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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 3/23/2015, 9:51 pm

    Majisuka Gakuen 4 Final Episode 10

    http://www.hulu.jp/watch/764761

    Gutukou, the new enemy

    flying kick

    Salt's Force powers Very Happy





    Synopsis:
    It's a month later. Things start to return to normalcy. The 3rd year graduation ceremony is tomorrow. Team Hinabe dreams of becoming the new Rappappa. However, they are five people so one got to go? Laughing Salt has disappeared which worries the Heavenly Queens. They fear she left for good.
    Students from Yabakune suddenly appear and raid MajiJo. They will be the next leaders next season. They say bad things about Sakura and look down on the "weak" Rappappa. Of course this doesn't sit well with the MajiJo girls. Before a fight starts Sakura appears. Gutukou pretends to turn away but slashes out. Sakura easily stops her as well as her own counter punch short. She tells them to come at her anytime. The Yabakune leave.
    Suddenly, Salt returns and immediatly tests Sakura with a powerful punch. She says she wants to settle things. Sakura agrees.
    Meanwhile, Antonio and Kobii are reconciling and having a nice moment.
    The next day Salt and Sakura meet for their fight at the gym. It's an intense fight with Sakura giving it her all but Salt easily evades (with Aikido). Salt just waits and punches at the right time when Sakura's moves reveal an opening. Salt is just better. She starts to stop her punches visibly to show Sakura her short comings. Soon enough Sakura adjusts and starts to connect her punches. She manages to time her moves to counter Salt's which makes her smile.
    Outside, Nezumi and Minami are observing the fight. [Minami's emblem is a skull...]
    Sakura is down a a half dozen times but wouldnt give up. While Sakura's on the ground Salt gives her a last punch beside her head. A tear falls down...(sadness because she's monster)
    Remembering her hard road and her way of life, Sakura forces herself up and rushes toward Salt. Salt gives her a powerful punch sending her falling back. Then Salt extends and offers her hand. She tells Sakura she got a long way to go. "Know your weakness and become strong!" And that's how Rappappa left.
    It's Sakura's first loss of her life. Nezumi wonders if Sakura will lose heart. Sakura realizes her wrong way and accepts her shortcomings. She intends to go on and overcome it.
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/25/2015, 10:11 pm

    Majisuka Gakuen 4

    Summary:
    Sakura, a new transfer student at Majisuka Gakuen tries to take over the top.

    Critique:
    The show is very much trimmed down to the most basics with a minimum of story and background story. Both could be told in a few sentences.
    Only the top four characters get somewhat fleshed out character stories and display of character. Other have varying degrees of events. Unlike previous installments the random idols do get face time and dialogues.
    The first half is monotone and full of cliches. The second half has more character highlights but they are not enough and too few to make up the shortcomings. The fights are better executed by these newcomers compared to MG1.
    Overall it's a disappointment.

    Verdict: 5.7
    cast: 6
    cast performance: 7
    script/directing: 4
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 3/25/2015, 10:35 pm

    Well, MG4 is for promoting the new girls. So its cast is no surprise. But they are the best there is...
    As far as fights go Sakura is really good even though she knows close to nothing about martial arts. Paruru/Salt, Yui/Otabe etc. are veterans so their parts got dumb down no surprise there.

    Obviously, the staff realized that AKB48 and their sister groups will fall out of favor as soon as the original members (1-3. gen, 6th. Yurina/Center, Yui/Otabe) graduate. Hence, they have made the plans for MG4 to MG7. Even though hulu got a few million more subscribers because of MG4 I doubt that would change anything. The new girls (12th+ gen.) are just different. They have a different view and aim. They joined because they want to be part of AKB48 and not because of ambitions as the originals.
    I haven't followed them but by a glance I don't see many top material. Yamamoto Sayaka(Antonio) and a few others are good but just not many. Sayaka is as old as Yurina & Yui so she will leave soon, too. Yui will be the new general manager she's likely stay or another 5 years at most. After that I bet the whole group will go down.
    I dunno about other idol groups but it seems the Hello Project! is the only real rival.
    Patlabor - the Next Generation had some of them. Although, the first impression was quite impressive I doubt it's representative.
    BabyMetal is way too much of a niche group and not really idol-like. Only a few could do it. And the ones that are on it are already the best there is.
    Mai Kuraki's 15th Anniversary show..."The Most Popular Asian Influential Japanese Singer" she's hardly an idol anymore.

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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/5/2015, 8:11 am

    Senryokugai Sousakan


    Chinami all over a romance novel
    Galaxy Police...
    Police elevator bites!

    Type: live action
    Genre: crime detective comedy
    Year: 2014-Jan-11 to 2014-Mar-15

    Introduction:
    The show is based on a series of novels "Senryokugai Sosakan Hime Deka Umizuki Chinami" by Kei Nitadori.

    Summary:
    Umiduki Chinami is a national elite who is assigned to an investigation team. It's an undesired situation and Kyosuke Shitara is tasked to keep her away from actually investigations.

    Critique:
    This show is very entertaining and funny yet does not leave out the seriousness of the cases. The cases are typical detective cases. However, the show pride itself on out of the box thinking. Some episodes include independent puzzles. The first episode has two good ones but the later where pretty easy. I could solve them in seconds. The number of puzzles gets less toward the end.
    Emi Takei (Chinami Umiduki) again plays the investigating heroine (Weather Girl; Subete ga F ni Naru). This time it's her first women role and the role is a bit of a mixed character type wise (combining previous roles). As detective she's the funny, social character but at home she appears to be the nerdy unsocial type. The contrast is a bit strange.
    Chinami is a national elite, AFAIK this is asian specific thing. In past this used to be very common in asian countries, though. In short, she passed a national exam which makes her the best of the best. Hence, she's a person meant to be in a national leading position. In asia there's only one higher exam one could take in the past and become the absolute #1 of a country, but it's not necessary meant to be a ruling government position. More like Master of Masters rank. Getting a rank similar to 20th century western fantasy stories like Saruman/Gandalf the White from LoTR.
    As such an elite, there is fear of Chinami's possible failure will become the team's responsibility. It's about the shame of having ruined the future of a national elite. A very troublesome situation for a japanese person. The show subtly criticizes verious japanese social specific problems.
    Takahiro (Kyosuke Shitara) plays the rookie member of the team. Yet, he's more experience than Chinami, but otherwise he's also socially slow. As the lowest ranking member he's part of the plot to take the fall in case Chinami makes a mistake. In case you are wondering, yes, he's from EXILE. The #1 boy group in Japan, the equivalent of "Take That" but way more successful and longer living.


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

    Post by Almael on 4/11/2015, 8:09 am

    Miss Pilot



    Type: slice of life
    Genre: Inspirational
    Year: 2013-Oct-15 to 2013-Dec-24

    Summary:
    Tezuka Haru, has been job hunting but nothing seems to work. Out of a fluke she tries the exam to become a pilot and passes. But without putting much thought and running on enthusiasm only she is met with one disheartening obstacle after another...

    Critique:
    This show is (funny) good but it takes a bit of patience & tolerance to overcome first episodes. The reason is the strange setup of introductions. The first episode is all about Haru. The other characters get their real introduction with episode two.
    Horikita Maki (from Hanazakari no Kimitachi e) plays the mindless or ignorant yet lively Haru. You could say she's kind of an airhead but she got a lot of vigor and a strong sense of duty/justice. Everyone is easily taken by her. In this show Maki gets to show all her skillz again. Very Happy
    All the other actors are good, too, but they are restricted to their very specific type of character. It's an odd group of people that covers every possible person there is. It's feels strange at first but it turns out well later on. Needless to say, all actors are proficiant in english which is a extremely rare in Japan. Maki is no exception (as seen in Hanakimi) but she's the rough diamant here =with the greatest potential.
    The show is specific on japanese pilot training which differs slightly from other nations & airlines. This refers to the maintenance part training. Imho it's a good thing. The show doesn't explain the technical language of aviation being used in the cockpit.
    It's not tragic since they are of no consequence for watching the show. If you are interested in aviation it's not a problem even though some terms are very technical e.g. N1=turbine rpm. If you are interested in pilot training this show is it even though a documentary is of course a better source.

