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    Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

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    Almael
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/2/2016, 12:05 pm

    Toshokan Sensou/Library Wars: The Last Mission


    Type: society live action movie
    Genre: censorship, action
    Year: 2015

    Introduction:
    Based on the novels and anime of the same name.

    Synopsis:
    Another conspiracy unfolds which threatens to destroy the Library Defense Force.

    Critique:
    Somewhat lacking and kind of simple intrigues. It has lots of actions. Otherwise everything's as seen in the show.

    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast: 8
    Cast performance: 8
    Script/Directing: 7
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/2/2016, 12:28 pm

    Liar Game

    Type: live action
    Genre: psychology, game mystery suspense
    Year: 2007-Apr-14 to 2007-Jun-23

    Introduction:
    Aside from this Japanese version there's also a korean version.


    Summary:
    Kanzaki Nao is an honest college student who receives a hundred million yen one day, along with a card saying she has been chosen to take part in the "Liar Game". The aim of the game is to trick the other players out of their hundred million dollars. At the end, the winner gets the hundred million and the loser is a hundred million yen in debt. The next day, she receives notification that her opponent is her former teacher, Fujisawa Kazuo. She goes to him, seeking help, but ends up getting tricked into handing her money over. Desperate, she approaches the police for help, but they are unable to do anything. However, she is told of a mastermind swindler, Akiyama Shinichi, who is to be released from jail the next day. Desperate, she goes to him for help.


    Critique:
    From the rules presented it's clear the "liar game" is a scamming scheme because

    • the organization always gets the initial money back from losers and winners alike
    • on top of that when the winner quits the next round he pays 50% of the winnings
    • when the winner can't decide to go on or not he pays everything back; for some reason this is forgotten after round two

    This means the organization gets at least 150% or a maximum of 200% back or gains 50% or 100% repectively. If you take penalties into account the organization gains an additional 100 million yen each time! Since there are revival rounds for losers, the organisation can milk even more from the losers. The whole scheme is completely obvious with the revelation of the second round rules. It gets explained at the end of the revival game so you won't miss it.
    Since Kanzaki Nao gave her initial winnings to her teacher, she will always end up in debt. In the best winning case she would end up with 0. Well, this would make the show pointless to watch, hence, enters Akiyama Shinichi!
    The game challenges presented can be considered extreme difficult, I guess. That said, it's not really from my point of view. A game problem can be divided into two parts:

    • the math problem: here you have to determine the true nature of the working of the game and device a mathematical strategy. This requires at least high school level math and at most 101 (business) IT and 101 probability. For example basics of binary, general summing, tree algorithm, or recursive thinking at most.
    • the mystery problem: this is the deception part where you figure the opposition's deception and devise your own. It's pretty simple or ordinary level at best.

    It's not exactly difficult but requires multi level thinking and tracking.
    Since the schemes and strategies are prominent in this show acting isn't really an important factor. The villains are good at it, though. Unlike some other shows the heroine is a satisfying match even though being the perfect damsel isn't exactly cool.
    Toda Erika as Kanzaki Nao is a good actress hence she is a good liar here. Laughing Seriously, she is effortlessly natural it's hard to tell about her efforts. You may think her character's too dumb but I've seen such cases in real game shows (e.g. popular or elimination voting game) before. What I don't like is how honesty is being equalized with being dumb. There's no limitation to being dumb nor is anyone free from it or making a mistake.
    Even after Nao got the trick explained she still didn't figure out or unable to think beyond is kind of exaggerated but it can't be helped for the plot's sake. She falls for the simplest of tricks, the double sided card game. It's a game of probability but the show's visual explanation is bad or even confusing. For a better explanation watch "No Game No Life" or imagine Mendel's bean experiment. It's kind of obvious no matter what she plays she loses. But she's too dumb to even figure that out. Without Shinichi it's just too sad, monotone and boring. Of course he comes exactly at the moment when there's still a chance to save her (any later would be pointless). Based on that you can figure out if a games is hard or not. Well, Nao does come up with with a trick of her own ... She figured out the game's scheme! it totally contradicts how dumb she is. Laughing
    The 4th round at first appeared most interesting but the math probability was way simple. Each one has to smuggle a total of 300 million but can only do a maximum of 100 million at a time. With 5 in each team it's a minimum of 15 times needed. A total of 30 rounds are permitted for both sides. If both sides smuggle all the time then it will most likely end in a draw unless "luck" interfers. Yet, Nao & co. easily fall for the obvious logical trap(s) at first then resort to teaming tricks. Thanks to Nao the rest is pretty simple, too. At this point there are two recap epizodes with minor new scenes. For a short show this is too excessive.
    The show is all about watching how things turn out for your favorite characters. Things are made funny at times and of course there's suspense. Overall it's entertaining.

    Well, as a game show there are limits on how to create games for it. Hence, once you have seen them you have seen nearly everything. That's pretty much the reason I wasn't eager to write a review. I don't feel like writing about the second show in the series either so I hope this extensive one will satisfy for a while.

    Miscellaneous/Trivia stuff:
    The map seen in the third round has a striking similarity to the world map in "Chaos Dragon".
    The hospital shown is the same from "Hana Yori Dango" where Toda Erika was in the last episodes. This show was shot right afterwards or at the same time btw.


