Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fireworks / Uchiage hanabi, Shita kara miru ka? Yoko kara miru ka? review


I went into Fireworks with completely zero knowledge and expectations and the movie did not even meet any standards of competency for me. Here's five reasons why you should not watch Fireworks:

1. NO PATHOS

The story did not give me any reason at all to care for the characters. We are given a basic introduction into the characters, the main girl is dragged kicking and screaming by her mother who is remarrying because she doesn't want to relocate and then the main character starts the time travel cycle.

First off, when we normally get a groundhog day like story, you either need some dangerous event that needs changing, a relationship that needs saving or you just want to see someone do interesting things. Fireworks does none of these. The anime tells us that they two characters like each other but they don't even have a relationship prior to the time travelling.

2. VERY INCONSISTENT ART

For a freaking movie, I have no idea why many times the art looks completely awful.

3. EVERYTHING FEELS SO GENERIC

From the high school setting to the jokes, Fireworks feels like a poor copy of a copy of Koe no Katachi and Kimi no na wa. I've seen this so many times before and done so much better.

4. DOES NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TIME TRAVEL ELEMENT

Self explanatory.

5. NONSENSICAL AND NO ENDING

The movie keeps asking the audience whether a fireworks are round or flat and then proceeds to give us this weird musical scene and starts to get psychedelic for no reason while I was struggling to keep awake waiting for the story to do something interesting with the time travel stuff.

Finally, there's an artsy fartsy no freaking ending to the story. It probably makes sense to the writer and fans of Shaft, the crappy animators but they failed to make me care about the story to even try.

SUMMARY

I can't remember the last time I've seen such a poorly produced and executed anime movie that failed on every single front for me. Do not watch.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kahogo no Kahoko

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Kahogo no Kahoko is about a child-like university student who we never see study, who was raised by an overprotective mother played by Kuroki Hitomi and she basically spends the whole movie pulling cute faces.

I'VE ALREADY SEEN OKAASAN, MUSUME WO YAMETE II DESU KA SO WHY SHOULD I WATCH THIS?

First off this Kahogo no Kahoko is a comedy and its more of a shoujo anime style boy meets girl story mixed in with a family dorama.

STILL DOESN'T SOUND APPEALING

Probably my favourite part of Kahogo no Kahoko is how idiosyncratic all the characters are. For example, Kuroki Hitomi completely changes into a different person when she leaves the kindom's border and you've a sloth grandfather who keeps saying he'll do something tomorrow. What saves Kahogo no Kahoko is the chemistry between the two leads which is pretty good and the main guy starts off not as a boring nice guy but as someone who takes advantage of Kahoko's naivety. Plus I like how he always turns up doing some dodgy part time work.

WHAT ARE THE SHOW'S WEAKNESSES?

Kahoko, who is basically like an anime child never really learns what hardship is as the show turns into a family drama in the second half. The family stuff can get a bit draggy.

IS KAHOGO NO KAHOKO GOOD?

As a shoujo manga style jdorama about a kawaii girl who never grows up with a lot of family drama elements, Yukawa Kazuhiko (GTO, Koi ga Shitai, Oyaji) does a pretty good job. He's an expert at the family drama stuff with the classic Oyaji. So if you accept the parameters or limitations of the genre, he did a pretty good job and I managed to get right to the end and the bus stop scene was moving. Surprisingly watchable.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Gukoroku Traces of Sin review

Trace of Sin is a murder mystery movie that's more about hierarchy in today's society featuring an all star cast of Mitsushima Hikari, Tsumabuki Satoshi, Usuda Asami and Ichikawa Yui.

Mitsushima Hikari is in prison for child neglect and her brother Tsumabuki Satoshi starts looking into the murder of a family that happened one year ago.

The more Tsumabuki Satoshi finds out about the murdered parents, the more we discover this cruel world that makes up Japanese society.

This is Jmovies at its best; dark, uncomprimising and unafraid to make the viewer feel very uncomfortable.

I was gripped by every word, enjoyed every frame and performance. I would say Traces of Sin is 2017's The Snow White Murder Case.

The less I say about Trace of Sin the better. I got the raw from nyaa here and the subs from Avistaz. Must watch

Friday, September 29, 2017

Papakatsu review

WHAT IS PAPAKATSU ABOUT?

Papakatsu stands for papa katsudou (lifestyle). Its basically the new compensation dating. Rich old men paying university going women money to spend time with down. Iitoyo Marie plays a university student who gets into papakatsu after being kicked out of her home and runs into Watabe Atsuro who turns out to be her university lecturer.

WHAT'S SO GOOD ABOUT PAPAKATSU?

Nojima Shinji is one of the greatest jdorama writers ever but lately, he's output has been disappointing especially Our House. From episode one of Papakatsu, I could feel the difference in his writing. The conversations between Iitoyo Marie and her three friends were funny and could deliver the necessary information I needed while feeling very natural. And when he is on, no one writes monologues like Nojima Shinji. Suffice to say, I was paying attention to every freaking word and its been a while since I can say that dialogue in a jdorama feels like singing to me.

