Monday, December 16, 2013

Dandarin eps 4-11

Since I've been back, this is the only dorama that I've been making time for. Looking back at the series, its interesting how Dandarin basically follows the rules of the GTO conventions yet it never felt like it was ticking the convention boxes ala Fruits of Faith. This led me to pondering whether the cause was the unique subject matter, writing or a combination of both?

I think it has partly to do with the backbone of the individual episodes being about a certain aspect of labour standards rather than being about each colleagues' backstory. In your typical GTO clone, its basically about one colleagues sob story and they turn over a new leaf at the end whereas in Dandarin in not an open and shut case.

Secondly, its has to do with the parady nature of Dandarin. Its a super hero comedy that pokes fun at so many elements of Japanese working life issues and bureaucracy that it feels true despite not being realistic. Contrast that with Hanzawa Naoki which plays up the issues of corruption and bureaucracy in banking  with a seriousness but acting like a comedy.

I had only two concerns with Dandarin. Firstly, that it would not be able to sustain the momentum and that the Dandarin backstory which hung over every episode threatening to derail it from a must watch to a watchable dorama. Good news is there are so many labour law issues for Dandarin to explore. Plus its based on a manga so I'd imagine the writer can cherry pick the best stories.

The Dandarin sob story didn't turn out to be a dud. It gave a nice explanation for who Dandaring is and her catchphrase but it did threathen to descend into too much moral argument though I suppose the last episode is more about talking to Japanese society about the country's ideas about what working life is about and why labour standards are important versus excuses that humane working hours and conditions are to the detriment of Japanese society.


- Episode 4. The human resource manager taking the fall and Dandarin feeling angry because the true decision maker escapes unscathed. Dandarin may be a comedy but its not a fairy tale.

- Episode 5 about the sweets shop. Issues of cutting corners and maintaining standards once a shop has become famous and seeking a satisfactory outcome for both parties.

- Caring about foreign workers in Japan. Lol. As if but that's what makes Dandarin a super hero. I love how the Thai and Vietnamese workers speak English when probably they would communicating in Japanese.

- Episode 7 about the factory worker who died on the way home from work. Its not just an interesting legal conundrum, I'm glad that it didn't have a happy ending plus it looks at Japanese aversion to doing autopsies as well.

- Episode 8. Promoting workers to managers running understaffed shops so that they have no choice but to work long hours and using excuses like training to cover up what is abuse of workers. I'm betting this probably happens a lot in Japan. Also looks at the fact that finding employment is difficult and many people feel like they have no choice.

- Episode 9. The Doteyama episode and sneaky turn employees into contractors so you pay them less issue. Sometimes its less how will Dandarin solve this and more what type of ingenious labour abuse will the killer brother from Soredemo come up with? Did I mention Doteyama is one of the most entertaining bosses since GTO's principal.

- Episode 10 and 11. Minamisanjo-san's relationship with Dandarin never feels like a tacked on older actress with Johnny thing. (He's not a Johnny but you get my point) Its more about colleagues who have grown to respect each other.


Kazama Shunsuke's acting as smart lawyer who looks like a 19 year old. I loved his performance in Soredemo but his wide eyed trying to be evil overacting is a complete failure of channeling King Joffrey. I don't hate his character but rather I hate his overacting. I wonder whether the director or he is to blame.

That's the problem with Johnnys and Ueto Aya type 'actresses'. They can hit 30 but they can't or are unable to convincingly play that age. Kurimizawa's tacked on redemption ending just doesn't work for me.


Must watch. Very sad that its rated poorly. I guess Japanese audiences look at it and say what a load of fiction.


Its going to take me a while to get back into the jdorama groove but I just noticed jadefrost has two really good posts and top money makers in Jdoramas here and here. Its kind of a depressing list. Those who I think deserve to be on the list are bolded.

WARNING: Reading the lists below may cause depression and destroy whatever interest you may have for the Japanese entertainment industry.


