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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?

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


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).


Skins season 2 finale April 26, 2008

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I belatedly caught up with the final episode of Skins season 2 this week and really enjoyed it, although it felt a little weird abandoning the one-character-focus of most episodes.



XOXO December 9, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Rave, TV.
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Gossip Girl cast

Put down your remotes, this is the show of the fall season. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s another Josh Schwartz/Stephanie Savage effort.

Gossip Girl is The OC for the East coast. From here on its New York not Newport that’s in. The similarities are there of course: cast of impossibly rich pretty people, troubled social queen, spoilt best friend, kid from the wrong side of town, cool parents with a lot of shared history…. multiply that by six and that’s Gossip Girl. Move over Carrie Bradshaw, it’s the Upper East side teens who make us heart NY now. Move over Julie Cooper, we’ve got Blair Waldorf, Chuck Bass, and all the mom’s and dad’s of the Upper East Side to hate now. Dan is a smarter, more adorable Ryan and Seth , Serena is a more interesting Marissa. Nate is everything Luke should have been.

Gossip Girl is breathtaking with a Manhattenite’s pace. It’s everything I fell for in The OC for back in the day, but on crack. Schwartz and Savage have taken the melodrama of a teen novel series and molded it to fit their winning formula. Great music, grand locations. There are character twists all over the place; evil one minute, vulnerable the next; shallow one episode, complicated in another. Keep the audience guessing, that’s sort of The OC way, but done better. Is it the cold snap of the east coast that gives it an edge? The harsh light of a chilly day, away from the warm Californian sunshine? But in true OC tradition, the thanksgiving episode was awesome.

The question is, is Gossip Girl going to do an OC and burn through all it’s bright ideas in one lightspeed season? The inconvenient writer’s strike will hold them back a bit at the least. Have Schwartz and co learned their lesson? That’s one secret they’ll never tell. You know you’ll love it. XOXO

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.

Yamada Taro Monogatari Eps 1-10 (complete) October 7, 2007

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In short: Good clean family fun.

Thoughts: There’s a happy, smiling feeling one can only get from Jdorama and Yamada Taro delivers it in bucket-loads. As Jaalin put it on Random Curiosity, it’s a “sushi bar of smiles”, and when everyone in the show is smiling, how can you not join in?

(Warning: some spoilers)


Jodan Janai! Eps 1-11 (complete) July 14, 2007

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In short: Dorama based on a contrived plot? 冗談じゃないよ!

Thoughts: So, there’s this guy. He falls for a girl 20 years his junior. They get married, but it turns out she’s the daughter of his ex-girlfriend who mysteriously vanished years ago. Sounds like gimmicky rubbish? Don’t judge a dorama by its concept. Jodan Janai is actually a nice little comedy. Full of contrived plot and character gimmicks yes, but funny, entertaining and sweet all the same.

(Warning: some spoilers ahead)


Finally, someone said it July 12, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Film, TV.
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Guardian Unlimited: Rise and fall of a comic genius

In the (admittedly insincere) words of Bob Sugar in Jerry Maguire, “Finally! someone said it”. The Simpsons has been crap for a long time. I wouldn’t go quite as far as Ian Jones in the article though; he says it’s been bad since 1997, but in my mind it was fine until about 2001, when it really jumped the shark. To me, the real danger sign is when a show starts explaining its jokes. A real shame considering one of The Simpsons plus points was its high-count of random gags and in-jokes.

But whilst I was pessimistic about the movie, I now have renewed optimism. I attended a Q&A with Matt Groening and Al Jean last week, where a 10 min clip of the film was shown – and it was actually really funny. Apparantly it benefits from the return of the very best writers from the show’s history. The thing I noticed most though, it’s weird watching The Simpsons on a big screen with 100 other people. I’m not used to others getting the same in-jokes!