    Verdict: 8.2
    Cast 8.5
    Cast performance 9
    Script/Directing: 7

    Maki interview
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 4/11/2015, 8:24 am

    Since, there's a new korean show I'm interested in is airing now I will switch over.  I just want to concentrate on it. *is totally bewitched, enamored**melts away*


    Embarassed



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    now the original
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    Almael
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 5/3/2015, 4:34 pm

    Soratobu Kouhoushitsu/Public Affairs Office in the Sky


    Night and day contrast?

    Type: relationship, slice of life
    Genre: military, romance
    Year: 2013-Apr-14 to 2013-Jun-23

    Summary:
    2009, Sorai Daisuke/Sora-pyon, an elite pilot from the 305 TFS, 7th Air Wing, Hyakuri AB, has been selected to fly with the Blue Impulse, Japan's premier aerobatic unit like the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, Red Arrows etc.. However, an accident made him ineligible to ever fly again. It's 2010, he's been transfered to the PR department of the Defense Ministry.
    Three years ago, Inaba Rika/Ina-pyon/Usagi/Inaba no Shirousagi, as a young news reporter made a mistake and got her company Teito TV(=Imperial Capital TV) sued. She's been transferred to the Information (variety) department doing odd coverages when she's sent to do some coverage about people in uniform. It's still a difficult time for her but it's the first step toward her goal of returning as a news reporter.
    However, their most important PR production turns into a disaster. Daisuke and Rika part in a bad manner.
    February 2011, 6 months after the PR disaster. They still fear to face each other. March, the Great East Japan Earthquake. They do their work not while uncertain about each other's situation.
    April 2013: the Blue Impulse return home, Matsushima AB, Fukushima. Everyone's gone with the wind. Will it be their last meeting?

    Critique:
    Obviously, this show was made to improve public relations of the JSDF. It's not exactly propaganda but rather to improve public understanding. It's mostly about the lives of the men and women in the military services as well as giving a view on TV media. Although, it is in part Japanese specific, most parts apply to elsewhere in the world. Until the past decade most Japanese were not interested or have a strong dislike toward JSDF due to the war. Many want to keep the peaceful life but it's definitely over this year. This show is one of many medias made in light of renewed nationalism of the recent decade.
    If you want to live a peaceful ignorant life skip this show.
    A lot of effort has been put into creating this show. The show itself only shows a glimpse of that behind the scene at best. You will understand when watching. Imho a glimpse of the men and women behind it is given in the retirement farewell ceremony in episode 10. Note the civilian contractors in the back.
    The (romance) stories' background are intentionally simple but work out as complicated as ever.
    Aragaki Yui plays the beautiful, ignorant, direct, zealous (annoying japanese) yet shy and not-honest-with-about-her-feelings reporter. Her outbreaks are shocking.
    She starts out as the more ignorant japanese citizen, making lots of annoying comments. She has misconceptions like addressing the AirForce. Officially, Japan doesn't have an AirForce, as in for war, but they do. It's called Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF). Wink But this stuff is rather general (school) knowledge in Japan. She's extremely annoying to her japanese countrymen. Laughing
    Sorai Daisuke, plays the broken, apathic guy who lost everything and who gets dragged back to reality by her. As the show progresses both develope an understanding for each other's side (public/media vs. military) and improve in their own job.
    The show does go into some Japanese specific issues like the 1995 (Kobe) earthquake when the JSDF could not yet be deployed for the disaster by law.
    Or that the JSDF could not clear homes in 2013 unless for rescue operations because of private property issues etc... There are some other general and specific explainations for other military related issues. And lots of typical (military) aviation related details for the laymen. Yet, nothing out of the ordinary, though. (except some random shots that perhaps should have been censored...)
    All in all the show is well made with many good and known actors but there's government interest and censorship.
    There's not a single word about the Fukushima reactors not even the name itself in the show. Or the rescue operation for JAL. Perfect censorship here.
    Although, it's mainly about the JASDF not everything is shown either e.g. AWACS, F-2. The show also doesn't show any weapons or ordnances except ceremonial rifles. It's definitely a show for those interested but don't know a thing.
    As mentioned before it does not make explicite propaganda like some other media. For example the word country is used only two times with some importance: "for country or love" Very Happy , "the beauty of the country". The show is quite ordinary with some funny and peculiar things.
    Watch with caution and keep these in mind.
    Note:
    Want to know more about the earthquake & Fukushima? Look for the documentations from Fukushima Central TV (FCT), the prefecture's premier channel.

    Verdict: 8.3
    Cast: 9
    Cast performance: 9
    Script/Directing: 7
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 5/3/2015, 4:43 pm

    Ouroboros



    Type: revenge live action drama
    Genre: crime, detective, conspiracy
    Year: 2015-Jan-16 to 2015-Mar-20

    Introduction:
    The show is based on the manga of the same name by Kanzaki Yuuya.

    Summary:
    Ikuo and Tatsuya grew up in an orphanage when their favorite teacher, Yuiko, was murdered. The incident was covered up by the police and they swore to take revenge.
    20 years later (15 in the manga), Ikuo is a detective while Tatsuya is a Yakuza lieutenant. As they come closer to truth they are dragged into a power struggle of national proportion or so it seems...but the real truth is more shocking.

    Critique:
    The show's hue leans toward darkness with a high body count. The show has everything: tragedies, twists, secrets darker than black, real evil, intrigues, conspiracies, betrayal, and distractive/feisty actresses...
    And there are a lot of good fights and stunts. Ikuta Toma (Ikuo) & Oguri Shun (Tatsuya) are quite covincing with Toma doing the best & difficult stunts. They went to Korea for training (all non-Karate moves).
    Yes, it's the two main male actors from Hanakimi. They are not the only reason the show's successful. And yes, you fan girls will see them naked, front and back.
    There are also some good, funny, and heart breaking scenes and moments through out the show.
    Ikuta Toma has the more complicated role. His usual appearance is that of a socializing detective but his face darkens at times. And he smells like a dog. Laughing Despite that when being alone with Tatsuya he shows the doubtful even wavering side. He's good at it but with him the contrast appears extreme and perhaps irritating.
    Oguri Shun (Tatsuya) on the other side is the perfect smart and handsome yakuza type. He's dark but has a hidden heart. This role fits him. Not everything is what they appear to be. The show has a fast pace seemingly ending half way but then takes on a new darker path.
    Watching the show through to the middle with it's growing scope, complexity and secrets all the characters become suspect. The suspicions really last until the last episode when everything is revealed. Sometimes the suspense is unnecessarily forced by the script, though.
    Like many police shows, the show criticizes the japanese police force but goes further on the organization's internal conflicts, misconducts and dark sides. But sadly this is just the peak of an iceberg that's not too far from reality. Like in some other nations if a government employee marries a foreigner they get socially excluded, transferred to the country side, with no hope for a carreer. Social services are practically limited, too.
    The main villains in the show are the powers that be controlling Public Safety. Public Safety is the notorious (police) special (secret) services department organization in Japan e.g. Section 9 from GITS etc. Officially, Japan doesn't have secret services but they do. Wink
    All in all the show doesn't go beyond the police sphere of influence, though. There certainly must be other backers, yet they are left out. They are imaginatively seen only once early on.
    The end is rather typical with other conspiracy stories involving "abandoned" children e.g. "Zankyou no Terror". It's a dubious "good" ending since both dragons return "home" and live happily ever after with their beloved Yuiko, eating her omlet rice.
    Trivia: For some reason only the women wear the S1S (Search 1 Select/Souichi) badge.


    Verdict: 9.2
    Cast: 9
    Cast performance: 9
    Script/Directing: 9.5
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 5/3/2015, 4:46 pm

    Fukuie Keibuho no Aisatsu

    Type: live action
    Genre: crime, police, detective
    Year: 2014-Jan-14 to 2014-Mar-25

    Introduction:
    It's based on a novel of the same name by Ohkura Takahiro.

