Quartet ep4-5 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

SPOILER REVIEW

Do not read unless you’ve watched the episode or you don’t mind being spoiled.

When you gather a motley crew of musicians each with their own agenda and a potential mystery as the backdrop, you get Quartet. I’d be first to admit that it’s not for everybody. It is dialogue heavy and may seem to beat around the bush for a while but there’s always a hidden, profound meaning in the rigmarole that packs a punch when you realize what they’re trying to convey. It is character driven sprinkled with clever humor and subtle performances at its best. Of course, it’s largely thanks to the brilliant Sakamoto Yuji and the wonderful cast for bringing this script to life.

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Tokyo Tarareba Musume ep4-5 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

Confession: It’s a miracle I haven’t dropped this show yet. To be honest, I thought for sure by episode 4 the girls are going to piss me off with their constant lamentations about horrible love lives but guess what, here I am, still hanging on ^^;; Barely after ep5 though.

Let’s talk about episode 4 first.

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I quite liked ep4 because the girls aren’t going kyaa!!! as often as say, the pilot. This is probably the most subdued episode so far, with more contemplation and coming to senses. I see considerable character development for Rinko and her two friends as well. In fact, surprisingly, Rinko’s the one leading the pack. Bearing KEY’s lecture like a cross on her back from the end of ep3, Rinko does some very serious thinking and begins to reassess her girls’ night/talk and ‘what ifs’.

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Rakuen ep5-6 finale [review]

You can get subtitles here.

I’ll start with non-spoiler review and move on to the spoiler one but I’ll put up a WARNING so you can safely read the first part.

NON-SPOILER REVIEW

If you like crime/mystery, give this a try. This show does need a little patience as it may be slow for some. Personally, I think it’d have been better paced if they made it a 5-episode drama instead of 6. Bear in mind that this is not a police drama. Instead you have an investigative journalist struggling with a past case gone awry who starts digging around a new case after the death of a child. On the surface, there are two ongoing cases and audience will be wondering whether both of them are connected or not. You’ll be in for further surprises especially in the finale. Accompanied with some provoking scenes (attempted rape, beating) there’s no space for any humor at all, in fact, I’d say it’s very grim throughout. I thought the scenes with that young girl was very well done in particular due to its disturbing atmosphere. The cast are great and though Nakama Yukie is the main here (needless to say, she shines) I’m more captivated by Kobayashi Kaoru whose every move and facial expression is so magnetic, I truly felt for his character from beginning to end.

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As for the case itself, it’s not plothole free. I found myself questioning several actions and scenes throughout the show, hence, do not expect a perfect crime show. For example, the neighbors not calling the cops despite hearing screams originating from a known ex-convict’s house is terribly questionable. Bottom line is the show is watchable, can be quite slow but utterly tense at times, great acting, good cinematography (love those vibrant night scenes!) but not without its flaws.

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A LIFE ep5 [review]

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Every major and minor character has an episode dedicated for them and now we’re left with Nanao for next week. This week, Hamura gets a chance to shine amidst the (slowly but surely) developing main plot between our two leads.

Let’s talk about Hamura first. Previously, I thought he’s the lesser evil of Masao but for some odd reason, I felt sorry for him here. Of course, covering up his former teacher’s mistake isn’t ethical for any doctor, but at the very least, he sincerely respects Yamamoto and would like to try in any way possible to not destroy a talented surgeon who can still save many patients in the future. Sometimes, this kind of issue is tricky.

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Rakuen ep2-4 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

Like many staple WOWOW dramas, Rakuen caters to crime suspense lovers. The drama features Nakama Yukie, Shigeko Maehata, who works as an investigative journalist. The pilot starts with a shocking revelation when a couple admitted that they murdered their daughter and buried her underneath their house after a fire broke out. That had kept me going because besides being intrigued by how the two seemingly unrelated simultaneous cases have in common, I also want to see the process of Shigeko’s investigative work. Investigative journalists as depicted in this show seem to get a lot of flak for being nosy and ruining people’s lives. For Shigeko, a wrong report regarding an old case caused a young woman to commit suicide. That has haunted her ever since and we see her struggle to come to terms with that.

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A LIFE ep4 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

Things are moving forward with more character development and brief flashbacks but equally crucial to shed some light on our two MC’s backstory. There are still a few things that bug me in this show which I’ll address at the end. For now, let’s dive into this episode!

This week, Shibata gets a taste of what being inferior feels like and she sure isn’t happy about it. She becomes a victim of a conceited surgeon who is embarrassed by the blunder he makes, after Shibata corrects him, causing the partnership talk with Katayama Hospital to cease. Shibata who has done nothing wrong, save for being too blunt without any ill intention, is suspended but she would have none of it and decides to quit. Her frustration stems from her background as revealed during the ‘date’ with Igawa. Her parents (not clear whether it’s her father or mother or both) was a doctor whose hospital shut down after a single mistake. Lacking finance, she could only get a scholarship enough for nursing but not medical school, which was her original dream.

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Tokyo Tarareba Musume ep2-3 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

Tarareba follows the usual premise of romance drama. In this show, the girls are desperate when they reach 30 to get hooked or married and have children. Understandable and maybe even relatable to some girls out there (if not, many). Personally, I can’t really relate to their desperation or woes. Maybe because love has never been my top priority lol. But I enjoy the comedy even though their wild fantasies are silly and over the top. The execution is surprisingly quite good.

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I don’t usually watch romance drama because of the usual cringe-worthy tropes. And yes, this drama is filled with them. You have girls fantasizing about guys and lament about being single or how both career and love are not working for them. They whine endlessly and get drunk. They start a new day, meets someone, they get excited and let their imaginations run too wild only to be disappointed, they lament again and get drunk. Wash, rinse, repeat. However, oddly enough, I haven’t been turned off to the point of dropping this. Must be the humor. The way they execute it doesn’t feel shoehorned or forced. Even the cheesy special effects still make me smile. Anyway, I’m using that ‘3-episode rule’ for this and I’ve decided to continue (for now).

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