Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top 10 most anticipated dramas for Winter 09 - before O.A. (Oricon)

1) Voice ~ Inochi Naki Mono no Koe ~

2) Love Shuffle

3) Tokumei Kakaricho Tadano Jin

4) Triangle

5) Tenchijin

6) Kiina ~ Fukakai Hanzai Sousakan

7) Mei-chan no Shitsuji


9) Arifureta Kiseki

10) Zenigeba

Friday, January 30, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (25 Jan 08)

1) 007 The Quantum of Solace

2) Kansen Rettou

3) Gekijouban Engami Sentai Gorgeous vs. Geki Ranger

4) Dare mo Mamotte Kurenai

5) Revolutionary Road

6) Che Revolution at 28


8) K-20 Kaijin Nijuumenso Den

9) Akai Ito

10) The Day The Earth Stood Still

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Movie Walker Cinema Awards 2008

Top 10 movies of the year

1) Dark Knight (963 points)

2) Hana Yori Dango Final (716)

3) Yogisha X no Kenshin (641)

4) Red Cliff Part I (594)

5) Detroit Metal City (477)

6) Pako to Mahou no Ehon (407)

7) Okuribito (403)

8) L change the WorLd (329)

9) The Magic Hour (302)

10) Kake no Ue no Ponyo (294)


Best Actor of the Year

1) Matsuyama Kenichi (220)

2) Heath Ledger (207)

3) Tsutsumi Shinichi (128)

4) Matsumoto Jun (94)

5) Kaneshiro Takeshi (87)

6) Johnny Depp (65)

7) Motoki Masahiro (51)

8) Nakai Masahiro (48)

9) Will Smith (36)

10) Fukuyama Masaharu (33)


Best Actress of the Year

1) Ayase Haruka (218)

2) Angelina Jolie (148)

3) Aoi Yu (125)

4) Miyazaki Aoi (102)

5) Inoue Mao (101)

6) Matsuyuki Yasuko (64)

7) Cate Blanchett (52)

8) Nagasaku Hiromi (51)

9) Koizumi Kyoko / Nakama Yukie (47)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Romaji lyrics of "One Love" by Arashi

Title: One Love
Artiste: Arashi
Lyrics: youth case
Melody: Kato Yuusuke

tsutae takute tsutawara nakute
toki ni wa sunao ni narezu ni
naita kisetsu wo koeta bokura wa
ima totemo kagayaiteru yo

sorezore egaku shiawase no katachi wa kasanari
ima ookina ai ni naru
zutto futari de ikite yukou

hyakunen saki mo ai wo chikau yo
kimi wa boku no subete sa
shinjiteiru tada shinjiteru
onaji toki wo kizamu hito e
donna kimi mo donna boku de mo
hitotsu hitotsu ga itoshii
kimi ga ireba nani mo iranai
kitto shiawase ni suru kara

ame no naka de kimi wo matteta
yasashisa no imi sae shirazu
sure chigai ni kizutsuita yoru
sore demo koko made kitanda

kakegae no nai deai wa kiseki wo tsunaideku
omoide kasanari au
hajimari no uta nari hibite

donna toki mo sasaete kureta
warai naita nakama e
kokoro komete tada hitotsu dake
okuru kotoba wa arigatou

hyakunen saki mo ai wo chikau yo
kimi wa boku no subete sa
aishiteiru tada aishiteru
onaji asu yakusoku shiyou
sekaijuu ni tada hitori dake
boku wa kimi wo eranda
kimi to ireba donna mirai mo
zutto kagayaite iru kara

La la la ....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review of Hana Yori Dango Final

Actually, even if you had not watched the previous 2 installments of Hana Yori Dango, I think that there won't be any problems if you decide to get started with this movie first. Basically, we all know that Doumyouji and Tsukushi got engaged at the end of the 2nd drama so this is sort-of an obstacle course before their wedding. Maybe this is to reinforce the message that true love never runs smooth? The thing is, the whole chase for the tiara really felt boring to me. It was only when the story got to the wedding that I finally woke up from my "slumber". ^___^

To cut the story short, the bulk of the story was about the chase for the tiara which Doumyouji's mother, Kaede gave to Tsukushi as a family heirloom for the daughter-in-laws. And because this priceless tiara was stolen, the couple had to go around the globe for it and they were forced to reconsider whether it was OK for them to get married after all. Well, the only one who was still unsure would be Tsukushi because Doumyouji had never doubted that she is the only woman for him. As all love stories go (well, most if not all), everything goes well at the end. Watch out for the's so saccharine-sweet! Well, I'm not one who loves such "sweet" things but this wedding scene was done pretty well. And that final scene which I'm not sure whether it appears in the manga, served as the icing on the cake.

On the whole, I would say that I had no interest in what happened to that tiara. That's because there is no way that the couple cannot get married just because of that thing. As such, I was pretty bored with the developments but I must say that the setting and on-location shoots were great. That hotel suite in Hong Kong which faces the harbour as well as the fountain display in Las Vegas were nice to look at.

Matsumoto Jun is indeed suitable to play Doumyouji, simply because he can handle such flashy roles with ease. At least, you don't get disgusted at his acting since he doesn't have to try too hard to show the traits of Doumyouji. And I mean this in a good way because not everyone can do it. On the other hand, this also means that his image gets in the way when he wants to switch to roles like that in Bambino. As for Inoue Mao, I'm quite tired of her playing the strong and tomboyish role all this while so I think it is high time she does an image change. Oguri Shun doesn't appear much in the movie. It was a pity that he did not appear together with Fujiki Naohito who was the previous Hanazawa Rui. It would have been nice to see the 2 generations of Rui at the same time.

As for the theme songs, I prefer the song by Arashi which is somewhat representative of Doumyouji's feelings for Tsukushi. A very warm and easy-to-remember number. With regards to the song by aiko, the lyrics are good but I don't really like the melody.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 6 out of 10 (The tiara part was boring but the wedding and final scene helped to salvage the movie.)
Acting: 6 out of 10 (Nothing particularly outstanding)
Theme song: 8.5 out of 10 (This is for One Love)
Visual effects / Scenery: 7.5 out of 10 (I was simply amazed at how much money they spent or rather wasted just to bring the whole of the wealthy to the screen)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 6 out of 10 (Again, nothing too impressive. Matsujun seemed more engrossed in his role as compared to Mao.)

