screened for…

It’s no secret that I’m in love with being entertained. But at the same time, it’s no secret that I’m lazy and can hardly be arsed to write full reviews and posts on why I like or dislike something and what it’s about.

Below you’ll find a list of TV shows I am watching, and my random comments (attempting to be spoiler-free, but no guarantees) on what I already have watched. Not all shows I’m watching are current – I often end up playing catchup long after a show or season has finished airing. If you’d like actual full-fleshed reviews/synopses, you probably ought to go to the Jdrama Weblog or other similar blogs.

Please note: non-Japanese shows (generally American ones) are included on the list of shows I watch because I watch them. They’re starred to mark their origins, just so you don’t go looking for a Japanese drama titled “Castle” or “Chuck.” This is my blog and I make no apology if for some reason this inclusion disrupts your sensitivities.

Last updated: May 17, 2013 – Naturally, it is as I enter the final stretch of time to complete all the shit that I need to get done to graduate that I remember this blog and choose to procrastinate.

Currently watching:
Koukou Nyuushi
MONSTERS
Kodoku no Gourmet
UNFAIR Double Meaning ~ Yes or No
Ninkyo Helper SP

Considering:
ATARU
Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou
Ekiben Hitoritabi
Higashino Keigo Mysteries
Hungry!
Kazoku Game
LADY ~Saigo no Hanzai PROFILE~
Last Cinderella
Legal High
Lucky Seven
Meshibana Keiji Tachibana
Naku na, Hara-chan
Otome-san
Piece Vote
Rebound
RICH MAN, POOR WOMAN
Share House no Koibito
Shinryochu

On hold:

Dramas I have watched: A by-no-means-complete list of dramas I have touched at some point or another can be found here. For ones I have completed and written comments on, click here.

Movies I’ve watched: Full list below. Ratings are out of 5 ♥’s, but it’s just as fine if you don’t pay attention to them at all.

20th Century Boys, 20th Century Boys 2: The Last Hope, 20th Century Boys Final: Our Flag I must confess, I have two biases here. One, I am a huge fan of Urasawa Naoki’s works, including the manga this movie series was based off of. Two, I like older actors, and seeing as how most of the main cast is already in their 30s when the first movie starts, they hired the good ones in droves. As a suspense movie it draws from an excellent base, though I can’t help but wonder if the way the story was split up into three increments might have detracted from it for viewers who didn’t know it beforehand. It can’t be denied that the director did an amazing job of keeping visually true to its source. At the very least, give it a try. ♥♥♥♥

Addendum: Having now finished the trilogy, I cannot stress enough that if you are a fan of Urasawa Naoki AND enjoy watching Japanese dramas, this movie trilogy will be amongst the best things you have ever watched. The cameos (I squeed at Okada Yoshinori‘s 3-minute scene). Listening to Karasawa Toshiaki and Furuta Arata sing. The dramatic panoramas. These are movies where knowing what is already going to happen only makes it better. ♥♥♥♥♥

Ao no Honoo The one you probably know for either Matsuura Aya or Ninomiya Kazunari. I confess I first watched it to see the acting chops of the former, and inwardly groaned years later when I became a fan of the latter. It’s not too horrific or too bland, but you’d probably have to have an interest in one of the cast members to get much out of this human nature story. ♥♥♥

Ashita no Watashi no Tsukurikata If you’re a Maeda Atsuko fan, you’ve probably watched this already. I watched this to see the acting prowess of Narumi Riko, who is entirely believable in here. Then again, all she’s doing is playing a teenager. Which she is. This film starts out slow, but if you can stick it out you’ll find a sweet story about two teenage girls growing up and trying to find themselves. Or you can just cheer when Sakurada Doori sticks by Maeda’s character. ♥♥♥

Battle Royale A classic of Japanese cinema, cult or otherwise. Even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve heard of it. If you’ve been warned about the blood – it’s not too bad, coming from someone who can’t stand horror movies or gore. The story can make you think, can move you, or is good for plain old-fashioned entertainment. One of the reasons for my enduring crush on Yamamoto Taro. ♥♥♥♥♥

Boku no Kanojo wa CYBORG To be honest, I’m not even sure why I decided to watch this movie. And I rather regret it. Koide Keisuke gets to be wooden, Kiritani Kenta gets to be crazy, Ayase Haruka gets to be both wooden and crazy. But then again, I’m not a huge fan of romantic comedies.

