Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kuroi 10-nin no Onna

I really didn't have anything to watch this season and I was not going to watch Kuroi 10-nin no Onna because I don't really like the main guy Funakoshi Eiichiro's acting. Luckily bframe informed me that the script was by Bakarythm (sentaxi) and its based on a classic Japanese movie. Anything by Bakarythm is worth at least a peek.


+ One of the funniest comedies of the year. ( at least for the first 7 episodes)
+ The pacing for 7 episodes was incredible. It was a constant avalanche of escalating jokes and revelations.
+ Incredible cast of females. Not one gorioshi talento in sight. I was squealing with delight as each of the mistresses was revealed.
+Narumi Riko from Ruri no Shima has turned into quite an actress.
+ Mizuno Miki's character.  She's so good at acting a character who is bad at acting who thinks she is so good at acting but is actually bad.

+ The very formidable last boss.
+ Each of the women are interesting with their own distinct voice.
+ Bakarythm talking about jdorama ratings and what happens when ratings are low.
+ Bakarythm revealing that directors in Jdoramas may have more influence over scripts than I had thought.

How dare she pull that cute face and have the nerve to ask why people commit adultery!

- Kaze is the most unconvincing lover of 10 women. There was no kissing, groping or undressing.
- Pacing slowed to a crawl by episode 8.
- The least three episodes could have easily been combined into 2. The conspiracy scene was way too long and could have been done as a series of flashbacks and the final scene should have been the restaurant scene where the tables got turned.
- They kept showing the Kaze on the ground ending which tells me, "Hey, if you're getting bored, there's this ending to look forward to."Ultimately his character is irrelevant and its more about the women getting too full of themselves and Kaze's comeuppance was unnecessary.
- All that wasted food and drinks. :(


Kuroi 10-nin no Onna could have been not just a top 5 must watch jdorama of the year but a classic comedy jdorama if not for the pacing issues at the end. I get that sometimes you need to calm things down before the flurry at the end but I was looking at my phone wishing things would go faster at the end.

Still, I would recommend people watch Kuroi 10-nin no Onna just for the incredible first 7 episodes. I'd rather a jdorama shoot for the moon and nearly succeed than do something so generic and boring like Chef. Very worth checking out and maybe some of you won't even mind the pacing at the end.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Chef : Mitsuboshi no Kyushoku Episode 1

Chef has a cast good enough to make a must watch jdorama: Amami Yuki, Endo Kenichi, Toyohara Kosuke aka Mr Lan Evo and the reunion of Koizumi Kotaro and Kawaguchi Haruna from Juken no Cinderella.

Sensei, is that you? I entered Todai just to work at a school cafeteria.

Unfortunately, episode 1 gave me this very tired been here done that feeling about a 3 star chef who ends up working at a primary school cafeteria. No matter how many times they play some rousing music, I good not get excited about this show. As per usual Fuji TV shows, the indoor scenes have this super bright fuzzy lighting where no shadows exist.

Maybe it gets better in later episodes but all signs point to generic Fuji TV show. What a waste of talent. Meh. Only for food dorama maniacs who like kids.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Himeanole movie review

We watch movies to be entertained. We watch feel good movies to feel better. We watch underdog stories because its fun to cheer for someone.  We love mysteries because we like to play detective along with the protagonist. Some people love crying porn because they love crying and sometimes we need a confronting movie that doesn't make us feel so good.

Himeanole stars off like an awkward underdog comedy about two guys who clean buildings. Okada's (Hamada Gaku) colleague is infatuated with Satsukawa Aimi who works at a cafe. He is worried about Morita Go who goes to the cafe everyday and seems to be stalking her. It turns out that Morita Go is Okada's former classmate and Okada and his colleague and up trying to help Satsukawa Aimi and Okada ends up with her but things start going very wrong.

I won't spoil what happens in the second half because shit does go down. Suffice to say, its a very confronting movie about the nature of evil and causality and Himeanole doesn't give any answers.

My thought process during the second half was basically WTF? WTF! WTF!? Himeanole is the type of dark, nihilistic movie Sono Sion would have made in his heyday and I could not stop thinking about the movie after it finished.

