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  • Last Online: 1 hour ago
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: philippines
  • Total Edits: 3
  • Birthday: January 05
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  • Join Date: May 6, 2013

realdeal

philippines

realdeal

philippines
Completed
What Did You Eat Yesterday?
29 people found this review helpful
Jul 4, 2019
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
"Accepted means ignored" that's what I always hear when people describe the LGBT scene in Japan, and this drama clearly shows that in the most honest manner. They will ignore it if they are outside their group, like people on the streets, etc, but once they are a member of their family, friends or a co-worker, it's a different story. But you can't also blame them because they are just worried as society is very unforgiving. As a straight guy, this is an eye-opener to me, it shows me the struggles gay couples have in our society, the stereotypes on gay people and the lack of knowledge on gay couples. This is somewhat similar to Ossan's love, I'm not saying this is better than Ossan's love, it is less funny and zero fan service, but this drama to me is heavier and explored LGBT theme way deeper.

No need to worry if you don't like heavy drama, it won't be that of a heavy drama at all, the overall cozy ambiance compensates for its heavy subject matter. This is a slice of life/food drama after all, so you can just chill, watch and enjoy. This is very similar to the Japanese movie "Little Forrest", they will show you how they cook the food then proceed to story, but unlike "Little Forrest" where it is 70% cooking 30% story, this drama is 80% story and 20% cooking, so it has more plot and you won't lost into the story.

FULL REVIEW
https://thatjapanesedramaguy.blogspot.com/2019/07/drama-what-did-you-eat-yesterday.html

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Completed
Chugakusei Nikki
67 people found this review helpful
Dec 17, 2018
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10

"Don't judge the book by its cover"

First let me start this review with a mini rant

The only concern I see people having with this drama is that they said it normalize pedophilia. My defense on that matter is you would only consider a person a pedophile if he/she is occasionally attracted to children which in this case she's not because she was not attracted to him because he's a child. I know most will not agree with that argument but let's say you are correct and she's a pedophile. Does this drama normalize that psychiatric disorder? BIG NO. She's attracted to him but didn't take advantage in fact she was despised the whole time, the school, students and the society. The drama won't make you feel they are romanticizing that idea. As for the matter that it might affect the thinking of underage viewers. Do those kids have parents to guide them? Then what about stories like Robin Hood, mistress protagonist, serial killer etc. are those stories being normalize just because they were made? If you are inclined to call it a trash just by reading the synopsis then I am sorry but with that kind of logic I just couldn't help but think you are DUMB.

Chugakusei Nikki portrays the forbidden love between Hijiri, a middle school teacher and Akira, one of her students. The drama follows their story for the course of several years. There will be time skip in the middle of the drama, 3 years to be exact, when Akira is 18 years of age. The characters are well written, Hijiri was portrayed really well as an inexperienced teacher, adult yet not matured, and also Akira as rebellious and confused teenager. Side characters are interesting too especially Haraguchi and Shotaro, it's also interesting to see their love story develops. Their love is somewhat similar yet different. The plot is sensitive but the drama handled it tastefully, it is nowhere near as creepy as you might think. This show is also grounded to reality in that every emotion these characters portray is very relatable. What I also like is the pacing it's very balanced which makes every episode engaging. The drama also knows how to play with our emotions. The director is just so good on how to build tension and also how to end every episode. Expect roller coaster of emotions, it's highs is wonderfully high and it's lows is absolutely devastating, there's even couple of scenes where I was on the edge of my seat and to think this drama is not a thriller.

~ A good rain chooses the right time to fall and so it falls ~
~ When it comes to spring, the rain is certainly falling ~
~ It follows the wind and secretly enters the night ~
~ While the wind is blowing, the rain continues to fall until night ~
~ And moistens everything softly, without any sound ~
~ Silently, almost making no sounds at all, it makes everything wet ~

This poem in episode 1 summarizes the whole drama. It is a metaphor to the kind of love between Hijiri and Akira, a pure love similar to dramas such as Sekachu, Endless love series, Koizora, Be with you, Heavenly Forest etc. Pure love genre if you would know is what popularizes Asian drama. It basically portrays a couple that faced many obstacles. Pure love in sense that even after so many years they still long for each other. We haven't seen this genre for quite some time and I already see upcoming dramas with similar genre. This drama will trigger another pure love era.

Cinematography is just captivating. I love how they capture the green landscape on camera, the shot during sunset, falling rain drops, fireworks and that weird fish eye effect they always use. Those are not just gorgeous shots but also serve as a symbol to what these characters feel. That's beauty about Japanese drama, it is full of symbolism and just like what I always said, great cinematography is similar to great painting, it is not just beautiful but also captivates you, will make you move closer and examine the painting and not just say "oh this painting is beautiful". Music in this drama is just perfect, it underlines the mood and helps showing the emotions of each characters. It is a really great piece of background music. With great drama comes great ending song and "Prologue" by Uru is just like that. It's not just a great melody because if you read the lyrics it will make sense why they choose it as the ending song.

