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Moteki February 9, 2014

Posted by ayasawada in Drama, Music.
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Moteki drama poster

Moteki is Japanese slang for a period of romantic bloom in your life where you are suddenly attractive and popular. The very idea of a ‘moteki’ seems absurd, the kind of thing that could only happen in harem manga and Hollywood romantic comedies. But where this franchise succeeds is taking this bit of seemingly wishful-thinking and turning it into a something real, human and honestly (don’t laugh) quite profound. (more…)

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Winter 2014 anime and drama picks January 16, 2014

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama.
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I’ve a long overdue 2013 review post in the works, but in the meantime, I’ve been working my way through the fresh season of anime and drama offerings. I have to be honest, the Fall 2013 season was nice but a bit meh in terms of my viewing, with only the spectacularly good Ando Lloyd really doing it for me (will try and write a separate post on that sometime). But the Winter roster looks good. This is what I think I’ll be picking up.

Anime

1. Nisekoi

Of the clutch of first episodes I watched, this is hands down the one that impressed me most. I was always going to watch this  because SHAFT. But besides the studio’s pedigree for inventive, playful visuals, direction and scripts that don’t take themselves too seriously, it’s been a while since I’ve watched a romcom anime. This looks like it’ll fit nicely.

2. Gin no Saji season 2

Looks to have picked up with the same quality from where it left off. I miss Miwa’s OP though.

3. Chuunibyou demo Koi Shitai! Ren

Follow-up to one of my anime of 2012. There was no way I wasn’t going to watch this.

4. Kill la Kill (continuation)

Into its second cour and still a rollercoaster ride.

5. Nobunaga the Fool

Trust Shoji Kawamori to come up with a wacky sci-fi mecha anime ‘reimagining’ historical figures in an inventive ‘East meets West’ space opera. Visuals look good, characters seem interesting, story has intriguing possibilities (particularly with the historical figures histories setting up an element of dramatic irony). I’m up for this.

6. Space Dandy

Hyped up like hell and a little underwhelming so far. But it’s Shinichiro Watanabe so I’ll stick.

7. Wake Up, Girls!

Realistic(ish) anime about a dying talent agency making one last attempt to save themselves through an idol group pulling together against the odds? Sure, I’ll bite.

8. Noragami

Wasn’t really sure what to expect from this, but the wacky concept, fun characters and good visuals should be enough to keep me casually watching.

That’s actually quite a lot. Realistically I’ll only have time to watch 5 or 6, so it may well be that the last two trail off into the land of the spare-time catch-up marathon.

Drama

In keeping with my ‘at least one drama a season for nihongo listening practice’ I have four I’m interested in, but realistically only time for one or two. I’m pretty sure one’s going to be Watashi no Kirai na Tantei because I love Goriki Ayame and Tamaki Hiroshi and this sounds pretty fun. Along similar lines, Senryoku Gai Sousakan also seems fun and has the Takei Emi factor. If I get time, Shitsuren Chocolatier and Yoru no Sensei may also be worth following (though I might just save up eps to watch on a rainy day sometime).

All in all, that’s a lot to get me through the cold, dark, poor winter months and post-Xmas, post-Japan blues. The question is: what are you watching?

2012 anime retrospective December 30, 2012

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, Film, Manga.
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Hyoka
Another year, another great batch of anime watching. Despite my ‘cutting down’ due to time constraints, I still ended up watching over 20 shows this year, not to mention the odd OAV, movie, drama, live-action adaptation etc. etc. As I rarely get a chance to blog on a series’ end, I thought it might be fun to follow many other blogs’ lead and gather my thoughts in retrospect. (more…)

My 2010 January 30, 2011

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, Film, Manga, Music, Personal.
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I’m way late with this, but I can just about get this in before January is out.

Last year was pretty mad for me. But I continued to consume a healthy (some would say unhealthy) – though markedly toned down – amount of Japanese media.So here’s a quick overview of what I enjoyed in 2010.

