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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.
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. :)