Boku wa Imoto ni Koi wo Suru I’m clearly not the best judge, but if you’re looking for a good romance, this is not it. Instead, this is chock full of the sort of desperate love that could really only come with teenagers in shoujo manga. It almost makes you feel bad for Hiraoka Yuta as the guy who won’t give up after being rejected, just because he’s the most normal of them all. To be fair, all of the main four play their roles decently, but the best part is undoubtedly the end. Not just because it’s the end, but because that’s the first time you actually care about any of them. When even Matsujun fans call this film boring, there’s got to be some truth to it. ♥

Boku-tachi to Chuuzai-san no 700 Nichi Sensou If you are a fan of Sasaki Kuranosuke, watch this. You think you have a choice in this? No, no you don’t. Hanchou meets a backwater town and its bored teenage occupants, including Ichihara Hayato, Waki Tomohiro, and a very effeminate Tomiura Satoshi. Bored enough to start a prank war, in fact. Hilariously idiotic at all the right moments. ♥♥♥♥

Death Note & Death Note: The Last Name I tried to watch the NANA movies before I watched this. Operative word being tried. They were just boring. So I didn’t have high hopes for Death Note – and thank whoever was responsible that I got proven wrong. There’s just enough changes from the source material to keep it fresh, and while it is a bit disappointing that manga was basically compacted, it tells the tale well in its own way. Besides, do you really want to pass up the chance to see Kaga Takeshi in a role that’s not Chairman Kaga? ♥♥♥♥

Death Note: L: change the worLd This one gets kept separate from the above because you don’t really need the above to enjoy this, and you probably will enjoy this. It has its gory moments at the beginning and end, but Matsuyama Kenichi and Fukuda Mayuko make it believable. Also, when Matsuyama suddenly – intentionally – shuts Fukuda Narushi into a closet, it is adorable and hilarious and worrying all at once – and that pretty much sums up the movie. ♥♥♥♥♥

Dororo Nothing short of stunning. As always, God of Manga Tezuka Osamu got it right when he came up with the story, and the movie does amazing justice to it despite obviously lacking Tezuka’s distinct imagery. Things get almost unsatisfyingly sped up after the first hour, but the visual detail (just forgive the grub demons), the fight choreography (and occasional wirework), and of course stellar performances by the main duo of Tsumabuki Satoshi and Shibasaki Kou will help you ignore it. Eita also makes an appearance, for those of you who want to see that wild hair in a topknot. But really, you know you just want to see demon blood bukkake all over Shibasaki’s face.

DRIVE It’s probably a good thing I watched Hold Up Down before I watched this Sabu film. It’s heartwarming in its way, but also rambling and pointless. At least watching Terajima Susumu preach to punk metal is good for a laugh. One question though, why is Shibasaki Kou among the top billers? She’s practically non-existent in the film. ♥♥♥

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Should this count? Hell, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to. If you’re any kind of Japanophile there’s no way you haven’t heard of FF7. What the film boils down to is Japan proving they can hold their own with the CG big boys in Hollywood. And if you really need a plot summary, Cloud is emo Jesus trying to discover that he’s Jesus. It’s shiny and has some of the big name seiyuu of Japan – what more do you ask for? ♥♥♥