    Summary:
    Assistant Inspector Fukuie solves murder cases despite her supervisor's, Inspector Ishimatsu, misgivings. As all the glory are shared, he tolerates her eccentricity.
    There are some strange secrets about Fukuie's transfer from 4th division (? crime) to 1st division (murders) which pique the interest of the top brass.
    Hence, a conspiracy from within the force is watching her.

    Critique:
    Imagine a female Inspector Columbo, who's unorganized and is working independently, hence, generally gets excluded by her colleagues.
    The show starts off with heavy guns: Sorimachi Takashi (Onizuka from GTO1978) committing two perfect murders.
    Actually, this keeps mounting. It's a show full of veteran actors playing murderers.
    The cases are rather typical yet somehow they kind of come across as disturbing.
    There's a historic lesson at the beginning of each episode.
    Spoiler:
    Although, they are general knowledge each one is actually a riddle of murder. The solution is within each episode. Wink
    All in all the appeal of the show is on the actors and the investigations. Everything else isn't too outstanding enough.

    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 5/25/2015, 7:43 pm

    Ataru


    Police 24 hours Hottie Girl Cop

    police mascot contest!

    biggest help

    Type: mystery
    Genre: crime, police, comedy
    Year: 2012-Apr-15 to 2012-Jun-24

    Summary:
    Ataru/Chokozai(=Bugger), who suffers from "savant syndrome," which allows him to discover microscopic evidence of unsolved cases. He gets lost and wanders about Tokyo.
    Why does he always go to the criminal sites? What explains his strange behavior? His sad past will be revealed as the story unfolds.
    Ebina Maiko/Ebi-chan (ebi=shrimp), a famous police actress and mascot, is very unhappy about the missiveness of the department's cases as anything other than murder.
    Maiko happens to run into Ataru and notices his mysterious ability that helps her solving the cases.


    Critique:
    Ataru is similar to the Rainman and Chuck, the Intersect, but has perfect memory and an ability to scan and analyze. He's more like a wandering highly advanced tricorder.
    He hits or bites anyone blocking his way. Maiko gets the most of it including free looks at his body. Very Happy
    Note: He's used to american (artificial) hot dog (with lettuce) and complains about the Japanese which are real ones or maybe it's the other way around or maybe both are artificial? Very Happy
    Note: the search engine "Aterou"
    Kuriyama Chiaki (Ebina Maiko) plays the passionate, harsh tomboy and unappreciated/ignored mascot doing independent investigations.
    She starts out as the ignorant newbie who grows as the show progresses. Thanks to Ataru she also gets to finally solve the case of her mother's death.
    Note: For some reason she trips a lot on the street in front of her home. Her posters on the wall and how quick they get replaced when she resigns. Laughing Also they wear 1st department pins instead of 4th department.
    Actually, everyone is peculiar in some way in this show. And virtually, everyone in this show is a guess star, too. Paruru appears all dressed up in the special and nearly unrecognizable. She plays Atsumi's mysterious wife.
    Sometimes there are also peculiar scene shooting techniques. Imho they irritate more than serving anything. Note: in the background there's sometime an old or young pair fouling around who may try to seek shelter from the camera view.
    The Matrix re-enactment scenes are funny, too. There are many other things in the background.

    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 6/1/2015, 6:37 pm

    Blood [Korean]


    ancient enemies

    Type: conspiracy
    Genre: medical, romance
    Year: 2015-Feb-16 to 2015-Apr-21

    Synopsis:
    Park Ji Sang is born to parents who have been infected with a vampire virus. Despite initial self-dislike he comes to like it after having rescued a young girl, Chae Yeon.
    After enemies killed his mother Ji Sang becomes a surgeon in order to travel the world and track them down.  In the war riden Kochenia Republic, he finds the original source and is tipped to a cancer hospital in Korea.
    He infiltrates the hospital. On his first day, he meets Yoo Ri Ta, who's prideful of her abilities and the niece of the General Director. He becomes her superior and rival. They get into a hate relationship but as a team they have to put up with each other.
    Together with his friend they try to track down the data but it's all a trap...and the enemy is overpowering.


    Critique:
    Despite the title's name suggestions it has only remotely the vampire theme in common with Blood+. The show is more similar to Iryu Team Medical Dragon, but based on "Frumoasa si Bestia".
    WARNING: Blood and violence, lots of bloody medical operations! Not as often as Iryu Team Medical Dragon, though.
    Koo Hye Sun (Yoo Ri Ta/adult Chae Yeon)(veteran actress from Boys over flowers, the korean version of Hana Yori Dango Wink ) is as good as ever or even better. Her acting is dominating throughout the show. There seems to be no end to that. There are many other good actors, though. However, they appear less and less toward the end. They worked in parallel on other shows.
    Ahn Jae Hyun (Park Ji Sang), an ikemen and as the main actor is perhaps the worst of all. Certainly, the role doesn't allow him to act out a lot but still not enough, even though, he gets better toward the end.
    Ji Jin Hee (Lee Jae Wook) plays the villain who's like John Shea playing Lex Luther from Superman & Lois. His slyness and poker face makes him the ideal villain full of ideals yet so evil to the bone.
    He starts out as a good and ambitious doctor. However, he believes the end justifies the means. In his 40 years long struggle toward his goal he has lost his perspective, and with mounting failures and "betrayals" he has become more and more ruthless.
    All in all the show is not so much about the conspiracies but rather about the history, the tragedies and the relationships of the various characters. The border between good and evil is blurred.
    It does take a bit of patience at first but the show starts to be "enjoyable" once things start to unfold. The show does have typical weaknesses based on tvtropes that appear more toward the end, though. They don't have much impact at that point, though. And the villain points it out and makes the hero realize it, too. Laughing
    Other weaknesses or "errors" are: for example once the heroes realize they are being monitored they start to meet at home yet they still kept meeting in those monitored places in later episodes. This could be blamed on availability of sets or convenience but still couldn't they just go somewhere else?
    Another eye sore/catching feature, is that all major actresses wear bloody red lipstick turning them into vamps even those who are not vampires. Ri Ta's story telling is most amusing. (in shows often appears when females are telling stories where their fantasy runs wild)
    As for the secret character. Hint: note the shoes, pants and movements. Even though it was easy to get the characteristics and figure out the gender, for ten long episodes the show didn't make any mistake that would have revealed it. And then the revelation of the historic connection was so far fetched it's shocking.
    Another riddle that bugged for eighteen long episodes was the fate of Chae Yeon's parents. That was so double and triple misleading. Whoa, and look at her neck trembling! She no longer wears a veil. But when I thought it's the last stretch the show turns up another two or three notches. So much to take in.
    And just when I thought it's truly ending it keeps going further so keep watching to the last second.
    other hints: Take some note of some signs/remarks that appear once in a while in the background...
    And the answer to question #100 is: Watch the show! Razz

    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 6/1/2015, 6:42 pm

    The Girl Who Sees Smells [Korean]


    Monster's true eye. Mu-gak: "You're really like a dog". If looks could kill...

    Police fashion

    Type: mystery, slice of life
    Genre: romance, crime, fantasy
    Year: 2015-04-01 to 2015-05-22

    Synopsis:
    3 years ago, Choi Eun-seol arrived home to find her parents murdered by the "Barcode" serial killer. She escaped but got overrun by a car and lost her memory. Her brain damage lets her see smells.
    In the hospital, Choi Mu-gak's sister is mistaken by the killer. Due to his grief Mu-Gak loses (nearly) all his senses. By fate the uneven pair work together to solve crimes. Unknowingly to them the people seeking their lives are nearby.

