Sunday, May 20, 2018

Four things I do not like about Signal - Choki Mikaiketsu Jiken Sosahan

1) A lot of times it feels like the profiler detective is skipping a step or two when he comes to conclusions ie A leads to B but he always makes a leap of faith and jumps straight to D.

2) Signal tries way too hard to be exciting.

I'm watching the the scene where the nurse has less than an hour until the statute of limitations and the music is trying to bring some excitement but there is no way she would admit to the crime before midnight. The whole reason she was there was to fuck around with the cops and her mistake was that in her excitement she never considered they would find evidence to link her to the second murder. If cops had somehow made the nurse confess, I would have deleted Signal straight away.

3) Signal tries too hard to be touching.

Cop in present finds out identity of killer contacts cop in past and when they finally get in contact, instead of 'Hey, the killer is so and so', we get an extended sob scene which just smothered the sense of urgency.


4) Too many things don't make sense.

Like this scene where everyone knew that Tanaka Shuichi could not have committed the crimes because he was driving the freaking bus. This just feels like script where the writer wants to go to certain situations but hasn't thought things through.

 
SUMMARY

In terms of Japanese cop shows, its not as bad as Crisis and Ouroboros and the solving crimes in the past and present is interesting but I really can't take much more of this. Only watchable if you put it in the background while doing some housework, otherwise meh. Damn shame cause I like Kitamura Kazuki. If you want to see how thrillers should be done, watch Yami no Bansosha.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Repeat jdorama review

I am a fan of Kanjiya Shihori. She's been playing supporting roles since the days of H2 and Swing Girls but there's no denying she has talent and I always look forward to seeing her in starring roles. Recently she's been in Yoshiwara Ura Doshin which I liked and Mother Game which was horrible but its been a while since I've seen her in anything.

Now Kanjiya Shihori's got the starring role all to herself as the main character of the time travel jdorama, Repeat. I think the easiest way to describe repeat is that its a time travelling drama which seems like it was written for Fukada Kyoko because all the main female lead has to do is look sad and cute and Kanjiya does a better job IMHO.

Besides Kanjiya Shihori, there isn't a lot going for Repeat. Instead of being an intriguing time travel story, its more of a survival game story where each revelation just elicits a meh from me including the annoying crazy annoying ex-girlfriend.

Speaking of annoying ex-gf, the above character not only maliciously injures Kanjiya's character but also lies, stalks and tries to murder her before getting killed in self defence and somehow the stupid main characters feel sorry for causing crazy ex's death. This is probably when Repeat really lost me. I can't stand characters who are too 'good' to the point of stupidity.

Thinking back, its a wonder I managed to watch most of Repeat when its just a badly acted soap opera clumsily half dressed up in time travel clothes. Some of the acting from guest 'actors' is so bad that its obvious they (or their relatives) are responsible for most of the budget. I never thought anyone could act worse than Fukada Kyoko but Repeat's guest 'actors' have proven me wrong.

I guess there must be an element of this is so bad I its entertaining to Repeat but I cannot recommend me except to Kanjiya Shihori fans like myself. Plus the ending totally sucks. Meh.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Innocent Days Episodes 1+2

We just had the wonderful Hokuto last year about a person who has had a horrible life commit an unforgivable crime. WOWOW is doing the same type of story again with Innocent Days with an incredible cast of big names led by Takeuchi Yuko and Tsumabuki Satoshi with the added part of childhood friends getting together to help a friend on death row.

Unfortunately, episode 1 was really bad for me. The editing and pacing just felt off and confusing with the flashbacks. Episode 2 is better with yet another person from Takeuchi Yuko's past causing her some grief.


My biggest problem with Innocent Days is the lack of pathos I am feeling for Takeuchi Yuko's (and Tsumabuki Satoshi's) character. Showing me this character had experienced certain hardships is not enough. I need to be able to see these events from the character's perspective, which is something Innocent Days lacks. That childhood hill explorer's group seems so underdeveloped and should have been a bigger part of the story because I don't buy this bond between the characters.


I apologise at my weak attempt to explain my indifference to Innocent Days. There's just something off and I think its the direction and editing. I want to like it but I feel like I'm wasting my time when Hokuto did it so much better. Doubt I'll continue watching. Meh from me.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Yami no Bansosha Henshucho no Joken Episodes 1-3

Apologies for the long absense. I was away on family business and did not have time to blog but I did get to watch some jdoramas. The second season of Yami no Bansosha is my most anticipated show of the season because of how good the first season was.

I ended up rewatching the first season of Yami no Bansosha with my gf so that we could watch season 2 together. I think its a bit of a miracle how well things in Yami no Bansosha came together. The great chemistry between Furuta Arata (Daigo) and Matsushita Nao (Mizuno), the creating a mystery around manga, the great pacing and the fact that the audience had to fill in the blanks themselves about the relationship between the two partners.

