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lontongstroong

Chuubitville

lontongstroong

Chuubitville
Completed
Amachan
29 people found this review helpful
Nov 15, 2013
156 of 156 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
This drama is one of the stood-outs of the year. It is a bit flawed but all in all, it is a very well-made production. Kudo Kankuro has made another magic, but it was not only by his witty, comedy-genius scripts. All factors have to be present or otherwise it will easily fall apart. Fortunately, at this time he has it all.

I like the way the script tells the story, nothing very fancy but it is presented as it is. God knows I hate stories that try too hard to move the audiences to the desired emotions. In Amachan, (almost) all happens as it is natural. It portrays everyone's tendency to change minds, as what Amano Aki does in the story. At first, she wants to be an ama diver, then a deep-sea diver to an idol and finally saving her hometown. But wait, don't we do change minds as much as hers? Yes, she is determined and passionate but she is by no means regular asadora heroines, who are all focused in one aspect of life or dreams. The character, as well as others in the show, is multidimensional and more intricate compared to most dramas.

The cast is very strong, from the veterans to character actors (surely the arsenal of character actors in this drama is extravagant) to the youngsters. Even the cameos are fascinating. As the lead, Rena Nonsense...errr... I mean Rena Nounen (lol I find it's very funny that her name rhymes that way) does a superb portrayal of Amano Aki. Her range of emotions are awesome and she plays her role with heart that is rare trait for a teenage kid like her. She reminds me of young Ueno Juri a lot and I bet she is the next big thing in Japanese TV and movie scene.

Music-wise, it has a plethora of nice background music. But it is the opening soundtrack that stands out of the rest. I'd dare to say that theme song is one of the best opening theme ever made in any TV shows. Props to the composer who has done a great job.

The ending is a bit unsatisfying, somewhat rushed and a bit too optimistic, the last story arch needs at least 40 episodes to complete while in fact there are only 20 or so. That's why I settled with overall point of 9, it could be another 10 if the ending is good. I hope they have a plan to make a special episode to rectify the "fault", but in my scoring algorithm, 9 is enough to warrant a "must watch" label.

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Completed
Suzuki Sensei
21 people found this review helpful
Aug 3, 2013
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Well, I actually came across this show after a close friend recommended it to me. At first glance, it was like this show would be just like other generic school-theme dramas, so I didn't have any expectations at all.

After I finish watching this drama, I'd dare to say it is THE BEST school drama ever made in Japan, if not the best ever made by ANY country. Only one show is good enough to be apple-to-apple comparison with it, namely Kinpachi-sensei (though I just watch one season, the 6th). Both are equally excellent, but for those cannot stand very numerous episode you will most likely end up not liking Kinpachi (it has 23 [email protected] 1 hour!)

OK, let go to the review. It tackles current issues of middle school students in Japan (as well as in my country, actually), including free (minor) sex, freedom of speech, mental age, and even at one episode it involves bullying. Seems unremarkable, isn't it? Unlike many others that trying so hard to agitate audiences' feelings by bombarding them with cliches, Suzuki Sensei comes out naturally. Everything in this drama looks so naturally, from the ambient, dialogues, responses, and even every students...everyone of them looks just come out of reality. Just like what your middle school classmates do in real life, if you had experienced one.

Everything in this drama is also in gray zone, not in black neither white zone of morality, which I really like. Perhaps the most ground-breaking feature of the drama is its way to deliver its message to the masses. Like I mentioned before, this drama does not rely on overused cliches- something like the teacher saying moral message very straightly and everyone cries all the sudden. Middle school kids need logical explanations, and this drama provides and delivers it in good manners. You might be offended by opinions by characters (usually by Mr. Suzuki himself) in this drama, but that's what this drama made for. You will see, the students are becoming more and more open-minded to criticism and others' opinion, and eventually gradually become better person.

Technical-wise, this drama also triumphantly awesome. Hasegawa portrays Mr. Suzuki, the imperfect but smart teacher very well. In fact, this is his best performance so far. The kids are also very well picked. It's not surprising many of the Suzuki alumni become involved in many good coming-of-age shows like this. I'm hoping the kids get their well-deserved breaks, since they are really good. I also enjoy the opening, as well as its soundtrack. They really represent what this drama is all about.

