Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Salaryman Sanae-shi episode 3

1. The first two episodes of Salaryman Sanae-shi were kind of ho-hum for me and I was thinking of dropping it until Hamabe Minami (AnoHana jdorama) appeared in episode 3.

2. Hamabe Minami's kawaii shy look aka the Fujitani Miwako special.

3. She's got a smile that could end all wars and bring about world peace.

4. Someone stop me! I can't stop taking screencaps!

5. The kawaiiness is over 9000!!!!!!

6. Hamabe Minami plays the center of this idol group that our hero, Sanae-san is assigned to as a representative of the sponsor company.

7. Sanae-san's attitude of I want to go through life without shouldering any responsibilities is an entertaining contrast with Hamabe Minami's character who is ruthlessly trying to succeed as an idol.

8. Hamabe Minami has got the X factor. The question is whether she becomes an Ishihara Satomi (popular but keeps doing horrible shows) or Kaho (always in non-mainstream shows but can act rings around anyone in her generation)

9. I mentioned the first two episodes were kind of bland for me. Salaryman Sanae-shi is basically the Yuusha Yoshihiko humour transplanted into a salaryman superhero show so how funny you find it depends on how much you like that style of humour. Personally, I find its got a bit too many people doing slapstick stuff and trying to be funny which is why I enjoyed episode 3 because it was just based on Sanae and Arisa's relationship and didn't have people popping in and out doing gags.

10. The second thing I don't like is that Sanae-san's suit has this power to make everyone who's seen him forget about him. So he just transforms into a super salaryman in front of everyone and every good deed he does is claimed by this useless cop played by Meburu from Yuusha Yoshihiko in the show's most boring running gag. I would love to see him solve problems in the end with his own ability but the show might still head in that direction.

11.  The third and number one thing I don't like about Salaryman Sanae-shi is that I bloody hate his useless wife and kids. Sure, the joke is that Sanae is so afraid of everything including responsibilities and his wife but they haven't shown any redeemable qualities. Yes, even Kyon Kyon's wife character. 

12. Episodes 4 and 5 will be pivotal to whether I will keep watching. I need to see the story move forward.

 13. And hopefully they'll bring Hamabe Minami back.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Many things I liked about Quartet episode 1

1. All start cast in a show made to entertain and not to make someone look cool.

2. I was marking out for the Dragon Quest theme song! Please, please please do One Winged Angel in future episodes. In the very unlikely chance they do the Grandia theme song, I will die of happiness.

3. Sakamoto Yuji is a master wordsmith. He can create fun dialogue for each character that caters to their eccentricities and yet speak of the situation at hand in interesting ways and reveals so much about the characters.

4. Case in point the karaage speech. I was laughing my head off at how funny it was and yet it told me so much about each character's personality. In the end Sakamoto Yuji, ties to Matsu Takako's confession.

5. Benjamin is such a good plot device because he is about their fears and dreams being struggling musicians and I love that Matsu Takako makes the hard decision the ungrateful idiots were hesitant to admonish her for it.

6. Mitsushima Hikari's talents are not being wasted on playing a talking t-shirt.

7. One complaint is that the colours are a bit muted. Maybe they're going for the WOWOW movie look but the camera is not very cinematic.

8. The name of the show is not unnecessarily long like Sakamoto Yuji's last show.

9. Forgot to mention I love the ending song Otona no Okite. Its got Shiina Ringo's fingerprints all over it!


The characters are so well written I will watch it til the end. Whether or not it will be a must watch will be up to the twists and turns of the main story. For now, Quartet is off to a flying start!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hamsapsukebe 2016 jdorama awards

Welcome to the annual Hamsapsukebe awards, the only jdorama award that will never be given to Aragaki Yui just because her show is popular because a Hamsapsukebe award is about excellence in jdorama and not making talent agencies happy. However, I am willing to sell my soul and give her an award if her agency will give me two tickets to Japan every year. :)



TV is a visual medium and unfortunately not much emphasis is given to the visuals, colours or the camera placement. A lot of it is due to the fact that there is not much time and money so its about shooting 10 episodes as efficiently as possible. That's why so many jdoramas feel like someone built three sets, lit everything up with the force of a thousand suns and used the same three camera placements all throughout the shoot.  Plus most of the people who watch jdoramas don't really care whether a show used too much fuzzy lighting or knows how to use shadows to accentuate the foreground. They just want to look at beautiful people instead of beautiful images.

So when a jdorama strives to achieve excellence in its visuals, it must be praised and Kenja no Ai has achieved something even most movies cannot match. The sumptuous visuals serve to dress up the great acting to provide and absolute feast for your eyes.




Very, very close race between Yamaguchi Sayaka and Takaoka Saki from Kenja no Ai. Both giving great performances as the jealous antagonist. I was bouncing back and forth between both, slept on it and then skimmed though both shows. Debated making it a tie and changed my mind a few times. You know what, these two gave the best performances of 2016 and both of them deserved to be recognised.



A much version of his character from Hi no Ko. I know he's more guest star than supporting act but the two episodes he is in are so good and basically saved the show. Its incredible how he can excel in both comedies and serious stuff.



If you told me Aso Kumiko deserves this I won't argue with you.



I was going to give it to Kamikawa Takaya for Shizumanu Taiyo but then there's something to be said about playing a simpleton and the balancing act of making him likeable and not letting the audience dislike his straightforwardness. I can't think of anyone else who could have done Mineta Kazunobu's job as well.


I've never given this out but this year had a huge lot of shows that were very good, but just stopped short of being must watch in my book but I need to give these shows some love.