GACHI☆BOY 50 First Dates, only Drew Barrymore is the happy grinny potential “Wolverine’s best partner in Japan” Sato Ryuta and Adam Sandler is PRO WRESTLING, BABY. Heartbreaking, heartwarming, and brain-achingly stupid. After the first twist you can see the rest of them coming, but it’s a sweet movie nonetheless. Saeko is adorable as always, but Ryuta and Mukai Osamu fangirls (and fanboys) will probably mostly want to watch this for them being half-naked. ♥♥♥♥

g@me Shunted businessman (played by Fujiki Naohito in classic cool mode) comes across the runaway daughter (played by Nakama Yukie in a… well, turn compared to Gokusen) of the executive who shunned him, and plots together with her to “kidnap” her as revenge. Then come the twists. Well the first one, that the two fall in love, was obviously coming. Everything else kind of falls in natural succession after that. It tries to be a suspense movie but goes over the top with dramatic moments – replete with thunder and lightning in one scene. If you wanted a suspense movie, watch something else. If you want to look at the pretty Fujiki Naohito/Nakama Yukie, though, this is fair game. ♥♥♥

Gokusen: The Movie After 7 long years, the era of live-action Gokusen in Japan comes to a close with this. Unlike the series, the focus isn’t on Yankumi’s efforts to reform her current class (but they do spend about 20 minutes on it). Like the series, it is on her saving her students from messes, complete with some classic scenes requisite in every iteration of the series done to the max just because it’s The Movie. Yankumi’s old students (excepting the most recent Johnny’s and Kame) are gathered for a last hurrah so you can see what everyone other than Kuma’s been up to, and that’s probably the best part of the movie, even if you loved the series. ♥♥♥

Hard Luck Hero Don’t go into this film looking for answers. Except the one to “Is Miyake Ken gorgeous when he’s bleeding his life out?” because the answer is a resounding HELL YES. Otherwise, Sabu, in his first outing with the members of V6, takes what might have been a good concept and runs it over a million times. (Pun unintended.) Well, then again, apparently you can’t not expect a car chase from a Sabu movie. It’s a vehicle (pun also unintended) for V6, and for some people that’s probably okay. For others, there are definitely better rides to be had. (Okay, so all puns intended.) ♥♥♥

HEAVEN’S DOOR Thanks to this, I’m now looking forward to seeing Fukuda Mayuko’s career climb. What do you do when you have 3 days left to live? When you’re Nagase Tomoya, you run through the country trying to enjoy life before you go and take a terminally ill teenager with you along the way. Even if you’re not a Johnny’s fan, this movie tells a beautiful story. ♥♥♥♥♥

Hold Up Down Everyone should watch this for one thing alone – Frozen Jesus Okada Statue. Then again, I also have a very strong V6 fandom going for me. Sabu’s second outing with V6 is ultimately much more successful because it doesn’t try to be serious. Himura Yuuki (of Bananaman) being an aluminum bat-wielding maniac, Nagano scaring the hell out of Sakamoto when behind the wheel of a car, and “Okada” literally being wielded as a weapon in a no-holds-barred maniacal pointless fist fight between the other 5 members are just a few of the highlights. Don’t expect to understand any of it, just go along for the ride. ♥♥♥♥♥

KAIJI ~Jinsei Gyakuten GAME~ Fujiwara Tatsuya apparently does pretty well in roles where he does crazy things. But it’s much easier to call this Yu+Gi+Oh! (before the card game took over) for grown-ups, because in many ways, that’s what it is. Amami Yuki’s hot, Kagawa Teruyuki’s amazing, and there are a number of popular young cameos. Overlook the eye candy for the story. It’s worth it. ♥♥♥♥♥

Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Shanghai Ningyo Densetsu There’s a major problem with being Chinese and watching this movie – approximately 65% of the movie is in Mandarin. The other 35% is in Japanese. But these are “Chinese” people speaking poor Japanese, and the very fact that they’re “Chinese” sort of illuminates that their Chinese is likewise poor. Add to that the fact that this is now only available in poor quality (and for those of you not fluent in either Chinese or Japanese, with even worse subtitles, originated from Chinese) due to age, and you’d have to be a pretty big Kindaichi fan to stick with it. It’s definitely a classic following in the true spirit of Kindaichi, though, and overlooking the cardinal media rule of “famous” = “murderer” helps it be even more enjoyable. ♥♥♥

