Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shinozaki Ai 2003 Calender

I got this months ago along with the Mano Erina calender but never got around to posting about it. Now that 2013 is nearly here, I better get this over with. I'm not really familiar with Shinozaki Ai, only that she can actually sing better than everyone in AKB48.

The first time I actually heard about her was when Akiman, godly Street Fighter artist said she would make the perfect Chun Li and based on the picture below, if Chun Li looked like that everyone would just let her win the tournament.

Pretty boring calender. Looks so tacky and generic. Its as if the photographer is thinking with her physical gifts he can just shoot anything and she will look good. Disappointing. Should have gotten the Kurashina Kana calender.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hitori Shizuka ep 6

It has been a long while since a WOWOW dorama that did not end as well as it started. Well, not counting double face. Actually Shokuzai had a good last episode. Let me rephrase that, its been a while since a consistantly good WOWOW dorama. Even the great Marks no Yama dragged a bit at the end. Happy to say that episode 6 of Hitori Shizuka is beautiful in its simplicity and haunting in its beauty.


Hitori Shizuka is basically piecing together Shizuka through the eyes of others. We see her through other characters but she never exposes herself to the audience. The end of episode 5 is the closest that we see of an outburst from her. The fun part is figuring out her motivations. The murders and the all incidents are part of putting together this jigsaw puzzle that is Shizuka.

Shizuka was fathered by a violent yakuza who her mother left before Shizuka was born only for the mother to enter into another abusive relationship. Shizuka sees her mother attracted to the power of strong men and along with it the circle of abuse and vows not to be like her mother. After finally disposing of her mother's second abuser and getting away with it, Shizuka sets off to find herself.

Somehow she works her way to getting into her father's inner circle and sets off an event that leads her to killing her father. Revenge for Shizuka's mother or maybe Shizuka herself. Maybe revenge for ever being born. There is a sense there is no meaning to her life. Shizuka has seen the worst that people can be from a young age and she had planned to kill herself after committing patricide.

However, Shizuka stopped because of her stepsister. Something changed her mind. It could be that she didn't want to expose her stepsister to one more act of violence or perhaps it was her one redemption? Maybe by being with her sister, she could find purpose and meaning to her life. Is Shizuka doing it for love of her only relative who she feels kinship with? Is it to make sure her stepsister never comes like her? I think its just Shizuka find someone who needed her help just like her mother.

The only one complaint I have for episode 6 is that they should have spent a bit more money to make Kaho look older. During that scene with the stepsister on the swing talking to Shizuka, I got confused thinking is she really talking to Shizuka or a hallucination cause Shizuka still looks the same? I also got a bit lost when the time jump happened because one would expect an X number of years sign. Minor quibbles aside, Hitori Shizuka has been for me the best dorama of 2012. Still have to watch Makete Katsu. Went to my local Asian dvd store and their Makete Katsu does not have any subs. :(

Monday, December 24, 2012

Who is the best jdorama writer? Part 2

Continued for Part 1. I had fun looking stuff up for that post and I knew there would be writers that I would forget so here's the rest of the writers that were suggested in the comments section.


- Doctors
- Mayonaka no Ame / Midnight Rain
- Tadano Hitoshi
- Wonderful Life
- Change
- Galileo
- Hero

I like the first four on the list and don't really like the last 3 despite the fact that the last 3 are a lot more famous. Doctors was a really smartly written maverick doctor dorama that took all the cliches and made them fun by giving the main character a brain. I must have watched Mayonaka no Ame like 12 years ago but I remember it was a pretty good mystery thriller set in a hospital. I've written too many times about Tadano Hitoshi and Wonderful Life is decent.

12. KUDO KANKURO / 宮藤官九郎

- 11 Nin mo Iru!
- Ryusei no kizuna (Uuugggh)
- Tiger & Dragon (classic)
- Manhattan Love Story (classic) 
- Kisarazu Cat's Eye
- Welcome to the Quiet Room
- Shonen Merikensack
- Maiko Haan!!
- Zebraman (classic)
- Drugstore Girl
- Ping Pong

That is a crazy list with my favourites being the ones marked classic. Ryusei no kizuna however is not. Kudo Kankuro writes wacky stories with people running around doing stuff. Despite the fact that Kudo Kankuro has written two doramas and I movie I love, I would not put him on the pedestal of being the best because he doesn't do heavy drama.

13.  KURAMOTO SOU / 倉本聰

- Kaze no Garden
- Haikei, Chichiue-sama
- Yasashii Jikan
- Kawa itsuka umi E
- Kita no Kuni Kara
- Too many doramas and movies to list

I love Kita no Kuni Kara and Kaze no Garden is good. I know I've watched Kawa itsuka umi E but I can't remember anything. Don't think I've watched the two Nino doramas though.

