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BrightestStar

BrightestStar

Canada

BrightestStar

Canada
Battle of Changsha
45 people found this review helpful
Aug 21, 2015
Overall 10
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This drama is so much more than anything can describe. This drama is an exhibition of China during the Japanese invasion, and all the way until the end of the second world war. If I were to describe this drama in one word, I would call is *genuine*. The reason is it gives us an honest outlook of China and its residents during the war without sugarcoating it or hiding any flaws their society at the time may have had. I also want to add the interesting thing about it, even though it is set during the Japanese invasion, it's not there to make Japan to be this evil entity, and neither is it trying to humanize it, this story is mainly and only about the Chinese people, and how they behave during time of war. Although this drama is all about the politics of the time, what makes it so addicting is that it is very character driven. We go through the events through the eyes of a family that couldn't get any more normal.

The writing here is exceptional. Since we are going a painful time, the writing makes it not only bearable, but also addicting to watch, by balancing slice-of-life and comedy, yes COMEDY, with war and tragedy throughout most of the story. Romance is there, but in a very subtle manner, just like the way I like it. Though understated, the moment it surface, it brings out all those tingling feelings and excitement. The overall way the characters are written, they feel real, relatable, and more than just good or evil. A lot of times it felt like a character study, and the characters were always more than what they appear. The development was slow but apparent, and very realistic. I got to the point that I felt like part of the people there, part of the family, and was in it with them. Without knowing how it ends, I felt I wasn't gonna mind any ending chosen, and the more I watched , the stronger this feeling became. It goes beyond trusting the writer giving a satisfying ending, and more of me having to accept fate.

I can't help but talk about the characters and their relationship. Jun Shan, the brother-in-law, is the star here. He is one piece of work. My first impression of him was *WHAT THE HELL?!* He's bossy, he's pushy,he's uneducated, he's overbearing. But then I notice, he's loyal, he loves his family. I won't say more and let you discover more of him. Believe me that is just the tip of the iceberg of his character. His relationship with Xiang Jun was a highlight in the drama. Beyond love, there was a certain harmony in the relationship. Then there are the twins. I don't know where to start. They are childish, foolish, reckless, and they certainly need to grow. But they are fun to be around, lively, and sure know when to come through when it counts. Being of different genders, they're growth and maturity come at different pace, but the people we leave at the end of the drama may not recognize those we met in the beginning. A part of me wished they stayed how were, but we can't help but grow up. Specially during war, reality hits and you find yourself growing years at each passing day. Qing Ming is another interesting one. He is an educated soldier, always wanting to fight for his country. He can be pretty stubborn, to the point of acting childish. His view of life, of elders, and of women, is that they are all incomprehensible. Only when he starts to understand them he becomes the man he wanted to be. I specially appreciated Qing Ming's relationship with Jun Shan. One hell of a bromance they make. They couldn't be any more different but somehow understand each other well. Another highlight was the grandma. She is a strong, stubborn old lady, but when she's around, you always know that everything is going to be just fine. Xiu Xiu might have appeared as a sweetheart, and submissive, but I always knew she hid fearlessness to appear when needed. The list can go on and on, but I just wouldn't know where to stop. Lets the say, even the smallest roles have been given thought as to make them real, and their development authentic.

What to say about the acting. Brilliant! It turned the character into real human beings, and not just something written on paper. Everyone gave their all to their character, and I have zero complaint.

Honestly the music didn't stand out for me, but didn't ruin anything either.



If I have any complaint at all, is some side characters that appear later on in the drama that weren't given enough time or focus early on, so it was hard to make the connection. Overall though my satisfaction with this drama goes beyond any complaint. I would say that overall, it deserves a 9 or 9.5/10, but the delight it brought me deserves a 10/10!!

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Cunning Single Lady
34 people found this review helpful
Jun 24, 2014
Overall 7.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
That drama has nothing much original, and does a lot of things wrong, but does 2 things SO RIGHT it makes up for everything else.

First, our 2 main leads stay in line character throughout the drama. Their character grow, but in a more subtle way which is what I love most about them. Their coming back together is convincing because we get see little by little what made them separate in the first place, and we see how each one of them resolve the issues they had, and how it brings them back, only to be there for each other, and for no other reason. It feels organic and you're with them all the way, and they stay true to their character that you have come to love. In the end, you feel that it's a healthy relationship where both are equal and working together to make it work this time

Second, the comedy stays throughout the drama, up until the last episode. Each episode has a few funny scenes involving our male lead who can be adorably petty. He might be petty, but it was never done in a dramatic or serious way, but mostly in a comedic way. It's actually amazing for a korean drama since most rom-com turn melo half way through which annoys me in a way that I'm like "I didn't sign up for this". So basically this drama gives you what it promises in that sense.

If you are looking to watch a drama for those 2 reasons, then I'd recommend it. Its totally for you!

IF you are looking for a story about how a man turned millionaire overnight, or about details on smart business decisions, if you are looking for interesting 2nd leads that don't turn cliché and show growth and dignity, if you are looking for camaraderie or even bromance, well you won't be finding any of those things here. The bromance was sorta a let down but that wasn't the focus of the story ;)

Overall I really enjoyed the drama for the 2 reasons mentioned above even when everything else went crazy at one point (those are what FFW button is made for :P).

