Freitag, 25. September 2015

Takumi-kun: And The Spring Breeze Whispers

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

そして春風にささやいて (And The Spring Breeze Whispers), also known as the first part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2007. The whole movie series is based on a manga series of the same name.

Story: As soon as the new year begins, Saki Giichi and Takumi Hayama become roommates. Gii confesses to Takumi quite early and tries his best to safe him but also gets closer to Takumi by accepting his "human-phobia" that is caused by traumatic events in the past. But Izumi Takabayashi, who has a crush on Gii, as well as Daisuke Nozaki, who asks Takumi out, try to interfere. Shozo Akaike, a close friend of Gii, meanwhile supports the two of them.

Cast: Sadly, the first movie is the only one with this main couple. We have Tomo Yanagishita as Takumi Hayama and Keisuke Kato as Giichi Saki. I would've loved to see the two of them in the other movies as well just because they are too adorable together. They're one of the really few couples in Boys Love movies that do have an impressive chemistry. Anyways~
The opposing characters Izumi Takabayashi and Daisuke Nozaki were played by Yasuka Saito and Tetsuya Makita. I usually don't like that kind of characters and I didn't really like them in here as well - I can deal with Takabayashi though - but as actors those two made a really good job I think.
The last one I need to mention is the saving grace also known as Shozo Akaike played by Yukihiro Takiguchi. I remember that even when I've watched the movie for the first time I really liked his character so much. Yes, he seems like a creeper sometimes just appearing out of nowhere but without Shozo it probably wouldn't have worked at all. Cheering for him all along.

Soundtrack: There is just one thing I need to mention when it comes to the soundtrack. I love the way how the classical music was used as well as the usage of silence, especially in the end.

9.5/10 is my rating for one of my absolute favorite Boys Love movies. This movie is just so cute and if you're into romance and don't mind watching Boys Love, than this is definitely something for you. Rewatch value? Ha ha, nice try. I've been watching this time back in 2010 and I loved it. I think I've watched the first part around five times back then. Now, after all those years, I still find myself loving this movie for various reasons. It has some of the best movie scenes I've ever seen combining chemistry, setting and music/silence.
Why only 9.5/10 then? Well, it does have some flaws. For example the logic in some parts - or the lack of that so-called logic. Usually, when living in a dormitory, students shouldn't walk around at night or they're going to get into big trouble. But then again I don't remember seeing any teacher except for the music teacher (who was around for like 20 seconds).

And now a round of free "aaaaaawwwwwww" feelings for everyone~ Reasons why I love this onscreen couple part 2.:

This is one of my all-time-favorite scenes! So much love for this!

Freitag, 18. September 2015

Bitter Blood

ビター・ブラッド (Bitter Blood, also known as Partners by Blood) is a Japanese drama series that aired from April 15th to June 24th on Fuji TV. It consists of 11 episodes with a duration of roughly 45 minutes.

Story: Natsuki Sahara is a rookie detective at Ginza Police department where he becomes the partner of his father Akimura Shimao. After his father abandoned the family, Natsuki started to dislike him. Akimura's eccentric personality doesn't make things better but he's trying hard to get closer to his son. And as much as both of them deny it: Like father, like son. Together they work on cases but don't know in what kind of a dangerous situation they are.

Cast: Okay, at first I need to tell you that sometimes, just sometimes, the acting is way too overdone. Yes, I know that. But we need to see that this drama doesn't take itself too serious, it's comedy so I honestly think it has to be done that way most of the time.
Takeru Satoh as Natsuki Sahara and Atsuro Watabe as Akimura Shimao are the two most important characters. The way they interact as a helpless father and a son who tries hard to really hate his father but can't be like that all the time seems to be real, they did great and really were in great sync.
The other team members appear all the time as well since the series focusses on the interaction between the members of the team and their unique characteristics. My favorite character was Koji Takano, called Taka most of the time, played by Keiji Kuroki of EXILE. Somehow a playboy, he's the charming cop among the team members but also has some funny sides. Shiori Kutsuna appears as Hitomi Maeda. She's pretty and well - a detective series without one female member around wouldn't be that much fun. As she tries to solve the case of her fathers murder, she happens to be in danger as well and has to deal with emotional conflicts at the end.
Every team needs a leader - this group of goofballs does need one more than anything else. The inspector and team leader Kensuke Kagiyama is played by Katsumi Takahashi. He's also the one who describes the whole team as a family, and he's not completely wrong with that.
Mitsuru Fukikoshi appears as Toshifumi Inagi, also called Chaser from time to time.
Tetsushi Tanaka can be seen as Bachelor Hisashi Koga, and Sarutoki Minagawa took the role of Skunk Kaoru Togashi.
And when it comes to a detective series, we need a villain, right? Mitsuhiro Oikawa appears as the.. slightly mad Takehisa Kaizuka. They could have found an actor who might be better for this role, yes. But after all he did a good job playing the weird psycho as well.

Soundtrack: As far as I know Japanese series usually have a theme song and not a full OST. In this case, it's Mayday's "Do You Ever Shine?" and this song is catchy! I liked it, it has this rock feeling around it.
What really surprised me was the use of the "Erlkönig" ballad written by Goethe. Sadly I'm not familiar with the musical versions but you can't imagine my facial expression when I noticed that it's German and I had to deal with this in my German classes in 12th grade (I think..). Since I was able to understand this, it actually scared me a little since the story is dark and atmospheric. It basically is about a father trying to save his son. I highly recommend reading a translation because it's no joke, this classical peace actually works well with the story!

