Nuffnang

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yami no Kodomo Tachi DVD

Title: Yami no Kodomo Tachi
Price: 4,935 yen (inclusive of tax)
Date of release: 25 February 2009
Number of discs: 2
Produced by: Geneon Entertainment
Total running time: 137 minutes
Main cast: Eguchi Yosuke, Miyazaki Aoi, Tsumabuki Satoshi, Toyohara Kosuke, Suzuki Sawa, Sato Koichi

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yougisha X no Kenshin DVD

Title: Yougisha X no Kenshin
Price: 5,985 yen (inclusive of tax)
Number of discs: 2
Produced by: Pony Canyon
Date of release: 18 March 2009
Total running time: 128 minutes
Main cast; Fukuyama Masaharu, Shibasaki Kou, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Matsuyuki Yasuko, Kitamura Kazuki

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Okuribito DVD

Title: Okuribito
Price: 3,990 yen (inclusive of tax)
Date of release: 18 March 2009
Number of discs: 1
Produced by: Amuse Software Entertainment
Total running time: 131 minutes
Main cast members: Motoki Masahiro, Hirosue Ryoko, Yo Kimiko, Yoshiyuki Kazuko, Sasano Takashi, Yamazaki Tsutomu
Premium footage: Making-of, unreleased footage and compilation of trailers

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Detroit Metal City DVD

Title: Detroit Metal City
Price: 7,140 yen (special edition)
Number of discs: 3 (Document disc / Movie disc / Campaign disc)
Produced by: Toho
Date of release: 13 February 2009
Total running time: 104 minutes
Cast members: Matsuyama Kenichi, Kato Rosa, Akiyama Ryuji, Hosoda Yoshihiko & Matsuyuki Yasuko

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (22 Feb 09)

1) Changeling

2) 20 Seiki Shounen Dainisho Saigo no Kibou

3) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

4) Seven Pounds

5) Mamma Mia

6) Shounen Merikensack

7) Asahiyama Doubutsuen Monogatari Penguin ga Sora wo Tobu

8) Okuribito

9) 007 Quantum of Solace

10) Kansen Rettou

蛇にピアス Hebi ni Piasu DVD

Title: Hebi ni Piasu
Price: 3,990 yen (inclusive of tax)
Date of release: 23 Jan 2009
Number of discs: 1
Produced by: Amuse Software Entertainment
Total running time: 123 minutes
Special premiums: Making-of footage / Unreleased scenes / Theatre trailers and TV CMs

Monday, February 23, 2009

Okuribito wins award for Best Foreign Language Film

"Okuribito" won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 81st Academy Awards on 22 Feb (US time) which was held in Los Angeles. The director, Takida Youji was there to collect the trophy along with cast members Motoki Masahiro, Hirosue Ryoko and Yo Kimiko. This is the first time that a Japanese film has won this award since this category was first established in 1956. This also marks the first Academy award in 6 years since Miyazaki Hayao's full-length animation film, "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" won the animation award in 2002.

Preview of Climber's High (Movie Version)

Title: Climber's High
DVD release date: 1 Jan 2009
Roadshow date: 5 July 2008
Original novel by: Yokoyama Hideo
Theme song: Hotaruboshi by Hajime Chitose
Official website: here
Background: 12 August 1985, a JAL plane crashed, killing 520 out of the 524 crew and passengers on board. The author of this novel, Yokoyama Hideo was at Gunma to do research on this incident and subsequently released his novel in August 2003 which is about the struggles and problems faced by a local newspaper agency's staff as they cover this tragic air crash.

Cast:
Yuuki Kazumasa (Tsutsumi Shinichi)
Sayama Tatsuya (Sakai Masato)
Anzai Kyouichiro (Takashima Masahiro)
Anzai Sayuri (Nishida Naomi)
Anzai Rintaro (Osawa Masayoshi)
Tamaki Chizuko (Ono Machiko)
Todoroki Yohei (Endo Kenichi)
Kishi Enji (Taguchi Tomorou)
Yoshii Benjirou (Magi)
Kuroda Minami (Nonami Maho)
Shirakawa Raizo (Yamazaki Tsutomu)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (15 February 2009)

1) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

2) 20 Seiki Shounen The 2nd Chapter Saigo no Kibou

3) Shounen Meriken Sack

4) Mamma Mia

5) Asahiyama Doubutsuen Monogatari Penguin ga Sora wo Tobu

6) 007 Quantum of Solace

7) Kansen Rettou

8) High School Musical The Movie

9) Fake City

10) Che 39-sai Wakare no Tegami

Friday, February 20, 2009

Review of Kami no Shizuku Ep 1 to 3

Disclaimer: For those who are big fans of Kamenashi Kazuya or like the drama adaptation of Kami no Shizuku very much, you may wish to give this review a miss. I am stating my honest opinions on the drama which may not be music to the ears for some people. As such, to prevent you from getting upset over my personal views, I really suggest that you can consider whether you want to read further on.

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I have decided to give up on this series after watching the first 3 episodes. In fact, the thought of giving up already crossed my mind before I finished Ep 2. However, I thought of giving this series another chance but Ep 3 failed to impress me. It only strengthened my belief that I should not be watching this anymore. In fact, I should never have started.

Like what I said before, I had my reservations as to whether Kamenashi Kazuya is suited for this role. I did not read the manga so I have no idea whether his potrayal of Shizuku is close to the original. I don't really care for that since I'm not a manga fan anyway. Usually, I will be very upset if the adaptation differs too much from the original but this time round, I do not have a basis for comparision. The problem here is that the drama feels very much like a last-minute slipshod piece of work and Kamenashi's acting plus his combination with Naka Riisa are not helping things either.

First of all, the packaging and overall feel of the series should deviate more towards the elegant and high-class spectrum. Even I can see that the cover of the manga has more effort put into it as compared to most titles. Wine, being a drink which is not consumed that regularly and commonly as compared to juices or even beer, has a air of mystique and elegance to it. However, looking at how these people drink wine makes it not so appealing after all. Gulping is a big no-no and seeing how Tomine (Tanabe Seiichi) acts like a lunatic while munching on the corks just puts me off.

Besides that, Kamenashi simply does not bring out that genius feel of Shizuku. Before the drama started, my impression of Shizuku was that he's an unwilling genius when it comes to wine. He doesn't want to know so much about it yet he has the talent that puts him above the rest. However, what I've seen so far is Shizuku depending largely on the help rendered by people around it. I just don't see how talented Shizuku is supposed to be. At least Kamenashi doesn't show it. He strikes me more like an average guy who happens to hit the jackpot by chance.

However, I must say that Naka Riisa is a bigger eyesore in the series. I hate girls like that. Her character, Miyabi may have some knowledge or should I say trivia for wine but I don't really feel as if she's of much help to Shizuku. Coupled with the fact that I don't like Naka's acting at all (strikes me like a bimbo following Shizuku all day long), I can't bring myself to like this combination. Not even a single bit.

And finally, the theme song is another big irritation for me. I know there's an issue of using theme songs by the lead actor or actress most of the time especially when it comes to Johnny's artistes. However, I cannot comprehend why the producers allowed a song from KAT-TUN to be the theme song. The image does not match at all! It is really a blind decision which I simply think that it's extremely detrimental to the series. A good theme song could have been some saving grace.

Despite boasting of using a bestselling manga as the story base and a pretty good cast, the lacklustre story and acting (the leads) plus that horribly mismatched theme song spoilt the viewing experience for me. Totally. No wonder it is now languishing in the single digit ratings region: 10.3% --> 7.3% --> 6.2% --> 5.0% --> 6.0%. It should be the hardcore fans who are still tuning in to this.

If you are a Kamenashi fan, I'm sure he has better works in the past especially Nobuta wo Produce. The problem is, he's not able to bring out the essence as yet, not so of the fact that he's a lousy actor all the time. He has done better before BUT this role doesn't suit him, clearly. He seems to be at a very awkward stage. He doesn't look that manly yet to be an adult and he's too old to play a kid. So...maybe he should do something about his image like Yamashita Tomohisa. Although I'm also not quite impressed with Yamapi's acting, I think he has a smoother transition to adult roles because of his beefed-up figure and emphasis on masculinity these days. You can't look like a young guy who's immature, hanging around, frivolous etc and expect to get serious roles with substance. It doesn't work.

