meganbmoore: (xxxholic)
This is an 8-episode series based on the Clamp series. It seems to have somehow managed to fly way way under the radar. At least, I don't recall anyone actually talking about it when it came out.

When it comes to live action TV adaptations, I figure the only thing more frightening than trying to adapt a Clamp manga is trying to adapt a Kaori Yuki manga, but this one did a pretty decent job of it. All connections to Tsubasa and any other Clamp manga are done away with, and instead they opt to make it a more gothic series, focusing on the aspect of a boy who's hounded by ghosts who meets a woman who runs a supernatural shop that only some people can see, and who grants wishes for a price. The downside is that, while the humor isn't completely gone, it ends up taking itself a little too seriously at times, though that may not be as noticeable if you haven't read the manga and/or watched the anime.

For the most part, I thought the cast was pretty good. Watanuki's actor looked a little awkward in promotional pictures, but worked when actually in action, and Doumeki was a bit too pretty, but the actor made it work. I feel a bit sorry for Himawari's actress. She did a perfectly decent job, but the attempts to emulate Himawari's look from the manga made her look like an almost-grown woman trying to pass herself off as a little girl. The standout performance was Watanabe Anne as Yuuko. Not only did she managed to get Yuuko's otherworldly feel down and come across as far older than she looks, but she actually made Yuuko's more dramatic costumes and poses from the manga work. I still can't get over the fact that an actual human being can wear some of those clothes and look completely natural and comfortable. (I was going to include proof of this, but apparently I moved my caps off my laptop. I'm sure youtube contains proof, though, should anyone be curious.)
meganbmoore: (boss: shyeah right)
Much like the first series, save that they figured out what parts we liked and what we cared less about, so it's all about conspiracies, Eriko being awesome and pwning criminals, Nodate being more charming and likable than anyone that smarmy has any right to be (Takenouchi Yutaka has the superpower to be likable?) and the rest of the cast being adorable and kooky. Like a lot of jdramas that get second series that keeps most of the original cast (not that many do) general dynamics are more ironed out. Thankfully, there were no cases that made me wonder what the writers were on (I maintain that that rape case from the first series was someone trying to get fired) though there was one case where I actually didn't want them to catch the killer (It involved a vengeful assassin and a little girl he saved from abuse, ok?).

My only real complaint is that Erica Toda's character was gone for so much of it, though I did like the two female characters they replaced her with, and did like what they did with her character. Sadly, no one really seemed to have the same kind of character arc that Kimoto had in the first series, though. I am, hoever, more ocnvinced than ever that Eriko and Nodate have semi-regular drunk sex (it's canon that they're used to waking up in bed semi-dressed after getting drunk, and they go out drinking a lot. They also apparently have keys to each other's apartments, and have secret signs that only they know.)

The ending implies that a third series is a possibility, and I can only hope that such a wonderful thing will truly one day exist.
meganbmoore: (koshonin)

Boku to Star no 99 Nichi is a romantic comedy about Kouhei, a part-time bodyguard who gets assigned to guard a Korean superstar, Han Yoo Na, for 99 days while she's shooting a drama in Japan. Except his job isn't so much to guard her from other people but to keep her from sneaking out and getting into trouble and hunt down mysterious men from her past.

It's pretty much adorable and a good example of why i tend to prefer the jdrama/kdrama fusion romances we sometimes get over the contemporary-set kdramas most of the time. (Sageuks and fusion sageuks are another matter.) It does the romantic drama well and mixes it up with Kouhei's kooky family and coworkers and Yoo Na's costar, who has A Secret Past with Kouhei and who I was pretty sure was secretly in love with Kouhei for the first 7 or so episodes until he was fighting with Kouhei over Yoo Na. (Then I decided he was in love with both of them.) There's also and evil reporter who's out to destroy Yoo Na (apparently he just threw a dart at the pictures of various stars to target to create a scandal about as we never really get an explanation there....) a quasi-romantic subplot with Yoo Na's brother and Kouhei's niece that's very cute cute until you start wondering exactly how old they are. (The age difference is actually probably a good bit smaller than that with Kouhei and Yoo Na, but an age difference pings differently when a woman is in her late 20s and when she's in her late teens.) BTW, the guy playing Yoo Na's brother is lucky that he's cute and has an endearing stage presence-at least when interacting with people who actually can act-because he cannot act at all. I'm not sure he actually tried most of the time. (I think he's actually primarily a kpop guy, but apparently he wants to be an actor too.)