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Missing Noir M
26 people found this review helpful
Jun 16, 2015
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 6.0
I just have to start by saying I loved this drama. I'm saying it in a very biased way. Why? Because it is EXACTLY the type drama I like. It's as if it was custom made just for me. This is a drama only OCN can succeed in making. Overall the same style as TEN. A special team is formed to help in the recovery of missing individuals. If I were to compare it to TEN, I'd say I liked the way the the team was formed there more than here, where we got to know the characters before the team was formed while in M, it felt a bit rushed. Otherwise the idea is similar. The focus is on the human side of the perpetrator and the victim. Many times it's hard to identify who is the real victim, and it's hard to hate anybody. On a more subtle note, we got into the politics of law, and the meaning of justice.

The lead characters were amazing in their roles, and so were the guest appearances in each case. Kim Kang Woo as Gil Su Hyun was such a troubled character. He has a deep darkness, and an extremely cute side. I love that he's no cheesy idealist. He will get blood on his hand, not for the sake of justice, but only to make the world a bit less awful. He's not faultless, as we see his view is not absolute, but he seeks the same satisfying ending I want. His frustration would always reflect mine. Next is Park Hee Soon playing Detective Oh Dae Yeong, who's personality it pretty much the opposite of Su Hyun. He's pretty loud and outgoing, and his life is mostly in the light with a happy family. He got many years of experience making him very perceptive. Seeing his trail of thoughts and the way follows track is engrossing. The two guys have the chemistry and the perfect foil for each other. Rounding up the team is Jo Bo Ah as Jin Seo Jun. Though much younger and beautiful, she did convince me of her being a focused hacker and smart. I enjoyed the sunbae-Maknae feel.

Other interesting characters were those involved in the cases. Though Su Hyun was supposed to be the genius of the show, those perpetrator were the geniuses. The performances were dazzling for a number of cases totally broke my heart.

Other than the cases and character, I like how the theme was forming subtly little by little each episode, until we got to the last episode. I find they quoted it perfectly:

- Currently we are living in a world that's filled with the fruit of injustice
- A History of injustice manipulating justice to kill off justice

I enjoy my mysteries, but since it is embedded so well with such a deep theme about law and justice, it reveals a deeper message that the drama is telling the viewer, leaving us in deep thought about the matter.

I would highly recommend this drama for anyone who enjoyed TEN or OCN dramas, and mysteries in general. There isn't any romance but, there is bromance at a more understated level as well as camaraderie.

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The Murder of Snow White
25 people found this review helpful
Sep 23, 2014
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This movie is about a murder that happens, and the mystery being uncovered bit by bit through different point of views. It might not be original but it is my favourite type of mystery movies, and this movie used it effectively to make a commentary about Japanese media and the power of internet. I found 2 quotes said during the movie summarize what the movie is all about:

People have false memories. They only tell things that benefit them.
The internet exposes the truth. The internet accuses falsely.

Throughout the movie, we listen to people's point of view of the main suspect of the murder. At first I took what they said at face value, or at least as people enjoying gossip and making assumptions based on what they think. Part of it was true, while the other part was people just wanting to make someone look bad since it made them look better. The more people and the media demonize one person, the easier it becomes for others to make the worst assumptions.

Throughout most of the movie, we follow Ayano Go's character who works at a channel station to uncover the murder mystery. However he wasn't looking for the truth, he was looking for a story that'll make him successful. His interviews and editing of films he puts up are bias and just lead to pointing fingers at one suspect. His reason of doing this is simple. It's just juicier and he get the positive attention he wanted. As for the attention he got, people are just bored and that was adding excitement in their lives. I don't think his character was made to be worst than anyone else, he just is, and so are others. Basically many had their own complex they worry about, and expressed it differently. Sometimes it can lead to dire consequences.

The acting from the whole cast was great, but especially Inoue Mao. One thing I wonder though, how the hell is she considered "plain" lol. I guess she tried being as plain as possible. We also got a reunion with her co-star from her Hana Yori Dango Days. We don't even see the actrices in even one scene together, but I still felt chemistry there and felt for both their characters. Weird huh. Maybe just my bias :P

Finally I just want to say I loved that movie. It got me absorbed early on and the more I watch the more I want to find out more. I felt I was one of those netizens making assumptions of the findings until we get someone reveal more and I'd be like, no wait a minute, I got it all wrong!

My trail of thought was all over the place so I hope this review is helpful and not confusing :P

PS: I found the first 10 minutes is hard to follow because it's a time where 2 characters are having a conversation while one of them is writing tweets and getting reply. Trying to follow both at the same time is not easy so I was worried the whole movie would be like that but thankfully is wasn't.

