Unnatural [review]

Unnatural is a pretty good drama to binge-watch. It’s filled with likeable characters, none of whom really pisses me off, not even the sly wicked reporter. I’m not sure if there’s Season 2 in the plan, but I’d definitely look forward to it.

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anone [review]

You can get subtitles here.

anone is about strangers meeting and start building some sort of unconventional relationship. This reminds me of other Yuji Sakamoto works such as Mondai no Aru Restaurant (which is really good) or the more recent Quartet. Both have several characters who come together (each with their own motive or by coincidence) and start living together under one roof. Personally, I think that’s one of Sakamoto’s strengths, giving each character their own life story, sprinkled with random but also familiar script such as arguing about whether a certain food is nicer with/without certain ingredient and whatnot.

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BG: Personal Bodyguard [review]

You can get subtitles here.

BG is packed with quite a lot of good looking men. Alright, that’s probably one of the main reasons of checking this out, aside from Kimutaku. But I’ve always liked Yosuke Eguchi and even Saito Takumi (though I don’t really like his affair-related dramas lol).

I have reservations towards the show upon checking out the first few episodes, I won’t lie. I’m quite disappointed with the direction and plot. At some point, I thought of dropping and I stopped around episode 4, only managed to pick it up again now. It’s not exactly all bad, but unfortunately, it’s not something memorable or outstanding.

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Ishi no Mayu/ Stone’s Cocoon [WOWOW drama preview]

Ishi no Mayu is WOWOW’s upcoming drama on August 16th starring Kimura Fumino as lead.

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Aside from Fumino, most of the other cast is male so I find this a very nice contrast with her previous drama, Mother Game, which is a female-centered drama. Now it’s male-dominated. Aoki Munetaka, Nakamura Toyu,  Koyanagi Yu, Furukawa Yuki, Hiro Takehiro, and Watanabe Ikei joined the cast.

6-tileWOWOW released a preview and it’s really short. However the 15 sec preview looks pretty awesome already. It’s everything I imagined or rather, expected from WOWOW – dark, suspenseful and slightly spooky?

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According to Fumino, when asked about her impression on her role, Toko Kisaragi, she described her as a very ‘mottainai hito’ = wasted person. Toko is actually talented but being unable to realize that herself, she suffered loss. However, exactly because of the loss she had been through, the case becomes ‘only something she can do’. So she begins to gain more confidence while working on the case, in which she’s the negotiator with the criminal.

I’m basically hoping to see a few things in this drama. Firstly, Toko Kisaragi needs to shine. Being the lead, she has the responsibility to lead the show and audience need to empathize with her. That being said, I hope they don’t screw her character up. Since I didn’t read the novel which this drama is based upon (I tried looking for it at Kinokuniya but it’s not there, maybe it will be once the drama’s out, for promotion obviously but I don’t think I can read it with my level atm lol). Anyways, based on what she described about the character, I’m imagining Toko is somewhat a plain, normal cop who doesn’t really stand out and  not confident of herself to carry the duty. But when she becomes the negotiator for this particular case, it shall bring forth character growth so I’m mostly looking forward to see how she evolves throughout the case.

Secondly, the criminal is said to provoke the police during his conversations with them so I hope the exchange, in particular between Toko and the criminal to be intense and suspenseful. Hopefully the screenwriter can do this part well enough to keep us viewers at the edge of our seats.

Lastly, the chemistry between the cast would be a nice piece of observation. Especially between Toko and (I think) her partner who will be played by Aoki Munetaka.

Basically, I’m having my hopes up because it’s WOWOW production. But I also know it’s better to go in with lower expectation first to avoid being disappointed later lol…

Can’t wait!
(Obviously, I will be covering this drama when it’s out XD)

Watch the preview at the official Ishi no Mayu site.
Alternate link.

Spring 2015 – what to look out for in this brand new season?

