I’ve decided to improve my profile, but be aware, I’m kinda old school, and I like to write more than to put pictures, I’m coming from a time when we wrote every single word of our lessons and I’m very talkative when I’m writing (as a result, I don’t have a twitter account, because 140 characters is definitely not enough for me to express myself in a proper way).
I tend to be nostalgic, even of times i’ve never lived in or people i’ve never met. Whatsoever, nostalgia lead me to anime, especially old anime I watched when I was a child (oldies but goodies such as Captain Harlock, Captain Tsubasa, Grendizer, Saint Seiya and many others, mostly Japanese, but not only –Oh! And I didn’t really like anime for girls at that time) to newer ones I found online (Animecrazy).
On Animecrazy, there was this banner on the upper left side of the page (“The Wallflower" at that time) which made me wonder if current Asian dramas were as bad as the older ones I was remembering (tokusatsus) and cherishing. That lead me to Dramacrazy and a new world of craziness. For my own damnation, and my very big pleasure! First “new” Asian drama I watched was indeed Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, that keeps a special place in my heart despite his numerous flaws. Then I watched many of the most ranked dramas on that website, my new source of hope in life (or at least what kept me alive at that time (I’m aware that the word is not appropriate, but I really felt dead inside at that moment)): HYD, Nobuta wo Produce, Atashinchi no danshi, Hana Kimi and so many others. First dramas, first favorite characters, first Asian crushes… Nobuta and its wonderful friendship among main characters remains one of my favorite. Akira my very first favorite character (though I did like Hanazawa Rui in HYD).
I’ve always been a monomaniac: if I like something, I only like that thing, and one thing at a time. My first encounter with Asian dramas was Japan, in 2010, and Japanese dramas stay the dramas I’m watching the most, I’m anticipating the most, I’m liking the most. I did try to watch other countries dramas, and I did sometimes fall for the Korean mesmerizing way of telling romances, but I’m still coming back home. To Japan.
Indeed, dramas lead me to Japan. Literally. Once in a while, Japan enters my life in a different kind of way: as a child, with its anime, as a high school student, through the program of geography for the baccalaureat (I’m still remembering the front page of the Japan’s part of my textbook), as an adult, through dramas. As an adult I had finally the opportunity to go there, surprisingly not so much after I started to be addicted. At the beginning of 2011, I was wondering whether to go or not (alone, that’s always challenging for me). Sadly, the Tohoku’s tsunami and its disastrous consequences made me determine to go, maybe, surely because almost everybody around told me not to go. My mother said I should go though, so I went. The most wonderful trip in my life.
Dramacrazy lead me here too. MyDramaList, the website I lurked around for about 6 months before registering in 2012, the wonderful community the woman who doesn’t like community is so proud to be a member of. My new home and my shelter. いい場所, the place I belong to, as say the Japanese.
Dramaworld is always full of surprises. Indeed, dramas lead me to Asian music, a little, but still, it lead me to 嵐. Boys bands were trendy in the late 90s, when I was still in high school. Though I listened to some of them, I was not a hardcore fan, I can barely remember the name of the groups and would definitely be unable to sing any of the song that were hits at that time (lucky you : I’m very bad at singing!). So the skeptical and – I have to assume- the girl who made fun of those kind of groups (too superficial), fell for a Japanese one. No need to say I was not that proud at the beginning. But I don’t really need to hide it now, most of my close ones know I’m a fangirl, and they totally didn’t give a damn about that (as they totally don’t care about Japan, dramas and Asian music). As long as I don’t make them listen to it, it’s okay (but very frustrating).
So 嵐. There is so much to say about them.
First encounter with the group was probably through HYD… though I was not aware of them and the songs didn’t strike me at that time.
So Matsumoto was the first member I saw act, and that was a total fail for me. His character in HYD pissed me so much, no! I hated him so much, that I literally blacklisted him for more than two years. No need to say I was quite surprised to like him in the group (even if I didn’t realize it was him at first). But liking the group made me want to watch him act, and Gokusen save the thing for me. Still one of my favorite character of him, though the place he impressed me te most was during a 嵐にしやがれ segment when he faced Ohno . I grew liking him as a (public) person (for instance through his NTV’s24hrs… segments), and I’m really impressed by his way of managing their concerts.
Aiba : he is the member I’m watching the least, probably because his latest dramas are not subbed. I discovered him through the group, and through their TV shows. I like his heartwarming aura and his clumsiness. I haven’t seen a lot of his dramas, but Youkoso, Wagaya e! is probably the one I enjoyed the most, along with My girl.