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Nirvana in Fire
38 people found this review helpful
Dec 7, 2015
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
Well, I just wouldn't know where to start. This is my first completed Wu Xia drama I was completely amazed by it. I have so much to say and it'll probably be long so let me summarize it first. If you like Scheming dramas, where wining isn't really about how strong you are, or how strong your army is, but how smart, then this is a drama you'll definitely enjoy. However there is much more that this drama offers. The characters, their relationships and how things develop around them are at the heart of the drama. Love, loyalty, brotherhood portrayed in such a beautiful way. Like one of the comments I read on a blog said about this drama: *It hurts so good!*

As for the plot, it basically is a Chinese version of The Count of Monti Cristo transposed in Chinese empire. However, the story felt grander than the original French novel, and more than just a revenge tale. It is a story that goes beyond life and death, but setting the truth free. We are introduced to Mei Chang Su, a sickly man and part of the pugilistic world. He has established the Jiangzuo Alliance, a very powerful alliance with eyes and ears basically everywhere. Such power has given Mr. Su the title of Divine Talent. Two princes that are fighting for the throne sought after such talent. He was welcomed to the capital, but he had his own agenda. The two princes have been set against each other by the emperor. However such an act has corrupted the royal court, making the whole empire lose its strength. Mr. Su wants to remove both princes as contenders to the throne and bring forth the seventh prince, who's unfavoured by the emperor and looked down upon in the court. Mr.Su does so by studying the whole situation, going after each of the corrupt officials and brings their misdeeds to light. This is his way of removing corruption, and rebuilding the empire's strength.

That set the story forth as things start changing since the appearance of the mysterious Mei Chang Su. Soon enough, people start realizing that things are moving, and interest starts to increase in that mysterious figure. Little do they know he’s Lin Shu, survivor of the Chiyang army, and a victim of a tragedy from 12 years ago. The capital is full of people who benefitted from his tragedy, and those whose time has stopped since that time, unable to accept reality, but incapable of changing reality. Among them loyal friends join our protagonist in his quest to set things right.

Though the story is all about machinations, with smart villains, and smarter hero, what make this drama so special, addicting, memorable and endearing are the characters and relationships. Starting with Mei Chang Su, he’s a tragic character. The son of General Lin, and cousin to the princes, his world with filled with love, his potential was infinite and his dreams are big. Suddenly, all was stolen from him, even his face. He goes back home but it isn’t home anymore. As much as he denies himself the desire to go back to his previous self, he can’t help but show it in the most vital moments. Then there’s the 7th prince, Prince Jing. He’s very straight forward, to a fault, and never hides his feelings. What he thinks of the Chiyang army is no secret to all, making him unfavoured by his father, the emperor. He and Lin Shu grew up as brothers, and his feelings for Lin Shu haven’t changed. However he seemed to have inherited his doubtful side from his father. He has a hard time trusting Mei Chang Su since Mr. Su isn’t as straightforward as he’d like him to be, and he has a prejudice against strategist. I have to say seeing the relationship between these two develop is the most appealing in the drama, and the most carefully planned.

Then there is Princess Ni Huang, Lin Shu’s fiancé who can’t get her hand on what makes her trust Mr. Su this much. Princess Ni Huang is an army general, and the emperor wants to control her by finding her a husband from the capital. However she isn’t one to be controlled and will always get her way, and has a cute brother watching out for her. She is the weakness that makes Mei Chang Su go back to being Lin Shu, even for a moment. She is always the warmth he needs when things are too hard or too sad for him. Next is general Meng, the ever so loyal friend of Mei Changsu, and captain of the royal guards. He’s the strongest person in the capital, but not the smarted of the bunch. Even so he is one Mr. Su depends on most and when he takes charge, he kicks ass.

Other memorable characters are: the smart and warm Concubine Jing; the strong and childish puppy-like Fei Liu; the upright heartbreaking sweetheart Jing Rui; the sunshine Yu Jin; the kickass Xia Dong… the list goes on and on.

The opposing side doesn’t disappoint either. Many antagonists were interesting but most intriguing for me was Prince Yu. He’s very careful in what he does, and knows how to always make himself look in a favourable light in front of the emperor, making him favoured among the princes. However, there was always this emotional detachment he felt from his father, creating a void in him. Throughout the drama, with all his actions, being good or hateful ones, I felt he was always trying to fill this void. Another intriguing character, and maybe the most intriguing of all characters, is the emperor. My first impression of him is, that man is no fool. However everyone know he’s no fool, and of his doubtful nature, which became a tool used by our protagonists and enemies alike. He gives this fatherly figure impression, but that can change in a moment. He does care for his sons, but the power he has over the throne precedes all. He rather punishes innocents rather than let go of suspect. His conscience still haunts him because of past misdeeds, but he rather ignores it to protect his pride.

What brought those characters to life are talented actors and their on screen chemistry. Those favourite moments of mine when Hu Ge looses his composure, or veteran Ding Yong Dai playing such a complicated character like the emperor, who you both hate to love and love to hate.

Of course there is more to this drama than acting and characterization. The writing itself is fantastic. You got the tight plot, you got the character depth, and you got a great balance between all. Not a moment was wasted, as every arc got better than its predecessor. As for the direction, it was flawless for the most part. The story was fast paced, the action scenes were engaging, and overall the scenery was just gorgeous. The music is spot on, and the OST was beautifully fitting, written just for this drama. My only complaint in that area is the beginning, which was overwhelming with information. Especially to a newbie to cdramas like me, I’m getting to know the actors as well as the characters, and this drama doesn’t make it easy. Thankfully, by episode 4-5 things clear up and everything becomes easier to swallow. Another complaint would be when some characters disappear for a long period of time, and we miss them too much. However we’re usually too preoccupied with what is going on, so it’s not like we have the time to get bored.

The ending did not disappoint, and all brought together, with closure to all.

