Drama Review: Nigeru Onna


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I don’t know how I crossed this drama. I rarely watch J-drama lately, but this drama just draw my attention.

At first, I don’t have any idea about the plot or whatsoever about this drama. I don’t really understand Japanese language — I’m referring to the title — so I just watched this drama without any expectation. To my surprise, this drama only has 6 episodes!!

So what is this drama about? Well, Rieko Nishiwaki played by Miki Mizuno has just released from prison after spending 8 years incarcerated on a false charge. She seeks out her former best friend, Azumi, who betrayed her. On the way she comes across a young murderess played by Riisa Naka.

However, this drama is not all about vengeance or revenge. It’s darker and sadder. The story is well written. It’s able to portrait and deliver the feeling of a person who is wrongfully accused, to be in her shoes and understand how she is treated, looked, perceived and to be on her side to seek the truth.

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At the same time, this drama also succeeded to stir my feeling. For the first time I’m able to feel anger and pity at the same time while watching Mio. As the story goes by, I’m kind of understand why she acted like Reiko’s protector, never let anyone harm her, including killing a thief that stole Reiko’s purse (Ironically, Reiko doesn’t know this dark side of Mio). Even she doesn’t want to let Reiko meet her sister when she finally figures out Mio’s dark side. I kind of understand that she doesn’t want to be alone.

At the end, we’ll never know why Azumi gave a false confession that led Rieko being condemned as a murderer. Why? Because Mio killed her. However, this is still a recommended drama with Kento Kaku apperance as a bonus.

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Currently Watching: Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (ep. 1-4)


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For these past six months I am kind of bored of romantic K-dramas. You know, the excessive love scenes from the start until the end, the predictable plot of a rich man with a poor woman, and soon make me sick. So here I am, watching “Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim” which was released on November 7,2016.

The first episode introduced the background of the three main characters; Doctor Kim, Kang Dong Jo, and Yoon Seo Jung. Actually, I was hoping that the first episode will explain more about Doctor Kim – why he called himself as “romantic doctor” or about the reason of his secluded life.But it tells about Kang Dong Jo and Yoon Seo Jung private lives more. Well, maybe the writer wants to save the best for the last and reveals Doctor Kim’s secret as the story reaches its peak.

Although I was a bit disappointed by unnecessarily romantic scenes in the first episode, I like how the drama shows the every day life of doctors in ER – how they deal with life and death problems, seniority, and troublesome patients. I was like I was watching Code Blue. However, I am not comparing these two right now.

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At the end of this episode it was told that Yoon Seo Jung got a car accident with Doctor Moon, her boyfriend. She broke her arm. Her boyfriend died. Seo Jung was so upset. She then went hiking but tripped on the way. A stranger then passed by and helped her. She was brought to some strange place.

Seo Jung didn’t appear so much. Kang Dong Jo has more appearance in this episode. It had been 5 years since Seo Jung disapperance and Dong Jo already became a surgeon. However, he made a mistake when did a surgery on a VIP person. He then was sent to a small hospital in a remote area.

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This episode onward will be interesting.  Not only met the peculiar Doctor Kim, Kang Dong Jo also met Yoon Seo Jung in that hospital. Things got complicated then. He had to deal with patients with little staff.

Japanese Drama Watch List 2015: Into Summer


There are many Winter and Spring drama series for 2015 that I haven’t watch, but Summer is already here. Learning from the past, it would not be good to judge the upcoming dramas based on first impressions alone, or the “stellar” cast or even the storyline. When Wakamonotachi was first announced, I have zero interest, but the drama turned out to be one of the best of the season. It’s that good, and the major reason for my raves is the cast.

Here are 5 upcoming dramas I am excited to watch—based on the plot and the cast.

1. Death Note

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Date: From 10.30 p.m., Sundays, 5 July 2015
Station: NTV
Genre: Detective, sci-fi thriller
Cast: Kubota Masataka, Yamazaki Kento, Yuki Mio, Sano Hinako, Fujiwara Reiko, Seki Megumi, Maeda Goki, Yuge Tomohisa, Hankai Kazuaki, Sato Jiro, Matsushige Yutaka

 

Synopsis: One day, the god of death drops a notebook in the human world where it is picked up by Yagami Light (Kubota Masataka). It is the notebook of death that will determine people’s deaths. Once a name is written in the notebook, that person will die instantly.

