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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?

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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.

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

Posted by ayasawada in Drama.
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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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Yamada Taro Monogatari Eps 1-10 (complete) October 7, 2007

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D-addicts

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)

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

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DramaWiki

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)

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Hana Yori Dango/Hana Yori Dango 2 Ep1-9/1-11 (complete) March 25, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Drama, Japan, Manga, TV.
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D-addicts

In short: From aww to agh!

(Spoilers)

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