Sunday, May 27, 2018

Seigi no Sei Episode 1

Me like Yoshitaka Yuriko but Seigi no Sei is another one of those jdoramas where the main chatacter is new at doing a particularly difficult job which in this case is being a prosecutor acts like a completely inexperienced 17 year old shoujo manga/asadora heroine rather than someone who has studied, worked and beaten the best of the best to this plum job.

I have no idea how one gets to a criminal prosecutor in Japan but I guarantee its a lot more than doing just a law degree and passing the bar exam. This reminds me of the horrible Code Blue where a bunch of ER doctors act like total newbies who had just finished high school.

For people who enjoy these sort of shows, I don't blame you cause there obviously must be an audience for them. Obviously Japanese producers do not think mature characters who act like adults are not relatable to viewers. I just don't know why this show exists. Avoid.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Harmonium jmovie review

Harmonium has been sitting in my hard disk for a long time. I had read somewhere it was critically acclaimed which in my experience doesn't mean anything and the fact that it was low budget meant that it could be one of those artsy fartsy movies that use artistic tropes to hide the lack of storytelling ability like that piece of crap movie Koibitotachi.

Being in the rut of crappy jdoramas except for Yami no Bansosha made me more willing to take the risk to cleanse my pallet and let me say, Harmonium is a pretty good movie.

Harmonium is a story about how Asano Tadanobu who just got of prison goes to his old friend's (Furutachi Kanji) workshop to ask a favour. The ex-con gets caught up in the daily lives of the old friend and his wife and daughter and then one day something bad happens. I shall say no more except that Harmonium is a story about guilt and how people deal with blame and how they try to live their lives with it.

I was transfixed to the screen during the two hour runtime as the characters go through emotions I cannot begin to comprehend. The acting is just incredible and I have no idea who this Fukada Koji is but he managed to make this no budget no soundtrack look so good but relying on the acting abilities of the performers.

Another thing I want to say is that Harmonium is such a lousy name and the Japanese name of Fuchi ni Tatsu (Standing at the Abyss) is a much better description of this movie.

If you are after a Soredemo Ikite Yuku style movie with tense situations and masterful acting that will haunt you long after the credits roll, Harmonium is the movie for you. Must watch. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Four things I do not like about Signal - Choki Mikaiketsu Jiken Sosahan

1) A lot of times it feels like the profiler detective is skipping a step or two when he comes to conclusions ie A leads to B but he always makes a leap of faith and jumps straight to D.

2) Signal tries way too hard to be exciting.

I'm watching the the scene where the nurse has less than an hour until the statute of limitations and the music is trying to bring some excitement but there is no way she would admit to the crime before midnight. The whole reason she was there was to fuck around with the cops and her mistake was that in her excitement she never considered they would find evidence to link her to the second murder. If cops had somehow made the nurse confess, I would have deleted Signal straight away.

3) Signal tries too hard to be touching.

Cop in present finds out identity of killer contacts cop in past and when they finally get in contact, instead of 'Hey, the killer is so and so', we get an extended sob scene which just smothered the sense of urgency.

4) Too many things don't make sense.

Like this scene where everyone knew that Tanaka Shuichi could not have committed the crimes because he was driving the freaking bus. This just feels like script where the writer wants to go to certain situations but hasn't thought things through.


In terms of Japanese cop shows, its not as bad as Crisis and Ouroboros and the solving crimes in the past and present is interesting but I really can't take much more of this. Only watchable if you put it in the background while doing some housework, otherwise meh. Damn shame cause I like Kitamura Kazuki. If you want to see how thrillers should be done, watch Yami no Bansosha.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Repeat jdorama review

I am a fan of Kanjiya Shihori. She's been playing supporting roles since the days of H2 and Swing Girls but there's no denying she has talent and I always look forward to seeing her in starring roles. Recently she's been in Yoshiwara Ura Doshin which I liked and Mother Game which was horrible but its been a while since I've seen her in anything.

