Friday, August 30, 2013

Woman ep 9

What a great episode! Shiori leaves the house and Woman becomes even better. Maybe they should have called this Mother 2 instead of Woman since its more about mothers and daughters. Mother regains get her estranged daughter back but loses her 2nd one. I still don't get the purpose of the welfare guy's story but whatever.

So many great scenes in this episode. Namakemono finding out about Koharu's illness and what Shiori did in one go. Poor fella. The quiet scene between Namakemono and wife looking at Shiori's photos. Koharu and her mother in the kitchen scene. I was thinking please don't mix up your memories of Koharu with Shiori cause that would be very bad.

The best scene is Namakemono confronting Shiori. Shiori said that Namakemono was the one person she did not want knowing how bad she was. Maybe she knew that her father is the one person who will not baby her and help her hide her head in the sand.

I loved when when Namakemono asked Shiori, "Do you know what atonement is? Whether you can do it is another thing altogether." Suddenly I got the realisation that Shiori's mother is a horrible mother. That she's overcompensating for what she did to Koharu and is enabling Shiori to run from reality. Its obvious from Shiori doing nothing but listen to her mp3 player all series but Namakemono's response as a parent is so different.

Then Namakemono comes up with a great line to sum up Shiori. The worst person in the world is someone who does not realise what they have done. It describes Shiori to a T and why she's such a hateful character. It also tells me that this is what Sakamoto Yuji was going for and that Shiori's pot smoker acting was intentional. Shiori is a character to be hated.

While Shiori and her mother were thinking bury their head in the sand in the sin would go away, Namakemono is already thinking of selling of the house and business to compensate Koharu. As he said, you have to try to atone.

The episode ends with this great scene of Nozomi crying and revealing that she knows. There's this scene in the middle of the episode after Koharu's mom tells Koharu that she is unable to be a donor where you see Nozomi walking up the stairs and acting a bit troubled when she answers her mom. Its gives you a second to think 'was she listening?' before your attention is brought back to Koharu and her mom.

Looks like Shiori is going to be the donor. Fingers crossed crossed Sakamoto Yuji can pull it off and make this compelling tv.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Namonaki Doku eps 1-5

Aren't you playing another boring housewife character in another dorama this season?

Yes, I know I swore never to watch another dorama starring Fukada 'Can't Act' Kyoko but after Gekiryuu is so bad that it even her acting in this is better than anything in Gekiryuu. Plus, she actually looks even more pleasing to the eyes in Namonaki Doku than I can remember. The words 'tight clothing' and 'assets' come to mind.

I feel like she is going for a pose in this scene but didn't go through with it.

Anyway, Namonaki Doku is mystery dorama. Koizumi Kotaro once again playing the everyman who marries into a rich family and is tasked by his boss/father in law with dealing with the death of his father in law's driver's death by bicycle. Somehow this office worker gets involved doing police work trying to determine the father's cause of death and unlocking some skeletons in the closet.The story is pretty decent but the performances are nothing special. Still miles better than Gekiryuu though.

Is anything going on in her head?

The story is solved at the end of ep 5 and suddenly we jump into a different story involving random people getting poisoned. Namonaki Doku seems to be two separate stories with Koizumi's character getting involved in both. Problem is, his character is very boring.

Over concentrating deer in headlights look that only Fukada Kyoko can do.

Still can't muster any interest to continue watching although the main suspect is being played by Eguchi Noriko who can act rings around Fukada Kyoko. I'm guessing this is based on a series of novels featuring Koizumi's character. There has to be a hook to make his character interesting in the novels right? In the dorama, he's just a boring generic nice guy.

Pretty much nothing to see here except Fukada Kyoko making stupid faces. There are times where I thought her acting here is OK and then she pulls that stupid overacting deer in the headlights/ there's nothing on top face. Can some director tell her to please act normally. Its as if she's so aware of the camera and she interacting with it instead of being in the scene.

Didn't your father die in another dorama last season?

The 'my body is here but my brain is not' look.

The what ice-cream should I have for supper look.

Yes, I went through five episodes of bad acting to feast my eyes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Woman eps 7+8

Eps 7 and 8 are two very different episodes. Ep 7 is mainly about Oguri Shun going back to see his mother. There's this contrived plot about how he write a letter to Koharu and left it at the tuckshop for Koharu to find years later. Either Oguri Shun's manager said, "He's not going to be in this dorama unless he's got substantial scenes" or Sakamoto Yuji decided that Woman needed to pad its story. The only plus thing from the Oguri Shun thing is his mom asking him why he hasn't gotten life insurance and he doesn't even have an answer for it.

Woman is the opposite of Going My Home. Going My Home had a simple and beautiful story that needed 6-8 episodes at most but got stretched to 10 but maintained its realistic and quaint feel. Woman has a straightforward story that is filled with needless distractions that as someone put it makes us realise that we're watching a dorama when most of the show is realistic and gripping. Its like a totally dramatic wrestling match where you believe they two wrestlers want to kill each other and then they do some stupid fake-looking spots that remind us oh, this is wrestling.

