The Bride of Rip Van Winkle [review]

The director’s cut (spanning 3 hours) is finally out and I read that the theater version (2 hours) is quite rushed so I’m glad to have watched the full uncut version. It may be quite lengthy but I feel it’s worth it. I’ve posted some impressions for the series version (which is not much different from the movie) and having watched that, I was really curious about the movie mainly due to the plot.

First of all, the plot feels different, fresh and original. I have no knowledge about Rip Van Winkle so I can’t comment on whether this has any relation to that (the director may adapt his own tale).  This movie is worth watching, (not to say) enjoyable because it’s mostly grim, brooding, heavy and has a pretty complex plot, despite it looking simple on the outside, but I appreciate what it’s trying to tell.

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We follow the protagonist, Nanami, a demure and soft-spoken lady who teaches part-time as well as working in convenient stores. She also gives online lessons. Her marriage with a man she meets online is short-lived, her mother-in-law making things tougher for her. Nanami comes to know Amuro, who’s basically a handyman or a fixer, when she requests his service to find strangers to fill up her wedding reception (this service actually exists in Japan). She then gets embroiled in another issue when a man accuses her husband having an affair with his girl (you can read more that in the previous post which I’ve covered).

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The Cross [movie review]

Juujika (The Cross) is based on a novel. It’s about a teenage boy, Shunsuke, who is a bully victim in school and how his suicide affects the people around him for 20 years. In short, it’s a human drama that focuses on real life situations (bullying), friendship, agony, frustration, depression and forgiveness.

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Shunsuke is a normal teenager just going about his life like every other boy, except he’s constantly being bullied for no apparent reason by his own classmates. Trashing his locker, books, desks, torturing him in the toilet, forcing him to take off his clothes and shoving his face with porn mags are just among the daily treatments he gets. That scene when the bullies take his pants off is kinda hard to watch.

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Eigyou Buchou Kira Natsuko ep 1-2 [review]

** Get the subtitles here.

The only reason I’m giving this a shot is because of Matsushima Nanako and Matsuda Ryuhei. Nanako still looks elegant, she ages well. It’s nice to see Ryuhei in a non-quirky character and acting normal. As for the plot, it’s basically about Kira (Nanako) who takes maternity leave for 3 years after giving birth, returns to her company. She works as the creative director in an advertising company before motherhood. After returning, she gets kicked to business department.

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After 3 years of absence in the industry, she finds out quickly that it has changed so much and hard to catch up. Adding the fact that she’s now in charge of an entirely different department, she’s having a hard time juggling between family and work.

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Hajimemashite, Aishiteimasu ep 1-3 [review]

** Get the subtitles here.

When I first saw Ono Machiko and Eguchi Yosuke in the cast, I was looking forward to this drama. I like both of them and the kid is also from Mother Game, so more points given prior to watching. Upon watching however, it’s kinda disappointing. I hate to break it out to you folks who are fans of either actors/actresses, I just think it’s a letdown and a waste of their talents. I want to stress however, that both of them are actually good in their respective roles. It’s the screenplay that I have some issues with.

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Before I get into the nitty gritty part of the review, let’s go through what the show is about. Both Mina (Ono) and Shinji (Eguchi) are a couple who have no child of their own because Mina wants to aim for professional status as a pianist, which is unlikely at this point. Shinji is patient and accepts the condition. One day, a mysterious boy shows up at their backyard and couple more times after that. The same boy, the same house. They file a report and the boy is taken in by the authorities.

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Otoko Meshi ep 1-2 [review]

** Find the subtitles here.

Otoko Meshi is a 30 minute show where yakuza meets food. The drama opens with Yanagiba (Namase Katsuhisa), a yakuza leader and his underling, Hino Joji, eating what we would suspect as their last meal because there’s a solemn and serious tone while they finish their simple dish. Later, we see both of them engaged in a shootout with another gang.

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This is where Wakamizu (Emoto Tokio), a university student hunting for job, gets caught up with the whole shooting. While Wakamizu tries to escape, Yanagiba ends up saving his life and shot (though later revealed that he is wearing a bulletproof vest). The enemies manage to run away when the cops start arriving.

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Aogeba Toutoshi ep1-3 [review]

** Get the subtitles here.

It’s basically about a bunch of delinquents and a passionate teacher who stops at nothing to ‘tame’ them. While there’s nothing new with the premise of the show, I admit I enjoyed most of it. It’s a pretty good drama to binge watch. You don’t need to crack your brains. There’s enjoyable music and good acting (considering most of them are young actors). If you’re into high school brass band-related drama, you should give this a try. It reminds me of Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu (drama) and Hibike! Euphonium (anime) minus the delinquents.

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First of all, Akira Terao is a pleasure to watch. He plays a former saxophone player, Koichi, who quit because of an accident rendering him unable to play as good as before. Despite this patch of darkness in his life, he continues to love music and gives lessons to kids in his neighborhood. After observing his tenacity and patience, the headmaster of a Misaki High School decides to ask for his help.

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Ie Uru Onna ep1 [first impression]

Looking for a comedy this season?

This may just be the one!

To be honest, I had no idea Ie Uru Onna is going to be a comedy. Judging from the synopsis alone (I didn’t watch the trailer), I thought Kitagawa Keiko is a professional and elegant real estate agent with tricks up her sleeves to get her clients to buy houses.

Ie Uru Onna ep01 (848x480 x264).mp4_snapshot_03.08_[2016.07.16_00.00.01]

What I didn’t expect is an unforgiving and brutal Kitagawa Keiko who orders her colleagues around like minions. Put her in a military uniform and she’ll come off as a soldier. No, seriously, try and imagine that.

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