1. Sakai Masato (13.2%) (3 million yen/hr)
2. Fukuyama Masaharu (12.9%) (3 million yen/hr)
3. Mizutani Yutaka (12.5%) (4 million yen/hr)
4. Kagawa Teruyuki (12.3%) (2.5 million yen/hr) Sometimes he overacts but he can be very good.
5. Kataoka Ainosuke (12.0%) (1.6 million yen/hr)
6. Nishijima Hidetoshi (11.8%) (2 million yen/hr)
7. Yakusho Koji (11.6%) (4 million yen/hr) Best actor on this list.
8. Watanabe Ken (11.2%) (5 million yen/hr)
9. Kimura Takuya (10.9%) (5 million yen/hr)
10. Sato Koichi (10.7%) (3 million yen/hr)
11. Matsumoto Jun (10.3%) (3 million yen/hr)
12. Oikawa Mitsuhiro (10.0%) (2 million yen/hr)
13. Oda Yuji (9.8%) (3 million yen/hr)
14. Ayano Go (9.6%) (1.5 million yen/hr) I'm starting to think he's way overrated for the amount of money he's pulling.
15. Okada Masaki (9.2%) (1.3 million yen/hr)
16. Mizobata Junpei (9.0%) (1.5 million yen/hr) Why is Hachi-One on this list?

As dgundam said, wtf is Abe Hiroshi and Moteki?


1. Yonekura Ryoko (13.5%) (3 million yen/hr)
2. Anne (13.0%) (1.1 million yen/hr)
3. Ayase Haruka (12.7%) (2.5 million yen/hr)
4. Ueto Aya (12.5%) (2 million yen/hr)
5. Mitsushima Hikari (12.3%) (1.5 million yen/hr) Should be no.1 but at least she's making money.
6. Kanno Miho (12.0%) (2 million yen/hr)
7. Aragaki Yui (11.8%) (1.2 million yen/hr)
8. Nounen Rena (11.4%) (1.2 million yen/hr) I still haven't watched Amachan.
9. Koizumi Kyoko (11.1%) (3 million yen/hr) One of the best ever.
10. Shibasaki Kou (10.9%) (1.6 million yen/hr)
11. Dan Mitsu (10.6%) (0.7 million yen/hr) WTF is she doing here?
12. Horikita Maki (10.4%) (1.6 million yen/hr)
13. Nagasawa Masami (10.2%) (1.4 million yen/hr)
14. Yoshitaka Yuriko (10.0%) (1.4 million yen/hr)
15. Honda Tsubasa (9.8%) (0.6 million yen/hr)

No Hirosue Ryoko on the list but then her dorama choices have been bad. Where's Takeuchi Yuko?


Anonymous said...

omg it's torindaru! the half japanese girl on talk/variety shows. is her actin ggood? i would think not. she speaks japaense and german.

Cyberwave said...

You think these two lists are depressing? How about looking at the latest Japan Drama Academy Awards results and you will lose more faith. I can't believe those journalists and judges could make such decisions like when they're picking with their eyes closed. I am not discouraging you from watching Amachan, as I can't deny that it is a really good drama. But please prepare to ignore all the acting skills of the heroine otherwise it will be a hell of pain to you.

Best Actress Top 3: (W.T.F. That's all I can say)

Best Actor Top 3: (Sorry, no full list here)
1. Sakai Masato
2. Koizumi Kotaro
3. Yamashita Tomohisa

Best Supporting Actress Top 3: (Koizumi deserves to win, but Tanaka Yuko also deserves more appreciation)

Best Supporting Actor Top 3: (Reasonable IMO)

Best Drama Top 3: (I know you will be pissed)

P.S. Kanata no ko Ep3 is ready but d-addicts seems to be down again. Damn. :/

dgundam said...

ooo thanks for the mention. ya i forgot about takeuchi yuko on that list poor her as well. XD

hmm didnt hirosue do something thats why it damaged her reputation in japan and her popularity dropped? maybe thats why shes not on the list.

meh yoshitaka yuriko. i like her but i dont think she is a good actress, plus i HATE her voice lol.

like mentioned earlier, rena nounen was cute in amachan but in terms of acting i dont know if she deserves to be paid that high just for amachan until she gets another role she can be judged on.

amachan is good, but it was also because of all the great supporting cast from koizumi kyoko to that jump guy (the bald guy from tiger/dragon).

definately try it. sometimes i think nounen is slow with all the variety show apearrances she did for amachan lol.