So.. this was my first try to get through a Japanese series and it actually went well. My rating ended up to be a 9/10. The first few episodes weren't that good but the end made up for it. And please read the read writing in the last picture. There's hope!

Freitag, 11. September 2015

Bad Guys

나쁜 녀석들 (Bad Guys) is a Korean drama series that aired from October 4th to December 13th 2014 on OCN.

Story: The title 'Bad Guys' basically describes the team perfectly. Commissioner Nam Goo-hyun asks former detective Oh Gu-tak to help solving a serial murder case. Oh Gu-tak chooses gangster Park Woong-cheol, professional killer Jeong Tae-su and psychopath and serial killer Lee Jeong-mun as the 'bad guys' who are the best for this job.

With Park Woong-cheol's strength , Jeong Tae-su's skill and Lee Jeong-mun's intellect. Mix those together right and there won't be a criminal under the sun they can't catch.

Getting out of prison whenever they have a case, the team members decide to do something useful with their abilities - and figure out the truth behind a serial murder case.
Detective Yoo Mi-yeong is there connection to the police and helps to solve the cases though she's an ambitious person willing to do a lot to get promoted.

Cast: At first we have Kim Sang-joong as Oh Gu-tak, the 'Mad Dog'. Just the way he was planning everything through the first two episodes made me feel uneasy about the character, I could never guess what he was up to. But then again, as an actor, Kim Sang-joong deserves all my respect for playing this role that well.
As Park Woong-cheol we see Ma Dong-seok. Yes, the character isn't the smartest person on earth.. definitely not, but strong and therefore a good addition to the team. About Ma Dong-seok - I don't remember him playing any other main roles before and this one was really good as well. It somehow suits him, and I can't really explain why.
Jo Dong-hyuk accepted the role of Jeong Tae-su. Except for him being hot and classy as a contract killer (I can't help it, I just loved the serious businessman-look he was wearing all the time.. and I'm still a young woman after all), I think his characters' history was one of the most interesting I've ever seen. And there was one scene (I seriously cannot spoiler too much about this) when I was really crying because of his loss.
As genius psychopath Lee Jeong-mun we see someone who might be the reason for many girls to watch this: Park Hae-jin. Now, after watching this, I'm definitely impressed with his skills. From a second male lead desperately in love in You Who Came From The Stars his character in this drama is a psychopath who was one of the youngest serial killers ever. There's a huge difference and I love the fact he's not sticking to one of the character types but actually tries something new - and definitely succeeds.
Others in the cast include Kang Ye-won as Yoo Mi-yeong (I came to dislike her character from time to time..), Kang Shin-il as Nam Goo-hyun and Kim Tae-hoon as Oh Jae-won (and I hate making good guesses about something fishy sometimes).

Soundtrack: One thing OCN is incredibly good at are sound effects. Sometimes the music and the sounds they used were just creeping me out. God, I hate you for doing that, OCN, I hate you all so much. But then again, when it comes to a series like this, it's necessary. Cute or cheerful songs or heartwrenching ballads wouldn't support the rather dark atmosphere.

As an overall rating? Ha ha, funny, you can make a guess. It's OCN Original and I have nothing really negative to say about this series.
The only thing I wasn't happy about were the melodramatic happenings during the last episodes. But then again, this is also a charming point of this series - the way the characters change.

I'm still laughing about the person who had the idea to censor knifes, but not guns, in a drama that's rated 19+. Like, come on.. we all know there's a knife and we all know someone gets stabbed. So why do you have to censor the knife when this is a series for adults..? Tsk. I don't get it. It's somewhat cute.

Did I miss out on anything? Well, this series deals with the dark sides of human souls in the end. If you have a weak heart, this series probably wouldn't be a good recommendation. Otherwise, go ahead and give it a shot because it has a different charm with being impressive especially when it comes to plot and character development.

And did someone mention a possible Season 2?! Yes, please! Just.. OCN, please don't make me wait four years or something..

Freitag, 4. September 2015

Vampire Flower

뱀파이어의 꽃 (Vampire Flower) is a South Korean mini drama series that is/was available on Naver TVCast. It consists of 6 episodes with a duration of about 10 minutes per episode.

Story: Louis stumbles upon Kang Seo-young, a girl with the "golden scent". He needs her help to finds the 'Vampire Flower', a flower that has been stolen by humans around 150 years ago. He falls for Seo-young but deletes all her memories at some point to protect her from Ashel.

Cast: Most of the characters that appear regularly are played by members of idol group A-JAX. We have Seo Jae-hyung as Louis, Kim Hyeong-kon as Reika/ Rehka, Lee Seung-yub as Baekhan and Moon Hyo-jun as Akan. Now I wouldn't really criticize their acting but rather the story and the non-existent character development - how could characters develop anyways in such a short series. Kim Ga-eun accepted the role of Kang Seo-young. I've never heard about her but well, her acting seems to be fine. It's difficult to judge though.

Soundtrack: The OST is probably one of the things I really loved about this drama as a huge fan of A-JAX. The group recorded two songs, "뱀파이어의 꽃 (Vampire Flower)" and "Fate In (달빛주문)". Maybe I'm even happier about this because of DSP not promoting them properly but that made me really happy.

This mini series could've been better. If they would've made it a little longer. Or at least explained some things. 6.5/10 though because.. we all know for what reason I've watched this. The cast is lovely, and that's it. The story is somewhat close to the oh-so-lovely-vampires we've seen too often. It's not as bad as expected though and as long as DSP keeps on ignoring A-JAX, I see myself watching this over and over again.

And yes, Jae-hyung, I do. Many people do.