Saturday, July 31, 2010

Preview of Atami no Sousakan - Summer 2010

Title: Atami no Sousakan 熱海の捜査官 (The Investigator of Atami)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 30 July 2010
Timeslot: Fridays, 11.15pm
Theme Song: Tengoku e Youkoso by Tokyo Jihen
Cast: Odagiri Jo, Kuriyama Chiaki, Tanaka Tetsuji, Matsushige Yutaka, Matsuo Suzuki, Kojima Ijiri, Hagiwara Masato, Iwamatsu Ryo, Ginpucho, KIKI

Friday, July 30, 2010

Top 10 movies ranking (25 Jul 10)

1) Inception

2) Karigurashi no Arietti

3) Toy Story 3

4) Odoru Daisousasen THE MOVIE 3 Yatsura wo Kaiho seyo!

5) Gekijoban Pocket Monster Diamond & Pearl

6) The Last Airbender

7) Predators

8) Kokuhaku

9) Hisshiken Torisashi

10) Surely Someday

Friday, July 23, 2010

Top 10 movies ranking (18 July 10)

1) Karigurashi no Arietti

2) Toy Story 3

3) Odoru Daisousasen THE MOVIE 3 Yatsura wo Kaihouseyo

4) Gekijoban Pocket Monster Diamond & Pearl

5) The Last Airbender

6) Predators

7) Kokuhaku

8) Hishiken Torisashi

9) Surely Someday

10) Sore Ike! Anpanman Black Nose to Mahou no Uta

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top 10 movies ranking (11 Jul 10)

1) Toy Story 3

2) Gekijoban Pocket Monster Diamond & Pearl

3) Odoru Daisousasen THE MOVIE 3 Yatsura wo Kaihou seyo!

4) Predators

5) Kokuhaku

6) Hisshiken Torisashi

7) The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Dry-White

8) Sore Ike! Anpanman Black Nose to Mahou no Uta

9) Sex And The City 2

10) Ironman 2

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Preview of Mioka ~ Kimi ga Ita Hibi ~ - Summer 2010

Title: Mioka ~ Kimi ga Ita Hibi ~ (Mioka ~ The Days Where You were Around)
Official website: here
Timeslot: Saturdays 9pm
O.A. Start Date: 10 Jul 2010
Theme Song: Hotaru by Fukuyama Masaharu
Cast: Yoshitaka Yuriko, Hayashi Kento, Katsuji Ryo, Terawaki Yasufumi, Tanihara Shosuke, Maya Miki

Saturday, July 17, 2010

14th Nikkansports Dorama Grand Prix

Figures indicate number of votes. Frankly speaking, I'm amazed at the results. This seems to be more of a popularity ranking rather than reflective of the actual quality of acting and production. The Television's award would likely give an entirely different picture of the spring 2010 season.

Best Drama
1) Sunao ni Narenakute / FujiTV / 5578
2) Kaibutsu-kun / NTV / 3297
3) IRIS / TBS / 1320 - Note that this is a Korean drama produced by KBS and shown on Japan's TBS
4) Mother / NTV / 1220
5) Tsuki no Koibito / FujiTV / 624

Best Leading Actor
1) Ohno Satoshi / Kaibutsu-kun / 3824
2) Eita / Sunao ni Narenakute / 3197
3) Lee Byung-hun / IRIS / 2112
4) Fukuyama Masaharu / Ryomaden / 1696
5) Abe Hiroshi / Shinzanmono / 1043

Best Leading Actress
1) Matsuyuki Yasuko / Mother / 4303
2) Ueno Juri / Sunao ni Narenakute / 3829
3) Kim Tae-hui / IRIS / 2395
4) Matsushita Nao / Gegege no Nyobo / 1461
5) Ueto Aya / Zettai Reido / 1171

Best Supporting Actor
1) Jejung / Sunao ni Narenakute / 7018
2) Matsuoka Masahiro / Kaibutsu-kun / 1739
3) Kagawa Teruyuki / Ryomaden / 783
4) Mukai Osamu / Gegege no Nyobo / 727
5) Matsuda Shota / Tsuki no Koibito / 665

Best Supporting Actress
1) Ashida Mana / Mother / 2234
2) Inamori Izumi / Kaibutsu-kun / 2231
3) Seki Megumi / Sunao ni Narenakute / 2069
4) Kim So-yeon / IRIS / 1804
5) Shinohara Ryoko / Tsuki no Koibito / 1464

