Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jmovie Review: Library Wars

In an alternate reality Japan, the Japanese government passes a censorship act, the Media Betterment Act (MBA) banning all works that are harmful to society. To combat this, the freedom of libraries law is created whereby libraries have are the last bastion of freedom for books. To safeguard the libraries from the MBA group, the Library Task Force (LTF) is created to defend libraries.

Library Wars has three parts to it, a very light and fluffy shoujo manga story about the Eikura Nana trying to find her prince in the LTF, a story about freedom of speech and the mass media and government using creative works as scapegoats anytime someone commits a crime and the action component which is the battles between the MBA and LTF.

The generic, skin deep quadrangle love story is basically the main story and the freedom of expression issue is merely a tool for the story and is hardly debated. Where Library Wars really comes apart is the action stuff. We are told that the LTF can only defend themselves in the beginning but are not told what the parameters of self defence are only that the LTF are at a disadvantage.

We are told that this is urban warfare but they fight more like a 18th Century army than a modern tactical urban warfare group. I'm watching the stupid shootouts between the MBA and LTF thinking where are the snipers? Where are the traps? Where are the grenades? It is only in the middle of the movie that we are shown that the LTF snipers are only allowed to fire warning shots!

I am happy to accept the premise but when everything that flows after that must make some sense. The LTF has this army that is trying to kill them (although no one dies in this movie despite thousands of bullets being fired) and they're not suppose to kill anyone when firing their guns in defence?

Library Wars is in the end a shoujo manga for 12 year old girls. Its painfully obvious with the casting of Eikura Nana who is good for the shoujo role but completely fails in the physical stunts department while Kuriyama Chiaki who can actually do physical stunts is confined to best friend role. None worse than when Eikura Nana is supposed to be doing push ups but the camera is showing her shoulders up and her shoulders aren't moving.

Yet another light novel adaptation with an interesting premise that completely falters in execution and somehow they end up being popular in Japan. I could not stand how stupid the so called 'urban warfare' was in this movie that I couldn't even finish watching. Library Wars is a shoujo movie made for 12 year olds that insults the intelligence of anyone older than that. Do not worth.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Raid 2 Berandal

OMFG. What a trip! So nice to watch a non-cgfied, no wire-fu and utterly brutal action movie and so happy that the movie is showing in Australia. My main concerns going in were that they would try to hard to top the action from the first one that it reaches Ong Bak 2 levels of stupidity and that the story might become too convoluted. I'm happy to say that while the story is not as tight as the first Raid/Serbuan Maut, the action scenes are way too awesome.


Anytime the story feels like its getting boring, we get some crazy action scene that has the audience wincing/laughing along. Stunts that made me go wow instead of CG that makes me fall asleep.

Humour helps a lot in such an incredibly brutal movie. Let's just say I won't be watching Indonesian porn.

The undercover storyline did provide some moments of tension.

Did I mention I love the brutality?

The mud fight scene.

The Raid 2 has got a car action scene that's even better than the one in Ronin and Bourne Supremacy. Gareth Evans knows how to direct his action.

Glass corridor fight. Truly WTF pulse pounding action.

The kitchen fight is truly a thing of beauty.

CG blood is not too over the top obvious and in some cases necessary cause the old burst the blood bag trick would have too much blood for some of the violence in this movie. I still don't like CG blood but it wasn't too distracting.

Some very inventive and painful looking camera angles and long cut action sequences.Nothing as long as Old Boy's corridor fight or Tom Yum Goong no cut fight up the stairs but still impressive.

You will never look at a hammer the same way again.


The WTF snow scene that took me out of the movie and the fight leading up to it was unnecessarily long. As a fan of the first movie, its nice fanservice but ultimately the length doesn't enhance the story or its pacing and not to mention the snow...

A bit too many bad guys running at hero with arms in the air but that's always the problem with 1 vs 20 fights.

Gareth Evan's shaky cam framing is still not as masterful as Paul Greengrass's but its still better than everyone else's.