My last words about this: Don't bother with this drama. It simply isn't worth your time. And I wasted close to 3 hours of my time which I do regret.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ketsugekigata Betsu Onna ga Kekkon Suru Houhou (How women of different blood types get married) - Preview

Title: Ketsugekigata Betsu Onna ga Kekkon suru Houhou
Official website: here
Broadcast by: FujiTV
O.A.: From 23 Feb (Monday) to 26 Feb (Thursday) at 11pm
Special guest: Kondo Haruna (Harisenbon)



Part 1: Kato Rosa (Blood type A) x Nokubo Naoki
Part 2: Shaku Yumiko (Blood type B) x Miyasago Hiroyuki
Part 3: Kashii Yui (Blood type O) x Chen Bolin
Part 4: Mizukawa Asami (Blood type AB) x Joshima Shigeru

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winter 2009 Drama Satisfaction Ranking - After first episode O.A. (Oricon)

1) Triangle (FujiTV)

2) Hisatsu Shigotonin 2009 (TV Asahi)

3) Kiina (NTV)

4) Love Shuffle (TBS)

5) Uta no Oniisan (TV Asahi)

6) Tokumei Kakaricho Tadano Jin (TV Asahi)

7) Voice (FujiTV)

8) Tenchijin (NHK)

9) Reset (NTV)

10) Mei-chan no Shitsuji (FujiTV)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TBS Spring 09 Drama, "Smile"

Matsumoto Jun, Aragaki Yui and Nakai Kiichi will be starring in a TBS Spring 09 drama, "Smile" which begins in April on Fridays at 10pm. Matsumoto plays Bito, the son of a Filipino man and a Japanese woman while Aragaki plays a girl, Hana who cannot speak due to a trauma caused by a certain happening. Nakai plays a lawyer Itou in the drama. The scriptwriter will be Takuma Takayuki who wrote the series "Hana Yori Dango".

In this drama, Bito (Matsumoto) has to deal with the death of his father and the disappearance of his mother while grappling with the inequalities due to his background. In order to look more like a Filipino-Japanese, Matsumoto will perm his hair straight. As for Aragaki, this is the first time that she is playing a character who cannot speak thus she will have to depend on her facial expressions and body language to show Hana's emotions. For Nakai, this is the first time in 12 years that he's appearing in a TBS drama ever since "Fuzoroi no Ringotachi 4".

Monday, February 16, 2009

Zettai Kareshi SP to make its return in spring 09

"Zettai Kareshi" staring Hayami Mokomichi will be making its return in the form of a drama SP in spring this year. Hayami plays the robot lover Naito who will be resurrected in the SP. When the drama ended, Naito suffered from a breakdown of its functions. As such, he will be resurrected by a genius scientist played by Kuninaka Ryoko and her assistant played by Uchida Asahi. Cast members from the drama series including Aibu Saki and Mizushima Hiro will also appear in the SP.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Top 5 male artistes whom ladies want to give chocolates to on Valentine's Day (Oricon)

Top 5 singers

1) Fukuyama Masaharu

2) HYDE

3) DAIGO

4) Domoto Koichi (KinKi Kids)

5) Sakurai Kazutoshi (Mr.Children)

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Top 5 actors

1) Mizushima Hiro

2) Sato Takeru

3) Tamaki Hiroshi

4) Miura Haruma

5) Matsuyama Kenichi

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Top 10 artistes with the best smiles (Oricon)

Top 10 male artistes with the best smiles

1) Tsumabuki Satoshi

2) Koike Teppei

3) Fukuyama Masaharu

4) Kamiji Yuusuke

5) Tamaki Hiroshi

6) Ishikawa Ryo (golfer)

7) Mizushima Hiro

8) Sato Ryuuta

9) Kimura Takuya

10) Akashiya Sanma

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Top 10 female artistes with the best smiles

1) Miyazaki Aoi

2) Ueto Aya

3) Becky

4) Arakaki Yui

5) Nagasawa Masami

6) Aibu Saki

7) Ayase Haruka

8) Nakama Yukie

9) Aoi Yu

10) Suzannu

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lyrics of Eternal Flame by Bangles (Insert song of Love Shuffle)

Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling
Do you feel my heart beating
Do you understand
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Is this burning an eternal flame

I believe it's meant to be, darling
I watch you when you are sleeping
You belong with me
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Or is this burning an eternal flame

Say my name
sun shines through the rain
A whole life so lonely
And then you come and ease the pain
I don't want to lose this feeling