    Critique:
    The two lead characters are quite interesting and the actor/actress get to show exceptional skills due to their (part-time) comedy performances. Both acting out their shyness etc. are very convincing. It's impressive when it comes down to it. These are mainly responsible for the anticipations the show's building up. Aside from the villains there are other good & famed supporting actors but they are pushed into the background (by design) by these two.
    However, typical story writing weaknesses like failings of the police, extending the moments to catch on facts etc. are somewhat irritating in contrast. The show intentionally leads on a wild goose chase. Don't misunderstand it's a good hunt and very thrilling up to the point when it blows into your face.
    That's when the real hunt starts. The villain is an incomparable master mind leading everyone with ease by the nose. That said the clues are there from the beginning, e.g. his(her) dog. The disappointing thing is that things are dragging a bit compared to the pace of the first half. One reason is that romance is a bit more present in the second half not that it wasn't there before, though.
    The show doesn't end with just the serial killer case solved. All in all, imho the show is enticing or enchanting due to the lead actors who makes it very entertaining and funny.

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

    Post by Almael on 6/1/2015, 6:47 pm

    You Who Came From the Stars [Korean]


    past regrets/atonement

    treasures: a princes' hairpin; a diva's high heels

    First Contact Laughing


    Type: mystery
    Genre: romance, crime, fantasy
    Year: 2013-Dec-18 to 2014-Feb-27

    Synopsis:
    Do Min Joon has been trapped on Earth for 400 years and living in hiding.
    One day, Korea's hottest actress, Chun Song Yi, moves in next door. She imposes on him, wrecks his life and gives his orderly home a woman's worse touch.
    Yet she embodies his past's regrets and worse of all his days are counted.

    Critique:
    I had preconceptions about the show but I was wrong.
    Jun Ji Hyun "Gianna Jun" virtually plays herself, Korea's super actress and model (comparable to Angelina Jolie but better at acting). She's not leaving anything out except being evil. That would have been out of the lead character's role but not unthinkable. You got to see it to know what I mean. In this show she also like a chameleon. Currently, I only attribute 3 Korean actors/actresses in this class. Similarly to Nicole Kidman in one single scene in "The Stepford Wives" (2004 film) only a lot more and better. Even though Gianna only did one stunt (the fake ones don't count) that wasn't so special it kind of stuck. Same could be said about her out of the blue uncut pseudo Kata showing her abilities. Or her other numerous acts. You better watch to the last second and all specials. You won't see much of her skin, though (She's already married. yet, there's a scandalous number of kissing scenes).
    There are lots of other famed actors and guest stars who sometimes try to disguise themselves. Smile In a way, this show could have been titled "My Sassy Girl - the ultimate version" even though there's a lot more than just that.  Definitely one of the best shows around. Its weaknesses are typical for most TV show/movie story writing so I really can't complain. For example the hero making a stupid deal with the villain. If only the males actors were better these days. (see rant post below)  This complain does not apply to the ebil villain. There's only one critical yet inconsequential scene where until the in-show revelation at the end I couldn't figure out who did it. Even after the revelation I had doubts. Dunno if that was intentional or not or if the script messed up.
    The location of the lead character's apartments and their adjacent balconies is reversed throughout the whole show. I'm pretty sure they used one apartment for the shootings. Despite of all the other stunts and action scenes the unimportant balcony stunts were imho the most scariest of all (considering it's winter and windy all the time). There are many other scenes that were obviously shot on the same location and days but used in many different episodes. Talk about efficiency of coordination and planning the show in advance. In this regard the connected flashbacks are seeded a bit too far in between. Not that this was bad it's just bothersome to look back.
    There's no more than 2 or 3 songs and some karaoke but somehow there are 9 OST for the show!?
    Depending on your respective, I think it's not really a happy ending ...the ending'a situation is, in another certain famous story, the beginning of the story's nightmare.

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

    For some reason the current generation of young male Korean actors are all ikemen. They all are selected due to their similar ideal look. As a result most are just average at best regarding acting. It's a stark contrast to the previous generation.
    Comparably the Japanese ikemen era didn't last as long and you hardly see them again except for the really good acting ones.
    Since they generally got access to only 100-200 million or 1 billion viewers at best compared to the 30x-6x for westerners the level of acting/competition is generally higher. This holding onto the ikemen wave is strange. It's dragging down a bunch of shows.
    And the villains tend to outshine the heroes in acting. It's too bad the good ones have been tied to high level long running shows that turned out disappointing (imho due to script).
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 8/9/2015, 8:56 am

    Shine or go crazy (Korean)





    Type: history
    Genre: pseudo historic drama
    Year: 2015-Jan-19 to 2015-Apr-07


    Summary:
    While pursuing assassins, (beggar) Wang So is kidnapped by Yang Shin Yool. She's in danger of having to marry an old Chinese general and plans to fake a marriage with So. It's a one-night marriage with both hiding their face (lady's honor) or identity (man's honor).
    They go separate ways, afterwards, and return to their recently founded country of Goryeo (seed state for Korea). Upon returning, So is forced to marry princess Yeo Won. Five years later they meet each other again as the country's power struggle unfold.
    Unbeknown (various reasons) to them their unsanctioned "marriage" is in danger of being discovered. The breach of Royal marriage command is punishable by death! But worse of all Jool is fatally sick since birth.

    Critique:
    As Korea doesn't have mush of noteworthy history or many good stories most history shows are more madeup/fictional than based on real fact. No wonder considering it having its first unification not so long ago (a long with Japan) at least in asian terms. I started watching the show with lots of preconceptions and didn't plan to watch beyond the first episode, though.
    This show is frankly no exception but so far it's the one with the most real facts even if only counted on one hand. The show is about the unification nation and its reformation King Gwang Jong (949 AD...) and his rise to power. That said it has less focus on the struggle like "Legend" and slightly more about growing up as a prince, facing reality and romance. Both do show different paths...they are equal in covering all types of paths.
    Frankly, the show is fictional as many others. Its plot and stories are composed of well known concepts and ideas. I still like Legend more for its myths/legends, fantasy parts and strategies.
    Unlike Legend the show is very modernized, too. For example, the dates or the rings of marriage. The public visible sign of a wife is her hair pin. This also applies to Japan btw. Too bad, the related scene was made too unnoticeable while focusing on other matters. On the other hand the reverse scene was done a lot nicer.
    The show's cast is average with some good actors. Jang Hyuk plays the cursed, and banished beggar prince Wang So quite well. However, his idiot's appearance & acting can be annoying. Don't misunderstand, his character is not that of a perfect prince but rather a combination of Forest Gump and Irresponsible Captain Tyler. He's only smart when it's convenient. Him trying to sell his body was fun as well as his shacken emotional troubles over male Jool (reminds a lot of Hana Kimi).
    Oh Yeon Seo plays Yang Shin Yool, the quinta-lingual (old indish, latin, chinese, arabic, korean) merchant, the last & lost princess Shin Jool of the now fallen Balhae. This portrayal may look exagerated but not so uncommon historically at least for some people. Yet, she wears clothing from only 4 countries/people. I guess roman wasn't refined enough or too plain to be considered but if you are looking for old dressing variety this show is it. But for some reason they reused Jeo Won's wedding dress for Jool's marriage with Wang Wook...especially she shouldn't be allowed to wear the royal emblem. Her acting is good but far from the main actress(es) in Legend who played more than one character types, too. Like modern korean TV women her drinking is extreme...for many useful scenes.
    Lee Ha Nui as princess Hwang Bo Yeo Won was more interesting and impressive yet she didn't get as much screen time and love. It may not seem so but imho it's much more of an imbalance than Legend. And despite appearances, this is not a triangle relationship, at least not this one. This poor woman has to go through the embarrassment of being the 2nd wife, other hardships to survive, and despite sacrificing everything for her family she fails. And then there's her forbidden love.
    But all these allowed perhaps more actors to show subtile expressions then in Legend where only a handful got the opportunities. Something imho hard to find in western shows/movies etc. The colors chosen aren't random and obviously applied for various fields of meanings.
    And for some reason, Yeo Won's star mark is never shown or even mentioned, yet, her destiny is accepted as a fact.
    Overall the show lives on the romance(s) of So and Jool and the typical court intrigues stories.
    You might be confused by the princes from the different clans, yet being the sons of the same King. They just belong to their maternal side's or relative's clan.
    In asia the importance of the paternal or maternal side can depend on each family's status but generally they are equal. Hence, it's equally common for the maternal family to be important. For example, in Japan men may take on their wife's family name. Or in Vietnam, both keep their original names. It's only in (sexistic) western/oriental cultures that woman give up their names (or have less/no rights). It's also very common for the (elderly) women to have power over everything other than direct "command" power.
    Sometimes, I feel it's a bit dragging on the self pitying scenes. The show definitely appeals more to the romance leaning audience. The show has average decent actions and virtually no war scenes like Legend. No war at all to be precise.
    There are more intricate dog & cat fights yet is less ...dedicated and cruel than Legend. Jool was completely crushed too quick and after only one fight. In the end, imho, Yeo Won suffered the most. In Legend they all die several times over for real.
    The show deals a lot with economic issues similar to later european middle age economy. And most money used being silver not gold. Silver was what brought the house of Hapsburg to power all over Europe until someone else found a larger mine...
    It's a bit more complicated but still not as cruel as Legend, maybe. It seems rather tuned down, yet, it's not good for the faint hearted. This show doesn't spill a lot of blood but lots of tears. In contrast, Legend was full of intense conflict & fighting and spilled most blood during the birth of the first child & little sister. That was shocking. Se Won, the best fighter & Jool's lost brother, was wasted for nothing...just to spare from burdening her with his sins.
    The final showdown was kind of unreal, hence, disappointing. Or simply said nothing happened. Although, the main villain claimed to have done it for sake of the country, too, this reason was given as reclaiming deserved respect. But mostly it was about ruling in the background. There's some mentioning about the Khitan but without any further detail.
    The show left out the stories about King Hyejong, Yeo Won's half-brother. This is a source for confusion as it's only mentioned once, even though it's obvious. As well as the deadly fights forced onto the 34 princes & princesses ... obviously after So's banishment. The traitor's right hand men are never given even tough their assassination was supposedly the cause of it all.
    In the end, the intro scene is shown again. It's about 20+ years later and, obviously, Jool is no more. The final scene is a dream, fiction or "perfect ending". Or everything was fiction to begin with. Laughing It's about 5-10 years later, Jool has returned and is united with So. In reality, Jool never existed and the reforms took 17 years to be put into law.
    This show...it will be one of only two or three korean "feudal/sword" show I will ever recommend, probably. On a side note Legend-Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi takes place 500 years earlier. Goryeo being Goguryeo's self-claimed successor state in name and Balhae, a direct child state of Goguryeo. Pyongyang was Goguryeo's later capital, hence, the reason for trying to move back. Like Goguryeo, Goryeo lasted slightly over 500 years instead of the 1000 years wish. There are no other historic relationship between the two shows.