Total: 34 out of 50

Monday, January 26, 2009

Review of Innocent Love

Title: Innocent Love
O.A. Start: 20 Oct 08
Number of episodes: 10
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Timeslot: Mondays, 9pm
Official website: here
Theme song: Eternally - Drama Mix - by Utada Hikaru


Akiyama Kanon - Horikita Maki
Nagasaki Junya - Kitagawa Yuujin
Sakurai Mizuki - Kashii Yui
Akiyama Youji - Fukushi Seiji
Segawa Subaru - Narimiya Hiroki
Father Yoshimichi - Naitou Takeshi
Toono Kiyoka - Uchida Yuki
Ikeda Jirou - Toyohara Kousuke


I am feeling amazed that I even managed to finish watching this drama despite the fact that I have lots of complaints about it. I guess the sight of Narimiya Hiroki and Uchida Yuki helped to make things more bearable in a way.

First of all, the story is simply long-winded and silly. The so-called surprise developments e.g. Kanon's past, Subaru's feelings for Junya, Kiyoka's true feelings didn't provide the much-needed twists to the story. Everything was predictable (you sort of get the flow of events after watching so many dramas over the years) so I was really bored and disappointed with the story. Indeed, this being a gekku drama, I think it's seriously lacking in the story department. I think the worst part was when Junya tried to save Seika and ended up being in a coma, causing Kanon to take care of him like what he did for Seika. That's really repetitive and meaningless. I just get the feeling that the scriptwriter was trying to make things more difficult for Junya and Kanon instead of a smooth happily-ever-after ending.

Secondly, Horikita Maki is a big problem here. I don't know whether it is her luck or just that her agency doesn't really choose the right roles for her. Her career has been going up and down. When she appeared in the movie, "ALWAYS", she was quite outstanding. Then came along Teppan Shoujo Akane which did really bad in ratings. Hanazakari no Kimi tachi e followed by Atsuhime pushed her up to new heights again. And then, Innocent Love just made her slip once more. She seemed to be trying really hard to show the so-called adult and feminine side since she turned 20 last year. For example, when she tried to put on a smile, it really looked awkward and forced. I mean, you can smile but you don't have to go to the extent of trying to show off your teeth and your face muscles feel as if they are twitching. Given the fact that I also didn't like Kanon as a whole, I really cannot bring myself to say that I enjoyed Horikita's performance. Well, she can try slowly to break away from her usual youthful image but this drama was too much of a big jump for her.

Thirdly, Kitagawa Yuujin is another issue. I know he doesn't have much acting experience but then the way he speaks, his voice and sometimes exaggerated way of expressing himself simply puts me off. And the chemistry between him and Horikita was seriously lacking.

Like what I said above, Narimiya Hiroki and Uchida Yuki were the bright spots in the gloomy story, at least to me. I think they both looked pretty good in this drama. I dislike Kiyoka as a character but I do like Uchida. As for Narimiya, he looked more at ease in his acting (he's good at playing characters with a dark or hidden side) than he was in Hachimitsu to Clover. As for Kashii Yui, I still don't like her. Maybe it's something in her image which puts me off. I get the feeling that she's quite stiff in her acting at times and that there is a haughty air around her.

With regards to the theme song, I didn't pay attention to the song when I got the album some years ago. That being said, this new version wasn't a hit with me too.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 1 out of 10 (I was tempted to give it a zero...)
Acting: 4 out of 10 (Nothing much to speak of. The leads didn't carry the story well at all.)
Theme song: 4 out of 10 (It didn't leave an impact.)
Visual effects / Scenery: 4 out of 10 (Nothing impressive.)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 4 out of 10

Total: 17 out of 50

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Top 10 most anticipated Winter 2009 dramas (Ori Star)

1) Voice ~ Inochi Naki Mono no Koe (FujiTV)

2) Mei-chan no Shitsuji (FujiTV)

3) Love Shuffle (TBS)

4) Tokumei Kakaricho Tadano Jin (TV Asahi)

5) Triangle (FujiTV)

6) Tenchijin (NHK)

7) Kiina ~ Fukanou Hanzai Sousakan (NTV)

8) Zenigeba (NTV)

9) Uta no Oniisan (TV Asahi)

10) RESCUE ~ Tokubetsu Koudo Kyuujotai (TBS)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review of Akuma no Temari Uta (Kindaichi Kousuke SP)

Title: Akuma no Temari Uta
O.A. 5 Jan 2009 2100 - 2333
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Original novel by: Yokomizo Seishi
Official website:
Ratings: 11.3%


Kindaichi Kousuke (Inagaki Goro)
Aochi Kanao (Hiraoka Yuuta)
Oosora Yukari (Yamada Yu)
Aochi Satoko (Shibamoto Yuki)
Houan (Maro Akaji)
Nirei Sakie (Nishina Akiko)
Yokomizo Seishi (Kohinata Fumio)
Onda Ikuzo (Tanihara Shosuke)
Police Chief Tachibana (Shiomi Sansei)
Aochi Rika (Katase Rino)

This is the 5th drama SP in the Kindaichi Kousuke series and the first in two years. Since 2006, this has become a fixture in the New Year lineup with the exception of last year. This time round, Kindaichi gets embroiled in the investigations of two seemingly unrelated cases while he's on a recuperation trip.

A series of murders claiming young girls of the same age happen in Onikobe Village which seem to reflect a prophecy mentioned in a children's song. Although Kindaichi would very much want to rest during his trip, he gets involved in the case and solves it at the end of the day.

Well, there is nothing new about this format in the Kindaichi series. What's interesting is the part when he relates the truth and motive behind the murders each time. And since it's pretty easy to guess the culprit towards the middle of the story by looking at the cast list, this isn't much of a challenge in terms of the suspense aspect. Nonetheless, I have tuned in to this for all the instalments to date.

