Nuffnang

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Preview of Kurobe no Taiyo

Title: Kurobe no Taiyo
Official website: here
O.A. Dates: 21st and 22nd Mar 09
Timeslot: 9pm
Cast members: Katori Shingo, Katsuji Ryo, Hino Shohei, Kunimura Hayato, Ayase Haruka, Kobayashi Kaoru, Nakamura Atsuo, Hiraizumi Sei, Ono Takehiko, Ukaji Takeshi, Terawaki Yasufumi, Fubuki Jun, Yanagiba Toshiro, Yajima Kenichi, Tsugawa Masahiko, Yusuke Santa Maria, Ibu Masato, Suenaga Haruka, Shida Mirai, Izumi Pinko, Fukada Kyoko, Asano Yuuko, Furuya Kazuyuki, Motokariya Yuika, Mikami Hiroshi (narration)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (29 March 2009)

1) Yatterman

2) Doraemon Shin Nobita no Uchuu Kaitakushi

3) Drop

4) Marley & Me

5) Valkryie

6) Aibo Series Kanshiki Yonezawa Mamoru no Jikenbo

7) Puri Kyua All Stars DX

8) Madagascar 2

9) Watchmen

10) Okuribito

Preview of Majo Saiban 魔女裁判 (The Witch Trial)

Title: Majo Saiban
Official website: here
Showing on: FujiTV
O.A. Start Date: 25 April 2009
Timeslot: Saturdays, 11.10pm
Cast List: Ikuta Toma, Kato Ai, Higa Manami & Ishida Yuriko (more to be announced at a later date)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Top 10 female artistes with the most beautiful lips (Oricon)

1) Inoue Waka

2) Ueto Aya

3) Ishihara Satomi

4) Ebihara Yuri

5) Ito Misaki

6) Angelina Jolie

7) Kitagawa Keiko

8) Igawa Haruka

9) Ayase Haruka

10) Hirosue Ryoko / Horikita Maki

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Top 10 most memorable Sakura songs

1) Sakura - Kobukuro

2) Sakura - Moriyama Naotaro

3) Sakura - Ketsumeishi

4) Sakura - Ikimonogakari

5) Sakurazaka - Fukuyama Masaharu

6) Sakura no toki - aiko

7) Sakura - Kawaguchi Kyogo

8) Sakura Iro Mau Koro - Nakashima Mika

9) Sakura Iro - Angela Aki

10) Sakura Sake - Arashi

Friday, March 27, 2009

Review of Detroit Metal City

Title: Detroit Metal City
Official website: here
Death Records website: here
Original manga by: Wakasugi Kiminori
Movie roadshow date: 23 Aug 2008
Total run time: 104 minutes
Theme songs: 1) SATSUGAI by Detroit Metal City / 2) Amai Koibito by Negishi Souichi - Kaji Hideki
Total box office takings: 2.34 billion yen

Cast:

Negishi Souichi / Johannes Krauser II (Matsuyama Kenichi)
Vocals for Johannes Krauser II (Kanmuri Tetsuya)
Aikawa Yuri (Kato Rosa)
Nishida Terumichi / Camus (Akiyama Ryuuji)
Wada Masayuki / Alexander Jagi (Hosoda Yoshihiko)
Asato Hidetaka (Suzuki Kazuma)
Saji Hideki (Takahashi Issei)
Negishi Keiko (Miyazaki Yoshiko)
Negishi Toshihiko (Kato Ryo)
Jack Il Dark (Gene Simmons)
Boss of Death Records (Matsuyuki Yasuko)

Review:

This has turned out to be much more entertaining that I thought. I wouldn't classify this as a classic but this is definitely not something you will forget once you step out of the cinema.

Negishi Souichi is an ordinary guy who leaves his hometown to come to Tokyo for his university studies. He aspires to make it as a popular singer but ends up being the vocalist of a hard metal rock band instead. Although this band enjoys great success, Negishi cannot reconcile the difference between reality and ideals and even has to hide his true identity from Yuri, his love from university. Lots of hillarious happenings occur as Negishi tries to hide his identity. Negishi starts to change his thinking slowly through the interaction with the people around him.

Matsuyama Kenichi does it again by going against stereotypes. Every time he appears, you can be sure of something new. Going by how much makeup he puts on when he appears as Krauser, you would never have guessed that Matsuyama is the one playing this role. He manages to manipulate the roles with such distinct differences that the characters of Negishi and Krauser stand out perfectly. Negishi seems very insecure and unsure of what he should do while Krauser oozes so much charisma and charm on stage. I am very impressed with his performance and I think he has the potential to go very far as long as he continues to challenge himself.

One thing which I thought was a pity would be the fact that we do not get to hear Matsuyama sing in this movie. In fact, the vocals of Krauser are from another singer by the name of Kanmuri Tetsuya. As for his voice when he sings Negishi's songs, I think that is voiced by Kaji Hideki. Now, was Matsuyama's voice featured during the climax scene when he was chanting that F-song? I would really like to find out about that. ^__^

Another big highlight in the cast is Matsuyuki Yasuko. I felt the impact very strongly because I had just seen her in Yougisha X no Kenshin. The gap was simply...shocking. In Yougisha, she was very gentle but in DMC, Matsuyuki goes through a major transformation. The tight mini-skirt, rough mannerisms, the language peppered with vulagarities all brought out the essence of her role as the boss of Death Records. Apparently, Matsuyuki was chosen to take on this role as she was viewed as someone who could not be imagined to be able to potray this character but she did brilliantly, contrary to expectations.