The Goto family office looks so cheap for a gang that controls half of Jakarta.

Endo Kenichi, Matsuda Ryuhei and Kitamura Kazuki are little more than glorified cameos, unless of course this leads to them playing bigger roles in Raid 3. At least Abe Hiroshi got to kick ass in Chocolate.


Must watch for action movie fans. You can't get action this awesome anywhere else. My mind is still buzzing from all the ass kicking, neck slicing I just witnessed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Soil eps 1-5

Soil is a weird small town mystery dorama with subdued slapstick humour and some dark and heavy content. The best way to describe Soil would be a cross between Atami no Sousakan and Trick. Two cops, one of which is an unrecognisable Hoshino Mari come to investigate a mysterious disappearance in town of Soil and the town's many secrets start unraveling.

I enjoyed watching it but nothing blew me away yet. As always with mystery doramas how good the show is will depend on how it ends cause there are a lot of weird stuff happening. Will it go the way of Atami no Sousakan with the inconclusive ending or will there be some great revelation that will tie everything up nicely cause right now it feels like a collection of weird and creepy stories? Thanks to Ersby from If by Japan for subbing it. Watchable.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sukabaa! Adult Broadcast Awards 2014

Pretty late with this news as it happened at the beginning of this month. I blame all my gaming for distracting me from important news like this. Here are the winners:


I wholeheartedly support this award.



Better than Mori Nanako?


This must be some godlike rezu AV. If anyone's interested, the product code is kawd462. I know what ecchi means but what is ecchicchi?

You can watch the whole thing here on dailymotion. The principal from the original GTO is the host, lol. Too bad Ayase Ren didn't even get nominated. Pictures stolen from tokyoreporter and the official website.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Looking at Winter 2014 Jdoramas



The only good show so far for me this season. I would have liked more Samurai stuff but it still makes for fun laid back viewing. I have nothing bad to say about this show. Not quite must watch but very good.


I could see what the writer was going for but the execution didn't make for exciting viewing. When you think about Noguchi's plan, you have to ask all sorts of questions in regards to contract length, giving notice of quitting etc. The devil is in the details. Last operation was too long and the only thing that got my excited was the post credit scene. No more Iryus please unless they hire me to write it.



I know they wanted to do a happy end episode but ep 5 just dragged. The writing isn't half as smart as Dandarin and I might keep watching for the interesting Japanese family law stuff. Too lazy to retime the subs though.


Absolutely horrible show. Easy to retime but its so bad that it it makes the first season look so good.



No hurry to watch since there are no subs. Neko Zamurai was pretty straightforward but WOWOW shows, not so much.


I don't see anyone who can't act. Chances are its probably is as generic as Hancho but its got Furuta Arata and Yabe Kenzo! Hopefully someone else retimes the Japanese subs.


Doesn't look like a good season unless the last two turn out to be must watch shows.

On an unrelated note, Sono Sion's Why Don't You Play in Hell is out on the interwebs. I'm looking forward to rewatching it despite not liking the excessive ending the first time because there are multiple layers in his story and dialogue.

Chucks is subbing WOWOW's Umoreru. If she says its pretty good, then it must be so grab the torrent!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki review

After 135 hours including who knows how many hours of looking up archaic Japanese, I finally finished this bloody long game. This is my second Legend of Heroes game, after Zero no Kiseki Evolution. Sen no Kiseki is the eighth story in this super long running series and the first one to go full 3D. Besides Legend of Heroes and Bravely Default, I can't think of any decent old school style turn based RPGs out there.


- Same old Legend of Heroes battle system with minor tweaks. Still nowhere as good as Grandia 2's battle system though.

- More enemies that you could not backstab. My problem with Zero no Kiseki was backstab = instant win = boring. Still easy to do it though.

- After playing the no effort/budget all fanservice game Extetra, its nice to play an RPG that made me go, wow, they really put a lot of effort into this game.

- References to Zero no Kiseki.

- Cliffhanger ending that made me want the sequel now.