2. Age Harassment

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Date: From 9.00 p.m., Thursdays, 9 July 2015
Station: TV Asahi
Cast: Takei Emi, Inamori Izumi, Seto Koji, Kaname Jun, Okura Koji, Naito Risa, Hara Mikie, Sugimoto Tetta, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Asano Kazuyuki, Aso Yumi, Takenaka Naoto, Kazama Morio, Koizumi Kotaro

Synopsis: Yoshii Emiri (Takei Emi) is a new employee of a top trading company. In addition to her motivation, skills and ambition, she possesses both youth and beauty. This would appear to be her passport to happiness. But because she is assigned to the General Affairs Department, the old guard which only pays lip service to “female employment”, everything she possesses becomes a target of harassment. The company only requires Emiri’s youth and beauty. Her dream of doing a good job and eventually becoming an executive officer is quickly crushed. On the other hand, Emiri just has to flash a smile and the male staff would fuss over her even though she did not ask for anything. She becomes the target of jealousy of the older female staff. Emiri is given a hard time simply because of her youth and beauty. Although she endures this every day, she soon reaches the limit of her patience. When Emiri rebels against the old-fashioned company, what awaits her is …

 

3. The Last Cop

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Date: From 19 June 2015, Fridays
Station: NTV & Hulu
Genre: Detective
Cast: Karasawa Toshiaki, Kubota Masataka, Sasaki Nozomi, Matsuo Satoru, Kurokawa Tomoka, Kuji Akiko, Tayama Ryosei, Suzunosuke, Miyakawa Ichirota, Saito Yuki, Sano Shiro, Wakui Emi, Emoto Tokio (guest star), Takimoto Miori (guest star), Malia (guest star), Ryusei Ryo (guest star)

Synopsis: In 1985, Kyogoku (Karasawa Toshiaki) is an unconventional but passionate to the point of overeagerness detective who has solved many cases. He corners a violent criminal called Kagura, but at that moment, a bomb planted by Kagura explodes and Kyogoku slips into a coma for 30 years. One day in 2015, Kyogoku suddenly wakes up and visits his wife, Kanako (Wakui Emi). However, she has remarried and rebuffs him. Just at the moment he is behaving violently, he ends up getting arrested by a young detective, Mochizuki Ryota (Kubota Masataka) and brought to Yokohama Chuo Police Precinct where he is reunited with his former junior Suzuki (Miyakawa Ichirota), and boss Kujira (Tayama Ryosei). Kyogoku quickly returns to his position as a detective. However, he cannot comprehend the latest gadgets and the “new wisdom”. He keeps ignoring modern rules without a care and getting Ryota, who has been made his buddy, into trouble.

 

4. Tamiou

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Date: From 11.15 p.m., Fridays, July 2015
Station: TV Asahi
Genre: Fantasy comedy
Cast: Endo Kenichi, Suda Masaki, Motokariya Yuika, Jiyoung, Takahashi Issei, Kaneda Akio, Minemura Rie, Yamauchi Takaya, Hara Kintaro, Iketani Nobue, Rokkaku Seiji, Kusakari Masao

Synopsis: One day, the current prime minister of Japan, Muto Taizan (Endo Kenichi), and his useless son, Sho (Suda Masaki), suddenly discover that they have switched bodies. With no known cause or solution at hand, Sho reluctantly ends up appearing in the Diet on his father’s behalf. But he completely cannot follow the deliberations as well as the questions and answers because it has been his routine to skip his studies. He is also repeatedly caught making childish responses or misreading kanji in documents. However, untainted by the adult world, Sho’s straightforward opinions and genuine feelings start to mobilise the Diet and the public. On the other hand, Taizan has to lead the life of a university student and search for a job on behalf of his son, but with the brains of a prime minister. He refutes arrogant interviewers with his overwhelming knowledge and debating skills. Although Taizan wins the war of words, he is an absolute failure in the interviews itself. Furthermore, several peculiar girls whom Sho has had relationships with appear and makes Taizan more bewildered.