If you identify yourself as a J-drama enthusiast, I urge you to watch this drama. Finally, all of those explanation enough to warrant this show a must watch.

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Completed
Good Luck!!
19 people found this review helpful
Sep 15, 2013
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This is one of shows that sparked my enthusiasm towards anything related to air travel and commercial aviation. And still is. Good Luck is one of those very rare well-written, well-acted, and realistic aviation-related shows. Well, actually few details are not that accurate, but they are just little nuisances among the greatness of this show.

I like the way its scriptwriter measures various contents in Good Luck!! because they are well-balanced. Most of the story lines are revolves around the career of Shinkai. Every details and his job in the airlines (such as safety, seniority, check lists, training, and even periodic medical check-up) are portrayed very well. It's not suprising that this big-budget drama is supported by a premium airlines in Japan, All Nippon Airlines, so it didn't fail its expectation. Not only the pilot's everyday life, but his relation with fellow pilots, family, girlfriend, and neighbor are amusing as well. It's all natural and very realistic. Some anticlimax near the end may have deducting the overall points of this drama, but that's not a great deal.

Perhaps what bring this drama into life are the actors portraying the characters, particularly Kimura as young first officer (one rank below captain) Shinkai and Tsutsumi (my personal favorite actor) as Captain Koda. While Kimura plays his usual style, Tsutsumi stole the limelight with his superb acting and depth. The supporting casts play well too, while the actress playing the veteran flight attendant Togashi deserves honorable mention. Even some actors who are not known for their acting prowess play well here.

Last but not least, this solid drama may make you turned into an aviation enthusiast like I was. If it's not, at least you will be entertained along the show.

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Completed
The Cowards Who Looked To The Sky
9 people found this review helpful
Dec 31, 2013
Completed 1
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This one is a dark, painful movie with two story arcs that interconnects one another. The first, which is the main story that moves the entire show, is a forbidden relation between a highschooler and a housewife who can't have children naturally. You might've think that they do it for the sake of the housewife to bear her a child, but there are more intricate story beneath it. The second, which is not as interesting and more painful to watch - not because of poor production but more to the fate of the character, is about the highschooler's friend whose his life impacted by the relationship.

This movie contains explicit sexual intercourse in some parts, so for those who can't take it are advised to stay away from this show.

The first part is an awesome demonstration of storytelling that enough to warrant it a score of 9. Some may find it confusing with non-linear story line structure, but I find itself better at explaining what happened. While the first is really good, the second falls behind due to abrupt changes from the first arc without good transition in between. It also gets bogged down by meandering and too depressing story of the hardship the character (Fukuda) has to suffer. After Fukuda's problem is solved, the story shifts again to the highschooler storyline, much to provide him a solid conclusion, when he gets a motivation to move on out of the mess he left behind.

About the acting, some actors stand out while others are not bad. The actress playing the housewife deserves an accolade for her awesome emotional play, from vivacious to destroyed, fouled up person only in single character. Nagayama, who played as the highschooler, might be a bit too old but it was impossible to cast an underage actor to play the role. He once again proves that he is talented and very underrated.

The music serves the story pretty well but it doesn't stand out. I found that rating the overall score of this movie is hard because of its uneven technical accomplishment, leaning between 7 and 8. However, I finally settled with another low-end 8, pretty good overall but not that good either.

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Completed
The Kirishima Thing
12 people found this review helpful
Oct 16, 2013
Completed 2
Overall 10
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
If there are only two super-wonderkid movies (those coming-of-age shows that accomplish technical-wise and impact-wise feats), this show must be either in the first or second spot. The other one, I guess...Battle Royale? Cut the crap, gotta begin the review.

I see why this movie is rated so badly in international fandom. Fans and even critics alike ripped this drama apart for its very unorthodox approach to the story and characters. And it IS really different to other shows at the same traits. Well, the makers of the movie actually took risky path anyone has refused to do, while it can be done in more mainstream way but it didn't. Yet, it appears to be very successful in terms of technical merit and the fact it won prestigious awards proves that this show is actually irrefutably good.

