Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Cheer Dan Episodes 3-5

I have decided to give up on Cheer Dan. Not because of the most non threatening scene of a motorcycle moving towards a young kid who had plenty of time to get out of the way but because it doesn't feel like an underdog show to me.

I feel there are too much tears in Cheer Dan without enough blood and sweat and that the tears were not earned. Plus, its not really a fun series for me.  The movie had a lot more comedy in it.

Also as a sport, there are not really battles or matches for Cheer Dancing so we can show growth and make this exciting so there's a lot of high school fluff. There's an audience for this stuff, people who liked Love Live will feel right at home.

The movie did the story better and while this is the sequel, its basically the same thing all over again with a lot of filler.

Mostly, I'm quiting Cheer Dan because I don't want to end up hating the theme song, which I love. If you want to watch a ganbarre jdorama, I recommend Juken no Cinderella or Ganbatte Ikimashoi or the Cheer Dan movie or Biri Gal. Meh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dele Episodes 1-3


Yamada Takayuki runs this company Dele that deletes whatever data a client wants to be deleted after they pass away. Problem is of course, identifying that a client has actually died and that's the job of newcomer played by Suda Masaki.


+ Anything with Aso Kumiko in it is good. (She was so good in Kiseki no Hito)

+ Yamada Takayuki's character being in a wheelchair is interesting especially the
times where he has to go out into the field.

+ Chemistry between the characters is excellent.

+ The writing, acting, directing so far has been above average.


- I feel like stories about what happens to people's digital footprints when they pass away is an untapped goldmine and yet Dele is nothing more than your typical benriya uncover someone's sob story past jdorama, albeit a very good one.

- Why do they have to be so nosy? Its not like they get paid for finding out the truth. I know story reasons but they are more like a detective agency than a company created to safeguard people's secrets.


= Yamada Takayuki's 90s haircut.


Pretty watchable so far and stories are pretty good but is very formulaic benriya series.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Let's go Jets movie review

So before there was the Cheer Dan jdorama series this year, a movie actually came out last year about the Jets that won the championship in the US. Let's go Jets feels like a better paced version of Cheer Dan series except with Amami Yuki as the tough instructor.

After watching the movie, I have to wonder how the soft Odagiri Joe character will be able to whip the girls into shape? How will he be able to tell the girls what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear? I really liked how the story saved Amami Yuki's story for the end just before the finish for the emotional oomph.

While The Cheer Dan series is more about the various ways to say ganbatte, Let's go Jets is about playing one's role in a team and sometimes even playing nice is not for the benefit of the team. Plus points to Let's go Jets for having a plump girl on the team.

Let's go Jets also has one of the worst uses of English since Ishihara Satomi in Gojira. There is this guy American guy commentator during the competition who says some bad stuff about the Japanese.

I get it. You sort of need a bad guy for the audience to root against. Problem is, the dialogue is so fake and bad I did not know how to cringe or laugh. The voice has obviously been rerecorded and it sounds like a bad guy talking in a cartoon for little kids especially with the super exaggerated facial expressions. It really feels like a Japanese child's idea of what a America is.

Japanese movies need someone is well versed is both languages and cultures to advice them on the use of English and foreign people. I'm not sure I'll be able to do this job as well as Minister of Common Sense for jdoramas but I'll give it my best shot.

Let's go Jet's is nowhere as good as underdog movies like Swing Girls but it was a fun 2 hours except for the cringy commentary. It made me more hesitant to continue watching the Cheer Dan series because I find it very hard to expand the story and Amami Yuki's character is much more interesting than Odagiri's. Let's go Jets is available from avistaz with English subtitles. Watchable.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Double Fantasy

Double Fantasy is a story about a dorama writer Natsu played by Mizukawa Asami aka Nurse Miki from Iryu who learns to break free from the control of her weird house husband and her mother by exploring her sexual desires with various men.

First off, while Double Fantasy is technical a married woman fling dorama, its very different from your average affair trash like Hirugao because its less housewife wish fulfillment and more woman as a sexual creature story. In order words, its about exploring lust and sexual needs from a female perspective.

While I did watch all 5 episodes and did not fast forward once, I don't really get the story. I sort of get it. All the male characters want Natsu to play certain role in the relationship while she was searching for what she wanted to be. As she says in the end, the male fantasy and the female fantasy are completely different.

I just don't feel this character. I don't know if its because I'm a guy or this screenplay adaption of an award winning novel is off. All I know is that the viewer is suppose to feel a certain feeling at the final scene with the fireworks but the only thing in my mind was 'this would make a good screencap'.

