School is officially OUT baby!!!! YATTA!!! Now that I have loads of time on my hands it’s about time I catch up with Asian entertainment. It’s no secret that I have a special fixation on Korean Dramas (which I will be catching up on like crazy, believe that), but I also need to give the Japanese drama/movie world some of my attention. 2011 is a year of highly anticipated dramas and movies for anime fans and even K-drama fans such as myself. I’m a rom-com fanatic… so action/horror fans beware. Here’s my short list (in no particular order):
1. Paradise Kiss the Movie (Pictured Above)- No, I’m not a manga fan (yet) but I did watch and adore the anime to death and consider myself an Ai Yazawa fan. For those of you not familiar with the story, Paradise Kiss follows Hayasaka Yukari, a failing high school student, who is introduced to the world of fashion after modelling for an eccentric group of design students. She ends up falling in love with George, a gifted designer and very unique type of male lead. I won’t elaborate any further, bc I hate spoilers and I’m sure you do too! But about the movie… I am excited, but extremely wary of film-adaptations of anime/manga. I did see Nana and Love*Com — was NOT IMPRESSED. Perhaps my expectations were a bit high, but the feeling that I had from watching the animes was just not there. Casting wise- I don’t know. I’m not very familiar with many Japanese actors. Kitagawa Keiko seems to fit the part of Yukari appearance-wise, but not familiar with any of her other work. I have seen Mukai Osamu act a small part in Nodame Cantabile, and he wasn’t bad at all but it’s hard to judge from so little screen time. He’s a good-looking guy, no doubt about that, but I don’t see him as George. Maybe he’ll make up for it through his acting, so I’m not disappointed just yet. The ParaKiss movie is set to premiere in June.
2. Ikemen Desu Ne (You’re Beautiful Remake)– *INSERT HIGH PITCHED FANGIRLY SCREAM HERE* Wow! What amazing news for this Korean drama obsessed, Japanese language learner. One of my favorite Korean Dramas, You’re Beautiful, was so popular in Japan that it is getting its own remake. I wasn’t one of the “mania” fans, but I did highly enjoy it and am a huge fan of the Hong sisters’ work. I enjoyed it so much that I am re-watching it now. It will be very interesting just to see what elements will be kept or changed, such as the pop culture parodies and toilet humor (knowing Japan, they’re going toilet humor full throttle). The A.N.Gell members have already been cast and consist of J-pop idols, all of whom I have never heard of before. It would’ve been great to see Lee Hong Ki reprise his role of Jeremy, since he is a J-Pop idol in his own right and is known to be pretty fluent. Ikemen Desu Ne is scheduled to be broadcast on Fridays at 10PM in July on TBS. (Picture above is of Korean cast, no official Japanese promotional pics released yet!)
3. Ouran High School Host Club (Live Action Drama)– Yes, another drama about a cross-dressing female. Is this concept getting a little worn out? Perhaps. But I really don’t mind, because I LOVED this anime. It’s been awhile since I watched it, about two years or so, but just the mention of it brings a smile to my face. I was ECSTATIC when I found out about this adaptation. While I have mentioned that I’m not too fond of animes being made into movies, I don’t mind seeing them made into dramas. In fact, one thing that did bug me about the Ouran anime was lack of development of the relationship between Haruhi and Tamaki (the latter is pictured above & my favorite character). I heard the manga explored it much more, so hopefully the drama will be more based on the manga. Yamamoto Yusuke is playing Tamaki, and I did like him in Hana Kimi, but his character in HK is nothing like Tamaki. Again, he could be very skilled at handling all types of roles, but I am not familiar with his other work. I will not judge until I see him in this role. And not trying to be nitpicky, but isn’t Tamaki supposed to be half-French? Yusuke doesn’t look like he can pass for Eurasian, but if his acting is strong enough it shouldn’t matter. Ouran will be airing on TBS, but dates are still unknown at this time.
While I made sure to keep my blog content open without many restrictions, I don’t want to bog it down with a whole bunch of stuff on dramas, as much as I’m tempted to. This blog was made for Japanese learning, culture and some entertainment content. So, I will consolidate by also including a short list of dramas/movies I have recently watched in this post accompanied by brief review, for anyone who is in need of some recommendations.
Nodame Cantabile (Drama)– A drama centered around students at a classical music college. Nodame is messy and disorganized but a gifted pianist who loves to play only for personal enjoyment. Chiaki is an uptight neat freak and music snob who secretly dreams of studying abroad with his European mentor, but something is stopping him. These two opposites get together and teach each other important life lessons. This drama was very popular and I watched it after seeing Ueno Juri do an appearance on an episode of Korean reality show “We Got Married”. It’s different and not your run-of-the mill rom com focused only on the lead couple’s loveline. But I didn’t like it. Sorry Nodame fans! And I know there are plenty! But I just fell asleep! I made sure to watch it all the way through and there were entertaining moments, but overall it was just not for me. I didn’t like how slap-stick it was. I felt as if I was watching an anime. Yea, it’s based on a manga but did they really have to show Nodame flipping 5 feet into the air after Chiaki slaps her? Ugh. That being said, it’s a cute story and I can see others getting into it. Just not me.
Retribution (Movie)–A detective investigates the murder of a woman who was drowned in a puddle. Similar murders begin to surface and soon the detective becomes suspicious. Is he the murderer? I HATE horror movies. But I told my friend I wanted to get over my fear and the premise sounded interesting so we streamed it on Netflix. The plot was VERRRY slow-moving, but still chilling. It wasn’t scary, and let me tell you, I am the biggest Scaredy-pants on the planet. I still shudder when I hear Chucky’s name, that’s how bad it is. But this was not scary. It was not the best, but I did like it. After reading reviews I learned that there are better films by the director, Kurosawa Kiyoshi. So if you’re into ghost movies, I recommend you look the man up! (This is embarrassing, but it’s been a week since I’ve watched and every red coat or sweater in my house still creeps me out XD)
Zettai Kareshi (Drama)–Izawa Riiko is a girl that’s too nice to get a boyfriend. Her plight catches the attention of a business man from Kronos Heaven, who has her fill out a survey about what she would like her ideal boyfriend to be. The next day a box arrives at her door, and out steps her new boyfriend, 01 aka Night. I haven’t finished this drama yet, but I am in love with it. Come on, how awesome is that premise? An ideal boyfriend robot? You know all kinds of hijinks will follow! I have laughed out loud so many times during this drama. I usually don’t like to recommend a drama before I finish it, but this can end happily or tragically and I’ll still be on board. “Night” has won me over 100% (although he’s still working on Riiko). I only have 2 episodes and a special left, but this is sure to become one of my favorites.
Whew. Was that not epically long… or does it just seem that way to me? Sorry guys, dramas are a total obsession. I could go on and on forever if I could, but I won’t! I hope you enjoyed my thoughts and would love to hear yours. Any other new J-dramas or movies I should be looking out for?
P.S. Found a really great site that you can join and log all of the Asian dramas and movies you’ve watched. It’s called MyDramaList and I am addicted! So useful! *Sigh* When they’re all listed together like that, it makes you think– you might really have a serious problem 😛