Winter has ended and as the sakura blooms everywhere in Japan, we’re also getting ready for a new wave of Jdramas to hit the screens. This list will not be complete but rather what I feel might be interesting enough to try.

April 8th.
Kokoro ga Pokkito ne (Fujiki Naohito, Abe Sadao, Kiko Mizuhara)
Expectation: Mediocre
CBpUoZHUMAAJBQx.jpg largeThis fell under my radar, I’ll give my first impression soon. I kinda miss watching Fujiki Naohito so having him back is nice. Not a fan of Kiko Mizuhara but maybe this will convince me she’s more than just a model getting pushes here and there.

April 9th.
Ishitachi no Renai (Takumi Sato, Yuriko Ishida, Aibu Saki)
Expectation: Mediocre

Ishitachi_no_Renai_Jijou-p1Takumi Sato gets his first lead role, he’s alright imo but has yet to really impress me. I’ve seen him in a bunch of dramas. Nothing much stood out before. Hopefully with this lead role, he gets to shine. The other reason why I’m actually giving this a try if because of Aibu Saki. Too bad she’s not playing lead, she’s just a supporting character. But she’ll act as a mother in this so this is something new. I’m not really into the plot of Takumi falling in love with an older woman but yeah, giving this the benefit of doubt. Read the synopsis here

Friday, April 10th, we’ll be graced with the first episodes of Tenshi to Akuma and Flower.

Tenshi to Akuma (Watabe Atsuro, Gouriki Ayame)
Expectation: Moderately High

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Basically, this is a mystery and suspense drama so I’m pretty much on board. I love this kind of genre. Having Watabe Atsuro and Gouriki Ayame is like a win-win situation for me too.

Flowers for Algernon (Yamashita Tomohisa)
Expectation: Mediocre

CBpVA96UsAAOnpx.jpg largeTo be honest, I’m not a fan of Yamapi and has never been impressed by his acting. I always thought he has stone face and just kinda boring to watch. But I will still give this a try because he’s going to play a retarded genius. I believe this role is not easy and should be able to pose some challenge for him so if he’s able to convince audience like me he can do some serious acting, then this might just be a breakthrough for him.

April 15th
Dr. Rintaro (Sakai Masato, Aoi Yu, Kichise Michiko)
Expectation: Very High

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Sakai Masato is back! Get hyped! He’s such a versatile actor and i’m pretty convinced he’ll rock this role, even if he’s acting as a gentle and kind doctor (instead of the sarcastic lawyer he was in Legal High). Also, we have Aoi Yu! She’s going to play a geisha. Not sure but I think there might some romance between them? Definitely in my MUST WATCH.

April 16th.
I’m Home (Kimura Takuya, Aya Ueto)
Expectation: Moderately high
Home_zpsrqaqtjudKimura Takuya as a stock holder who lost his memories. He doesn’t recognize his current wife (Aya Ueto) and 4 year-old kid. I’m not sure if Aya Ueto will be wearing a mask in the drama, but this sounds quite interesting. I will try this.

Yamegoku ~Yakuza Yamete Itadakimasu (Oshima Yuko, Kitamura Kazuki)
Expectation: Mediocre
CBpTc71UsAAt8Us.jpg largeSo Oshima Yuko lands her first lead role in this drama. She’s going to be a cop and we are to expect some action scenes from her. I thought she’ll be a yakuza and it reminded me of Majisuka Gakuen. Anyways, I’m happy to see Kitamura joining the cast.
Well, that’s all for now. Nothing really jumps out at me actually, except maybe Dr. Rintaro. I have quite high expectation for that.

