Wednesday, April 30, 2014
I wasn't really eager to watch Zoku Saigo Kara storyline-wise, there wasn't really anything interesting in the first season and it was entertaining on the strength of Koizumi Kyoko and Nakai Kiichi's chemistry along with Okada Yoshikazu's dialogue.
Episode one was pretty funny and reminded me of the strengths of the first season. Chiaki (Koizumi Kyoko) and Wahei (Nakai Kiichi) can argue about the most mundane of things and make it entertaining. Storyline-wise, Chiaki's moved up to management and is bored stamping documents while Wahei is now known for losing the world heritage bid and is in charge of two departments.
Uchida Yuki is now a full fledge writer, Asada Ryutaro is getting married to Satsukawa Aimi and Ijima Naoko suspects her husband of cheating on her. To add some spice to the story, Kase Ryo returns to Chiaki's life as her former failed scriptwriter boyfriend and Hasegawa Kyoko shows up to be Wahei's friend while looking for the angel of Kamakura, Asada Ryutaro.
There's going to be relationship triangles and quadrangles and what will make this show good is whether Okada Yoshikazu can make it consistently funny until Chiaki and Wahei get together in the end, or not. I like the addition of Kase Ryo and Hasegawa Kyoko but I don't have confidence in the story because in season one, other than the two main leads, everyone else was pretty boring.
More of the same watchable stuff from first season. Hopefully Zoku Saigo Kara doesn't get too drawn out.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Coffee-ya no hitobito is one of those small shopping street human stories aka Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi or Shinzanmono. Takahashi Katsunori plays the Coffee-ya-san who went into prison for killing someone and Kimura Tae is the wife of the deceased. With their main story in the background, every episode we have a story about one of the residents of the shopping street.
WHAT I LIKED
+ Can't go wrong with Takahashi Katsunori and Kimura Tae.
+ Kurashina Kana!!! She's playing a woman who's motto is 'time is money'.
+ Coffee-ya-san isn't the meddling defender of justice who preaches moral lessons at the end of the episode. Sometimes he is involved more but the dorama never feels like its talking down to the viewer.
+ The problems do get solved by the people involved themselves.
+ Absence of narration for some scenes doing a running commentary to the viewers, for eg end of ep 3.
+ I had great fun watching and 3 episodes flew by so fast.
+ Relaxed feeling to the dorama but the pacing is constant.
+ Dan Mitsu is in this show but she doesn't have to act.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- Kimura Tae's husband was basically a debt collector and Coffee-ya killed him when saving a widow from getting raped. Waaaaaaay to easy. I know shades of grey don't exist in human life doramas but.
Another one of those shows where I loved it but can't really call it must watch, yet. Sort of on par with Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi for me. Coffee-ya no Hitobito is a feel good dorama that doesn't make me feel dumb. Very watchable.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
The bubble economy has just burst in Japan and Fuyuki Aki (Nagasaku Hiromi) works in company where women can't get promoted and bosses would say things to her like, "If only you were a man." Fuyuki used to date Satou (Eguchi Yosuke) who works in the same company and Satou is about to get married to another colleague.Watashi to iu unmei ni tsuite follows Aki as she is led along by fate.
WHAT I LIKED
+ Its based on a novel which I assume is aimed at women but I enjoyed most of it.
+ The role of Aki is one of those juicy female roles that any actress would kill for.
+ Nagasaku Hiromi has planted her flag on the best actress mountain for 2014. She does a really awesome job and no overacting from Eguchi Yosuke.
+ Awesome movie-like direction and music. I have no idea how much budget WOWOW has for their doramas compared to your run of the mill idoru doramas but this looks so good.
+ Watching mobile phones/fashion change from the early 90s till today.
+ The dorama also deals with huge events and there's one that made for pretty exciting sequence.
+ Okada Yoshikazu (Saigo Kara Nibanme) adapted the novel and the dialogue felt natural and real, especially when the show sometimes threatens to give way to soap opera conventions.
+ This one seemingly soap opera-ish thing that I thought was going to happen in episode 2 turned into an interesting incident.
+ Amachan's grandmother.
+ Aki and sister-in-law talk.
+ The long no cut scene between Aki and her brother.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- The ending. Let's just say if it weren't a real event, I would be even more pissed off. Female viewers might love it but I found it deflating.
- Bloody obvious they voiced over the Malaysian taxi driver. lol
Ending aside, great job by WOWOW. I was reluctant to call it must watch but considering the source material, it is what it is and they did a awesome job executing it. Plus its nice to see WOWOW doing something that's not about a cover-up. Must watch for Nagasaku Hiromi's acting IMHO and the direction, just watch out for the soapish ending.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Disregarding the fact Fukada Kyoko can't act (dodges eggs from Fukakyon fans), Silent Poor is a horribly written and boring moral show aimed at 10 year olds. Can't be stuffed criticizing Silent Poor cause it put me to sleep. The only thought that I had watching this was that Fukada Kyoko must have something in her contract that says any scene that was a full shot of her face must be lit up with the power of 10 suns.