The acting is just brilliant but other than the acting, the casting needs more praise. They just casted right people for the roles, Arimura Kasumi for example, she has this cute, inexperienced image and if you watch the drama having that image made her portrayal of hijiri so effective. They also cast a rookie for the role of Akira, it a nice decision by them as it requires a certain rawness to the character. It doesn't mean Okada Kenshi is not a great actor though. He is indeed fantastic as he provides the intensity and angst to the role. They won't call him a super rookie is he is not. The side characters are also well casted, if you follow Japanese drama long enough you would be familiar with Yoshida you and Natsukawa Yui, they were both underrated actresses. Their characters played an important role to the story and they played them really well. Aside from Akira, it's the portrayal of those characters made this drama so much better.

Final episode will be tomorrow but I decided to make this review because what ever happen this drama will go down as one of the best Japanese drama I've ever seen and definitely my best Japanese drama this year. End game won't decide the rating this drama should get in my opinion because just like they said the journey is more important the than destination. More than just a drama but also an experience.

Edit
I've just watched the last episode and I don't want to spoil anything but it is indeed one of the best Jdrama ever!!!

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Completed
The Bride of Rip Van Winkle
28 people found this review helpful
Sep 22, 2016
Completed 1
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers
One of the most important contemporary directors of today, Shunji Iwai gives us a suspenseful emotional ride in his latest film "A Bride for Rip Van Winkle". It reminds me a lot of "All about Lily Chou Chou"(also directed by Iwai) on how it uses the internet as the main element in the movie, how it affects characters minds and their relationship, simple chatting before social media now. This movie will make you realize how social media affects our society, how most of us make it our safe haven and sometimes create a fake identity and how that fake identity would factor in constructing our own, not giving much of a story away, the theme would be so obvious if you compare the 2 relationships of our main character had here, one living with lies and the other ironically real. Having said that, the theme in this movie was so strong and possibly the first time that was explored to this extent and just like Iwai said "I would like to show how we take to living in this world that our ancestor left us", so thought provoking indeed.

With 3 hours long this is perhaps the second longest Japanese movie I've ever seen next to Love Exposure and that is mainly because most climactic scenes were all shown in slow motion, it seems the director reiterates the point of what we should feel, some may be bother by it but I'm not as I see the reason for it, scenes before those slow-mos were so subtle so it's like a storm after a calm sea. Another reason is the criticism he is known for which is his film has a tendency to drag and some scenes were like that especially scenes that has metaphor in it or with meaningful dialogues, if you're like me who is into that then this will make the movie more engaging to you.

The film is basically a character study of a Nanami(Haru Kuroki), a part time teacher who is like a shadow, she has no personality, the film lets us follow her as how her character develops throughout the story, with Iwai's directing and Haru Kuroki's acting this film is an immersive experience. You can separate the movie into 3 parts the classic fall, perserverance, and finding happiness. The first act started when Nanami meets this guy on social media then without much thinking she eventually marries him, but the problem is she didn't have the ideal family, her parents were divorced and seems like their relatives broke the ties between them. Then she decided to hire Amuro(Gou ayano), a guy she met on social media, a jack of all trade ala Gintama, it is Amuro who provide fake relatives to her wedding. The end of the first act is strong as Nanami is humiliated and defeated and that first act sets up to a more interesting second and even third act. When I said suspenseful emotional ride I mean it as plot twist after plot twist, lies after lies got revealed but the biggest mystery is the title itself "A Bride for Riple Winke", what is relevance of that title in the story? Who is Riple Winkle? Well the way the movie reveals it is so clever, it's a work of a mad genius and definitely I didn't see that coming at all. Just like most of Iwai's films this film features misfits characters, those cut from society, this movie will depict their engaging journey and how will those character find love and happiness. Although with that engaging premise and roller coaster of emotions I had, still one important question in the movie remains a mystery although I'm sure that that was intended, I experienced that in All About Lily Chou Chou and I experienced it again here, I just don't know what to feel, I just thought of giving you a heads up cause that might annoyed you as well.

Great Cinematography to me is not just beautiful but also meaningful, it's just like in painting great painting should fascinate you, it should make you look closer to examine the details and not just stare at one and says "this painting is beautiful", you could have all the colors on your palette but if it's dull it's dull. Movies by Iwai are the best example for this they have the best cinematography I've ever seen that makes the movie so immersive and this movie is not an exception, his emphasis for lighting was really obvious here, it is stunning, extracting the natural colors in a scene, a perfectionist he truly is. Music really adds up to the emotion in those melodramatic scenes, particularly is that one scene with Nanami after the first act, the Visuals, the Slow-mo, the Music, the acting, it is perfect, I literally pause the movie and gather myself, stupid smile left on my face, instant goosebumps.

