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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.
TakakuFlyMetakakuflyme on June 28th, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and recommendations! I haven't seen all of what you mentioned, so I'll add that to my to-watch list.

I'm looking forward to Wakamonotachi, and Eita, as well! I'm also looking forward to Hirugao this drama season, mainly for the lead actresses. I hope that the production and writing live up to expectations and don't produce a flop.

Coincidentally, I just watched Soshite Chichi ni Naru last night, and LOVED it. The glimpses into each character swayed me to sympathize for one family/character, and then immediately another, so that I couldn't predict what would happen at the end and whose happiness I wanted to see the most. I was shedding tears at the end of the movie, and I'm usually not a crier. I don't know if you watched Saikou no Rikon, but it was interesting to see the two female protagonists cast into analogous roles again, though under a slightly different light.
Yuiyuizaki_libra on June 29th, 2014 08:54 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you liked Soshite Chichi ni Naru. I cried a little near the end too, especially at that scene when Ryota and his son Keita walked along the road and then they rejoined each other and then he patted Keita's head and then they hugged and I exploded. It was the sweetest thing.

Saikou no Rikon is my absolute favorite, and yes, I could not stop thinking about SnR when the two actresses are together in one frame. Love them two.

Checked out Hirugao. I quite like Kichise Michiko, but Ueto Aya doesn't really do it for me.

Edited at 2014-06-29 08:56 pm (UTC)
TakakuFlyMetakakuflyme on June 30th, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC)
I think I agree with you about Ueto Aya. She seems to be great when guesting on talk shows, but I don't have a particular favorite role of hers. I'm mainly hoping that Hirugao might be one. =)

Glad to know that you loved SnR too! Such a brilliant storyline and cast.
Yuiyuizaki_libra on July 1st, 2014 09:52 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I love her whenever she guests on Arashi's shows. She's a natural. I loled so much when she gave a massage to Riidaa and Nino.
enneagram_four on June 29th, 2014 01:37 am (UTC)
I've been following your drama and movie picks and really enjoyed it so far.
Thanks for all the recommendations :)
Yuiyuizaki_libra on June 29th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC)
Glad you've liked my picks so far! :)
qnuy kusanagiqnuy on June 29th, 2014 04:07 am (UTC)
thanks for the recommendation. SO far I have downloaded Soshite Chichi ni Naru but I haven't watched it yet. Will try the other movies you recommended.

I can't wait to watch Wakamonotachi 2014 because of Eita and Mitsushima Hikari (I adore these two so much ever since Soredemo, Ikite Yuku). I hope I'll have a great time watching it
Yuiyuizaki_libra on June 29th, 2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
I hope it's good too! One more vote for Eita and Hikari - I would watch anything these two are in.

Also don't forget Hashimoto Ai and Aoi Yuu :). I'm just really excited about it because it showcases some of the best actors and actresses of the current generation.
kazue19kazue19 on June 29th, 2014 04:21 am (UTC)
I've seen The Ravine of Goodbye, and I agree that Maki Yoko gave an absolutely astounding performance. I love her in almost all of the works I've seen her in. Have you checked out "Mozu", spring drama? I would love to hear what you think of it.

On my watchlist is "Like Father, Like Son".

Thank you for the recommendations. : )

Yuiyuizaki_libra on June 29th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
I did finish watching Mozu, and will probably be checking out season 2 as well, but that is only because I am curious about how they are going to tie everything together. I lost interest halfway through the series when they just kept throwing at us the same contrived lines, and I felt like it was just dragging on. They tried so hard to make it a good cop show, but there was not enough substance to make an 11-episode series. It could have worked better if they had squeezed two seasons in one. Also, the characters are very one-dimensional and I just don't care for any of them. How about you? Did you like Mozu?

Funny thing is I always remember Yoko Maki as the co-worker in Moteki.
Aruarasukishi on June 29th, 2014 09:33 am (UTC)
Very much looking forward to I'll Give It My All Tomorrow - downloading it right now, so excited! And I'm definitely interested in Wakamonotachi 2014. I originally wanted to watch it for Tsumabuki, and then I heard that Eita and Hikari were in it as well, and the curiosity magnified. As I keep telling people, it will take a nightmarish script to bomb a cast this good. Still not sure if I like Muto Shogo though. :P

Thank you very much for all your work on plotboxes! I trust your community's taste - you sub such wonderful things! Thank you so so much!
Yuiyuizaki_libra on June 29th, 2014 10:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and you're welcome! Let me know if you like I'll Give It My All Tomorrow.