Inagaki Goro reprises his role as Kindaichi. This time round, he didn't show the signature scene of dandruff falling from his head when he scratched it but still, there are some comical scenes here and there. Well, I think he did OK in this installment but it doesn't seem like he had a lot to show this time. Somehow, the story didn't give him much room to expand the role. A lot of the action was on the actual case itself.

And my ratings for this drama SP...
Story: 7 out of 10 (Maintained usual standard as per previous installments)
Acting: 6.5 out of 10 (Everyone did OK, nobody stood out particularly)
Visual effects / Scenery: 6 out of 10 (The scenery wasn't that special and since a lot of the scenes took place at night, there wasn't much to see)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7 out of 10 (For Inagaki and Shiomi's combination)

Total score: 26.5 out of 40

Friday, January 23, 2009

Autumn 2008 Drama Satisfaction Ranking - After O.A. (Oricon)

1) Aibou (79.9 points)

2) Black Monday (76.7)

3) Ryuusei no Kizuna (73.8)

4) Kaze no Garden (72.7)

5) Room of King (70.8)

6) Team Batista no Eikou (69.7)

7) Shouni Kyuumei (69.6)

8) Gira Gira (69.1)

9) Yume wo Kanaeru Zou (69.0)

10) SCANDAL (67.4)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top 5 actors, actresses & artistes who look best in kimono (Oricon)

Top 5 actors who look best in kimono

1) Tamaki Hiroshi

2) Tsumabuki Satoshi

3) Matsuda Shota

4) Sasaki Kuranosuke

5) Eita

Top 5 actresses who look best in kimono

1) Miyazaki Aoi

2) Nakama Yukie

3) Yoshinaga Sayuri

4) Aoi Yu

5) Toda Erika

Top 5 artistes who look best in kimono

1) Shiina Ringo

2) Kouda Kumi

3) Hamasaki Ayumi

4) Nakashima Mika

5) Fukuyama Masaharu

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Trivia about "Triangle" as revealed by its producer Shigematsu Keiichi

On the official blog of "Triangle", the drama's producer, Shigematsu Keiichi was interviewed and revealed some unknown facts and trivia about this drama:

1) The original novel was developed at around the same time as the drama.
Plans for this drama started about 4 to 5 years ago. In celebration of KTV's 50th anniversary, there was an idea for KTV's local office in Japan and overseas offices in Paris and Shanghai to work together to produce a drama.

In contrast with the current trend of using existing novels or manga for adaptation, KTV decided to work with a writer to develop the novel and the drama at the same time. As such, the author, Niitsu Kiyomi went to Shanghai and Osaka for research and she was given a free hand on how she wanted to write the story.

In view of this, the drama and the novel are structured differently thus will have different endings.

2) A suspense drama to prove that Japanese TV dramas are still interesting
Currently, local dramas have been overshadowed by the immense popularity of foreign series such as The X-Files, 24, Prison Break. However, I would like to show viewers that they can still get a high-quality drama for free on TV without paying for the rental fees of DVDs. We hope to make viewers feel excited about watching the suspense unravel weekly.

3) Every character in the story is suspicious?
We deliberately made the story in the way that everyone appears suspicious. In addition, the culprit in the novel doesn't appear in the drama! In most suspense stories, viewers can usually guess who is the culprit by looking at the cast lineup. To avoid this, we assembled a cast of A-listers who all decided to act in this drama because of Mizuhashi Fumie's excellent script.

4) A refreshing set of combinations
Eguchi Yosuke, Inagaki Goro, Sakai Masato, Tanihara Shosuke, Sasaki Kuranosuke, Kohinata Fumio, Kitadaji Kinya - a strong assemble of actors plus actresses Hirosue Ryoko, Aibu Saki and Fubuki Jun. No matter how you look at it, this is a cast where you can see interesting combinations which cannot be found in other dramas.

5) What the title means
Triangle has a number of meanings. For example, the story is set in three places i.e. Paris, Shanghai and Japan. In addition, it spans over three time frames i.e. the past, present and future. Besides that, it also refers to the identities of the real self, living for others and the real culprit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (18 Jan 09)

1) Kansen Rettou


3) Che Revolution at 28

4) K-20 Kaijin Nijuumensho Den

5) Akai Ito

6) The Day The Earth Stood Still

7) ZEN

8) 252 Seizonsha Ari

9) Gekijouban MAJOR Winning Shot

10) Tinkle Bell

Romaji lyrics of "We Can Make It!" by Arashi

Title: We Can Make It!
Artiste: Arashi
Lyrics: UNITe & Sakurai Sho
Melody: Fredik Thomander & Anders Wikstrom

sugi sarishi hibi
furi kaeru koto mo dekizuni Everyday
dore kurai mada
kono michi wa tsuzuku darou ka?
karada ni

kanjiru rizumu koudou tsubasa ni
mayoi jousou ni itai hodo itoshii

We can make it true
hontou no yume wa itsumo soba ni aru
hateshinaku hiroi sekai
hitotsu dake kagayaita
My Dream! My Dream!
We can make it! We can make it!

afureru namida taisetsu na koto mo kizukazuni
In my eyes
dore kurai mae kara wasureteta kimochi nandarou
What a feeling

moteru kagiri no chikara
tsubasa ni kodoku norikoe
tsuki susume ashita e

We can make it true
yuruganai yume wa
itsumo soko ni aru
hateshinaku hiroi sekai
ima sugu ni tsukami tore
Your Dream! Your Dream!
Oh yeah! We can make it!

namida wa kitto
kanashimi no owari dewa naku
yume no ashiato
kokoro atsuki (ima koko kara)
sono Story hajimaru
Sing the dream!

boku wa tada tada moku moku to
DREAM to kaite mokuhyou to yomu
souzou no mukou mukou e to
go go and go de on and on

boku wa tada tada moku moku to
DREAM to kaite mokuhyou to yomu
souzou no mukou mukou e to
go go and go de on and on

I said it, go go and go de on and on
I said it, Yo-ho and go de on and on

We can make it true
hontou no yume wa itsumo soba ni aru
hateshinaku hiroi sekai
hitotsu dake kagayaita
We can make it true
yuruganai yume wa
itsumo soko ni aru
hateshinaku hiroi sekai
ima sugu ni tsukami tore
Your Dream! Your Dream!