- Boring generic school story with way too many moe anime cliches like too much talking during battles while enemy just watches and cringeworthy school festival concert storyline. There's a reason I haven't touch Valyria Chronicles 2 after all this years.

- Really sporadic voice acting. For example a couple of lines may be spoken at the beginning of a cutscene but its all quiet until the end and maybe only one character's lines are spoken.

- After you clear the game, you get to choose 5 points of stuff to carry over to a new game and swimsuits cost 2 points when other costumes cost 1 point. Why Falcom, why???

- The real difficult final battle is actually set a bit before the easy final battle which was a letdown until the awesome cliffhanger.


- Every character has mommy/daddy issues.

- Learning all the useless Japanese words which cannot be used in real life.

- Huge slowlydown on the Vita when you get to the huge and more populated places.


While I will definitely get the sequel to have my revenge on C, character wise its so bland and generic. There's an exciting political story in the background though. Its an OK game but unfortunately, there are not many old school RPGs out there today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Neko Zamurai 1-6

Damn, how did I miss this dorama? Probably cause its a TV Kanagawa production and there . Never heard of them til now, but apparently, they are in independent tv station that does nice anime. Sounds like my type of station.

I would describe Neko Zamurai as a slice of life dorama featuring a poor samurai, Madarame Kyutaro (Kitamura Kazuki) and his cat, Tamanojoh. Madarame is basically Kuwano Shinsuke from KDO as a samurai except that his eyebrows are always knitted. He is skilled at sword fighting, is always grumpy and doesn't relate to others, and society has left him behind.

Kitamura Kazuki really carries this show with his portrayal of Madarame. He certainly has the charisma to play a samurai of few words trying to raise a cat. The pacing of the show is very laid back but it slowly builds up the main story while revealing information on the various characters.

Very relaxing and watchable show and I enjoy the subdued humour. Just be warned this is more cat dorama than samurai. The movie just came out in Japan and Renbutsu Misako is in it! I want to watch it!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Iryu 4 eps 1-6

Team Dragon are back, surprisingly reformed in episode 1 by Asada of all people, except for nurse Miki who didn't do season 3 and is now doing some stupid chocolate dorama. I was very surprised episode 1 started off like the end of the last three episodes with a surgeries that kept getting complicated and complicated.

I was worried that new writer Hamada Hideya might have blown his load in the first episode but it seems that he has a plan. Instead of doing the usual slowly reform Team Dragon towards the end that the last 3 seaons have done, this time its Noguchi and the new consultant Okamura played by Takahashi Katsunori who slowly dismantle Team Dragon and bring the players into their L&P hospital.

Season 4 is interesting not just because it is different but because Okamura does lures the members of Team Dragon away by giving them exactly what they want. There is no dealing with the devil issue where because whatever Okamura's motives are, as long as the members of Team Dragon are doing their jobs whether as individuals or as a team, its all for the good of the patients.

With no clear cut bad guy in this season, there is a lack of tension but there is an air in intrigue on where the writer will take the story as Asada can do nothing as his team is dismantled. Some of the stories have been interesting such as over eagerness to use machine assisted surgery versus outdated surgeries and Noguchi's past. Its still the same director and the same great music. Can't judge the series until the end but so far watchable. Please don't turn into season 3 and fall apart.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! review

After 94 hours of playing the 11th game in the Ryu go Gotoku franchise in hard mode over the course of 11 days, I was hoping to write about how freaking brilliant this Sakuraba Nanami game was but unfortunately its turned into a mixed bag.


- Sakuraba Nanami bathing scene.

- Sega really packed a crazy amount of content into this game. I liked the Kyoto version of karaoke and Japanese dance although the hardest Japanese dance needs two people playing.

- It was so much fun watching Sega put their own twist to the Sakamoto Ryoma/Shinsengumi story.

- Speaking of twists, the best one was the one I should have seen coming since it was so obvious when the casting was announced.

- I loved how Sakamoto Ryoma actually got the Satsuma and Choshu alliance going.