Although the language can be a bit vulgar at times, I think the music featured in this movie is quite interesting after all. I like that song, "恨みはらさでおくべきか " (Urami harasa de okubeki ka - Should I take revenge for my grievances) a lot because that is really funny. This song was written by Negishi after he got jealous of Asato trying to woo his goddess, Yuri and became a smash hit unwittingly. "SATSUGAI" sounds good too and would be a great song for concerts. Although I think that the lyrics may be controversial and border on the side of offensive, I think the music pieces were done pretty well and were not as noisy as I thought.

And my ratings for this movie...
Story: 8 out of 10 (Predictable storyline but it's not boring at all)
Acting: 9 out of 10 (Matsuyama Kenichi and Matsuyuki Yasuko rocks!)
Theme song: 8 out of 10 (Although a tad noisy at times, the music is pretty good)
Visual effects / Scenery: 7 out of 10 (Scenery from Oita as well as the great transformation of Negishi to Krauser through that makeup)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7 out of 10 (Although I think that Matsuyama and Kato Rosa were lacking in chemistry, I think he did pretty well with Matsuyuki.)

Total: 39 out of 50

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Strawberry*Cream*Soda*Pop by Tommy february6 (Theme song of "Ketsuekigata Betsu Onna ga Suru Houhou")

Title: Strawberry*Cream*Soda*Pop
Artiste: Tommy february6
Lyrics: Tommy february6
Melody: MALIBU CONVERTIBLE
Total run time: 4 minutes 49 seconds


Darling, Will you always stay by my side?
Like Strawberry cream soda pop
The sparkling love in a parfait glass
That no one can touch my fantasy

mou nankai mo ochita tameiki
nanjikan mo koushite
kagami no mae ni iru no ni
doresu mo Shoes mo mada kimaranai
You gave me a very happy feeling
koisuru My heart's beating

demo moshikashite ima wa kataomoi kamo
demo me no mae anata ga iru kara

Darling tsukamete kono omoi ga kienu you ni
ukarete hajikeru tokimeki ga suki nano

taikutsu na gogo akubi wo denai
tsumi ageta hon dakega kokoro wo tsure dashite kureta

That Winter day. Way to home
ano hi anata ni deaette nani mo kamo ga
kira kira shite mieta

taisetsu na mono te ni ireru koto de
nani ka wo ushinau kowasa wo shiru kedo

Darling soba ni ite yuru sareru jikan no kagiri
suki yo koishiteru nakete shimau kurai

nozonde bakari no dame na watashi wo yurusu nara
ima sugu aitai! sono yume wo kanaete

There is no other sound
I can hear only your voice Kiss me Baby
futari no sekai kirameku onfu no mirufiiyu
You're my special! anata shika mienai

tatoeba kanashimi ni kureru yoru wo sugosu nara
soba ni iru It's OK anata ga iru kagiri

fukuranda kumo ga watagashi no you ni somaru koro
oka no ki no shita eien wo chikatte So...

Darling, Will you always stay by my side?
Like Strawberry cream soda pop
The sparkling love in a parfait glass
That no one can touch "my fantasy"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Romaji lyrics of "Setsuna" by GReeeeN (Theme song of "Voice")

Title: Setsuna
Artiste: GReeeeN
Lyrics: GReeeeN
Melody: GReeeeN
Total run time: 4 minutes 50 seconds


kitto bokura wa kagayaki takute
ikiru imi wo sagashiteta
makenai you ni karenai you ni
tsuyoku negai ikiteku

tatoeba bokura ga
namida wo nagasu you na hi ni mo
itsumo to onaji you ni
hi wa nobori
soshite shizunde iku

kitto sekaijuu de
jibun hitori okizari da to omotta
dakedo sekaijuu wa kyou wa mawaru
hontou chippoke datta

kake nuketa hibi nagashita namida
ikiru imi wo sagashiteta
kitto dare mo ga tarinai nani ka wo
negai ima wo ikiterun da
unmei da toka jinsei da toka
you wa saigo no ichibyou ni
waratte takute tada sore dake de
subete kotae wa jibun no naka

tooku ni kasuka ni
mieru risou no jibun ga mata
[koukai nai you ni ikiteru?] tte hohoemi
sukoshi naita

kitto sekaijuu no
jibun igai subete shiawase to omotta
dakedo sekaijuu wa asuta mo mawaru
donna namida mo iyashite

kake nuketa hibi kasaneta itami
ikiru imi wo sagashiteta
kitto dare mo ga kagayaku ashita wo negai
ima wo ikiterun da
chikara tarizu ni yowai jibun ga
yoru no yami ni furueteta
dare shi mo keshite tsuyoku nai kedo
subete kakaete jibun nan da

itami wo shiru sono hitomi ni
utsuru sekai, kanashimi azari
tada nagashita namida afure dashita
naze ka michi tarinain da ima sara
[mune hareru jibun] ni deaeta?
[uso de katameta jibun] eranda?
tadashisa wa itsumo jibun no naka
yorokobi kanashimi tsunagaru ashita

kanashii toki wa kareru made naki
ureshii toki wa hara kakaete warai
setsunai toki wa kaze wo kanjite
takaku toberu hi wo mateba ii

kitto bokura wa kagayaki takute
ikiru imi wo sagashiteta
makenai you ni karenai you ni
tsuyoku negai ikiteku

itsuka aeru sono hi made
risou no jibun ni
itsuka tadori tsuku
sono hi made jibun shinjite

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top 10 love songs sung by male singers (Oricon)

1) Lovers Again by EXILE

2) Ai Uta by GReeeeN

3) Junrenka by Shounan no Kaze

4) One Love by Arashi

5) Chiisana Koi no Uta by MONGOL800

6) I LOVE YOU by Ozaki Yutaka

7) Love so sweet by Arashi

8) Itoshii Hito e by ET-KING

9) Koi by Matsuyama Chiharu

10) Ai no Katamari by KinKi Kids

Monday, March 23, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (22 March 2009)

1) Yatterman

2) Valkryie

3) Doraemon Shin Nobita no Uchuu Kaitakushi

4) Drop

5) Puri Kyua All Stars DX Minna tomodachi Kiseki no Zenin Daishuugo

6) Madagascar 2

7) Okuribito

8) DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION

9) Bedtime Story

10) General Rouge no Kaisen

Spring 2009 - Majo Saiban (The Trial of an Evil Woman)

Ikuta Toma will be the leading man for the first time in FujiTV's spring 2009 offering, Majo Saiban (The Trial of an Evil Woman) which begins on 25 April 09, Saturdays 11.10pm. This is the first time that he is taking on the lead role alone.

