Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kenja no Ai Eps 1+2

There are many mysteries in the world; How were the pyramids actually built? Why do SMAP always appear on Kohaku when they can't even sing? Why is Goriki getting pushed like she has acting talent? How the hell does Nakayama Miho look the same as I saw her in Home & Away so many years ago? (No, not the Aussie soap and the answer is plastic surgery)

I know its way to freaking early but two episodes in, Kenja no Ai is contender not just for best show this season over Shizumanu Taiyo which is spending a lot of the second half with moustache twirling villains but might be best show this year.

Now why this proclamation so early when Kenja no Ai could easily fall apart? Because even if it did, the first two episodes of Kenja no Ai are still must watch for one simple reason; it does so many things better than most jdoramas.

I'm talking images, colours, camera and shockingly, score. It feels like someone is scoring this tv show instead of someone writing a couple of musical pieces and letting the editor insert the music here and there.

There's this scene in episode 2 where this character is walking up the stairs, the camera following her and there's this small piece of music which slowly helps build up the uneasiness and sense of dread. I was thinking this is the type of stuff that movies do but doramas don't even try to do.

Which brings me to the no.1 thing Kenja no Ai has; atmosphere. All the things I mentioned comes together to create this dark and uneasily atmosphere.

Up until now, I have not mentioned the plot. It starts off with Nakayama Miho with a very young man in a hotel. I'm thinking generic obasan fantasy dorama that doesn't lead anyway. Then we flashback to Nakayama Miho's childhood and her very demanding best friend.

I had no idea where the story was going but I could not tear away from the sumptuous visuals and lapped everything up.

When the dinner scene happened (which I won't spoil) then everything started to make sense. Wait til you see the big reveal in episode 2! OMFG. I need to do a spoiler review cause I love how the show never explains anything directly.

I am pretty confident the remaining episodes won't be a disaster because I can see how carefully each scene is crafted and the story has the balls to go dark, well figuratively since the two main characters are female and I forsee it taking the audience to some interesting places.

Kenja no Ai is available at many streaming sites as well as doramax265. Highly effing recommended and someone needs to sub this! WOWOW has done it again!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Living Promise / Jinsei no Yakusoku

Takenouchi Yutaka has gone from taxi driver to lawyer and now to the CEO of an IT company who fired his founding partner of the company and does not take no for an answer from his subordinates.

He receives a lot of calls from his ex partner Kouhei and he finally heads to Kouhei's place only to find that Kouhei had just died leaving a daughter behind.

At this time I am thinking this is a pretty straightforward rich businessman learns to be more human by coming to the countryside movie.

The good thing is they don't try to overexplain but it seems like the movie is not so concerned with dwelling on the company problems of the IT CEO...

.. and more with the problems of the small fishing town of Shin Minato losing their festival float.

Sen Taxi is told the importance of the festival float is to connect everything; people, the sea, etc.

And the beautiful climax is just about that. No words need to be spoken save for the cheers when pushing/pulling the floats but A Living Promise just ties it together in such a beautiful way.

This is one of those lots of famous people doing small parts movie and I think a lot of them did it for the story.

The dilemma I am facing is whether a pretty standard first half make up for an absolutely beautiful second half and push it towards must watch level?

Fuck yeah its a must watch, cause the climax scene is too good and the story just had to speed through the first half to set everything up. It had me thinking Sen Taxi is a pretty good actor.

I kind of feel A Living Promise is the other side of the coin to Dear Doctor. They are both about small towns and how people relate and need one another except it is more positive. A Living Promise has not been subbed yet but in the meantime, I recommend Dear Doctor if you haven't seen it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Otoko Meshi Eps 1-5

Food doramas are always a jdorama staple that you can't run away from. Not all of them can be Shinya Shokudo or Osen but at the very least, I'm looking for a decent story to keep me watching.

Yabe Kenzo stars as a yakuza who has to hide at a university student's apartment when an assassination attempt goes wrong.

However, Yabe Kenzo is an excellent cook and food is important to him because as a yakuza, you never know when your last day is.

In a nutshell, Otoko Meshi is cooking show featuring a yakuza cooking for a struggling student and his friends while imparting life lessons on them. I like that Yabe Kenzo is never heavy handed with the advice that he gives.

I find it more fun to watch than Saigo no Restaurant or Kamogawa Shokudo because it keeps things simple but allows interesting variations to the formula such as episode 5 where we get a different cook and a dish of interesting origins. Watchable.

As always, do not watch on an empty stomach.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why Jdorama bosses are forever scowling

One of my pet peeves are jdoramas is about how when someone is good at their job and the rest of their organisation isn't, that person is often subject to ridicule and their achievements never recognised. I just read this article on BBC called 'Why you don't give praise in Japan' which claims that this type of stuff is the norm in Japan.