 

5. Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san

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Date: From 11.40 p.m., Saturdays, 27 June 2015
Station: Fuji TV
Genre: Food
Cast: Hayami Akari, Miyama Karen, Furuhata Seika, Ono Yutaka, Tanaka Hideki, Muramatsu Toshifumi

Synopsis: Koizumi-san (Hayami Akari), a cool, beautiful high school student of few words, is in fact a ramen expert who seeks and tries out delicious ramen with gusto every day.

Among those five, I guess Death Note receives the most attention since its manga’s so booming back then—and until now, I guess. It’ is rumored that the drama series differs from previous movie adaptations where the main characters battle it out as young professionals. In the new drama, both Light Yagami and L are college students.  There are also pros and cons about the cast—which probably I’d like to discuss later.

However, let’s just drop the debate and enjoy the dramas.

Currently Watching: Ex-Girlfriend Club


Romantic-comedy series Ex-Girlfriend Club just wrapped two weeks ago on tvN. And Song Ji Hyo’s appearance will always steal my heart.

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I’d like to admit that: Yes, I watch this series because of Song Ji Hyo. She has stolen my heart since Emergency Couple. Unlike other female actresses, she doesn’t bother on how she will look like on screen—I mean how she dressed. She’s really into her character. Her messed up style really catches my attention. And I like that.

First two episodes tell the story of Kim Soo Jin (Song Ji Hyo), who is a film producer that works in an almost bankrupt company. She’s prepared to do whatever it takes to save the company. Therefore, she accepts the assignment to produce a webtoon adaptation. But to her horror, Soo Jin belatedly finds out that the webtoon artist is her ex-boyfriend, Myeong Soo (Byun Yo Han).

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Not only reluctantly working with her ex, Soo Jin also has to face that the company she works in has a lot of debt to pay. And as the movie starts shooting, the project also brings Myeong Soo’s other ex-girlfriends back into his life all at the same time. With unique personalities, these Myeong Soo’s ex-girlfriends—which includes an older wealthy divorcee (Jang Ji Eun), a chic and successful woman who works at an investment firm (Lee Yoon Ji), and a third-rate airhead actress (Hwa Young)—bring another problems and delays the movie’s production.

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Although I just watched the first two episodes, I kinda know how the drama will end. Like other K-Dramas, this one may end with the main female and male leads fall in love. However, what I like about this drama is that the drama isn’t a drama where big things happened, like other typical K-Dramas. This is a rom-com drama which focuses more on everyday interactions and relationships, peppered with some seriously gut-busting comedy. It’s light and the plot flows smoothly. Afterall, it is worth to follow the series until episode finale.

[Review] 10 Favorite Japanese Drama of 2014


It’s kinda late to talk about 2014 Japanese drama. But—I guess—it’s not too late to share good dramas.

What makes Japanese drama shows different, likeable, more interesting, compared to other Asian drama productions? Perhaps one of the best features of J-dramas is the duration—most are produced to deliver 8-10 episodes, compared to its Korean counterparts which usually run double. I really have to say, having an average of 10 episodes is more than enough to cover most stories/plots, provide adequate character development and maintain audience interest.

Statistically, there were 135 J-dramas were shown during the year which were divided into four seasons. Seventeen shows aired during winter, a whopping 41 dramas during spring, another 41 productions in summer and 36 shows during the fall.

Naming your favorite drama shows remain subjective. If you happen to love crime-dramas, then you will prefer shows covering this genre. The ultimate success of rom-coms, family drama, school and coming of age, medical, police and detective, horror, comedy, sci-fi and many other genres depend on a number of factors—storyline, lead actors, topnotch technical features that further highlight the show, even theme song. I like watching almost all genre. But personally, I prefer what so-called detective-sci-fi-mystery-action genre (sorry to those who have different ‘taste’ with me).

For your information, I didn’t watch all the 2014 drama. So, I’m sorry if I missed one or two dramas. This is my 5 favorite dramas anyway.

So let’s begin!

10. Boku no Ita Jikan

ggfgfgI’ll open my 10 favourite J-drama with Boku no Ita Jikan.  It’s a slice-of-life drama portraying Miura Haruma as Sawada Takuto who has shown such promise yet is about to die. A tragic story I’d say and Miura just able to deliver Takuto fears and struggles well. A little advice; prepare a box of tissue, please because you will cry a lot. And that’s the reason why I put it on the 10th rank—I hate crying.