As Japan will introduce the jury system in May this year, Majo Saiban takes a look at what happens during the trial of a woman accused of murder. Ikuta plays a young part-time worker who has been disinterested in current affairs all along. One day, he receives notification that he is selected to be a member of the jury for a criminal case. As part of the preparation for this role, Ikuta went to sit in on some court sessions to get a feel of how court proceedings are like. As this is a serious theme and has severe social repurcussions, he feels that it will be a challenge to relay the message that the jury system will affect everyone, regardless of whether you are selected to be part of the jury.

The case featured in this drama is a murder by a woman who's been labeled as evil and supposedly murdered for the sake of landing her hands on a huge inheritance. This will be played by Ishida Yuriko who has always been projecting a sweet and gentle image throughout her career. During the trial, an unknown organization gets to work so as to influence the jury to deliver a favourable verdict.

Kato Ai will play a housewife for the first time in this drama and her character is also selected to be part of the jury. However, her peaceful life is shattered as death threats are sent to her and her family. Higa Manami will play Ikuta's girlfriend who is also a news reporter.

Source: Sanspo

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gekkan TVnavi's Drama of the Year Award

Best Drama of the Year 2008: Maou (Summer 2008)

Best Leading Actor: Ohno Satoshi (Maou)

Best Leading Actress: Miyazaki Aoi (Atsuhime)

Best Supporting Actor: Eita (Last Friends)

Best Supporting Actress: Ueno Juri (Last Friends)

Best Newcomer: Yamada Ryousuke (Scrap Teacher) & Higa Manami (Code Blue)

Source: Sanspo

Top 5 female artistes around 40 who has the best complexion

Morinaga Dairy Products conducted a survey with Esthetic Clinic TBC in collaboration with the launch of their new product, "TBC Series". This survey interviewed 500 respondents in their teens to 30s so as to find out who they think has the best complexion despite being around the age of 40 years old. The top 5 results as follows:

1) Maya Miki (44)

2) Fujiwara Norika (37)

3) Nagasaku Hiromi (37)

4) Esumi Makiko (41)

5) Matsushita Yuki (41)

*Figures in brackets indicate their ages.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Top 10 songs to listen to when you fall out of love (Oricon)

1) M by Princess Princess

2) Over by Mr.Children

3) Mou Koi nante shinai by Makihara Noriyuki

4) Genki wo Dashite by Takeuchi Mariya

5) 366 Nichi by HY

6) Sayonara by Off Course

7) NAO by HY

8) Makenaide by ZARD

9) Saudaji by Porno Grafitti

10) First Love by Utada Hikaru

Friday, March 20, 2009

Romaji lyrics of "Sayonara" by Kariyushi 58 (Theme song for "Zenigeba")

Title: Sayonara
Artiste: Kariyushi 58
Melody and lyrics by: Maekawa Shingo
Date of release: 4 February 2009
Total run-time: 4 minutes 16 seconds

sayonara tada tada tada tada itoshiki hibi yo
zutto wasurenai darou boku wa kimi wo

suri hetta kutsuzoko yugure no machi
aogi mita sora akane iro
hi ni yaketa nakama no kao
yomigaeru

nani ka ga okisou na kizashi mo naku
dare ka ni kawareru hazu mo naku
atari mae no you ni toori sugita mainichi


hanare banare ni naru koto wa
fushizen na koto janai
atama de wakatte temo
kokoro ga kimi wo omotte shimau yo

sayonara tada tada tada tada itoshiki hibi yo
sakura maichiru haru no
namida wa tomedo naku

shuuden magiwa chikatetsu no
hoomu ni hibiku anounsu
okuba de kami shimeru kodoku na yoru

nami wo iwazu fuki nuketa kaze
biru no sukima ni hosoi tsuki
atari mae no you ni kuri kaeshi no mainichi

natsukashii uta ga kikoete kita
omoide ga kake meguru
utsuri yuku kisetsu wo tokudoku to kizamu
tokei no hari wa tomaranai kedo

inochi wa hajimatta toki kara
yukkuri owatte yuku nante shinjinai
boku ga ikiru kyou wa
motto ikita katta dare ka no
ashita kamo shirenai kara

kotoba ni dekinai omoi wa
namida ni katachi wo kaete
koboreru no deshou

sayonara tada tada tada tada itoshiki hibi yo
nidoto modoranu hibi yo [arigatou]
sayonara tada tada tada tada itoshiki hibi yo
zutto wasurenai darou boku wa kimi wo

ushinatta peeji wa dore kurai?
mata yoru ga yatte kite
nokosareta yohaku wa dore kurai?
mata asa wa otozureru

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Romaji lyrics of Saiai by KOH+ (Theme song of Yougisha X no Kenshin)

Title: Saiai
Artiste: KOH+
Melody and lyrics by: Fukuyama Masaharu
Date of release: 1 October 2008
Total run time: 5 minutes 26 seconds

yume no you na hito dakara
yume no you ni kieru no desu

sono sadame wo shiri nagara
hikurarete kita kisetsu no peeji

ochite wa tokeru konayuki mitai
tomaranai omoi

aisanakute ii kara
tooku de mimamottete
tsuyogatterun dayo
demo tsunagatte tain dayo
anata ga mada suki dakara

motto nakeba yokatta
motto waraeba yokatta
baka danatte itte yo
ki ni suru natte itte yo
anata ni tada aitakute

hajimete deshita
kore made no hibi
machigatte nai to omoeta koto

hidamari mitai na
sono egao
ikiru michi wo terashite kuremashita

kokoro no ame ni kasa wo kureta no wa
anata hitori datta...