Writing season 2 of Yami no Bansosha seems like an impossible task because the setting was so unique and yet the sequel needed to be different enough to warrant watching.

THE GOOD

+ The chemistry between Daigo and Mizuno is still good.

+ Daigo becoming the chief editor is a great evolution to his character and a great window into the world of manga, keeping with the theme of the first season.

+ Daigo dispensing plenty of great wisdom.


THE BAD

- Daigo and Mizuno don't get as much scenes together.

- The pacing isn't as good as the first season especially episode 2.

- Every single discovery by Daigo did not have that wow effect from season 1.

SUMMARY

The story has introduced so many seemingly separate elements to the story that I can't see them fitting into a tight ending. I don't know. Its based on a novel by the same writer so there's a chance. Henshucho no Joken does not need to hit a homerun for me to be happy as long as it does not strike out. Watchable.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Denei Shoujo Video Girl Ai 2018 1-5

I was a fan of Masakazu Katsura's Video Girl Ai manga back in the day. While its not my favourite Katsura manga, that honour belongs to I's, the tale of a girl appearing out of the tv due a videotape actually predated the classic horror movie Ringu and was a classic tale of shonen wish fulfillment.

Truth to told, I don't remember much about the manga except for panty shots, lots of sexy situations and panty shots. And the hero rescuing Ai from the video world or something and the old man from the video shop.

Video Girl Ai 2018 is actually set 25 years after the original with a new cast of characters and some returning old ones. This allows the to story for Ai to be this ideal girl from the past out of time in the present. She does make interesting observations about society today and there are some  jokes but that is not the focus of Video Girl Ai 2018.

The focus is your classic triangle between two guys and a girl who belong to the high school anime club. They have a lot of meetings, talk a lot about ideals and stuff especially from the director but I have yet to see a single frame of animation from them.

The anime club angle feels like your typical advertising agency jobs from your usual classic jdoramas. The writer can't be bothered with figuring out the nitty gritty of the job so the job's existence is just to forward the story without any regard to details.

While Video Girl Ai 2018 does no wrong in concentrating on the triangle relationship and in episode 5 the relationships expand into new angles and we are introduced to some potentially dark plot directions although I am 100% certain it won't even be as sukebe as Masakazu Matsura's mangas.

I think the casting of the idoru as Ai is a mistake because this show is too tame. I would have been happier with a lower budget for more fanservice. There are some shots but hint at Katsura's sukebeness but they are only hints. In the end, I don't feel like continuing cause I can't find something to hook me after 5 episodes. Meh.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Third Murder Jmove review

The Third Murder is Koreeda Hirokazu's latest movie after the ho-hum before the storm. Yakusho Koji plays an ex-convict who in the beginning we see commit his third murder killing his former employer and Fukuyama Masaharu plays the lawyer who defends Yakusho Koji.

My no.1 problem with this movie is that Fukuyama Masaharu was once in this very good movie called Suspect X The Third Murder feels like a much less compelling version of Suspect X.

That's because its got a much slower pace which is typical of Koreeda movies but also that he is less concerned with the mystery but more with criticising the justice system. He asks a lot of questions such as are there people who should never have been born or why it is worse in the eyes of the law to kill for money than a grudge?

Ultimately, The Third Murder is a movie that asks way too many questions without arriving at some sort of an answer to the detriment of the narrative and makes it an ultimately forgettable movie. I can't believe The Third Murder swept all the awards at the 41st Japan Academy Awards. 2017 must have been a horrible year for jmovies. Meh.

Edit: Gukoroku was released in Feb 2017 and it wasn't nominated for any award? WTF? Japan Academy awards are full of crap.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Chinmoku Hotei

A big thank you to Buck for reminding me about Chinmoku Hotei with Nagasaku Hiromi (Aoi Tori) as this dubious house cleaner with a muddy history who is suspected of committing murder.

THE GOOD

+ Tanaka Tetsushi as the slimy solicitor who takes on Nagasaku Hiromi's case with ulterior motives. I really like his character and he kept it interesting.
+Sugimoto Tetta and Usuda Asami as the two coppers who investigate the case.

+ Your usual great WOWOW direction and gritty look.
+ Its a show about how perception is reality and sometimes the worst people are right in front of you hiding in plain sight.

THE BAD
- The overacting from the slimy news producer and dodgy cop are too obvious. Its not Hanzawa Naoki bad but I think a bit more subtlety would have made the series more intriguing. What's with Japanese always wanting to make the bad people so obvious?

THE UGLY
= Nagasawa Hiromi has no wrinkles on her face. Seriously a baby has more wrinkles than her. Seriously Japan needs to stop with this wrinkle free nonsense.

SUMMARY

Another quality WOWOW show to add to the list. It kind of reminds me of Hokuto with the climax being a trial but Chinmoku Hotei is a good story about society is too quick to judge and act in one's interests without regard for truth. Very watchable.