Poor Nozomi finding her mom on top of her own sister.

Episode 7 though starts with a great scene between Koharu and her mom. Koharu's mom knows she knows and runs through a gamut of responses from being nice to Koharu, to saying how happy she is to be here to pleading for Koharu to hate her.

Mitsushima Hikari and Tanaka Yuko killed this scene.

The ending scene of Koharu's mom zoning out cause Shiori left while Koharu finally tells her about her illness is also great but they should not have been in the same episode. There should have been more time for the anger and emotional confusion to breath. The Koharu vs sister scene was not a strong enough ending for ep 7 IMO and episode 8 should have been more of an exploration of the tension between Koharu and Shiori.

I really liked Shiori's line here which convinces Mr. Shinya Shokudo to continue living in his ignorance.

I'm just so happy that Shiori is out of the house. I didn't care about that throwaway scene with the classmate telling Shiori's mother why she was bullied. More Koharu and her mom is where this dorama should go. Despite my misgivings about two great scenes in one episode, episode 7 was riveting to watch notwithstanding my Oguri Shun should have been a chikan bias.

Woman might not reach the classic must watch status of Seredemo Ikite Yuku but the acting and directing is still better than most shows. I feel sorry for poor Mr Shinya Shokudo aka Namakemono-san. He is in the dark about everything and I want to see his reaction when he finds out. Meh for episode 7 and must watch for ep 8.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Limit eps 1-6

I was hoping for a Battle Royale lite dorama but Limit is less survival dorama and more about character archetypes and delving into their problems as the series progresses. You got Sakuraba Nanami as the former nice girl who was once betrayed and doesn't want to be betrayed again, Ogawa from Suzuki sensei playing Ogawa, bullied girl who overacts and turns crazy when she turns the tables etc.

Could have been better if execution were improved. You've gotta turn off your brain for some things but the dorama hasn't gone anywhere interesting though the ending of episode 6 did stir my interest. I can't even say it s watchable dorama. I'm only watching for Sakuraba Nanami and Ogawa but neither do anything interesting with their characters. Doesn't suck but not much to see here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Keibuho Yabe Kenzo 2 eps 1-5

After Woman crashing and burning and Doctors 2 not reaching the heights of the first season, Yabe Kenzo 2 is turning out to the best dorama this season for me. Its kind of rare for a second season to be better than the first. I don't really remember how good the first season was. I only wrote a review for eps 1-3 and I don't think I considered it must watch in the end.

When I read that Kanjiya Shihori and the glasses dude were going to be replaced by a little girl, I was very skeptical. I think it worked out great. There are a few running jokes involving the girl, her dad the police chief and Yabe Kenzo every episode.

Leon? Lol.

The little girl still solves the cases but Yabe Kenzo's blind luck still plays an important role. In a way without Kanjiya Shihori and glasses dude, this feels more like Yabe Kenzo's dorama although the girl plays the same role that they did. I guess she doesn't have as much screen time as Yabe Kenzo does the information gathering and she pops up at the end to tell him the conclusion.

Episode 5 is just brilliantly funny. There's a comedic multiple assignation scene that was executed just brilliantly especially in terms of logistics. Jdoramas always have problems in terms spacing and making sense during actions scenes such as the ending of Sennyu Tantei Tokage and especially when there is stabbing involved. Kind of sad that I'm praising a jdorama for getting small things right though that was really an complicated sequence of events.

I was waiting for the quality of the episodes before passing judgement and so far, for the five episodes I declare Keibuho Yabe Kenzo 2 a must watch. The ending of ep 3 was really educational. Quality could drop or I may get tired of the running jokes but at least Yabe Kenzo won't do a Woman and try to be too many things. It knows what it is; a stupid comedy with a bumbling detective and does it very well.

On a gaming note, Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin's been announced. Yes, Kiryuu Kazuma is going to be Sakamoto Ryuma, lol. I love Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan which was a retelling of Miyamoto Musashi's story. It was so fun cause I read Vagabond and have seen the dorama series. Sakamoto Ryomo, I know more as a supporting character from Jin. Its not like he has an epic rivalry with Sasaki Kojiro to look forward to. Kiryuu, I mean Ryuma is definitely going to fight some Shinsengumi. Can't bloody wait! Maybe he'll survive his assassination attempt and go on a Shinsengumi hunting spree. :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Doctors: Saikyou no Meii 2 Ep 2 - 5


- Moriyama trying to be a good guy is funny. Watching his true nature trying to come out every time is a hoot. And Ghandi of all people? Lol.

- Moriyama trying to hide his cat secret.

- Sagara's plan which starts happening in ep 5. Season 2 needed a main story and it's been hinted throughout the first 4 episodes and its finally happening. I'll like to see Sagara fail though. Could we see some opposition from Minagawa sensei? 

- Sagara letting nurse Miyabe in on his plan.


- Sagara sensei doing nothing clever in the first 4 episodes. He was basically blackmailing Moriyama. (to great effect I might add) Watching Sagara subtlely manipulate people using their emotions is what made the first season and the SP must watch shows. However, I like how he made the anesthetist his ally by appealing to his potential for good in ep 5.


