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Hajimemashite minna san....welcome to my site on my fave Japanese Pop Culture likes such as dramas, movies, magazine scans, promo events etc. Mainly concentrate on my faves...Risa Watanabe... Kyoko Saito... Yui Kobayashi....Miyuki Watanabe.... Nene Shida.... if you're a fan at all of any of them then you've come to the right place(!) but many others are featured here besides them. Do mainly quick reviews on things I've watched, try to make the reviews brief, quick to read through with not too many spoilers, just whether they're good or bad and why I thought so plus whether you may find them enjoyable. Many, many screenshots are included from everything I've watched plus any video trailers if they're available. Hope you find something that interests you, don't hesitate to comment, arigato gozaimasu!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tripping- Japanese-Taiwanese movie review

 Synopsis: Shaodea is a Japanese girl, living in Taipei with her father. He moved to Taiwan with his wife to start a Chinese herbal medicine shop. Ever since her mother died, Shaodea wants to return to Japan, but her father refuses to give up his dream. One day, after an argument with him, Shaodea goes out with her friends. While breaking in into a museum, the girl is transported back in time to feudal Taiwan. Thinking she’s on a movie set, the girl gets involved in a bank robbery and soon has to run from the authorities. She teams up with Haishon, an attractive young man who became a thief to save the economic crisis of his hometown. Together with a Tao-master, who is transporting 2 zombies back to their ancestral lands, they set off on a fantastic adventure.

 Most films one would not consider to ne masterpieces nor must watches, Tripping is another movie which falls into those categories but it's not to say it's not a fun watch because it is. Rena plays Shaoeda, a Japanese girl living in Taiwan, one who yearns to be back in Japan unlike her father played by the always solid Ren Osugi. As noted in the synopsis above, that's what the film is basically about, really thin on a plot but it ended up being an enjoyable watch, if you just want to be entertained and like sword fights and mystical characters then this would be right up your alley and would recommend it.

 Rena always does well in her roles whether it's a drama or film, problem is she hasn't been in many really good ones, actually most would be subpar except her acting, looks and charisma bring them up a notch or so and make them worthwhile watches, if there's any film though that is close to a must watch is 10 Promises to my Dog which I'll be posting about after another rewatch.

 Not going to drag out the review for this film, really is a simplistic film plot wise but if you're a Rena fan it's one that you shouldn't miss, she's in almost every scene and really makes a less than stellar film one that's an enjoyable time killer. Besides Osugi didn't know any of the other cast, they are Taiwanese actors, don't know how popular they are but the other big star of the film Bo-lin Chen appears to be quite popular in his home country. Final rating of this would be a 7.5/10, so many better films out there but Rena as usual is a pleasure to watch, gonna hunt down a few others of hers to hopefully find a real winner, A Day on the Planet is supposed to be a real winner so that'll be coming up on my view list and hopefully can come back with a good review for it, post below this one has many screenshots of Rena from the film.

Cast: Rena Tanaka, Ren Osugi, Bo-lin Chen, Jimmy Hung, Lichun Lee
Year: 2006   Running time: 102 minutes   Director/writer: Yiwen Chen

Rena Tanaka Tripping movie screenshots

Sunday, October 23, 2011

School!! Japanese 2011 drama

 Latest view was from this drama which aired from January to March of this year, School!! In this drama Eguchi plays Seiichiro Naruse who was a 42 year old tunnel construction worker who was offered the principals job at his old elementary school by his old principal despite having no experience in the education field.

 Accepting the position, Seiichiro also moves in with his old principal Takeichi(Kishibe) and his grandaughter (Kitano) who is also a first year teacher at the Shingu Elementary School. It is a very small school with only one class each of 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Seiichiro was not very well accepted at first by most of the staff, one reason was him not coming from a teaching background and another being at trying to implement new ways of running a school, all of the staff already had ideas on what ways the school should be run and were not very receptive of any changes, but as the series wore on they slowly changed their minds and at the end were his biggest supporters.

 I've seen many school dramas and this was one of the better ones, Dragon Zakura and Nobuta wo Produce both top it but they were High School shows, this is the first elementary school drama I've seen. Couple of reasons why it was so good was lack of fluffiness in it, sure there was some and most situations ended with a positive resolution but they were done in a classy way, they were always believable thanks to good scripts and some fine acting. Another reason was the pacing, never dragged, even most of the better dramas have slowdowns at some point but School!! didn't, perhaps having only 9 episodes had something to do with it but the first and last episodes were quite long so in total running time they equaled 11 episodes.

  And one other reason for what made the show such an enjoyable watch was the cast, it being a small school there weren't many teachers so the cast itself was a bit smaller than most dramas which let all the characters have their own storylines and get to know them better and to see how they changed their views on the education process.
 Not a huge fan of Eguchi, sometimes he can be a bit overbearing but he wasn't so much in this drama, he did do a solid performance, while saying I'm not a big fan of his have to admit every drama he's been in has been a good watch such as Triangle and Namida wo Fuite. Kii(e) Kitano also was quite good in this, much bigger role than what would have been expected, her and Eguchi worked well together as they shared so many scenes with her usually being dragged along with Eguchi as he tried to save or help a student out.
 Rest of the cast was good too, Nishijima played a stern, unsmiling teacher, he plays that part in so many of his dramas/movies, he's good at it but would like to see more variety in the way he acts. Tsukamoto also did well as a teacher, he usually always does a solid job, here he plays a teacher who tries so hard but gets taken advantage of by his students which was a big storyline for the first half of the show. Also most episodes featured one or more of the students in a storyline, whether it was because of them bullying, their home life, etc, they all did well though not a standout job by any of them but good enough considering their ages.

 I'd rate this about an 8.8/10, nothing new or original but good storylines and solid acting may not make it a must watch but one most drama fans should enjoy, easy enough to find at any J-drama site. Said it's not a must watch but would be if you're an Eguchi or Kitano fan, speaking of her check out the next post for many, many shots of her from the show.

Yosuke Eguchi as Seiichiro Naruse
Kii(e) Kitano as Kanako Takeichi
Hidetoshi Nishijima as Iori Kirihara
Takashi Tsukamoto as Hitoshi Ohashi
Miwako Ichikawa as Yukie Okamoto
Keiko Horiuchi as Yuriko Yoshimura
Ittoku Kishibe as Mikihiro Takeichi
Broadcast period: January 16th to March 20th, 2011, ran on Fuji-TV with an average rating of 9.2%.

Kie Kitano School!! drama screenshots

 Kii or as she's commonly referred to outside of Japan as Kie is rapidly becoming one of my favorites, this is the first drama I've seen of hers but won't be the last, have also seen her in 4 movies and a TV special, of them all Halfway was by far the best, check out the synopsis and plenty of shots of her from the movie just a couple of posts below this one, here are shots of Kii from the School!! drama.