Say my name
sun shines through the rain
A whole life so lonely
And then you come and ease the pain
I don't want to lose this feeling

Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling
Do you feel my heart beating
Do you understand
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
But is this burning an eternal flame

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lyrics of Fantasy by Earth, Wind & Fire (Theme Song of Love Shuffle)

Every man has a place
In his heart there's a space
And the world can't erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky
On our ship fantasise
All your dreams will come true right away

And we will live together
Until the twelfth of never
Our voices will ring forever as one

Every thought is a dream
Rushing by in a stream
Bringing life to your kingdom of doing
Take a ride in the sky
On our ship fantasise
All your dreams will come true miles away

Our voices will ring together
Until the twelfth of never
We all will love together as one

Come to see victory
In a land called fantasy
Loving life a new degree
Bring your mind to everlasting liberty

As one

Come to see victory
In a land called fantasy
Loving life for you and me
To behold to your soul is ecstasy
You will find other kind
That has been in search of you
Many lives have brought you to
Recognise it's your life now in review

As you stay for the play
Fantasy has in store for you
A glowing light will see you through
It's your day shining day
All your dreams come true

As you glide in your stride
With the wind as you fly away
Give a smile from your lips and say
Are you free yes I'm free
And I'm on my way

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Review of Shinizokonai no Ao

This may seem like a horror movie if you look at the poster or the DVD cover but honestly, other than the image of Ao played by Tanimura Mitsuki, there isn't much horror to speak of. The makeup on her face appears quite horrendous initially but after looking at it for a while, I sort of got used to it. Well, this is not the most frightening or disgusting makeup I've seen on a character in the dramas or movies. Being not very daring as I get older, I usually shun horror movies these days. I'm glad that I gave in to my urge to watch this movie since it turned out to be not so much of a horror movie after all.

The story revolves around Masao (Suga Kenta) who is an ordinary primary student. When a new teacher Haneda (Shirota Yu) comes to their school and becomes their form teacher, this marks the beginning of Masao's tragedy. Masao's desire to be a committee member caring for the animals at school causes him to lie to Haneda and this gets him into the bad books of Haneda. Subsequently, Haneda takes the lead in ostracizing Masao and everyone in the class joins in by bullying him, both physically and verbally. Haneda even insults Masao and undermines his ego by saying that he is a good-for-nothing child. Of course, Masao is pressurized by all these and even thinks of committing suicide. Just then, Ao appears in front of Masao and keeps instigating him to take revenge for what they had done to him. There is once when Masao gave in to his inner dark self and hit back at the bullies. This freaks him out to a certain extent because he never realized the repurcussions involved when he chooses to take revenge. However, when things go overboard to the point of endangering his life, Masao is faced with the decision of whether to cave in to Ao's taunts and his dark self...

I would classify it as more of a human movie but with a dash of induced fear manifested by Ao's presence. Not much is mentioned about Ao's existence or where she came from. I get the impression that she represents the dark side of Masao deep down despite the fact that Masao feels that she resembles his late sister who passed away due to an accident. Masao did ask Ao why her arms were tied up by the straitjacket and her answer gave me the idea that if Masao does not unleash his dark side or overcome it, she will remain in that state. That is why at the end of the movie, Ao becomes a normal-looking teenager and is set free.

Suga Kenta and Tanimura Mizuki's performances were extremely brilliant in this movie. Suga managed to show the internal struggles of Masao without being too exaggerating while Tanimura shows her expertise and versatality as Ao. Shirota Yu also impresses me to a certain extent because he successfully got me to hate his character, Haneda a lot. ^___^ My only grouse would be how Masao and Haneda came to resolve their differences at the end. It was a bit too rushed and sudden for my liking. I felt as if the movie was trying to preach the message of "no tit-for-tat" so I had hoped for a subtle message instead of being shown that directly.