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Ketsuekigata betsu Onna ga Kekkon Suru Houhou" - Drama SP

FujiTV will be showing a 4-part drama SP entitled "Ketsuekigata betsu Onna ga Kekkon Suru Houhou" (How women of different blood types get married) from 23rd to 26th February at 11pm. The 4 leads will each play the character of the same blood type as them namely blood type A: Kato Rosa, B: Shaku Yumiko, O: Kashii Yui and AB: Mizukawa Asami. The order of screening will be as follows: A --> B --> O --> AB. The 4 of them will have the same character name, Harukawa Sachie but each SP will emphasize characteristics of the various blood types e.g. A: inclination towards security, B: curious, O: big-hearted and AB: individualistic.

Kato Rosa will play an OL in the accounting department of a small-middle enterprise and her partner in the drama will be Nokubo Naoki. Shaku Yumiko plays a popular scriptwriter and her partner is Miyasago Hiroyuki. Kashii Yui plays a freeter and she pairs up with Taiwanese actor Chen Bolin. As for Mizukawa Asami, she plays an university student in the engineering faculty while Joushima Shigeru plays her partner. The actors are not of the same blood type as the heroines in the stories. As for the buddies of these four ladies, Kondo Haruna of Harisenbon will be taking up the role.

Review of Bambino

Title: Bambino
Broadcast by: NTV
Shown during: Spring 07
Timeslot: Wednesdays, 10pm
Theme song: We can make it! by ARASHI
Original manga by: Sekiya Tetsuji


Ban Shougo (Matsumoto Jun)
Shishido Tekkan (Ichimura Masachika)
Hibino Asuka (Karina)
Katori Nozomi (Sato Ryuuta)
Kuwahara Atsushi (Sasaki Kuranosuke)
Yonamine Tsukasa (Kitamura Kazuki)
Shishido Miyuki (Uchida Yuki)
Senoo Masashi (Mukai Osamu)
Minagawa Kozue (Komatsu Ayaka)
Oda Toshio (Hosshan)
Takahashi Eri (Fukiishi Kazue)
Endo Susumu (Yamamoto Kei)

I've never been a fan of Italian cuisine and would have to say that even after watching this, I've not become a fan either. Well, it's not that the cooking scenes were not done nicely. It's just that I don't have too much interest in pasta dishes and most of the food presented are pasta-related. Episode 8 was more interesting since it featured desserts.

Basically, this story is about a young guy, Ban who goes to Tokyo for a spring holiday apprenticeship at his boss's friend's restaurant. Although he thinks that he is a great cook despite still being in university, he is given a humbling experience in Baccanale and later returns to work full-time after quitting from school. There isn't anything special about this journey so you will get the usual developments of how this young lad fumbles and stands up again and again.

I have to be frank about this. I think Matsumoto Jun can get really overboard with his acting at times. He was very good as Doumyouji in Hana Yori Dango primarily because that character is on the flashy side. However, when Matsujun takes on roles which are inclined towards the commoner side, his usual style of acting makes it really hard for me to accept. It's too fake and forced at times. I apologize to Matsujun fans who are offended by this but seriously, Matsujun needs roles with a very strong screen presence to bring out the best in him. He can definitely handle meaty roles like what he did in Tokyo Tower but I don't think he suits the role of Ban. Frankly speaking, the role itself can get on people's nerves since he is not exactly that likeable (arrogant in the beginning) and coupled with Matsujun's exaggerated acting, it does make me feel more irritated. Put him in another setting like Hanadan, that makes him a pleasure to watch.
If not the trio of Miyuki, Kuwahara and Yonamine who were very enjoyable to watch, I would have given up this drama long ago. The chemistry between these three is definitely good and hearing their conversations help me to lighten up the atmosphere. I have to say that they are my favourite characters in this drama.

I didn't really like the ending of this story. I'm OK with the development of Tekkan seeking new challenges with Endo BUT I don't like the fact that Ban just simply decides to go to Italy when he's really not that accomplished yet. He can jolly well leave Baccanale to learn at another places but Italy?! What makes him think that he's good enough to go there at this point in time? As such, this over-idealistic ending to the story makes me feel rather unhappy.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 6 out of 10 (Predicatable)
Acting: 7 out of 10 (Matsujun barely made the passing mark...I give higher points to the middle management trio.)
Theme song: 6.5 out of 10 (Sounds more like a theme song for Ban but it matches the atmosphere of the drama)
Visual effects / Scenery: 7.5 out of 10 (The kitchen was a bit too small so I wonder if it's really like that in reality. I like the presentation of some dishes though.)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7 out of 10 (Again, this is for the trio of Miyuki, Kuwahara and Yonamine)

Total: 34 out of 50

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The 82th Kinema Junpo Best Ten & Individual Awards

Top 10 Japanese Films

1) Okuribito

2) Gururi no Koto

3) Jitsuroku Rengou Akagun Asama Sansou e no Michi

4) Tokyo Sonata

5) Aruitemo Aruitemo

6) Yami no Kodomo tachi

7) Hahabee

8) Climber's High

9) Seppun

10) After School

Individual Awards

Best Director: Takida Youjirou (Okuribito)

Best Script: Koyama Kaoru (Okurubito)

Best Leading Actor: Motoki Masahiro (Okuribito)

Best Leading Actress: Koizumi Kyoko (Tokyo Sonata / Guu Guu Datte Neko de Aru)

Best Supporting Actor: Sakai Masato (Climber's High / After School)

Best Supporting Actress: Kiki Kirin (Aruitemo Aruitemo)

Best Male Newcomer: Inowaki Kai (Tokyo Sonata)

Best Female Newcomer: Amari Haruna (Kodomo no Kodomo)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