Iwai really loves using subtle actors in his films and the reason for that is because that kind of acting is most suited for his style of filming, before he had Aoi Yu and this time Haru Kuroki. Haru reminds me of Aoi Yu a lot they can even switch roles here and the strength of the character will remain the same, of course I'm not saying Aoi Yu is better, they are equally talented and Haru might even have some edge in drama and definitely in comedy. About haru's performance, I am one hundred percent convinced that this was her best performance I've seen from her and mind you I've seen a lot where she is considered great namely "emperor's cook" "juhan shutai" "little house" "solomon's perjury". The character she played here is so complex that one wrong move would make that character annoying, one wrong casting and the movie would be ruined, hard to explain it without laying spoilers, only you would realize what I meant when you watched it. There is one character I can't reveal here because of spoilers and it's a shame because I was equally impressed with her with haru and her name is not even included here on MDL. The character is crippled yet strong; she's like a playful spirited fairy and those eyes omg. The chemistry between them was magnetic, a total contrast to each other yet they share similarities, they want happiness. Gou Ayano although not as good as those two, it is his charisma that makes the character more mysterious and that is really important as that character is somewhat the one who drives the story. I have this theory about him that I will post on the comment section if you want, just click the spoiler button.

Movies like this makes me realize why I was fascinated, why I admire Japanese cinema so much, it is just that there is no other country that can offer me a story like this. Movie like this make me realize what kind of taste I have for movies, why I crave for original plot with clever twist, why I love thought provoking themes as those makes the movie to me an immersive experience. With that said, even with some draggy scenes or things remains unanswered I just couldn't give this lower than 9. Not a masterpiece but a must watch.

Check my Blog for other reviews & other JDramas stuffs. (。◕‿‿◕。)
https://thatjapanesedramaguy.blogspot.com/

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Completed
Wood Job! The Easy Life in Kamusari
25 people found this review helpful
Dec 20, 2014
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 10
I just came from work when I decide to watch this movie and damn this is such a relaxing movie and didn't expect I would enjoy this. I expect this will be another slow burn film that will make me sleepy. I even plan to eat while watching but I just couldn't take my eyes off the screen. These characters are just interesting and the visual are enticing. I really don't expect this to be a masterpiece. It has masterful cinematography, suiting guitar music and well acted characters that could potentially make this one of the best coming of age films I've ever watched.

I often tell my friends that if you want to learn more about Japanese culture don't watch anime but watch Japanese movies instead and this film is the very best example of that. Watching this movie will open your eyes about this kind of culture in Japan and on how they cut trees. The act is treated with respect (respect to the forest and forest god) and not just cut a tree then plant after which what I was only aware before watching this movie. The last part of the film is holy freaking moment, a combination of epic and comedy gold.

I watch this film because I am a fan of Shota Sometani and I was not disappointed and though the film's strength is the story it still one of his most important role to date. His performance here is not on par with his performance in Himizu but in this movie he proves he can also do comedic roles, his timing is just great. This film is in my opinion his best film to date and yes even better than Himizu. As for Ito Hideaki, the last film I've seen from him was Lesson of Evil which is such an epic movie. If you love Battle Royale and blood in your movies I highly recommend it. He had a great performance in Lesson of evil but I was more impressed with his performance here, he is such a badass and this movie is not even an action or a Yakuza film, it's a coming of age/slice of life movie lol. The chemistry between them is just great they are the total opposites, one is rugged type dirty guy and the other is like a girl and totally weak but once both of them are on screen there is such a magnetic force between them. You will enjoy Sometani's character development here. Given this film has two great actors and combined it with awesome chemistry makes this movie one hell of a ride.

Overall a great coming of age movie, relaxing to eyes visually and relaxing to ears with its music. A great movie if you want to learn more about Japanese Culture. If you love Departures, The Great Passage, Waterboys, Linda Linda etc. this movie is similar and has a similar vibe.

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https://thatjapanesedramaguy.blogspot.com/

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Completed
Little Forest: Summer & Autumn
18 people found this review helpful
Apr 27, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
If I'm not familiar with Japanese cinema or with the actors I would think that this slice of life/cooking show film was an experimental film thesis done in college. I'm not saying it suck in fact I love it. I love the originality. Some people would not consider this a film because of lack of plot until the main character narrates a bit of her story alongside on how she would prepare each dish.

It's only near the end of the movie or after 10+ dishes we learn that there's a conflict between the main character and her mom and her mom leaves without saying a word. This story is 4 parts (4 seasons) and 2 movies worth so you need to see these two movies to see how their conflict get resolved but that is not what important because end game is not this movie is about. I think that the director wants to show the human factor in this movie, human needs to adapt in order to survive. I think that's the main point here so I wouldn't mind if it has no plot.

It's a nice watch even if you don't consider this a movie, it's so relaxing, and it was like yoga but using your eyes. That fantastic cinematography and soothing music and that camera work make such a scene epic like that bicycle scene which is my favorite. The huge part of the dialogue is the narration it's a nice technique to make you live the life of the main character, you will experiences what it feels to live alone in a house surrounded by fields, mountains, trees and stream and how the changes in season affects her way of living. The main appeal of this movie is the cooking as she gathers each ingredient every season, I don't know how to cook but you might get some technique if you watch this, I love the music they used in each cooking scene btw.

I am not impressed by the acting but at least it's natural and convincing. The character of Ai Hashimoto here is different from her usual roles so it's nice to see a different side of her. It's a must watch if you are her fan. It's an Ai Hashimoto movie which most of the scenes she is there and you will realize how pretty that girl is without makeup, the camera really love her face, her screen presence is her best asset. Lastly one of the reasons why I love this movie is the song. I am a huge YUI fan and her new band sing the song in this movie, her vocals really fits the mood of this film, it's fantastic.

