Posts Tagged ‘J-drama’

Last Friends j-drama

May 3, 2009

400px-last-friends-banner

Last Friends
 

 

 

This Japanese drama puts focus on human issues that are rarely addressed or kept secret most of the time. Issues such as domesic violence, gender identity confusion, adultery, and sexual child abuse are tackled in this drama. These issues  make this 11-episode show unique and really enjoyable to watch, especially when it weaves in a unique storyline that makes your emotions go haywire.
 

 

 

Summary: Michiru has been leading a pretty hard life which she thought would end when her boyfriend, Sousuke, invites her to live with him in his apartment. At the same time, Michiru and her junior high school best friend, Ruka, have reunited with her after four years of separation. These occurences have made her extremely happy, however, what she thought would be a happy life turned out to be something dreadful. Unable to cope with her problems, she runs into Ruka and from there, her life interweaves with Ruka and her housemates: Takeru, Ogura, and Eri.
 

 

 

Characters:

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Aida Michiru  
acted by Nagasawa Masami. Even though she’s pretty and well-dressed, I’m not really her fan since she’s very annoying in this drama. Michiru is a very (extremely) sweet and weak person, sort of a damsel in distress character. Coming from a broken family and a father who beats her, she seeks love in the wrong places. She’s the character who we can relate to our friends who won’t even take our advice and go on their pathetic stupid lives led blindly with love. Bleh. Her character put color in this drama, though.

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Kishimoto Ruka acted by Ueno Juri. I’ve liked her since Nodame Cantabile and she’s even better here. Ruka is a lesbian who had hidden feelings for Michiru for a long time. In this series, Ruka is a motocross rider wanting to go professional, so she’s striving hard to win competitions. She seeks respect from certain individuals – not respect that is given to a woman, but to an individual. As Michiru drowns in her problems, Ruka always comes to her rescue and constantly tries to protect her.

takeru

Mizushima Takeru acted by Eita. I love this character since it’s so different from his acting in Nodame Cantabile. In this series, he’s a professional hair and make-up stylist and a part-time bartender who is being mistaken as homosexual most of the time by his colleagues. This is because he frequently avoids contact with women and fears to be involved in a relationship with them. He has a troubled past which has affected his view on women and relationship in general.

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Oikawa Sousuke acted by Nishikido Ryo. Probably the scariest character I’ve seen on Japanese dramas, despite his good looks and resemblance to Victor Basa. Sousuke is Michiru’s boyfriend who works as a social worker. As Michiru starts to live with Sousuke, he becomes possessive of her, going into obsessive acts such as watching her while at work, controlling her life, and when disobeyed, he beats Michiru to a pulp. Brrrr, scary. 

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Takigawa Eri acted by Mizukawa Asami. She is Ruka’s housemate who had issues with relationships for as long as she can remember. She works as a, stewardess, where she met a married man who she becomes involved with. Her character is very hyper and friendly and funny most of the time. 

I think that this series, compared to other light j-dramas, has a slightly mature theme. Domestic violence in itself is scary enough and seeing it on action is even scarier. This drama shows how Sousuke beats Michiru, why he beats her, and what he does when he becomes suspicious of her. Sousuke is really, really scary. What makes it more annoying is that Michiru lets him does this because she knows there’s a reason. Despite this reasoning being so stupid, I think that this is reality for most women who can’t fight back to their partners for committing domestic violence. 

Aside from domestic violence, the drama also gives light on real friendship. When  Sousuke goes mad, Ruka and her friends are ready to protect Michiru from him.

In terms of storyline, I just realized that each episode seem to become repetitive. It deserves to be called j-drama, with all the dramatic speeches and each of the characters’ issues that has no end. I didn’t think that Japan is pretty closed minded with lesbians, too. Ruka had a hard time revealing her true gender identity, which shocked the shell out of most characters. It’s really weird.

Despite the criticisms, this drama is a good watch. We’ve watched this in just one weekend since with the cliffhangers and preview of the next episode, we can’t just stop watching. So, go watch now!