The article claims that:

1) You can't tell anyone higher than you in the organisation that they are doing it wrong or that you are right even when you are right.

2) Anyone who is elevated/praised in front of his/her colleagues is seen as a maverick and not to be trusted. Promotion is rather based on relationships and doing what your boss says rather than achieving results.

This explains the constantly angry bosses in jdoramas and incompetent organisations but it just doesn't make sense in real life. If all that stuff in jdoramas is closer to real life than I thought, then being unable to take a holiday longer than a week is not the scariest thing about Japanese worklife.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Soshite, Dare mo Inaku Natta was made.

The following conversation might have or might not have happened at the offices of NTV.

Producer 1: Ok. Let's hear your pitch.

Writer: Last year, the my 'number system' was introduced. Some people are worried about this system because it reduces a person to a set of numbers and allows the government access to things like your bank account. I want to do a slow burn thriller about someone slowly discovering that someone has been using their 'my number' to steal their identity.

Producer 2: Hhhmm. Sounds ok but I think you are thinking too small.

Producer 1: I like your idea but let's take it one step further. How about if the main character creates a system that can delete any persons information on the internet and every computer!

Writer: That sounds like a lot more than one step from someone using another person's my number. Data on the internet is not so easily deleted as its stored in many different places. And you are talking about a system that can bypass any and all security!

Producer 2: Why do your writers' have no imagination? Do we have to do your job for you? If that Snowden person can hack wikileaks than anything can happen!

Writer: Snowden and wikileaks are two different things and have nothing to do with a computer system that can...

Producer 1: Stop complaining! If I can catch Pikachu in Shinjuku Goen, then a computer system can erase all my dick pics I send my hostesses before my wife finds out!

Producer 2: Wait, you've given me a real good idea! Let's call this computer system Miss Erase! I am a genius!

Writer: I don't see the correlation between Pikachu and being able to access every server and computer....

Producer 1: My man, that is why we get paid the big bucks. They don't pay us enough money to write doramas as well or else I would do it!

Writer: Assuming if such a thing were possible, this is more than just identity theft! Miss Erase would be a weapon of mass destruction! We're talking matters of national security and political implications...

Producer 2: Woah. Let's not make things complicated cause the Japanese audience like things simple. Instead, I want you to give the main character a bunch of old friends who hate secretly hate him.

Writer: For what reason?

Producer 1: Just make it up as you go! Have someone die in episode 3 or something, I don't care. We just need to create as many mysteries as possible to hook the audience.

Producer 2: I think once the audience hears the name Miss Erase, they will be hooked because it will strike fear into their hearts!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Totto Terebi


Its about the history of television in Japan with Kuroyanagi Tetsuko being the main character. She is still hosting the longest running talk show in Japan and was there for the very beginning.


Its got Mitsushima Hikari in the main role and she's not playing a talking t-shirt along with a great cast including Mimura. Plus, the historical part of it is interesting along with why some songs you hear at snacks all over Japan got famous.


Sadly, no.


Its got that annoying asadora narrator thing along with fourth wall breaking stuff. Sometimes it feels like I'm watching a History Channel show where the narrator is telling me historical facts and then we have actors acting them out instead of letting the audience be in the moment. So many times I'm shouting in my head at the show to stop telling me stuff and show it to me instead.


Not at all. The acting is so good that there are great moments especially episodes 4 and the last 3 episodes about her relationship with certain main characters but I feel that it would have been a must watch if they had gotten rid of the narration and made it more of a dorama.


I think its a watchable show that could have been a classic. Being thanks to carameltz for subbing and providing all the extra information. I couldn't have understood the whole thing without the subs.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Berserk Eps 2-7


+ Finally, the first really good episode of the series in episode 7! Great pacing and action and it got me really excited although I knew exactly what was going to happened. This is the episode fans can show unbranded people and say this is why Berserk is awesome. Unfortunately, its the 7th episode.

+ The last shot of episode 7 gave me goosebumps.

+ They are getting at knowing when to use animation and when to use CG.

+ I'm really enjoying the Puck and Ishidoro manzai comedy team. I usually just glanced over their stuff in the manga but I'm finding them very funny.

+ Rape horse and goat guy didn't get cut out!


- Took them a long time to fix pacing issues. Some scenes still feel a bit rushed. I think pacing is more important than being faithful to the manga.

- They've still kept that horribly drawn intro video. Why not just use the old anime which looks 100% better or Kantaro Miura's art?


= Why do people in this anime not have nipples?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Ryu Ga Gotoku 6/Yakuza 6 is coming!

For Jdorama/movie fans, they've got a whole line up of all stars.

First off is Beat Takeshi and his mumbling voice. Thank goodness RGG has Japanese subs or I would have a hard time understanding him.