Watch this movie if you want something original and especially if you love cooking. It's also a relaxing movie (great music, wonderful cinematography, masterful camera work which is honestly one of the best camera work I've seen in a Japanese Movie).

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Completed
Tenno no Ryoriban
24 people found this review helpful
Aug 21, 2015
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.5
DOYA-JAA!!!! drama of the year for sure...

My opinion on sato takeru change from a so so actor to good capable actor and this was his best performance I must say and he deserves the best actor role on this. IF he continue do performance like this then he might join the ranks of those top class japanese actors. Haru kuroki is one of the best young japanese dramatic actress today and perhaps she is the best. Her acting here is like silent-but-deadly and she never overact and thats the best thing i notice on her.

The story is very engaging definitely one of the most inspiring drama's I saw and i love how they dramatize tokuzo akiyama who is a real person, his antics, his movements...I love it. I also like the way they manage those time skips it didnt feel rushed. The acting here was phenomenal even the foreign actors did well specially that french girl and I wanted to know what happen to her after. This wont become that much inspiring if not of this drama's music....they inserts right music at the right moment. I notice this in every episodes they will build up you emotion, just as you thought that was it but there still a final kicker at the end then BAM.

I didnt cry while watching this but i do feel like I wanna work more harder after. Watch it you wont regret it.

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Completed
Dakara Watashi wa Oshimashita
14 people found this review helpful
28 days ago
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 10
Most people know Japanese dramas for being formulaic, repetitive, and full of tropes. And that is because of the vast amount of high school and job oriented shows they release each season. Little did they know there is one aspect where Japan excels a lot, and that is when their creativity takes over and start to think outside the box. They are, by far the most innovative when it comes to script and ideas. This risk would sometimes result in some pretentious crap, but when struck gold, it would be a masterpiece that would stand the test of time. Masterpieces that makeup Japan's rich film history, but it's not only in movies as it happens in their dramas as well.

"Dakara Watashi wa Oshimashita" is the modern example of that. A story with a moving theme portrayed in an unusual setting. An underground idol who is desperate to improve and an office lady who seeks likes from her social media friends. Both are looking for that elusive attention, or should I say connection. The human connection theme is well portrayed and explored. It's not just a simple handshake, but a sincere thought of support to someone. Different people have different reasons for being a fan. To some, it's physical attraction, but for Endo Ai meeting Hana is the most significant turning point in her life.

The plot is timely and original. In today's world where the number of idol fans is on its peak, I think it's safe to say that this story will hit home on so many levels. The drama is well layered and also very raw. They show you all the good and the bad things about idol culture, from fun chants, idol festivals to unfair wage practices in idol industry. I also love how they didn't stereotype idol otakus. They portray them as ordinary people who have regular jobs. It's too detailed and well researched with so many references about idol culture.

Before I thought all idol groups are the same, but watching this drama, I realized underground idol groups are a bit different. The drama did a great job in showing the appeal of these type of idol groups. You are not just an average fan who fangirl/fanboy in front of tv. You also go to their events and interact with them. It feels you are grooming them to get better like you are also part of the process. Unlike other idol groups who have years of training to master their craft, their fans only appreciate the final product.

Though the writing in this drama is its strongest asset, it's those damn visual what takes it on another level. The cinematography is perfect. It's very poetic. I love the use of colors, especially whenever neon lights are present. I dare to say this is what they called cinematic storytelling, which you can't separate visual style to visual language. Sound design is also excellent, and with the help of brilliant editing makes such scenes very compelling. Not just powerful scenes, but it also has a fair share of scenes that will deliver goosebumps. Music used during those scenes fits perfectly. It underlines the mood and evokes characters emotion.

Speaking of characters, even if the drama achieved excellence in writing, cinematography, and music, the drama would have failed without good actors aboard. The good thing is this drama has good and capable actors. Sakurai Yuki and Shiraishi Sei's acting is on point, and should I say they have cute chemistry as well? That chemistry is a huge reason why these characters are well portrayed.

A fresh concept, brilliant writing, strong theme with excellent execution, this drama have it all. Its a toss-up between "Saka no Tochu no Ie" and this drama for my best Japanese drama this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-8Pt2B66RE
It's recommended to watch this MV after you see the drama. It has additional scenes that makes the ending more beautiful.

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Completed
Your Lie in April
17 people found this review helpful
Dec 13, 2016
Completed 8
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
So I finally got the time to watch this movie, which they show in cinemas in our country for good of one week, and I watched it on its last day so I barely made it LOL. I haven't seen the anime so I can't compare, I don't know how faithful adaptation it is but I really like what I've seen. I don't feel that the pacing is rushed so it didn't end up confusing and each scenes are so vital to the story like If you remove one the story will be affected so in that sense the movie didn't became draggy. But sadly I felt that the story was told in a simplistic way like there are not enough tensions and characters are a bit one dimensional that made me hard to care for them sometimes.

