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Of some recommended shows

It seems that a lot of people who have just started, or are interested in starting, to watch Jdramas always approach me, asking, “What shows do you recommend?” When that happens, I usually have to wrack my brain for the thousands of hours I put in watching all these shows since my University days, to sieve out appropriate dramas, according to their preference of genres. Sometimes I look back on my blog and click the “Jdrama” filter, but not all that I love have been reviewed. So I will still turn back to DramaWiki, spend much time looking through and recalling the shows again. :\

So I decided to set up this post to remind myself of all the good shows I have watched (up till I started work in Ubisoft and found little time to watch).

DISCLAIMER: Firstly, I do not claim to watch all Jdramas. Secondly, I, like many people, have preferences in genres. (I love high school rom coms, drama, sports, crime, romance) I don’t watch period dramas. Thus, don’t take my list to be the comprehensive list of GOOD japanese shows to watch. Thirdly there are other good shows I have not watched yet, but I know are good. I will not include them in this list until I verify for myself that it’s good, and into which list they go into.

So basically, this post is for you, who is a “noob” at Japanese Dramas, but want to start somewhere. As an jdrama fan, I don’t want you to start out on a crappy jdrama (yes there are some crappy ones) and then throw out jdrama as a stupid fad of the 90s. But I hope you will enjoy these shows as much as I did, and spread the love of jdramas.

Crime and suspense:
- Galileo
- Bloody Monday
- Control ~ Hanzai Shinri Sousa
- BOSS
- BOSS 2
- Tokyo Dogs
- VOICES
- LIAR GAME (entire series)
- Ryusei no Kizuna
- Maou

High School:
- Hana Yori Dango (Japanese version please)
- Hanazakari no kimitachi e
- Gokusen 1,2
- Waterboys (First Season)
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Nobuta Wo Produce
- Nodame Cantabile
- MY BOSS MY HERO

Sports:
- WaterBoys (First Season)
- Buzzer Beat
- ROOKIES
- Engine

Medical

- JIN
- VOICES

Drama:

- Last Friends
- Orange Days
- Buzzer Beat
- First Love
- LIAR GAME (entire series)
- Ryusei no Kizuna
- Freeter, ie o Kau

Comedy:
- Hero
- Hana Kimi
- Hana Yori Dango
- Water Boys
- Great Teacher Onizuka

Romance:

- Tatta Hitotsu no Koi
- Hana Kimi
- Hana Yori Dango
- Densha Otoko

Others that I felt are good but should be watched only if you have the time:
Bambino!; Hungry!; Ninkyo Helper; Kami no Shizuku; Byakuyako; Innocent Love; Hotaru no Hikari; BECK; Mr. Brain

————-
Enjoy~

Of my to-watch list

Movies

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Nankyoku Tairiku
  • 28 Weeks Later
  • the Box Trolls
  • Django Unchained
  • Wolf of Wall Street
  • Hide and Seek
  • Soaked in Bleach
  • The Double
  • Donnie darko
  • The Machinist
  • The Box
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Spider
  • Enemy
  • Nightcrawler

TV Series

  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Nagareboshi
  • Marumo no Okite
  • Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku
  • Switch Girl
  • Byakuyakou
  • Strawberry Night
  • Mou Yuukai Nante Shinai
  • Long Vacation
  • DOCTORS Saikyou no Meii
  • DOCTORS Saikyou no Meii 3
  • Majo no Jōken
  • one litre of tears
  • Hanzawa Naoki
  • I’m home
  • Nobunaga Concerto

  • Kaseifu no Mita
  • Tsuki no Koibito
  • Yokai Ningen Bem
  • Lucky Seven
  • Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu
  • Kagi no Kakatta Heya
  • Runaway~Aisuru Kimi no Tame ni
  • S – Saigo no Keikan
  • Doctor X
  • Nobunaga Kyousoukyoku
  • Shitsuren Chocolatier
  • Juui Dolitte
  • Ouroboros
  • Mondai no Aru Restaurant
  • N no Tame Ni

  • Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de
  • Control ~ Hanzai Shinri Sousa
  • Utsukushii Rinjin
  • Soredemo, Ikite Yuku
  • future diary
  • flowers
  • Rich Man, Poor Girl
  • Saikyou no Rikkon
  • Last Cinderella
  • PRICELESS~Aru Wake Nedaro,n namon!~
  • Shinigami-kun
  • Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai
  • Ando Lloyd
  • BORDER
  • Code Blue
  • Code Blue 2
  • Date
  • House of Cards

Of Rookies, the manga!

I managed to get my hands on the manga of Rookies! Thank the dear Lord for colleagues who have similar interests! Well, I guess it’s really not that difficult to find that, in an arena of artists and boys who can’t get enough of comics. Alex, the storyboarder had the entire series, and really thank goodness! This is such an old manga series!

And might I say it’s SO inspiring and funny, that it makes me want to watch baseball. And beacuse the storyline for the manga is so awesome, I’m going to rewatch the series Rookies again. Oh no!

