Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What jdoramas should I watch next? (Spring 2017)

FINAL FANTASY XIV: DADDY OF LIGHT

I'm going to pay for one month of Netflix to watch this. Osugi Ren plays MMO with son without knowing its his son. As someone once told me, its better to keep your expectations low so you won't be disappointed but as long as its not too cheesy, Osugi Ren can carry this show.

CRISIS

Oguri Shun and Nishijima Hidetoshi by the writer of the incredible jdorama Border. Unfortunately, he also wrote the very boring SP. I'm not expecting Border level must watch quality but as long as its not SP level try to hard to be cool, I'll be happy.

REVERSE

FujiTatsu and Toda Erika with FujiTatsu playing a character who might be a murderer. How much you want to bet every character in this show has something to hide? Worth giving a try I guess.

HANZAI SHOKUGUN

Could this be the must watch show of the season?


KONO YO NI TAYASUI SHIGOTO GA NAI

ManoEri's first starring role. She doesn't have it but as a fan of her odoru days, I'll give it a shot.

CHIISANA KYOJIN

Yet another cop show about how ineffective the police organisation is and I'm guessing Hasegawa Hiroki's character is disliked by everyone. I would normally avoid it but I'll give it a go just for the cast. I have completely no expectations for this show.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Jdorama ramblings 14/4/2017

OKAASAN, MUSUME WO YAMETE II DESU KA? Eps 7+8

Surprisingly watchable series that I saw through the end and I didn't even mind Haru who was not miscast unlike in Border. Ho-hum ending but I did not skip any scenes. Good show for watching with Japanese subs.

SHIKAOTOKO AONIYOSHI

This show has been on my rewatch list for a long time and I finally rewatched the whole thing. I wanted to see whether it would stand the test of time and I stand by my review back in 2008! I enjoyed watching Shikaotoko a second time because I still remembered the ending and I could pick up on all the clues. If you have not seen this show, its a must watch and worth putting up with the slow pace of the first half.

YUUSHA YOSHIHIKO TO MICHIBIKARESHI SHICHININ Ep 6.

Zzzzzzzz. I give up. It just feels so repetitive and I don't even give a crap about the Lupin parody.


SUPER SALARYMAN SANAE-SHI Ep 5 

I give up as well and its by the same writer as Yuusha Yoshihiko. His brand of humour is very hit and miss for me. If you want to watch a truly fun salaryman comedy, watch Salaryman Kintaro.

THRILL! AKA AND KURO NO SHO Eps 3

Give up. Its got none of the charm of Trick and I lasted so far just for Mano Erina. Speaking of Mano Erina, she got to no.1 on the LINE blog rankings or something and now she's just spamming way too many updates on her LINE account. I am so close to deleting her.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

A Silent Voice / Koe no Katachi jmovie review

I first heard about Koe no Katachi last year because it won a whole bunch of manga awards. Intrigued, I read through the whole manga a deaf girl Shoko and her tormentor in primary school Shoya. I wasn't impressed with the manga because it felt like a typical teen angst, everyone has a secret burden style typical story.

However, the movie is a different animal because it does one important thing to the manga's story; it had to distill the 7 volume movie into 2 hours and cut out all the fat and concentrated the story on Shoko and Shoya instead of everyone's sob story. A Silent Voice is one of those rare times when an adaptation has truly improved on the original source material.

With all the unnecessary stuff trimmed out, I found myself having a greater appreciation of the two main characters. Shoko who wants so hard to be accepted that she blames herself for everything and Shoya who is burdened by his sins and cannot face the world.


Its easy to compare A Silent Voice to Your Name / Kimi no na wa with both being high school movies about a boy and a girl and both being released close to each other but A Silent Voice is a lot heavier and more psychological.

An interesting note about the sound design, during the movie I was thinking about how the music throughout the movie seemed muted and how it would have benefited from a more jpop soundtrack but when the last scene came, I understood that the muted music was intentional and it was a brave sacrifice in order to tell the story better.

Bravo to the people who did the adaptation and they've certainly turned an ok manga into a must watch movie. A Silent Voice is now showing in Australian cinemas.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Ubai Ai, Fuyu Episodes 1+2

Ubai Ai, Fuyu is the trashy 'adult' show of the season and man is it trashy. The acting is horrible, there is no chemistry between the leads whatsoever and the dialogue is cringeworthy.

I think I might be developing a megane fetish.

Mizuno Miki's protrayal of the evil, crippled woman who entrapped Kurashina Kana's ex in a marriage is so over the top its almost comedic.

I love yaeba!