9. Summer Nude

summer nude poster A typical rom-com drama. But it has Yamashita Tomohisa as its main lead! The conflict was quite light, easy to consume. However, it was not taste plain. Worth to watch for those who love rom-com. But then, why I put this drama on the 9th position. Simply because it couldn’t draw my interest.

8. Alice no Toge

Alice's_Thorn-p1Another Ueno Juri ’s drama after Sunao ni Narenakute. I had big expectation on this, watching Ueno playing a dark role. However, I’m a bit disappointed on this. At some point, the storyline became plain predictable and simply ‘boring’ to follow with full attention. It’s a pity because the idea of medical revenge clicked so well in the background of the plot, but it wasn’t well-handled for the most part. It’s also a shame that Odagiri Joe  and Ueno Juri were effectively wasted on this.

7. Nobunaga Concerto

posterI don’t really understand Japan history, especially Oda Nobunaga. I put this drama on my watch list simply because Oguri Shun. No doubt, Oguri played the role of Oda Nobunaga and Saburo well. Even though it felt a bit odd to see Oguri as a senior high student, I’d say Oguri Shun and Shibasaki Kou look great together in this drama.

6. MOZU (Season 1&2)

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It’s a political thriller drama. Unfortunately, the thriller-action-packed show didn’t make it to the masterpiece podium. Co-produced by TBS and WOWOW, led by a ground-breaking main cast and starting with an utterly promising conflict, the drama held the signs of an outstanding drama but alas! Winds do not blow as the vessels wish. The second season wasn’t any better. However, the drama isn’t all that bad. It could be nerve-wracking at times, but that doesn’t deny its great potentials and some of its amazing characters.

5. Border

20140411-00010005-nkcyzo-000-1-view It’s Oguri Shun, ladies and gentlemen! What could be any better? Here, he plays a detective role who got shot in the head while in an investigation. He barely survived but could see dead people—ghost in exact—afterward. The plot was a bit predictable but wait until the last episode. You’ll be surprised by it.

4. Bitter Blood

Bitter_Blood-p1I am a big fan of Sato Takeru. Amazed by his acting in Rurouni Kenshin, I decided to continue watching all his dramas and movies. Plus, this drama is a police drama, a-must-to-watch-drama. Actually Bitter Blood is another typical investigation J-drama. All the cliché cases of the detective genre were blunt clear in the plot, but it still managed to stand out due to the strong bromance—between a father-and-son partner—and great sense of humour. The best part was the bad blood between the father and son; they don’t get along, and they’re as different as night and day. In my opinion, that’s what made Bitter Blood catch my attention; the path they took to become good partners or the funny situations both of them were put into.

3. Nazo no Tenkousei

Nazo_no_Tenkosei-tp After two action-thriller dramas, finally it’s a different genre. It’s a mix of sci-fi and mystery. And another good point is that set of young actors! Yay to that. You know, watching dramas with a set of young talented and handsome actors may a little bit ’refresh our eyes’. However, Nazo no Tenkosei was not all about that. It had cool opening and ending theme song. I just love how Hongo Kanata played the role of a humanoid alien who pretended as a weird and a little bit stupid transfer student. And, oh, I also love Asuka’s character here. Sugisaki Hana succeeded in bringing out cheerful yet mysterious side of Asuka.

2. N no Tame Ni

N_tame I should admit that at first, I didn’t put it on my watch list. Simply because I don’t really know the actors/actresses. But I watched it anyway and surprised for the unpredictable plot—and ending. It may appear to be cruel or biased even, but you will savour each and every episode with both dread and gusto—and a bit sympathy maybe. N no Tame ni is a mixture of drama, mystery and murder. Both featured Japan’s most accomplished young talents—the kinds who can elevate drama with unconscious effort.

1. Wakamonotachi

Wakamonotachi_zpsb0236ebf Wakamonotachi and N no Tame Ni share the same fate. I mean, I didn’t really consider them as excellent dramas at first—my bad. If it’s not for Eita in the set of actors, I wouldn’t put it on watch list. Wakamonotachi is a heart-warming family drama that deals with the problems of their members. It’s evident that Japanese are professional at keeping situations realistic and moving. It’s also important to note that the wonderful actors weren’t the drama’s only strong point, the scriptwiter knew how to handle a star-studded cast by giving each of them credit in a well-written piece.