    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 7
    Script/Directing: 8
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/2/2016, 1:15 pm

    Zettai Kareshi [Absolute Boyfriend]

    Type: relationship drama
    Genre: romance comedy
    Year: 2008-Apr-15 to 2008-Jun-24

    Summary:
    Izawa Riko has been turned down numerous times by men due to her seriousness. Namikiri Gaku talks her into a 5-day free trial of his company Kronos Heaven's ero-robot 01 prototype. 01 is the perfect male humanoid tailored to the owner's ideal image of a lover. He is devoted and completely loyal to his lover. An unexpected love triangle develops.

    Critique:
    From the start the show has numerous good actors/actresses among the cast and huge guest cast. Despite that it appeared ordinary at first and I had my doubts about a few things. However, as the story progressed the show became a lot more entertaining and my doubts got resolved.
    Aibu Saki (Izawa Riko) plays the duck that becomes a swan. She is truly unsuspecting. Hayami Mokomichi (Tenjo Night) plays the oblivious sex crazed ero-robot causing Riko many troubles that are hilarious at times.
    Interestingly and surprisingly, the show's actors speak french quite well unlike the engrish in some other shows. I can at least make out 80% of it. Overall it's very entertaining.

    Verdict: 8.3
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 9
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/2/2016, 1:24 pm

    Gokusen

    Type: live action
    Genre: school comedy
    Year: 2002-Apr-01 to 2002-Jul-03

    Introduction:
    Gokusen is a series of three shows based on the manga of the same name by Kozueko Morimoto.

    Summary:
    Shirokin Gakuen: Kumiko, the granddaughter of a Yakuza boss, (known by her students as "Yankumi") becomes a teacher at an all-boys private high school. Her class is full of delinquents.


    Critique:
    The show is basically the female counter part to GTO. Only not as good.
    Despite a large cast the show is dominated by Nakama Yukie as Yamaguchi Kumiko.
    The rest of the cast are rather disappointing leading to a bad impression. Story wise it's your regular school teacher & students get in trouble show. Solid but not so exceptional.
    However, the setting gives rise to lots of fun and comic situation as Kumiko she tries to help while keeping her family a secret.

    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 7
    Script/Directing: 8
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/3/2016, 12:24 pm

    Konkatsu Deka


    Year: 2015

    Thoughts:
    This show is about Hanada Yoneko (neko-chan Laughing ), who's a god sent for the police. One day a female criminal made her realize she has to get married now or never. However, that's a problem. That is because she attracts and falls for criminals. Therefore it has become a semi-law that men she gets involved with and who are connected to a case are without a doubt criminals.
    She wants to get married but can't!! She gets encouragements from her senpais (for a reason). Yoneko isn't exactly picky as she goes for all kinds of stereotypes. The good thing is her boss: "If you report it(her radar hit)... we can forgive any kind of love." => Any love is forgiven for the sake of justice.
    If only that were true with the Japanese police force. The policy in reality is that members of the force cannot have criminals in their family. This means either they cannot join the force to begin with or have to leave. And if they marry a foreigner their career's over and they get posted somewhere in the countryside. This is about the honor of the police and you know how serious they are about their hypocritical honor.
    Anyway, the situations are kind of amusing and you get to see pick up tricks of the criminals. The actors are mostly veterans, not top notch but nothing to complain about.
    The cases are secondary in this show. There's not as much riddles to see here if you are looking for such cases. But that doesn't mean the cases aren't without merit. For example episode 3 is sending us for a loop until Yoneko intervenes. Hint: it's easy, consider her radar being absolute! Scaryyy!!! Case aside the real shocking revelations are at the end of the episode. Wink
    So rather than criminal cases the real issues are human nature, relationships, circumstances etc.
    Overall, it's an OK relationship show.

    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast: 8
    Cast performance: 8
    Script/Directing: 7
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/3/2016, 12:40 pm

    Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou



    The New Order

    Ninja skillz


    Year: 2012

    The rundown all-boys yankee high school Bakada is merging with the well-off all-girls high school Cattaleya. This doesn't sit well with either side of the student body.
    Since Cattaleya's carrying the "costs" the girls immediately "establish" their dominance. Bakada gets called Cattaleya No.2; the school gets a face lift; everything's cleaned and shiny; the "art" on the walls are removed; a messy's mess is gone; the H magazines are gone; and now it all smells of aux de toilet.
    The girls also installed vicious mechanical transforming monsters in the toilet. But worse of all their beloved desks of traditions with inscriptions, names, and words of spirit are gone!
    In other words Bakada is no longer a man cave! This obvious communication problem, naturally, leads to conflict... And on top of that the other schools make fun them, too.

    This show's cast is made up of members of then new generation of AKB48 and the male idol group Johnny's Jr. Aside from them there are a few (really good) regular actors.
    Even though acting is new to them their lack at it isn't as apparent as in Majisuka Gakuen 4. Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka and a few other are the only veterans among them. It was made after MG2. Shimazaki is playing her (now) typical role but she's much better in MG3 than in anything since. In comparison the guys seem all used to acting or their roles just fits them. I can't tell.
    The show is roughly comparable to the Gokusen series. However, Gokuen is pretty much dominated by Nakama Yukie's acting and charm alone while SBK is more homogenous or evenly. So I think SBK is kind of more approving for most viewers, even though, the story may not be as engaging as Gokusen 1. Yet, there are really good parts, too. And I think the "fights" are a lot more amusing and entertaining than Gokusen. The only negative thing is most of the stories center around the guys, though. Even if not the guys are still the highlight.

