Manhattan Love Story

December 28, 2009

What’s this? WHAT’S THIS?! An actual DRAMA post on Jdrama + My Exciting Life? No! But yes. And how. Speaking of that, I really should change the name of this blog since there really are no more drama posts, but I feel like that’s bad luck. I’m not USUALLY superstitious… Anyway, the point here is that I finally found an amazing drama to watch. And it’s all thanks to my old buddies SARS. I really love those guys. They have excellent taste, good video quality and well-written subs. I got most of my drama torrents from them and I occasionally pop in on their website for old times sakes. Thank god I do, otherwise I would’ve complete missed out on one of the most charming dramas I’ve ever seen.

The only reason I downloaded it was because I saw it had been directed by Kudo Kankuro, who I remember fondly for having directed Ryuusei no Kizuna. But even Ryuusei no Kizuna wasn’t THAT fantastic, so I didn’t really have high expectations or anything. However, when I clicked open episode 1 just to see what the video quality was like (bad snobbish habit that I have), I just could not bring myself to close it. I was completely captured.

The show opens with a female cab driver who will become “A”, or Akabane  Nobuko, one of the main characters of the series. It shows her with various passengers all saying things like “Oh, you’re a woman”. Then one of her passengers leaves his phone in her car, and she arranges to meet him at a cafe called Manhattan to give it back.

This part is important, because from here on Manhattan and its owner, Tenchou, become the center of a show with a story that gets wilder and wilder as it parodies other dramas and itself more and more outrageously. And it works. Fantastically.

All Tenchou wants is for his customers to enjoy his coffee, which he takes very seriously. However, soon after he opened the store, a TV station built their office building right next to him. Soon his cafe was flooded with egotistical TV workers. And so the cast gathers. From here it’s hard to explain, you really just have to watch it. And I think, after the first episode, it would be pretty hard to stop.

So yes, this drama has my thorough backing and support. I think this type of show is really  rare and I’m very glad that SARS decided to bring it back for the English speakers because otherwise it would have continued to fade into obscurity – it’s already quite old, from 2003 I think. SARS, arigatou~

Oh right – my favorite thing about this show is that while Tenchou hardly ever talks, he keeps up an almost constant stream of consciousness going through his head. It’s really funny. And SARS also subs this amazingly, with a different color/font! I love you guys! This is turning into a love letter to SARS lol. Anyway, get it while you can! A recommendation from one of the most picky drama watchers out there.


An amazing thing has occured… I HAVE OFFICIALLY RETURNED TO DRAMAS!

August 18, 2009

… that’s right. Mwahahahaha. Now what prompted this strange, uncalled-for return? WHAT COULD IT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN, to make me, so world-weary of asian dramas, return?

Ladies and gentlemen, it is… KOREAN HANA YORI DANGO!

I swore I wouldn’t, and yet… it got me. And I’m dangerously close to switching camps now.

WHAT? I know, I know.  I thought I loved the Japanese Hana Yori Dango, but then I saw the Korean version. At first I scoffed at the promotional images because the almighty F4 were wearing BOW TIES, and because Domyouji’s hair was ridiculous. But I came to love Jun Pyo. How is it that the Kdrama is less sappy than the Jdrama? How?

boys-before-flowers1

Let me explain (argh I can’t believe I’m switching over, I’m a traitor to myself TT_TT).

Jan di. Is SO much more awesome than Tsukushi. Tsukushi is suppossed to be really kick ass, right? But she ends up seeming a bit whiny. Jan di ends up way less whiny. And I like her more. Now Jun pyo… III thought I loved MatsuJun, but you know, I think he just got less and less cool after the first season ended. Jun pyo has managed to win me over by not losing himself during the New York (Macau)/fiance arc – as of yet. I’m at episode 16 right now.I WAS rather sceptical of Ji hoo at first, because we all love Rui, right? But by around the 7th episode I got used to him. One thing I had always been puzzled by in the Jdrama was the fact that Tsukushi and Rui seem so awwwwwkward all the time. Not so in the Kdrama. You finally get to see their friendship. I haven’t read the manga, but either Korean is a better take on it, or it’s just better period.

Sighhh. So I finally admit to myself and the world that I’m a turncoat… my life…

Oh one thing I miss… I actually liked Yuki more in the Jdrama. But Ga Eul definitely has her good points too. I hope we get to see more of her and Soujiro (still not quite sure of his Korean name… Yi Jung?), I always felt like their relationship was not done justice to. Also… Jan di really did look a bit too old. But I’m used to it now.