(I actually watched this some time back-before RMPW and Naniwa started-but kept forgetting to comment on it despite meaning to at least once a week.)

I've also been watching the second season of Koshonin (aka The Negotiator).  It's about like the first season, save that Usagi has been in the departmment for a while so her male coworkers aren't going out of their way to be sexist this time around, and Usagi is more at ease with her job.  Err...as at ease as you can be when your job is to negotiate with killers, kidnappers and terrorists, that is.  I will forever hate that commanding officer of hers, though.  I'd say that, in general, if you watched the first season, you'd feel roughly the same about the second.  Only the first 4 episodes have fansubs.  After that it's the engrish subs that come with the Chinese DVD releases.  Those are actually better than a lot of others but, well, still very much engrish.
meganbmoore: (city hunter: but it's only ep 2!!)

I haven't watched any of the other time travel kdramas that came out earlier this year (Queen In Hyun's Man is the only one of them that I've had any interest in, but I haven't tried it out yet) and so I'm free of any time travel lethargy other kdrama fans might be having. (And this one has also been in the making for much longer than any of those.)

Set late in the Goryeo period (mid-14th century-1351, to be precise) this starts of was a manhwa-illustration style animation recounting the legend of Hwata, a Chinese surgeon, ending with his going through a portal and ascending to Heaven. Then we switch to the actual plot, in which the Goryeo prince and his new bride (from an enemy nation, because where else would she be from?) are attacked while stopped overnight at an inn. The queen is injured and the prince's advisor just happened to conveniently spot a magic portal that he assumed led to Heaven nearby. (Why was there a magic portal? WHO KNOWS. People also shoot lightning from their hands and kill cockcoaches with flute music in this show. THESE THINGS JUST CONVENIENTLY HAPPEN.) Under the assumption that it leads to Heaven (Because where else would magic portals that just randomly appear with no explanation lead?) a general, Choi Young, goes through the portal to find Hwata* or one of his apprentices, only to end up in the present. He gets directed to a medical conference by a monk who assumes he wandered off a drama set, and sees a presentation by a plastic surgeon, Eun Soo, and decides she's the doctor for him. (In multiple ways, apparently, given later semi-conscious statements.)

Before tossing her over his shoulder and carting her back to the 14th century, he decides to test her skills by...giving a security guard the same injury to make sure she can fix it. (You just went WTF. So did I. So did Eun Soo, but she thankfully has a practicality override when faced with a crisis.) THEN he took out a police squad with his lightning powers, grabbed a riot shield for a souvenir (he later uses it as a boomerang), tossed her over his shoulder, and carted the poor woman back to the 14th century.

As you can tell, the crack is mighty with this one. Very mighty indeed.

Though, with Eun Soo firmly entrenched in the past, I suspect the crack will calm down soon and the more serious political plot will take over. (I'm ok with this, though I hope it keeps some of the humor.)

So far I like it a lot (between it an Arang and the Magistrate I think I prefer it right now, though larger because of a preference for the heroine-but that's kind of like "I like ice cream and cheesecake but I like cheesecake a little more" and I am exceptionally fond of both ice cream and cheesecake). One thing I particularly like is that Eun Soo doesn't know she's travelled to the past (she's gone from "homicidal cosplayer" to "accident on a drama set and they abducted a doctor to avoid the police"** to "really bizarre abduction by strange cult" to "I DON'T CARE WHAT'S WITH THIS PORTAL JUST TAKE ME HOME!") because every thinks she's from heaven and so knows where she is and is just annoyed to be there, and the modern world is so different and alien that Choi Young just assumed heaven had giant buildings and bright lights and weird hinking metal things and people magically in tiny boxes. I'm sure she'll figure it out soon once she starts learning who the historical people are.