Episode list:

1: The troubles we keep to ourselves: DV, pregnancy, and forbidden love

2: A life-and-death secret

3: A love that eats away life

4: A bond torn apart

5: A night of shock

6: A desperate getaway

7: A harsh reality

8: Last Letter

9: Your life

10: Love and death

11: To the future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nodame Cantabile review

June 23, 2008

Nodame Cantabile

I’ve been liking classical music for some time now especially the piano solos from Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, and Chopin. But for the many times that I encountered this J-drama in drama wiki, I never wanted to watch it because it seemed boring and I thought it might be stiff. But when I finally tried it from downloading one episode, I was proven so wrong. XD

This is my favorite J-drama so far – I know I’ve been saying this with every review I’ve been making, but the combination of my interests, comedy, and a nice story really makes this one a top-notch drama comparable to the ever popular hana kimi. The only thing that separates Nodame Cantabile from the rest is its interpretation of something that is not seen in everyday life – well, classical music.

Main Characters

Ueno Juri as Noda Megumi or Nodame

Nodame is a really uber talented pianist who can play hard pieces by ear. She came to study piano in Momogaoka College of Music so she could attain her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher. She doesn’t realize her full potential as a performer thus her attitude of being lazy at practicing, not caring about the score, and playing by impulse. Her habits are also terrible, such as not washing her hair for days, not taking a bath for an interval of time, and leaving garbages lying around her room.

Tamaki Hiroshi as Chiaki Shinichi

Chiaki is another talented and hardworking guy who enrolled in Momogaoka College of Music to study piano. He also plays the violin, however his ultimate dream is to become a conductor. He realizes his full potential and he uses it really well. He works hard to attain his dream, which is to conduct.

Summary/Plot

Becoming tired of a school where lousy students came to study, Chiaki is at his limit of appreciating his classmates. One day, he hears someone playing Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata in a lousy but correct manner. Surprised that he
finally discovered someone probably as talented as he, he searched and met Nodame. What he found is a weirdo who instantly fell in love with Chiaki.

Through Nodame, Chiaki finds himself in a tangle of events that made him slowly attain his dreams. Well, of course this is not about Chiaki too. Nodame, the weird girl, has her own story in the drama as well, being the lousy player that Chiaki tries to encourage.

Where it all started XD YUMMY YAOI CHIAKI MAN!!!!!!!!

Chiaki in Nodame’s room. The hell, it’s really covered in garbage!

When I watched the first episode of Nodame Cantabile, I instantly noticed that the main characters really look good! Nodame is really cute and has a sophisticated face. She has a model-like figure and really cute hair. Meanwhile, Chiaki has a really manly face that shows great expressions, AWESOME hair, and YAOI-character like physique. WAHAHHA He’s sexy! Plus what they wear are also awesome. Nodame’s outfits seem to make a fashion statement throughout the show that I thought that wow, I want to wear those too! Hahaha XD

The musical part of the show is what I like best. Students in the school are shown playing mostly the violin and the piano. There are also plenty of episodes which featured orchestra playing – like what you see in orchestra concerts. Whaha, scary right? But the first episode that featured orchestra would really get you into it. When I finished watching it, I was reminded of our high school plays which I had the chance to watch so many times in practices but when I watched the final performance, I was really moved. XD wheeeeee

The classical music are well picked as well. You can really see that the creator really has a good grasp of classical music. Composers featured are Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Schubert, Debussy, and Stravinsky. I might’ve missed some, but those are well featured. It’s really well presented in the drama that I listened for two weeks straight to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto 2. It’s the best. 😀

About the love story, don’t expect this drama to have cheesy scenes. When I watched that certain part, it seemed so perfect since it was still funny but romantic at the same time. The actors/actresses are great in the movie, especially Nodame who’s great in comedy, drama, and err, shouting. Hehe.

If you want a lot of comedy with romance (that actually brings out results XD) and classical music that will get you hooked, watch this. After watching the series, I decided to play more piano and improve my playing. 😀 My sister, who had no interest in classical music, is now hooked. Go go watch it! XD

nobuta wo produce

May 10, 2008

Nobuta wo Produce/
Producing Nobuta

From the photo, you might say, ‘what, another school drama again??’ or ‘what, a potential hana kimi sequel?’ or ‘YAMAPIIII’ (hahah). Yes, this is a school drama like any other popular series such as Hana Kimi, Gokusen, GTO, or Hana Yori Dango. I thought of that first when I watched the first episode. I really thought it was crap at first but I continued to watch more and more until I finish. What separates this drama from others is the depth that it shows derived from a simple theme: friendship.