    Miscellaneous stuff:
    The school's the same as in Saba Doru as the show was used right afterwards.

    Verdict: 8
    Cast: 8
    Cast performance: 8
    Script/Directing: 8
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/3/2016, 12:50 pm

    Majisuka Gakuen 5

    THIS STORY IS A WORK OF FICTION!



    Year: 2015


    Thoughts:
    After MG4's the disappointing performance changes were made for MG5. MG5 is a Hulu exclusive for a number of reasons:

    • the millions who signed up for MG4
    • it's not appropriate for Japanese TV (;°Д°)

    To sum it up MG5 is bloody violent, brutal, bone cracking, sword singing, and gun blazing explosive. It's more like the original only more extreme... seriously extreme. (≧人≦Wink Fatal gun violence is 40000 times less in Japan than in the states but it seems the MG students managed to close the gap! They changed school set again.

    It's one year later (5 months in the real world). Salt failed attendance and has to repeat a year. The Heavenly Queens follow except for Bakamono who miscounted and graduated. 。゚( ゚^∀^゚)゚。
    The stury starts with Antonio being captured by the Ryotou Yakuza who then get cleaned up by Salt. The Gekioko's now in Majijo's debt so they are made fun of by the Yabakune.
    While the Ryotou try to safe their reputation their rivals, Akechi Sougyo, got wind of it. And then Salt gets assassinated. Σ(゚ロ゚) Otabe takes over (was long overdue).
    The graduate's show up to her funeral, too. Despite the elder's advice Sakura takes things into her own hands... Yabakune see their chance and challenge Sakura. She loses restrain and goes berserk.
    Gekioko (Kobii=Coby) doesn't stay quite either... From here on things get out of hand and the eight way War machinery gets into full swing. Yes, it is unexpectedly very complicated.

    The story is better and not zombie engaging as MG4. The characters and acting have improved. Not to mention there are regular actors now in the show. The downside is there aren't many grunts. The OP/ED also have returned to classics/rock but still not as good as the originals. And they no longer vary from episode to episode.
    The bad thing is it has become a kill-them-all story. щ(ꎤДꎤщ) There are a bunch of shocking revelations. And MG5 finally admits story wise connection to MG1 and not just with the appearance of the old cast/alumnis.
    Well, the show does attempt a bit to address the difference or reality of the world of youth delinquent verses the world of adults. Don't expect anything here. I do wonder whether the major Yakuza struggle of that year inspired the direction of the show this time.
    The actions scenes this time are all ordinary; they include lots of jitter and sometimes flash effects. Yoga's the only smart fighter but... so this part is rather a step back. There are minor funny scene but also disturbing scenes. (゚ロ゚) ! /(゚0゚)\
    Overall it started out a bit stereotypical but halfway it became complicated and curiosity came in the way of stopping to watch. I enjoyed it even though there were trouble some parts. There are a lot of little (character) stories but they lack more depth. They only serve to let you see the connections and what's going on but no more.
    I think the connections are a bit forced this late in the game. Anyway, with this it is the absolute end of Majijo... Will there be a continuation? Perhaps, but the original MG school is supposed to be obliterated and Yabakune and Gekioko no longer have any students. Most members of the multinational crime organizations and corrupt police are goners. It got to be a fresh start with a new generation.


    Verdict: 7.8
    cast: 7.5
    cast performance: 8
    script/directing: 8
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/3/2016, 12:59 pm

    Ex-Girlfriend's Club [Korean]



    The cat, the lion, the fox, the dog cheaeterah

    The bear?


    Type: slice of life
    Genre: romance
    Year: 2015-05-08 to 2014-06-

    Synopsis:
    The story centered around a famous webtoon writer named Bang Myung Soo (Byun Yo Han) that write webtoon based on his past relationship with all his ex-girlfriends. Kim Soo Jin (Song Ji Hyo) is a producer who is assigned to make his webtoon into a movie.

    Critique:
    The show is all about relationship and in this case troublesome, amusing situation. Nothing to take serious about but I think the end is a bit disappointing.
    All the actors depict extreme types, each with their quirks... Maybe the Korean way is a bit extreme but really well acted out their specialties and funny to watch.
    The guy doesn't compare with his female colleagues, though. And yeah it's a bit leaning more on female friendship.