Before watching I already knew the this would be a sad story but at the same time I am confident that I would not cry, I am kind of immune to that since I've seen a lot of sad movies, and I am right, I didn't cry, but that doesn't mean the story is NOT sad cause it is, but I felt that that they made the ending bitter sweet because based on how people describe the anime it would have been a cry fest.

Now for the thing that I really like, the theme in the movie, I love how the movie conveys their connection thru music, I felt that it is so romantic like it is their love letter for each other, and just like the phrase they say to each other "will it reach you?". With that theme conveyed so well only made their performances so much better, technically they are already brilliant but with so much emotions attached to the performance made that scene EPIC.

Cinematography is beautiful, it is one of those colorful Japanese movies, seems to be the trend nowadays. Music is given to be excellent but what I am surprised is how well they play the instruments, one movie come to mind that could rival this in terms of the skills of playing the instruments in a movie and that is Jay Chou's "Secret". I like the ending song as well, I don't understand japanese but its melody captures the ambiance of the movie.

Great acting from both Kento and Suzu, you can tell that they come a long way especially Suzu but now I can say they are capable of portraying complicated characters. It is reported that they went intense training playing violin and piano for their respective roles and it paid off well as their performance is believable, which is important to be called a good adaptation and they nailed it in this department. Side characters are the issue here like I didn't feel them, probably lack of screen time I guess, such a shame though because I really want to see more of Anna Ishii, I felt that her talent was wasted in her role.

I feel that many guys will love this film like imagine one day you saw a beautiful girl under a cherry tree then from that moment your life change, happens to me (not under the cherry tree though).

Kaori: Did I find a place in your heart?

Arima: You step all over it.

-literally me

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Completed
Tunnel
20 people found this review helpful
Nov 9, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
So basically the movie is about humanity, just like the main character didn’t lost his humanity during that situation he fall in, he still help this other girl even narrowing his chance of surviving this hell, and just like how the government authority took advantage of the situation even though they are partly to be blamed as to the fall of the tunnel. The movie will also give you this question “will you choose the life of one person above the lives of other people affected by the situation?".

This is an intensely claustrophobic experience and I am not even a claustrophobic person. They really capture the emotion during the situation, the camera angle, the sounds from falling rocks and the dust particles are what makes it possible. I like the way they insert comedic moments in the situation, it’s hilarious but makes sense, they played it brilliantly. Aside from suspense, the drama is pretty heavy here as the dilemma falls to the people involved like the rescue leader and his wife, you will feel sympathy for them.

The CGI is brilliant, realistic, Hollywood level. The soundtrack will creep you as it brilliantly conveys that situation, lack of sound at some parts that suddenly broken by falling rocks or footsteps is brilliant, it added up to the horror element in the movie. Cinematography is insanely beautiful just made the acting better at some part.

Solid performance from the cast like Ha Jeong Woo, Oh Dal Su and Donna bae they are exceptionally brilliant but we need to commend Nam Ji Hyun for what she has done here because it’s her character that added up layer to the movie and she nailed it brilliantly.


That joke at the end is so good that it adds .5 to my score.


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Completed
Burning
19 people found this review helpful
Nov 27, 2018
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10

M A S T E R P I E C E

I find myself having a different taste than most users here on MDL so I would totally not recommend it if you can't handle slow type of movie especially this one which is 2 1/2 hours long. This movie also contains sex scenes so definitely not for everyone. People with attention span of a goldfish would hate this movie.

Jongsu is an aspiring writer; he also works as a part time delivery man. One day while doing his delivery task he bumps into hae min, who is apparently his childhood friend. hae min said she is going to africa and ask jongsu to look after her cat. Hae min comes back along with mysterious guy named ben. One day ben and hae min visits jongsu, later on ben confessed to jongsu his secret hobby.

It is the definition of slow burn no pun intended, utilizing the time to explore the life of the lead character, his affection to Hae min, conflicts with his family and his view to korean society. The film is a character study and Jongsu is just our extension in the movie. The movie is very philosophical in which the central theme revolves around "little and great hunger"(what we want / what we need), it is also very metaphorical, simmering with ambiguity, it's the best example of less talk see it in action and it also loaded with symbolism throughout. Though being the film a slow burn and with its 2 1/2 hours running time, it is by no means a dull or boring movie. It is a hypnotic experience and throughout the movie you will use your brain a lot as mysteries after mysteries unfolds.

Cinematography is topnotch. It's beautifully shot, able to capture the eerie atmosphere on screen. I also love the shots at dawn, it's enigmatic yet mesmerizing. Music just makes this thriller movie 100x better. It is haunting, builds tension, underlines the mood and evokes characters emotion.

Acting is masterful, might be the best I've seen in years. Let's talk about the lead girl first. Jeon Jong Seo as a free spirited gypsy is just brilliant, the way she pantomime eating orange is very believable, the philosophical element of the movie plays here, that's why that scene is important in the movie. She also not just good looking but also has great screen presence. Yoo Ah In who played Jongsu is equally brilliant. The development of his character is handled really well especially during the later part when his character became obsessed. Steven Yeun is not just a guy from walking dead, the dude can really act. I love the way he made the character more mysterious through his facial expressions.