Ninomiya : I “met” him through the group too, and I had quite a difficulty to appreciate him. I think it took me more than a year to settle a good opinion on him. Their TV shows didn’t help in that. But I must confess listening to him singing, and watching him act, makes me like him more than I would have expected. As an actor, he is definitely the strongest one, and I find him awesomely good at depicting the boy next door, the normal and annoying man of the neighborhood. He incarnates them in such a natural way that I generally dislike them at first. But Nino always finds a way to show their good and touching side, and I generally end up falling for those characters (as for instance in Gantz or Freeter, Ie o kau… well in fact in all performances). That being said, what probably made me change my mind about the man is his heartwarming voice : I like it to the point I prefer it to Ohno’s one. I fell for Nino’s solo songs, the ones I’m anticipating the most in each new album, and needless to say that the latest ones went straight to the number one place.
Sakurai : Even if he was not the first member I watched, he was my gateway to the group. His role in Nazotoki wa, Dinner no ato de impressed me that much that I wanted to see more of him, and Kageyama stays my favorite character of Sakurai, even if he was probably more impressive in Kazoku Game (and I never thought he could be that good). His drama Tokio is also one that stroke me a lot: though not that good at first, Sakurai unexpectedly moved me. I know he is not the best actor, but I’m always anticipating his dramas, probably because Sakurai has been for long my first “ichiban”. I’m also really impressed by the hardworking man, and his way of managing his career as a member of 嵐, and as a newscaster. In a way, Sakurai is the personification of the Japanese myth of the hardworking Japanese man (totally unconceivable for the woman who thinks 32hrs per week should be the norm). For those reasons he has a special place in my heart.
Last and not least, Ohno-san is the dearest of them. If Sakurai is the one that lead me to 嵐, Ohno is the one that made me stay. I still remember when five years ago, I took a liking at my first favorite song of the group : Tomadoi Nagara, where his solo part moved me deeply. His voice is beautiful, though I’d rather Nino’s. But how I like when they sing together! Acting speaking, I don’t really like his earlier dramas, except Maou, but his recent ones always managed to move me. My favorite character of him is Enomoto Kei from Kagi no kakatta Heya, he is even my favorite character in Asian Dramaland. I can relate to him (and the “glass box speech” in the last episode), as well as I could sometimes relate to his character in Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi. I also respect him as an artist. Though he often seems to be far from where is body is, he sometimes manages to deliver strong emotions : can’t help thinking of him crying during their time in Hawaï… so unexpected and touching (they were all, in fact).
I have to admit that at the moment I can’t really decide who is my favorite member between the last two, but that’s not really important. I’m never as happy as when as I see the five of them fool around together. I almost didn’t miss any VS嵐 of the last years, but it’s the only show I really enjoy with them. I also like to see them together in movies. They are not as good as their individual dramas, but have a special feeling, such as the Pikanchi series, or even Kiroi no Namida.
I like 嵐 members probably because of their songs. They are not outstanding nor that original in any way, but their rhythm and melody are just perfect for my taste. some of my favourites : A day in our life, Face Down, Tomadoi Nagara, Believe... Album speaking, I’m only listening to their recent ones (from 2008 to date). “The Digitalian” and “Are you Happy?” Are probably my favorites.
To finish, I don’t have a rating system. If I finish a drama, it somehow entertains me. I tend to rate high things I fully enjoyed AND/OR things that have a special topic AND/OR when actors really deliver. Even if I sometimes try to venture beyond my comfort zone, I’m not the kind to watch a drama because some highly-praised-by-demanding-MDL-fellows-actors are in it. I’m okay with artsy movies or dramas, but they have to appeal to me in some kind of way, which is not that easy as I do have a very plain life. I sometimes find it hard to relate to even normal dramas, no need to say I’m not feeling concerned by character or stories which are just there for torturing your mind. That being said, Japanese dramas taught me that even plots that are not attracting can make me end loving the story (Liar Game, Ninkyo Helper…)
I don’t really have favorite genre (but I don’t watch horror things), but human relationships are what interest me. I’m always in if there is friendship (bromance is a bonus), and I’d rather a good friendship story than any romance. Japan has a very special way on describing it that always moves me. I’m enjoying dramas that focused on several characters, and I’m always delighted by strong second and supportive roles (I’m even okay with second lead syndrome).
I’m not an assertive person, but I have strong positions on many subjects, and I very unlikely change my mind on major topics (dramas aren’t a major topic, no matter what). I’m open to discussion, but I’m also clumsy in human relationship, particularly through the computer, and I might end hurting some people without even noticing it. I apologize in advance. And, in case you’ve not noticed yet, I’m a narcissist.
I’m not confident that anyone would read until the end, but if so, thanks a lot.
, 1999, LAM Lille Métropole. (Photo is mine)