- Bloody awesome to play such famous incidents such as the Teradaya inn incident, Omiya inn incident and the burning of Kyoto. The 2nd half of the game really got my blood pumping. (until the end chapter)

- Unarmed fighting style is Bayonetta-like, albeit not as graceful.

- 60 fps really helps with the tight parrying/just block timing. No braindead Assassin's Creed mash reversal instant win.

- Majima who is playing the Okita Soji character in this game is gold. He basically saves the game from the boring boy scout Ryoma.

- Mine from Ryu ga Gotoku 3 is the epitome of cool as Hijikata. They need to bring Mine back... somehow.

- Really good side stories which are the trademark of the Ryu ga Gotoku series. Some of my favourites include the little girl farewell, Ryoma playing mom and the ugly samurai.

- Takahashi Katsunori facial expression captures were really good.

- Hirano Aya singing enka, lol.

- The castle storming stage is so ridiculously awesome!

- Playing strip janken and shooting game with Konno Anna. :)

- Tosa-ben sub story.


- The best side stories were mostly in the early 1/3 of the game. In fact, Ishin overloads you with sub stories to do early and they become less and finally stop at chapter 6 before the game ramps up the story. Different formula from the previous games where the pacing is more even but at least you can complete any sub story in later stages.

- The free PS Vita app is an interesting idea; load your save game onto your Vita and you can play mini games, dungeons on your way to work/school in Japan. Unfortunately there seems to be input lag or somehow the cooking mini game has different timing. You do get free mahjong, koi koi, shogi etc for free on your Vita, even if you don't have the game.

- Dungeon battles are necessary for getting weapon forging parts but its lags on the Vita and you have to use the back of the Vita which has touch points as replacement for the L2 and R2 buttons. Not responsive at all.

- The dungeons are basically Ryoma equipped with power up cards which you need to level up in order to beat bosses that can kill you with one or two blows. I basically either had to level up my cards (boring grinding) or played strafe, dodge and shoot with a pistol. (Not as boring as grinding your cards but beats getting killed in one blow)

- It takes a long time to get access to the fun moves and Kenzan was more fun.

- Another life with Haruka became a grindy distraction in the end. They should have given her a bigger side story instead.


- Sakuraba Nanami's part is the 2nd worst written in the game. Whoever wrote her and Ryoma's stuff obviously never heard of the 'better to show than to tell' rule. We don't need the okami of Teradaya telling the player Oryo has a thing for Sakamoto 10 times when I can't see nor feel it.

- The final chapter and ending that should not have been in the game. Sega wanted to make the story mean something more and just destroyed the great momentum that they had building. The big fight should have been settled at the level before the last when the momentum was strong. Let's just say the baddie who has caused so much death and suffering with the words love and forgiveness and then to make things more anti-climactic, we get a surprise history figure as the 'true' baddie that I didn't give a crap about so Sakamoto Ryoma can preach a lot. Ishin had so much story momentum in the second half and it.... just..... came.......... to ....... a........ screeching..... halt. And what happened to the white hair?

- What's worse than fetch quests? Quests where you have to fetch the same thing 6 times for the same person and no, you can't give it to the NPC in one go. You have to go into the nearest building and come out again to reset and repeat.

- I did all the side quests and I still don't have all the skills in game? WTF? Who the hell balanced this thing? If I did all the sub stories, I should have access to all the special moves. I hate grinding games. I died a few times early which is good (since I played on hard) but once I forged my weapons, it was easy except for high level dungeons which require powerful cards.


- Why did they use the 40 year old Kiryuu Kazuma face instead of the younger Kiryuu from Ryu ga Gotoku 1 and 2? Ryoma was supposed to be 31 when he died. Ryoma and Oryo look like erojiji and girl doing enjyou kousai.

- The Disneyfied eyes of the final villain. WTF?!


Gotta applaud the effort. They tried to do too much, but that's always been the hallmark of the series I guess. Its still a very fun game though and I enjoyed most of it, except the end. IMO, Kenzan is a much better game.