Friday, July 16, 2010

Preview of GM (General Medicine) ~ Odore Doctor ~ - Summer 2010

Title: GM (General Medicine) ~ Odore Doctor (Dance, Doctor)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 18 July 2010
Timeslot: Sundays, 9pm
Cast: Higashiyama Noriyuki, Tabe Mikako, Namase Katsuhisa, Ogura Tadayoshi, Yoshizawa Yu, Owada Shinya, Yajima Norito, Koike Eiko, Shiina Kippei

Comments: I wasn't too interested in this until I saw two names: Namase Katsuhisa and Shiina Kippei. I can be assured of good acting if they are around. In this case, I'll give this a try but I am not sure whether I can stay till the end. Higashiyama's acting has never interested me so...I don't know if I can bear with him. And it certainly doesn't help that the title is Dance, Doctor. Will Higashiyama break into dance moves during treatment of his patients? I cringe when I think of this possibility.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Preview of Toubou Bengoshi - Summer 2010

Title: Toubou Bengoshi (The Fugitive Lawyer)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 6 July 2010
Timeslot: Tuesdays, 10pm
Broadcast by:FujiTV / KTV
Cast: Kamiji Yuusuke, Ishihara Satomi, Kitamura Kazuki, Yada Akiko, Maekawa Yasuyuki, Toyohara Kosuke, Murakawa Eri, Kobayashi Susumu, Sato Jiro, Funakoshi Eiichiro etc.

Comments: Although I'm not keen on Kamiji nor Ishihara, I think the story sounds interesting. A lawyer on the run for a murder which he did not commit? Doesn't this sound a bit like Toubousha which Eguchi Yosuke did some years ago? Hopefully, this drama will be interesting enough to keep me watching till the end. Yada Akiko also makes her return to acting in a regular drama after what happened to her ex-husband. It may be hard for her to regain the status she had post-Shiroi Kyoto but supporting roles are still better than nothing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Preview of Unubore Deka - Summer 2010

Title: Unubore Deka うぬぼれ刑事 (The Self-Absorbed Police Detective)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 16 July 2010
Timeslot: Fridays 10pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Scriptwriter: Kudo Kankuro
Cast: Nagase Tomoya, Ikuta Toma, Nakashima Mika, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi, Kaname Jun, Yasaku Ken, Komatsu Kazushige, Morishita Aiko, Bandou Mitsugoro, Nishida Toshiyuki

Comments: I have no doubt that Nagase can act in exaggerated roles although I wasn't interested enough to finish Karei naru Spy. He's indeed good at such roles as seen from works like Ikebukuro West Gate Park or My Boss My Hero. Anyway, with Kudo Kankuro at the helm, his favourite actors like Nagase and Morishita are back while new additions to Kudo's lineup include Ikuta and Nakashima. It will be interesting to see how Nakashima and Nagase act as former lovers and what sparks will fly between Nagase and Ikuta who should know each other very well. The fact that Nagase's role doesn't even have a proper name (yes, his name is Unubore which can be translated as conceited and vain as well) seems to suggest that this is going to be a really crazy and far-fetched story. Thinking how Nagase will play a detective who thinks that every woman on earth is in love with him just makes me crack up. As it is, KudoKan's stories either make you a fan or you turn away immediately because it feels stupid. It does make me worry about the ratings in this sense because not everyone appreciates his type of humour.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Preview of Natsu no Koi wa Niji iro ni Kagayaku - Summer 2010

Title: Natsu no Koi wa Niji iro ni Kagayaku 夏の恋は虹色に輝く(Summer Love Shining In The Rainbow)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 19 July 2010
Timeslot: Mondays, 9pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Cast: Matsumoto Jun, Takeuchi Yuko, Sawamura Ikki, Kiriya Misuzu, Nagayama Kento, Kasahara Hideyuki, Matsuzaka Keiko, Matsushige Yutaka, Ito Shiro

Comments: The reason why I want to see this is mainly because of Takeuchi Yuko. It's been some time since her last appearance in a drama and she plays a not-so-ordinary type of woman again. I am guessing that it will be somewhat like what she played in Lunch no Joou where her character had a mysterious past. As for her pairing-up with Matsujun, although they are not that far in terms of age, Takeuchi has been paired with older leading men most of the time and the fact that she's already a mother in real-life makes me feel a bit uneasy about how they would look as a couple onscreen. The story sounds interesting as well with Matsujun playing a not-popular actor in a family of actors who falls for Takeuchi after they meet under a strange situation. Hope that this drama wouldn't turn out to be one which promises a lot but delivers little.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Review of Sunao ni Narenakute

I have finally finished this drama.