aisenakute ii kara
koko kara mimamotteru
tsuyogatterun dayo
demo tsunagatte tain dayo
anata ga mada suki dakara

onaji tsuki no shita de
onaji namida nagashita
dame nan dayotte
hanaretaku naitte
tada hito koto tada ienakute

itsuka inochi no tabi
owaru sono toki mo
inoru deshou

anata ga akogareta
"anata" de aru koto wo
sono egao wo shiawase wo

aisanakute ii kara
tooku de mimamottete
tsuyogatterun dayo
demo tsunagatte tain dayo
anata ga mada suki dakara

motto nakeba yokatta
motto waraeba yokatta no kana
baka danatte itte yo
ki ni suru natte itte yo
anata ni tada aitakute

anata ni tada aitakute

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Top 10 graduation songs among people in their 10s and 20s (Oricon)

1) Sangatsu Kokonoka - Remioromen

2) Okuru Kotoba - Kaientai

3) Sotsugyo Shashin - Matsutoya Yumi

4) Tabidachi no Hi ni

5) Sakura - Moriyama Naotaro

6) my graduation - SPEED

7) Sakura - Kobukuro

8) Sotsugyo - Ozaki Yutaka

9) Michi - EXILE

10) Aogeba Toutoushi

Source: Oricon

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Zenigeba Coin Accessory

Title: Zenigeba Coin Accessory
Price: 452 yen
Description: 5-zura coin with Fuutarou's famous line written on the reverse side
Available at: NTV

Monday, March 16, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (15 March 2009)

1) Yatterman

2) Doraemon Shin Nobita no Uchuu Kaitakushi

3) DRAGON EVOLUTION

4) Madagascar 2

5) Okuribito

6) General Rouge no Kaisen

7) Chou Gekijouban Keroro Gunsou

8) Changeling

9) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

10) Australia

Zenigeba Mobile Phone Screen Cleaner

Title: Zenigeba Mobile Phone Screen Cleaner
Price: 368 yen
Description: Zura-bill design mobile phone screen cleaner
Available at: NTV

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zenigeba Dollar Bill Design Notepad

Title: Zenigeba Dollar Bill Design Notepad
Price: 473 yen
Description: 10,000-zura bill design with a picture of Fuutarou
Available at: NTV

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Zenigeba Clear Folder

Title: Zenigeba Clear Folder
Size: A4
Price: 315 yen
Description: Cover - Fuutarou's image / Reverse - Famous lines from Fuutarou
Available from: NTV

Friday, March 13, 2009

Okuribito's original novel, "Noukanfu Nikki 納棺夫日記"

Title: 納棺夫日記 Noukanfu Nikki
Author: Aoki Shinmon
Price: 490 yen
Total number of pages: 227
ISBN: 4167323028
Published in: July 1996

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Zenigeba's original manga

Title: Zenigeba
Author: Akiyama George
Number of volumes: 2
ISBN: 4344410289 / 4344410297
Price: 720 yen / 680 yen (inclusive of tax)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Top 10 ideal daughter ranking (Oricon)

This survey asks respondents if they have a daughter, which female artiste would they bring up their daughter to be like?

1) Becky

2) Miyazaki Aoi

3) Matsushima Nanako

4) Ueto Aya

5) Fujiwara Norika

6) Nakama Yukie

7) Kanno Miho

8) Nagasawa Masami

9) Horikita Maki

10) Aragaki Yui

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ketsuekigata Betsu Onna ga Kekkon Suru Houhou ~ Blood Type AB (Story)

Harukawa Sachie. 22 years old and single. Occupation: Student. Hometown: Nara. Blood Type: AB.

Sachie is a student in the science faculty. Being cool and aloof, many people find it hard to get close to her. However, when she's outside of school, she displays a different side to that by attending a culture school and behaving in contrast to her usual self.

Sachie is conducting experiments in the laboratory alone when the assistant professor Kendahara Jin comes to talk to her again. Kendahara likes Sachie but she always gives him the cold shoulder.

One day, Kendahara asks Sachie to be the tuition teacher for his daughter who's in primary school. That is the first time that Sachie comes to know about Kendahara's private life. She takes on the job for the sake of making some money and finds out that Kendahara's wife died a few years ago due to an accident...

Rating: 12.4%

Monday, March 09, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (8 March 09)

1) Yatterman

2) Doraemon Shin Nobita no Uchuu Kaitakushi

3) Okuribito

4) General Rouge no Kaisen

5) Chou Gekijouban Keroro Gunsou

6) Changeling

7) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

8) Australia

9) 20 Seiki Shounen Dainisho Saigo no Kibou

10) Mamma Mia

Ketsuekigata Betsu Onna ga Kekkon Suru Houhou ~ Blood Type O (Story)

Harukawa Sachie. 24 years old and single. Occupation: Freelance sales staff. Hometown: Saitama. Blood Type: O.

Sachie works as a freelance sales staff at an interior accessories shop. Her hometown is in Saitama and she left home to live freely rather than to be independent. As such, she decides to work freelance rather than be a full-time employee and insists on working in the capital. She finally decided on this interior shop located in the posh area of Shirokane.

One day, Sachie meets a man who speaks in Mandarin at her shop and is unsure of how to communicate with him. She tries to speak to him in English but the man doesn't respond. Due to this episode, Sachie is scolded by the man for being an unprofessional sales staff. Actually, this man is Eddie Chan who is the chief producer of a Taiwan furniture brand which has just signed a contract with the shop. Sachie then relates what happened to her friend Mizusawa Reika.