There are basically no redeeming qualities to this show unless you want to watch something so bad its almost comical. Ubai Ai Fuyu is a soap opera so soapy you'll feel like taking a bath after watching it. Avoid.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Quartet Episodes 9+10

1) Matsu Takako has basically guaranteed herself the best actress award from 2017 The only way she would lose is if Mitsushima Hikari or Ando Sakura played the lead role in another Sakamoto Yuji dorama this year.

2) Its nice to see Sakamoto Yuji return to form after that oversentimental Itsuka Kono Koi wo Omoidashite kitto Naite Shimau. While we're on that subject, can some Japanese politician please pass a law restricting the number words possible in a jdorama title?

3) While Quartet is a masterpiece, its still not in the rarified stratosphere of instant classic titles like Soredemo Ikite Yuku or KDO.

4) I would rank Quartet among Sakamoto Yuji's best works below Soredemo Ikite Yuku and Mosaic Japan and above everything else including Last Christmas, Woman, Mother, Chase, Itoshi Kimi E, Saikou no Rikon and Tokyo Love Story. That is a crazy good body of work that any writer would kill to have. Maybe I should give Mondai no Aru restaurant another go? Nah.

5) I love how Suzume shrugs her shoulders after getting a hug from Arisu as if to nulify it.

6) The humour in Quartet is perfect. Its not dumb anime humour but rather smart wordplay jokes that reveal so much about the characters and I love how the jokes always come full circle. Takahashi Issei's deadpan expressions are gold.

7) I love how the ending doesn't give closure to the romantic storylines because Quartet is ultimately about friendship.

8) I do not want a second season or a stupid dorama special. Please! Don't ruin is prefect jdorama!

9) I will never look at karaage with lemon and parsley the same way again.

10) How I hate that backstabbing, thieving Arisu who works at the restaurant. I can't believe the ending that Sakamoto Yuji gave her!

11) 10 episodes is just the magic number of episodes to spend time with these 4 wonderful people.

11) Quartet is a magical show about people trying to find their place in the world and do something meaningful and their friendship as they help and accept each other for who they are. If you are not watching Quartet, you don't deserve to be watching jdoramas.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Gantz : 0

I have been waiting for this for a long time and its finally here! As a Gantz manga fan, this CG movie scratches the Gantz itch for ordinary people being placed in crazy situations and doing extraordinary things. I was grinning ear to ear watching this movie based on the Osaka arc of the manga.

The important question is of course, can someone who has not read Gantz enjoy this movie? The answer is maybe as there are certain things which might be off putting to some people such as the portrayal of women in the movie. On the other hand, isn't it nice to have a movie where people don't just suddenly know how to fight just because they have super powers?

Newbies might find the characters a tad on the shallow side but for fans like me, I know the characters so well from the manga and its so good to see them in action. A lot of the characters' backstories are hinted at and its up to the uninitiated audience to pick up on it.

For fans like me, Gantz: 0 is a must watch. I enjoyed the movies but it did not have the dubget to bring to life all the crazy stuff we read in the manga. For the uninitiated, keep your expectations really low and hopefully you'll enjoy it enough to seek the manga. If you're not into beautiful women in tight leather outfits and crazy violent action, Gantz : 0 is not for you. Please excuse lack of screenshots as I often get in trouble with google copyright with anime stuff.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Thrill!! Aka no Sho and Kuro no Sho Eps 1+2


Thrill!! feels like the spiritual successor to Trick with its dry humour and similar characters. First, we have Komatsu Nana (Yume wo Ataereru) in the Nakama Yukie role an OL who works in the general department for the police. She's the smart character of the show and was raised by a swindler father so she is skilled in picking pockets and stuff like that.

Koide Keisuke is the Abe Hiroshi of the show as the not so smart but not so dumb cop who teams up with Komatsu Nana to solve the crimes. There chemistry is not really there for the four episodes so far but they are the central characters for the aka or red episodes.

In the Yabe Kenzo role is Yamamoto Koji as struggling lawyer with no scruples who is not that smart but knows how to run away. He is the highlight of the show for me because he is constantly being used by bad guys to commit crimes and in the end gets rejected by said bad guys when he offers to defend them.

The four episodes so far have been watchable but I'm not feeling the show because it needs more humour and chemistry between the two mains. I don't really remember the mysteries that got solved in Trick but I certainly remember all the bickering that Abe Hiroshi did with Nakama Yukie. I kind of feel the pacing is a bit slow and the episodes could have been trimmed by 5 minutes.

Watchable but I was doing other stuff while watching at the same time.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Why Quartet episodes 6 and 7 are must watch

1) Sakamoto Yuji might be the greatest jdorama writer ever. He bloody gets character.How the hell did he managed to think of these four quirky characters put them together and make them so fun.