This drama is a perfect example portrayal of the possibility of what is means to run a kingdom through loyalty, love, strength, and wisdom. I’m usually a cynical person, but the experience we go through in this drama doesn’t leave any cynicism in me. I think it’s mostly the focus on love and loyalty between characters throughout the drama that eliminated any doubt in me.

Again beautiful drama and was worth every moment of my time. If you’re not sure yet do try the OST:

When the Wind Blows by Hu Ge
Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red by Wang Kai
Aging of a Beauty by Liu Tao

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Family's Form
15 people found this review helpful
Mar 28, 2016
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
*I can't leave my sons hardly any money, but I do want to tell them to make people their asset.*

This was one of the dramas I wasn't planning on watching, then started out of boredom but turned out to be a pleasant watch. Watching it made me forget all my problems and the things I stress about, and gave me a warm feeling. I enjoyed every second of it. I can't say they it has anything that stand out, but more of a number of things coming together in harmony and giving us this heartwarming fun dorama.

The drama is really about bringing people together. The title is about the ever changing form a family takes as time goes on and how we find ways to adapt at every upcoming change. I love that our hero Daisuke, played by Katori Shingo (my first time watching him - he did pretty well) is a typical introverted who treasures his time alone, only to have to deal with his extraverted father Yozo, played by Nishida Toshiyuki, who has no consideration for such issues. Another highlight is the growing relationship between Daisuke and his new ototo, and mostly the hearwarming relationship between Yozo-san and Kota. Then there's Ueno Juri playing lonely Hanako, with her lazy demeanor that takes out her boredom by complaining about anything, getting nicknamed *Complainer Hanako*. I enjoyed her bickering relationship with Daisuke, her mother, played by the lovely Fubuki Jun. Actually my favourite part of the drama was the relationship of Yozo and Ricchan and how they affected everyone around them with their warmth. Arakawa Yoshiyoshi as Daisuke's colleague doubled the fun, and the addition of Tanaka Kei was a great welcome. That guy needs to get a leading role next!

There were more. It's a huge cast and the drama gave the spotlight to most of them, and we saw both main and supporting characters grow throughout the drama.

Nishida Toshiyuki was at the center of it all. He brought lightheartedness to the drama, but can be a firm father figure when needed to, and when he gets emotional you can't help but get carried away by it. There were many instance I understood Daisuke's frustrations, and it would've drove me crazy if I was in his place, but the moment Yozo-san makes amend or explains himself, I just can't help feel for him and want him to be forgiven.

Anyways fun drama worth checking out ;)

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Sutekina Sen Taxi
15 people found this review helpful
Jan 3, 2015
Overall 8.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This dorama is about the different customers a time-taxi driver meets at a certain turning point of their lives, and takes them back in time to change it. The format is episodic, even when they sometimes tease us with a connection to past episodes, it does not affect the overall turn of events. I like stories like that and generally enjoy watching them, but this one has some aspects that add more to my overall enjoyment and makes want to watch more of it.

One of the biggest attractions of the drama is Takenouchi Yutaka and the way he plays his character the taxi driver Edawakare. Without knowing much of his past, each episode makes us discover a little more of his antics. He's completely awkward and indecisive, and is afraid of what others think of any of his actions. For him, every moment is a turning point, and he has to think over and over, weighing the pros and cons, being honest about himself vs conforming, and so on. Even so he's pretty blunt with his opinion about his clients' decisions, and shows much more confidence in the taxi driver's seat. Then when he smiles I stop really seeing whats going on and get absorbed with that beautiful smile of his. Seriously his smile feels so genuine, and is both cute and sexy.

Another aspect I fully enjoyed is the café he hangs out most of his free time. At first we see him just as a normal customer there, but later he see him getting closer and more involved with them, like a family. That was cute and homey.

Last but not least, our main subject matter, the clients, are very entertaining and distinct. Not all are likeable but you may relate to them. The ending of each episode sometimes go to familiar places and sometimes do something unexpected and surprised us.

Finally I'd like to say this dorama may not be for everyone, being formulaic and episodic, but if you do give it a chance, I'd see to give it at least 3 episodes before deciding to continue or quit. It is a must watch for any Takenouchi Yutaka fan ;)

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Aoi Honoo
13 people found this review helpful
Feb 12, 2015
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
This is not only the most hilarious dorama of the year, but most hilarous in the last couple of years. This drama is based on a slice of life manga of the same name by Kazuhiko Shimamoto as he tells the fictionalized story of his time at the Osaka University of Arts. In the most extreme over the top comedy, it provides a commentary about the generation and expectations of that time.


Unlike most j-doramas, this drama concentrate with in depth with one character only, and most other characters are seen from his point of view. The story starts with our protagonist's first day at the university. He thinks he's destined for greatness, and everyone else is beneath his capabilities. Little did he know of the hardship and competition he'd need to face to reach anything close to greatness. As much as comedy is at the forefront of everything that is dealt with, it is undeniably a coming of age piece through and through. University time is a tricky time. It's a time where they need to leave their childhood behind and actually take hold of their future to accomplish their goals and fulfill their dreams, but the road is not only bumpy, but also not clear at all. It gets more obscure when you haven't set a specific goal and only dream of the reward. I think most of us go through this phase at one point in our life, but this dorama gives us an exposition of it in an extreme sense through the eyes of Moyuru Honoo.

