99.9 Criminal Lawyer Season II ep 1 [First Impression]

Yes, I’m back… Life. I’m probably not going to be as active as before, I used to go crazy with the posts. Now that work takes up a large portion of my time, I’d like to enjoy the time I have left during the weekends to catch up on shows and such. Hence, the hiatus from subbing and blogging. I’ve basically channeled all my ‘real-time’ impressions on Twitter because it’s just so much easier to immediately post my thoughts while watching. That being said, I might not be blogging for every single episode like I used to.

Onto the show!

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Season 2 is finally here and we get to see Miyama’s quirks again. It’s amusing to see Matsumoto Jun step into this character after a while and still nails it.

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It’s also nice to see that the original dynamic between him and Sada is still very much present, almost like no time lapse at all between Season I and II. Their bickering has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of the show and I’m glad they maintain it.

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The weird thing is, I usually get easily annoyed when there’s an insane amount of exaggeration or overacting in Jdramas (or any shows at all) BUT I’m actually okay with this. It’s probably the way they shoot the scenes by using quick and short sequences instead of prolonging it. The result is they don’t get too cringy for my taste.

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Miyama being a constant headache for Sada with no cure for it

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The team is still fun to watch

New Characters
As we all know, Nana Eikura is currently busy taking care of her child she has with Kaku Kento so somebody needs to fill in the missing heroine role. Kimura Fumino is brought into the cast as a former judge, Maiko Ozaki who has to join the firm because of a personal case. Well, more like she doesn’t want to break the heart of her friend whose father is being indicted for a murder he claims innocent.

So there has always been a rumor about an annoying lawyer who constantly caused ruckus and she thought those kind of lawyers are troublesome. Only to find out this Fukuyama guy is actually Miyama.

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She thought his name is pronounced Fukuyama instead of Miyama

I’m not exactly sure how naive her character is. Just because all the evidence points towards her friend’s father and nothing out of the ordinary to prove his innocence, she actually believed he’s guilty. That prompts her to think it’s better to go ahead with pleading guilty for a lighter sentence. We get a glimpse of this flashback scene so there might be something in the past that still haunts her. Plus, she mentioned not being in the law circle for quite a while after she quit being a judge.

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Obviously she’s not amused by Miyama’s stubbornness. Sada on the other hand is on the mission to find someone as a successor to fill in the empty seats because yet another lawyer quits due to Miyama. So he’s desperate for someone to cover the gaps and he can return to his civil law. He managed to make Maiko join out of her own guilt, but with one condition, just this case. (Obviously she’s gonna stay lolz)

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 Alongside Maiko, we also get a new paralegal, Mirei Nakatsuka to replace the previous character. I’ve a feeling the production team doesn’t want to waste all the boxing props Nana Eikura’s former character is a fan of, so they make Mirei a fellow fan of wrestling too xD

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They explained that Tachibana is currently studying abroad.

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As per usual, we get this reenactment scenes of the crime and despite her reluctance, Miyama made her join. I thought the part where she had to be hit by the toy hammer and died several times quite funny. Also the part where she had to act like the victim.

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After having the clues come in, Miyama solved the case.

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Headphone looks cool, anyone knows the brand?

So this thingy came out of nowhere…

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That bug phone case is huge as hell and notice the hair!

Overall First Impression

I enjoyed the pilot. It brings back good memories of Season I. The dynamic between the team members hasn’t changed much and still fun. The big question is how is Kimura Fumino faring? I know a large portion of the viewers who have watched Season I is going to compare between the two. I thought Tachibana is great in her own way, her pro-wrestling mania character really makes her memorable and adds to the comedy. But here, we have an entirely different character. Maiko is not Tachibana, obviously since they’re supposed to be different people so it’s hard to compare between the two, they have nothing much in common except the fact they get annoyed by Miyama which is basically the common link Miyama has with everyone lol

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Maiko may not be as fun to watch as Tachibana and that’s because she’s set up to be a more serious person without an obvious quirk (except for that brief hand thingy she did, I think we’ll see more of that soon). But that doesn’t mean her character’s not contributing to the cast. I think she brings a different atmosphere by having a troubled past which makes her the way she is. She’s also not that easily influenced by the reckless team and someone with her own mindset. There was a scene where she just walks off instead of joining the team to discuss the case. The way she argues with Sada also shows her own unyielding nature.

Plus this scene where Sada held out his hand which Miyama gladly but with a smirk accepts.

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And we see Maiko instead of shaking, apologizing instead.

Let’s see how her character grows and maybe by mixing around this energetic and boisterous team, she may break out of her shell and opens up.

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Next Episode

Looks like we’re going to dig an old case. Not just any old case. It’s Miyama’s father’s case. He was apparently indicted of murdering a young girl. He got a phone call from the victim’s sister who found something among the belongings. She thought it was Miyama’s father’s and asked him to take it away.

Miyama suspected someone else was at the crime scene and this could probably prove his father’s innocence…

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I was just thinking whether Aoki Munetaka would return and there he is in the preview!

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Till next episode!

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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]

You can get subtitles here.

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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