Now Kanjiya Shihori's got the starring role all to herself as the main character of the time travel jdorama, Repeat. I think the easiest way to describe repeat is that its a time travelling drama which seems like it was written for Fukada Kyoko because all the main female lead has to do is look sad and cute and Kanjiya does a better job IMHO.

Besides Kanjiya Shihori, there isn't a lot going for Repeat. Instead of being an intriguing time travel story, its more of a survival game story where each revelation just elicits a meh from me including the annoying crazy annoying ex-girlfriend.

Speaking of annoying ex-gf, the above character not only maliciously injures Kanjiya's character but also lies, stalks and tries to murder her before getting killed in self defence and somehow the stupid main characters feel sorry for causing crazy ex's death. This is probably when Repeat really lost me. I can't stand characters who are too 'good' to the point of stupidity.

Thinking back, its a wonder I managed to watch most of Repeat when its just a badly acted soap opera clumsily half dressed up in time travel clothes. Some of the acting from guest 'actors' is so bad that its obvious they (or their relatives) are responsible for most of the budget. I never thought anyone could act worse than Fukada Kyoko but Repeat's guest 'actors' have proven me wrong.

I guess there must be an element of this is so bad I its entertaining to Repeat but I cannot recommend me except to Kanjiya Shihori fans like myself. Plus the ending totally sucks. Meh.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Innocent Days Episodes 1+2

We just had the wonderful Hokuto last year about a person who has had a horrible life commit an unforgivable crime. WOWOW is doing the same type of story again with Innocent Days with an incredible cast of big names led by Takeuchi Yuko and Tsumabuki Satoshi with the added part of childhood friends getting together to help a friend on death row.

Unfortunately, episode 1 was really bad for me. The editing and pacing just felt off and confusing with the flashbacks. Episode 2 is better with yet another person from Takeuchi Yuko's past causing her some grief.

My biggest problem with Innocent Days is the lack of pathos I am feeling for Takeuchi Yuko's (and Tsumabuki Satoshi's) character. Showing me this character had experienced certain hardships is not enough. I need to be able to see these events from the character's perspective, which is something Innocent Days lacks. That childhood hill explorer's group seems so underdeveloped and should have been a bigger part of the story because I don't buy this bond between the characters.

I apologise at my weak attempt to explain my indifference to Innocent Days. There's just something off and I think its the direction and editing. I want to like it but I feel like I'm wasting my time when Hokuto did it so much better. Doubt I'll continue watching. Meh from me.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Yami no Bansosha Henshucho no Joken Episodes 1-3

Apologies for the long absense. I was away on family business and did not have time to blog but I did get to watch some jdoramas. The second season of Yami no Bansosha is my most anticipated show of the season because of how good the first season was.

I ended up rewatching the first season of Yami no Bansosha with my gf so that we could watch season 2 together. I think its a bit of a miracle how well things in Yami no Bansosha came together. The great chemistry between Furuta Arata (Daigo) and Matsushita Nao (Mizuno), the creating a mystery around manga, the great pacing and the fact that the audience had to fill in the blanks themselves about the relationship between the two partners.

Writing season 2 of Yami no Bansosha seems like an impossible task because the setting was so unique and yet the sequel needed to be different enough to warrant watching.


+ The chemistry between Daigo and Mizuno is still good.

+ Daigo becoming the chief editor is a great evolution to his character and a great window into the world of manga, keeping with the theme of the first season.

+ Daigo dispensing plenty of great wisdom.


- Daigo and Mizuno don't get as much scenes together.

- The pacing isn't as good as the first season especially episode 2.

- Every single discovery by Daigo did not have that wow effect from season 1.


The story has introduced so many seemingly separate elements to the story that I can't see them fitting into a tight ending. I don't know. Its based on a novel by the same writer so there's a chance. Henshucho no Joken does not need to hit a homerun for me to be happy as long as it does not strike out. Watchable.