But I'm exceptionally fond of how her reaction isn't to shriek and hide under the table (this or utter petrification would be my reaction) or magically adjust to the new world in hours. Instead she takes up residence in Denial Land and tries sneaking away when she thinks no one is looking (this almost works)*** and bribery. I'm not sure where it's going (I have a feeling that Eun Soo is going to be able to return to the present eventually and Choi Young-a real historical figure who lives quite some time past when the drama is set-ends up reincarnated, which seems to be the usual "happy" ending for these types of things, and I don't know how I feel about that) but I like it and I like all the characters except the king and his advisor, both of whom I dislike quite intensely. (Well, I have no opinion about any of the villains yet.)

I hope the lightning powers get explained. As near as I can tell, it's some sort of physical manifestation of emotional control/reaction. Choi Young's doctor friend (from the Goryeo period, not Eun Soo) has the same ability, only apparently much more controlled and with a lot more precision, and I'm thinking Choi Young learned it from him.

*In the context of the rest of the plot, I'm guessing we'll eventually learn Hwata was also actually a modern doctor.
**When you've been forcibly abducted by an armored dude a foot taller than you who almost killed someone to test you and dragged you off to be surrounded by a couple dozen people just like him, you're allowed to come up with utterly improbable and/or ludicrous theories.
***She needs to just get Choi Young alone and wait for one of his naps. That boy is always napping, even at utterly inappropriate times.


In unrelated (mostly) news, Rich Man, Poor Woman bounced back this week after a couple of rather lacklustre episodes, though it wasn't as good as the first 4 episodes were. Too much Rich Man (and his eccentric brilliance and angst) not enough Poor Woman (and they seem to have largely forgotten her memorization and research superpowers, even though they were referenced this week.)
meganbmoore: (ho gae/kiha)

This week's Rich Man Poor Woman was fun but I didn't like it as mch as the first 4 episodes.  Last week's Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan (subs are slower on this one) OTOH might be my favorite episode so far even with Shinobu spendng most of the episode in a hospital bed.

I other news, the only 2 kdramas I've really anticipted this year, Faith* and Arang and the Magistrate, both fantasy sageuks (one about a modern surgeon abducted to the Goryeo period by a studly young warrior, the other a romance between a vengeful ghost and a magistrate), start next week.  I anticipate both equally, though I suspect Arang and the Magistrate will end up my preferred drama of the two.  However, with Faith, I seem to be in the minority in that I was planning to watch it pretty much once I heard about it (I liked Legend, another fantasy sageuk by the same writer, the Goryeo period doesn't seem to be used as much in sageuks [subbed and accessible to me, at least], and time travel to the past interests me a lot morethan time travel to the present.) but my interest went WAY up when they cast a leading man who's 10 years younger than the leading lady, and I'm hoping the characters have a similar age difference.  A lot of people seem to not want to watch it because of that though.  (even beyond that being uncommon:  She's a modern, successful surgeon, so at the youngest she could be about 30, he's a soldier who's always in fights at a time with a shorter life expectancy even without that.  The age difference might be the most realistic thing in the drama.)


I'm betting most of the objectors don't object as much when actresses get cast with actors 10-15 years older than they are...

*I actually prefer the alternaive title, The Great Doctor, but most seem to be going with Faith, so...
meganbmoore: (meitantei no okite)

(Yes, DOGS is capitalized. I’ve noticed this frequently happens when Japanese titles get translated into English.)

I’ve decided that, while I dislike most US procedurals for their devotion to loving depictions of dead and mutilated corpses (especially female ones) and people (way more men than women anytime I turn on one that isn’t named Bones) with very serious faces talking about death and doom, (Look, it is VERY possible that I just have terrible luck in channel surfing.) I like Japanese procedurals because they go “Gosh, we have cops and dead bodies and deadly conspiracies. Clearly, the best thing to do is fill our show with adorable and wacky characters who bicker a lot and make dramatic statements about devotion and the importance of everything ever!”