Mondai no Aru Restaurant ep 2-3 [review]

I really love how Mondai no Restaurant has developed from a chaotic first episode to a more controlled structure in epsode 3, probably by far, my favourite episode. There were too many things happening in the pilot that I couldn’t take the time to really appreciate most of the characters but once they get down in a slower pace for that in the ensuing episodes, it reminded me of the mastermind behind this story, Sakamoto Yuji. He has a knack for fleshing out the characters in the most surreal manner that you just end up sympathizing for them. I know they did the same for Tamako’s friend who was forced to go through that ‘nude punishment’ but it was all a bit too rushed and sudden so I ended up not feeling for her as much. The worst part is she didn’t end up being one of the comrades for Tamako’s restaurant so she felt like a filler.

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 In episode 2, they took the opportunity to develop one of Tamako’s best friends, Kyoko by giving us her background and from there, we got to know about her family problems. She’s separated from her husband and he’s trying to fight for their son’s custody. Having no job and her prospect looking bleak, she has no chance of winning her son if they were to go to court. It didn’t help either that she was looking down at herself and thought there was no way for her to do anything better than being a hopeless housewife.

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The scene where Tamako confronted Kyoko’s husband was well-done. In fact, I think I’ve begun to appreciate people who are housewives now. Like I’ve mentioned, in the typical Sakamoto Yuji style, script is superior and it shows in this drama. Pay attention to the lines an you’ll find a lot of amusing stuffs as well as references in them, which are quite obvious in episode 3.

Does it help that their restaurant’s name is bistro fou which literally means ‘crazy bistro’? LOL

Mondai no Aru Restaurant ep03 (848x480 x264) v2.mp4_snapshot_05.54_[2015.02.08_21.49.52]In episode 3, Chika, the Chef who hates human (despite her being one), had the chance to shine, much to my delight. She’s one of my favorite characters in this drama and rightfully so. Mondai no Aru Restaurant ep03 (848x480 x264) v2.mp4_snapshot_14.45_[2015.02.08_22.02.54]Her lines are funny especially the ones where she told them “Cooking is a pain. People are a pain. Everyday’s a pain. The Earth is a pain.” Then Haiji countered by saying, “If you think Earth is a pain, then you’ll have to go to space.”

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Chika holds eternal grudge against her father, who was Tamako’s boss and also the one who owns the opposite restaurant, their competitor. I love how they managed to show to us Chika’s love for her mother despite her leaving her when she was little. The confrontation between her, the mother and father was an eye-opener. I really thought Chika was the hikikomori at first because that was what her father thought initially until her mother explained the truth. She was the one who kept herself shut in their house and Chika had to take care of her, in the process, she also had to stay in the house all the time in fear of her mother doing anything silly.

Mondai no Aru Restaurant ep03 (848x480 x264) v2.mp4_snapshot_32.00_[2015.02.08_22.03.58]Chika’s reaction when she found out that her mother has decided to remarry and is carrying a child was touching. Kudos to Matsuoka Mayu for being able to carry out that genuine unconditional love and ‘I’m happy for you, Mom’ facial expression, yet there was this bittersweet emotion in her heart. Poor girl really thought for a second that she’d be able to live together with her beloved mother again.

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The short but brutal? confrontation with proud Todai girl, Nitta was an eye-opener by comparing her with Chika’s friend at the internet cafe. I know Todai’s students are always looked up upon in Japan and most of them probably think very highly of themselves coming from a prestigious university but Nitta is a prime example of when one begins to crumble when in face of crisis, no matter where you come from. Chika’s words hit bulls eye and I really would’ve clapped but seeing how Nitta finally realized the truth and retreated in shame, I felt sorry for her.

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This show is doing well and exceeded my expectation for now. I didn’t quite like the first episode but it seems to have improved since. I have a bad feeling the male counterparts will suffer though in terms of development because they’ve been one-dimensional so far.

Mondai no Aru Restaurant ep02 (848x480 x264).mp4_snapshot_07.01_[2015.02.08_21.39.38]Just an extra bit because I really like Haiji’s character. He really carries out the gay who likes cross-dressing very well that I can’t help but beam whenever he appears because everything he does is just great, maybe even more so than Tamako lol.