死にぞこないの青 Shinizokonai no Ao - Introduction

Title: Shinizokonai no Aoi
Original novel by: Otsuichi
Movie released on: 30 August 2008
Theme song: Umbrella by Tsubakiya Shijuusou
DVD release date: 21 Jan 2009
Total run time: 95 minutes


Sasaki Masao - Suga Kenta
Ao - Tanimura Mitsuki
Hada Mitsunori - Shirota Yuu
Hada Yumiko - Iriyama Noriko
Ninomiya Sanae - Uryuu Misaki
Komura Michio - Makioka Ryousuke
Sasaki Hideyuki - Hakata Hanamaru
Sasaki Emiko - Sakai Maki

Friday, January 16, 2009

Uta no Oniisan Press Conference - Sports Hochi's report

Arashi's Ohno Satoshi stars in "Uta no Oniisan" as Yano Kenta and will be making his solo debut under this name. His solo single, "Kumorinochi Kaisei" will be released on 4 March. Ohno expressed his surprise at being able to release a solo CD and said that he tried very hard to reflect the cheerful atmosphere displayed in this song. He mentioned that this song is very suitable for the drama and he was smiling all the time when he was recording the song.

Although Ohno had sung solo in Arashi's albums before, this is the first time that he is releasing a solo song in the form of a single. His fellow members expressed their earnest wishes to hear the song as soon as possible so Ohno felt that they contributed to the production of the single in one way or another. Arashi will also be releasing their new single "Believe" on the same day.

Johnny's artistes who had released singles under their character names included Kokubun Taichi and Domoto Tsuyoshi who formed the unit "Toraji Haiji" in Jan 2005 as well as Kamenashi Kazuya and Yamashita Tomohisa who formed the unit "Shuuji to Akira" in Nov 2005. Both singles grabbed the Oricon No.1 single title at that time thus Ohno feels a certain amount of pressure for him to do well. He added that if he did not enter showbiz, he might just be like Yano Kenta in the drama who is living aimlessly.

Source: Sports Hochi

Uta no Oniisan's production press conference

The press conference for "Uta no Oniisan" was held on 15 Jan 09 at TV Asahi where cast members Ohno Satoshi, Kimura Yoshino, Katase Nana, Maruyama Ryuuhei and Chisa made appearances. Ohno made fun of his colourful costume while co-star Kimura Yoshino remarked that Ohno was very cool and calm on the set. Even if she changed the lyrics suddenly to catch him unawares, he was never affected by it. Ohno replied jokingly that Kimura should have paid more attention to her lines instead of trying to play pranks on him. This drama is also the first leading role for Chisa who is the vocalist for the group, GIRL NEXT DOOR.

The theme song of the drama, "Kumorinochi, Kaisei" will be sung by Ohno under his character name, Yano Kenta. This song is scheduled to be released on 4 March 09.

Source: Sanspo

Hana Yori Dango Final - Introduction

Title: Hana Yori Dango Final
Official website: here
Original manga by: Kamio Yoko
Scriptwriter: Satake Mikio
Music: Yamashita Kousuke
Director: Ishii Yasuharu
Theme song: One Love by ARASHI
Insert song: Kiss Hug by aiko

Makino Tsukushi - Inoue Mao
Doumyouji Tsukasa - Matsumoto Jun
Hanazawa Rui - Oguri Shun
Nishikado Soujirou - Matsuda Shota
Mimasaka Akira - Abe Tsuyoshi
Doumyouji Kaede - Kaga Mariko
Matsuoka Yuki - Nishihara Aki
Toudou Shizuka - Sada Mayumi
Ookawahara Shigeru - Kato Natsuki
Sengoku Sachiyo - Kato Takako
Kaburagi Kazu - Fujiki Naohito
Makino Haruo - Kobayashi Susumu
Makino Chieko - Ishino Mako
Makino Susumu - Tomiura Tomotsugu
Nishida - David Ito
Tama - Sasaki Sumie
Sanjou Sakurako - Sato Megumi
Uchida Ken - Tsurumi Shingo

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Zenigeba's theme song, "Sayonara" by Kariyushi 58

The theme song for "Zenigeba" titled "Sayonara" will be sung by Okinawan rock band, Kariyushi 58. The CD single which will be released on 4 February will feature Matsuyama Kenichi on its cover for the limited edition. This is the first time that Matsuyama is appearing on a CD jacket and the first drama theme song for Kariyushi 58.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review of Team Batista no Eikou

I absolutely love suspense dramas so this is definitely my cup of tea. No doubt there's a lot of mind-boggling medical terms and the general atmosphere of this drama is heavy and dark, I'm sure those who are looking for a roller-coaster ride and are interested in medical dramas will be satisfied with this drama.

Be warned that there will be lots of spoilers from now on so if you have not watched the drama and do not wish to know the ending, you may wish to skip this review.

To be frank, there were minimal clues from the beginning to the middle which could pinpoint the identity of the culprit. And there wasn't a single cause to the series of surgical deaths! As such, you will find that things were not simple by the time you got to the end. With regards to Himuro's involvement, I still find it hard to fathom why he decided to kill 4 of the patients. If according to him, he had simply thought of killing the patients because he was so tired of work, lonely and snapped when his pet died, that just feels a bit weird. As for Kiryuu, Narumi and Kakitani's reasons or motive for causing those deaths, I find it more logical. For the sake of ensuring the existence of the team and saving more patients before Kiryuu's eyes reach the limit, Kiryuu and Narumi were effectively challenging themselves almost to the point of no return. Meanwhile for Kakitani, his motive was impulse-driven and he just wanted to confirm his suspicions about Kiryuu's skills. However, despite knowing the implications, Kakitani gave in to his need to find out the answer to his burning question and caused the death of an innocent person.

Anyway, this ending is different from the novel so I will have to read the original to see which version I prefer. Do look out for a cameo appearance by the author Kaidou Takeru in the last episode where he "interviews" Shiratori on TV.

As the story has a sequel and the movie version will be made with the same cast, I am guessing that we might see a sequel for the drama version in time to come since ratings have been pretty OK (No.4 this season).