I have to say, I cannot imagine what this show would've turned out with the hands of a lesser actor than Yugira Yuuya. He acted it out, with every inch of his body and soul. With all the things his character goes through, with all its craziness and patheticness, he still manages to be cute and makes an adorable grumpy face. I can't think of him as anything short of a genius. It isn't surprising that he's Canne's youngest prize winner back in 2004. That guy is to watch out for! Another role that stood out mostly thanks to its portrayal by the actor is Yasuda Ken's Hideaki Anno. He was flawless as the genius workaholic geek with no sense of awareness of what is going on around him. Anno is everything Honoo fails to become, for better or for worse. Another honorary mention is Muro Tsuyushi as Hiroyuki Yamaga, with his - my meal ticket- face he does. All the other characters were pretty normal people, and we don't really go in depth with their personality, but the cast still does a good job in portraying them.

The music perfectly sets the tone of the era, and adds more hilarity to the situation. The direction here had an image and knew exactly what to aim for.

This drama is a must watch for anyone who loves japanese comedies, specially over the top ones, also for anime fan. People not familiar with that type of don't like the over the top slap stick comedy may have trouble accepting it, but if you give it a chance, I'm pretty sure you'll find a gem here.

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Nazo no Tenkousei
13 people found this review helpful
Oct 19, 2014
Overall 9.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 7.0
This dorama one of my favourites. Even so it's not one I can recommend easily. It's appeal is on a very personal level for me. It drew me in at first sight, and every element it added increase it's charm for me. If I were it describe it, I'd say is a low profile sci-fi high school drama with subtle romance.

The story starts with a bunch of students that couldn't be any more normal who greet a mysterious transfer student. Afterwards, bit by bit things start getting weirder with people who associated with him. One thing we know, this tenkousei (transfer student) is on a mission. Things get a bit complicated, but the style the direction used made it easier to absorb throughout each episode. There were many interesting characters which could've been nice to explore more. Some of them were pushed to the side to give screen time to additional characters, which was unfortunate but understandable given the time constraint. I love science fiction when sets it's own rules and logic, and operate within those guidelines which was what I found in this drama.

What I liked most in here was the directing. It managed to bring in all those elements that I enjoy watching in my shows and placed them together in such a fitting smooth laid-back manner that made such a complex story easy to digest. I also love the way they filmed the whole show, as if it was back in the 70s which brought this nostalgic feeling to it. Other than the use of cellphones, this dorama could've easily been mistaken for a sci-fi from that time. Whether it's a good or a bad thing is subjective. For me it felt like it came perfectly with the other elements of the show.

As for the acting and performances, there were countless really good ones but of course the one that stood out, and was the heart and soul of the dorama was Hongo Kanata. I cannot begin to describe how awesome he is here. Keeps you puzzled such a long time wondering if he's a human, an alien, a cyborg or some other sort of being. His gestures were flawless and the emotions he releases through his face were heart-rending. Other than him, the ever glowing Sugisaki Hana has been growing on me in every role I see her. She's particularly endearing here, her character being a bit different from previous role I've seen her in. Even with those two performances, Nakamura Aoi wasn't over shadowed for me. The reason isn't because of a bias but more since his character is one I connected the most with. I liked his laid back lazy, sometimes awkward personality. He was a natural in it. I felt Sakurai Minami was the most overshadowed since neither her character nor her performance stood out in any at all. There were many other great performances but it'll be too long to talk about it ;)

The ending they chose wasn't the best in my view but it doesn't bother me either. I think this dorama could've been perfect if given more time (more episodes or even seasons) to be fully explored, but the story needed to come to an end

As for the music it was great. The opening song and the video with it were awesome. I love the ending song. It really is uplifting and cheerful. Even if you don't watch the show, believe me it's worth checking out the song ;)

So to conclude and summarize the whole thing, if you like a laid-back drama who contains interesting elements such as coming of age with sci-fi twist, then that's exactly what you need to watch. If you're a fan of Hongo Kanata, it's also woth checking out ;)

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Ex-Girlfriend Club
17 people found this review helpful
Jun 16, 2015
Overall 8.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 6.0
This was an enjoyable watch. The story was simple really, and the best thing about this drama is that they kept it simple. I really enjoyed different interactions between characters, how each character eventually became and individual, and more than the romance, I mostly enjoyed the friendship here.

Of course the main attraction of this drama were the characters. For me it was more how they were easy to relate to more than anything.

-Soo Jin is a hardworking girl who wants to produce meaningful movies. To do that she has to accept working on movies she's less enthusiastic about.
-Myung Soo is a webtoon artist who's getting by (though I don't know how he would afford a Burberry blancket :P). He's a positive person, chill and fun to be around.
-Hwa Yeong is a career woman with a crazy side to her that needs to be kept in check.
-Ji Ah is a woman stuck in the image of a classy madame, but yearns for freedom from it.
-Rara gives off the impression of a loose girl who'd anything to reach her dream when in reality she's a sweet person who needed someone to remind her of her value.
-Jo Geon is an artist at heart, with all the negative and positive that comes with it. He's moody, he's unpredictable, he's got a temper, but he's warm, doesn't judge others and reflective.
-Finally, though we didn't see much of Yeong Jae, I found him much more refreshing now that he got rid of that perfectness when it comes to relationships.