Perfectly crafted movie, you would feel the labor of love put by a director making movies like this. It's that type of movie that you would get something new every time you watch it. Definitely the best movie I've seen this year and the best korean film I've seen in a decade. This is a masterpiece.

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Completed
Sweet Bean
18 people found this review helpful
Jun 8, 2016
Completed 1
Overall 10
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 10
When it comes to slow thought provoking films there is no better country that produces films like this than Japan, and there have been two directors that are front runners in this kind of genre which were Koreeda and Kawase. Both have similar styles but if you look closely koreeda films were tied with family while Kawase films were tied with how humans were connected with nature. Having said that, this film by Kawase is such a compelling film but compelling might be an understatement and strong might be a better word to describe it.

Well the story is simple a guy bakes pastries for a living, selling them under these beautiful cherry trees, in a street side shop that he doesn't own. He is somewhat unhappy with his life, because of certain events in his past. One of his close customers is a middle school girl who is also troubled by her relationship with her mother. One day an old lady appears and asks if she can be a part timer in his shop, he politely refused because he thought she could not do the job, but the old lady keeps coming until he accepts her when he has tasted her red bean paste. It is the word of mouth about Sentaro's improved Dorayaki that makes people mob their shop, but it is also the reason why the shop became deserted. At first the movie seems it is about food as you witness how much time is needed to prepare the perfect red bean paste. Until you reach into a point where you realize there is much more to it and the main point of the movie is so strong that might leave you in tears. Aside from how people were connected to nature, which was Kawase's trademark, there are also 2 main points the director wants to convey, which were "the stigma of leprosy" and "the value and meaning of life", the former is the most captivating but I find the latter rewarding.

Kawase as a director is always been impressive, her eyes and ears for films is in my opinion, unmatched. Her visuals as she captured those nature shots and blends it well with her poetic dialogues were very much engaging. Her camera work that sometimes would make you feel that you were watching a documentary was able to show the emotions of her characters perfectly. The way she captures background sounds works well for what she have, her canvass, and that would make a certain scene so poignant.

I've already said eyes and ears but now I will talk about the feels which was missing from the recent movies I've seen from her.


"we want to live in society where the sun shines"

If a single quote can knocked you off your feet, this is it, perhaps the most powerful quote I've encountered watching a movie. This quote left me bawling for tears literally, as the scene after this quote had been said were directed perfectly. The emotions that the director is trying to convey goes to me, it did hit me as it clearly show that the stigma on people who have this disease is still happening even though that Japan have already removed them from isolation since 1996. I even felt guilty that I might probably act the same way towards her like those customers and even Sentaro himself. We are only human, we only judges person based on their looks.


The acting, Nagase Masatoshi, this is the first time I've seen this actor that has this tadanobou asano-ish aura, well it may be disrespectful to addressed him this way, but I was impressed with him. He was able to show the struggles of his character in subtle way but what I was really impressed is his scene during the end. Uchida Kyara, who is kirin kiki's real granddaughter shows some promise although not to the extent of how jun yoshinaga impresses me, she managed to somewhat stick and not falls off just as a background character cause among the 3 characters , her character has less emphasis. Then its kirin kiki, who makes the time flew so fast, cause I was captivated by her acting the whole time. No need to pity her character, her character is already done with that pity phase. It is her character whose last purpose is to enrich the lives our other 2 characters, to show them that we were born into this world to see it and listen to it, since that is the case we don't have to be someone, that each of us has meaning to our lives. Kirin kiki has been the best Japanese actress for me since that time I saw her on akunin. She has done performances that melts your heart from movies chronicles of my mother, akunin, Tokyo Tower: Mom Me, and Sometimes Dad. You might just recognize her on supporting roles and that might be enough to call her great actress, but if you really want to see what she's capable of as an actress you need to see her in a main role.

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I Am a Hero
12 people found this review helpful
Nov 14, 2016
Completed 3
Overall 9.0
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
This one deserves a review so here it is.

I Am Hero is based on a Manga of the same name and It has been one of my favorites in recent years and let me remind you Manga is not yet finished so the movie as well, but that doesn't mean the movie will leave you hanging, in fact they adapted the best ARC in the Manga and finished it damn well and they did convey that theme in the Manga in this movie, so what is the theme? Well just read damn the title my friends.

The story revolves around Hideo who is a once a promising mangaka but his dreams always stay out of reach for the reason that his characters were pretty normal like him, he has a relationship that is about to end, in short he is somewhat your typical loser protagonist. One day zombie apocalypse happens, miraculously he's one of those who survive then he met this girl that he promised to protect with his life. One interesting thing about this movie is its setting, it is in Japan where there are only few people who owns a gun and our protagonist owns it as a hobby. This gun is vital to the story as owning a shotgun at this situation means you are the king, this became the point of conflict with humans in the story as someone wanting it badly enough to kill for it and the way it serves as a metaphor for Hideo's character development is a work of a mad genius, like only in japan, the land of metaphors.

Visual effect are spectacular as they did something very different here, zombies veins are black, they deform differently once they became zombies, They move and contorts like insects. The sound effects are amazing too, the squishy sounds once their head exploded was done right. Music is intense if it needs to be intense. Song at the end it quite nice, it captures the atmosphere of the movie well.