If you had watched Vantage Point or any kinda shows like that, you will easily notice that both shows do a number of point of views. In Kirishima Bukatsu Yameteruyo, they are a movie geek, a girl who can't make her mind, Kirishima's best friend, timid girl, bitchy girl, etc. The title-mentioned Kirishima itself disappears and practically never shows up. It is the aforementioned characters with their own point of views who are affected and exhibit subsequent changes due to the disappearance. Yes the plot is actually pretty straight without shocking twists, but if you watch in-depth, down to the character's gestures, you'll find revelations after revelations that even if they do not give you a very clear picture of the ending, you will know what would happen next.

It should be noted that the character developments are the main point of this movie and they are handled in masterful manner. I personally think the directing is a masterclass and so is the acting. What makes me surprised is, aside of some well-known former child actors like Kamiki and Suzuka Ohgo as well as acting prodigy Ai Hashimoto, most of the casts are no-name young actors, some even just begin their acting careers. The acting level in the movie is so even but very good, not a single actor displays stark stand-out or being weak spot. If I could name a single actor who plays the best, perhaps it's Higashide (the big guy) and I surprised because this lad is already 24-25 years old at the time of the filming and he plays an 18 years old boy. Not only for that, he plays Hiroki who is Kirishima's best friend (hence he is the most influenced one) with depth and heart. This lad, as the rest of the young casts, has a very bright future in acting world.

BTW, the song played with the ending credit is incredible and passionate, as well as fits the movie very well. The back sound during the "brawl" is also deserves thumbs up.

This shows may not be for everyone and even I have to watch it 2 times to research the details and depth. But it's worth trying and watching and I declare this one as one of my all-time favorite.

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Completed
Lesson of the Evil
9 people found this review helpful
Oct 6, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This movie was one of my long-awaited shows I really wanted to watch, and it doesn't disappoint me, though for me Takashi Miike is slightly overrated by international fans due to his hit-and-miss experience.

This show marked a new milestone for him because of such extensive use of delicate, colorful yet grim cinematography. Previously, he usually used just more simple, darker camera works. The way he directs Hideaki Ito, an actor who is seemingly forever typecasted as knight in shining armor, into an anti-hero without changing his usual acting style to great effect was also a brilliant move. His character, Hasumin, is an insane psychopath without any motives but "divinely" given by evil himself. Yes, some would find that in the end no revelation about this, but just like a plane crash, no clue is a clue itself.

This show is not for the faint-hearted and should be avoided by those who can't take gore and gay scenes (though the latter is few). Though at the beginning some introductions of characters were made and relatively slow-paced it was, all hell breaks loose when it hits the last 30 minutes mark. Yet Miike successfully inserted some dark comedy in it (I find some of these were very funny).

Due to great directing and excellent casting, acting-wise this show is really great. They should've make more shows featuring potential wonderkids like this, since in these years they are aplenty. They are good as individuals as well as corporate. Not all of these kids were given chance to portray their character with depth, but those who were (perhaps only 10 or so) did their respective job very well. It's not surprising that most of them were previously playing in wonderkid shows (i.e Kokuhaku, Suzuki Sensei the series, Another, Himizu, and/or Kirishima), so the choice of casting those who were already proven themselves pays off. I hope they find themselves landing on shows with good directing like this so their skills will be honed.

All in all, a good watch, perhaps almost on par with Kokuhaku. Almost forgot, the music was also creepy as well and fits perfectly with the show.

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Completed
Tokeiya no Musume
7 people found this review helpful
Dec 31, 2013
1 of 1 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This short drama is terribly underrated in MDL, it is a nice hidden gem of the year. Firstly, this drama has a quite strong emotional impact, aside of its excellent production. Shame many reviewers disdain this very important aspect on how good the show is. That impact is the main reason I should write this review.

As what the info tells us, the story is about a presumed connection between a watchmaker and a girl, namely Ryo, who think herself as the watchmakers' daughter. This assumption, is the main trigger of the story development. As it progresses, we are shown layers upon layers of those two characters, that are peeled one after another by chains of events.