And my ratings for this movie...
Story: 7 out of 10 (It would have been better if the ending was handled in a better way)
Acting: 8 out of 10 (Especially for Suga and Tanimura)
Visual effects / Scenery: 7 out of 10 (There is some variety besides the usual studio shots. I liked the bridge scenery where Masao and Ao met)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7.5 out of 10 (For the chemistry between Suga and Tanimura as well as the intensity of the "hatred" displayed between Suga and Shirota)

Total: 29.5 out of 40

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review of Koori no Hana

Title: Koori no Hana
O.A. 6th and 7th of September 2008 (2-part SP)
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Official website: here
Original novel by: Amano Setsuko




Cast:

Seno Kyoko (Yonekura Ryoko)
Seno Takayuki (Sakai Masato)
Toda Katsumi (Tachi Hiroshi)
Natori Etsuo (Watari Tetsuya)
Takizawa Kayo (Suzuki Anju)
Hamamura Yukari (Hazuki Riona)
Takahashi Yasuko (Takaoka Saki)
Ootsuka Miharu (Tomosaka Rie)
Sekiguchi Mayumi (Nakajima Hiroko)

Review:

This drama SP is full of twists and unexpected developments where you won't really know where the story is heading towards unless you get to the end. Well, I must admit that there are some parts which are rather easy to guess but overall, this is a rather good piece of work in terms of the suspense department.

Seno Kyoko is a woman who seems to have it all i.e. a career as a famous pianist, a husband, Takayuki who works as a surgeon and a big house to live in. However, things start to go wrong after her uncle passed away due to a hit-and-run accident. The case goes unresolved after 6 months and it is then when she starts getting calls accusing Takayuki of having an affair with a nurse, Sekiguchi Mayumi working in the same hospital. As a result, Kyoko plots to kill Mayumi who is said to be pregnant with Takayuki's child. However, Kyoko later realizes that there is more to meets the eye.

Yonekura Ryoko is good at playing women who are stylish, confident and with a tinge of evilness as shown in her past performances in Matsumoto Seicho dramas. This time round, Kyoko appears as if she is forced to react extremely because of the pressure exerted by others but towards the end, you may form a different opinion as to how Kyoko's nature really is. The only grouse I have is Yonekura's hairstyle. It just irks me to see half of her face covered by that bob when she could have done something to make her hairstyle appear better. Besides Yonekura, there are four more beautiful ladies in the lineup which could provide lots of eye candy to the male viewers. It is a visual feast checking out because people like Hazuki Riona and Suzuki Anju rarely appear in dramas these days.

Sakai Masato seems to be appearing everywhere these days and I'm seeing a lot of him recently e.g. in Triangle. He has this ability to play roles with an evil streak so well that I can't help but shudder when I see him on screen. He did very well in this SP too. I would love to see more of him but it's just too bad that he disappeared too quickly in Part 2 and it wasn't a particularly nice manner that he did so. Something more elaborate could have been planned.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 7.5 out of 10 (The tension built up a bit too slowly at the beginning.)
Acting: 7.5 out of 10 (Especially for Sakai Masato and Yonekura Ryoko)
Theme song: 6 out of 10 (Mostly instrumental classical pieces)
Visual effects / Scenery: 6 out of 10 (Nothing particularly impressive except that jetty by the river which caught my attention)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7 out of 10 (The scene where Sakai and Yonekura had a mini-showdown before their separation was rather intense and the crossfire between Yonekura and Tachi is also worth keeping a lookout for)

Total: 34 out of 50

Monday, February 09, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (8 Feb 09)

1) 20 Seiki Shounen Dainisho Saigo no Kibou

2) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

3) Mamma Mia

4) Asahiyama Doubutsuen Monogatari Penguin ga sora wo tobu

5) 007 Quantum of Solace

6) High School Musical The Movie

7) Kansen Rettou

8) Gekijouban Engami Sentai Go On Ja vs. Geki Ranger

9) Che 39 The Letter of Farewell

10) Heaven's Door

Triangle by Niitsu Kiyomi

Title: Triangle
Author: Niitsu Kiyomi
Price: 1470 yen (inclusive of tax)
Total number of pages: 314
ISBN: 4048738658
Published by: Kadokawa Group Publishing
Date of release: 25 September 2008

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Scandal DVD Box

Title: Scandal DVD Box
Date of release: 6 March 2009
Price: 19,950 yen (inclusive of tax)
Number of discs: 5
Produced by: Victor Entertainment
Total run time: 400 minutes
Number of episodes: 10
First-press premium: Handphone strap & mini mirror

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Team Batista no Eikou DVD Box