(There probably are some mild spoilers in here, so beware!)

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Mei-chan no Shitsuji (ep 1-10 complete) July 10, 2010

Posted by ayasawada in Drama, TV.
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Mei-Chan banner

An enjoyable, typically silly Jdrama-based-on-manga. To be honest, it surprises me sometimes the manga they choose to adapt into live-action TV shows. Contemporary tales of professional ambition, comedy or romance, even those with robots, ok. But a story about a girl whisked away to an elite academy (and when I say elite I mean ridiculously luscious, upper-class toff, campus the 1/3 the size of Tokyo elite) and forced to battle for respect, while falling in love (or not) with her butler.

Yes, every girl in St. Lucia academy has a butler. An English cliche-style butler. Because that’s what rich people do. Sometimes I think the plots of some Japanese drama are more bizarre than anime. But I think that’s probably because I tend to watch more emotional, slice-of-life anime (sci-fi aside) but, weirdly, lean toward the bizarre manga-based ones when it comes to Jdrama :P

As far as the show itself goes, I recognised Mizashima Hiro from Zettai Kareshi, but his character is completely different here. Shame that ‘elite-class butler’ seems to equate to ‘bland’. I also didn’t really buy him and Eikura Nana (SPOILER) as a viable couple, as much as I really liked Eikura in the role. Perhaps someone who’s read the original manga can tell me if the drama really changed things. I’d put a strong bet on the original making more of the MeiXMamashiba pairing.

I did, however, take a real shine to the St. Lucia Academy class and their butlers, as well as the headmistress who just wants to read One Piece all day. None of them were particularly well-rounded (how could you in a 10 episode show?), but in this case their one-dimensional nature actually made it easier to track the huge number of characters in the show :P

In any case, if you like the same thing I do, ridiculous comedy shojo plots with unbelievable (really unbelievable) twists, loveable characters and CG mascots who appear for no reason (gotta love the sheep), Mei-chan is totally up your street.

The lazy round up post December 29, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, Film, Manga, Music, TV.
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I’ve been kind of slack with this blog over the last few months, a combination of work, life and lack of motivation. Two of the most frustrating things about blogging are 1) you really have to make time for it if you’re to do a decent job; and 2) unless you’re in the mood, everything you write will suck (yes, some would say everything I write sucks anyway :P).

The result is I have a stack of draft posts on stuff that I will never get round to finishing off. So in true lazy ass Christmas holidays fashion, I am resorting to a round-up. For better or worse, here’s some of the things I’ve seen and done over the last few months: (more…)

Spring 2009 anime choices April 28, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, TV, Video.
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The new Japanese TV season kicked off a few weeks ago, and there’s plenty to choose from. Other life commitments (shock, horror!) have restricted how much TV I’m able to keep up with these days, so of this season’s anime, I’m prioritising the following:

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. As if I wasn’t going to watch this. Not only a retelling of one of my favourite anime series (and a supposedly more faithful to the manga apparently) but featuring a (fantastic) new Yui single as the OP. Four episodes in it looks gorgeous, though with plenty of deja vu and that stupid American voice over the eyecatches (which sticks in my head >_<). Expecting the plot to start hotting up soon.

K-ON! A Kyoto Animation slice-of-life tale of four high school girls? I feel obliged to watch this. Three episodes in thus far and it’s charmed me enough. Plus I can’t get the ED out of my head.

Eden of the East: First ep blew me away. Lovely comforting character designs by Chica Umino and a really intriguing storyline. Can’t wait to see how this pans out. Great OP and ED sequences too, and, bizarrely, an OP by Oasis. Never thought I’d see the day.

Those are the three I’ll be making the effort to keep up with. I kind of also want to watch Cross Game — mainly ’cause of the Mitsuru Adachi factor — but while the first ep was entertaining, I’m not sure it grabbed me enough. On the other hand, Touch (which I’m still in the middle of watching :P) was a slow-burner, so maybe this is something best marathoned later.