    Verdict: 8.7
    Cast: 8
    Cast performance: 9
    Script/Directing: 9
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/9/2016, 11:03 am

    MAJISUKA GAKUEN 0 ~Kisarazu Brawl Version~



    unsuspecting heroes


    Year: 2015

    Thoughts:
    This is an "encore" to Majisuka Gakuen 4 and MG5. It features HKT48 (aka Hakata) members only e.g. Sakura, Katsuzetsu.
    The story is simple: The delinquent girls from Shekarashika Girls' Commercial School are on a school trip to Kisarazu because Tokyo was full.
    The girls beat up some grunts from a local gang which starts the feud.
    I'm guessing the story might meant to be a prequel to MG4.
    The final showdown features and references Wota from MG1, Team Hormone, now called Ageman (!); retelling her affair, punishment and exiledposting as captain of Hakata.
    The final surprising revelation might be connected to "Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou" were she, too, had a BF. I didn't bother to check whether it's the same guy; even if it's not like he would even listed anywhere. Laughing
    The ED features HKT48's performance. Very Happy
    Other thoughts:
    Too much jitter all the time! Why crappy unprofessional hand filming has become "in" is unfathomable. You can thank nature for being smarter we never truly experience this in life other than when being hit on the head.
    Uma (horse) lover jokes... this one is bad.

    Verdict: 7
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 7
    Script/Directing: 6
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/9/2016, 11:22 am

    AKB49 Renai Kinshi Jourei - The Musical





    animals on stage intermezzo

    Type: musical
    Genre: musical
    Year: 2014

    Introduction:
    It is based on the manga of the same name. It covers the first 5 volumes.

    Synopsis:
    Minoru Urayama, a boy, has a crush on Hiroko Yoshinaga, who dreams of becoming a member of the idol group AKB48.
    He cross-dressed as a girl named Minori Urakawa to help her and accidentally becomes the 12th generation Kenkyusei member of AKB48.
    An adventure starts...

    Critique:
    In the first edition: The musical obviously features AKB48.
    Sae Miyazawa plays Minoru Urayama, an obvious choice. Mako Kojima and Nana Owada share the role of Hiroko Yoshinaga, also obvious choices.
    In the second edition: The musical features SKE48.
    Nao Furuhata plays Minoru Urayama. Ryoha Kitagawa and Ami Miyamae share the role of Hiroko Yoshinaga.
    As far as musicals go my standards are high with little to no compromises.
    Despite how amazing the girls are at learning a dozen or two songs and dances within a week on regular basis most of them don't have it for a musical.
    This has been shown more than often enough in the (3?) Wizard of Oz or Dorothy and co. competitions over the years. AFAIK only Otabe, Mayuyu, Umeda Ayaka, Tano Yuka and Masuda Yuka have ever made it on this stage but only the last three won.
    That said the musical is not bad it just doesn't excite me enough. BBC One's Dorothy competition was more exciting. Many of the girls perform nicely, though.
    Half the songs are good enough the others are so-so. Frankly most of the good ones whether they are in the musical or encores or special features are all AKB48 classics. There are a bunch of familiar AKB48 (anime) songs I don't remember where they are from. One is definitely a classic Sailor Moon.

    Verdict: 8
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 8
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/9/2016, 11:43 am

    Ooku - Special (2016)
    Ooku ~Saikyou no Onna~ (Part 1)
    Ooku ~Higeki no Shimai~ (Part 2)




    the scene everyone was waiting for

    Uta, human target practice


    Type: (pseudo) historic special
    Genre: historical
    Year: 2016

    Introduction:
    This special is for the 5 season Ooku from 1968 to 2006.
    There is NO relationship to "Ooku Tanjou" like some seem to believe. Ooku Tanjou is a complete different animal... imagine gender bending a la "Saber Marionette" world..

    Synopsis:
    In the first part, Omiyo becomes Tokugawa Ienari’s concubine for revenge. However, she falls in love with someone who becomes her rival. A sad fatal love developes.
    In the second part, Ume and her sister Uta are ordered to become Tokugawa Ienari’s favorite concubine. A fatal rivalry ensures...

    Critique:
    Sawajiri Erika plays both Omiyo and Ume, obviously due to her classic beauty. Her performance is solid and classic. The differences are negligible, although, Omiyo and Ume are opposites. One being the stronger type the other the weaker type. Blame it on the classic ways.
    The first part is "modern" and features Watanabe Mayu (AKB48) who plays a special and unique role (in the whole series I think). However, only 2/3 of her special role is actually being used while we only get hints on the other 1/3. She's been wasted only for the part that's pretty much common and redundant throughout the series. The other part could have been interesting offering something new but things end up boring. Yet it features the (only) nicest and cruelest love story of both.
    The second part features Renbutsu Misako as the Akane type (super heroine) Uta. Very Happy Her initial personality changes to a scheming woman, poisonous and shocking.
    Since the Ooku series is the kind that if you have seen one you have seen them all at least in my opinion. And since the special doesn't stray too much from the classic it is kind of disappointing. It has a higher score because of all the other actors involved, its kind of beautiful scenery and the dances.

    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 7
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/9/2016, 11:50 am

    Ishi no Mayu


    police business cards with mascot

    Type: human drama
    Genre: crime, suspense, mystery
    Year: 2015

    Introduction:
    Based on the novel Novel Ishi no Mayu Keishicho Satsujin Bunsekihan by Asami Kazushi.

    Synopsis:
    Kisaragi Toko is a rookie in the First Investigative Division (murder crimes). While on a serial killer case she faces prejudice from other departments and has a hard time conforming with the elitist attitude of her division. As the case unfolds she has to face a painful past, defend her father's honor, and face the scorn of her colleagues, too. And on top of that the killer chooses her as the person of contact. Everything is directed her way...