Title: Team Batista no Eikou DVD Box Set
Date of release: 4 March 2009
Price: 23,940 yen (inclusive of tax)
Number of discs: 7
Total run time: 540 minutes
Number of episodes: 11
Produced by: Pony Canyon
Premium footage: Spoiler interviews with the cast, production press conference, birthday celebrations, end-of-filming, SP boom-up programme and trailers

Friday, February 06, 2009

Code Blue DVD Box

Title: Code Blue DVD Box
Date of release: 18 February 2009
Price: 23,940 yen (inclusive of tax)
Number of discs: 7
Produced by: Pony Canyon
Total run time: 534 minutes
Number of episodes: 11
Premium footage: Teasers, trailers, CM version of trailers, Belongings check of the cast, a tour of the studio set, behind-the-scenes footage, production press conference at the heliport as well as a special handphone strap included in the package

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kaze no Garden DVD Box Set

Title: Kaze no Garden DVD Box Set
Date of release: 18 March 2009
Price: 23,940 (inclusive of tax)
Number of discs: 7
Produced by: Pony Canyon
Total run time: 495 minutes
Number of episodes: 11

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Top 10 most anticipated young actresses ranking (Oricon)

1) Minamisawa Nao

2) Tabe Mikako

3) Kutsuna Shiori

4) Kitano Kii

5) Yoshitaka Yuriko

6) Kaho

7) Yamashita Rina

8) Kawashima Umika

9) Fukuda Saki

10) Tanimura Mitsuki

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Top 10 coolest female artistes ranking (Oricon)

1) Maya Miki

2) Amuro Namie

3) Amami Yuki

4) Shinohara Ryoko

5) Momoi Kaori

6) Esumi Makiko

7) Fujiwara Norika

8) Kuroki Hitomi

9) Tsuchiya Anna

10) Yonekura Ryoko

Monday, February 02, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (1 Feb 09)

1) 20 Seiki Shounen 2nd Chapter Saigo no Kibou

2) Mamma Mia

3) 007 The Quantum of Solace

4) Kansen Rettou

5) Dare mo Mamotte kurenai

6) Che 39-sai Wakare no Tegami

7) Gekijouban Honoogami Sentai Gonja vs Gekirenja

8) Revolutionary Road

9) Che Revolution at 28

10) WALL.E

Review of Zenigeba Ep 2

It becomes apparent in this episode that Fuutarou has a motive for "creating" that accident to cause Midori to knock him down with her car. At first, it may appear that Fuutarou wants to get close to Midori directly but my guess now is that he wants to achieve his aim indirectly through Akane, Midori's younger sister. Akane is a much easier nut to crack than Midori because Fuutarou knows that Midori may not take a liking to him. And he wants the heart of a beautiful person. In order to do that, he has to go through the weakest link in the Mikuni family i.e. Akane. As Akane has an inferiority complex due to a birth mark on her face and the fact that she walks with a limp, Fuutarou's appearance seems like a saviour because he is the only one who understands her feelings towards people who are normal and seemingly perfect in anything. Like what Fuutarou says, they are like those who stand in the dark and look at the sun. On one hand, you desire sunshine but on the other hand, you hate its existence. This contradictory feeling is exactly what Akane has been feeling but nobody has been able to understand. As such, she falls for Fuutarou very easily and clings onto him as if he's the life buoy while she's sinking. And once Fuutarou successfully enters the Mikuni family, I wonder how Akane will be "disposed of" by Fuutarou who would stoop at nothing to achieve his aim.

However, there are at least 4 persons who will stand in his way:

1) Ogino: He's convinced that Fuutarou killed his younger brother, Hiroshi so he will continue to pursue Fuutarou in future.

2) Fuutarou's father, Kenzo: He will be a big problem now that he met Fuutarou again. His presence like a leech will no doubt thwart Fuutarou's plot.

3) Midori and Akane's father, the owner of Mikuni Shipbuilding, Joji: He doesn't like Fuutarou at first sight and could be an obstacle.

4) The maid in the Mikuni household, Haru: She saw Fuutarou sniggering to himself so she has reason to view him in a suspicious light.

Although the mood of the drama is generally heavy, a light-hearted moment taking place in the restaurant, Izu-ya provides some comical relief. Fuutarou is at a loss as to how to react to the Nonomura family who's really passionate but I guess he's glad somewhere deep down because he gets to eat bera, a fish dish in this place which his mother always made for him. One thing worth taking notice, is the photo which Yuka, the niece of the owner showed Fuutarou. According to her, her elder brother who has disappeared, looks very similar to Fuutarou. Since we are not shown the photo in this episode, I have a hunch that something is wrong somewhere.

