Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Angel Heart Episode 1+2

+ Who would have ever thought that Kamikawa Takaya, the serious white shoe wearing cop from Marks no Yama and Lady Joker would have a good Saeba Ryo?

 + I like Aibu Saki as Kaori. She's less noisy and tomboyish compared to the anime but she's got chemistry with Kamikawa.

- Unfortunate, she has to die cause this is Angel Heart and not City Hunter.

- The three 'ladies' at Cat's Eye are completely irritating and unnecessary. You've already got Umibozu to dispense any information to the audience already.

- Not enough mokkori aka Saeba Ryo perversions.

= Episode two was a flashback episode telling the beginning of City Hunter and it was so freaking awesome. However, it only made it painfully obvious that its what they should have gone for because City Hunter is significantly more interesting.

- Can't we just forget about this Angel Heart crap and use the same actors for a City Hunter series with a lot of mokkori? Need a lot more Aibu Saki as Kaori.

- Who the hell cast the Angel Heart girl? Part of it is the plot's fault but she just puts me to sleep.

- Here's an example of why Japanese directors have no concept of setting things up correctly during action scenes. Girl gets chased down by secret evil organisation (who wear their uniforms in public with logo). Notice they are walking/looking down the corridor and she's just around the corner.

- They turn the corner and she's not there. Where did she go?

- Ok, she went down that grill which was JUST IN THE LINE OF SIGHT OF THE BAD BUYS 10 SECONDS AGO! Forget Abenomics, kickstarting the Japanese economy or introducing My Number in Japan, Abe needs to make me the Minister of Common Sense for Japan. I see this type of lazy/stupid stuff in Jdoramas way too often and its easily fixable by limiting the camera view and creating the illusion of where things are. Sigh.

Angel Heart gets all the City Hunter stuff right that all the Angel Heart stuff pales in comparison.

I'll probably give it another two episodes. They need to introduce a lot more mokkori to keep me watching though.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shinya Shokudo The Movie

I watched this some time ago but didn't write up about it because it wasn't bad enough to make fun of nor was it good enough that I had recommend it straight away. Thanks to anon for reminding me about it. Anyways, Shinya Shokudo the movie is 4 episodes of the series in one, the story about the lover of a deceased rich man, Tabe Mikako's story, the story about the volunteer and her stalker and the mystery of the urn that was left at the diner.

All the stories were decent and my favourite was Tabe Mikako's story but I feel that the stories should have been mixed up a lot better instead about bookending the three stories with the urn mystery. Tabe Mikako's story should have bookended the movie instead.

Firstly, she should have been the character which represents the audience's viewpoint and would  have been a great way to introduce all the regulars to people who haven't seen the show. Secondly, by having her interact with the characters from the other three stories, there is more of a continuity to the movie and it would be fun seeing her reactions to the stories as instead of just the master's all knowing nod. (Provided of course her character is not too idealistic) The ochazuke sisters work for the series but they are not enough for the movie.

Shinya Shokudo the movie tastes like a warm and familiar appetizer but if they had arranged the stories a bit differently, it could have been a very sumptuous meal. Watchable but only for fans of the show only IMHO.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is a beautiful and sad documentary about one of Japan's greatest contributions to the world; Studio Ghibli and the man and the legend, Miyazaki Hayao. Its beautiful because its fun to watch the last big hand drawn animation studio at work and its sad because you know the end is coming.

+ I enjoyed watching Miyazaki do his storyboards and then time the scenes with a stopwatch while visualising it in his head.

- The level of attrition at Studio Ghibli is alluded to being high but I would like to have seen more about the hard work that the animators have to do.

+ I was surprised to see who ended up being the lead voice actor The Wind Rises.

- Daigo's appearance in this feels kind of pointless.

+ More than a documentary about making animation, it is a story about Miyazaki's viewpoint in life. He talks about nuclear power, war, the environment, children and whether there's any meaning to film making.

