Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tokyo Family 2013

Tokyo Family 2013 is a remake of an old black and white classic (which I didn't think was that good) by cinema master Yamada Yoji (Twilight Samurai). The story is about an elderly couple who came down from Onomichi in Hiroshima to Tokyo to visit their three children and grandchildren.

If you've seen Yamada Yoji movies, they've all got that old school static camera shots. I don't think I've ever seen a dolly being used in his movies ever. His movies are less cinematic in the modern sense but more like watching a play. However, Yamada Yoji knows how to create and capture those magical moments where less is more and every word and expression speaks a thousand words.

One of the central themes explored in Tokyo Family is the country vs city lifestyle. Its something that was also explored in two of my favourite movies I saw last year; A Living Promise and Dear Doctor. The contrast between old Japan and new Japan. You can view the movie not just through the lens of parents and children but also of how the old generation view the current generation and their hops and dreams for them.

Two standout performances in Tokyo Family 2013 are Hashizume Isao as the grandfather and Aoi Yu. If those two did not get nominated for acting awards in 2013, there is no justice in this world. On the other hand, I remember looking at some jdorama and jmovie acting award lists recently and there are a lot of bullshit awards. Suffice to say a lot of mainstream stuff.

Can't really say much besides its a standard family movie but the performances are so good. Can't and should not be missed. Absolutely must watch!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories aka Shinya Shokudo season 4

For some reason, the fourth season of Shinya Shokudo never made its way to the usual sites and Netflix was offering a free month if you sign up and sign up I did. Midnight Diner/Shinya Shokudo is more than a chicken soup jdorama. Midnight Diner is chicken soup of the highest quality that warms your heart.

If you have not seen this before, I strongly suggest looking for the first three seasons and the movie because there are a lot of characters that cameo from the series' long history. There are even characters that I recognise but I can't remember what their story is about. One day, I will need to rewatch the whole thing.

However, there is one character who makes a welcome return who I will never forget; Erecto Oki!!! Anyone who's watched season 1 will never forget his episode and his episode in season 4 is absolutely brilliant in its writing and simplicity.

There are a couple of other really good episodes that come to mind; Tanmen (Ep 1), American Dog (Ep 2), Omurice (Ep 4), Egg Tofu starring Mr Lan Evo (Ep 5) and of course the Erecto Oki episode Sauteed Yam (Ep 8). The Lan Evo episode's punchline is just awesome.

After the so-so season 3 and movie, Shinya Shokudo is back in fine form and should not be missed by jdorama fans. I am definitely giving Netflix my $12 if they bring it back for season 5. Must watch and Netflix definitely deserves your money for continuing this series.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

5 Questions Nintendo needs to answer about the Switch

So the Nintendo Switch reveal has come and gone. I'm pretty sure lots of parents are going to buy it to their kids can practice giving happy endings. As someone who has a Wii U, DSi, 3DS and New3DS, I wasn't happy with a lot of important information that was not disclosed.

1) Will downloaded games still be tied to the system or the account?

The worst thing about having a Nintendo system is that if one of my machines die, I'll need to get a new one and call Nintendo in Japan to transfer my game licenses to a new machine.

2) Can I use my Japanese MyNintendo account on an Australian Switch?

Hurrah for region free but what about Nintendo accounts? Can you choose your region like you can on Xbox and Playstation systems or is it tied to the system? Does it support multiple accounts like Xbox and Playstation?

3) Will I be able to bring over my Virtual Console games from my Wii U and 3DS?

If Nintendo wants me to pay more money for old games which I already own on their other systems like A Link to the Past, they can stick the joy-con where the sun don't shine. Judging from Nintendo's past record, they are going to screw people who do the right thing.

I can spend money supporting old games or I can just get a GPD XD and emulate all the old games. Don't make life hard for people who are trying not to pirate. They already charge an arm and a leg for virtual console games compared to Sony.

4) Will the Switch have Gamecube and Wii virtual console support?

We know its going to have Famicom and SFC support.

5) Why the fuck doesn't the Switch support digital audio?

Its 2017 and the USD$90 hunk of plastic that you call the Switch Dock (which is just a USB C in and HDMI out adapter) doesn't have a digital audio out?