Oizumi Yo gives a solid performance his zero to hero transformation was believable, though he doesn't look like the character in the Manga at least his persona reflects hideo, kudos to him. As for Nagasawa Masami and Arimura Kasumi, they were at least mediocre. I was especially disappointed with Nagasawa Masami's character cause that character is very different from the manga, her character supposed to be a baddass. Kasumi Arimura's character didn't do as much here so I can't asses how he did in this film.

So how would this stack up against other zombie titles? well let's say to me it made zombies scary again and kind off remind me why this genre has been one of the favorites for these past decade and that last minutes was a FREAKING-INTENSELY-GORY-HEAD-EXPLODING FINALE.

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Completed
Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku
14 people found this review helpful
Oct 16, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
A very nice example of live action done right as this one didn't suffer from that thing that most live actions have, this time the story is not rushed but without removing important elements and events in the anime. The first verse is a great set up for the awesome second verse as its theme is somewhat connected with the second verse. First verse created the dynamics between characters well that it felt more natural in the second verse. There's a bit of romance hinted here but that's not the main focus in the story, it's more about friendship and their conflicts. Fan or not this is a must watch as karuta as a game is so fascinating to begin with, it's part of Japanese culture and its poems are somewhat the foundation of Japanese morals and just like as they flick those cards in slow motion, its lessons will approach you straight to your face.

Before watching this I already knew that the director is Norihiro Koizumi, the same guy who directed Taiyou no uta(movie) and the liar and his lover so I am confident that this would be a good adaptation when I first heard about it and I am not wrong. He is great creating meaningful scenes for the reason that cinematography is one of his strongest points especially long shots, people who saw taiyou no uta know what I mean. The other thing is that he is great in showing the emotions of his characters, even an angle where only back of a person is seen. He's an actor's director, the one who makes his actors looks better and probably the reason why Suzu Hirose looks so fine here.

Visuals in this movie is so damn fine as slow motion in those karuta battle works so damn well, it gives those scenes so much impact, also give kudos to editing . The music they use really adds up to the feels of the movie it makes such scenes epic and those battles engaging. The only complaint I have is the song they use in the end, I'm a huge perfume fan but that the song didn't capture the whole atmosphere of the movie.

Perhaps the best casting in a live action ever as all those character are well played, a great ensemble of talented young cast that would probably become A class actors in the future namely Suzu Hirose, Mone Kamishiraishi, Hiroya shimizu, Nomura Shuhei, Mackenyu, Mayu Matsuoka. At first I was bit worried that suzu hirose might not give justice to the role, although I still felt the same in the first movie but this second movie prove me wrong. I think it's just right to cast her as chihaya, she is fun, she's passionate and she has done a nice job of giving energy and freshness to the character. Mayu matsuoka nailed the role as the queen, she really looks like queen, spot on casting, but more than looks it's the acting that makes her standout in this movie, her facial expressions and that way she handled the character change, she's a versatile actress indeed. What I thought would be the cutest card battle ever ended up becoming the most emotional card battle I had witnessed as it serves as a venue for the character development of chihaya and the queen, this is really important because this is the theme they wanted to convey here, like in any sport solo or team and definitely in life "doing it with friends is better than alone".

I agree that most Manga and Anime should not be made into a live action but stories that are so good should be shown in different platforms and chihayafuru is among them. Also, the good thing about watching a live action is that it would be a fascinating experience if the feels from watching an anime translates well into live, I will never get tired of watching live action for this reason.

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Completed
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
14 people found this review helpful
Aug 10, 2016
5 of 5 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers
The concept of time travel has always been fascinating and that alone might be enough reason why you want to pick this, but that's not all there's more to it, and why this drama is worth watching. Unlike other dramas using time travel as a plot, this one totally makes sense at all, they have every bit of explanation to all our questions, and that is important because a plot that makes no sense is a big turn off.

The characters here act like real high school students unlike characters in other high school dramas which have tendency to act too mature for their age. As a viewer doing that hurts the experience, removing too much reality in my opinion is unnecessary and annoying. It's not hard to spot this we've been in high school once in our life and in this drama that scene on the beach was the best example on how to portray real high school characters in drama. The emotion in that awkward situation looks authentic and flashback came to me as similar thing happen during high school.

The chemistry of our trio is by all means great, one of the best chemistry I've seen in my years of watching Japanese drama. They are fun characters but what's more fun is watching their interactions together which make me think that they are real friends in real life. As for the romance, I'm no authority on this due to the fact that maybe I'm not a romantic person or I just don't give a damn, but I think you will get what you want in this drama. Five episodes for this drama is just perfect which makes the pacing not draggy at all, though I wouldn't mind if they made additional episodes for other side characters just like in episode 2. That episode was well crafted which makes me teary-eyed a bit.

Music, I love those 2 songs in this drama particularly the ending song. I've read the lyrics and it really suits the story and captures the atmosphere of this drama, they also insert the song at the most appropriate time. Those scenes as it plays were perfectly done, those transitions the effects added much to the emotions I've had.