AH!

I actually did look into another Jdrama…

ORTHROS NO INU

Orthros

…but… it sucked. =P I was like, ‘Okay, this is GOING to be good. Please.’ But then it wasn’t. It was cheesy, draggy, and badly executed. Plus, the woman who plays the main lead (she was Kiyora in Nodame)… I just realized this, but I REALLY dislike her acting. Sigh. Maybe Haken no Oscar will be good? I fear I’ve already watched all the good Jdramas. (LOL because I never did finish Kurosagi… why can’t I just finish it? I’m pretty sure I only have one episode left, I even downloaded it….)


Ryuusei no Kizuna FINALE + update at the bottom :)

March 4, 2009

Yes, I finally finished it! Ryuusei no Kizuna, the best jdrama out for a while now! I don’t think I’m gonna include any spoilers, but I might accidentally, so watch out… because I’m about to say what I thought of the end.

SO UNEXPECTED. I never even suspected at all. And neither did you. Don’t lie. Although I don’t watch a whole lot of murder mysteries, so I wasn’t really trying to solve it on my own. I just go with the flow.

So: yes, the actual series ending was very predictable, but the solution to the murder case was insane! I loved it.

Overall this series was QUITE random. It wavered between seemingly episodic swindling plots, weird humor, family drama, murder mystery, cooking… dang. I found it very pleasant on the whole, though. Maybe someone who’s brain is more normal than mine wouldn’t like it… (in case you haven’t heard yet, I. AM. VERY. BIASED.)

I’m also feeling lazy, so I’m gonna do this:

RATINGS (out of 10):

Unbiased – 8.5

Biased – 9.5

Kurosagi definitely should have been like this; with more of a plot behind the swindling arcs.Then maybe I would finish it D:

Update:

I have now finished the 2 main series I’ve been following for the past 2 months, so now it is time to start blogging new ones! Let’s see, right now I’m about halfway through InuYasha (manga), and I’ve watched the first season of the anime. Okay, I’m not gonna have much to say about InuYasha. Yes, I love it, but hello? There is no character development and it’s rather repetitive. I would like to say that I like the manga much better, but I like the anime music.

Since I’ve already downloaded it, most likely next time will be Michiko e Hatchin. I’m not really sure about this series yet, but I do plan on watching the episodes I’ve downloaded.

Lately what with all the Ranma and InuYasha, I’ve started missing Rurouni Kenshin… so I’m gonna read the manga and find out what REALLY happens in the plot. That third season of the anime was torture. Also planning to rewatch some of the anime if I have time, and the OVAs. I will most definitely blog the OVA’s (when I get around to them), but probably not the manga/anime. Although a comparison post could be amusing.

Unfortunately, I recently joined MyAnimeList (u/n: jeanniex). Which means my to-watch/read list basically just trippled. SO MUCH. And so I have a huge headache now. Oh, but what a lovely, lovely headache it is~ (secretly happy)

Anyway, my schedule is booked until the end of time now.


Temporary post to hold over till I’m not lazy~!

February 24, 2009

Wahh, I finished Saiunkoku Monogatari! I’m just writing this to remind myself that I have to write a season wrap-up post about SM, and also a super secret special rhyming prayer for a third season. I’m gonna wait to write up that post, because I want to finish Ryusei no Kizuna as well so I can write their respective posts at the same time. SARS has yet to upload the subbed finale~ I’m excited! I’ve enjoyed Ryusei no Kizuna a lot this season, even though I started it late and have been waiting patiently for only the SARS subs.

With these 2 series out of the way (sadly), I think I will watch … INU YASHA! I want to finish volume 36 of the manga (where the anime ends) before I finish the anime and I want to finish the anime before I finish the manga. So I think now would be a perfect time to start watching the anime, what with all this sudden extra watching-time I will have. Inu Yasha will be kind of a hassle to get since I’m so picky and refuse to watch dubs. Plus I’m lazy and have done enough searching for the subs online. So I’m planning on renting the DVDs from Netflix. Whoo! It’ll take awhile, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

I am on volume 20 of the manga already. Pretty soon I will surpass where I’d read up to before. I never even read half of it. This freaking series is twice as long as everything I’ve ever read before, except Ranma, which doesn’t count because it doesn’t have a plot to follow. And it’s still 18 volumes longer than Ranma! *Still in awe over how long it is, and wondering how freaking many plot twists and side-plots there are, anyways*

Also, today is Monday, which means, of course…. new Skip Beat! Yay, it looks like they’ll be continuing this through the Dark Moon story arc. My favorite. Unfortunately, this show seems to be trying to aim at younger kids as well, which explains the bad quality and the fact that some things were cut out. I hope they don’t cut TOO much out. Eheheh. Anyway episode 20 was very enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to episode 21!