The reveal sucked but the Breath of the Wild trailer took my breath away. Come March, I'm going to be either playing it on my Wii U or a Switch.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Winter 2017 jdoramas that should be subbed

As I am still catching up on remaining 2016 shows that I haven't watched, let's take a look at shows that are coming out this month. Anyone know where I can find download links for netlifx's Shinya Shokudo?


Sakamoto Yuji + Matsu Takako + Mitsushima Hikari + Matsuda Ryuhei + Takahashi Issei.

Talent wise, this is like the Golden State Warriors of jdorama. Sakamoto Yuji just needs to give us an decent script and the talent will take care of the rest. Keiko1981 will be retiming the Japanese subs so I can't wait!


Tsutsumu Shinichi + Koizumi Kyoko in a salaryman superhero parody by the writer of Yuusha Yoshihiko. How can this go wrong?


Do you need a reason to watch a Bakarythm dorama?


Yes! Tadano Hitoshi has moved back to a late night slot from 9pm. Season 4 lost a lot of the sleaziness when it went to the 9pm slot. If you want a more adult, cheesy fanservice show about solving company problems that always end up in an abandoned warehouse fight, this show is for you.


The first season was ok. Can't hold a candle to the anime but I want to see what happens next! Barusa is protecting a girl this time and the prince has grown up? Sign me up! Still don't like the Ayase Haruka casting but I'm willing to roll with it.


Let's go WOWOW! I'm just hoping it doesn't end up meh like Ishi no Mayu and Suishou no Kodou.


NHK BS Premium shows are usually better than average and its the writer of Kageri Yuki Natsu. Its based an a novel and old movie.


It looks so bad and trashy but its got Kurashina Kana and Mizuno Miki.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Yuusha Yoshihiko to Michibikareshi Shichinin Episodes 1-5

The first season  of Yuusha Yoshihiko was a must watch low budget Dragonquest parody that was a breath of fresh air. The second season was way to repetitive despite still having it funny moments. Four years after season two, Yuusha Yoshihiko is back and does it have enough fresh jokes to keep things interesting or is this just an excuse for Yamada Takayuki and friends to ad-lib and laugh at each other?

The good news is clearly four years has allowed the writer to think of new stuff like just how the hell are herbs used in RPGs? My favourite episode in is when Yoshihiko and gang end up at the FF village and its so funny seeing the difference in both games and I feel the writer could have made fun of both games for a few more episodes.

Episode 5 was kind of boring with its sole purpose being to make fun of Tokio and their farming TV show as well as various tv stations. While the impersonations of Tokio members are spot on, its going away its fantasy RPG roots.

Comedy is a bit subjective and some people might find the parody of various Japanese tv stations hilarious but season 3 is giving me the same vibe as season 2. Some nice new jokes but we've been down this road before. Watchable.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Cold Case : Shinjitsu no Tobira Episode 10

They saved the best episode for last and what an episode it was! Santamaria Yusuke's Akamatsu is a great villain because he is evil and he knows it and there is no 'what would know about how I feel?' and he doesn't go crazy with stupid overacted laugh like 99% of jdorama and anime villains.

The most interesting thing about this episode is how the main character/victim of this episode is Yoshida Yo's Ishikawa and how it exposes hers and Akamatsu's innermost demons. They are both characters with horrible childhood and both of them deal with the emotional scars in different ways.

On the whole I rather enjoyed Cold Case and its a lot better than the clumsy Ishi no Mayu. Its got a few must watch episodes but just doesn't cross the line into must watch for me. Very watchable and I hope to see more no nonsense police jdoramas like this in the future.

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Handmaiden

Park Chan Wook is back! Its been a long while since I've seen a Korean movie besides train to Busan which was overhyped as hell.

The Handmaiden is exactly why I feel in love with his movies many years ago. Its erotic, twisted and depraved but while I could see the twists coming, its so beautifully shot I was just entranced.

Words cannot sufficiently describe how good Park Chan Wook is. I really felt like I was watching someone who was a master at his craft.

I could feel the confidence he had in every shot, in every close up of a facial twitch or look of sadness and longing as he took me on a tale about a swindler who poses as a handmaiden in order to rid this rich lady of her riches.

Absolutely must watch. This is Korean cinema at its finest. I've never been so turned on and so disgusted by a movie. :)