The impact and the main idea the writer wants to convey make us forget whether she is really her daughter or not. In the end of the day, it is the compassion towards other and forgetting the sad and regretful past that what the story pursue after, not the mere aforementioned fact. We could see that the watchmaker slowly as the story progresses manages to break his own old shell of past burden of heaviness by his encounter and interaction with Ryo. My favorite scene is when they go to Ryo's home at Fukushima, which was ravaged by tsunami. I almost cried on that scene, it is so simple but strikes deep into your heart.

The actors taking part in play with utmost enthusiasm, especially Kunimura and Sawajiri who played the two leads. Kunimura manages to portray emotional struggles without saying words. You could tell what's on his mind even if his character deals with intricate mechanical watch. And I love to see Sawajiri playing a role she has never done before. Her character is lively but full of depths and not as simple as your usual heroine character. Glad to see her back with her technical abilities intact after many years of hiatus.

All in all, a nice watch at the end of the year. Recommended

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Completed
Cafe Isobe
5 people found this review helpful
Oct 16, 2013
Completed 1
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This show needs more love! Yes you're right, the title is deceptive because it is by no means a culinary movie. However, for those who are already downloading or buying the DVD for such purpose, I guarantee even if you wouldn't get what you want, you will be still satisfied by what this movie offers.

Cafe Isobe revolves around a realistic portrayal of ordinary but somewhat dysfunctional Japanese family that live a pretty mediocre life. A good-for-nothing father who got big inheritance and decides to run a cafe that makes him and her daughter encounter peculiar (but still realistic) characters. Do not expect any bombastic lovey-dovey with massive usage of cliches like in any teenage movies, though the main character is a teenager. Although it starts with comedies that you can find in everyday life, it does enter darker territory halfway into the story.

But it is the actors who bring their characters into life and are very well cast. If you only know Riisa Naka from crap shows like Nihonjin Shiranai Nihongo or Hachi One Diver, you got to watch this one and I'd say she can really act. Her character, Sakiko the daughter, needs someone who can explore character depth and even some improvisation, and yet she pulls it very well for a 18 years old kid. The one playing the father, I remembered him playing alongside Hiroshi Abe in At Home Dad, also very good. And who doubts Kumiko Aso's acting? She once again proves that she is a reliable and consistent actress.

At last, I give this show a solid point of 9. Nothing groundbreaking or spectacular, but it gives an insight on life of a commoner in Japan and the execution is very, very good - certainly movie festival quality.

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Completed
Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 27, 2013
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 10
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This is one of rare example when comedy makers put their heart in the show. At glance, I thought this show would fall apart because this low budget types of this genre usually falls flat. The poster also does a very good job of deception, since this show is not an epic battle show at all.

I like the way its producer and scriptwriter (as well as the director) deliver the random jokes. This show is full of nonsense jokes and absurdity. However, unlike other hate-it-or-love-it, absurd shows like Jikou Keisatsu (also boasts the same vibe, but I still like both, though), you do not have to know Japanese puns to enjoy the jokes.

Acting-wise, the actors only needed to rely on their comedic timing, and they nailed it. As a matter of fact, it takes a lot of improvisation to do Hotoke roles, as he seems forget his lines almost every time he's on screen. Funnily, it still generates unique sense of comedy.

I'm giving 10 not because of its technical merit, it's for the entertainment value.

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Completed
Potechi
3 people found this review helpful
Dec 31, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
Written and produced by the same crew who handled Fish Story, this story comes not as spectacular as the former and uses much down-to-earth approach. Yet, it still has touches of grandeur reminiscent of Fish Story.

It portrays an indirect connection between two guys who were switched at birth, which later one becomes a burglar (by the name of Tadashi) and the other lives much better life as a baseball player, albeit his career is not as smooth as it supposed to be. The story is told from the burglar's point of view along with his cute girlfriend who is his partner-in-crime. Don't get me wrong, it is very far from being a tearjerker, instead, it is a story dotted with dry humor till the end. The storytelling itself, though not too spectacular, serves the plot really well. This movie also displays a very nice ending, parallel to Fish Story (you'd understand if you had watch it) but in a more normal universe.