    Critique:
    This show borders on horror or features some disturbing shots... Well, it's a single large case story rather than a show with many. This a novel story after all (see end).
    Kimura Fumino as Kisaragi Toko, I have somewhat of a mixed feeling. Despite everything she's undoubtly the center figure of the show. Perhaps I'm too harsh, here.
    The rest of the cast doesn't shine intentionally, although, her senpai does a good job. They all are male and really experienced actors.
    I wouldn't say the story is that complicated but we still get sent for a loop most of the time. However, half of the troubles are rather due to police incompetence... or should I say it's foreseeable but the police fail to see. It's debatable whether that's realistically accurate or not. As for anything else the show's more realistic than any or most other Japanese police show. I won't go into details here. I can't award points for these.
    The same goes for the final surprising (not really) showdown. Overall, I'm slightly disappointed over these but otherwise it's a solid story. And well, the main points are on the human side, the human circumstances and the life-long struggles of the people involved rather than just solving the case and catching the criminal. So these can be forgiven.


    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast 7
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 8
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/9/2016, 12:38 pm

    Seirei no Moribito/Guardian of Spirit (Season 1)



    forced banquet

    the imperial capital

    lady of the lake : Torogai

    Type: fantasy history live action
    Genre: mystery, fantasy, action
    Year: 2016

    Introduction:
    This is a series of 22 (4+9+9) episodes total in 3 seasons over 3 years based on the 12 novel Moribito series by Nahoko Uehashi.. Like the anime of the same name Season 1 covers the first novel.

    Synopsis:
    Balsa saves Chagum, becomes his guardian and is thrust involuntarily into an adventure of being the most sought after!

    Critique:
    I just relized it's been 8 years since I last saw the anime. Like the anime the show is lavishly beautiful. The special effects & animations are really good; hard to tell from real or not. Well, the forests are real, though. It's comparable to "the Legend". I think it's a first with this level and scope for a Japanese show of this size. In return they saved a bit on the size of the set, though. Might be better in season 3.
    Haruka Ayase as Balsa was quite some shocking surprise. Here she shows her real life athletic ability. She's no less than any other famed female martial artist actress here. Well, she's a track and field person in real life not just in "Sekai No Chuushin De". She does the action scenes very convincing... maybe too convincing. Laughing  And despite all the heavy makeup she looks too good still. Maybe she lacks grace, though, but that's how Balsa is. Or maybe she has too much of it? Laughing
    The rest of the cast is full of really good actors. I could but can't wish for much more. I doubt there's more in the budget for better ones anyway.
    Hayashi Kento as Shuga is definitely a good choice. He's an unsuspecting chameleon actor. You may have seen him often but never realized it in his disguises. This will be interesting later on. Fumino Kimura as Ratu Kedua, Chagum's mother, gives it her all. Perhaps her best performance so far.
    Ohno Satoshi as Emperor of New Yogo is kind of evil. He's different from the anime.
    The story is closer to the novel than the anime and more complicated. Therefore, it makes a bit more sense in certain parts. The details are a bit different but that's normal so I can't tell for certain. Overall, it looks like a mix of your typical Chinese/Hong Kong martial arts movie and some fantasy movie with lavish backdrops both real and CGI.
    The art design is kind of even more chinese influenced than the anime. The temple's design reminds of the Korean legend of the tree, though. And the wall paintings are european baroc or later rather than greek-indo-asianized variation. Here, Balsa's people resemple a certain mountain people, who got eradicated by the Han, even more than in the anime. Here childhood friends more of those in the south. And well, some everyday things are too modern or rather modern stuff made to look historic primitive.
    The action scenes are better than the anime.  (゚0゚)  Unlike the anime the show features Balsa's childhood adventure with seemingly mongols. She had her first fight at a pony station which is more chinese than mongolian design, though. The mongolian design is famed for efficiency.
    Balsa has her first battle with mountain bandits; witnessed the evil of men and took her first kill. And there's bloody medical procedures. Torogai, here, is more of a witch. There are other indigenous people, too. They look and have accessories like southerners than people of northern regions.
    While the anime had a prominent story part in the mountains where they took refuge the show cut it short. Also different on the way back they are attacked by a huge tentacle creature from another realm. The end kind of came fast as it's cramped into episode 4. Only episode 1 is normal paced.
    Now, if you actually look at the map... it looks like a typical Japanese/Korean map meaning West is up and North is to the right. Hence, the land it takes place is somewhere north-west of ancient Korea territory (see Legend) into the mongolian area.

    Verdict: 9.5
    Cast 9.5
    Cast performance 10
    Script/Directing: 9


    Last edited by Almael on 4/9/2016, 1:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/9/2016, 1:06 pm

    interviews revealing the idea behind it... including 12 Kingdoms
    Spoiler:


    more interviews



    Hana wa Saku "Flowers will bloom"

    see the clown?


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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 11/14/2016, 7:53 pm

    Descendants of the Sun/태양의 후예 / Taeyangui Huye (2016)(Korean)




    Type: romance
    Genre: medical, humanitarian, crisis, war, crime, world politics
    Year: 2016

    Summary:
    One day, soldier Yoo Shi-jin meets surgeon Kang Mo-yeon in a complicated circumstance. It's a short lived romance and they go their separate ways. 8 months later they meet by chance on the other side of the world where life and death are as close as it gets.