Absolutely must watch if you are up for an uneasy viewing that will make you flinch. Thanks to Eric Paoissien for subbing this great movie!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Hippocrates no Chikai

Once upon a time, Kitagawa Keiko did Sailor Moon and Mop and they were good. (stop snickering about Sailor Moon!) She certainly showed glimpses of acting ability and I enjoyed watching her on the screen. Then she started doing a bunch of crappy mainstream jdoramas including the insult to common sense show Lady. Since then I have basically avoided her shows until Hipprocates no Chikai, that is. Main reason being that its a WOWOW show.

Hippocrates no Chikai is a thriller about an intern who gets sent to the hospital morgue to learn about autopsies and slowly discovers to her horror that something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The interesting part about this show is looking at Japanese attitudes towards autopsies. That cutting up of dead bodies is desecration.

There is just something off with Kitagawa Keiko's acting. If anything, I would say that her character doesn't feel real. I think she's stuck in mainstream, bright and sunny jdorama acting mode and doesn't fit the gritty WOWOW style acting.

Instead of going on the story's journey with her character, I find myself looking at the story from the autopsy mad Mitsuzaki's viewpoint and wondering if Mitsuzaki is wondering why Kitagawa is not picking up on the clues. It doesn't help that it took way to long for Kitagawa's character to begin suspecting the hospital.

I really loved the choice that Kitagawa Keiko's character makes at the end though. I remember thinking when she made the choice that if her character were a bit smarter and they had cast a better actress, this would have been a very good thriller.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ryu ga Gotoku / Yakuza 6 review

Finally finished Ryu ga Gotoku 6 and I'm still gathering my thoughts. With The Last Guardian and RGG6 being released two days apart, this has been a week of gaming heaven for me.


+The new bunch of characters are very enjoyable and I really liked them a lot. I thought I would hate it since Akiyama, Majima and Saejima play very minor roles here but the personalities of the characters shone through.

+ The acting is great. Special mention to Miyasako Hiroyuki who plays Nagumo. he plays the classic hot headed guy who comes to call Kiryu aniki and provides plenty of comic relief as well as cool moments and he does it well.

+ Shout out to Oguri Shun, the kid who got bullied in GTO who gets to stand toe to toe with Kiryu.

+ New engine with seamless transitions from inside buildings to outside.

+ Fully voiced all the way! (If only the kyabakura missions in RGG 0 were fully voiced)

+ Regular enemies actually block and do decent damage, at least on hard.

+ No more three battle styles like in the previous games which I didn't like. I actually like the ultimate heat mode which makes it 1 and a half battle styles. Kiryu spends all his heat and has limited time in this mode which gives him access to new heat moves including the very important knee bash.

+ Its very easy to get experience points to get all the moves unlike previous games.

+ Its the shortest and most efficient Ryu ga Gotoku game ever clocking at only 50+ hours. I totally approve because they usually take over 100 hours. However, I did abandon the kyabakura and clan creator.

+ The snack missions are very, very fun and its the new kyabakura. Its a combination of regular side stories with customers, getting friendly with the mama and being able to karaoke and darts at the same venue. They should have added the girls to the snacks and gotten rid of kyabakura altogether. I have spent a lot of time at snacks and getting along with the regulars is as important as the women.

+ Kiryu being a super sukebe on the internet chat. Its repetitive though but the funniest part is actually not Kiryu's reactions or his ojisan typing but rather sometimes other people in the chat say some very funny lines. My favourite being which do you like more, dogs, cats or me?

+ While the main secret was very meh for me, they managed to tie the storylines together thematically.

+ As per usual, a lot of memorable sub stories that make fun of plenty of things that are relevant in today's Japanese society from mascots to auto cleaning machines to kids being raised to speak English.

+ Virtua Fighter 5 Final Tuned!!!!!!

+ Ability to take selfies. I hate selfies in real life but its fun in game. :)


= Game runs at 30fps with occasional slowdown. Personally I would keep the old 60fps engine.

= Kiryu needed a couple of extra heat moves.

= Bad guys being more evil than powerful which is why I love RGG2. They could have taken advantage of the fact that Kiryu is way past his prime.

= Unable to turn off auto save.

= Maki Yoko is not a good voice actor cause the game was unable to get her minute facial expressions in. It doesn't help that her character is underwritten but she needed to be slightly more expressive in her voice.

= Haruka doesn't sound grown up. I still see her as the little girl I meat in the first Ryu ga Gotoku. sniff. sniff.

= Haruka's lack of chemistry with the dad.

