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28 June 2014 @ 05:02 pm
Favorites from 2013  
Hey everyone, how have you been?

I have been meaning to do a post on my much neglected LJ, but I have been quite detached from subtitling for a while that there was nothing much to post. Instead, I have been spending my time enjoying old and recent Japanese movies and maybe one or, if I'm lucky, two dramas per season. After the first two seasons of 2014, it is suffice to say that this year is looking gloomy for the TV dramas with a number of highly anticipated productions failing to deliver. Hopes are raised for next season's Wakamonotachi 2014, which boasts an impressive group of talents. However, its writer Muto Shogo previously wrote both the thrilling Kazoku Game (based off the novel) and the underwhelming Atashinchi no Danshi (an original script). Wakamonotachi 2014 is a remake of the 1966 drama of the same name, so it looks like the plot will at least be decent. Together with such a capable cast, it is safe to hope that the drama will be watchable.

If you are a member of plotboxes, I have been posting my movie picks of 2013 there. Most of those I have watched so far, I have really liked. Top recommendations are Ore wa Mada Honki Dashitenai Dake (I'll Give it my All... Tomorrow) and Soshite Chichi ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son). I think both of these movies did an excellent job in portraying the intricacies of family ties, of daily obligations and anxieties, and of love. Ore Mada is definitely the more humorous of the two, but it is not without its moments of introspection. Soshite Chichi is representative of Koreeda Hirokazu's - delicate, absorbing, genuine - though definitely much less heavy than his previous works.

Another comedy that I have watched but did not quite live up to the hype is Shazai no Osama (The Apology King). It started out very entertaining, and there was some smart writing that Kudo Kankuro had to offer. However, it digressed halfway and turned into an unconvincing hodgepodge at the end. It is still worth a try though, if you are in for Abe Sadao's performance. It also doesn't hurt that Inoue Mao and Okada Masaki are both eye-candies. And Ono Machiko. And Takenouchi Yutaka.

If you are ready for something more emotionally taxing, I would recommend Sayonara Keikoku (The Ravine of Goodbye). Make sure that you are in the most cheerful of mood, because this stuff is dark. It is heavy. But is it also riveting. Sayonara takes you through the journey of two people struggling to love and forgive. It explores the dark side of human emotions and the irony of despair and happiness. Yoko Maki was stunning and gave perhaps one of the best performances in her career. If you liked Akunin (Villain) released in 2010, you will probably like this one as well. Not surprisingly, they were both penned by the same novelist Yoshida Shuichi. What is surprising, though, is that he also authored Yokomichi Yonosuke (A Story of Yonosuke), a charming comedy about a country boy meeting people and changing their lives in a big city. Not as excellent as the first two movies I mentioned, but definitely commendable.

So... there goes my rant. If you have watched any of these movies, I would love to hear your thoughts on them so we can chat :D. Anything else you enjoyed or look forward to?

P/S: If anyone saw my "Semi-friends only - selectively adding" post popping up in your friends page, that was automatically posted by LJ. I've since deleted the post to avoid any confusion.
 
 
 
kangxy67kangxy67 on July 29th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
Nice to see you back on LJ! Have always checked back once in a while to see if you've subbed anything, even if you've not posted it on your LJ.

Read the other comments, and I totally have my hopes up for the Wakamonotachi cast on VSA now. Eita and his low-tension excitement is hilarious. Crossing my fingers!

I tried Ore Mada, but I think I got bored of it and didnt finish it... I'll give it another shot, since you said that it's pretty good. Also caught Soshite Chichi ni Naru. Was lucky enough to catch it in the local cinema because it was screening during the Intl Film Festival here. There were so many Japanese! And all the sniffles towards the end of the movie. Definitely saw why it won one of those film awards. Also was a nice surprise seeing the two main female characters together again, in another setting. (Kinda bought the tickets without really knowing the storyline and who was in the movie just because there are so little chances being able to catch a Japanese movie locally.) Love Maki Yoko!

I'm with you on Mozu. Quite a lot of people seem to like it though. I got so bored of it, with the same scenes and sentences repeating every episode. I'll admit that there were some action scenes I thought were fantastic, and I actually did like the last episode, but that's about all. Thank goodness there are only 5 episodes in season 2. If not I wouldnt have bothered. Watching it now just to see how it's gonna end, and also partly because of the cast.

Are there any other dramas you're watching this season other than Wakamonotachi?

I'm surprised at your review on Shazai no Ousama though. I found it hilarious, currently one of my favourite comedy movies. Laughed to the point where I almost cried the first time I saw it. I love how the little stories all connected together, although yes, the last part was pretty absurd,
Yuiyuizaki_libra on August 10th, 2014 07:17 am (UTC)
Haha people make fun of Eita every time he is on TV because of his mild temperament. If you haven't, you should watch him when he guested on Shabekuri 7. That show is hilarious!

Too bad you didn't like Ore Mada. The humor is definitely more subtle, and the story might not be everyon's cup of tea.

I finished watching Mozu both seasons, and nope that show did not end well. It's a shame, because they got the actors and the budget, but the script was too average.

Don't get me wrong about Shazai no Ousama. If you gave me maybe the first two thirds of the movie, I would be super happy with it. But the last third just drags and drags and by the time it ends, I'm left underwhelmed.

I also recently started watching Oyaji no Senaka, and I would recommend it, at least for the first two episodes that I watched. How are you finding Wakamonotachi? Any other series you are watching this season?