+ I really liked the story about the letter that Miyazaki receives out of the blue.

+ The one thing that left the biggest impression on me was the Ghibli producer talking to a bunch of new employees of Nihon Terebi about human relations.

I enjoy Ghibli stuff but I wouldn't call myself a fan (though I love Kiki) and The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness gave me such an appreciation of what they do. I think its better watch The Wind Rises before watching this documentary. Must watch.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Arslan Senki 8-25

Ok, I might have jumped the gun or bow in this case by giving the series a must watch due to expectations from Legend of Galactic Heroes. I now realise that Arslan is no LoGH simply because its a much more straightforward story based on a Persian epic. The similarities are there of course; LoGH was about democracy vs autocracy and Arslan is about corrupt religion vs slavery and both ask the question what makes a good ruler but where it differs is that the characters lack depth and the OMFG moments aren't really there.

That's not saying I didn't enjoy Arslan. It just wasn't as gripping as LoGH or as polished as Guin Saga. The art is really inconsistent. Most of it is sub par and there are times you can tell that they are saving what little time and budget they have for this major scene.

I'm looking forward to the continuation of the story about the boy who would be king and I've learned to accept that Arslan no LoGH. What it is, is a straightforward fantasy epic with interesting themes and inconsistent artwork and no moeblobs. Very watchable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kuroi Fukuin SP

Kuroi Fukuin is a dorama special filled with lots of stars with Beat Takeshi in the lead role and a decent budget but it is also pretty boring. Its your standard 'the best cop in the precinct doesn't follow the Japanese police's rules about work division and thus his colleagues are entitled to overact and shout at him all the time'. The only shows this has worked are Gonzo and Rinjo and that's because the colleagues had good reason.

The second problem is that there is no freaking suspense or rather, tension. The key ingredient in making shows exciting. There is no mystery and the revelations nearly put me to sleep. I somehow made it to the end but this jdorama SP is not staying on my HDD. Meh.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tsuki ni Inoru Pierrot SP

Tsuki ni Inoru Pierrot is a nice little dorama special starring Tokiwa Takako and Tanihara Shosuke and written by Kitagawa Eriko (Long Vacation). Tokiwa Takako is living a boring existence in the countryside with her mother and grandmother when one day she decides to order a book that she read long ago called The Clown who prayed to the Moon.

The seller happened to be Tanihara Shosuke and they start corresponding and we slowly find out about Tokiwa Takako's character and her history. I really like Tokiwa Takako's performance in Tsuki ni Inoru Pierrot. She gives her character enough depth as we slowly find out about her worries and frustrations.

The only negative thing I would say is that Tanihara Shosuke's character is too nice and boring but he's not the main character so its all right. Tsuki ni Inoru Pierrot reminds me of Matsu Takako's April Story. I short and sweet story that would make a nice first episode. Very watchable.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Utawarerumono : Itsuwari no Kamen

The first Utawarerumono game was a low budget visual novel/strategy RPG that was memorable because it was about a smart dude who had to lead his village in an uprising and become the leader of the country because there was no other way. The ending sucked but I liked the characters and cool and smart heroes are not as common in Japanese games.

I was excited for the sequel and after 19 hours, nothing really happens in the story. No particular exciting scene in 19 fucking hours. Plenty of stupid slapsticks and yawn inducing fan service. Contrast with the first game when Hakuoro decides to lead the rebellion or when Aruru saves the day. Itsuwari no Kamen is basically fucking slice of life fantasy featuring a weak main character who gets beat up by his harem of boring girls.

WTF. Its like whoever made Itsuwari no Kamen was oblivious to why the first game was exciting. Japanese RPGs are fucked. Its like Fire Emblem IF where the stupid moe gimmicks take priority over story and lets not forget way too much useless dialogue in this game. If I had bought the disc instead of downloading the game digitally, I would have snapped it in half.  There's no way the people who made the original game are involved in this abomination. This is truly kusoge. I want my 6000 yen and 19 hours back! Should have known it would turn out this way after the Tears to Tiara 2 demo.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Shinjuku Swan review

After the mess that was Tokyo Tribe, I wasn't that excited about Sono Sion's Shinjuku Swan. Plus, I never understood why Ayano Go kept getting those roles.