I find those are all traits we can relate to, to some degree and I really enjoyed the focus on it. Any fight, breakup or argument came from within, and not from any flimsy external factor, or stupid misunderstanding. The development in the relationships felt natural, and the characters had chemistry. The friendship between the ladies was a delight it reminded me of one of my favourite high school romcom movies "John Tucker Must Die".

I'm not sure if the episode cut was a positive or a negative occurrence. On one hand there was no time to waste on any extra angst, so even annoying characters had to wrap up their act fast, actually making them more likeable. On the other hand, there were some events that felt got wrapped conveniently fast an could benefit some a deeper exploration.

Overall light watch with relatable characters and unique comedic moment,

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Gochisousan
11 people found this review helpful
Sep 10, 2016
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
*To crave for food is to have the will to live; the stronger the craving the greater the will*

Said by yet another awesome Asadora Obaachan, this summarizes perfectly what this drama is really about. This is my second Asadora, so I'm definitely new to this platform of drama. Still it was yet another enjoyable ride. You might think the overall rating doesn't average out, and that's because my enjoyment has also been taken into consideration despite a bit of criticism here and there.

Gochisousan is about the hardships faced by our spoiled and outspoken heroine, as she gets married and gets accustomed to her in-laws and the city where she's about to start her new life. The hardships doesn't only come from the cultural differences, but also the different baggages the people who surround Meiko carry, including her husband. In that sense, we get to explore many deep human agony and darkness. The main constant theme is how having a meal together makes any agony seem small compared to the joy of eating. In that sense, food is definitely overstated in the drama, but there definitely is truth to this message.

The story follows Meiko through the different stages in her life, as she lives through challenges during a stable era to as she goes through the chaotic era, as she insists on savouring every moment in life, and sharing her bliss. The childhood portion was too adorable, to the point I kept thinking of it throughout the drama. By the time we meet older Meiko, the thought "So soon! I haven't had enough of little Meiko" it felt depressing really. However a couple of minutes of seeing more of teenage Meiko (Anne), and I'm sold that this is the same person as the child I watched earlier. Her Story with Yutaro (Higashide Masahiro - Anne's future husband) was a sweet, albeit typical romcom style one. The setting though, and the pace makes it a pleasant story to watch. Then she moves to Osaka with her husband, and that's when the real challenges begin, with an extremely difficult sister-in-law and unstable family life, Meiko cannot accept defeat. I have to say there are times that the in-laws get on my nerves, but Meiko's hard work eventually pays off.

There are two things that makes Gochisousan a great watch. First is all the colourful characters, from her family, to the people at the market, her in-laws, and eventually her children. The life-long friendships and the quirkiness of the characters really had an everlasting impression in me. Early on I loved every scene of Meiko's father. He was stubborn, but always put his loved ones first, which makes her a great father. The most noteworthy is, of course, Noriko, Yutaro's younger sister. Honestly the drama was as much about her relationship with Meiko. As she retains her thoughtful spirit and delicate character, her growth was evolutionary. Other characters to look out for are Genchan, Sakurako, Muroi, and the greatest Takemoto Yuzo. Later on we have Meiko's children, as each get into the spotlight and forever make a place in our hearts for them. Fuku was inspirational, Katsuo was joy, and Taisuke was everything good on this planet.

Second is the depiction of the the gradual hardship during the war, from the different ingredients that kept on disappearing to the scattering of families, and even the corruption of powerful people making life even harder. And also the realization of what the country has become after the war. As light as a morning drama can be, the portrayal was still unnerving, and at times, shocking. I was also impressed how food was successfully used to convey the characters' feelings and the message of the drama overall. It remained a constant theme that symbolizes the legacy she inherited from her family, and how she changed it, the relationship between her and Yutaro, and eventually all the people that become an important part of her life. The bad thing here is that you will constantly feel hungry while watching this drama.

There were many Laugh Out Loud moments in this drama. Even problems that get to our nerves at one point, become a great topic to laugh about later on. Don't we all have moments like those? It made me change my mind about what an **ideal relationship** is and accept that it doesn't have to be ideal in order to be PERFECT.

As I said earlier, I do have some criticism of this drama. Yes food is overstated. If you're not a foody you might have a problem with that. However if you look passed it you'll come to appreciate the messages there. Another is really how the post-war was shown through rose tinted glass, and of course the Americans dialog were too cheesy. Nonetheless there was a beautiful and truthful message successfully relayed here. Finally, and that was the same issue I had with my previous Asadora, which is not bothering to age the actors to suit the characters. I've come to a realization it's all about keeping them pretty enough for a morning drama. This shallow reason really ruins the art of story telling.

Honestly acting wise, I was mostly impressed with Anne, Takahata Mitsuki, Muro Tsuyoshi, Wada Masato, Yamanaka Takashi, Kimura Midoriko knew how to make herself hated, and Suda Masaki. The rest varied but well fitting for the role. Higashide Masahiro has yet to convince me that he deserves all the leading roles he's been getting. I mean I totally loved him here, but mostly because it suited his characters. And looking so great at it too. I get the appeal, I just don't see him that great as an actor.