Poured another 10 hours into this getting all the revelations but still not being able to access all the moves. I hate that they designed the game so that you can only max out one fighting style. Ggggrrr. The system works similarly to FFX's sphere grid. Each fighting style has a spherical grid to unlock moves and bonuses and you get one point per level of fighting style and another point for your general level which you can use in any grid.

Problem is, fighting style level maxes out at 25 and I can only slowly get new moves through upgrading my level. I have gotten all the sword abilities and you upgrade again all the way to level 50 but its going to take way too long to complete the abilities for the other styles.

I like games that force you into choosing certain tech trees for your character but limiting the me from getting everything movie by making it grindy? Ryu ga Gotoku has always been about doing sub stories to get experience points but turning it into a grind fest is so sad.  Worst of all, it forces me to stick to sword style because it is the only style I have unlock to post level 25. Why Sega, why???!!!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Sakamoto Yuji - Soredemo Ikite Yuku interview Part 3B

The original interview can be found here. Corrections and comments are most welcome. Thanks to Chuks and Satomi for translation help. Only the last 1/4 of the interview left to go, if I can tear myself away from Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin. Click on the translation tab for the previous parts.

Sakamoto: Once I saw the actual thing, I could write according to the images that I saw and did not have much resistance (to the difference between the images in Sakamoto's mind and the actual thing). Therefore, I cannot enjoy watching first episodes every time.

Abiko: In the fifth episode, there is a long scene where Otake Shinobu-san speaks by herself for close to 10 minutes. This is an incredible scene. Since you did not go the shooting location might have not known about it……

Sakamoto: No, I only heard about it later. Otake-san went to the location in a flash, did the difficult scene and quickly went back home. (laughs)

Abiko: Was it done in one shot?

Sakamoto: Of course it was in one shot. It’s like that every time. Just before that scene was shot, Otake-san was jokingly quarrelling and having fun talking with everyone. When it was time to start, she got into character immediately.

Abiko: Although this scene wasn’t done in one cut, did you use multiple cameras at the same time?

Sakamoto: Yes. We used a similar set up for Kazama’s scene in episode 8. Incidentally, in that scene where the interior of the house was actually a studio set, any scene featuring the entranceway to outside was actually at the Nagano location shoot. When Otake-san was rehearsing she said ‘After Kazama-san leaves the house, I have to go after him.” So Otake-san had to see him off not just from the inside of the house.

Abiko: So, she had to go the Nagano location shoot.

Sakamoto: Exactly. If we did not shoot the outdoor scenes with Otake-san in Nagano, it would be inconsistent but Otake-san could not make it to Nagano for scheduling reasons so she was told, “Otake-san please don’t go outside”. So they were shooting the big fight (between Otake-san and Kazama-san) and straight after “Ok, cut!”, Otake-san in a flash went outside the house set and said, “from here its Nagano…” with a twinkling smile. She really is a monster! (laughs)

Abiko: (laughs) In spite of that, you wrote it the long lines because it was Otake-san?

Sakamoto: Yes, because it was Otake-san. Although I’ve seen Otake-san act in plays, I wanted to see a different sort of acting from her on television. When I think of plays, the main thing is always long lines. I actually write a lot of lines similar to a play but that was too much for me.

Abiko: So, did Otake ask for the lines?

Sakamoto: No, no. It was the producer who wanted the long lines. Of course, I did not write the long lines thinking that they would be able to be broadcast on television. Starting from the scene where Otake-san leaves the house and says, “You killed my daughter” to going to the lake, along the way I was thinking what sort of emotions are there in first half and wrote that in the script…. I thought the first half was really interesting but if we cut the second half, it won’t make any sense, so we put more weight on the second half.

Abiko: After rewatching that long line scene, although Otake-san was the only one speaking, the people in the background still have to act. I think that it must have been difficult for them to act when they can’t speak and can only listen. Just in case, there were cuts in the scene so was it done in one shot? Was it shot in the flow? I’m interested to know.  