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Of Mukai Osamu Fangirling

Mukai Osamu
Born 7 feb 1982, one of the cutest guys in the last generations of actors in the ripe age of 22-29. Seriously I think that the actors nowadays, the cuter and manlier ones that escaped the label of effeminate are within this age range. Other guys in this age range that I rave about include Johnny’s Junior’s Ikuta Toma, Arashi’s Matsumoto Jun, Kat-tun’s Akanishi Jin and Kazuya Kamenashi, Mizushima Hiro, Ichihara Hayato, Oguri Shun…

Now to add on and to just fangirl about Mukai.. Oh man he’s just so cute. Totally. Now he’s acting in Hotaru No Hikari Season 2. Previously seen in Nodame Cantabile, Atashinchi no Danshi, and Mei-chan no Shitsuji, he’s the current new love interest of the main female lead. And no wonder! He’s just. *sigh*

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Beck the movie, going to be screened in Japan in September. Augh. Visual feast with the Ikemen (Handsome boys)! Mizushima Hiro, Satou Takeru as well.

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He’s just got a super cute smile. I have this thing with cute guys with very nice smiles. Really. The eyes are the first thing but the smile just kills me. Looook.

Category: Jdrama, Rants, Shows  One Comment

Of Real (vs Fake) Clothes

Real Clothes

Rozz (from the Shan and Rozz show on 98.7fm) put it simply. Girls dress up to compete with other girls. I completely agree.

In this show, Real Clothes is not referring to the fact that most of the clothes are branded stuff and not imitation goods. But the fact that the customers and characters in the show make the clothes their own to reflect their character. I think it is pretty true that people dress to reveal their character and their tastes in life.

But towards the end, I got a little affected by the show’s constant bombardment of consumerism. Slowly I felt like I was dressing up each day to go to school. In a way it built up my confidence as a girl.

But why do clothes affect you so! Gosh darn it.

ANYWAY.

Back to the show. It’s an ugly duckling kind of story. That’s all there is to it. Her character is pretty but her dress sense not. So she learns life and love through the clothing/design world. It’s quite a nice show, but beware the inundation of superficiality.

Rating: 3.5/5
Storyline is so-so. Clothes are inspiring though.

Of shuffling your lovers…

love-shuffle-banner

I find writing this article very very difficult. I guess it’s because while I enjoyed the show, I do not really agree with the methods and it’s philosophy. Well, after 4 drafts and 2 days…

Love Shuffle. 4 couples who are dissatisfied with their relationships, take part in an experiment to try partnering each other’s partner, to test the strength of their relationship, or to find what they want in true love.

Usami Kei (Tamaki Hiroshi) is a section director of a company, and his fiance has just postponed the wedding. Upon returning to his apartment block, there are three others in the lift. The four, are tenants of the penthouse apartments. On the way up, the lift stalls, and the four of them introduce each other and discuss their relationship problems with each other to pass the time. The psychologist suggests a social experiment in which the four of them swap partners to find what they want in love, and in relationships. They call it Love shuffle.

Usami, is extremely against it, obviously, because he thinks that his sweetheart and himself are meant for each other, but his fiance, Mai, wants to give it a try to get a break from Usami.

The others from the penthouse apartments are:
Sera Ojiro (Matsuda Shota) – A photographer, specialising in women’s photography. Partner – Reiko, a married woman who has hidden agenda coming into the love shuffle.
Aizawa Airu (Karina) – A translator. Partner – a boyfriend who’s bordering stalker status
Kikuta Masato – A Psychologist who has a hidden secret. Partner – Kairi, a suicidal 19-year-old artist.

For three weeks, they date the others. In the process, the four penthouse occupants grow closer and build a friendship to understand life, relationships, and human interactions better.

Ok let’s go on to rant about the bits that I don’t like. Firstly, I do not advocate shuffling partners at all. Personally, this is probably because I would never want to let my boyfriend go out with another girl. I wonder how they can all tahan it if they were seriously dating. Maybe they are all right with it since they want something out of this love shuffle other than a relationship. Only Usami seemed the most normal, hoping that this would strengthen his relationship. The others, are like nonchalant about their relationships, so I guess that’s why they seem not to care about taking part in the social experiment as well.

But I like it, because it is nice to see that these characters, however flawed they are, or how evil, or morally wrong they may seem, there is another side to them that makes you empathise with them.

It’s a funny show as well. It’s a comedy, after all. But it’s a journey of finding themselves, so that is nice. As for story wise.. Well, it’s not very story driven. No twists here and there. There was a few attempts for a twist but they were really predictable.

Acting-wise, the cast works really nicely as well. No problems there.

I think the main draw is definitely the character interaction. Because the characters are all so different, it’s fun to see how the different pairings will turn out.

Rating: 3.5/5
Not too bad. It’s funny. That saved the show.

Of dying once

Everyone has to die once. Disappear from the world. See that the world goes on without you. But is there someone who hurts when you go? Would there be someone who cries for you? Would they feel like there’s a hole in themselves without you?