Even though Sachie is scolded by Eddie, she doesn't feel any wrong with it. Reika then tells her off for lacking a sense of urgency and suggests that she should go and learn Mandarin so as to get back at Eddie...

Rating: 13.2%

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ketsuekigata betsu Onna ga Kekkon Suru Houhou ~ Blood Type B (Story)

Harukawa Sachie. 30 years old and single. Occupation: Drama serial scriptwriter. Hometown: Yokohama. Blood Type: B

Sachie is a popular scriptwriter who has been churning out hit dramas one after another. However, her recent works are not doing well in terms of ratings thus she is seen to be in the midst of a slump. Being someone who strongly believes in herself and insists on having her way, Sachie has to contend with taunts from people who think she is past her peak.

One day, a completion party for the drama which Sachie wrote, is held in a restaurant. As Sachie is not happy about her drama's ratings, she drinks a lot during the party and stumbles into the gents. She then meets Hosumi Akihiko, the arts director for the drama. Sachie comes to know that Hosumi used to write hit dramas too. Making use of her drunken state, Sachie insists on heading to Hosumi's house. When she arrives there, Sachie is shocked to see lots of artistic works scattered around. This starts to make her realize that Hosumi is unlike any man she has met so far...

Rating: 9.8%

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Review of Yougisha X no Kenshin 容疑者Xの献身 (Suspect X's Devotion)

Title: Yougisha X no Kenshin 容疑者Xの献身
Translated meaning: Suspect X's Devotion
Shown in cinemas from: 4 Oct 2008
Original novel by: Higashino Keigo (3rd installment in the Galileo series)
Official website: here
Theme song: Saiai by KOH+ (Shibasaki Kou & Fukuyama Masaharu)
Insert song: 99 by Fukuyama Masaharu
Total box-office takings: 4.92 billion yen

Cast:

Yukawa Manabu - Fukuyama Masaharu
Utsumi Kaoru - Shibasaki Kou
Kusanagi Junpei - Kitamura Kazuki
Kuribayashi Hiromi - Watanabe Ikkei
Jounouchi Sakurako - Maya Miki
Kudo Kuniaki - Dankan
Togashi Shinji - Nagatsuka Keishi
Hanaoka Misato - Kanazawa Miho
Hanaoka Yasuko - Matsuyuki Yasuko
Ishigami Tetsuya - Tsutsumi Shinichi

Review:

Finally managed to catch this movie last night after a long wait. Well, I can't claim to be a fan of the Galileo drama so it has nothing to do with the existing cast or the continuation of what happens after the drama. Galileo was a fine production but it still doesn't qualify as a classic in my list. It has got more to do with the fact that I like Tsutsumi Shinichi and Matsuyuki Yasuko (I enjoyed their performance especially in Beginner) and was looking forward to seeing them together onscreen again as well as observe if sparks will fly between Tsutsumi and Fukuyama during the genius showdown. As this is a suspense film, I suggest that you may wish to skip this review if you do not wish to read the spoilers.

In this movie, you are already shown the answer to two questions i.e. the identity of the murderer(s) and the accomplice. However, the question that is at stake is how they managed to do it. The murderers have a strong alibi which is foolproof. As such, compared to most suspense stories e.g. the Kindaichi, Furuhata Ninzaburo or even Tantei Gakuen series, the viewer has a comparatively simpler task on hand since they know the identity of the culprit right from the start. And maybe this is why I've read a couple of reviews saying that this story is not as complicated as it seems. True, the suspense factor may be a bit lacking (I knew the answer when Yukawa, Kusanagi and Utsumi were talking about Ishigami's attendance records) but overall, it still posed a certain degree of difficulty. We may not know the simple answer just because of our blind spot and assumptions. By changing our point of view, things become crystal-clear.

One important issue in this movie is why Ishigami went to the extent of sacrificing for Hanaoka. Although Ishigami does have some romantic feelings towards Hanaoka, I am inclined to think that it is not just out of love. I guess it has more to do with the gratitude he has towards Hanaoka and Misato. As we see in the final moments of the movie, Ishigami was actually preparing to hang himself in his apartment when Hanaoka came over with Misato to visit him since they had just moved in during summer. Subsequently, we see how they always greet Ishigami warmly and offer him a new reason to live on. It appears that Ishigami had been neglected for a long time so the newfound attention from Hanaoka and Misato made him realize that there are people who still notice his presence and are prepared to shower him with warmth. Subsequently, I believe that's how Ishigami found himself in love with Hanaoka and started to lament how he looked older than his age. Deep down, Ishigami feels that there is no way he can ever be with Hanaoka. As such, he is prepared to take a step back and protect her in whatever way he can. He doesn't need her to reciprocate his feelings. This can also be seen from the lyrics of "Saiai" which seems to be written from the perspective of Ishigami. Thus, when the opportunity presented itself, he decided to help her cover up the murder. At that point in time, I believe he was already planning to sacrifice himself so that Hanaoka can escape scot-free with Misato. Well, things didn't turn out the way he wanted since Yukawa told Hanaoka about Ishigami's intention and she turned herself in as well. If Yukawa didn't do that, Hanaoka may not turn herself in since she wanted to protect her daughter. No doubt her conscience may be pricking her, she may choose to ignore this for the sake of Misato. That pain that Ishigami felt as he wailed was really excruciating. Although Ishigami is the culprit, I believe most people would feel for him especially in that scene.