Sakamoto: For television doramas, outside of location shoots, everything is basically done in one shot. The shootings outside were done piece by piece. Naturally there are no long shoots in television doramas. However, people working on the show were nervous. At the time of submitting my first and second drafts, Otake-san was informed that there were long dialogues. After the script was delivered, were flipped through the pages and were surprised that there were a lot of long, continuous dialogue in it but I heard that Otake-san did it like there was nothing to it, as usual.

Abiko:  It’s not really that important a scene but after reading the script I’m interested and stuck a tag on this part. In the last episode, Eita’s and Mitsushima Hikari’s characters went on a date. They were talking about where they wanted to go for vacation and Mitsushima said she wanted to go to Easter Island. When she was asked, “What do want to do there?”, Mitsushima-san said, “The Moais to..” (Easter Island statues) She’s was talking about Eita’s face, wasn’t she?

Sakamoto: Aaa…. Was she?

Abiko: Eh? She wasn’t?

Sakamoto: No she wasn’t. (laughs)

Abiko: Its about something else?

Sakamoto: She wasn’t thinking about anything in particular. (laughs)

Abiko: But, Mitsushima-san glanced at Eita’s face when she said Moai and said “It’s a secret” and laughed.

Sakamoto: That’s the type of person she is. That is Futaba’s role. She’s interesting because she stops herself before she says something.

Abiko: That’s right. That’s right.

Sakamoto: Actually, I don’t know. (laughs) Maybe Mitsushima-san thought so when she was doing that. My assumption is tha the Futaba that Mitsushima portrays liked the Moai since she was a kid and just wanted to see the Moais. That’s probably what she wanted to say when she stopped at “Moais to…”

Abiko: Ehhh… Aa, I’m glad I asked.

Sakamoto: You should ask when you have a chance. The explanation might not be what you were expecting. (laughs)

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin DX Pack has arrived!

It was sent from Nippon Yasan inside a box and wrapped up in newspaper. I usually order from play-asia but while I was mulling over whether to get the DX pack in December, pre-orders quickly sold out and I had to resort to Nippon Yasan for the first time. Nippon Yasan has mixed reviews online but I have little choice.

I paid a lot of $$$ for Fedex shipping as apposed to normal EMS. With play-asia I usually receive Fedexed stuff after 3 days. The game came out in Japan on Saturday and Nippon Yasan only sent out shipment information to Fedex on Sunday! No, the Kiryu figure doesn't come with the DX pack. I got it a long time ago and as can be seen from the younger face, is from Ryu go Gotoku 2.

Worse, the game was only picked up by Fedex in Osaka on Tuesday and had to transit through Guangzhou and Singapore adding an extra day instead of the usual 3 days before arriving on Friday. Nippon Yasan is supposed to be based in Matsuyama, Shikoku so either there's no Fedex there or stock was in Osaka. The sake bottle set is a lot smaller than I thought it would be.

Don't expect Nippon Yasan to send stuff straight away if ordering from them and its not worth going Fedex since EMS takes 4-5 days from Japan (from HMV) but then delivery times from Osaka might be slower than Tokyo. In summary, game came out in Japan on Saturday last week and I only got it on Friday.

The game also comes a 15 day PS Plus voucher. Loving the higher res and 60 fps. It really makes a huge difference and for the first time ever, I'm playing on hard.

Loving the history lesson in this game with the class system of the Tosa clan. Takahashi Katsunori plays Takechi Hanpeita who in this story in Sakamoto Ryoma's brother in arms who saved Sakamoto as a child when his family was burned alive by the joushi (upperclass samurai) Its fun looking up what actually happened. In the game, Yoshida Toyo was secretly working against his clan and raised both Ryoma and Hanpeita to set up the Kinnoutou (Imperialism party) and change the Tosa system but according to history, Hanpeita assasinated Yoshida Toyo.

Why can't they have furiganas for the names as well? I can't bloody read handwritten kanji. I've been trying to finish Sen no Kiseki before Ishin arrived but looks like I'm going to have to put it on hold.

Izakaya Hanako 500円 discount.