2) Episode 6 with the story of Maki's marriage is just so beautiful and sad and completely fits her character.

3) Episode 7 dinner table scene. Very, very few people can create those excruciating scenes like in Soredemo Ikite Yuku and Woman where you are holding your breath, feeling tension emanating from the screen except this time, its a melancholic climax where the only thing that happens is acceptance and it is beautiful.

4) Matsu Takako is almost a shoo in for the Hamsapsukebe best actress award. I would love to see someone beat her though.


5) Everyone ignoring Beppu's pun at the end of episode 7.


6) Matsu Takako imitating Mitsushima Hikari.

If you're not watching Quartet, something is wrong with you!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Okaasan, Musume wo Yamete ii desu ka? Episodes 1-6

I was going to ignore 'Mom, May I quit being your daughter' because of Haru. I hated her casting in Border as she was way too young to be playing a coroner. I just hate the way jdoramas always age down their characters to the point of unbelievability and it told me that Haru is just another overpushed actress. Bframe told me that Musume wo yamete was not bad and I gave it a shot.

WHAT I LIKED

+ Its a psychological show about a mom and daughter who are too relient on each other. Daughter lives to please mother and looks at her mom's face before making decisions while mom encourages such behaviour and treats her like a doll.

+ Its an analogy of Japanese society in that its about trying to hard to please other people and putting up with things to the point of putting on too much stress on oneself.

+ The father's company wants to get rid of him and puts him in a room with other colleagues doing menial jobs, trying to get them to quit out of boredom. I've read about such things in the news but its the first time I've seen it in jdoramas that I can remember.

+ The parallel between Haru's story and her student's.
.
+ The acting is not bad. Nothing to complain about.

+ Get to see how Japanese actually learn English in class and it explains a lot of things. lol

Can't believe Japanese students are learning what Australia Day is for (question 3). I'm pretty sure most Aussies don't even know.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

- This 'wall' appears in episode 6 and I did not buy the build up.

- Not confident in the ending despite liking the characters.

THE UGLY

= They managed to make the Smurfs Lullaby into such an ominous song. :)


VERDICT

Surprisingly watchable. Let's see where the last two episodes go.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

You should only watch Tokyo Tarareba Musume if.....

1) You can believe that Yoshitaka Yuriko, Eikura Nana and Oshima Yuko are 30 something girls. (All 3 are not even 30 and non of them look older than 25.)

2) You can believe your average Japanese guy would choose generic looking girls in their early 20s over them.

3) You find watching 30 year old women in love with love drinking getting neurotic together a funny thing.

4) You find adult women acting like schoolgirls in front of ikemen with entertaining.

5) You are a diehard Yoshitaka Yuriko fan. (I like her but even I got my limits, which is 2 episodes)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Rakuen


One day an old couple's house is burned down and the father confesses to the police that 16 years ago, he killed his teenage daughter and buried her under the floor. The statute of limitations on the murder had expired but why tell the police?

At the same time, Nakama Yukie who is a journalist is visited by a mother who claims that her son can into other people's minds and had drawn about the house that was burnt down. Of course the two incidents somehow have a link and we follow Nakama Yukie as she tries to piece the clues together.

I 'm surprised I had not written something about Rakuen earlier. Its my other show that I was excited for besides Quartet. How good the show is rests on how good the final reveal is and I liked it and it brought everything full circle. I was actually very worried that the story would go for an elaborate twist from the left field but its good the reveal is the one that makes the most sense and it wonderfully answered my nagging concern about a certain character throughout the series.

I really liked Kobayashi Kaoru as the father and Kaho as the daughter. If I have a complaint about Rakuen, its that Nakama Yukie is in it too much. Well done WOWOW. You really know how to make good thrillers. Very watchable and thanks to natka for subbing this show!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Honjitsu wa, Ohigara mo Yoku Eps 3+4

What a disappointment. After an interesting two episodes the show goes completely dumbed down. It become a stupid black and white political show where no policies are discussed, stupid slogans are thrown left and right and nothing exciting happened.

The opposing speech writer was shocked his candidate was making deals with companies? Oh, the shock and horror. (sarcasm) Not to mention the speech writer wanting to 'fight fair'. What sort of idealistic Japan is this show set in? Isn't politics about backstabbing, backroom deals and smear campaigns?

I thought this show was about speech writing? How about dumbass politician gets himself into trouble but does a great speech that nullifies the problem or even turns the tables? Show me the power of speech instead of giving me speeches that make me roll my eyes.

I guess the casting was a sign that this aint your typical thinking person's WOWOW show. Its more like your mainstream braindead jdorama with WOWOW production values. Avoid. What a disappointment.