By this statement, I don't mean that I derived satisfaction from watching the entire series. It's more of a relief that this drama is finally OVER. It's a wonder why I stuck to the end. On hindsight, I should have dropped it long ago. Sometimes, the decision to continue would pay off handsomely towards the end. However, Sunao ni Narenakute wasn't meant to be. I wasn't expecting much in the first place but even so, I was disappointed.

I have a lot of issues with this drama so if you have not started watching it or have not finished it, you may wish to skip this review. There are lots of spoilers from this point onwards so please be prepared.

First of all, despite SunaNare being touted to be a Twitter drama, it earned a lot of brickbats from Twitter users from Episode 1 because the scriptwriter obviously didn't know much about it and didn't integrate the application into the storyline at all. It isn't wrong to know little about Twitter. In fact, I have only started using it for a few months and cannot claim to be an expert in it. However, I think Kitagawa Eriko and the crew promised too much. SunaNare is not a Twitter drama. In fact, mention of Twitter is close to the point of non-existence. Towards the end, it would not have been a surprise if you forgot that the main characters knew one another through Twitter. The most obvious change was the fact that the characters' tweets were no longer displayed on the screen when there were voiceovers. And to make matters worse, the font and speed at which the tweets appeared made it difficult to read them. This made it difficult for SunaNare to live up to the expectations of viewers, especially those who use Twitter, who probably were expecting to see the application playing a more significant role in the leads' lives.

One unusual thing I found out about Twitter is that it seems to act as a GPS. If not for the location feature, Nakaji (Eita) would never have found Linda (Tamayama Tetsuji) who slashed his neck. The thing is, if someone never turned on his Twitter or did not use the feature, would others still be able to find him? I think the scriptwriter took for granted that Linda was on Twitter before he killed himself but I think it's too coincidental. Oh well, in dorama land, anything is possible. Then again, would Twitter give you such a detailed location in the first place? I would appreciate if anyone can advise me on this.

Besides all the controversies about Twitter, the script was what riled me the most. Kitagawa Eriko had churned out a couple of hit dramas in the 90s. However, we are in 2010 now. I still see many things which should have worked in the 90s but not now. The moving panel used in the opening credits, the aerial scenery of Tokyo along the Wangan area and some corny lines which should never appear in this era simply make me shudder. Why are such things still appearing in 2010? The cast and the story premise are supposed to be in sync with current trends! It feels as if Kitagawa is using her old style over and over again without feeling the need to be in sync with times.

There is also something which has been bugging me since the day when I started watching this drama. By assembling a cast of young actors playing young adults with hidden problems, is SunaNare trying to replicate the success of Last Friends? No doubt I've had my fair share of complaints about Last Friends but it was still a pretty good piece of work, mainly because of the good acting of everyone except Nagasawa and the engaging story. However, Juri + Eita this time doesn't work out to be a winning formula this time. In addition, their co-stars or should I say their characters simply don't shine. It's like seeing everyone go round in circles rather than having an impact on one another's lives in Last Friends. I cannot sense the strength of their friendships or the existence of a bond between them. And it doesn't look like they have been thoroughly frank with one another at the end of story. SunaNare goes one big circle to end up at the starting point. The part where Peach "fell" for Nakaji was especially hard to believe. I just felt that the scriptwriter had to get everyone romantically involved with one another because Peach wasn't in love with any of the guys right from the start. She just wanted to complicate things but this side development couldn't fit well into the story anyway.

I like seeing Juri + Eita together and they have a certain level of chemistry onscreen. Sad to say, the story was a let-down and caused them to end up producing superficial and forgettable performances in SunaNare. For heavens' sake, I hope they will choose something better next time, TOGETHER. I still can't forget how they always meet at the convenience store. It's just so old-school and is really corny. Nowadays, most dramas won't do such a thing. Jejung's first attempt at acting in a Japanese drama was passable (at least I can understand his Japanese better than a certain Miss Lin acting in a drama with a "moon" title) but it is difficult for me to like him because his character got on my nerves at times. Likewise for Seki Megumi and Tamayama Tetsuji, I've seen better stuff from them before so I'm unable to say that I like what they showed in this drama.