Everything else about Papakatsu is good. The acting, the directing and the music. Its a low budget jdorama that looks so much better than many high budget shows.

WHAT'S BAD ABOUT PAPAKATSU?

Nothing.

SHOULD I WATCH IT?

Yes, if you've got the Japanese for it or can read Chinese. Being a Nojima Shinji show the vocabulary is a bit more difficult than usual. You can get it from nyaa here although its missing episode 2 or stream from jplovetv here. While I can't give it a must watch, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Very watchable and definitely deserves to be English subbed.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ashita tatte, Himitsu wa Aru Episodes 1-3

The story about a son and mother who killed their abusive dad 8 years ago sounded interesting to me so I decided to check out the dorama. However, the more I watched the show about this who is this mystery person who knows about the crime, the more uneasy I felt.

That's because the mystery antagonist's actions start to become more and more prosposterous such as being able to dig out the body from the garden in the middle of the night without the main character or his mother noticing.

The final straw for me was when the the fiance's boss shared client information with the main character despite the fact that he was not even an employee of the firm.  Is there not such thing as client privacy in Japan?


It seems like the writer is making things happen for the sake of the everyone is a suspect mystery and everything feels like its going to collapse under the weight of logic. Maybe everything gets explained well in the end but I could not ignore my jdorama sense tingling. Dropping it straight away. Meh.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Border 2 Shokuzai is coming!!!!

After a lot of waiting and wondering why Oguri Shun would do crappy doramas and movies instead of doing the continuation of one of the best shows of 2014, Border 2 is finally coming end of this year!

I know I should keep my expectations low but I'm so excited! Not so excited about Haru. Its coming as a special dorama so I'm guessing its going to be tv movie? Get hyped! Need to find time to rewatch season 1. :)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dragon Quest XI : Sugisarishi toki wo motome PS4 review


I love old school turn based RPGs. Its such a niche genre nowadays because Japanese companies have mostly gone into making gatcha smartphone games that you mostly get low budget ones that rely on gimmicks to sell and when somone makes a good one with a proper story like I am Setsuna, it doesn't sell.

Now, I've never been a Dragon Quest fan. The only one I played was DQ8 on the 3DS and I really tried to like it and finish I but it bored the hell out of me. I was thinking of skipping DQ11 but in the end, I thought its the only big budget old school RPG I can play so I had no choice but to support the genre.

THINGS I LIKED

GRAPHICS - JRPGS used to be in the forefront of graphics and looking at pretty pictures and movies was part of the charm and FF11 is a sight to behold. There were some places where I would just stand still and pan the camera around enjoying the beautiful world before my eyes thinking if only SquareEnix would  lend the engine and give GameArts to do a Grandia remake on this.

OLD SCHOOL TURN BASED - DQ11 has the 'modern' auto attack system but you can switch to old school manual.

NOT EVERYONE IS A FIGHTER-HEALER-MAGE - Every character has their own tech tree upgrade path similar to the FF10 board system and bonus points for being able to reset your points. I love that every character is different with their own strengths and weaknesses because their own personal character class is what helps give each character their own personality.

REALLY FUN AND LIKABLE CHARACTERS - While the characters in DQ8 bored me, I really liked the personalities of the characters in DQ11 from the thief Kamyu to the twin sisters.

RIDING MONSTERS IS GOOD - I thought the ability to ride monsters would be too gimmicky but it brought a nice puzzle solving element to exploring levels to the flambouyant Sylvia.

THE BITTERSWEET STORIES OF THE FIRST ENDING - The emotional punch of the events leading up to the first ending was great.

THE CHARACTERS ARE SMARTER THAN THE ONES IN DQ8.

YOU CAN NEVER GET LOST IN THE GAME - There is always a summary of the story when loading your save game, the options screen tells you what your next objective is and places you have to go are marked on your world map.

THE INCREDIBLE FEELING WHEN YOU FINALLY GET TO FLY THROUGH THE WORLD MAP.

THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE

PACING, PADDING AND REPETITIVENESS - It took me 150 hours to finish the game. The story is divided into three parts, similar to Nier Automata and for each part you need to travel through the whole world again. Problem is a lot of it is unnecessary like the stupid trials before the true final boss.
   
 MUSIC - So generic and boring. Every world should have had their own individual music instead of using a generic score everytime you visit a castle or has something to do with royalty etc. JRPGs are about visiting exotic and memorable locations but the generic music makes everything blend in instead of giving each location a memorable tune. The less said about the boring running around the field music the better.

NO VOICE ACTING - Voice acting would have made the game 30% better.

THE FIRST ENDING WAS BETTER - The first ending after going through the world the second time and getting the first credits is so much better than the real ending. It was bittersweet, had pacing and I cared about revenge. The real ending is way too happy for me and just destroys the emotions of the first ending. Imagine if the real ending of Nier Automata was about sunflowers and rainbows. Ugh.

OVERALL

Dragon Quest XI could have joined the pantheon of all time great JRPGS like Grandia, FF6 and FF9 but the third part of the game ruined it for me. Great effort and must play for old school JRPG fans and I can't fault the effort. Fun game with faults.