So many much better shows to watch this season. I am checking all the time now for Mozu ep 3 to be uploaded.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Umoreru is from on the screenplay which won the 6th WOWOW Scenario Grand Prix. First time I've heard of it but having a competition to where the best screenplay is made into a dorama special is a great idea as opposed to tv stations commissioning doramas to push some powerful agency's latest talento.
Umoreru starts off with the aftermath of Kitami (Kiritani Kenta) blowing the whistle on Kanameru foods mislabeling their products. Kitami is ostracised by his colleagues and his wife Ito Ayumi and he returns to his hometown to work at the city hall where he is faced with the mayor's corruption.
While at first Umomeru starts off feeling like yet another WOWOW whistleblower/cover-up dorama, its a lot more than that. I would describe it as a psychological dorama, looking at Kiritami's state of mind as he grapples with the fallout of his actions and confronts his beliefs.
Kuninaka Ryoko is so perfectly cast as his first love and the criminally underused Ito Ayumi is his ex-wife. Surprisingly, Kiritani Kenta who usually plays supporting characters with a lot of ever-acting can act. Not Higashiyama Noriyuki OMFG he can be very good level but Kiritani Kenta does a decent job.
A lot of excellent scenes in Umomeru including the dinner scene, autumn besides the lake scene and the moment of truth scene. I wasn't sold on Umomeru as a must watch at first because I could see the ending a mile away but it stayed in my mind long after because the story is more about Kitami's psychological battle with the truth and its cost. Umomeru is not the heroic story of a whistleblower but about a man struggling with the consequences of his actions where there is no right or wrong. Must watch for me and thanks to Chuks for subbing it!
SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: WHAT I LIKED
- According to Umomeru, Japanese women are more pragmatic than idealists. Being an ally of justice will not nab you Japanese women!
- I like that Kitami kept struggling with whether he did the right thing and there was no one tell him he had done so. In order to justify his actions at Kanameru, he had to speak out against the mayor.
- The mass media only wants to make use of Kitami because at the end of the day, no one is there to protect the whistleblower.
- I like that Kitami's old classmate called him out for having a holier-than-thou attitude which could be partially true but in the end chose having pride in his work over getting in the inner circle.
- Kuninaka Ryoko telling Kitami that he was only running away from the truth of his actions while she wants him not to uncover the truth about her past and create this fake truth him with.
- I like how the violins slowly go a bit crazy everytime Kitami has to confront his feelings mirroring his internal turmoil.
- Kitami admitting that he was not ready to lose everything again to expose the mayor's corruption yet he could not live a happy life with Kuninaka Ryoko and her son without knowing the truth. For the record I would happily ignore a murder for Kuninaka Ryoko.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
WHAT IS IT?
Oguri Shun is a section 1 detective who sees dead people.
+ Since Oguri Shun can talk to the dead, we know who the killer is but since the police can't connect the killer to the crime, Oguri goes to see Furuta Arata to get a false witness. Thumbs up for grey area morality.
+ Episode 2 has the dead killer taunting Oguri Shun. Nice. As long as the writer takes the premise and keeps coming up with stories we don't see in everyday cop shows, it should be watchable.
+ Oguri Shun can act.
- In episode 2, the killer tells Oguri Shun that the girl was kidnapped 2 days ago and he doesn't look to see if someone's filed a missing person's report to ascertain who she is?
- Serial killer smashes his laptop against table. Why not take out the HD and put it in the fish tank/set in on fire?
- As the subber wrote in the comments, why not check the killer's phone for e-mail? Why not have someone from forensics say they couldn't recover anything from the pc or his phone?
- As the HD was damaged that was pretty quick HD recovery. Reminds me of Bloody Monday where the writer had no idea how the internet worked and things just magically happened.
- How come none of the girls appeared to Oguri Shun at the place they were killed? Does he have to come into contact with the bodies for them to appear?
- Haru's agency demanding that she not wear the usual coroner outfits and that she show skin during autopsy. How old is she btw cause one would need years to get a medical degree, work experience and then acquiring a coroner's qualification? One line about her carrying a mensa card could have solved a lot.
Watchable cause its something different. The writer has to come up with various stories to keep things interesting when the victim can give information to Oguri Shun.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
torachan2006 has subbed the first episode of Mozu. You need to jump through some hoops to get the subs but I support subbers not wanting their hard work to be used to streaming sites to make money. If you're watching with Japanese subs, jadefrost has written a very detailed synopsis of the first episode. Anyways on to episode 2.
WHAT I LIKED
+ While Kuraki is on a warpath but the recent widower invites Maki Yoko for a meal twice this episode. Someone knows how to mix business with pleasure.
+ You get more Maki Yoko backstory and it seems like its going to stay in the background for a while and I'm guessing its going to resurface in season 2.