Hatsukoi Limited also intrigues me, but I haven’t gotten around to watching any of it yet, and chances are I won’t get a chance to now. I still have to finish Toradora and Ef ~A Tale of Melodies from last season after all.

Drama-wise, I’ve two episodes into the live-action adaptation of Mei-chan no Shitsuji from last season. Not quite sure what’s just started airing. Any recommendations?

Zettai Kareshi Ep 1-11 (complete) February 17, 2009

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800px-zettaikareshiI’ve been catching up on my old dorama and finally finished this lovely series. Zettai Kareshi is funny, heartwarming and heartbreaking and doesn’t fall too much into the ‘same plot every episode’ trap of many Jdoramas.

As with most of my dramas, this one is based on a manga, though the story is pretty different. Essentially though, it’s the story of an unlucky-in-love girl, Izawa Riiko, who for one reason or another ends up buying a ‘love robot’  she names Tenjo Night. Thankfully this is not the story of Japanese love dolls. The robot is a state of the art artificial intelligence customised to be Riiko’s ‘absolute boyfriend’. But how will Riiko cope with such an unconventional relationship?

SPOILER ALERT

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Yasuko to Kenji Ep 1-10 (complete) November 11, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Drama, TV.
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Yasuko to Kenji promo

Yasuko to Kenji promo

Dramawiki

I recently finished watching the drama Yasuko to Kenji. Of course, most of the drama I watch are comedy romances based on manga and this is little different. This one’s based on a manga by Aruko (ok, I hadn’t heard of it before the drama aired…) and really enjoyable.

The story is about an ex-biker gang leader Kenji, who gives up his old ways to look after his younger sister Yasuko when their parents die in car crash. Kenji becomes a best-selling shojo manga artist (!) to support them, but finds it hard to control a younger sister now well into her rebellious teens and itching for romance. The series follows their relationship, tested by the appearance of a romantic interest for Yasuko and an old rival of Kenji’s.

(Spoiler alert: Some spoilers in the discussion, so don’t read if you don’t want to know).

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Fall anime 2007 November 4, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, TV.
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It’s almost the end of October, the clocks have gone back. Yes, autumn is well and truly upon us and a new season of television is well into its run. That can only mean one thing: a new menu of anime!

There’s another smorgasbord of titles to choose on, but after sampling, I’ve managed to settle on five – just about all I can follow in my free time.

  • Clannad: The spring Kanon. As usual, I’ll watch anything KyoAni, and after Kanon I’ll certainly watch anything KyoAni adapt from a Key-Visual Arts game. This one’s much more light-hearted thus far. The story still hasn’t quite got going yet, but I like the characters and it’s amusing enough to keep me watching.
  • Dragonaut – The Resonance: A weird concept featuring some truly awful CG animation. And it’s Gonzo, so who knows if it’ll turn out well. But it’s interesting and I love the OP theme, so I’m willing to stick around.
  • Ef – a tale of memories: Far too pondorous for its own good but visually flashy and with an atmosphere similar to Makoto Shinkai movies. I’m a sucker for multi-strand romance stories, so I’m hooked.
  • Gundam 00: As if I wasn’t going to watch this. And thus far, it’s great!
  • Minami-ke: Another comic tale of high-school girls based on a 4-koma manga. Reminds me a lot of Azumanga Daioh (at least, the logo does). It’s also very funny. And yeah, I’m a sucker for these off-the-wall slice-of-life shows.

I’m still half following Hayate no Gotoku too, though it’s gotten pretty boring.

Dorama-wise, I’m still planning to pick one up, but am not sure which. TV Nihon just started subbing Cutie Honey: The Live, so I might be tempted by that. Otherwise I may catch up on Hana Kimi or Yama Onna Kabe Onna from last season.