Summary: Kotani Nobuko is a new transfer student in a school where popular Kiritani Shuuji and weirdo Kusano Akira study. Nobuko’s strange personality that depicts certain horror films such as The Ring or The Grudge made her an instant target of kebai bullies who made her life a living hell. From boredom or whatnot, Kusano Akira partnered with Kiritani Shuuji to ‘produce’ Nobuko as Nobuta – the popular girl. Through their efforts of making Nobuta popular, they formed an irreplaceable friendship and in the process, grew up.

Characters:

One of the unique things in this series is its great characterization that integrates great realism that makes the drama draw you in more. Even the other characters has their strong characterization that after only one episode of seeing them, it sticks into your mind.

Kiritani Shuuji acted by Kamenashi Kazuya: Yes, he’s from Kat-tun, the yucky boyband. Anyway, as I’ve mentioned in the summary, he’s the stereotypical popular guy who everybody loves – even the bullies obey since he’s just that cool. He has a girlfriend who is another popular and cute girl. However, his being popular is just a front so that he would have a memorable high school life. Everything that he tells his friends and even his girlfriend are lies that he conveniently made. The series shows his thoughts which contradicts his actions and words.

When he is with Nobuta and Akira, he is more natural and just like a regular guy who likes fooling around. He gets annoyed by Akira; he gets angry with both of them, and laughs with them.

Personally, his acting is impressive. He’s not the usual cool handsome guy posing as a mysterious guy who rarely talks and is always surrounded by fangirls HAHAHA. Nope. He’s a cool guy who has cynical thoughts. His expressions tell a lot – even his poker face. When he laughs, I feel that he meant it. And when he feel so down that he feels like crying, the expression is too genuine that it gets into you.

Kusano Akira acted by Yamashita Tomohisa: Yesh, my favorite character. Most of the comedy in the drama is courtesy of this guy. He’s the guy who likes to mind his own business, a loner, but a weird, crazy guy. He’s an idiot as well, going around school telling expired stories that he thinks is still cool. He laughs with this annoying laugh with matching claps. He goes down the stairs while flapping his hands like a gay guy. He has these weird words and actions. He doesn’t care about the world so he does what he likes to do. What the hell, this character is too outta this world but you could think that yes, there are people like this around. His character is still realistic.

However idiotic he is, he shows his mature personality and level-headedness. His words, when serious, are always rational and intelligent. He understands other people and sees through them. Ironically, he is one of the people in the series that shows real selflessness in friendship.

Kotani Nobuko acted by Horikita Maki: Probably we’ve all seen her act in Hana Kimi as the jolly boy-slash-girl but her character here is the entire opposite. She hangs her head down, slouched, while walking and she has slits for eyes. She has little confidence, low self-esteem, and she is used to being bullied. But then she finds Akira and Shuuji, who slowly transforms her. She is another character who comes out with unexpected tricks that will move and touch you. Her character changed Shuuji and Akira, but more on Shuuji.

I’ve always thought Maki is cute. Her acting in this series is great as well.

There are other characters such as The Truth Man who pesters you to tell him the truth. If you don’t tell him the truth, then something bad will happen. LMAO. There’s the crazy Vice Principal who says great things but she’s crazy at the same time.

Script, filming, soundtrack, and EVERYTHING ELSE

I honestly thought that the scriptwriters are geniuses. Every episode has a theme and every character in the series builds up this theme by the events that happen around them and how they respond to it. The scriptwriters turned around the cliche of friendship and made it into something unique and more meaningful. It seemed to revolve around the cliche ‘friends will always understand youuuuuu’ or ‘friends will always believe youuuu’, which I don’t always see in any school drama. Normally, betrayed friends would ignore their friends for some time, but in this drama, friends will try to understand each other as much as they can. It’s very touching.