=  Repetitiveness of internet chatting.


- The way Beat Takeshi just murmurs his lines. Luckily we have subtitles but I just can't stand how he doesn't enunciate properly.

- The secret of Hiroshima turned out to be very outrageous and the exposition for the bloody secret was way too long which bored me. It must have taken at least 15 minutes. All the while I was praying that they would not do a stupid ending like in RGG Ishin which spoiled the whole game for me.

- But the bicycle is the ultimate overpowered mob clearing weapon with super armour and a huge hitbox.

- The only thing I don't like about the ultimate head mode is that it auto picks up weapons.

- RGG6 has the worst kyabakura system in the whole series. Its like the writers got bored and made it a card drawing question game. This is the first RGG game where I did not finish all the kyabakura missions.The girls are horribly boring and the dialogue put me to sleep.

- Clan mission is a waste of time dumbed down RTS mini game that doesn't make sense in terms of story and I think they created DLC for the stupid thing.


Not the best Ryu ga Gotoku game but it certainly a reasonably satisfying conclusion to the Kiryu saga. You could say I'm more happy they didn't stuff it up. I look forward to the remake of RGG2 with the new engine and if they can get it running on the PS4 Pro with 60fps, I would certainly  upgrade.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cold Case Shinjitsu no Tobira Ep 6

The best episode so far. Part of it is that the episode felt very Japanese instead of just being stories transplanted in Japan and part of it is the ending which I could not bear to watch. You don't often find stories about race in Jdoramas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Last Guardian review

Once upon a time, this dude named Ueda Fumito made this not famous PS2 game called Ico, a puzzle game about a boy rescuing a girl and it is one of the greatest games ever. I replayed two years ago and it still stood the test of time. He followed it up with another critically acclaimed game, Shadow of the Colossus. Unfortunately, Shadow of the Colossus was marred with a camera that caused me a lot headaches and I could not finish it.

The Last Guardian was announced at the beginning of PS3's lifespan 7 years ago and finally the Japanese version was released yesterday and I managed to complete it in one day.

The Last Guardian otherwise known as 'The Man eating giant eagle Toriko' in Japan is a game about a boy and his oversized dog eagle thing. You control the boy and have no control over Trico. All you can do is point, yell, stamp your feet, praise Trico but Trico has a mind of his own.

Sometimes Trico is so damn smart and will point you to obvious clues and sometimes he won't jump towards the hole in the wall you are pointing at no matter how many times you gesticulate. Trying to get Trico to do things can be maddening but it is part of the magic of feeling like you are adventuring with a real animal.

And real magic happens when the boy or try work to save each other. The bond that these two characters form is just so real and you'll laugh and cheer and maybe shed a tear when these two characters risk their lives for each other. After having my life saved by Trico plenty of times, I could not get angry at him for not listening to my commands and running to the otherside to wade in some water.

Now, there are two negatives. First is the camera. Luckily its bad like Shadow of the Colossus's snapback camera with a mind of its own but I do appreciate how hard it is to have a camera system work for two characters, one of which is huge and plenty of small spaces. Its not gamebreaking but it can get irritating.

The second is frame rate. There are some scenes where the frame rate dips below 20, especially outdoors. I don't know why they couldn't get it optimised but I blame Trico's beautiful feathers. Many times I found myself just watching Trico doing whatever because he's just a magnificent creature.

Other than that, The Last Guardian is basically Ico 2 with a big pet. No one makes big budget games like this anymore. I hope The Last Guardian will sell a bazillion units so Ueda Fumito can create more works of art.

I preordered the Australian special edition which cames with the statue (yes I double dipped so I could play the game one day early) and the game comes out tomorrow so I will update this post with pictures of it tomorrow.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

After the Storm / Umi Yori mo, mada Fukaku

I actually got a ticket to go watch it at the Melbourne International Film Festival but couldn't go cause I had a horrible cough so I'm happy After the Storm is finally out on the internet. Anyone who has seen a Koreeda knows what to expect; an intimate family story where the pacing is slow and nothing really happens and there is a lot of reading between the lines.

Abe Hiroshi is a divorced dad who once won a prize for his novel but is now working at a detective agency doing research for his next novel and doing dodgy things. He is a gambling addict who is constantly borrowing money from family and colleagues is behind in his child support payments to his wife played by Maki Yoko. Abe spends his weekends spying on his ex wife and son and is concerned that she is seeing another man.