+ I like that Kuraki doesn't have a sidekick for him to explain his actions. I can only guess he is shaking the trees to see what fruits can fall down. He guesses that Maki Yoko received a call about Shingai but there's no way she would let herself be followed so he tries to provoke the Athena Security people.
+ I like the directing and the slow build up.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- Kagawa Teruyuki interrupting Maki Yoko in pursuit of a suspect. I know he hates Public Security cause he reminds everyone of it everytime he is on the screen but why help the suspect get away?
= How did Kuraki know where Maki Yoko was? They better explain that he planted a gps tracker on her during his two meals with her. Come to think about it, the proper way to show the gps would be for Shingai to notice it on the ground right before Kuraki bursts into the room. Why leave the explanation for the next episode unless that's how Kuraki finds her. This could turn out to be a plus depending on how they explain it in ep 3.
= I think I know who Shingai's sister is. Maki Yoko's comment about his face sounded like foreshadowing to me. Still don't really care about Shingai. He is severely lacking that scary aura.
How good Mozu will be depends on how it all ties in together.
Monday, April 14, 2014
All hail Ozaki Masaya, one of the best jdorama writers out there having written KDO, Love Generation and Tadano Hitoshi! KDO is one of the greatest jdoramas ever and I never suspected that we would actually get its spiritual sequel in Black President!
Sawamura Ikki is Mitamura Yukio, the president of a black kigyou (business), which means a company that overworks his workers. Mitamura is a very direct person who likes to say what he thinks, actually cares about what other's think of him, always sexually harasses Kuninaka Ryoko who plays his secretary and emphasizes results over the treatment of his workers. Mitamura decides to enter University to study business management and ends up being taught by Kuroki Meisa and he also enters the movie club.
+ Brilliantly funny like KDO.
+ Ozaki Masaya is a genius at creating jokes that don't need the punchline to be said. For example, he sets up the ball pen thing in the beginning of the episode and the name of his automatic vacuum and makes them pay off at the very end.
+ Sawamura Ikki is very well cast to play the playful Mitamura.
+ Mitamura taking off his trousers when all Dan Mitsu only asked him to unbutton his shirt. lol
+ Dan Mitsu in a role that doesn't require acting. I still need therapy to forget her horrible acting in Hanzawa Naoki.
+ The mature age university student angle is interesting because it hardly happens in Japan.
+ After Dandarin, I'm happy for more worker's rights issues, this time from a management perspective.
- Kuninaka Ryoko should have swapped roles with Kuroki Meisa. This feels like casting according to name value cause Kuroki Meisa just doesn't have chemistry with Sawamura Ikki and Kuninaka Ryoko deserves her chance to play the Hayasaka sensei role since she was basically Natsukawa Yui's understudy in KDO.
- Sawamura Ikki shaking his shoulders and doing the 'yarou yo...'
While I doubt Black President will reach the great heights of KDO, I think there's a 90% chance this will be a very good dorama cause I absolutely believe in Ozaki Masaya's writing. He's got the ability to address issues of management and youth looking for their way in life with a deft and funny touch. Must watch jdorama.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Ep 1 is an ok set up episode. The whole thing can be summed up into two storylines that are connected but have parts that feel disconnected. First, we have Kuraki's (Nishijima Hidetoshi) story. He's the ace of the public security police, who's wife died in the explosion.
Kuraki is the troubled soul hard boiled detective and as the episode progresses we learn about his troubled past and the incident with his daughter and wife. My only complaint of the Kuraki story is I wish they had revealed the incident with flashbacks only and without explanation and let the viewers put 2 and 2 together instead of the heavy handed I just want to truth and then showing varies unsolved cases.
Supporting Kuraki in his story is Osugi (Kagawa teruyuki), the section 1 investigator who declares many times his hatred for the public security section. He and Densha end up as our exposition characters though I am very skeptical of this boogeyman Daruma storyline. The second Kuraki supporting character is of course, Akeboshi Miki (Maki Yoko) who is from section 2 of public securities and answers directly to Kita Yoshio and was at the scene of the blast.
The second main story is about the killer Shingai who loses his memory. I really don't like the way his eyes turn completely black in two scenes cause it implies that there are supernatural powers at work, especially combined with the Daruma story. Not sure the Shingai actor is the right guy for the role and it doesn't help that the people trying to kill him were overacting.
The one thing I didn't understand was what was Shometani Shota doing in the beginning of the episode. He was filming the results of the blast, dropped his camera as if he were going to save this girl who was saved by Maki Yoko and he was never seen again. Maybe he will resurface in ep 2?
Let's see what happens in episode two when the story should really get going. The preview at the end looks very exciting. I actually watched episode 1 twice because somehow it didn't occur to me that Japanese subs would be available since TBS is doing season 1. It was so much easier for me to understand with Japanese subs. Fingers crossed episode 2 is good.