The soundtrack is another thing. It’s awesome that even my mum who overheard the background music started humming it. HAHAHAHA!! Yep, Yoshihiro Ike is a great composer. You could download the OST here: http://www.4shared.com/file/43895891/9a135c5b/Nobuta_wo_Produce_Ost.html

In terms of filming, the director of photography is another genius. Like this scene from episode 4:

The series plays with yellow light, sunset, and uses it as natural lighting. There’s another trick that tones down the light in the classroom and focuses the spotlight on certain characters.

Conclusion

Now I feel like I’m writing a Literature report. lol This J-drama is really good hence why I wrote such a long review about it. Please, please watch it. I would gladly burn you a data CD with all 10 episodes so you could just watch it. It’s really worth my time. There are no SAPPY scenes that would make you scream ‘GAAAAHD SO CORNY!!!’, but you could cry from happiness. Compared to other school dramas that made you cry, this one would make you cry from your spirit being lifted. You might find yourself thinking ‘I want friends like that’ after watching some episodes. It would’ve been perfect if they removed the supernatural things that made me scratch my head.

I rate this 10 out of 10. Yeaaaaabaaaa. ^____^ Go watch.

J-Drama: Mukodono 2003

March 20, 2008

Yahoo, am here again to bring you some juicy review from the newest J-drama I’m currently watching: Mukodono 2003.

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This series caught my interest in crunchyroll.com one boring afternoon when I was in search of a funny series to watch. (Which was the same thing that happened when I found Hana Kimi) Actually I thought that the guy in the thumbnail looks cute. XD

The series didn’t fail me – the guy was cute, he’s cool, and surely enough, it’s funny. ^___^

Summary: Meet Yuichiro Sakuraba, an uber popular singer/songwriter who cause millions of fangirls to worship everything about him – even his billboards. The first episode opens up showing his uber popularity with the girls screaming at his newly put up billboard as well as his new commercial that’s even shown in theaters. Japanese dramas always put the catch amid the mainstream facade. Get this: Behind the cool personality is a complete geek who acts like a 10-year old. (see photo below)

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The story doesn’t focus on that twist alone, it even explored him juggling between his married life and his stardom. It’s really funny to see him acting really cool to the public then throwing a tantrum later in his branded suit and star quality appearance.

This J-Drama puts drama in its series as well. I’m only in the second episode but I’ve seen a lot of comedy, drama, and a whole pack of silliness. The drama is not cheesy as it is related to married or professional life.

Episodes: 11 (Completed)
This is actually quite an old drama. There was a first season, Mukodono, but I haven’t seen that yet. From what I’m seeing in this series, I’ll be finishing it until episode 11 then move on to the first series. Weird, I know. Haha ^^;;;

Only downside I see is that the opening is really boring. The opening song SUUUUCKS. XD

Hana Kimi (J-Drama)

January 13, 2008

All I can say is… I LOVE LIVE YAOI!!!

Yaoi = (ya-o-ee) Stories in anime or manga which focus on male homosexuality (not necessarily erotic in nature). www.animecritic.com/resources/glossary.html

Since shows on TV made me bored and my sister and I already finished the latest season of CSI Las Vegas through the holidays, I searched for some comedy Japanese Dramas. The I found Hana Kimi!

Hana Kimi is a Japanese drama based on a completed manga with the same title. The manga was also adapted into a Taiwanese drama. It’s a story about an American-raised girl, Ashiya Mizuki, who idolized a high jumper named Sano Izumi. When Ashiya discovered his idol stopped high jumping, she went back to Japan and enrolled in an all-boys school.

AND THEN YES!!! YAOI!!! Haha… >__<

It shocked me that Shun Oguri (also star of Hana Yori Dango as Rui) turned brokeback to his co-star Ikuta Toma! The scene turned into yaoi (!!!) when Oguri got drunk over nara pickles and turned into a kiss-monster. Hehe. I can’t stop laughing  XD

YAOI MOMENT!!!
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Another thing that made me like Japanese drama more than Taiwanese or Korean drama is my familiarity with the language. Somehow I can’t stand the sound of Chinese or Korean. Plus, the boys are cute. Hehe  Also, the humor is really random and the funny scenes really REALLY unrealistic. But really funny though.

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 >______<