I bloody love this show and its killing me not giving it a must watch.


It never reached that level of greatness but it was so fun to watch.


Need Sawamura Ikki to do more WOWOW shows instead of more crap like Rental Kyuuseishu. The pay is probably a lot less but he'll get to actually act and say great lines.


Bakarythm almost made a classic jdorama which is more than what most jdoramas can say.


Great acting from Toyokawa Etsushi and Suzuki Kyoka.



I  didn't give it a must watch but that's because the degree of difficulty to pull off a really good older woman younger man jdorama that does not become a stereotypical housewife fantasy is very high. If the chemistry were better, it would have challenged Kenja no Ai for best show of 2016.

Actually, fuck it. I'm retroactively awarding it a must watch cause of Yamaguchi Sayaka. Its not like they had negative chemistry anyway.


I hated the first episode, kept watching and everything after that was perfect.


Not as good as the classic Fumo Chitai but still a good enough show about the good guy trying to do the right thing.


Shinya Shokudo is back to form after a so so season 3 and movie.


Why hasn't this WOWOW masterpiece been English subbed? The fact it hasn't been subbed is a crime against humanity! Looks like Kenja no Ai is being subbed at http://kataomoinoaji.livejournal.com. Thanks to anonymous for the info. Everyone needs to watch this! Its such an incredible show about friendship, revenge and jealousy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rest of 2016 jdoramas


The sequel to Ishi no Mayu. I gave up on Ishi no Mayu half way because of its clumsy execution and decided to give the sequel Suishou no Kodou a go because its WOWOW. I may have problems with it but its still better than any idoru cop show.

I skimmed season 1, gave season 2 a go and the awkwardness still remains for me. I don't know how to explain it. It feels like the cops or the storyline keeps avoiding answering the very important questions that need to be asked. Sort of like how Ishi no Mayu should be about psychological profiling and cat and mouse games but never went there.

Mystery shows are about the audience watching along as the main character answers questions. In Ishi no Mayu and Suishou no Kodou I find myself shouting at the characters for not asking the obvious questions. Whoever wrote these two shows should never touch another police procedural/mystery show again. Or should be forced to watch Gaiji Keisatsu and Gonzo again and again.

That said, Suishou no Kodou does have some redeeming features. I really liked the main character being traumatised by the events of the first season and her use of her father's watch as her wet blanket. That was a nice piece of psychology to make her more real. Better than average but lacking WOWOW's usual polish.


I can't help comparing Natsume Souseki to Meoto Zenzai (also made by NHK). Its about an ojousan who marries this teacher Natsume Souseki who is going to be Japan's greatest writer. I didn't find the comedy funny and the chemistry wasn't there and I struggled to finish the first episode. I just don't get what this show is trying to be. Might revisit the series later.


WTF is this crap? Is there any other reason for this show to exist besides to promote some Johnnys? Do people actually find this shit funny? Not even Sawamura Ikki can save this show!


Me love Kaho, but not so much in fluffy show about wife who is obsessed with throwing things away. If Shinya Shokudo is chicken soup that warms your soul, Wtashi no Uchi ni wa Nani mo nai is an appetizer that doesn't have much taste. Avoid.


The only reason Yamada Takayuki does so many Ushijima-kuns is that he is hardly ever in them. Once again its about stupid people getting doing stupid things and Ushijima-kun comes in at the end. Admittedly, I watched the whole thing because I'll watch anything with Japanese scams and I thought the 3P scenes were going to be great.

I don't care about any of the characters nor do I hate anyone. I guess I was hoping it could capture some of the greatness of the first season. Its a show that just exists for no reason and I will not be watching the two movies. Do watch the first season if you haven't and then avoid the rest.


The first Majisuka was fun in the they're trying hard and its got no budget kind of way.  Then they kept making more of the same and now they're using the same characters for a kyabakura show. They should have dumped the Majisuka connection and cut down the number of characters and posing by half. It doesn't help that the much more entertaining OL Desu Ga, Kyabajou Hajimemashita also came out this year. Avoid.


Kawashima Umika as this person who appears before this couple claiming that she is the mother of their child who the couple adopted. OK show though the couple are a bit too annoyingly nice. Only watch if you are Kawashima Umika fan.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tokyo Family 2013

Tokyo Family 2013 is a remake of an old black and white classic Tokyo Story (which I didn't think was that good) by cinema master Yamada Yoji (Twilight Samurai). The story is about an elderly couple who came down from Onomichi in Hiroshima some island to Tokyo to visit their three children and grandchildren. (Got confused with Tokyo Story)

If you've seen Yamada Yoji movies, they've all got that old school static camera shots. I don't think I've ever seen a dolly being used in his movies ever. His movies are less cinematic in the modern sense but more like watching a play. However, Yamada Yoji knows how to create and capture those magical moments where less is more and every word and expression speaks a thousand words.

One of the central themes explored in Tokyo Family is the country vs city lifestyle. Its something that was also explored in two of my favourite movies I saw last year; A Living Promise and Dear Doctor. The contrast between old Japan and new Japan. You can view the movie not just through the lens of parents and children but also of how the old generation view the current generation and their hops and dreams for them.

Two standout performances in Tokyo Family 2013 are Hashizume Isao as the grandfather and Aoi Yu. If those two did not get nominated for acting awards in 2013, there is no justice in this world. On the other hand, I remember looking at some jdorama and jmovie acting award lists recently and there are a lot of bullshit awards. Suffice to say a lot of mainstream stuff.

Can't really say much besides its a standard family movie but the performances are so good. Can't and should not be missed. Absolutely must watch!