Things are getting heated up and the action is thickening. In the next episode's trailer, Akane brings up the issue of wanting to marry Fuutarou. Does that mean that Fuutarou will be able to get into the Mikuni family? And there's a scene of Fuutarou burying something...does that mean that he killed someone again?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Review of Zenigeba Ep 1

This looks like a drama which I will watch till the end. Matsuyama Kenichi's first drama as the leading man i.e. Sexy Voice and Robo didn't interest me that much and I gave up on it even before the halfway mark. Critical reviews for that drama were quite divided. It's either you like it a lot or hate it to the core. However, the strong storyline of Zenigeba and Matsuyama's acting skills are strong pull factors for me to continue with it till the end of the season. No doubt the theme may be a bit too extreme and twisted for general audiences, I think it's a pretty engaging plot. Come to think of it, Matsuyama seems to have a pretty strong working relationship with NTV. Death Note was produced by them too and Sexy Voice and Robo was also from them.

The story is focused on Gamogori Fuutarou who had a rough childhood and is now subscribed to the belief that money is the most important thing in life. His father, Kenzo (Shiina Kippei) is a good-for-nothing who would leave home for extended periods, only to come back for money and beat up his wife Momoko (Okunuki Kaoru) and son (child version - Saito Ryuusei, the same boy who played Koichi in Ryuusei no Kizuna). The scar across Fuutarou's left eye was caused by his father when Fuutarou was trying to stop the latter from taking money away. Besides being poor, his mother was also sickly and had no money for medicine. In school, Fuutarou was ridiculed for his poverty especially when he had no money to pay for the school lunches. Despite the tough challenges facing him, Fuutarou managed to stay optimistic because of his mother's presence. However, when his mother died as a result of being unable to receive treatment, that was when Fuutarou's values changed drastically. For the sake of money, he decided to go all out without any qualms even if it meant killing people who stood in his way.

From the looks of it, I get the impression that Fuutarou just wanted to make lots of money but he didn't have any specific purpose or aim that he was trying to achieve. It was only when he met Mikuni Midori (Mimura) again that he seemed to have a motive i.e. take revenge for the humiliation that Midori inflicted on him when they were both children. Apparently, the two of them met by chance and Midori invited Fuutarou to her family resort. When Fuutarou saw some delicious snacks offered to him, he decided to take some of them home for the sake of his mother. However, when Midori saw that, she humiliated him and his mother for displaying such behaviour even though she was well aware that Fuutarou only went to that extent because he was poor.

Frankly speaking, I'm quite angry at what Midori did. Just because she was born into a rich family doesn't mean she can look down on people who may not be that privileged. If the money isn't yours to begin with, why do you think you can be haughty? Forgive my language but I'm really upset with people who think they can do anything just because their families are rich. If the money was earned by themselves, then they have the right to be proud of their financial status. Of course, that doesn't mean that they can insult people for being poor. As such, given Midori's treatment of Fuutarou (no matter whether her action was filled with malice), I'm looking forward to see how he will take revenge.

Matsuyama has very few lines in this first episode since he keeps to himself most of the time and rarely speaks to other people. However, when he suddenly smiles towards the end of the episode, it sends a shiver down my spine. I never knew that he could appear so eerie and frightening since his usual image is of the cute and shy young man. That is why I think it is worth checking out this drama to see how Matsuyama shows off his versatility in acting.

I am also anticipating Fuutarou's showdown with his father as well as the detective Ogino (Miyakawa Daisuke) who has been chasing after Fuutarou for the first murder he committed. Well, that first case was more of a manslaughter rather than deliberate and Ogino apparently knew the victim. As such, it will be interesting to see how Ogino catches up with Fuutarou. It appears as if Fuutarou has not seen his father since the night the latter caused his injury. If they meet again one day, I'm sure it will be an intense showdown.

Seeing Miyakawa Daisuke standing together with Suzuki Hiroki reminds me of Team Batista no Eikou. Narumi & Sakai working together?!

I can't wait to see the next episode. Fuutarou getting closer to the Mikuni sisters...does he want to create havoc in the Mikuni family or he just wants to get back at Midori?