    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 8/9/2015, 5:43 pm

    Dinner

    Type: food show
    Genre: drama
    Year: 2013-Jan-13 to 2013-Mar-24


    Summary:
    One day, Tatsumi Hideo, Japan's only chef trained at Teresa and pioneer Italien food in Japan had a subarachnoid hemorrhage and falls unconscious.
    His daughter, Saori, is forced to run the business of the ristorante Roccobianc (one of only 3 One-Star restaurants in Japan; later the only Two-Star in Asia).
    The depsite the capable sous chef Imai, the number of customers twindle. Soari is forced to hire Ezaki Motomu, the only other Japanese trained at Teresa.
    However, Ezaki Motomu is eccentric in his pursuit of perfection and uncompromising professionalism. One of many recipes for disaster starts to unfold.


    Critique:
    I have seen a number of different kinds of cooking and food shows, which imho weren't good. Especially, fast cooking show that's all about mixing without sense or taste e.g. mixing things that shouldn't be together (depends) like watery stuff with ingredients for dry stuff.
    Of course you gotta understand cultural taste differences when cooking e.g. europeans like it more soure or have no problem with lactate tolerance unlike asians. Most cooking shows looked bad imho.
    So I started watching the show with lots of preconceptions and didn't plan to watch beyond the first episode.
    It turned out well, though, not unlike the majority of solid drama shows. It is well made or better than most food shows. The show is quite accurate on local(Italian) knowledge.
    For example one of the troublesome scene was about mozzarella. It's one of the food stuff Italians are most picky about. Forget the ones you can buy in the supermarket. It's not the same and far from equal in taste. These days 90% of ingredients are artificial or fake and people have been trained by the industry to recognize the fake tastes are real (whether for good or for worse).
    The show is bilingual through out, more than any other Japanese show. And their pronunciations are perfect! Quite good for a Japanese cast. Well, maybe one mispoken and mixed up a word with spanish. Laughing
    The show's main focus is about people and values that's generally disappearing at workplaces these days.
    The show's cast is average with some good actors. Generally they create a nice team work atmosphere with lots of good and funny scenes based on acting rather than script.
    There are things like: shadow cooking(!) that looked like dancing was interesting; shocking ladies' chitchat; Ezaki's wife mix-up (poor woman who lost to a pig);
    The location is some small factory 19th century style building, even the pave way is authentic, except for the fire safety standard nothing gave it away as Japanese.
    For a flashback they even dug out an old 1st gen labtop (SHARP something series maybe even with an motorola chip or i80088), way too old considering it should have been the 90's not the 80's.

    Verdict: 8
    Cast: 7
    Cast performance: 8
    Script/Directing: 9
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/6/2015, 4:52 pm

    Hitotsu Yane no Shita / Under One Roof (Under The Same Roof)





    Poopy impression
    (see any images?)

    Type: Family Drama
    Genre: family drama, comedy
    Year: 1993

    Intro:
    This is one of the most popular classic series in Japan and abroad. Two shows (seasons) were made with an average rating above 34%. Very few shows have a better rating. Only the summer Olympics have a significant higher rating (40-47%). The series supposedly had 12 complete reruns. The data is probably outdated.
    It reminds of "Full house" but that's where the similarity ends.

    Synopsis:
    The Kashiwagi parents passed away in a car accident leaving their children behind. 18 year old Kashiwagi Tatsuya, the eldest son, unable to take care of his siblings decides to have their relatives & adopters take care of his siblings. He goes in pursuit of his marathon career.
    Seven years later...
    Tatsuya/An-chan, 26, is going to marry his fiancee, Chizuru, and decides to have a family meeting. He also plans to open a cleaning shop.
    Masaya/Chi-niichan, 25, has been adopted and is going to inherit a hospital from an uncle (mother's ex-fiancee). He has become elitist and snobbish. He offers Tatsuya money to stay away. Masaya hates Tatsuya's hypocritical behavior...
    Koyuki, 22, the eldest sister, has become an office lady who was angry at Tatsuya for renting pron has now an illicit relationship with her boss (ex-college sempai). She has been living by herself nearly all this time...
    These three are supposed to be leading but things turn to the worse (acceptable for japanese TV at the time; more in 2nd season).
    Kazuya is hanging out with bad company. He's an ex-convict and because of that he has trouble with the police and work, regardless whether the accusations are true or no. He pulls a knife on Tatsuya the first time they meet...
    Koume, 17, the youngest sister, the top #2 high school freshman, is having a hard time living with her cousin. She tries to hide her miserable situation from her siblings especially since what happened to Fumiya. Koume works secretly as hostess to gain independence...
    Fumiya, the youngest brother, now 15, was involved in a motorcycle mishap two years ago and had been bound to the chair. His relatives had sent him away because they got their own son by then. He has cut himself off from the others and retreated into his shell...
    Tormented by guilt Tatsuya decides to take care of Fumiya without talking to Chizuru first. He usually decides on things without talking to anyone first. Naturally, at this late point it's all a disaster.
    Masaya, meanwhile, is torn between loyalty to his blood related family and his foster family. His only confidant is a patient who could die any moment from heart failure when exerting herself. However, she's been kept in the dark by everyone...
    Koyuki gives up everything to attend to her newfound family or so it seems. Everyone's just unreliable and she has to try to "fix" things her way.
    They end up partying more often than their pockets would allow. Tatsuya, being simple minded and assumptuous, easily blows things out of proportion. He often preaches but the man has a price. Pudding and cakes are a means for bribery, which actually, doesn't work. Yet he throws a tantrum over them.
    In this season, except for Masaya, the brothers easily fall prey to women from which new troubles arise. Koume, having a father complex, intends to live with uncle Hirose Yukio instead of her mother. Yukio was once a love rival in the love quadrouple. However, she is attacked and raped on her way home.
    As the situation unfolds and they overcome more or less the troubles and trials the bonds between the siblings improved (or not).
    Masaya never saw Koyuki as a sister and as circumstances develop it becomes a troublesome love triangle between the siblings. Koyuki was actually adopted and is unrelated by blood.