Stand Up!! Reviews

January 6, 2009

Ahhh what am I going to say about this. I feel as though I should almost be embarrassed to write this, but I really, really enjoyed watching this drama. I have no idea why I started watching it, because if you read the summary it sounds like it’ll just be stupid sex jokes and a lame ending. While there were some stupid sex jokes, overall I think it was really more about friendship and the like… its quite innocent and cute, but at the same time its serious.

I’m really not sure what to write because I’m so biased towards this. Basically it made me laugh way too much. It reminded me of watching Gokusen during the summer, and I was so happy watching this because it made me forget how cold it is outside right now.

This was yet another series I started while waited for Ryusei no Kizuna; Nino actually might have been the reason I started watching it. But gosh, he’s super different! In Stand Up!! he’s pretty much a geeky kid, he looks so different in Ryusei no Kizuna. Actually its because of Nino that I watched Letters From Iwo Jima, you know the Clint Eastwood movie thats in Japanese? Tells the story from Japan’s point of view and its a companion movie to Flags of Our Fathers. I looked at the actors names on the back and I was like …blah de blah, war, Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya… wait… NINOMIYA? Why is he in a Hollywood movie?! So I watched it. I rarely watch war movies because unfortunately, they’re hardly original. It had its moments though. I liked the ending the best.

In conclusion (I’m back to Stand Up!! now); while others may ridicule or scoff at this, it will always make me laugh and remind that summer is never TOO far away.


And I’m Back! {To dramas}, an extremely long and varied post.

December 23, 2008

Many interesting things have I been doing lately, including Saiunkoku Monogatari, Romeo X Juliet, Ryusei no Kizuna, They Kiss Again and Hana Yori Dango. Plus some other stuff. Daaaamn. Haha. All in one day. Hey, theres 9 inches of snow on the ground, I’m sick, and I don’t have anything to do anyway.

In my last post I mentioned how terribly off track this blog has gotten, and really, it’s not going to get any more ‘on-track’, but at least I’m actually watching jdramas again. I feel like it’s too late to change the blogs’ name, but its kinda totally wrong. Ah well. I don’t really care. So, to work:

SAIUNKOKU MONOGATARI

(Story of Saiunkoku)

An enthusiastic friend burned the entire first season onto discs for me, which I never finished watching. So it was included in my goal of “Over winter break, FINISH KUROSAGI. And watch Saiunkoku Monogatari and Romeo X Juliet, since they’re already downloaded.” Anyway, I’m not finished watching it yet, so I guess I won’t give a full on review (I never do anyways. My thoughts are too disorganized and un-critical D:). But I must say, even though it’s not exceptional or anything, I enjoy Saiunkoku a lot. It must be my weakness for period plots.

I do love historic, fantasy, or futuristic worlds. Dystopias, of course, being the best. But back to Saiunkoku. It’s set in a fictional country that seems to be based on China 200+ years ago. Sorry I can’t tell you anything other than such a vague guess as to the time period, but I’m gonna say it really doesn’t matter.

Yes, I know that Shuurei’s hair is annoyingly impossible given the laws of gravity. I’ll just have to deal.

I’m just completely entertained by this series. The characters are pleasant and have personalities; the plot makes sense and holds my interest, barring the occasional side stories; the drawings are acceptable, with nice watercolor pictures of the Chinese-like city; the music is cute (by cute I mean historically accurate) and the theme songs are girly yet not insanely annoying. Lala, this series is so fun! (You know, I can enjoy pretty much anything. But I somehow manage to be picky still. I myself don’t even get it.)

I love the background stuff about the country’s history. I am just so entertained and happy. I can’t wait to see what the second season is like.

Moving on!

ROMEO X JULIET

Right now I’m just so happy in the anime department. I have Saiunkoku Monogatari to lightly entertain me, and I have Romeo X Juliet to give me a little tragedy and depth(ish). I love this, regardless of the flaws I’ve seen, which I will list right now to get them off my back. Its gonna seem like I hate this series, but trust me, I don’t. I’m just being harsh. Okay, so 1): Regarding the actual relationship between Romeo and Juliet. This is the whole basis of the title and much of the plot. So where is it?! How are they connected at all?! All they ever say to each other is… “R-Romeo!” and “…Juliet?!” and then they blush and somehow this adds up to a relationship?! Where’s the passion? 2): Actually, I don’t really have any other problems, so far.