Although Fukuyama Masaharu is officially the leading man in this movie, he is outshone by Tsutsumi Shinichi's strong performance as Ishigami. Yukawa obviously has lesser screen time as compared to Ishigami so the latter has more room to develop his role. Tsutsumi went to the extent of cutting his hair and dying streaks of it white, sported a hunchback and dressed in monotone colours just to bring out the feel of Ishigami's gloomy lifestyle and outlook in life. Comparatively, Fukuyama didn't have to spare too much effort to look his part as Yukawa. As such, I'm definitely more impressed with Tsutsumi's performance although I wouldn't say that Fukuyama did badly. It was just that Tsutsumi was able to convey his role more convincingly to me.

However, it was a pleasant surprise that Fukuyama showed a more-human side of Yukawa this time when he was asking Ishigami to tell the truth. The anguish Yukawa felt when Ishigami realized that all his hard work was in nought just reminded me that Yukawa is human after all. The Galileo we've seen so far is more cold and aloof although there were signs that he was hiding his true emotions. It was rare to see such an outburst from Yukawa and thankfully, Fukuyama didn't go overboard with that and I applaud this.

As usual, Matsuyuki Yasuko does well but I'm particularly impressed with how she displays fear e.g. when she killed her ex-husband and when she misunderstood that Ishigami was exhibiting a strong possession streak. Now that calls for real acting skills. It was a pity that Matsuyuki didn't get to enjoy much screentime with Tsutsumi since they were not supposed to have any contact other than at the bento shop. Most of the time, they were talking on the phone.

If you are looking for romantic developments between Utsumi and Yukawa, you will be terribly disappointed. It's more like they became friends especially when Yukawa was telling Utsumi about what he thought Ishigami had done. Frankly speaking, I prefer them to maintain status quo in their relationship rather than them developing into lovers.

On the whole, this movie turned out to be better than I thought. I was a bit disappointed with the Galileo drama at times when some episodes didn't turn out as well as the rest but this story proved to be a good one especially with some powerful acting from the cast. It may not be a very strong suspense story since lots of unknowns were made known at the start. In fact, there was debate on whether the novel qualified as a suspense story at the time it was published due to the obvious clues especially when the novel won a mystery novel award. As such, if you are watching this movie, maybe you should pay more attention to the process (how they covered up the murder and the motive of Ishigami) rather than who did it. Otherwise, you would be disappointed to find that searching for the truth is not as exciting as what you expected.

And my ratings for this movie...
Story: 8.5 out of 10 (Essence lies in the motive of Ishigami's actions and how they covered up the murder)
Acting: 8 out of 10 (For Tsutsumi's Ishigami, Fukuyama showing a human side of Yukawa and Matsuyuki's rendition of fear)
Theme song: 8 out of 10 (Great song from KOH+. When you read the lyrics of this song, it offers a better insight into Ishigami's inner world and how he feels towards Hanaoka.)
Visual effects / Scenery: 6.5 out of 10 (Not much scenery and visual effects. CG is definitely not at play here)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7 out of 10 (Kudos for that mountain climbing scene when Yukawa pressed Ishigami for answers and he told him that the truth will not benefit anyone. Intense!)

Total: 38 out of 50

Ketsuekigata betsu Onna ga Kekkon suru Houhou ~ Blood Type A (Story)

Harukawa Sachie. 23 years old. Single. Occupation: General Affairs. Hometown: Fukushima. Blood Type: A

Sachie is an OL working in a small-and-medium company's accounting department. She is serious, abides by the rules and an introvert. To her, marriage is the route to a woman's happiness thus she saves money for the sake of using it on her wedding.

Sachie likes Watanabe Makoto from the sales department but cannot even muster the courage to speak to him. She always sees him talking happily to Murakami Natsumi from the sales promotion department and goes to the extent of stopping her work just to listen to what they are talking about. Natsumi is the exact opposite of Sachie with her fashionable appearance and takes the initiative to talk to others. Even though Sachie feels irritated at Natsumi, she can't help admire her at the same time for having what she lacks.

One day, Sachie hears from her superior that Watanabe is going to be transferred to Osaka in two weeks' time. To make things worse, she finds out that Natsumi has declared her intention to make Watanabe her boyfriend before he leaves for Osaka. Sachie then goes to her buddy Mizusawa Reika for advice on how she can transform into a girl who dares to make the first move...

Rating: 13.0%

Friday, March 06, 2009

Top 5 favourite actors and actresses from the Winter 09 drama season (OriStar)

Top 5 favourite actors from the Winter 09 drama season
1) Mizushima Hiro (162 votes)
2) Eita (147 votes)
3) Matsuyama Kenichi (70 votes)
4) Tamaki Hiroshi (66 votes)
5) Ikuta Toma (64 votes)

Top 5 favourite actresses from the Winter 09 drama season
1) Kanno Miho (269 votes)
2) Karina (146 votes)
3) Eikura Nana (127 votes)
4) Ishihara Satomi (81 votes)
5) Hirosue Ryoko (56 votes)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Review of K-20 Kaijin Nijuumenso. Den

Title: K-20 Kaijin Nijuumenso. Den
Official website: here
Original novel by Kimura Sou
Director: Sato Shimako
Produced by: Toho / ROBOT
Total run time: 137 minutes




Cast:
Endo Heikichi - Kaneshiro Takeshi
Hashiba Yoko - Matsu Takako
Akechi Kogoro - Nakamura Tooru
Genji - Kunimura Hayato
Kikuko - Takashima Reiko
Kobayashi Yoshio - Hongo Kanata
Shinsuke - Imai Yuki
Namikoshi - Masuoka Tooru
Mysterious man - Shika Takeshi
Assistant at academic seminar - Kaname Jun

The story is set in 1949 where the fictitious capital of Japan, Teito exists. Due to a peace treaty signed with America and Britain, World War II did not happen. As a result, the world in 1949 is one which differs from real history. 90% of the people in Teito are rich or are aristocrats while the remaining people live in poverty and are not allowed to marry or associate with people not in the same status rank. Japan only started TV broadcasting in 1953 but this is already present in 1949's Teito. In addition, Japan was under German influence prior to WWII so in this movie, since WWII did not happen, the German influence is still evident in 1949. You can see German words on the police cars and other foreign language signs.