Sungha Jung Plays Frozen’s Soundtrack on Youtube


It’s been a while since I watch Sungha Jung’s video on Youtube. I think it was his video playing Counting Stars (One Republic). Except his skills, I also notice that his age is also growing. He’s older and bigger now. And, surely, he’s getting more and more handsome (hehe).

Anyway, this time (finally) I get a chance to search his video again on Youtube (to be honest, I already subscribe his Youtube channel). And tadaa… I found him playing Let It Go (Frozen Ost.). Just like his other videos, this one is really amazing. Ah, and actually he uploaded two versions of this song. The first version was with guitar and the latest version was playing with ukulele. Both of them are stunning. But personally I like the guitar version most. I also embed the video from Youtube and audio from SoundCloud here so you can watch them by yourself.

Happy watching! Happy listening!:D

Hungry!: Watching Osamu Mukai Being A Chef!


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Aku selalu suka menonton acara masak-masak di TV, entah itu reality show atau variety show. Lebih suka lagi, tentu saja, acara makan-makannya (hehehe). Nah, postingan kali ini juga berhubungan dengan makanan. Kali ini, aku bakal me-review sebuah drama Jepang yang mengangkat tema food dan romance. Judul drama ini adalah Hungry!

Dibintangi oleh Osamu Mukai, Miori Takimoto, Ryoko Kuninaka, dan Goro Inagaki, Hungry! menceritakan tentang perjuangan Eisuke, ex-rock band guitarist, dan teman-temannya (yang juga tergabung dalam band yang sama) dalam menjalankan sebuah restoran Prancis, Le Petit Chou. And hungry is the exact feeling I get from watching this drama. Gimana nggak, tiap episode kamu disuguhi Osamu Mukai yang lagi masak makanan-makanan enak. Watching the food and watching the casts eat them with this-food-is-extremely-delicious expression really could make you drool. So, really, don’t watch the drama if you haven’t eaten all day or if you’re on a diet because this show will kill you with all the “yumminess” (I’m saying this from my personal experience).

Back to the plot, sebenarnya nggak ada yang terlalu istimewa. Konflik yang ditampilkan cukup sederhana; nggak terlalu ruwet. Ending-nya pun predictable, except that the main character, Eisuke doesn’t end up with the main girl character, Chie (Miori Takimoto). Ups, did I just reveal the most important point here? Well, begitulah. Jadi kalian jangan terlalu berharap akan menyaksikan banyak adegan romantis di sini.

Walaupun begitu, aku tetap menikmati proses Eisuke dan teman-temannya mengembangkan si restoran; bagaimana mereka menghadapi tantangan demi tantangan, terutama dari Tokio dan Gasterea-nya (restoran saingan Le Petit Chou), dan juga bagaimana Eisuke semakin berkembang, baik secara emosional ataupun kemampuan memasaknya. Selain itu, tentu saja, yang paling kusuka adalah melihat Osamu Mukai di drama ini (yey!). Kapan lagi coba bisa lihat Osamu Mukai masak, despite from the fact that he couldn’t really cook in real life. And to be honest, I’m kinda fan of Osamu Mukai (hehehe).

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Okay, back to the topic, selain suka sama Osamu Mukai yang mampu memerankan Eisuke dengan baik, aku juga suka sama aktingnya Miori Takimoto sebagai Chie, gadis 20 tahun yang jatuh cinta dengan masakan Eisuke dan Eisuke sendiri. Karakternya yang ceria, sedikit immature, dan polos memberikan warna tersendiri dalam drama ini. Kalau Eisuke memberikan warna-warna tegas, Chie-lah yang mengimbanginya dengan memberikan warna-warna soft yang ceria dalam Hungry!

Anyway, though I’m not exactly obsessed with this drama, I do find it enjoyable to watch. I just wish I could have a bite of those amazing dishes….

Bagi yang penasaran, kalian bisa nonton secara online dan gratis di sini atau di sini. Kalian juga bisa download gratis TV series ini di sini atau di sini. Happy watching!