The plot, such as there is one, is an angsty super cop who’s been working in the US the last few years, Sou, and an ex- biker gang leader are assigned the protection of Yuki, a young woman who has amnesia and a mysterious connection to the mafia boss who killed Sou’s father when he was a kid. (Yes, this “mysterious connection” is milked for all the drama and angst it’s worth. Why do you ask?) But really, the plot is “Oguri Shun looks good with short hair and pointing guns and angsts a lot, Mizushima Hiro makes a lot of funny faces and is kind of weird, and Yoshitaka Yuriko isn’t convinced delicate amnesiacs should twiddle their fingers and fret, and is not overly impressed by your claims that your angst is bigger than hers, and there are lots of other kooky characters.” There are episodic police plots, but they’re basically an excuse for the characters to interact and be funny and adorable together.

Though the ending is WEIRD. I mean, mystery and procedural jdramas typically have sequel-bait endings, but this one starts that way and skews into “WTF?” Not to mention apparently resetting Sou’s character growth back to the first episode and ignoring certain dramatic confessions (even while flashing back to them).

Ending credits (sadly with -all the versions I found on you tube had the sound disabled):



SOU: I am manly and brooding and look like an adult since my actor has cut his hair and dyed it black! I get really really photoshopped and wander angstily through the rain with a determined expression. This is what happens you’re on a fishing trip with your father when wee and he gets shot in the head by an assassin and you are splattered with his blood.
MARUO: I am scruffy and also photoshopped in the rain. I’m doing my best to look angsty and brooding, but it kind of doesn’t fit my character at all, and I so hate having this serious expression on for so long. But at least I get to show off my hair in the rain.
YUKI: I am lovely and delicate and the bright and shining ligh-screw this. Let’s ditch the rainy alleys and softly lit forest and go have a threesome.
SOU: I can deny you little even if I pretend otherwise! What’s a threesome?*
MARUO: Threesome! I mean, wait, no, I’m straight. I think.** Can I go back to making goofy faces now? This serious thing is hard.



*I am firmly convinced that Sou either only has hypothetical knowledge of sex, or is in deep denial of a very kinky nature. Or maybe both.
**He does, in fact, question his sexuality due to his response to the idea of Sou leaving.
meganbmoore: (dw: i made that)
Untouchable is a bit of an odd one. The descriptions and promotional images lead one to believe it’s a comedy, possibly with a touch of drama, with Nakama Yukie playing one of her wacky, dorky roles. And on the surface it is, but it’s also a very serious and twisty drama with tons of secrets, plots, angst, double-dealing and reveals, with an incredibly determined and relentless heroine.

Narumi Ryoko used to be a reporter for a “first rate” magazine, but is starting at a “third rate” magazine after getting fired. In investigation skills border (and sometimes sink become) stalking, and because of that, she picks up on things and relentlessly pursues the truth until she gets to the bottom of things. She is a dog after a bone, and The Truth is her bone. (I started watching this while I was watching Fringe and had to put it on hold because so much relentless heroine can only handle one at a time!)

Thanks to her stalking investigations, she discovers a conspiracy to take over the government. Which…sounds cliché, and is, but the way it plays out is frequently brilliant, and the twists and “small group vs. huge conspiracy” parts are extremely good. The metaplot is intricate and dark and if you’re me, you’ll think you’ve figured out what’s really going on, then decide you’re wrong because there’s just no way they’d be that cruel to her. And then you remember that you’re watching a jdrama. (Also, for some reason, I kept thinking of Rondo while I watched it, only more twisty and with less romance. They do have the big conspiracies and gut-punch twists, but that’s really the only resemblance, I think. Also, my experience with Rondo was basically “well, I enjoy you a lot for this kind of drama, and you don‘t annoy me with things that usually do“ and then there was That Twist and it was “OMG ILU 4EVER!!” whereas Untouchable was the same kind of appreciation, just at steadily increasing levels.) So, Untouchable: pretty awesome twisty drama.