So now to the positive aspects, which are many more!

The Plot. Well DUH. Of course the plot is fantastic, who wrote it again? Was it Shakespeare, one of the most famous people ever? The original plot is obviously gorgeous, but Romeo X Juliet’s plot adaption is extremely entertaining. Even though we all know how it’s going to end, RxJ manages to recapture your interest by making this be Romeo and Juliet in essence, at that same time completely and decidedly NOT being Romeo and Juliet, and yet still being Romeo and Juliet. You know what, don’t even make me try to put it into words, just go watch it.

The Characters. The set-up of the characters is a bit different, as the Montagues are in power, and the Capulets are subdued; rather than having them just be fighting like babies. Also, several different characters are introduced, and other characters don’t appear until later, aka Tybalt. I actually have no idea where that one is going. I’m only on episode 10 out of 24. So we’ll find out what the hell Tybalt is doing NOT being friends with Romeo eventually. Character development looked like it was going to be nada at first, but now I think Juliet is started to show a bit more of a personality. Can Romeo’s personality be saved? You’ll just have to watch it and see if the director turns out to be good after all. (Made by Gonzo, by the way)

The Setting. I love Neo Verona! I love the flying horses, and the fact that Romeo’s is adeptly named Cielo (Sky).

The Art and Character Designs. Ehhh what do I know about this..; All I can say is the characters’ faces don’t annoy me, +500 points! Juliet’s wig for when she’s “Odin” and a boy is incredibly annoying, but I can live with that. The CG and backgrounds are kinda cool and Scrapped Princess-like. I really like the designs for the Montague and Capulet coats of arms.

The Music …is the pleasant kind that you find yourself singing as you make dinner. And I must add that the Japanese version of “You Raise Me Up” is quite lovely and way better than the original, which I hated. The lyrics are better now, too. ;P The end song is kinda JRock-like, which is nice.

KYAAA I’m excited for the plot! I am SO willing to overlook short-comings for this anime!

Up next is…

RYUSEI NO KIZUNA

All right, so I was indeed quite put off by the Fall 2008 drama season. A lot. This was the only drama that got me interested, and it’s STILL taken me until December to start watching it. Thank god SARS picked this up, otherwise I might NEVER have watched it. (I love SARS. Thank you SO MUCH for Hana Kimi, HanaDan, Nodame Cantabile and like 5000 more!)

Ummm what can I say. I’m thinking this drama might pull a Kurosagi and turn episodic, thereby making me extremely sad and incapable of ever finishing it. (WHY IS IT that I just cannot get myself to finish watching Kurosagi? Why?). Of course, I hope it doesn’t. Even though there are some weird comic moments that are almost out of place, espcially with Ninomiya, who plays the oldest brother out of 3 siblings whose parents were murdered. Is Nino just completely un-funny? He seem so awkward in comedy scenes. I can’t tell if it’s his character, or if he just cannot act in comedies.

Anyway, kind of scattered plot but its holding my interest for now so I’ll keep downloading and follow it. There’ll be more later.

THEY KISS AGAIN – Episode 2

This is just going to be an awful rant about how unhappy I am about episode 2 of the sequel to ISWAK, the best TWdrama out there that I’ve ever heard of.

Okay, so to set things straight: YES I really enjoyed ISWAK, even though I think the cinematography was about as bad is it gets (I’m wrong there, in They Kiss Again its worse), the plot and characters were shallow (thats usual for a TWdrama though), and I was never sure whether Xiang Qin and Jiang-taitai’s crappy taste in EVERYTHING from plaster figurines to over-the-top lace to cutesy stuffed things was a joke or for real. (as far as I can tell from TKA, it’s real. OH the horror).

The sequel, They Kiss Again, is just so pointless, futile, predictable and torturous, that I can’t imagine how they even filmed it without unconsciously jumping out the window. What the hell is the point of making a show about life after marriage? Who wants to watch someones’ marriage fall apart, come back together, then watch them not trust each other, become suspicious, cry and whine about it? And if there was a point to making a show about life after marriage, it would be because the show is deep, and characters are profound and you actually comprehend how they can possibly think in the way that they do. Which does NOT describe TKA.  And then if its that bad, WHY make every episode 80 minutes long? It dragged on forever and ever. And half of that time was spent fawning over the Jiang’s new house which was decorated with more plaster figurines, kitschy family photographs, and way larger than life pictures of babies; in frilly pink lace and satin and way larger than life pictures of Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu kissing.

