Sunday, June 30, 2019

Kioku / Memory Episodes 1-5

Kioku is the second alzheimer jdorama in recent memory after the rather bland Dai Renai.

Nakai Kiichi plays the main character Honjo who at first seems like this cold hearted lawyer who does questionable things and neglects his family but the more time we spend with Honjo, we realise that he is human and has emotional scars.

There are no surprises in Kioku. All the characters are likeable and there is the mystery of an accident to keep things interesting. I like the assistant and the new lawyer but the comedian lawyer is annoying.

Happy to see Yuka who looks like she never ages.

I don't really have anything insightful to say about Kioku. I enjoy it and its decently done. My only complaint is that I was waiting for a massacre at the end of episode 5 but someone decided to take the high road.

Watchable if you are in a mood for some wholesome jdorama. Thanks to narai225 for subbing and you can get the raws from avistaz.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Yurigokoro jmovie review

At the beginning of Yurigokoro, Ryosuke's (Matsuzaka Tori) life seems to be going well. His cafe business is booming and and he introduces his fiance Chie (Seino Nana) to his father.

However, Chie disappears the next day and Ryosuke realises that he knew nothing about Chie to help him find her. It is during this time that he finds a handwritten journal among his father's belongings.

The journal is by a murderer Misako as tells about how Misako does not have yurigokoro or this ability to feel and only feels alive when she kills. Ryosuke finds himself absorbed by this journal which seems to somehow resonate with him.

First off, Yurigokoro is one hell of a gorgeous movie. Best looking movie I can remember in quite a while. Even better than Kenja no Ai which was a beautifully shot jdorama. The lighting and the use of colours were exquisite. Movies are a visual medium and a lot of times I feel like directors forgot to paint their movies.

There are however, a couple of grotesque scenes that really made me feel uneasy early in the movie. I actually stopped and thought about not continuing. Powered through but I felt sick watching those scenes.

Anyone can see the twist coming a mile away, so I will just say Yurigokoro is about whether inherently bad people can love and do good things and whether evil is something that can be passed on.

There's something about Yurigokoro that did not gel with me. Maybe I got grossed out too much in the beginning or maybe Misako was portrayed too much as a sympathetic character or Matsuzaka Tori's portrayal of Ryosuke felt one note. Maybe its just the twist being obvious from the beginning.

If you like your dark and gross Japanese movies, Yurigokoro might be for you but for me it just did not resonate with me. Meh. Thanks to Faiz Ikari for recommending it though. I got the raw from nyaa and the subs from avistaz.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Birds Without Names jmovie review

At the start of Birds Without Names, we meet Towako (Aoi Yu) a woman who seems to be a serial complainer and has a bad attitude. She lives with Sano (Abe Sadao) who she leeches off and treats like dirt.

Towako seems like a character without any redeeming features. She seems eager to jump onto any good looking guy that crosses her path while completely treating Sano like baggage that she has to put up with.

The dysfunctional relationship between Towako and Sano is at the root of this movie and what a marvelously dark and sad relationship it is. As the movie progresses, we find out what made Towako turn out the way she is and the nexus of her and Sano's relationship.

Birds Without Names is the type of of depressing jmovie that I love. The acting is real and raw and there is no compromises. I was glued to the screen from the beginning to the end and what an ending. Something I will never forget. True love exists in many forms.

Must watch and Japanese cinema at its finest. Abe Sadao's best movie since Yume Uru Futari. Thanks to skewed fansubs for the sub and I got the raws from avistaz.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Metro ni Notte jmovie review

I've watched so many jmovies and jdoramas that I've forgotten so many. When I saw kawada_kun had uploaded Metro ni Notte on nyaa, I thought the name sounded familiar. Searched for it in my hdds but could not find the file.  (I'm guessing I lost it when my HDD died years ago) I decided to give it a watch since I could not remember whether I had seen it.

Tsustumi Shinichi is a salesman who has cut of his ties from his father who he detests. One day at a subway station he sees a glimpse of his long dead brother and follows up and somehow ends up in 1964.

Metro ni Notte is a timeslip movie about the son who travels to various periods of his father's past and gets to know his father. It starts off interestingly enough but then there does not seem to be any rules for his time travelling because Tsutsumi Shinichi could just travel by sleeping.

The fun parts for me were the retro sets and watching Osawa Takao play the dad and of course Okamoto Aya who I've not seen in forever. I'm guessing she retired? I think she was my Takeuchi Yuko before Takeuchi Yuko.

Towards the end was when I really started to remember having watched Metro ni Notte and the movie ends with a wtf ending that just left me scratching my head. I thought this movie was about a son understanding his father actually cared for his children despite being a hardass but it ends up being something completely different.