But it’s also a drama being led by Nakama Yukie being wacky and dorky, and frequently finding herself in situations that should trigger my embarrassment squick, but don’t. (I’ve realized this is the case with Yukie’s characters because they…aren’t entirely unaffected by it, but they don’t lose steam, and shrug it off and bulldoze on.) I don’t really buy into the “only this person could pull off this role” thing that people pull out to indicate a great performance very often, but I think this is the case here. Yukie gets a lot of attention as a comedic actress, but her dramatic abilities are frequently overlooked, and I think Untouchable utilizes both excellently.

As a side note, this also looked like it might be one of Yukie’s roles where her dorky character is always pining over the attractive guy who barely notices her, and…it kind of is, but there are implications that Shiro, the guy in question may actually have harbored slight romantic inclinations at some point, but found her too overwhelming. But, more importantly, there’s her scruffy partner/photographer, who’s in the background of basically every scene where she out doing her reporter thing, looking at her in fond exasperation and clearly pondering his sanity for liking such an oddball. It’s a jdrama, and not one billed primarily as a romance, so there isn’t a lot in that vein, but what there is is pretty ace.

Also, Nakama Yukie is my favorite Japanese actress, and one of my favorite actresses period (part of me will never get over her not playing Sunako’s aunt in >em>Perfect Girl Evolution, but I’m coping). That may be reflected above.
meganbmoore: (Default)


In episode 10, plot emerged!

In episode 11, a character that actually looked like a Kaori Yuki character showed up!

009e69pc

And the mystery of the cosplay was solved:

009e7prh

009e82tb

Then ep 12 was all...series and lacklustre.

So;

eps 1-9:  Glorious crack when watching with likeminded folks.  (I cannot emphasize the last part enough.)
eps 10-11: Plot emerges!
ep 12:  Crack vanishes, angst takes over, and we have one of my least favorite types of endings ever.

meganbmoore: (vd: feathers)
No pictures as (1) I kept going "..." and forgetting to cap, and (2) there was actual plot. It distracted me.
meganbmoore: (queen of swords: tessa + grisham)


I love this cosplay. I think it's the hat:

009d1745

Rion is working on offensive strategy. Suoh is learning self-defense. I think she's doing better.
 


009d2z6h

There was an eyepunch.  I missed the punch itself, but here are the...results...

009d3s4p

WENT NUTS AND SUCKED ON THE VAMPIRE'S BLOOD WTF?

009d4284

Fortunately, His blood is only V8, and so easily replenishable.

009d5q03
meganbmoore: (boss: shyeah right)


Behold! our Vampire Hero's coffin!

0092aer9


Behold!  Our Heroine's "I read and watch vampire fiction and know what it means when ou stare at my face while I'm sleeping!  BAD VAMPIRE!" face!

0092bthc

Behold!  A new disguise!

0092cy7q

Behold!  Our Evil Yet Seductive Travelling Shinigami Host!

0092deyr

Behold!  His...idea of a romantic gift...

0092exkg

Yeah...

 

meganbmoore: (alice)

I shall have to do a picspam of some of the best crack once I am on my own internet connection again.

So, during part of this ep, there was a loud, hollow moaning that was strangely appropriately placed and made me wonder if the sound director was having fun.  Then I realized that no, that was actually my parents's kitten, snoring on the chair beside me.  A pity.