Shinjuku Swan is a movie about scouts in Shinjuku. They approach girls to work in kyabakuras or health centres and get a cut of the money. Basically, they are yakuza without the tattoos.

A penniless and jobless Ayano Go, gets becomes Iseya Yusuke's underling when he gets into a fight in Shinjuku and finds out he has a knack for scouting girls.

Ayano Go's character can take a lot of punishment and is also kind of straightforward stupid. Iseya Yusuke tells him that a lot of women in the water business are happy because they get to eat good food and buy they expensive handbags and Ayano Go believes him and makes it his mission to make all the girls he scout happy.

This is my favourite part of the movie; the guy who doesn't think too hard and sees the world in his own black and white way while working in a murky grey world.

 This is the first time I've already thought that Ayano Go was pulling his weight in the acting department.

The other takeaway I have from Shinjuku Swan is that Sono Sion should have directed the Ryu ga Gotoku movie.

He knows how to shoot guys in suits a lot better than Miike Takashi.

Shinjuku Swan also feels like Sono Sion's most commercial work in a long time, which is a good thing.

When Sono Sion is allowed to do as he pleases, we end up with movies that have no pace and a narrative that is all over the place like Tokyo Tribe.

Unfortunately, Shinjuku Swan has two problems. First of which is that the main story about the two scout companies doesn't lead anywhere interesting and is more like a set up to what comes next.

The other problem is that Yamada Takayuki's character kinda sucks when he turns out to be a 'how can you understand my feelings' villain.

Despite the let down from the main story, I rather enjoyed Shinjuku Swan. Not to mention, it looks pretty good as well.

I like the character and wouldn't mind seeing a sequel.

Watchable movie as long as you don't expect much but if you want something really good about the Japanese water business, watch the first season of Ushijima-kun.

More Mano Erina wouldn't have hurt though since it was shot before she turned completely anorexic.

 Huge sigh of relief from me that Shinjuku Swan did not suck. I'm looking forward to Sono Sion's 3 other movies that came out this year: Real Onigokko, Love & Peace and the Minna! Esper Dayo! movie.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Autumn 2015 jdoramas that should be subbed


The tokusatsu parody is back for a second season! It was one of my favourite shows from last year. My only fear is if they run out of jokes for season 2. The good folks at megabeast empire are subbing the second season. Do watch the first season if you haven't! My body is ready!


Someone please sub this because there is no way I can understand all the financial mumbo jumbo.


Probably going to be your typical pharmaceutical cover up WOWOW show starring the guy from Love and Farm but Renbutsu Misako is in it and that's all the reason I need.


Odagiri Joe + Ono Machiko = must at least try. 


I don't really care about Kuninaka Shinohara Ryoko but I like everyone else but the most important thing is that the writer is Ozaki Masaya (Black President). Will this end up being a Shiroi Haru or a Last Doctor? Waittaminit, isn't Eguchi Yosuke in Shingari as well? How is he in two jdoramas in the same season? The obvious answer being WOWOW shows are completely shot before airing cause they don't want to let ratings dictate the story.


Black President + Amami Yuki + Writer of Jyoou no Kyoushitsu. Unfortunately, the writer also did Kaseifu no Mita and Maru Maru Tsuma. I will try for the talent but my expectations are very low. Their chemistry might make this watchable.



I love Abe Hiroshi but WOWOW already did the same show years ago (which I need to watch) and I'm pretty sure the WOWOW version of the same story is definitely better than the TBS version.


Is there anyone out there that think Angel Heart is even half as good as City Hunter? To be fair I haven't read it for ages but this might end up being so bad, its actually fun.