My favorite character is Kurosawa, who is Tadashi's colleague and also a fellow burglar. He steals the scene wherever he is in. Pretty much everyone's acting is good and this movie is well-directed. At last, this show is a well-made feel-good, slice of life movie and I recommend you to grab it.

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Completed
Hotel Hibiscus
3 people found this review helpful
Aug 12, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This movie is all about life around an odd family managing so-called single-room, run-down hotel somewhere in Okinawa. The story is told from perspective of the youngest daughter of this family, namely Mieko. She is very energetic (and tomboy) kid who loves to play with her friends. During a summer, she has to face a reality that her mother and sister going abroad, leaving her with his dad, a brother, grandmother, and sole guest in the hotel.

Nothing to glaring or special, but this is definitely a fun watch! Frankly speaking, I have a soft spot for slice-of-life movies and dramas. Prior to watching this show, I already loved Okinawan culture and looking forward to go there. This show adds my enthusiasm and curiosity of it. The girl playing Mieko is so exciting to watch, I wonder why talent of this caliber so far hasn't make it big.

Trivia: the girl playing Mieko eventually plays in asadora Amachan (2013) as one of GMT 5 idol member. After 11 years, she is still the same funny, mood-maker though.

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Completed
Piece
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 2, 2013
13 of 13 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This show HAS potential to be really good, yet some technical faults betray it. At first I think it will be sucked, but it turned to be false because of the nice plot. Being adapted straight from the comic, the scriptwriter does not to be very adventurous to explore everything. The plot, at least until the middle episodes, are unpredictable. It's like finding a treasure hidden somewhere, well, the title says all, though. The makers are successful to make the audiences keep wondering what's up next. Yet, the turns and twists are executed well, at least on paper. Some parts are a bit repetitive, but it's still OK and logical.

I realized that this drama has very same director as my favorite show, Suzuki Sensei. Well, perhaps this guy is specialized himself at late night dramas like these. I even wondered maybe this guy also took Suzuki Sensei's cinematographer with him to do the job, since both dramas share same cinematography style. And they get the job done. However, it's seems directors job was weighed down by dismal acting abilities of most of the young actors and actresses, unlike in Suzuki Sensei. The actor playing Narumi is pretty inconsistent (sometimes acceptable, while some time others he just simply out of place). Most other casts are even worse. The actress playing Suga is good at acting cool, but her emotion bursts are nonexistent (cannot do good cry acting, for example). This character needs someone who is capability to do good nonverbal acting chops, so is some characters like Setouchi. Yanai-senpai's portrayal is badly executed, he is either overacting or just become wooden all the times. The worst is the actor playing the guy who just going insane after being told by Suga and cohorts. His acting is just very unnatural. Overall, only Origuchi and Suga's close friend are passable to my liking, but their parts are relatively small.

It could've been much, much better if producers are willing to invest more on casting. I believe it will do the tricks. Finally, I expect some of you guys will end up hitting "not helpful" button due to my blantant criticism, but this is what I've got.

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Completed
Detarame Hero
3 people found this review helpful
Aug 15, 2013
13 of 13 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This show wasn't given name "Nonsense Hero" for nothing. I mean, it's a rather fun nonsense. If you are into stupid anti-hero shows, this is your thing.

The show kicked off pretty nicely. The concept is new and refreshing, with some puns and jokes ready to pop up out of nowhere and start to make you laugh. Some of them are really, really funny and even including parody of real life pop culture. However, it struggles with pacing issue later on, 13 episodes are far too long to explain the entire idea and story. I don't like how they make some characters act extremely stupid and overly naive (such as Natsumi, the illustrator) by prolonging the story and adding unnecessary cliches in some episodes (i.e eps. 10 all the way to the end). Had they want to make this show as much as 13 episodes, cutting the duration of each episodes to 30 minutes would do the trick, though.

Acting-wise, no one is particularly outstanding or stands out of the rest, but they all do the job. So are the music and screenplay. I was supposed to give a fair 8, but all the drags and overused cliches were enough to downgrade the point into 7.

"GOGGER Z, NAMBA TWOOOO!!!"

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