14.  MIKI SATOSHI / 三木聡

- Atami no sousakan
- Jikou Keisatsu
- Instant Numa
- Tenten/Adrift in Tokyo 

Meh. I liked what he tried to do with Atami no sousakan but it just didn't click for me. I'm pretty sure I seen Tenten and I can't remember anything about it. Might have seen Instant Numa but not Jikou Keisatsu.


All writers have their quirks, styles and types of doramas they are good at. For me, I would look at 3 things:

1) Consistency
2) Ability to write various genres
3) Even when the casting/acting/directing is mediocre/crap, the script manages to elevate the dorama. eg Nojima Shinji for Gold and Bara no nai Hanaya.

I just can't pick an absolute favourite and I am sticking with my four way tie. Thought about Nojima Shinji cause he's got the longest list of must watch stuff but the other writers have written great doramas that Nojima Shinji doesn't normally do.

Yes, Suzuki sensei is based on a manga and I have no idea whether its a direct translation or loose adaptation but Furusato Ryota's track record shows he is a lot better writer than Hayashi Koji.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hitori Shizuka ep 5

OMFG. I had a tear in my eye after watching this episode. A tear of fucking joy at having seen such a beautiful, kick-ass episode. If you are not watching Hitori Shizuka, what are you watching jdoramas for? Lots of spoiler talk and screencaps here so stop reading if you haven't and get right to it!

This whole series has been pretty much asking who is Shizuka? We get all these interesting characters who get caught up in her web but we don't get to explore them much. Its pretty much what's Shizuka up to next and episode 5 finally shows us who the whole sequence of events got started and it is mind blowing good.

I love how it comes full circle. Actually since ep 5 is a flashback, how the past shapes the present. Shizuka already using her body to get men to do her bidding at a young age. You could say its a learned response from watching her mother. She has equal amount of love and hate for her mother. Shizuka despises her mother because she latches onto strong men who turn violent on her and Shizuka I think has learned to use men like that but toss them away. At the same time, she wants her mother to be happy.

Does Shizuka know that the yakuza dude is her father? This gives her original plan of killing herself after offing him a whole new meaning. Was it revenge for Shizuka's mother getting abused and losing her hearing or was patricide revenge for the life Shizuka was born into? Or was it as she asked at the end, Shizuka trying to find out who she is. Was killing her father the end game she wanted after running away?

We don't find out who Shizuka is in episode 5. We find out what made her. The ending scene was the first time we see her smile. She could finally say what she wanted to say and it was to the point. Shizuka was finally free of this violent cycle her mother had brought her into and her purpose was not making the same mistakes her mother made and get them out of that life. Now that they were free, she had no responsibility to her mom and could go find herself.

The acting and directing in this episode is just so good, not just from Kaho but also Noguchi-sensei and the mother. Thank the jdorama gods for WOWOW. If other channels made this, Shizuka's farewell speech to her parents won't be so succinct, cold and awesome. It would probably be Takei Emi blabbing on for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Who is the best jdorama writer?

Our candidates are.....

1) OZAKI MASAYA / 尾崎将也

- Shiroi Haru
- Tokumei Kakarichou Tadano Hitoshi series
- Satorare
- Love Generation
- At Home Dad

He wrote two of the greatest jdoramas ever in KDO and Love Generation. He also wrote the crybabies pretending to be tough dorama Rookies but I'll ignore that since its a manga adaptation. This guy can write anything.

Ozaki Masaya can write Nojima Shinji snappy dialogue in KDO, funny adult dorama like Tadano Hitoshi and my favourite 90s trendy dorama Love Generation. He doesn't have a signature style that I can see except he is very good.


- Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi
- Last Present
- Home Drama
- Algernon ni Hanataba wo
- Beach Boys
- Mada Koi Hajimaranai
- Iguana no Musume
- Ima Ai ni Yukimasu

Not bad nothing really stands out in terms of writing.

3. Kitagawa Eriko / 北川悦吏子

- Orange Days
- Beautiful Life
- One Million Stars fall from the Sky
- Long Vacation
- Aishiteru to itte kure
- Asunaro Hakusho

Probably the most famous writer due the her being responsible for big name trendy doramas. I love One Million Stars. However, she also wrote the abomination that was Tatta hitotsu no koi. To me, she is the least skilled in terms of writing and is just on the list because of her fame.

4. Nojima Shinji / 野島伸司

- Gold
- Love Shuffle
- Bara no nai Hanaya
- Aikurushii
- Pride
- Koukou Kyoushi 1993 and 2003
- Golden Bowl
- Hitotsu Yane no Shita 1+2
- 101 Proposals
- Kono yo no hate

 Look at that resume! This guy is god-like in his writing. Great snappy dialogue and he makes average doramas fun to watch.Nojima Shinji's has the most doramas which I consider must watch.