After Like Father Like Son and Our Little Sister which had a lot more story and pacing compared to your usual Koreeda fare, After the Storm is a slow look at Abe's character and his relationships with his family.

To be honest, After the Storm has not as engrossing as Still Walking and I really do get in my head what he is going for; its about this divorced family coming to terms with their situation and exploring the father and son theme up but I'm not feeling it in my heart. Meh and only for the Koreeda diehards.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kiseki no Hito theme song Hone by Ging Nang Boyz

Speaking of Kiseki no Hito, I just realised the theme song, Hone (Bones) is available on the net for download! Just google for 銀杏BOYZ骨mp3 and its the first link!! Too bad the song is not available on DAM or Joysound. :( That was a fun show to watch.

Mamagoto Episode 1-4

What is it with NHK and foster parent doramas. First we had the charming Kiseki no Hito, about a useless guy who falls in love with Aso Kumiko and her deaf and dumb daughter and now we have Mamagoto with Ando Sakura as a Sunaku worker who finds meaning in life when Usuda Asami abandons her son with Ando Sakura.

What's next? A jdorama about an ex-yakuza who runs into the daughter of his childhood friend and he must protect her from the bad people? One can hope.

Mamagoto is a big deal not just because its got Ando Sakura who is one of Japan's best actresses along with Matsushima Hikari but because the director is Nakata Hideo, director of Ringu and Dark Water.

Visually so far, Mamagoto has not been special. Its got a raw sort of quality to the visuals but nothing impressive but you can tell it doesn't have the budget.

I like that the kid is not your usual trying to be cute and actually acting like an adult kid. However, there is something about the kid's acting that bugs me. I'm no expert about 5 year old kids but sometimes his acting seems very fake. Ando Sakura is good as the demon old lady with a sad past whose heart gets melted by the kid.   

So far its been feel good fun but not as impressive as the talent would suggest. Watchable so far but don't expect greatness. The first two episodes have been subbed. Watchable.

Monday, November 28, 2016

IQ246 Eps 1-3

IQ246 feels like a more modern version of Furuhata Ninzaburo but does that necessarily mean its better? Oda Yuji who spends a lot of time tanning is this eccentric aristocrat Homonji Sharaku who is so freaking smart he is spends his time telling everyone about how bored he is.

Homonji has a army of supporting characters:

1) Kung fu butler Kensei
2) Yet another actress who is too young to play a police officer in Tsuchiya Tao doing the Imaizumi role.
3) A pair of police detectives who don't do any investigating including one the irritating one who says random English words all the time,
4) Aristocratic sister
5) Nakatani Miki as the criminally underutilised coroner who is smitten with Homonji's IQ.

Nothing wrong with a huge supporting cast except they all get a lot of screen time and IQ246 feels very crowded to the point that the mystery feels like an afterthought.

Oh yes, the mysteries. Like Furuhata Ninzaburo, we get to see how the crimes are committed and its about how Homonji solves the case. The list of high profile guest stars is certainly impressive and I'm tempted to watch episode 4 for Kuninaka Ryoko but the first three episodes seem to be about the mystery serving the various supporting characters rather than the other way around and it made for a tiring viewing.

I just realised that ersby has already completed the subbing of Furuhata Ninzabura season 3 and I shall be watching that instead of IQ246. Meh.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mano Erina 2017 Calender

Its time for the annual Hamsapsukebe tradition of another Mano Erina calender!

Mano-chan during her baby fat days but they should have blown up the bottom left picture since the other two are not worth looking at.

I like the colour composition for this one except the bottom left picture is boring.

The lighting just looks very fake compared with the background.

Mano-chan at the height of her kawaii powers. OMFG, so cute. More kawaii than Michishige Sayumi!

Not so cute with short hair. In the picture on the bottom right, she looks like this retired JAV actress called Arimoto Sayo.

The bottom right picture is a leftover picture from an old calendar. I guess all the pictures are leftovers.


Waking up with Mano-chan theme.

Ugh, anorexic Mano. I don't get turned on by skin and bones.

Not too bad except for the anorexia.

From her new photobook coming out next month which I will not get.

Pretty much a fail calender filled with many unwanted leftovers. Do not get. Her calenders have historically been good (and I used to buy heaps of calenders) but this is so disappointing.