    Critique:
    This show is the reverse of the later "Hotman" show/manga, the starting situation that is. Both are great in their own respect.
    Eguchi Yosuke as Tatsuya/An-chan, is great in performing the all happy outgoing brother who's oblivious to his siblings' lives. Imagine the Japanese version of  Jim Carrey. Naturally, the siblings are resentful of his carefree life while they had hardships. His performances as the later tormented and or the bakaro brother are very natural, funny, embarrassing, sad, etc. And in line with the other actors it makes the family drama scenes great. There's lots of domestic violence "sibling love" in those scenes yet it's well controlled within bounds. I wonder if there were accidents shooting these scenes.
    Later on, Tatsuya being always presumptuous gets himself head over heels involved with a hostess. Although, this is certainly a possibility it resolved way too easy. The main reason being the compactness of the many stories within this short show. Then again I guess japanese TV wasn't ready yet at the time for more serious stuff, too.
    Sakai Noriko as Koyuki doesn't seem much in comparison (for a reason) but she undoubtedly has an important role; playing the weakest and naive big sister/stand-in mother. It doesn't appear noticeable but she's the one holding everything together. Without her support the family falls apart. She represents the perfect japanese woman except she doesn't do flower arrangement and or wear kimonos.
    The majority of the cast isn't so outstanding but they all are very natural and convincing in their roles. It's difficult to say if there's chemistry since there's constant sibling "fights". Overall I can't think of anything major to complain.
    Not much has been said about Kazuya's 7 years. Maybe I missed it... I don't remember whether he lived alone, with relatives or in an orphanage. All that's said was that he was in a detention center. Everyone else has a more detailed reasonable history.
    How, such a family could realistically makes things meet ends in Japan, I can't say. Japan has a high Gini index (54,7) as well as being one of the most costly regarding living expenses. Note the house is 2 story high and has about 17.3 tatamis in 4 rooms for the whole family...

    Verdict: 9
    Cast: 8
    Cast performance: 9
    Script/Directing: 10
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/6/2015, 5:33 pm

    Hitotsu Yane no Shita 2 / Under One Roof 2 (Under The Same Roof 2)





    (see any images?)

    Type: Family Drama
    Genre: family drama, comedy
    Year: 1997

    Synopsis:
    Around 1.5(2) years later (4 in the real world), Koume has finished high school and is about to enter college. She fails to see her number, actually misses it, and returns home without commiting suicide.
    Masaya leaves for Germany to give Tatsuya and Koyuki space, and to pursuit his new found dream of a poor doctor helping poor people like their parents and uncle Hirose Yukio.
    In order to improve their finaces they take in the boarder Hayakawa Masumi who was mistaken as a girl, hence, is forced to crossdress.
    Kazuya meets the love of his life but it's not a happy first meeting as she blackmails him for a million. Mochizuki Miki's all about money to support her mother who's in a coma. After her mother dies, Kazuya convinces the family to take her in and let them camp out in a tent in the garden...
    Tatsuya's old sports friend Kawamura Izumi shows up and recruits Kazuya. Miki, being jealouse and fearing him getting doped, keeps an eye on him.
    Fumiya has made a penpal girlfriend, Terada Nami. However, both have kept secrets about themselves. After a troublesome hide and seek, they find to each other. Through adventures and mishap their relation deepens into true love.
    Troubled by Koyuki, Tatsuya, arranges with their neighbor an omiai for her with Maezono Toshio. Toshio is a persistent bald guy, who when turned down poses as his imaginary twin to chase after her again.
    Koume finally enters college and is coerced into the tennis club by Nagumo Shunpei. They spend a hot night together in bed. The family roughs him up after finding out. Kurahashi Miho having an illicit relationship with Shunpei is bend on hurting and bullying Koume.
    She reveals Koume's rape to Shunpei. Koume attempts suicide by climbing the tall chimney of a public bath. (climbing without safety line while the chimney sways)
    Koyuki has to beg and grovel in the dirt for Shunpei to come save her, but he wouldn't. Yet Koume makes up with him.
    After a fight with Tatsuya over Koume she appears to have given up on him. Koyuki finally gives in to Toshio and agrees to marry him. However, she develops leukemia and doesn't have long to live. The uncles and Tatsuya keep it a secret. Actually, he can't tell her. When he forbids her marriage everyone's upset. He lies about loving her. Toshio challenges him to a kendo fight but couldn't win over his stubbornness.
    Because of his old "acquaintances" Kazuya gets in trouble with the police again. After some serious trouble he manages save Shogo from the gang and unite him with his sister Miki.
    Fumiya gains public interest due to his painting and even wins in the exhibition.
    Koyuki faints and the secret is out after she escapes from the hospital. Koyuki makes Tatsuya promise her to... Since, she doesn't have real siblings there is no hope of saving her.
    Tatsuya & Masumi chase after Megumi, Koyuki's half sister, to her school. These perverts get arrested for harrassing and kidnapping.
    In the end, Kazuya and Miki part ways.


    Critique:
    Looking back it's kind of amazing how a true continuation could be made after 4 years and with all the original cast. Lots of other shows failed to do the same and even with only one year gap e.g. Firefly or Hotman etc...

    Throughout the show Tatsuya is wearing a T-shirt with a bunny emblem this is a hint to be found in the first show. After things with Nami and Shunpei got resolved they are not seen again. The main reason being the compactness of the many stories within this short show. It's a lot more compact and cramped than season 1.
    Despite the timely short comings there are imho some excess scenes I'm not sure why they would be necessary. And how could Miki endure Kazuya's snoring?
    Miki is a great addition to the cast. The scene where she teases about Koume with "chu chu", like kids do, while Tatsuya is clawing tightly onto the newspaper was fun.

    Verdict: 9.4
    Cast: 9
    Cast performance: 9.5
    Script/Directing: 10
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/6/2015, 5:41 pm

    "Under One Roof 2" features more ballads and idols than the previous season. Surprisingly, even after 20 to 40 years of huge popularity nearly none of these songs have been translated yet! What's more, in nearly every episode there are slight differences either in lyric, arrangement or timing.
    Both shows have a huge amount of dialogues, about 50 to 100% more than the average show in the same time. These seems to be the reason there's no complete english translation for the second season. Well, I have my own version with completed lyrics. Cool Using simple karaoke effects results in 1-2 megabytes of scripting code just for the lyrics alone, though. -_-;
    Normal dialogue is bare bone simple in comparison. I can relate to the scare effect of attempting to do the subtitles for the show.
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/8/2015, 3:27 pm

    A collection of moments



    Alright, a selection of those ballads.

    The OP: サボテンの花 (1975): Show version; original group; female version




    No.1 Ballad: ひだまりの詩




    No.2 Ballad: 青春の影



    No.3 Ballad: ぼくがつくった愛のうた



    No.4 Ballad: 夕映え




    No.5 Ballad: Wishes




    Another old guy: 涙くんさよなら



    No.6 Ballad:

    No.7 Ballad:



    /hr]
    Random1: 夕映え


    Random2:
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/9/2015, 8:38 pm

    Legal High



    the monster and the heroine

    heroine power make up!

    alternative existence; defiant & obstreperous


    punk rock, rebellious heroine

    punk's best appearance

    heartbroken heroine

    the true asadora heroine


    Are wa koideshita=That was Love

    Don't Look Back

    a scene copied from "Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo"


    Type: Law drama
    Genre: courtroom, comedy
    Year: 2012

    Intro:
    Two shows of the series were made with a "better" average rating.  There's half a dozen or so songs written for the whole series that are good, funny, weird, or awkward. Yet, they are obviously base on well known pieces. They all appear in the shows (in parts) but may not be the center of attentions.