Among the cast, I like the performances of Miyahara Daisuke (Narumi) and Nakamura Tooru (Shiratori) very much. Miyahara played Narumi very well which makes him the most favourite character of mine. As for Nakamura, I've always liked his acting and his potrayal of Shiratori is quite a refreshing change from the past where he usually plays cool roles. This time round, he manages to create some comical relief with Ito Atsushi who plays Taguchi which really helped in making the mood of the drama lighter especially when the tension mounts up suddenly. Ito is good with his acting but I really don't like the fact that he's always in roles of meek good guys. It can get really boring over time.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 9 out of 10 (The tension builds up nicely and progressively but the front portion may be mind-boggling as the story seems to leave little clues for guessing)
Acting: 8.5 out of 10 (Especially for Miyahara and Nakamura)
Theme song: 5 out of 10 (They should have gotten a better theme song. This song did not leave an impression on me at all)
Visual effects / Scenery: 6 out of 10 (Majority of the scenes were within the hospital or the operating theatre)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 8 out of 10 (Ito and Nakamura did pretty well together. As for Team Batista itself, their characters keep to themselves most of the time so chemistry wasn't that evident. It seems like they are on good terms off-screen though.)

Total score: 36.5 out of 50

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (11 Jan 09)


2) Che - Revolution at 28 (Part 1)

3) K-20 Kaijin Nijuumensho Den

4) The Day The Earth Stood Still

5) Akai Ito

6) 252 Seizonsha Ari

7) Gekijouban MAJOR Winning Shot

8) World of Lies

9) Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai

10) Tinkle Bell

Top 10 most interesting dramas of 2008 (Oricon)

Overall Ranking

1) Last Friends (FujiTV) 32.1%

2) Ryuusei no Kizuna (TBS) 28.9%

3) ROOKIES (TBS) 26.3%

4) Black Monday (TBS) 24.7%

5) Code Blue (FujiTV) 20.3%

6) Atsuhime (NHK) 18.5%

7) CHANGE (FujiTV) 17.8%

8) Maou (TBS) 16.1%

9) Gokusen / Yasuko to Kenji (both from NTV) 15.4%


As chosen by guys

1) ROOKIES 20.8%

2) Last Friends 20.0%

3) Ryuusei no Kizuna 19.5%

4) CHANGE 18.2%

5) Black Monday 17.7%


As chosen by gals

1) Last Friends 44.2%

2) Ryuusei no Kizuna 38.3%

3) ROOKIES 31.8%

4) Black Monday 31.7%

5) Maou 24.5%

Monday, January 12, 2009

Press conference for "Voice"

The production conference for "Voice ~ Inochi Naki Mono no Koe" was held on 27 Dec 08 where cast members Eita, Ikuta Toma, Ishihara Satomi, Endo Yuuya, Sato Tomohito and Tokita Saburo made their appearances. The drama will be shown from 12 Jan 09 at 9pm on Mondays via FujiTV. Eita, Ikuta, Ishihara, Endo and Sato play students who take up the pathology major in university while Tokito plays their professor.

Source: Sponichi

Sunday, January 11, 2009

MiChi to sing theme song for "Kiina ~ Fukanou Hanzai Sousakan"

Newcomer female singer, MiChi who made her debut in Oct 08, will be singing her first drama theme song for NTV's winter 09 drama "Kiina ~ Fukanou Hanzai Sousakan"/ The sonng titled "ChaNge the WoRLd" will be released as her second single on 25 February.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ryusei no Kizuna OST

Title: Ryusei no Kizuna OST
Catalog number: NQCL-2016
Number of discs: 1
Date of release: 3 Dec 08
Price: 2500 yen (inclusive of tax)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ryusei no Kizuna DVD Box

Title: Ryusei no Kizuna DVD Box
Date of release: 15 April 08
Price: 19,950 yen (inclusive of tax)
Number of discs: 6
Total run time: 486 minutes
Published by: TBS
Distributed by: TC Entertainment

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Review of Ryuusei no Kizuna

Frankly speaking, I had mixed feelings about this drama right from the start because of several reasons.

First of all, putting Higashino Keigo and Kudo Kankuro left a big question mark in my mind. As we know it, Higashino is very good at suspense thrillers which focus a lot on the emotions of the characters. One particular outstanding work from him was Byakuyakou, which was truly a dark tragedy from the start to the end. However, Kudo is more known for his unique brand of humour as seen from Kisarazu Cat Eyes, Tiger and Dragon and Manhattan Love Story. To put it in another way, not everyone appreciates Kudo's way of writing stories so that's why the critical success of his works are usually not reflected in the ratings. As such, I really wondered how Higashino and Kudo could be put together in the first place.

Secondly, the trio of Ninomiya Kazunari, Nishikido Ryo and Toda Erika wasn't really what I expected. I had always held the belief that Toda is still far from the level of acting that Ninomiya and Nishikido are capable of. Although at the end of the drama, my impression of Toda has changed to a certain extent, I still don't consider as very outstanding yet. She will get better over time, provided she gets the good roles. Anyway she has youth on her side.

Coming to the story itself, I have not read the novel yet. Well, to put it more accurately, I have only read a few chapters where the trio i.e. Koichi, Taisuke and Shizuna are still kids. Compared to the drama which alternated between adulthood and childhood and uses a lot of flashbacks to describe events in the past, the novel seems to be taking a sequential approach, at least from what I'm reading now. That is why I was rather frustrated by the drama's way of handling things. I would prefer a sequential approach rather than be confused by the constant shuttling. This is a major grouse I have about the story but you can be sure that this problem will go away as the story progresses.

Like what I said just now, I was very worried about Higashino's style vs. Kudo's humour. In the first few episodes, the small drama-within-drama directed by Koichi did not really blend well with the central theme. I guess Kudo wants to keep the story light at some points instead of making the drama dark as what Byakuyakou did but I didn't like the contrast at times. The first trick scheme was kinda boring and corny but the Takayama version was fun. Luckily, they toned down on the humour towards the later stage or I could have given up halfway. I wanted to watch this drama for the heavy emotional plot, not for humour.