    Critique:
    As a romance show it's good but not the best there is. The actors performed their roles very well but not outstanding. Nothing to complain, though. The side stories are the best part of the show.
    Nearly all of them are about (world) crisis. The things soldiers and doctors are facing in the field. Unlike most catastrophe/3rd world movies it features nearly everything out there. It's only missing the deadly "game" involving environmentalist in the field.
    With the resources at hand it's doing a better job than most higher budgeted movies/shows. For some reason the UN is often involved but, actually, UN endorsement is completely missing.
    Not so much (emphasized) tragedy, but a lot of blood and tears are spilled in this show. Imho the best Korean show this year. Watch it if you get the chance.
    If you don't want to waste time watching it all, watch the two comprehensive specials. You will miss all the side stories, though.
    A second season has already been announced to be in the works, supposedly coming next year.

    Verdict: 8.7
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 10
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 11/18/2016, 8:24 pm

    -----------------



    ------------------

    I'm sorry I have been keeping short on "Descendants of the Sun". The reason being the show coincides with a lot of my own experience & knowledge in the field, on geopolitics and other things you cannot imagine. But of course there are some unrealistic things like how the youngster could join up with special forces in just 8 months. Then again a lot (more) of other things where TV tropes would kick in this show depicts it right or has made better attempts. The controversies, criticism and other things hit home. The "discussion" and depiction of personal solutions on what's loyalty, nationalism, duty, responsibility, humanity, love, etc. are the underlying issues that are being addressed by the show.




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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/11/2017, 10:23 pm

    I haven't watched a lot in the last 9 months so this is partly "new" from last year(s) that's been lying around half written/watched.

    The K2 (Korea)





    Type: conflict of interest drama
    Genre: action, espionage, politics
    Year: 2016

    Summary:
    Kim Je Ha was in Division 040-151 of the South Korean special forces (the best). He was wronged and discharged. So he worked for the PMC Blackstone where he gets betrayed, framed, internationaly wanted for mass murder and crime against humanity, for joining ISIL.
    Upon returning he falls into the claws of Choi Yoo Jin and dragged into the dark world of politics and corporations. Before long havoc breaks out all over the place...

    Critique:
    Story wise the show starts a bit delayed and leaves us in the dark for a few episodes. The story turns out rather ordinary (with the same schemes) for making us wait. However, the rest of the show is an explosion of actions on par with James Bond movies (just cheaper and less frequent). The veteran actors are great. The good looking young main actors pale in comparison. Song Yoon Ah as the scary dragon lady Choi Yoo Jin is amazing and dominates. As the queen of the magic mirror, she's just one among many vile, vicious, and feral beasts of man... Really, I end up watching for the action and her.

    Quotes:
    "There's no such thing as a master who doesn't betray his or her slave."

    Verdict: 8
    Cast: 7
    Cast performance: 9
    Script/Directing: 8

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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/11/2017, 10:48 pm

    Kuchibiru ni Uta o /Have a Song on Your Lips (2015)




    Type: movie
    Genre: life troubles
    Year: 2015

    Summary:
    Yuri Kashiwaga, broken and scared, returns to her hometown to stand-in for her pregnant friend as a music teacher. The choir club is about to take part at a competition and aims for national level. Reluctantly she helps the students. While struggling with her own problems she discovers her student's problems being far more grave...


    Critique:
    At a glance it seems to be another Tegami (letter) story but it's not quite. The movie focuses on the meaning of life depicted by Yuri, Nazuna, the choir captain, and Satoru. Overall it's a nice movie but not outstanding. To be honest I watched it because of the title song and Yui Aragaki.


    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 7



    Tegami (Have a Song on Your Lips OST) by Aki Angela
    excerpt, perfect version
    One of the most beautiful japanese songs there is. The rhyme is great (if sung correctly).
    It kind of reminds of another similar one....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq4JDesX93c
    real world winner sounds bad in the later part...
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/12/2017, 4:09 pm

    Proposal Daisakusen/Operation Love (2007)






    Type: love drama
    Genre: romance
    Year: 2007

    Summary:
    Iwase Ken's childhood friend, Yoshida Rei, is getting married. By pure "luck" a "fairy" appears and gives him chance(s) to win her by sending him back in time.

    Critique:
    The show is very beautiful, with nice scene and music. However, the stories are common and the main actors don't quite capture me nor impress me. Also there are weird poses, slapstick etc. which seem to try to add some comedy but totally turn me off. At some point I couldn't watch it and skimmed. I do like Rei, though.
    I understand it's quite popular with some people so it may be just me.

    Verdict: 7.3
    Cast 7
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 7


    The title song is popular...
    Aragaki Yui performing with her fans. No she's no relation to the show.
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/12/2017, 4:37 pm

    While writing I lsiten to some more Aki Angela songs:

    Kiss me good-bye from Final Fantasy XII


    This love from Blood+

    in italian



    Since I've already posted some japanese, korean, philipinos, italian etc. how about something different?