Kisarazu Cat’s Eye Nihon Series The first sequel to TBS’ home-run hit Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, where Bussan never seems to die or be hindered despite being terminally ill with cancer. (I bet you Nagase’s character in Heaven’s Door would’ve liked that ability.) We get a glimpse into the future of Cat’s Eye, and then a flashback to the past before Bussan’s supposedly final death. (Not a spoiler. Well, really, we got a second movie – isn’t that spoiler enough?) Kisarazu is only just beginning to join in on Japan’s South Korea boom following the immense popularity of Winter Sonata, and our group gets in on the action. And of course, all the best parts – and cameos – of the series return. If you enjoyed the drama, obviously you’ll enjoy this. ♥♥♥♥

Kisarazu Cat’s Eye World Series The second – and final – sequel to TBS’ home-run hit Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, except this movie came 3 years after the first. Because Japanese dramas tend to be in real-time, it’s 3 years later in Kisarazu and lots of things have changed, including the style of this movie. If you’re a diehard fan or enjoy things without thinking too deeply, you’ll like this movie. But if you’re looking for something true to the original, well… things have changed. I definitely could’ve done without the baseball zombies. ♥♥♥

PIKA☆NCHI LIFE IS HARD dakedo HAPPY Let’s be honest. Much like Hold Up Down above, you’re probably only going to watch this if you’re a Johnny’s fan. And unless you’re an Arashi fan (or really dying to see that Inocchi cameo), you’re not going to come out of this with anything great. I highly doubt you’ll be amused by Sho with yankee hair, at the least. As a growing-up story about 5 teenagers who are horny on various levels though, it’s sweet and simple and does the trick. ♥♥♥

RPG Goto Maki, may her tumultous family life not damage her too much, stars in this whodunit where a mourning wife and daughter discovers the existence of the father’s second family. The concept is interesting, the execution decent, but the final result a bit expected – at least, if you’re my friend piro. It’s not a complete waste of time, and another one of those human nature movies that Japan loves to churn out where Goto’s pretty good at her role. ♥♥♥

UNFAIR the Movie When commercials and Ito Yuna’s I’m Here PV aired, the movie was hyped up as a huge action-suspense flick, as riveting as the drama. It’s more like suspending the action, because it comes in with a huge bang, and then halfway through you just don’t care anymore. In fact, it was – dare I say it? – unfair. It might be better if you go through the whole franchise in one go, but I’m betting you’ll still just be watching it to see the end of the story started way back in the much better drama. ♥♥♥

Warau MIKAERU If asked, I would have to describe this movie as Charlie’s Angels on that special brand of crack that only the Japanese can do (complete with horrible CG). Three students of a rich girls-only Catholic school discover they have special powers (of super strength, super speed, and electrical conduction) and a shared liking for “commoner” tastes, and then have to do battle against a really contrived European organization that’s kidnapping well-bred girls. I’m pretty sure that speaks for itself. ♥♥

YATTERMAN Do you like sentai? Giant robots? Classic anime of the 70’s? Then this movie is for you. Are you only a fan of Miike Takashi, Sakurai Sho, Fukuda Saki, Fukada Kyoko, Namase Katsuhisa, or Kendo Kobayashi? This movie is probably less for you, but if you’re truly dedicated you can wing it. Then again, if you like three or more, you’ll get some measure of enjoyment too. But if you definitely like your movies to be sane, thoughtful, or by any means sensible, you probably ought to stay away. The fact that this movie has a giant boobed robot with nipple missiles should tell you a lot. ♥♥♥♥

Youki na GANG ga Chikyuu wo Mawasu This movie was almost a shame. Almost. Four people with certain abilities (human lie detector, human metronome, skilled pickpocket, and a charismatic speaker) band together to rob banks – for the romance of it. In fact, it dumps you immediately into the thick of a robbery before showing you how they got together. And right there, you’ve got no choice but to fall in love with and cheer on the ragtag group. Until the movie hits its dramatic problem phase and gets too exposition-y. Luckily it quickly jumps back to the fun times again. And Matsuda Shota not being smug or a brooding ass for once? How could you not want to watch this? ♥♥♥♥

For dramas I have completed and written comments on, click here.

For ones I have completed and written comments on, click here.

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