With regards to the ending, I think it was pretty well-done. I suppose it is similar to the novel but I will make a comparison between the genres after finishing the novel. Right from the start, if the murderer was known, there would be no fun along the way to keep the viewer hooked. True enough, the truth is not as simple as it appeared. I'm glad to see the twist at the end. It was great, really. However, the only grouse I have is that the clues showed up too late. Until the last episode, you would probably not have seen the twist coming. I had my suspicions when that culprit lit his cigarette and was visibly shaken by the revelation that he had inevitably screwed up at the crime scene but could only confirm my guess when there was a close-up shot of the umbrella in question.

This is one drama where I reinforced my belief that Nino is easily one of the best actors in Arashi, or maybe in Johnny's Jimusho. The most memorable scene was when Taisuke (Nishikido) asked Koichi (Nino) whether he was OK with the fact that Shizuna (Toda) is in love with Togami (Kaname) and he shouted that there was no way he was OK with that. Bravo! さすが、ハリウット俳優! ^__^ No wonder, Clint Eastwood got him to act in Iwojima kara no Tegami. Other than Ohno who displayed the same intensity of acting in Maou and Ikuta Toma who is very versatile, I think there are not many actors in the same batch of JE guys who can do as well as Nino at the moment. Nino has certainly strengthened his reputation as a good actor through this drama.

As for Nishikido, too bad that he is overshadowed by Nino this time. However, he has managed to put up a performance in stark contrast of what he did in Last Friends. The only thing I don't like is probably the fact that he emphasized too much on the frivolous and carefree side of Taisuke. He should have been given more time to show Taisuke's sensitive side.

With regards to Toda, she displayed great chemistry with her "brothers" and should be a big visual feast because of her cos-playing. To be frank, she did look very pretty in some of the outfits. However, her acting flaws show up when she's with very strong actors so she may need more time to bring out the essence in her performance.

One person I must mention will be Nakashima Mika's role, Sagi which means trickster. Well, her role is not in the novel so she's probably there more for comical relief. Although that scene of her singing in George Clooney's restaurant's staircase was quite cheesy, I think Nakashima's presence was quite interesting. This character is really different from the Nakashima who sings. Her interaction with Nino is also worth looking out for.

As for the theme and insert songs, ORION is a better fit for the atmosphere of the drama and grows on me over time. On the other hand, you can only hear Beautiful Days at the beginning of the drama or when the trailer runs so the influence isn't that strong. Nonetheless, both songs are good by their own virtue.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 8.5 out of 10 (Although I didn't like the first 5 episodes or so, the extremely well-done finale and climax scenes deserved this score.)
Acting: 9 out of 10 (The trio were good in their own ways but this 9 is mainly for Nino.)
Theme song: 8 out of 10 (I prefer ORION though.)
Visual effects / Scenery: 7 out of 10 (Not much variety since they are mostly set-scenes but I like the rooftop above George Clooney's restaurant and the hill where the siblings saw the meteor shower.)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 7.5 out of 10 (The siblings deserve a 7. The extra 0.5 is for Nino's great work with the real culprit in the last episode.)

Total: 40 out of 50

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Romaji lyrics of Love ~winter song~ by Fukuhara Miho (Theme song of SCANDAL)

Title: Love ~winter song~
Artiste: Fukuhara Miho
Lyrics: Fukuhara Miho
Melody: Fukuhara Miho / Yasuhara Hei

sekaijuu ni arittake no hanabata to yorokobi wo
shiawase hakobou egao de iyou

tsumetai kaze ga mado tataku
tonight tonight
nagareru hoshi setsuna ni negatta
anata ga waratteite kureru no nara
tatoe ashita kizutsuite mo ii

furi tsumoru mabushii hikari

sekaijuu ni arittake no hanabata to yorokobi wo
anata ni deaeta koto daiji na takara mono dayo
kono te no naka afurete iru chiisana egao ya namida
anata no me ni utsuru mirai wo utatte iru yo

kinou no yuki ga terasu machi
bright bright
tsuyogari bakari sukoshi dake hami dasu
doushite hito wa ubai au no kana
kanashii koto wa hanbun ko ni shiyouyo

kinou sae warai tobasou

me no mae ni wa kazoe kirenai wakare michi mayoi michi
anata ni deau made wa yowasa mo kakushite ita yo
kono te no naka kobore ochiru chiisana kibou ya tsubomi
anata no me ni utsuru mirai wo inotte iru yo

uso ya tsumi ya maboroshi
ishi wo nage tsukeru you na
chiisana kizu abaite namida nagasu yori
deaeta yorokobi ikiteru yorokobi
sunao ni ureshii to koe ni dashite utai tainda

sekaijuu ni arittake no hanabata to yorokobi wo
anata ni deaeta koto daiji na takara mono da yo

me no mae ni wa kazoe kirenai wakare michi mayoi michi
anata ni deau made wa yowasa mo kakushite ita yo
kono te no naka kobore ochiru chiisana kibou ya tsubomi
anata no me ni utsuru mirai wo inotte iru yo

sekaijuu ni arittake no hanabata to yorokobi wo
anata ni deaeta koto daiji na takara mono da yo
kono te no naka afurete iru chiisana egao ya namida
anata no me ni utsuru mirai wo inotte iru yo

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Top 10 movies ranking (4 Jan 09)


2) The Day The Earth Stood Still

3) K-20 Kaijin Nijuu Mensho Den

4) Gekijouban MAJOR Winning Shot

5) 252 Seizonsha Ari

6) Akai Ito

7) World of Lies

8) Watashi wa kai ni naritai

9) Eiga! Tamagocchi Uchuu Ichi Happy Na Monogatari

10) Gekijouban BLEACH Fade to Black Kimi no na wo Yobu

Winter 2009 Drama Preview - Uta no Oniisan

Title: Uta no Oniisan
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Time slot: Fridays, 11.15pm
O.A. Start Date: 16 Jan 09
Starring: Ohno Satoshi
Official website: here

Only reason for watching this:

For Oo-chan! ^__^ Well, it will be interesting to see how he transforms from Maou to a cutesy and unwilling big brother to children. There is a big gap between both roles so it is worth checking out for the sake of seeing how Ohno copes with this change. Although I think that this drama will get cheesy to a certain extent, I think I can bear with it unless it gets overboard.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Winter 2009 Drama Preview - Zenigeba

Title: Zenigeba
Broadcast by: NTV
Time slot: Saturdays, 9pm
O.A. Start Date: 17 Jan 08
Original by: George Akiyama
Scriptwriter: Okada Yoshikazu
Official website: here

Cast: Matsuyama Kenichi, Mimura, Miyakawa Daisuke, Ishibashi Anna, Suzuki Yuuki, Takuma Seiko, Shiho, Saito Ryuusei, Okunuki Kaoru, Mitsuishi Ken, Ryou, Shiina Kippei

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Winter 2009 Drama Preview - Kami no Shizuku

Title: Kami no Shizuku (The Drops of God)
Broadcast by: NTV
O.A. Start Date: 13 Jan 09
Timeslot: Tuesdays, 10pm
Original manga by: Agi Tadashi
Official website: here


Kanzaki Shizuku (Kamenashi Kazuya)
Toomine Issei (Tanabe Seiichi)
Shinohara Miyabi (Naka Riisa)
Kiryuu Ryoko (Toda Naho)
Kawarage Shigeru (Masu Takeshi)
Honma Chousuke (Taguchi Hiromasa)
Seller (Sasaki Nozomi)
Kito Ryuusuke (Hirakata Motoaki)
Minamoto Saori (Hagi Mika)
Saionji Maki (Uchida Yuki)
Fujie Shiro (Tatsumi Takuro)
Doi Roberu (Takenaka Naoto)
Kanzaki Yutaka (Furuya Kazuyuki)

Reason for watching this:

Definitely not for Kamenashi Kazuya. It's the story which seems interesting. If done carefully, I believe this is going to be a classy piece of work. Much as I absolutely detest the choice for the lead character, if the story keeps me engaged, I guess I can bear with it till the end.

Then again, I believe it is partly due to Mr. Kamenashi that I cannot find the manga at our local Kino. Seems like the fans snapped up the first few volumes to do some background studies before the drama starts.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Winter 2009 Drama preview - Kiina ~ Fukanou Hanzai Sousakan

Title: Kiina ~ Fukanou Hanzai Sousakan
Broadcast by: NTV
Time slot: Wednesdays, 10pm
O.A. Start Date: 21 Jan 08
Official website: here
Cast: Kanno Miho, Hiraoka Yuuta, Tsukaji Takeo, Koike Eiko, Sawamura Ikki

Reasons for watching this:

1) Although I'm not too keen on the supporting cast, I'm willing to watch this for the sake of Kanno Miho.

2) The suspense/investigative genre is my cup of tea.

As the website has not been revamped at the time I am writing this post, I will provide more details of this drama at a later date.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Winter 2009 Drama Preview: Love Shuffle

Title: Love Shuffle
Broadcast by: TBS
Timeslot: Fridays, 10pm
O.A. Start Date: 16 January 2009
Theme song: FANTASY by Ice Wind Fire
Insert song: ETERNAL FLAME by Bangles
Official website: here


Usami Kei - Tamaki Hiroshi
Aizawa Airu - Karina
Sera Oujiro - Matsuda Shota
Oishi Yukichi - DAIGO
Hayakawa Kairi - Yoshitaka Yuriko
Kamijo Reiko - Kojima Ijiri
Kagawa Mei - Kanjiya Shihori
Kikuta Masato - Tanihara Shosuke

Reasons for watching:

1) An unique concept of partner exchange. And Nojima Shinji always has something fresh up his sleeve (most of the time). As such, I anticipate this to be a daring, outrageous and attention-grabbing drama.

2) The combination of Tamaki, Karina, Matsuda and Tanihara as the leads is quite interesting. Although I like Tamaki when he was in Nodame Cantabile, I will have to see if he does as well in this drama as a guy who appears to be doing well but in actual fact, his life is not a bed of roses. Karina is getting better in her acting but as to whether she can handle this, I am adopting a wait-and-see attitude. Matsuda has impressed me in Liar Game so I am quite confident that he can do as well.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Winter 2009 Drama preview: Triangle

Title: Triangle
Broadcast by: FujiTV / KTV
Timeslot: Tuesdays, 10pm
O.A. start date: 6 Jan 2009
Original novel: Triangle by Aratsu Kiyomi
Official website: here


His first love was murdered.

In Jan 1984, a Primary 4 girl was abducted and murdered on her way home from school.

Moments before the incident happened, she took part in the "Half Seijin" (people are considered adults when they turn 20 and this girl was 10 at that time) ceremony held in the school. As a result of this incident, she could never read the letter she wrote to herself which was meant to be opened when she turned 20.

Gouda Ryouji (Eguchi Yosuke) was in love with this girl, Katsuragi Sachie and was traumatized by her death. Following this, his elder brother died in a separate accident thus Ryoji decided to be a doctor in order to fulfil his elder brother's amibition.

However, he came to realize that he must now live for his sake instead of others when Sachie's case reached the statute of limitation deadline.

And this is when Ryoji's life starts to change.


Gouda Ryouji (Eguchi Yosuke)
Kuroki Shun (Inagaki Goro)
Sachi (Hirosue Ryoko)
Gouda Yui (Aibu Saki)
Shimano Takaya (Sakai Masato)
Tomioka Yasushi (Tanihara Shosuke)
Akimoto Ryou (Sasaki Kuranosuke)
Maruyama Keita (Kohinata Fumio)
Katsuragi Hitoshi (Oosugi Ren)
Katsuragi Kiyoko (Fubuki Jun)
Kuroki Shinzou (Kitaoji Kinya)

Reasons for watching:

1) On paper, the cast is simply star-studded. To me, I am particularly interested in watching Eguchi, Hirosue and Sakai. Given that this is the 50th anniversary drama for KTV, no wonder they are pulling no plugs for this drama.

2) I simply love suspense stories. This looks very interesting but I hope the ending will not disappoint.