If there isn’t.. Maybe.. you aren’t living the right way or doing the right things. Be reborn and start again.

– Love Shuffle.

I’ve experienced it. I know you have too. I dun want to go through that again.

Of Wine, Anybody?

kaminoshizuku

Kami no Shizuku. Bear with me for another review on yet another drama that casts Kamenashi Kazuya. I’m not a huge fan of him, but it just so happens I like to watch shows based on casts. ha.

Anyway, I originally wasn’t too keen on catching this series, because it’s about wine. I’m no drinker of wine, so I thought I wouldn’t appreciate it. Moreover, the overall viewership percentage for the show is really really low (less than 10%) so I was convinced it was probably a bad show. However, this series almost had a clean sweep of the Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix awards, so I thought, why not?

And I wasn’t disappointed at all. It is a serious drama, so those expecting comedy, can just close this and move on to others. It’s not a romance either, but it’s about wine and the meaning of life. I can safely say that not a lot of people will like this show because it’s quite boring.

Kanzaki Yutaka is a celebrated wine critic that passed away, and leaves behind a wine collection worth $2b. Kanzaki Shizuku and Tomine Issei are two sons competing in a test of their wine abilities to earn the inheritance. Each episode starts of with criticisms about wine and the feeling one gets from the wine. Basically, the characters have to use the descriptions of the wines mentioned, and find the wine and vintage to solve the puzzle. Throughout the 9 episodes, they realise that Yutaka is leaving behind a hidden message behind the wines that relates to life’s journey, and his true feelings towards the two of them .

It’s quite technical and sian if you can’t be bothered to sit through 9 episodes of CSI:Wine. I like it partly because you get to learn that you shouldn’t just gulp down wine without truly savoring the taste of the wine. It also tells you that each vintage is also different, so you shouldn’t just anyhow drink it without appreciating the hard work put in that year.

It doesn’t just apply to wine. I think it also applies to whatever you do/eat/drink. Quality of life comes from that, enjoying the little things in life and enjoying the food. The fact that the characters also think about who they eat with is important, is probably why I like it too. This is also something that we should all really appreciate when we are with the person we love.

Most of all, this show tells you to groom your abilities to the best. In the beginning, Kanzaki Shizuku was so adamant about not drinking wine nor touching it at all, because of a stupid grudge he held against his father. But his inert ability to distinguish wines could not be expressed until he started to love wine solely because of wine.

A semi-feel good show, and a great series. However, I would only recommend to those who are willing to sit through not tasting the wine yourself, or following closely with all the French terms.

Rating: 4/5
Worth watching!

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Of being the perfect girl?

the Show is Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

yamatonadeshiko

Hmm. 4 Handsome guys in a boarding house, with a girl disillusioned by rejection, you have another ridiculous high school rom com. Only, the premise of the whole situation is quite silly. Sunako was rejected by a guy in her early teens, being told that she was ugly. Hurt, she turns into a recluse who hates brightness (and “bright” or beautiful creatures/people). The owner of the boarding house is her aunt, and out of the concern to make Sunako into a lady, she tells the four boys to turn Sunako into a lady in return for free rental. Although reluctant, they all try to do so, mainly Takano who is absolutely broke. Needless to say he will probably fall for Sunako the way she is (Horrors).

Why horrors? Sunako basically is quite occult. She likes skulls, darkness, sleeps in a coffin, decks her room with candles and watches horror films to calm herself down. She also wears a cape. Why!?!?

No doubt, the ridiculousness of this situation is created by the Manga, therefore it’s a bit out of this world to have a girl drastically change due to such a simple remark on her looks. And it’s also stupid to have her have super strength and the ability to control darkness.

Oh ya. The opening sequence is stupid also. They all dance to the opening theme song? I dun think it fits the feel of the rom com at all. The song tries to act all cool, and the four guys are like hosts, while she is dressed in a cape and hovering. It’s so… cheesy beyond cheesy.

The only thing that I find is nice out of this story so far is that the ultimate message is that beauty should not be skin deep, but encompasses many aspects. For example, one’s character. One can be ugly by having an “ugly” characteristic of being selfish.

Otherwise, the story’s quite bland and predictable. Even the funny bits are… blah. Nothing really interesting or worth seeing. Perhaps the kakkoii-ness of Kamenashi Kazuya (of KAT-TUN).

Rating: 3/5
Give it a miss unless you’re damn bored.

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Of Just One Love

Tatta Hitotsu no Koi, or “Just One Love”. A love at 20 years old.
tatta_hitotsu_no_koi

It’s a love story so beautifully told and tragic, that I cried so many times when I watched it. Sometimes you just know that there is only that one person for you, and against all odds you’d fight for it. And even after separation, your heart just tells you there is no one else but him/her for you.

I totally understand.

Anata wa watashi no tatta hitotsu no koi.

Watch it. It’s so pure and innocent, and a tale so sweet you’d feel for the characters.

Rating: 4/5

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