Honestly this was a fun ride. There were times that were difficult to watch but was well packaged to make it overall inspirational and joyful to watch. The episodes went by so fast it even felt short. I left it wanting more, which, in my opinion, is a sign of success.

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Gunshi Kanbei
11 people found this review helpful
Apr 3, 2015
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 7.0
What a ride that was! Being my first taiga, I loved and enjoyed every moment of it. This drama made me want to learn more, watch more, research more, love Japan more, love history more. It made me understand things that I had a hard time digesting before. Fifty episodes went by pretty fast and the episodes were pretty short.

This drama is the dramatization of the life of Kuroda Kanbei (Okada Junichi), a daimyo during the Sengoku period, known to be the chief strategist and an adviser to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. As a history drama, many of the events were described accurately and at the right timeline. As for the characterization of those historical personalities, it most definitely is bias. Except for the last 3 episodes, Kanbei was always shows as this angel with saint-like qualities. The same can be said about some personalities who were know to be on his side. You can conclude that the drama was made based on Kanbei's point of you on those people. However this doesn't come in the way of learning about history and appreciating those personalities.

As I said, don't let the number of episodes scare you. The episodes are short enough and the events that are being covered can cover four times this amount of time. I found the drama well paced, and keeps you hooked throughout the whole time of his running. Every couple of intense episodes, we get a breather that is both relaxing to watch, and fun to experience the way of life of that era. The graphics and effects were alright, the drama overall is nothing fancy, but good enough to convince you of it's timing and era. Some places I loved most are the tea places. If I were to compare it to another taiga I started recently, Tenchijin, I'd say this one looks much better, but that is only because Tenchijin looks 10 years older than it really is (but once I gave it a chance I still fell in love with it XP). As for the music, that is one soundtrack I really enjoy. It has a very calming side to it that is used during the travelogue.

Despite being a political drama, what makes this drama shine most is the human relationship seen here, mainly between lord and retainer, but also between husband and wife, parent and child, and those are what bring out the emotions out of you. The performances that emphasize on those relationship is what makes me want to keep watcing. Starting with Okada Junichi, don't let his background as a JE idol fool you, he did an excellent job portraying Kanbei throughout his life, from 16 years or to the end of his life. Then there's the lovely Nakatani Miki playing his wife Teru. I just love seeing those two together, even when they got to old age. They definitely had the chemistry, and the looks they give to each other makes it feel like they're looking into each other's souls not selves. Matsuzaka Tori playing his son Nagamasa also did a great job. I did feel he needed a little time to get used to his character, but that may be because he was playing a young inexperience teenager. We later see his growth and the different phases of his relationship with his father.

Then there is the retainers. This drama has succeeded in finally making me understand the relationship between the lord and his retainers. It definitely is not an equal relationship, but it is more of an equivalent exchange, and the basis of that exchange is loyalty, and that goes both ways. Seeing Kanbei's retainer's growth was one of the highlights of this drama. Takahashi Issei, playing Inoue Kuroemon, was by far my favourite. He was a natural. Seeing his reaction always told me if I need to worry about what is going on. Hamada Gaku and Hayami Mokomichi playing Zensuke and Tahe, took a little while to get into character, but when they finally did, they became perfect for their roles.

Other than the Kuroda household, there were many great personalities of the era in this drama. Oda Nobunaga ovliously tops the list, where Eguchi Yosuke's performance was unbeatable. Period. I had a hard time digesting Takenaka Naoto but later I grew fond of it. The character is pretty unconventional which is weird considering the era and people, however it seemed true to his character, and his background as a farmer. The taiga was as much about kanbei as it was Tomoyomi's rise to power. Anothers really interesting personality is Tanaka Tetsushi as Araki Murashige. His character went through the most phases, and at each phase, he shows a different face. Seeing him going from a man with ambitions to a person who has lost his mind. There are many others, many interesting women of the era, but this taiga concentrate mostly what these men go through with each battle they fight and what motivates them to go to war.

To conclude, it is a very well paced drama, with many interesting events, during a very interesting time in Japan's history, that honours many historical figures with excellent performances, and heartwarming interaction. I think it is a drama that can be appreciated by anyone if given the chance. Once you're done with it, I'm pretty sure it'll wake up the history lover in you.

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Confessions
11 people found this review helpful
Jul 4, 2014
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 6.0
While watching this movie, I got so absorbed in it I was unaware of my surroundings. Just when I thought I lost my interest in revenge stories, this movie wakes it up again. It also explore how society deals with its kids, specially at that difficult age.

The story is simple. A teacher's daughter gets killed, and the culprit are her students. She teaches them a vicious lesson, one they might never get up from, and they will certainly not forget.

Ignorance is when you think you know it all. Thats why teenagers tend to be ignorant and look down on adult. I liked that she managed to show them who's boss. But in doing so, you feel that she lost her humanity. She didn't teach them out of care, she hates them but just doesn't want that crime to be forgotten. The children themselves, their thirst for attention blinds them from the crimes they do. They have no conscience at all. To be look up to as cool, they take it on the weaker, like cowards. It reminds me of an essay I read some time before where it says that children are more dangerous than adult, because they have no morality. They can do the worst of crimes and not realize its atrocity. Basically when they do those kind of crimes, they should be punished like adult and face the consequences.