    Synopsis:
    Komikado Kensuke is an extravagant lawyer bend on winning as long as there's money to make. He's holding the absolute winning record and has no qualms to show off. He will do everything to keep his record and or win the rematches to erase the loses.
    Mayuzumi Machiko is a lawyer newbie who by circumstance partners with Kensuke. She's determined to put up with him to one day beat him.
    Namase Katsuhisa has a grudge against Kensuke because of a past case and would do anything to ruin or defeat him. Kensuke himself is scarred by the case. Three years ago, it was him who put 3 year old Saori-chan through a painful drug trial leading to her death; it was all to win the case...
    And then it's happening again, Machiko secretly puts her body on the line to bring forth proof.... and the price she has to pay is shocking! While facing death she keeps her smile and brings the case to a close. However, it's the end of the partnership. A tearful Machiko bids her farewell...

    Critique:
    Best courtroom series ever! Maybe a bit exaggerated but I stand by it. And yeah, watch every second attentively or you will miss something. Not only because the main actor is talking and doing "interesting stuff" at the same time. There's some minor bonuses.

    Sakai Masato as Komikado Kensuke is amazing in this show. (He's different in all other shows.) Here he's superficial similar to comedian Woody Allen due to his oratorical skills; or imagine a combination of a Japanese comedian and Lex Luther from Superman & Lois.
    The comedic side of the show is there to hide the truths the shows is touching on. This is similar to a jester of past ages. Kensuke addresses and or makes fun of human stupidity, double standards, hypocrisy, social engineering, social lies or pressure, public opinion or will nothing's left out not even deep rooted japanese social problems. That said this show is the more serious of the two seasons.
    It's all only possible (on Japanese TV) with him running his mouth as a character trait. He's usually rude and bashes on all sides to shack everyone up, and takes them down with theatrical or sensational speeches and performances.
    Many cases appear to be based on absurdity simple reasons but, frankly, they are quite common in real life civil courts. Kensuke appears as a pure evil lawyers but as the cases progress he ends up revealing hidden or "alternative" truths. Who knows. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Laughing
    Anyway, it seems he has a weakness in acting. It's rarely seen or hard to notice, but his right eye twitches sometimes. I guess because of the complexity of acting in these show it came to light.
    Aragaki Yui as Mayuzumi Machiko, often called "asadora heroine" by Kensuke. "Asadora" (Morning Drama) is NHK's morning program of drama shows. It's often the stepping stone for young actresses. The theme's mostly about a young girl working hard to overcome troubles in life. It has long become a prestigious program, its fame and popularity also serves to foster tourism and foreign relations. "Oshin" is often cited as the best known world wide and being the highest rated show ever with 52.6%.
    She's your typical country bump who gets used by Kensuke and others. Her singing brings tears to the audience. Laughing During the course of the show she grows up while struggling to keep to her ideal and not giving in to Kensuke's influence.
    Her speech also seems to change toward the end. [This is her usual way in other shows, though.](More development can be found in the next season.)
    Koike Eiko, THE gravure idol, plays as Sawachi Kimie. She's only interested in men fighting it out, hence, she gives conflict a hand when needed. Her role is surprisingly broad even though it's not that important except for a handful of scenes.
    In this season you get to see

    • the woman who Kensuke running away from with his tail between his legs or
    • Kensuke's trauma of opposing a towering giant or
    • facing the biggest regret of his life or
    • instant loss at first sight, the sadistic judge making him grovel in the dirt and rot in a hole.


    The cases are "ordinary" leaning toward Japanese specific issues with the Special about one of the biggest social problem in Japan: school bullying.
    And yes, some detail stuff are made up but there's no reason why something similar wouldn't exist. Perhaps some tricks aren't necessary new but certainly not all used in the ways they are in this show.
    Unlike regular courtroom shows, there are often chitchat among the lawyers from both sides and other minor irregularities. And there are lots of theatrical stuff.
    There's not much else to criticize because it all can be waived due to the comedic or inseriousness. For example, the "ninja" Kensuke hires and the time and preparation needed are often unrealistic. Or often there's not much time between courtroom sessions.
    Despite the shortness of the show the final episode was surprisingly the long awaited final showdown between Kensuke and Machiko.
    While watching the show all sorts of tears came up. If you thought you've seen it all then brace for season 2!


    Verdict: 9.3
    Cast: 8
    Cast performance: 10
    Script/Directing: 10
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/9/2015, 8:50 pm

    Legal High 2


    We are hot!

    illusionary love and peace team; heavenly team

    dubious victory

    cases of abuses

    the robot puppets

    bombshell; Ninjas bout!

    eyes! & faces

    secret master guidebook

    short performance "Rotten delusional Girl!" is a derivative of some other piece



    Type: Law drama
    Genre: courtroom, comedy
    Year: 2013

    Synopsis:
    Sometime later, without realizing Kensuke's greatest enemy has prepared his downfall to hell. Machiko faces the most difficult decisions of her life.
    And admits it all, the case of the century has brought new strong opponents. As if that's not enough the worse of worse judge re-appears.
    As the cases come and go, Kensuke realizes Machiko's being held up by him and kicks her out. Machiko ends up joining the enemy or is it Kensuke?

    Critique:
    The continuation of season 1 is a complex show with stories intervened similar to "newer" modern Korean shows.
    Sakai Masato as Komikado Kensuke outdoes himself again, reaching new highs (of embarrassment Laughing ).
    This time it's about truths of human nature nobody wants to hear, acknowledge or admit. The consensus: The truths to all your questions about the world you cannot find in any text books, you can find it looking back right at you in any mirror. You just have to look beyond its appearance.
    Since the first Special, Machiko is fully depicted as a strong country girl. She gets to show it off more in this season. She appears to be really strong in real life, well, at least in her back and legs.
    In this season you get to see

    • Machiko beating up Kensuke to a pulp or
    • a head-on, bare-fisted court fight between geniuses or
    • under the whip of the sadistic judge Kensuke's an obedient, teeth-less puppy or
    • the freezing hell of the Chief Prosecutor or
    • the alluring prospect of a super woman or
    • the most hated person of the century making him lick dirt or
    • Kensuke getting struck down by a messiah.

    What more is there to be desired? Well... It's kind of puzzling, it's never shown how the "prince" came to join them in the beginning. Jane's personality changes are also puzzling. In her case, it could be hand waived, though, but still I don't see a good reason why it had to be this way.
    Why the "prince" isn't reacting to Machiko's botched up cue phrase was puzzling but boy that was mean!! And I fell for it. This is a case for another class action lawsuit. Laughing
    On a side note, in the later half Machiko and Beppu are wearing the same necklace which also appears in other later shows with them. They were probably part of the same agency.

    Verdict: 9.7
    Cast: 9
    Cast performance: 10
    Script/Directing: 10


    Last edited by Almael on 12/10/2015, 3:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/9/2015, 9:28 pm

    complete courtroom scene performance "Rotten delusional Girl!"


    fan performances
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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

    Post by Almael on 12/16/2015, 7:17 pm

    JOKER Yurusarezaru Sosakan



    talk to the hand

    photocopy his head

    victory in defeat


    sample


    Type: police drama
    Genre: mystery, conspiracy, crime
    Year: 2010


    Synopsis:
    Date Kazuyoshi is a detective of the Kanagawa prefectural police force. He's a embarrassing, shameful detective who's not respected by his juniors. Yet, he solves cases with or without the higher ups consent. Miyagi Asuka, newbie detective, is forced to partner with Date. It's a harsh time of trial. Rumor has it criminals who got away with their crime were mysteriously disappearing. Katagiri Saeko, a reporter, frequents the police for the scoop.
    As the story progresses Date comes under suspicion. Asuka gets torn between loyalty and mistrust, good and evil. Is Date a murderer, especially did he murder her brother?