Meh from me. I'm interested to hear from people who really liked Double Fantasy. It felt like beautifully shot artsy fartsy exploration of female sexuality while interesting did not have a strong narrative.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Takane no Hana Episodes 1-4

Once upon a time the normal guy beautiful princess genre started with 101 Proposals and it was good. Then came Yamato Nadeshiko with the fishmonger and air stewardess.

Now we have Takane no Hana which is the result of an NTV executive who watched Kiseki no Hito and wanted to do another version without the kid and make the woman an ojousan and add high society storylines.


+ Nojima Shinji dialogue. This dude is a master wordsmith. Any actor would happily do a Nojima Shinji monologue for free. I love the conversation about girls and teddy bears in episode 3 and how it ties up into the punch line at the end. Note to self: check out Kareshi wo Ron de Kaimashita after this.

+ Looks very beautiful as can be seen from screenshots. I love how the colours in this show just pop.

+ Cosplay girl always has something new each episode to look forward to.

 + I really like the 'normal' people aka Kazunobu Mineta's friends and Ishihara Satomi playing the hostess.


- Not much chemistry between Ishihara Satomi and Kazunobu Mineta. Not negative chemistry but nothing close to what he had with Aso Kumiko.

- I don't care about Ishihara Satomi's stupid sister or the mother sleeping the bad guy or anything to do with the stupid family. It feels like a very bad and cheesy jdorama. They should just jump off a bridge.

- I don't know where the story of the fat kid on the bike is going. I thought Kazunobu Mineta was suppose to have some special ability to deal with problem people but I haven't seen anything.


- I hate the casting of the bad guy. He just does not have  gravitas and is just so fake and I just want to punch his face out.


Takane no Hana aka Rich Woman Poor Man is better than Rich Man Poor Woman or was it Poor Woman Rich Man? Watchable because of Nojima Shinji. No English subs are available. Thanks to Keiko1981 for retiming the Japanese subs.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Genkai Danchi Episodes 6-8

There are two things I do not like about Genkai Danchi. First is Terauchi hammering a hole in the wall when it would have been much easier to knock the door down. I know crazy guy showing his face through the hole and the wall has a bigger dramatic effect but time was of the essence and I'm pretty sure doors break a lot easier than walls.

The second is that the last episodes was a bit all over the place, as if the writer wasn't sure how to end it and should have been tighter. I liked where the story ultimately ended up but I think it could have been done better.

However, in the end Genkai Danchi is what happens when a good script meets good acting regardless of budget. Genkai Danchi is to Sano Shiro what Ashita no Kita Yoshio is to Kohinata Fumiyo; his defining role and I shall henceforth refer to Sano Shiro as Terauchi-san aka Danchiman.

I've certainly bought a lot of Adachi Rika stock with her performance as neighbour chosen by Terauchi to be Honoka's mother. She's always in very mainstream doramas and high school movies although she's in her mid 20s so I don't normally see her stuff. Hats off to her manager for getting her into Genkai Danchi.

Despite my two misgivings about Genkai Danchi at the top of the review, it really is a must watch show where the villain is the main character. Big thanks to Monchi for subbing this!

Sunday, August 05, 2018

MIFF 2018 Shoplifters / Manbiki Kazoku review

Its been a while since I've been to a movie festival. Skipped the Japanese Film Festival Last Year cause I was too lazy and was busy with JLPT study, but when I found out about Koreeda Hirokazu's latest movie was coming to the Melbourne International Film Festival, I knew I could not miss out on this.

Shoplifter feels like Koreeda taking his experience of making Nobody Knows about abandoned kids and infusing it with the warmth of his family movies like Like father, like son and Our Little Sister.

Koreeda takes you on this journey with this family of thieves who take in this abused little girl who they later named Yuri. They are a family that does bad things, albeit in order to survive and little by little we learn the backgrounds of the characters in this family and their complicated relationships and most of all, we learn to love them as human beings, flaws and all.

After watching Koreeda movies for so many years, shoplifter feels like Koreeda's magnum opus.  Its the movie with everything that he wants to say about how people can and cannot choose their families, how giving birth does not make one a mother and how bad people are capable of doing good and bad things at the same time.

I have no idea how to review this movie except to say its a movie about being human. Absolutely must watch. Be careful as you will get attacked by onion ninjas when watching this movie especially the scene in front of the burning drum.

If Lily Franky and Ando Sakura don't win all the acting awards, there is no justice in this world. Manbiki Kazoku is still showing in Japanese cinemas so it will be a while before its available on the internet so your best best to catch it is a movie festival near you or go to Japan.