Endo Heikichi is an acrobat cum magician in a circus who lives an ordinary life. However, his life is turned upside-down when he accepts a job from a mysterious man to take photos of the engagement ceremony of Akechi Kogoro and Hashiba Yoko. He unwittingly sets off an explosion in the Hashiba building and is mistaken as K-20, a thief who has eluded the police many times. Heikichi manages to escape from custody with the help of his friends led by Genji, the gadget master in their circus and sets out to avenge himself by nabbing the real K-20. He enlists the help of Yoko and Akechi in his mission but is shocked to discover the real identity of K-20 as well as the motive...

The highlight of this movie is of course, the trio of Kaneshiro Takeshi, Matsu Takako and Nakamura Tooru. I like Kaneshiro and Matsu's chemistry. They are a fine couple to look at onscreen and I thought they showed the sparks in Heikichi and Yoko's relationship pretty well.

However, I would have loved to see more of Kaneshiro. Well, not just because of his looks (in fact I don't like it when he has long hair), I simply felt that he didn't have enough airtime to show Heikichi as a complete character. Heikichi said that his only wish is to go back to the circus even if he doesn't manage to clear his name but then the story failed to address the reason behind his insistence e.g. he had been with the circus since he was a child or he had nowhere to go if he leaves the circus. However, he still did not get his wish in the end. That is why I think it's better if they address why he has come to terms about not being able to return to the circus.

He did pretty well in the fight sequences with K-20 especially during the climax scene but I thought it was a bit weird, as if they were all doing gravity-defying moves like those Chinese martial arts movies. That CG of the Hashiba building was great. At least it made me in awe of the scale of that building and its surroundings. Nonetheless, it was still enjoyable to enjoy the action. There wasn't much of the suspense in this story but the identity of K-20 was a bit surprising. Other than that, this feels more like an action flick rather than a suspense thriller to me.

I would have thought that Matsu will be a big accessory in this film but her role turns to be not that ditzy after all. Although Yoko appears as a rich girl who knows nothing about the poverty plaguing the lower-class people, she springs into action once she identifies the issue and is quick to offer help when Heikichi needs it. As such, she is not some brainless girl who only knows how to wait for people to do things for her. And it's been some time since I last saw Matsu in a movie or drama so I believe Matsu fans will definitely want to catch a glimpse of her in this movie.

I've heard some unfavourable reviews about this movie before I went to watch it today but I must say that it is a pretty enjoyable film after all. Don't expect too much from the suspense and pay more attention to the CG, the fighting scenes as well as the visually-attractive couple of Kaneshiro and Matsu. I guess this is to manage your expecations in case you get disappointed at the end.

And my ratings for this movie...
Story: 7 out of 10 (Peppered with lots of humour but a bit lacking in the suspense department. It doesn't need a genius to guess what's going to happen)
Acting: 7 out of 10 (Everyone did OK generally so there wasn't anybody especially worth mentioning)
Theme song: 7 out of 10 (Mostly BGM tracks. There wasn't a theme song for this movie)
Visual effects / Scenery: 7.5 out of 10 (I like the CG, especially in the climax scene at the Hashiba Building)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7.5 out of 10 (Kaneshiro and Matsu did well. Kaneshiro's partnership with Kunimura Hayato also stood out.)

Total: 36 out of 50

Sakurai Sho to appear in "Uta no Oniisan"

Sakurai Sho of Arashi will appear in "Uta no Oniisan" which stars Ohno Satoshi from the same group. He will appear as himself to promote his new movie, "Yattaman" during the children's show which Ohno's character Yano Kenta appears in. In the scene, Ohno will have a monologue lamenting why the kids flock to Sakurai once they see the latter.

Source: Nikkansports

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Preview of BOSS - Spring 2009

Title: BOSS
Broadcast by: FujiTV
O.A. Start Date: 16 April 2009
Timeslot: Thursdays, 10pm
Cast: Amami Yuki, Takenouchi Yutaka, Toda Erika, Mizobata Junpei, Kichise Michiko, Nukumizu Youichi
Official website: here

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Okuribito regains No.1 spot in box office after 25 weeks of screening

Okuribito has regained the No.1 spot in the box office ranking for last week, 25 weeks since it started showing in cinemas. As the film had just won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this led to a renewed interest in the film. Over the weekend from 28 Feb to 1 Mar, Okuribito recorded takings of 320 million yen in just 2 days. This also makes it the first film to get the No.1 spot after a long screening period.

Okuribito first screened in the cinemas on 13 Sep 08 and registered a No.5 ranking on its debut week. Over the next five weeks, its highest ranking was only No.3. In January this year, it was No.28 on the charts. However, with the Oscar award under its belt, the number of cinemas screening this movie increased with the renewed interest.

Top 10 movies ranking (1 March 2009)

1) Okuribito

2) Changeling

3) 20 Seiki Shounen Dainisho Saigo no Kibou

4) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

5) Australia

6) 7 Pounds

7) Mamma Mia

8) Shounen Merikensac

9) Asahiyama Doubutsuen Monogatari Penguin ga Sora wo Tobu

10) High School Musical The Movie

Inamori Izumi to star in "Aishiteru ~ Kaiyou ~" アイシテル~海容~

Inamori Izumi will star in the NTV Spring 2009 drama " Aishiteru ~ Kaiyou ~" which begins on 15 April 2009 on Wednesdays at 10pm. She plays the mother of a 10-year-old only son who murders a 7-year-old boy. As a result of this incident, she is forced to relook at her family ties and struggles to come to terms with this sudden tragedy. This marks the first drama in 4 years for Inamori in a leading role since "Magarikado no Kanojo" on FujiTV.