    美しい昔 (Beautiful old days) japanese version
    Originally written by Trịnh Công Sơn and performed by Khánh Ly, published in 1970 in japan and won the gold award. Later taken up by Yasuragi Sagahara (1984), Tokiko Kato (1997), Yoshimi Tendo (2003). Along with other songs had a big influence on japanese music and the beginning of modern the Enka era. Regardless from where the inspiration for modern Enka came from they would never admit it's from non-japanese so you haven't heard this from me.


    Diễm Xưa original version
    I can't translate this poetry. It's literally "Point of the past". Point here is as in location in time.


    珍島物語 "Legend of Jindo" performed by Khánh Ly. Jindo is a Korean island. Notice the Buddhist part.


    道頓堀人情 performed by Khánh Ly

    same but performed by Sakamoto Fuyumi
    She's always excited if you look at her feet.


    Mưa Trên Phố Hue (Rain in ~downtown Hue) by Dalena
    She's full blood caucasian. Yep, there are many who are fluent.


    Lạy mẹ con đi ~Farewell mother I have to go.


    Xin Cho Toi (Please give me) by Carol Kim
    She's african-vietnamese or african-american. *shrugs* Just one of many, though.


    Mẹ (Mother) by Randy Trần
    won gold in 1992


    "Về đâu mái tóc người thương" ~homecoming with hair of love [I think]
    an amateur with a great but untrained voice
    Ew spiders!
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/18/2017, 7:33 pm

    I just found out there's gonna be Code Blue Season 3 will be airing this summer. So I'm re-scheduling and re-shuffling releases for the next dozen reviews. So I'm gonna stick with shows featuring Aragaki Yui which happen to fit in well for some reason including new ones.



    Gal Circle




    Type: comedy
    Genre: life comedy
    Year: 2006

    Summary:
    Kitajima Shinnosuke, a cowboy from Arizona, comes to Shibuya to look for Momoko. Seeing a group of girls dancing Para-Para he figures that's the best place to start. His existence changes people's lives in Shibuya.


    Critique:
    This is a comedy based on Shinnosuke's 4 year old self's knowledge of Japan, Japanese language & culture, people and the world. Misunderstandings on his side lead to horribleexperiences or insights which changes the lives of the people involved. It's a bit lacking but the stories get better toward the end. It's very enjoyable if you disregard some shortcomings.

    Verdict: 7.7
    Cast 8
    Cast performance 8
    Script/Directing: 7

    ED:

    note some american country moves
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/18/2017, 7:51 pm

    Para Para is a japanese dance style that happen to have been spread world wide tremendously at the time of the show via dancing games among others. Its popularity might have lessen the classic idol's popularity. And resulted in the response and creation of large idol groups we have today.


    Ike Ike performed by Hinoi Team

    Apropos amateurs and contest the Eurovision Song Contest might be interesting this year.
    I also hear AKB48 and sister groups have been releasing best of best stage shows for their show with selected members. Well...

    I'm not so onto these talent show for embarrassing or exploiting people to make a show and not paying people but anyway
    Best winners imho world wide so far

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk





    And one of the hottest ex-street drummers/pianist around

    A Yeon is now famous of course.

    too bad Bebop's performance wasn't good enough.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoJXaZp5l5A

    If you compare with SCANDAL's beginning and their world domination 10 years later, the road is long!
    the beginning of SCANDAL 2007
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcLw_Rzn3o0
    world tour 2015-2016
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBgzyZwjRrM
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/21/2017, 7:22 pm

    Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu/We Married as a Job




    Type: love comedy
    Genre: social life, love
    Year: 2016

    Introduction:
    The show is an adaptation of a Manga of the same name: Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu/The Full-Time Wife Escapist by Umino Tsunami.

    Summary:
    Moriyama Mikuri, highly educated and recently graduated, has a problem finding a stable job. Depressed and frustrated she develops a bit of a job hunting phobia. Her father arranges for her a housekeeping job at Tsuzaki Hiramasa's apartment.
    When her parents suddenly move to the country side she brazenly proposes to Hiramasa a contract marriage. What began as just an employment becomes romance.