5. Sakamoto Yuji / 坂元裕二

- Soredemo Ikite Yuku
- Mother
- Chase
- Taiyo to Umi no Kyoushitsu
- Watashitachi no Kyoukashou
- Last Christmas
- Itoshi Kimi E
- Anata no Tonari Dareka Iru
- Tokyo Love Story

This guy is fucking good. Makete, Katsu should be must watch but I don't think anyone is subbing it. :( Ok, he did write Ryokiteki na Kanojo but let's forget about that.

6. Hashibe Atsuko / 橋部敦子

- Fumo Chitai
- Oishii Kankei
- Star no Koi
- Boku no Ikiru Michi
- Boku to Kanojo to Kanojo to Ikiru Michi
- Boku no Aruku Michi

Her doramas are more laid back and four of the above star Kusanagi Tsuyoshi. She's definitely the writer for his acting style. I love Oishii Kankei. Hashibe Atsuko definitely warrants some consideration. Love Oishii Kankei.

7. Kosawa Ryota / 古沢良太

- Always San Chome trilogy
- Kisaragi
- Gaiji Keisatsu + Movie
- Gonzo
- Aibo
- Suzuki Sensei + Movie

Fuck me. This guy is a genius. I can't wait for Gaiji Keisatsu and Suzuki Sensei movies!!!

8. Hayashi Koji / 林宏司

- Hagetaka + Movie
- Iryu 1-3

Unfortunately he also wrote Code Blue and Boss. Actually considering Hagetaka is based on a novel and Iryu is a manga, he shouldn't be on this list.

9. Aizawa Tomoko / 相沢友子

- Kagi no Kakatta Heya
- Guilty
- Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi
- Medaka
- Itsumo Futari De
- Koi no Chikara
- Yamato Nadeshiko

Not bad with Shikaotoko, Medaka and Yamato Nadeshiko. Certainly a solid writer and to think she started off as a singer!

10. Yukawa Kazuhiko / 遊川和彦

- Oyaji
- Majo no Jouken
- Koi Ga Shitai x3
- Jyoou no Kyoushitsu
- Enka no Joou
- Kaseifu no Mita

Can't believe this guy wrote doramas as different as GTO, Koi ga Shitai and Jyoou no Kyoushitsu. I respect him for trying something difficult with Enka no Joou but Kaseifu no Mita has some crappy writing. Probably if Mita did not have such crazy ratings I would just consider a minor blip.


I can't decide. 4 way tie between Ozaki Masaya, Nojima Shinji, Sakamoto Yuji and Furusawa Ryota.

If you've got any writers that deserve to be on the list, let me know!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tokumei Tantei 4-9

Great news, the first four episodes of Tokumei Tantei have been subbed. I gave the first three eps a must watch so what about the rest of the series. For me, I think it got a bit boring in the middle, especially compared with Tokumei Kakarichou Tadano Hitoshi. Part of the reason is maybe Ozaki Masaya (KDO,Shiroi Haru and Love Generation) is not involved in writing this. Its not nearly as fun.

I think the main reason is that it is a bit all over the place. You got a anime-like rich person house story, fake shaman story, touching woman who lost her memory story; stuff you can find in other doramas. Tadano Hitoshi had a central theme which was workplace/salaryman/company problems. Affairs, people leaking information, corporate blackmail etc, more adult type stories you don't usually see. I guess you could say that the middle episodes were pretty uneven in tone.

Its like why I always do all the sub missions in Yakuza/Ryu ga gotoku. There are not just beat the bad guys up missions. They are stories only available in the Yakuza world. Stories of hosts getting into trouble when their client can't pay, illegal Chinese immigrants hiding out in a secret town or girls spiking drinks.

Regardless, episodes 8+9 are a must watch for me. Episode 8 because its a great payoff. Tantei gets framed for a murder and the girls must band together and solve the mystery. It was fun watching the girls step into his shoes and stumble along. One of the easiest ways to make a dorama fun is just to give a supporting character his/her moment to shine in the end.  

Episode 9 is the best episode of the series. The story is about the idol group with 5 members which operates similarly to AKB48; fans have to buy cds to be able to vote for the favourite girl who becomes the centre. I love the remark by Tantei-san that its no different from a kyabakura. The girl who gets nominated the most and earns the most money becomes no.1. This is what I'm looking for, more adult stories and perspectives. AKB48 is basically an idol kyabakura.

They really went all out for the budget of episode 9. It must cost at least double the normal budget with the extra idol props and extras. Not to mention that it was double the amount of fanservice. :)

Sadly, I can't give the whole series a must watch with the series getting slow for me in the middle. I would consider half the episodes pretty good and the middle ones weak. The fan service pushes the series to a very watchable one for me. If you like the screencaps, you'll definitely enjoy it. If you like Tokumei Tantei then you'll love Tadano Hitoshi.I apologise for going a bit overzealous with screencaps.

Lol. I think Tantei-san needed to be a more snarky character like this.

Lol. Poor fella.