Wakamonotachi 2014 is a remake, so that means he probably has less freedom with changing and creating things. With a cast like this, of course I would hope that the scriptwriting had been handed to writers like Sakamoto Ruyji, but I'm happy with what I have lol. 1.5 weeks left till it's shown!

Oh and just imagine the cast appears on VSArashi to promote the drama. My life will be complete.

Edited at 2014-06-29 10:22 pm (UTC)
Aruarasukishi on June 30th, 2014 04:06 am (UTC)
I'll Give It My All Tomorrow was technically brilliant and touching as a whole. But I also think Shizuo just got lucky that the people around him are kind. (Such negativity!!! Maybe I'm meant to doubt comedy.) I like how everyone warms up to him and their life changes after seeing his carefree living - they didn't say that in the blurb, but I do think that's a main point of the story. I'm looking forward to seeing Like Father Like Son next, but I'll wait for the wisdom of I'll Give It My All Tomorrow a bit more time to sink in. :D

I'm not familiar with Sakamoto Ryuji - what did he write? And yes, please! Have them over at VSA! That would be a really special Special then!
Yuiyuizaki_libra on July 1st, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
He wrote Mother, Soredemo Ikite Yuku, Saikou no Rikon and Woman. Did you watch any of them?

I will be all over it if they guest on VSA. Fingers crossed because both the drama and VSA are produced by FujiTV.
Aruarasukishi on July 2nd, 2014 05:05 am (UTC)
I'm weak against heavy drama, so I didn't think I could watch Soredemo and Woman. My friend likes both very much though - she's a Hikari fan. I'll try the second. :) I really do value your opinion. I watched Like Father Like Son and pretty much clutched a tissue throughout its second half. Thank you very much for your work on it. :)
Yumi Kinomotocyberdudey on June 29th, 2014 10:10 am (UTC)
Hi dear! Good to hear from you!
I would like to try watching your recommendations :) since it seems it will help me know better what are family ties so that I can share this to my students (I am a teacher now hehe! Ganbatte to me!)

I just wish... the links are still intact :)
Yuiyuizaki_libra on June 29th, 2014 09:23 pm (UTC)
The links should still work for now. Mega seems a lot more consistent than filecloud or mediafire.

Being a teacher is a wonderful thing and you have my respect for that. Check them out and let me know your thoughts! :)
Vv888 on June 29th, 2014 03:43 pm (UTC)
I would say, Yonosuke Story only seems to be just a comedy. There is much more to it. Actually, as a comedy it's somewhat of a failure).
This drama season I enjoyed "A Long Goodbye" and "Second but Last Love - 2"
Yuiyuizaki_libra on June 29th, 2014 11:21 pm (UTC)
You are right. I would say it is more like a youth/drama film. There are comedic feel-good elements, but they are perhaps not the focus of what the movie is about.

I did not know of Long Goodbye, but it does look pretty interesting. I just finished Border, which was mind-blowing, and together with Mozu, that's two detective/cop shows I have seen this season. Maybe I'll save Long Goodbye for another time. Thanks for sharing!
Doyyeshuasgrace on July 4th, 2014 01:13 pm (UTC)
Yui-chan!! was so happy I got to read your movie recommendations! I've seen Like Father, Like Son, and I learned and saw new perspectives on parenting and family relationships. The twist was amazing!! I will never forget this movie! Cried buckets too~~ <3

I have to download and watch your other recommendations too! Will come back and comment once I've seen them. Next on my list is Ore wa Mada Honki Dashitenai Dake!

Thank you again and have an awesome weekend!

Yuiyuizaki_libra on August 10th, 2014 07:22 am (UTC)
Hey Grace!! I'm glad you enjoyed Like Father, Like Son. Movies like this remind me why I love Japanese cinema so much :). I hope you like Ore Mada too. Such a great comedy.

Are you watching any dramas this season?
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?
keiko1981keiko1981 on October 11th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday~!
enneagram_four on June 5th, 2016 01:14 am (UTC)
i miss your subs:)