The ambiguous relationship between Nakaji's father and Haru's mother was really redundant as well. It gave a hint that something was wrong between them and suggested that Haru could have been half-siblings with Nakaji. Thank goodness, such an old-fashioned plot didn't materialise in the end. However, to see the scriptwriter toying with such an idea is also proof that she doesn't seem to be living in this era. This is something we see in trendy dramas of the 90s, not now! It's simply unbelievable to see that we are seeing old tricks being jumbled together and passed off as a story with new perspectives. Yeah, right!

Linda's death was another sore point for me. OK, right from the start, I already guessed that the person who locked himself/herself up in the toilet cubicle to commit suicide would be anyone other than Nakaji or Haru. The shocking thing wasn't the suicide. It was how they handled this development. Usually, we see such scenes depicted as wrist slashes but this time round, they chose to do something more sensational by slashing the neck's artery. It was kinda extreme to do that. And since Linda was saved, the viewers were led into believing that he would be alright. Suddenly, he ends up dead. Oh well, the scriptwriter doesn't think that she has a responsibility to spell out the reason? No explanation, no funeral and Linda is quickly forgotten. Frankly speaking, killing himself because he's gay and slept with his boss to get favours at work (not for his own benefit) seem rather hard to believe. Of course, we are aware that Linda's personality and background could be the main reasons why he had to go out of his way to help his friends. It did make him feel wanted and he was pleased at being able to do something good for his friends. However, are these reasons strong enough to make him want to kill himself? Is it because the scriptwriter wants Linda's death to be a catalyst to change things among these people? This again seems to coincide with the suicide of Nishikido Ryo's character in Last Friends as well.

With regards to the love triangle between Haru, Nakaji and Doctor, it is too draggy. Haru has never changed her feelings towards Nakaji, whether she's conscious of it or not. The fact that she has to make a conscious effort to convince herself that she loves Doctor already shows that. Nakaji's attitude towards Haru keeps changing while Doctor uses those old-school tricks to cheat Nakaji who actually believes those lies? That's really dumb and simply not something viewers will believe nowadays. I really dislike the fact that the scriptwriter is simply rehashing her own tricks and trying to package it as something new. In fact, nothing has changed, other than the appearance.

I didn't like the theme song and resent the fact that the volume of its intro goes up suddenly in the last few moments of each episode. Sometimes, the music made it difficult to hear the dialogue as well. As for the insert song, it didn't make a big impact on me as well. Fortunately, the opening theme "Great DJ" by The Ting Tings was the sole saving grace in the music aspect of this drama, especially the ballad version. It's very hip and gives the atmosphere a very uplifting feel.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 2 out of 10 (Read the above to know why...too many reasons to list)
Acting: 5 out of 10 (I think most of them were limited by their roles so those who should have performed well didn't)
Theme song: 3 out of 10 (Only one of three songs is to my liking)
Visual effects / Scenery: 3 out of 10 (Nothing particularly impressive to mention but I think the opening credits is a half-baked effort)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 3 out of 10 (There were some sparks of brilliance between Eita and Juri initially but as their characters drifted apart later in the story, there wasn't much left. The rest didn't really mesh well, also due to the script)

Total: 16 out of 50

This is one of the lowest-rated dramas I've watched recently. I'm sure there will be others who like this drama but personally, I don't think it's worth spending the time on. If you want to watch this, be prepared to overlook the illogical and old-school developments in the story. The cast members were not at their best due to the limitations of their roles so I think die-hard fans are likely to be disappointed as well.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Top 10 movies ranking (4 Jul 10)

1) Odoru Daisousasen THE MOVIE 3 Yatsura wo kaiho seyo!

2) Kokuhaku

3) The Extraodirnary Adventures of Adele Dry-White

4) Ironman 2

5) Sex And The City 2

6) Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider The Movie Chou Denou Trilogy EPISODE YELLOW

7) Outrage

8) The Book of Eli

9) Alice in Wonderland

10) Lost Crime

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Top 10 movies ranking (27 Jun 10)

1) Kokuhaku

2) Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider THE MOVIE Chou Denou Trilogy / EPISODE YELLOW

3) Iron Man 2

4) Sex And The City 2

5) The Book of Eli

6) Outrage

7) Alice in Wonderland


9) Kouko no Mesu

10) Matataki