The drama is based on a comic by Ito Minoru which was serialized in the female manga magazine "BE.LOVE". Inamori's role, Noguchi Satsuki has a 10-year-old son who murders a 7-year-old boy. In the original manga, the focus is from the victim's family's viewpoint but the drama will show the viewpoint of the murderer's family.

The sub title of this drama "Kaiyou" means to forgive people with a big heart for what they have done wrongly. On the other end of the spectrum, Itaya Yuka plays the victim's mother who vows never to forgive the murderer. The drama will show the emotional struggles of both mothers as a result of this incident.

Other cast members include Yamamoto Taro, Sano Shiro and Tanaka Misako.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Press conference for "Kurobe no Taiyo"

The press conference for FujiTV's 50th anniversary drama SP, "Kurobe no Taiyo" was held on 25 February at its headquarters in Odaiba. The drama is scheduled to be shown in two parts on 21 and 22 March at 9pm. Cast members including Katori Shingo, Izumi Pinko, Kobayashi Kaoru, Yusuke Santa Maria, Ayase Haruka and Fukada Kyoko attended the event.

The story is about a group of people who risk their lives to build the Kurobe Dam and was first made famous through the movie starring Ishihara Yujiro and Mifune Toshiro. According to the producer Ota Ryo, they used the budget meant for 2 seasons of a single drama in order to replicate the scale of this project.

Katori mentioned that it was tough to be drenched all the time when filming the scenes of the tunnel accident and revealed that he was surprised at the amount of money spent on the 4 months of filming. Seeing that, he was amazed that since lots of money was spent on making the set, it didn't feel as if the country is going through a financial crisis. Izumi Pinko who plays Katori's mother happily declared that she is finally the mother of a SMAP member.

Source: Sports Hochi

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Review of Okuribito おくりびと

This movie has garnered lots of accolades recently, with the biggest prize of them all, an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It has attracted lots of attention, not only among movie-goers but also critics. Since this film is having a sneak preview this weekend, I decided to catch the Friday midnight show and see what the hype is all about.

Motoki Masahiro plays Kobayashi Daigo, a celloist who loses his job when the orchestra he belongs to is dissolved. As a result, he decides to give up playing the cello and return to his hometown. His wife, Mika (Hirosue Ryoko) who is a webpage designer follows him back to Yamagata without any complaints although she is feeling unsure of what lies ahead for them.

Back home, Daigo finds a job with incredibly good terms and unwittingly becomes a full-time employee at NK Agent. NK stands for noukan which means preparing a corpse before he or she is placed into the coffin. Although Daigo is apprehensive about this job as he has never even see the casketing process nor taken part in anybody's funeral, he decides to go ahead without Mika's knowledge while learning the ropes from the boss, Sasaki who started the business with his first case - his late wife. As Daigo starts to get used to the idea of casketing being a profession which treats the departed with dignity and prepares them for their after-life journeys, Mika realizes what he is doing and pleads with him to find another job...

This movie offers a look into this little unknown business of casketing and the meaning behind this profession. Everyone dies, it's only a matter of time. And casketing prepares the person for the last event of his/her life before he/she begins a new life in the other world. One particular line I liked was this, "a coffin is the last purchase everyone would make in their lifetime and yet this decision is made by someone else. Isn't that ironic?" True, this movie shows a lot of ironies in life. Casketing is shunned by the living because it deals with dead people and we definitely don't know much about this profession. Precisely because of this lack of knowledge, the ignorance breeds fear. However, everyone forgets that they will all need this service someday. It isn't until you actually see your loved ones going through it then you will realize the importance and meaning of this procedure.

Sad to say, this movie started off on a really high note but the ending didn't do justice to the momentum it had carefully built up. The beginning of the story was filled with lots of humour even though it was supposed to be a sombre scene of Daigo and Sasaki doing the casketing. And throughout the movie, there are lots of funny developments interwined with the serious scenes. However, things started to be draggy towards the end. The final scene of Daigo doing the casketing for his dad who had been missing for years was too slow. In fact, I heard people snoring in the cinema which goes to show how the pace of the later part was. And the ending was too abrupt. It's as if the movie hit a climax slowly but everything just went down the drain in a matter of seconds. That is why this movie could have been much better.

Acting-wise, Motoki Masahiro and Yamazaki Tsutomu shine. Their teamwork was good and their characters stood out easily from the rest. Right at the beginning when they showed the casketing, they were so funny when they discovered something unusual about the deceased. You've got to check it out for yourself. Hirosue Ryoko looked too young for Motoki in some scenes but generally, the two of them played a couple quite convincingly. Yo Kimiko looked a few years younger with her black long hair and trendy fashion. One thing worth noting is that the actor who plays Daigo's father, Minegishi Tooru had passed away while the movie was showing in cinemas. It was such an uncanny coincidence that after playing a corpse to be casketed, he passed away. Nonetheless, I don't think the movie had anything to do with it. It just so happened that Minegish was already struck with lung cancer since 2008.

Do watch this movie for yourself to see if it deserves all the hype from Japan and the Oscars. I feel that this was a high-quality work but it was certainly not an all-rounded production yet.

And my ratings for this movie...
Story: 8 out of 10 (It could have been better if the pace didn't slow down so much at the end and more effort was put into the ending.)
Acting: 8 out of 10 (The cast did reasonably well especially Motoki.)
Theme song: 7 out of 10 (Mostly instrumental classical pieces. I don't think I've heard that so-called theme song by AI in this movie.)
Visual effects / Scenery: 7.5 out of 10 (Great scenery in Yamagata and there was a lot of effort put into the casketing scenes.)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 8 out of 10 (Kudos for the combination of Motoki Masahiro and Yamazaki Tsutomu)

Total: 38.5 out of 50