- The horrible acting from a lot of the young women playing patients or their family members. Obviously the casting director is not recruiting professionals.


Moriyama single handedly kept the first four episodes afloat. Let's see what Fukuda Yasushi has in store with Sagara's plan this this time. I'll actually like to see Sagara fail in the end. Watchable with potential to be good.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Double Tone ~Futari no Yumi~ eps 2-6

I gave the first episode of Double Tone a must watch. The whole time travelling shared dreams with a mystery thing was brilliant. While in the end I can't rate it a must watch, I still think its a pretty good series.

Double Tone is less science fiction and more of a character based dorama. Afterall, the target audience for this show are the older women. We don't really get the do trying to change the past and random stuff happens in the future ie; all the usual stuff we get from time travel shows.

Its more about the two Yumis. One who knows she is about to die and one who is still dealing with death and them having this relationship despite having not met each other. What Double Tone is is a very efficient, straightforward dorama with a high concept. Nothing gets stretched out for too long, except for the creepy detective part.

What it needed to be a must watch in my eyes would be killer acting and directing which is decent but not close to Mitsushima Hikari level. I'd still recommend this dorama. Props to NHK for once again producing another smart and solid dorama aimed at older women, something other networks usually fail at.

On an unrelated note, Dragon's Crown is taking away all my time from doing everything else. Whoever thought that Golden Axe + online RPG would be so addictive...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Woman ep 6

It took me a while to muster enough motivation to watch this episode. For the first time, I did the retiming without really watching.  I guess I'm still bummed out by the not-a-chikan thing. I did another two attempts before I could sit down and watch it through.

I liked the scene in the beginning. Koharu hates her mom but has to do it for her kids. Koharu's mom knows she is lying and wants her out of their lives for Shiori's sake. Shiori the emotional zombie wants Koharu to stay probably because of her guilt except there is no hint of it.  The mom wants nothing of Oguri Shun in the house to torment the poor NEET but Mr. Shinya Shokudo is saying that this is what the mom actually wants. I like the fact everyone's doing stuff for their own reasons and wearing their own masks.

For Sakamoto Yuji to go this route, Shiori cannot be an expressionless girl. The audience needs to see hints of some sort of emotion trying to creep its way out of her mask because we're currently 100% inferencing her motivation and feelings. A good example would be Koharu's smile at her mom. Shiori acts like she's been smoking some weed and is chilling while listening to her music.

Its sweet but you can see she's forcing herself and she's holding something back.Maybe Mitsushima Hikari should have been playing Shiori. The doctors backstory is that his wife died of leukemia as well. Ho hum.

Then we get to the ending scene with Koharu's mom claiming responsibility for Oguri Shun's death who BTW has climed Everest which is a great feat. There's the question of how much of it is real. There's probably a part of her that feels responsible for Shiori's actions. Was it to explain why she doesn't want Oguri Shun's stuff in the house or to drive the point that she's not comfortable with Koharu around? I don't really care either way. A lot of the tension has been lost.

So Koharu is going back to Oguri Shun's hometown and to the delight of squealing fangirls, we will be getting more Oguri Shun flashbacks. For me, Woman has been derailed and lost all that tension from eps 1-3. One can only hope that it gets back on track and doesn't end up like Minna! Esper Dayo!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Lady Joker eps 2-7

Goddamit, there was no way I could stop watching after episode 3 and in the end jadefrost's review was very spot in. It starts off as a very exciting detective dorama but becomes overly ambitious in wanting to tackle a lot of issues. If you're waiting for the rest of the subs, be prepared for a drop in pacing. There are no spoilers in this review.


- Good guys who are forced to make very difficult decisions and don't whinge about it. Its like Soratobu Taiya except there is no clear right path. The president has to balance his responsibility to Hinode Beer and its shareholders but also to his family members. You understand why he made the decisions he did.

- Never did it become preachy or the characters feel like they are talking at audience.

- Generally good acting throughout the show including from some actors who are prone to overacting. cough, guy above.

- The villains are portrayed as people and no one turns into gwahaha, muahaha I am evil.

- Mr Lan Evo as the bad cop is fun to watch.

- Akiko Yada and Motokariya Yuika keep my engaged when things are slow.


- Turns from action series with great characters to character dorama with minimal action/thing happening. I wasn't bored cause it had nice character moments but the excitement wasn't there anymore.

- The dialogue is bloody difficult to understand and watching with a dictionary in hand without Japanese subs doesn't help much.


- Someone needs to tell the guy above that only Dragonball Z character furrow their eyebrows all the time.

- Hinode Beer president singing in the 80s.

I really want to give Abunai Keiji a try. Lol. Kamikawa Takaya was in it as well. The first five episodes were uploaded in 2005 so I doubt they're alive now.


jadefrost's review pretty much prepared me for it. The WOWOW doramas losing steam curse strikes again. The only recent WOWOW show that had a great finish that comes to mind is Hitori Shizuka. Not must watch overall but man, the first four episodes were really good. I applaud the effort WOWOW. Now if only someone would sub Furueru Ushi.