No words can describe how glad I am to see Kuroshima Yuina back again. I always knew this girl is capable of great feats just that her performance in some drama or movies recently was average. When I said characters here acts like real high school students I was mostly referring to her. Every gestures of her character are just like you would expect if an innocent mindless high school student gets this ability. She uses time travel as if nothing and she's fun to watch every time she doing it. I even put myself on Shohei's shoes and thinking she pain in the ass for not thinking of the consequences. She has grown into a great actress far from that girl who continuously taps honoo-kun to get his attention.

I am particularly honest towards boy band members which IMO most of them suck, but I always give credit where credit is due. Kikuchi Fuma who played Fukamachi Shohei did well of portraying a guy from year 2122 who experience love for the first time. He makes the development of the character looks believable. Takeuchi Ryoma on the other hand had less screen time but that does not mean he's the weakest as he nailed those dramatic scenes convincingly and you could really feel the frustration from him. This guy has the dramatic chops to play more serious roles. Lastly Yoshimoto Miyu, you are so damn cute, I just wished that they make you appear more in this drama but anyway hope for more drama from you in the future.

So the ultimate question, Is the ending sad? Well it depends on your own perspective, all I can say is that there's a cute plot twist in the end that makes Mihane remain positive and that was brilliant.

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The Naked Director
10 people found this review helpful
Aug 11, 2019
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.5
It's a given fact that some people will be put off by this drama due to its explicit content. It has to be the most sexually provocative Japanese drama ever, but given its plot and what seems this drama is trying to achieve, I think it's clear that the show needs the amount of nudity and the shock value of those sex scenes for the drama to leave a strong mark. Some supporters of women's movement might also be triggered by how they treat women in this show, and the people behind this drama might have already anticipated that as they tried to address that concern in the beginning of the first episode.

In the opening shot, we see a woman whom will be an integral character later in the show, advocating for a woman’s right to openly express her sexuality within Japan cultural mores, shamelessly flaunts her armpit hair to people while saying love means accepting nature, to her it's an expression of feminity and identity. The drama depicts her as a symbol of strong female representation. But even with that, people might still be put off by the show's handling of sexuality at points. It would be too taboo and misogynistic to a different culture, but this drama is not trying to be morally correct, it only depicts a story as what happened, to watch this drama you don't have to agree to enjoy it.

Naked director is an 8 episode drama based on Japanese legend, Toru Muranishi aka "The Emperor of Porn", a controversial figure but considered by many as the most innovative director of Japanese adult videos. He has a fascinating life, went from a Japanese struggling salary man to a legendary director that soon will trigger the Japan's pornographic revolution. It's a fictionalize biography of him, not everything happen is accurate, and some events have been overly dramatized for the sake of entertainment.

Although it's a semi biography about Toru Muranishi, it also shows Japan's economic and cultural expansion, the movement in the porn industry as people move from magazine to video/media age. Rules are changing, everything is changing but not Muranishi's strong resolve. Well paced drama, doesn't felt too slow or fast. It's also has nice balance of slapstick comedy to the underworld dark side of porn. What I especially love about this drama is it doesn't shy away from the bad actions of this main character. They didn't try to portray him as a hero or justified his actions, but also didn't try villainize the character.

It's clearly aims towards international audience. It promotes Japanese culture from food, hustling bustling Tokyo to the infamous Japanese sex industry. The drama also felt inspired by American television, not as thematic and preachy like most Japanese dramas. The music is a blend between electronic and rock. On the technical side, cinematography was the strongest. It clearly depicts 80's vibe, from colors, landmarks and the way they shot famous 80's establishment like disco scenes.

Wonderfully acted all around, these talented casts brought their best in this drama. Yamada Takayuki captivates as ever, brilliantly portray Muranishi, from facial expression to the way he speaks he nailed it. But what's amazing about his performance is how he balances the humor and seriousness given the situation. Biopics needs strong lead actor and Yamada Takayuki delivers. I've seen almost all of his dramas and movies and I think this is one of his best performance and definitely his most daring ever. The one the surprise me the most is the actress who played Kaoru Kuroki, Misato Morita. Talking about a career defining performance, the actress gave it all like literally, that scene alone with Takayuki deserves an award. She's one of the strongest female character in a drama for me, feisty, and she don't give a damn what others will think. Her character is that interesting that they could make a drama out of her. Not just the leads but the supporting cast is a bunch of interesting characters as well, all of them have their own quirks, but don't just serve as comic relief characters, and if there's a standout among them it's Shinnosuke Mitsushima, the one who played that goofy character Toshi, he is the gangster, the do it all of the group. With strong leads and eccentric set of character forms this dynamic group that is fun to watch.

If you're a fan of biopics and you want to learn more about Japan and its fascinating porn history then you should watch this drama. Even if it's considered as the dark side it is still part of its culture. Not for everyone obviously, it's too explicit, and I think even late night Jdrama slot would not show this drama. If there's no Netflix this drama won't get a green light unless they made this into movie. And before someone say it's glorifying porn, it doesn't mean they make this drama that they already glorifying the act, it's just simply telling a story. It's best to separate your morals and reasoning from a story and try to see it through neutral eyes.

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