Meanwhile (a) this show really loves offing nubile young women (were I capable of thinking deeply about it for 2 seconds, I suspect I'd rant about that) (b) do we actually have an arc that isn't about an evil, slightly older woman offing nubile young women for varied sexual reasons (another rant topic)?

meganbmoore: (hometown legends: gumiho)
Still using my parents' wonky internet connection, so no pictures.  Were I uploading caps, they would include subtitles like "women are not about rye bread," and "that's a host for you.  You're so sensitive to the changes of a cup."  Images may have also included terribly fake wolfsuits and vampire suction cup fingers.
meganbmoore: (beneath)
No pictures today because internet is being wonky.  Otherwise, you'd get to see vampire "pulsing vein" vision, a woman in a cheap wolfmask, Rion cosplaying as both Red Riding Hood and a fairy godmother, and maybe even Suoh delicately clenching his amulet and scurrying away in order to avoid giving into bloodlust, and a woman looking utterly bored at a werewolf attack.
meganbmoore: (vd: candles)


In this episode, Our Hero was taken down:

008ydcws

A few times:

008ygp50

While damsels were menaced by invisible men with baseball bats:

008yeb7y

Thankfully, Our Heroine's character description is "plucky tsundere."

008yfbzp

meganbmoore: (Default)


Observe our opening credits, in which Our Heroine tries and fails to not look bored about a vampire munching on her.

008rah29

Of course, being a tsundere of the highest order, she's probably thinking about the next time she'll kick him.

008rdycb

The proper response for when you are a police officer and your partner turns into a camera crazed fanboy over a corpse.

008rbst0

Wait, that probably isn't really considered proper...

In conclusion, vampire eye:

008rcrpp
 

meganbmoore: (1920)
Guren Onna is a horror-comedy series about a meek teacher named Nabekuro who spends her nights pretending to be a vengeful ghost, and has become an urban legend as such. During her excursions, she ends up rescuing people (repeatedly the students in her class) as well as meeting and helping a number of real ghosts.

The Guren Onna parts were very fun, but many of the school parts prior to the last few episodes (where Nabekuro finally started to feel comfortable when dressed “normally,” as opposed to pretending to be a ghost, and when she started to bond with her students) irritated me, and ventured a bit too far into my embarrassment squick. Also, I couldn’t help but feel that it was trying to be a paranormal version of Gokusen, set in an all-girls school? I even often felt like the actress (who I liked) was trying to channel Nakama Yukie’s brand of wacky, but she didn’t really convey the dignity and self-esteem Yukie always seems to have in her roles, no matter what zaniness her characters get up to.

But the school parts did pay off in the end, and the adventures parts really were fun, especially once the students started getting involved. Unfortunately, only the first five episodes have fan subs. The rest have really bad Engrish subs ripped from the Chinese DVDs. The Engrish subs don’t translate anything and are often barely discernable. Thankfully, it’s a very visual series and, while not repetitive, the first five episodes clue you in enough to the pattern of the show so that that plus years of jdramas and anime made it pretty easy to follow with the aid of the Engrish subs. The episodes are also only 29 minutes each, so 7 episodes of Engrish isn’t as bad as it sounds.
meganbmoore: (crackland presents)


First off, I missed getting this cap with the first episode:

008r30pq

This is the hero's toilet.  And the heroine in a maid costume.  Create your own context.


Now.  Here is  scene from this episode:

This is a vampire.  Posed on the hood of a car.  Educating a kidnapper about the true nature of vampires.

008r54eb

008r6fp5

008r87y2

008r9c6g

And then the damsel told him to shut up and get on with it.

meganbmoore: (vd: dancing)

This is what the opening credits look like:

008r1wdy

These bats are the scene dividers:

008r2r44

And this is what vampire eyes look like:

008r0eg0
 

Also:
 

A)  I refuse to call this Vampire Gigolo again.  I need my self-respect.

B) I read a bit of the manga and will read the rest, but have to say that it didn't feel very Kaori Yuki-ish to me.

No spoilers or hints for future episodes in comments.


 

meganbmoore: (Default)
While I am feeling moderately charitable towards vampires, I decided to check out interest in the proposed watch-a-long for Vampire Host, the jdrama about a host club full of vampires. Based on a Kaori Yuki manga. Curse you, Kaori Yuki!

Given the differing schedules and time zones of people who have already expressed an interest, I thought a post for a set number of episodes for comments/spoilers would be the best way to do it, instead of trying to organize group chats.

The viewing schedule poll is at LJ.

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