@Cyberwave LOL at yamahisa being on that list.....summer nude was crap.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

I quite like Anne, but I'm surprised to see her so high on the list. I didn't think she would be that popular.

lzyData said...

dgundam: Hirosue and Takeuchi both got a divorce; Hirosue is now remarried. Not sure whether that is a factor in their popularity, or at least their popularity within showbiz.

I also want to bring up Yada Akiko. Not a great actress by anyone's reckoning, but she did some roles very well. I still remember her in Boku no Ikiru Michi and Shiroi Kyotou. And up to the point where she married "bad boy" Oshio Manabu, she was doing very well in commercials too. Then it all went downhill.

As for the lists, yeah, many obvious well-regarded names mysteriously not mentioned, so the lists may not be very comprehensive. Abe Hiroshi. Eita. Tamaki Hiroshi. Nakatani Miki. Matsu Takako. Toda Erika. I had no idea Anne was big, but looks like she is, and she is after all in the current asadora.

By the way, if that hourly rate is correct for Nounen Rena, she's really lucked out simply by being in an asadora rather than renzoku :P

kondthol said...

Everyone misses Shinichi Tsutsumi as one of the very best Japan has now, it's a criminal this guy along with Abe, Yuusha Yamada, and Moteki being not on the list of the most expensive actors.

Anonymous said...

rootabega sez:

Thanks for another great review.
"Danda Rin is strong!" True on every level.

As for these depressing actors' lists, I like to cynically refer to them as the who's the most mobbed up in Japan lists. Grrrrrr....(Danda Rin style).

Musouka said...

Man, the first things I did was scanning for HIROSHI Abe and TAKEUCHI Yuko on those lists.... now, I'm depressed :(

I have only seen YOSHITAKA Yuriko in Mioka (1 Liter of Tears copycat) and Ashita no Kita Yoshio. She has a smile than can look like a young TAKEUCHI Yuko's but her acting abilities are nothing to write home about. SAWAJIRI Erika or UENO Juri are better actresses. Then again, Erika went on a long hiatus between 2007 and 2012 (and her real life drama might have done some damage) while Juri hasn't been in that many dramas especially after winning awards for Nodame Cantabile and Last Friends.

As for HARUKA Ayase, I have mixed feeling about her performances. She was quite good in JIN, okay in Crying Out Love and annoying in Mr Brain.

Akiramike said...

One can argue Ueno Juri is better than Yoshitaka Yuriko but definitely not Erika-sama. You should check her out in Noriko's Dinner Table, Love Shuffle, Taiyo to Umi, Heibi ni Piasu and A Story of Yonosuke.

She does a lot of mainstream fluff but she also does more Indie stuff like doing a small role in Himizu.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations. I will check more of her works and see.

Back to Danda Rin, which I just finished watching a few days ago. It's a great drama and does provide some useful insights into the nature of labor workers and social workers.

That said, I couldn't get over one thing in the final episode. *Spoiler Warning* I would understand Danda's reluctance to contact the police over the death threats she was receiving throughout the series seeing how she kept things to herself and prefered to act alone when possible. However, the solution to Minamisanjo's dilemma was provided on a golden plate. The threatening individual supplied photos of the "assaulted" girl exiting Minamisanjo's car. All was required was to take the evidence (the multiple threats, photos and text messages) to the police. The fingerprints of Kurimizawa (and maybe the man behind it all) could be found on the last envelope at the very least. This will prove this was all a setup. They chose the long and hard way to resolve the matter, however. I guess it provided them with an oppurtunity to preach some more near the end.

One thing I sort of disliked was how the writers tricked me into thinking that Danda would die in the end. I guess it has to do with the very first scene where everyone is dressed in black (as if they had just come back from the funeral) and the chief's snapping reactions to words like 'death' and 'killed'. I was tricked >_< but that still doesn't explain why they were all wearing black...