Whew. And if all that doesn’t tell you how disappointed I am, I have absolutely no idea what will.

Thank god for Hana Yori Dango! Even the melodrama of the final episode was enough to beat back the pain I experienced from watching They Kiss Again. That wrapped up my rewatching of Hana Yori Dango for the Holiday season. I’m considering rewatching Hana Yori Dango Returns as well, seeing as I remember like none of it. Guess what elseeeee? Hana Yori Dango Final was released on DVD on the 19th and soon SARS will be subbing away!!!!!!

Ahhhh that was long. But wait! There’s more!

After this sad and forlorn Fall season, I’m hoping for a little better in Winter 2009. So far what has me interested is Kami no Shizuku, with Kamenashi Kazuya – about wine, will probably try to be profound; and a slightly trashier-sounding but possibly better Mizushima Hiro drama, yes I know he tends to only be eye candy, but this could be funny: ‘Mei-chan no Shitsuji’, or Mei’s Butler. Hopefully they won’t disappoint.

And moving away from the television genre, we have a very intriguing French book called ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’. I would recommend it to anyone who is disillusioned with the modern world, and who is sophisticated, intelligent and interested in art, culture and philosophy. I’m really enjoying it.

And to wrap this extremely long post about many unrelated things, I have a couple more random statements:

1) I love the movie Ever After, best sappy period romance ever

2) One of these days I’ll write up my ramblings about Scrapped Princess, one of my favorite animes

3) Happy Holidays and thank god the days are finally getting longer again!


Devil Beside You SERIES REVIEW

December 5, 2008

I actually hate writing reviews so much. Because even though its fun, its really difficult for me to actually do a good job reviewing. Anyway, this is a summary of my experience watching Devil Beside You!

The Taiwanese drama is indeed based on a manga (again), Akuma de Sourou. Basically, a melodramatic controversial love story. Thats not actually controversial. They’re only brother and sister because their single parents are marrying each other! Did I miss out on some etiquette lesson? Because I don’t find that really gross. I guess its different in Taiwan.

Again, QUITE melodramatic. Classic and fairly predictable romance plot. Also, EXTREMEEEELy cheesy lines between Qi Yue (Rainie Yang) and Ahmon (Mike He). Seriously, really awful. I actually laughed out loud several times.

That being said, lets be a little more positive. Although I did keep wondering to myself, ‘Why the hell am I watching this?’ I must admit that if I hadn’t been enjoying it, I would not have kept watching. It’s probably because I hardly ever watch anything like this that I’m not sick of it already (I’m not counting ISWAK as “like this” because its simply fantastic). I also liked Qing Zi (Qi Yue’s friend), but I didn’t like her scenes with Yuan Yi. I basically just didn’t like Yuan Yi. What a weak character! Yue’s character was also a bit annnoying, and righteous yet complainy. She wasn’t that bad though. She was a little charming. Ahmon was hands-down the best, most developed character (ignoring the cheesy lines w/ Qi Yue).

I hate his booger jacket though. (I’m mature, i know, you dont have to tell me). His hair was also pretty funny. As was his weird smirk-smile-sneer expression. Yue’s expressions are also quite hilarious. Plus, I kept thinking she had a mustache! I don’t know why. I got distracted by it so many times.

They did do that annoying thing where they bring in recyclable characters. Like once Li Xiang was eliminated as a rival (oops. spoiler.), she had about 3 or less lines per episode. Same with Ahrang, and Meidi.

Another thing I could’ve lived without was some of the random filler-y things. I liked Li Xiang and Yang Ping’s little thing, but QiYue’s old tutor (sorry, forgot his name) and his friend-with-almost-benefits were kinda unnecessary. She was so demanding! It’s like she’ll stop loving him if he can’t guess what she wants? I felt bad for her at first, but then she had to go and do that stupid puzzle thing.

About the ending: I was happy with the plot ending (predictable), but I didn’t like the actual ending scene. It was a bit too… random?

All in all, I enjoyed it but I have absolutely no idea why. You might like it, or you might hate it. It depends on your mood and how long its been since you’ve seen something cheesy.

His hair is better like that^