The acting from Matsu Takako was top notch. I specially liked Kaoru Fujiwara;s acting her. The cast is generally great. Okada Masaki's character was plain annoying, because he was meant to be lol.

I loved LOVED the direction here. The use of flashbacks, the skip from one flashback to another (as if watching an old family video) during conversations and monologues, the lighting and effects, the colours of them moving, was used effectively and perfectly. I think its what made the movie stand out and what absorbed me in that movie. The music used is no exception, setting the mood perfectly.

As a psychological thriller, it carries the task perfectly without being a burden to watch. You're never thinking "I just want to know the ending of it". It might not be to everyone's taste, but Its definitely worth the watch ;)

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Gassoh
10 people found this review helpful
Nov 19, 2016
Overall 9.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
I loved this movie! I understand it won't appeal for everyone though. This isn't some sort of heroic story, nor doomed romance, nor about revolution. These themes are explored, but it's mainly and mostly about the state, the condition of the country at that point in time. It's about youth distortion and chaos.

The film opens with a peculiar scene. Masanosuke (Seto Koji) gets home and realizes his shoes are wet. He accidently stepped into something disgusting with an off-putting smell. The next morning, he doesn't notice anything, however in the evening he can smell it again. He realizes something is rotten deep inside the house he was passing by. He can't clearly identify it.

We then follow three young men. One is driven by the old ways of thinking. He can't accept the upcoming change, and dreams of this heroic life probably similar to samurai stories he grew up listening to. He believes in his own grandeur and nothing else will move him. The second is all about revolution, change and movements. His mind and words are big, yet fails to capture anyone's attention. Finally there's the one indifferent to the cause, just following the tied, until he finds himself in something he can't comprehend, and with not enough resolve to follow through.

When the country is going through a state of uncertainty and distrust, those three representing different ends of the spectrum of the people in those times. So while it does represent Japan at this important time in history, but the story definitely transcends beyond its setting.

The acting doesn't disappoint, to say the least. Of course Yuuya Yagira dominates the screen in his strong presence, but the others came through when needed. Really enjoyed Okayama Amane's acting here. I'm not too familiar with Seto Koji, but he was perfect for the character he plays here. Odagiri Joe plays a supporting role but his presence was notable (& beautiful). Finally Kadowaki Mugi with her minimal presence manages to distinguish herself.

I also loved the direction and camera work. The colours used in the scenes, mostly dim, at times disturbing red, or the desolating blue, were effective in representing the mood and feeling of the characters and events. The shots were poingnant and gives us a perfect idea of the place of the characters in the whole picture. It's more symbolic than anything. In any case, the combination results in this painting full of hope and anguish. It's relentlessly beautiful.

There is so much I appreciate about this movie, but it definitely isn't one easy to recommend. I'd say if you are interested in, not that period of Japanese history, but the mental state it was in, you'll definitely enjoy it. If you're looking for a movie about extravagant heroism, this isn’t the movie for you. If you are a fan of any of the main cast, chances are you'll enjoy the movie for the acting at least, just set your expectations right. Happy Watching :D

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Sep 15, 2016
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
Drama might not appeal to all but definitely did to me. The synopsis is pretty accurate in the description. Our Heroine Todo became a detective because she wants to discovery the boundary that turns some people into criminals. This whole exploration of the dark side of humanity is the main appeal for me, and the continuing conversations about this subject throughout the drama is what made me enjoy the drama.
Granted it didn't go as deep as I'd wanted to, and one of the best villains here felt like a copy of the villain in Siren, it was interesting nonetheless. As far as storytelling goes though, don't expect all to make sense, but just works out in the universe of the drama.

Todo is a pretty intriguing characters. I liked following her trail of thoughts as she makes the (obvious) connection between cases and follow her investigations on her own. What I enjoyed most is her personality. She's definitely one enjoyable to have around since she's agreeable for the most part, but there definitely is this invisible wall around her. Once through that wall, you may find something completely different than the impression she gives at first. Another intriguing character would be Nakajima. I enjoyed most the conversations people have with him. I thought it was only his conversations with Todo that interest me, but even around others like Shoji, he never ceases to be interesting.
Honestly though other than Todo, Nakajima, and sometimes the Queen of death, none of the other characters were remotely interesting, and were there to fill space and add on the usual tropes.

If more depth and screentime was given to all the characters, and whole police were not made so dumb, it would've been one of the greatest dramas. I mean how could you call yourself a detective when you're incapable of making such simple connection. Also the way Shoji does his investigation is just such a sloppy way to portray! Everyone else was useless. Well the forensic department also had its moment.

As for the cast, casting Hayashi Kento was the BEST thing they did. He really carried the drama for me. I didn't like Haru much but I warmed up to her here. I always enjoy Watabe Atsuro on my screen but felt underused. Still he had quirky personality traits. Harada Mieko was a welcome addition to the team and her scenes her fun. First time watching Yokoyama Yu and OH MAN HE WAS ANNOYING! A total grumpy ojisan! And it doesn't help that he looks SO MUCH younger than his age. The rest of the cast aren't worth mentioning. Except the guest role actors, like Mamiya Shotaro, left an impression as well.

Quality wise, I'd give it 6-6.5 rating. However when factoring in my enjoyment I had of it I had to boost it up.

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