    Critique:
    The show is more than just an Aragaki Yui aka Gakky show for her fans. I like her but I didn't intend to watch the show at all because of that. However, once I realized the machination I kept watching it. It's obviously a well (government) supported show based on many research papers which came out that year (2016). The show enjoyed a lot...lots of promotions through many many aired specials, appearances, interviews & shows.
    Aragaki Yui plays Moriyama Mikuri, well versed in house work, but her habit of expressing uncalled "good" ideas have made her unpopular in her jobs. Her personality and demeanor is of the classic japanese girl/woman represented by Sanrio's Hello Kitty, the de facto official Japanese image. And is outdated this year (2017) by Sanio's new angry red panda (Aggretsuko or Aggressive Retsuko, see anime of the same name 2016). The other important notion is the housewife is still a respected career in Japan. Gakky's acting is as good as ever since her first movie 10 years ago and she looks (nearly) exactly the same also (a feature of the show). You can look forward to her split second mimic changes when she realizes a lie; and following her cunningness.
    Hoshino Gen as Tsuzaki Hiramasa is an IT system engineer, the top ace at 3I and self-proclaimed pro-bachelor. His insistence on keeping his tranquile pro-bachelor gives Mikuri a hard time to approach him. He represents japanese men who have no experience with women and are "happy" being left alone. And he got lots to hide. Hoshino Gen provides the show with his Koi song.
    Ishida Yuriko (San from Mononoke Hime) as Tsuchiya Yuri is Mikuri's "deprived & accused sex-crazed" aunt, a department chief at a cosmetic company. Before she realized her career centric life has left her being a single with no hope of ever finding family happiness. To her Mikura is the daughter she never will have and insists being called Yuri-chan.
    Otani Ryohei as Kazami Ryota is Hiramasa's co-worker and playboy who intends to snatch Mikuri away for himself. Due to circumstance, Ryota and Hiramasa fight it out in secret.
    Likewise all of the cast consists of good actors.
    Aside from the show's story the show features more or less detailed discussions about unmarried couples. This is done using various forms
    1. A documentary form with interviews and other TV re-enactments and psychology lessons featuring Mikuri.
    2. Wherein the main actors discuss their opinions, economic options, social appearances, arrangements and rules.
    3. Real life situations wherein the pair faces disaster
    4. Some social engineering. This was too targeted and it seems these were withdrawn in the nick of time.
    Although, it's marketed as a comedy it's rather ordinary with funny good scenes achieved in part by various forms of acting rather than just dialogues. I really like this part.
    As is obvious the show depicts the modern day situations of women and women living together, a different point of view from classic forms (see "Nagareboshi" or "Marumaru Tsuma" reviews). Some other minor mentions are public dissatisfied view on globalization and national economy, and the realization that young people in most countries no longer have a need to own a car.
    In the beginning Hiramasa and Mikuri have a contract defining the duties and responsibilities of husband (employer) and wife (employee). The marriage is institution similar to a company. It's a strict and inflexible system representing Hiramasa's inability to break out of his self created bachelor prison. As time passes and new situations appear the system is tentatively adjusted but retains a clear distant relation between employer and employee. I'm most unsatisfied that the system is finally replaced, yet, not as extensively discussed in the very last episode. It leaves me wishing the show was longer than just 11 episodes. It should be noted that the ideal relation the show appears to hint is the classic form. Although, the show covers both sides it leans more toward men because Hiramasa's situation is tantamount to the story and the system's development. At times it feels somewhat like a love guide for low-esteem, shut-in, and NEET japanese men. The good part was Mikuri's pointing out the exploitation of women/housewife and her invented love exploitation.
    Even if you are not interested you should still take a look at the discussions. Although, spread all over the place and at times not long lasting, I think the story makes it worth to keep watching for the discussions.

    Miscellaneous stuff:
    *They built the whole inside and outside of the house & company floor in a studio. The date painted on the wall changes.
    *Shinichiro Azumi, Pittanko kan kan's host, is featured in one version of the Koi dance of the ED. All versions can be seen in the specials. The dance has become popular.
    *The show features a lot of references to other shows and mangas including "Sanada Maru".
    *Mikuri's city council ticket ~men should share by getting pregnant and her regret not being a scientist to make it possible.
    *The daydream victory of Mikuri's housework labor party.
    *The show & cast won a number of awards (wikis not yet updated)
    etc.

    Verdict: 9
    Cast 10
    Cast performance 9
    Script/Directing: 8



    Gakky comparison


    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38606355


    Koi dance

    image is mirrored!


    special

    the love rivals
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGLZXiCAUMQ
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/26/2017, 3:53 pm

    Papa to Musume no Nanokakan/Seven Days of a Daddy and a Daughter




    Type: comedy
    Genre: comedy, gender (bender)
    Year: 2007

    Summary:
    Kyoichiro, a minor department chief, his relationship with his daughter Koume has become distanced. One day, after they are caught in an earthquake, they have swap bodies/souls.
    They have no choice but to live each other's lives without disrupting or damaging them....

    Critique:
    A funny amusing show with a family friendly story about relationships. The actors are good but it's a bit awkward.
    They obviously didn't master their body language well enough, hence, their gender bending act is not naturally convincing. They are missing the subtle touch which makes things look a bit forced, yet, funny.


    Verdict: 8.3
    Cast: 9
    Cast performance: 8
    Script/Directing: 8
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/26/2017, 4:17 pm

    This week showed the last episode of "Rental no Koi" ~Rental Love which for some reason the english title is "Rental Lover". I haven't watched it but I wanted to look at the last episode anyway. I had a really good laugh and feel extremely guilty because it's mean.

    The show is a feast for Ayame Gouriki fans. I'm not a fan but she's too good to ignore. However, the show has a pretty simple straight forward plot so I'm not really interested in watching it other than maybe for the acting parts. Maybe when I have time perhaps or not at all. *shrugs*

    Rental no Koi Ep. 10
    Summary:
    One christmast day, a box is delivered to Yamada Kosue= Kou-chan. From it appears a girl, Remi-chan.
    Ep.10
    Remi-chan who works as a rental lover reveals the secret she's been kept under a bandage around her neck. Kou-chan receives the shock of his life. His reaction, fainting, panic leads Remi-chan to decide to disappear from his life.
    Haunted by his experience Kosuke would spent years crafting sculptures in an effort to capture her essence. One day, on the peak of his fame and revelation of his master piece Remi-chan appears before him. He gives her his master piece and they finally depart properly with love still in their hearts, yet, unfulfilled.




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