In the end, I have to give Metro ni Notte a meh. I just don't get it. I guess I can understand why Okamoto Aya's character did what she did it did not feel like the movie tried to build it up.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Perfect World Episodes 1-8

Its been a long time since I've seen a wheelchair jdorama. Was the last one Beautiful Life starring Kimutaku and Tokiwa Takako?

The good thing about disability jdoramas is that besides the usual renai cliches, challenges faced by disabled people make an the show more interesting and educational.

However with Perfect World, I kind of feel building up of the relationship between the two main characters kind of takes a back seat to all the issues about disability, how the world views them and how they see themselves.

The chemistry between the two main leads is kind of meh, and I don't feel like the show spends enough time building their relationship as a couple. It doesn't help that there's a lot of boring soap opera stuff with Nakamura Yuri as the carer and the childhood friend.

The most interesting and 'real' relationship is between the sister and the one legged guy.

I found myself skipping scenes towards the middle of the show.

Overall, Perfect World has potential but its kind of meh for me. According to Keiko1981's fansub map, Perfect World is being hardsubbed by a livejournal group but looks like you need to apply to be a member.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Avistaz registration is open!

If you read this blog, you should know that Avistaz is the best place to get jmovies and hard to get jdoramas. Why its good is because Avistaz is a private tracker so it keeps track of your downloads and encourages seeding.

Avistaz is also very hard to get into and registration is open until 16 June. If you are not in, register now! Don't hit and run and keep a good ratio.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

5 Things I liked about Mukai no Bazuru Kazoku Episodes 3-10

1) Akari's secret turned out to be quite amusing.

2) I really liked the four family members as they grew from their experiences.

3) The identity of Tonight Star. Lol. Should have seen that coming.

4) Production values and acting was good all the way through.

5) In the end, it was a family dorama about the good and bad of social media and how it can divide families or bring them together.

If Bazuru Kazoku has any weakness, its that the relationship between Akari and her love interest was meh. I wasn't too thrilled with the ending of episode 3 because I felt like your typical family jdorama plot of a lie that just snowballs with the ending being the confession (which it was) but they did use the bazuru of Namahage Chop to explore things like copycats and Akari's fear of being found out.

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a family jdorama as fun and refreshing as Mukai no Bazuru Kazoku. I still don't love it as much as say Oyaji but I like it very much and its just so well done.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Shudan Sasen!! Episodes 1+2

I was really going to give this a miss when a saw it was going to be another Kagawa Teruyuki playing another overacting villain in another variation of Hanzawa Naoki.

I ended up giving episode 1 a show and luckily Kagawa Teruyuki is not a sneering villain and secondly while it is another Hanzawa Naoki with a banker fighting against overwhelming odds, Shudan Sasen doesn't take itself too seriously and there is a kind of showa innocence with the always positive and ganbaru Fukuyama Masaharu as the main character.

Shudan Sasen is like this fable that as long as you work hard, you will succeed even if your own bank is against you and wants to see you fail.

The standard plot of banking jdoramas is that if you show your sincerity and effort, clients will be impressed.

How much you enjoy the show will depend on how much you enjoy such positivity. On a side note, happy to see Nakamura Anne from Suits in this. Also, I love the theme song. Never heard of Elephant Kashimashi before this but they remind me very much of Ulfuls.

I can see myself getting tired of Fukuyama Masaharu's ganbaru everything solution but at least we've got the mystery of who's the traitor to keep us guessing and I'm 100% sure its not Kagawa Teruyuki.

On the whole, I don't hate Shudan Sasen which was unexpected. Maybe Fukuyama's showa positivity is more conducive to my tastes rather than the always sneering, taking itself too seriously Hanzawa Naoki. If you like your Japanese banking doramas where the odds are stacked so high any sane person would have given up, this show is for you.

According to IMDB, there was a Shudan Sasen movie made in 1994 starring Shibata Kyohei (Hagetaka). I would be very interested in watching that one.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Banjou no Alpha Episode 1

In Banjou no Alpha Tamaki Hiroshi plays Akiba, a local news reporter who is transferred to the culture section to report on Shogi aka Japanese chess.

We see that Akiba is self centered and his girlfriend played by Higa Manami returns his keys and asks that they have a temporary separation.

We pretty much know how the show is going to go. Akiba is going to meet struggling shogi players and slowly turn over a new leaf.

What sets Banjou no Alpha different from other underdog sports doramas is that the main character is the observer rather than the player.

I have no idea how to play Shogi despite playing all the Yakuza games but I kept thinking how fun must it be to get paid to watch people try to master this game?

So far the first episode has been decent. Thanks to 31st for subbing the first episode. I think I got the raw from nyaa. Watchable and I'm pretty confident it going to turn out good because its a NHK BS Premium dorama.