    Critique:
    [The original review kind of went lost quite some time ago. This is my tentative rewrite which is lacking in detail.]
    This show is about mystery, heinous crimes where criminals cannot be judged or punished by law, e.g. the infamous criminal law code 39.
    Part of the police force are unhappy about the situation. This is the basis for the background story.
    Sakai Masato as Date Kazuyoshi plays the gentle, gullible detective with a dark past and secret. During the day, he is a funny guy who often gets into embarrassing situations. He gets no respect whatsoever but his ability is recognized or rather he's tolerated. At night he's the iron disciplined, yet, "displeased", unfailing/unswerving vigilante. By circumstance he is met with his admirer who may or may not turn to evil...
    Anne as Miyagi Asuka plays the rookie, country bump female detective. Whenever Date goes on his selfish research she has to take care of all the paper work. Needless to say Date's embarrassing "behavior" drives her mad.
    Ryo as Katagiri Saeko plays the reporter. She's wasted in the show. She just serves to initiate events or introduce new information. Her death is just so evil, pointless.
    The mystery story parts are good. They show the true evil and the thin line between good and evil our (dark) heroes have to tread. There are also examples of alternative possibilities.
    The renegade police vigilante story is too dark in this show. Even though, the "master" doesn't kill the criminals he killed their own. Not only once but twice and willing for more. This is just too simple, shocking, and unbalanced an evil. Well, it appears the show set a new bar here.

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

    Post by Almael on 12/16/2015, 7:25 pm

    Hanzawa Naoki


    friends for life

    who's watching who?

    the evil army of the government



    Type: Business drama
    Genre: thriller, suspense
    Year: 2013

    Intro:
    This show is based on a series of novels of the same name by Ikeido Jun. There are 4 novels. This show covers the first two. The show's last episode has the highest episode rating in over a decade. And it has started intense debate in Japan. It's eagerly awaited to receive a continuation.

    Synopsis:
    Due to a past event, Hanzawa Naoki joined the Sangyo Chuo Bank in 1992 which merged with the Tokyo Daiichi Bank in 2002. Now, he's the head of the Loans Division of the Osaka Nishi branch of the Tokyo Chuo Bank. One day the Branch manager, Asano, forces him to award an unsecured loan of 500 million yen to Nishi Osaka Steel.
    As a result, the loan is lost when Nishi Osaka Steel went bankrupt. Asano makes Hanzawa the scapegoat. Naoki is forced to recover the loss or be shipped out. However, the Nishi Osaka Steel owner has disappeared. Naoki starts a rigorous manhunt by himself. To make matters worse, the Regional Taxation Bureau shows up for an unspecified inspection. Naoki has to recover the loss before the Tax agents confiscate the money.

    Having survived the crisis Naoki has become the Deputy Manager of Operations Department 2 at headquarters. When the bank is about to face the scrutiny of the Financial Services Agency, Naoki is assigned to deal with the troubled Iseshima Hotel, as it would endanger the bank.
    What was supposed to be a simple matter turns out to be an internal intrigue of the highest level while putting the bank (and Hotel) on the brink of imminent death. Naoki is willing to do anything to save both including doing a dogeza if forced to but he will pay it back double.

    Critique:
    I will ignore the real internal workings of a bank or accounting and point to other obvious problems. The depiction of bank business and accounting is very basic anyway, and just serve to feed the story. It would be unfair to fiction to kill it off right then and there.
    For more information on Japan's mega bank system you want to watch the show "Karei-naru Ichizoku". Or watch geopolitical, economic documentaries. I recommend the ones done by France. Imho they are the best there is. It's just data and scholar opinion, though. However, without deeper understanding than the best history text books around the world can offer, you will never understand the true political motives.
    The show, actually, has a lot of short comings. It's simple and one-sided imho. The enemies usually has it all planned, and just sits around waiting for the time to make his next planned move. The enemies hardly do anything in addition to what's already plan. And the rivaling government's army of agents are just slower or one step behind the hero. In real life, industrial espionage is not to be underestimated. With such big enemies you would expect at least internal cell phone & computer log records and tracking; not to mention detectives.
    No such thing can be found in the show. I dunno whether they are in the novel or not or if they where cut due to time constraints of the show. My guess is they aren't there to begin with.
    Even if the enemy does interfere Naoki magically cast it away or has it done somehow. For example when he was given tons of statistical work that would take all the time to do. Yet, he still goes off to take care of his main problem and we never see the given work being done or resolved.
    Naoki works together with a reporter to get information and public "support." However, the media in Japan is close to the government and industry and has appropriate censorship in place. Just look at the media coverage history of the nuclear industry. Until Fukoshima, there has virtually been no kind critiques. That aside there's a law in Japan forbidding publicizing false facts. Therefore, making a scoop without revealing facts or having their confirmation is impossible. For the same reason Japan has really good documentaries. Btw. in light of Fukushima, in 2014, another major censorship law was passed in Japan further restricting publications. But for these reasons Japanese documentaries are highly reliable. Comparatively, Discovery channel is up to date and great on new things but has too many misinformation or sensational/manipulative information.
    Aside from the first newspaper publication we never get to see the other 2nd publication. Perhaps this was in the novel, though.
    Most of the suspension come from the timely pressure Naoki is under, which are, frankly, solved faster than any spy show or movie. In a mega city like Tokyo or Osaka, despite the great subway or bus network you can't make a round trip anywhere in less than 1.5 or 2 hours. It's all ridiculously unrealistic. Well, lets ignore the rest of technical scrutiny.
    One good thing in the show is the friendship between Naoki and his close peers. Here, Kondo Naosuke is depicted as the weak opposite of Naoki. It's too bad Tomari Shinobu is never shown doing anything but providing support.
    But worse of all, Naoki's wife, Hanzawa Hana, appears to be a poor shadow of her novel counterpart. Ueto Aya's acting talents are wasted on her. In the novel she's supposed to be a lot more crafty and "evil" (perhaps no good for Japanese TV). Here she's just the "uninformed" goody goody homely wife...nearly serving as decoration only. This degradation is really sad but at least the results of her coincidental or not spy activities weren't cut. She's at least the ideal Japanese wife who supports her husband.
    The show does depict the wife and family of Asano in more detail but all the other villain wives are all evil or at least one is impartial.
    The evil government and it's representative Kurosaki (=death...) are just stereotypes who serve to put more pressure on Naoki. Kurosaki is quite some weird guy with amazing calculative skillz and scary way of dealing reprimands for his men, literally. Here, governmental employees are untouchable, waiting for a reason to bring down the hammer of judgement. Frankly, in Japan, they are being kicked around the same in real life, too
    Even though, antisocial forces (Yakuza) are mentioned once, they never get to play any part. It's unimaginable they aren't involved in some of the small businesses or with Higashida Mitsuru.
    There are a few shocking revelations. Well, they are kind of predictable so they are rather confirmations than surprises. Evil is everywhere it's a wonder no major tragedies happened.
    Disappointingly, the later half of the show (2nd novel) got resolved too quickly in the end. Overall, the show is an extremely enjoyable thriller if you ignore its short comings.

    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 12/18/2015, 9:13 pm

    Before I continue posting the next dozen lined up shows (more or less written) I think this thread needs to liven up! This in line with the anime idol thread.

    As to commemorate Baby Metal's achievement the week before last
    http://www.jpopasia.com/news/babymetal-wins-vogue-japan-women-of-the-year-2015-award::18697.html

    Spoiler:

    Gimme Chocolate!

    Doki Doki Morning


    AKB48
    Spoiler:

    Dareka no tame ni


    classic retro
    Tsuki no katachi



    「RIVER」 富士急ハイランド


    Itoshisa wo Marumete


    Sayaka Yamamoto playing guitar!!


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    Re: Live Actions & JDorama Review & discussion

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