game with a much better looking interface and ability to move the 'camera' during dialogue which just means that you can scroll down and look at their thighs/legs. The other addition to the sequel is the ability to choose whether you want to refer to yourself as boku, watashi or ore. Don't think this has any bearing on the game but to be more manly, I chose ore.

10 photos. I think I need to burn the one on the middle right cause that looks like a man.

I've gotta say one thing and its that AKB girls DO NOT looking good in swimsuits. Very few of them have womanly bodies. Akimoto Sayaka's body is like a dude's. Wide shoulders and straight hips. Kayo Police is 10 times for feminine than her. They should have been wearing one piece swimsuits.

Yup, you get 48 mini posters from the game.

Final note, I'm not a big fan of AKB48 despite spending almost $200 aud on a game. Started listening when they weren't famous and liked how explicit their lyrics were and now that they are famous, we will never hear songs like Sailor Fuku jama suru na again. They got big had nice songs but bloody mimed all the time. That's why I swore of Kpop many years ago. On the very very rare occasions that you get to hear someone from AKB48 sing live, let's just say I've heard a lot better at karaokes.

Super skinny Shinoda Mariko in 2 piece? Not a good look.

However, spending so much time on the first AKB1/48 game, the songs have ingrained themselves in my brain and I've gotten really fond of some of the girls in game character. No idea how they are like on tv since I don't have time to search. That's my excuse to keep what little dignity I have left.

At least we finally got some cleavage here. The rest of the mini posters are too horrible to be shown.

After I finish up this post, I'm going for the Yokoyama Yui ending because kansai-ben turns me on. You don't usually hear idols speak kansai-ben but when there are 48 of them, you gotta do something to be different. I wished someone had made a game like this for Morning Musume back in the day. Imagine Tsuji and Kago fighting over the player!

 My PSP screen.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Suzuki Sensei ep 1

In jdoramas, there are usually two types of teacher shows. First is the variation of the GTO theme which is larger than life teacher uses unorthodox techniques to help students. Examples of this type dorama which are pretty good are Dragon Zakura and Jyoou no Kyoushitsu. However there are plenty of such shows which fail because an actor who is either really good or has that screen presense like Sorimachi is necessary.

The second is the Kinpachi sensei variant. Normal teacher, lots of problem students and problem solving that is more conventional. An example of a good one would be School!! The other difference with the Kinpachi type of show is that it is more serious and less outrageous. However, both types are prone to the usual cliches like the sports teacher being a useless guy, scheming vice principal and the young hot female teacher being the supporting character.

Imagine my surprise when Suzuki sensei starts off with a group of middle school teachers trying to mix the students up before the start of school in order to balance the classes. Not only that, we get to hear the thoughts of Suzuki sensei (Hasegawa Hiroki) which was so different. For the first time ever, we have a dorama which really delves into the mind of a teacher and see his thought process.

The other thing about the usual teacher doramas is that the problems are pretty black and white. Its a question of how cool/entertaining/tear jerking the solution is. Suzuki sensei is presented with problems that are not so simple and hearing his thoughts makes things even more complicated. Like do you try to confront a student in class when he is accussed of something or do you wait til after but risk him being more unsettled because of the pressure? How would you investigate?

The main problem presented in ep 1 is truly WTF because it is handled in such a non sensationalistic and realistic way. It is also a source of a lot of comedic moments. I love it when a show manages to be funny by being serious. On the other hand the main problem makes me feel like a missed out on my childhood. :( The only thing I was thinking about at that age was Dragonball Z and Lynn Minmay. Are kids today really that smart and eloquent? I was just laughing and smiling my way through ep 1 because I had no idea what was going to happen next and Suzuki sensei went to places I was not prepared for. And that's an awesome thing.

The main story is that Suzuki sensei seems to have chosen the make up of his class specifically to run an experiment. We'll see how it works out but the first episode has the feel and vibe unlike any teacher dorama I have seen, except for the useless physical education teacher. Definitely check it out and I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.