Next up is Omori Nao who jdorama fans will remember most from Hagetaka. If you have not seen Hagetaka, you don't deserve to call yourself a jdorama fan.

Next up is Miyasako Hiroyuki. Don't know why the cast him as a yakuza but comedians are usually good actors as long as they don't overact.

Maki Youko! One of Japan's best actresses better have a meaty role. She says in the video that her character has a deep connection to Haruka. She says that she has a low voice so she has difficulty doing sounds like kyaa!

FujiTatsu who looks like is playing a weaker character. Fangirls should be happy.

Last and not least, Oguri Shun. Can't believe this guy went from GTO to RGG 6. He says that he was envious of his friend Daito Shunsuke who was in Ryuu ga Gotoku Ishin and got Daito to tell the RGG team that he wanted in.

I hope the story is good like Zero was not crappy like Ishin. I'm very worried about the battle system from the demo. I hope they are smart and go back to the old one.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Mitsushima Hikari can really sing!

Mitsushima Hikari singing Nakajima Miyuki's Milk 32.

OMFG. I know Mitsushima Hikari was in Folder 5 but my god, her singing is so good. I've been watching Totto Terebi which she gets to sing as well. I'm in love. :) The video is from a concert where lots of great singers sing the legendary Nakajima Miyuki's songs.

In this one she's singing Kome Kome Club's Roman Hikou and her version is 100% better.

And this one is Nakajima Miyuki's Fighto!

Is Japan's arguably best actress also one of the best singers?

Audio only of Mitsushima Hikari singing Fighto! in Osaka.

For old time's sake, Folder 5's believe.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Why Kibougaoka no Hitobito might be the best show this season


Sawamura Ikki's wife dies and he and the kids move into her childhood house in Kibougaoka.


1. Its a WOWOW dorama. That automatically guarantees its at least better than 70% of shows this season.

2. Its being written by Okada Yoshikazu fresh off giving us the excellent Kiseki no Hito after misfiring on Kokoro ga Pokitto ne and Dokonjo Gaeru. If I were Okada Yoshikazu, I would work exclusively for WOWOW and NHK.

3. I haven't seen kid characters this good since Suzuki sensei. Most of the time in jdoramas, kids are just there to be cute or pitiful. In Kibougaoka, the two kids feel real, not just because the acting is good but also the dialogue. They just sound like real kids with real personalities.

4. Sawamura Ikki is good as the widower who is trying to deal with loss and struggling to connect with his two kids.

5. Real family fights where they fight over stupid reasons but the fights are actually about something else.

6. Interesting and weird supporting characters.

7. There are a couple of scenes which start into encroach into the Soredemo Ikite Yuku/Woman level of 'holy shit this is so tense and wonderful'.

8. When I hear the characters speak in Kibougaoka, the dialogue doesn't feel generic. I feel like Okada Yoshikazu is really channeling the characters. I just have this feeling that he is channeling the characters in his head or maybe I'm just going crazy.

9. The cute waitress in yellow, Sumire always has something to do as a background character.


When I first found out about the premise, I thought it would be a very difficult job to make it work. I can pretty much imagine the generic Fuji TV version with way too much crying but Okada Yoshikazu has written a very good human drama so far.

Like Kiseki no Hito, it is oh so close to must watch. I really want to give it a must watch because its just so good but I'll wait and see what happens in the last two episodes. Raws are available at nyaa and doramax265. This definitely deserves to be subbed.

Speaking of subbing, Juken no Cinderalla is being subbed at d-addicts and I highly recommend it if you love Medaka and Dragon Zakura.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Jossy's movie review


A tokusatsu/power rangers parody movie starring current 'it' girl Kiritani Mirei, Fujii Mina, Totonee-chan, unknown girl and lead by this collection of skin and bones known as Kiritani Mirei.


Then this movie isn't for you though you still might enjoy Kanpai Senshi After V.


Yes it has funny bits. I laughed like crazy during the 20th Century Boys bit but on the whole it doesn't flow very well.


The pacing is not so good and some stuff gets repetitive but worst of all they could have done a lot more with as a tokusatsu parody. For example, it goes into the fact that all the girls don't get paid. They could have made it a lot more interesting with them discussing working conditions while fighting against the bad guys and finding out that people fighting for the kaijuu side are being treated a lot better than them.


Skin and bones, I mean Kiritani Mirei gets most of the screen time so unless that's right up your alley, I wouldn't bother.


Let her waste away. If we can only save one malnourished actress, it has to be Toda Erika!


This is a family friendly female-centric, show so no. Plus all the actresses are flat chested anyway.


Its better to watch the first season of After V than Jossy's. It doesn't suck but it feels so much like a wasted opportunity. You can get Jossy's from nyaa or avistaz.