Tag Archives: Japanese Drama

You’re Beautiful ;; Otomen ;; Stairway to Heaven


You’re Beautiful

The management company of the idol group A.N.JELL insisted on adding a new singer to the group as the lead vocal, Tae Kyung’s voice was hurting. However,the new member, Mi Nam, had to go to the States to repair a botched eye job just before signing the contract. His agent came up with the idea of having his twin sister, Mi Nyu,to stand in for him and pretend that she was her brother. The two of them grew up in an orphanage and Mi Nyu, who was all set to become a nun, agreed to this charade as she didn’t want to spoil her brother’s chance of fame which would make it easier to look for their mother.


Usually I like checking to see what actors/actresses there are, but I didn’t for this drama for some reason. When I started watching it, I thought the actress somehow looked familiar. That’s when I realized she looked like the young actress in Stairway to Heaven. After googling it, it turns out she’s actually the same actress! It’s so weird to see how much she’s grown! Time passes by quickly, doesn’t it?

Park Shin Hye’s acting wasn’t bad really, but I’m not really a fan of overacting. Her and Lee Hong Ki both overacted a lot. It’s always interesting to see how a well known singer does in acting. I’ve never seen any of Hong Ki’s other stuff so I don’t know if it’s because the role is meant to be played like that or what. I really disliked it though LOL. Every time he appeared I’m like face palming myself. That goes for his serious moments too.

Overall I feel like the drama’s alright, I’m guessing it just had such big popularity because of the cast. Jang Geun Suk as male lead. Jung Yong Hwa and Lee Hong Ki, both singers of a band. Uee as the female antagonist. Pretty jam packed with big stars.

3/5



Otomen

The story centers around the popular high school boy Masamune Asuka, the top kendo fighter in the nation. However, beneath his cool exterior, he is actually fond of sweets and shojo manga, and is skilled in sewing and cooking. When he instantly falls for the transfer student Miyakozuka Ryo, his secret is in danger of being exposed.


My friend was talking about this drama a lot and seemed to really enjoy it so I decided to give it a try. It’s a nice light drama if you’re looking for a laugh and nothing too serious. It does give a nice lesson though, about how we should be true to ourselves. We shouldn’t hide who we are to please others.

Kind of wished that it was a bit longer. Might check out the manga for it some time! It just seems like it would be a really cute one to read!

4/5



Stairway to Heaven

Jung-suh and Song-joo grew up together. They were always there for each other. Tragedy begins when Song Joo begins his studies overseas without Jung-suh. Jung-suh’s father remarries Tae Mira. Mira takes in her two children from a previous marriage, Tae-hwa and Yuri. Yuri is envious of the life that Jung-suh leads and is determined to take everything away from her, including Song-joo. Tae-hwa begins to develop feelings for his stepsister, however Jung-suh still loves Song-joo. Five years later, tragedy occurs when Jung-suh gets into a car accident causing her to lose her memory. Together with Tae-hwa, they start anew. Song-joo is led to believe that she is dead. However, when they meet again one day, he is determined to remind her of the love they had for one another. When fate finally seemed to be on their side, Jung-suh is diagnosed with eye cancer.


Stairway to Heaven… the epitome of a Korean drama. That checklist of things needed for a Korean drama? It probably has every single thing. People getting sick, people dying, women crying, love triangles, etc. All of it.

I decided to watch this drama because I actually started in years and years ago when I was in junior high. My friends and I watched the first couple episodes together, but we never ended up finishing it. I thought I would finish it since it’s just so well known when you mention kdramas.

Was it worth it? Meh. Kind of yes, and kind of no. I’m glad I finished it because I hate leaving things unfinished and never knowing what happens in the end. At the same time getting through the drama was sort of brutal. I’m already the type of person who doesn’t really like watching sad things or stuff that are too serious because I feel like it brings my mood down. This drama is super depressing. Everyone cries in almost every single episode. I don’t even know if there is one episode where there’s no one crying. It got especially hard to watch when the main characters start bawling. They scream at the top of their lungs while crying. I guess it’s to portray how heart wrenching their pain/sadness is, but holy cow. They do it even on the street in public.

Anyone else think it’s weird how Tae Hwa was a good looking guy when he was young and when they showed them after as older people, his look completely changed. Yuri got way prettier than her younger counterpart, I mean come on, it was Kim Tae Hee playing her – the woman now known for her beauty in the Korean industry. Tae Hwa became a creepy middle aged man LOL.

Drama isn’t bad. I guess if you’re looking for something to cry to, this would be the one. Although, I don’t think I got teary eyed while watching this drama. It might be because of the excessive amount of bad luck Jung Suh goes through that made me give up. I think at some point you start to think, “Seriously? When is this girl going to get a break? Why doesn’t she speak up? Even if it’s for her father’s happiness would you really keep all this crap in?”

3.5/5

Ohitorisama ;; Shokojo Seira


33-year-old Akiyama Satomi is a history teacher at the prestigious all-girls high school she once attended. She has earned the nickname "ohitorisama" (meaning "one person") for her perfectionism and capability to handle any work by herself. At the same time, the name also refers to her lack of romance. One day, a young man named Shinichi arrives at the school as a temporary instructor. He's ten years younger than Satomi, has only worked part-time jobs, and has neither money nor status. Although the other female teachers and students find him cute, he is completely not Satomi's type... or is he? Will love blossom between this unlikely pair?
In each episode of Ohitorisama, Satomi starts it off by telling the viewers why she loves her single life. However, when Shinichi came into her life, her way of life dramatically changed. All the things she believed in seemed to not ring true anymore.

I’ve only seen Koike Teppei in Lovely Complex and I enjoyed it. I didn’t really know what to expect out of him in this one. Perhaps it’s his height and the age difference, but I didn’t really see any sparks between him and Mizuki Alisa. I think even if there’s an obvious age difference between the actors, they could make it work and I would put their age difference in the back of my mind. When I watched Ai no Uta back then it was like watching a young woman with a grandpa. Even so, I felt something towards the two of them and I had hoped they’d end up together. In this one, I just saw Shinichi as sort of a younger brother that Satomi constantly has to look after.

With that said, I still enjoyed the drama. It’s a nice, light one to watch when you just want to enjoy a comedic drama without thinking to much into it. If you’re looking for some epic love story, there won’t be one haha.

4/5


Seira was raised in India, but she is sent back to Japan to continue her education at an affluent boarding high school. Although she has lived in luxury, the well-bred Seira is kind and generous, earning her many friends at the school. One person who dislikes Seira is the school's director, though she treats Seira well due to the father's fortune. Then, during Seira's 16th birthday party, the director informs her that her father has died, leaving her penniless. As a result, she is forced to work as a servant in order to pay off her school bills.
A modern twist to Cinderella, without the evil stepmother. Maybe an evil school director instead? Seira’s mother passed away when she was young, but her mother left her with one thing. It was to remember that every girl in their own right, is a princess. No matter if she’s rich or poor. She lived with her father in India until he decided to put her into a boarding school in Japan which her mother attended.

The director hates Seira because of Seira’s mother. However, she pushes that feeling aside knowing that Seira’s father would be giving the school a huge donation. When her father passed away in an accident, the director no longer felt obligated to suck up to her. Since Seira’s a minor, the director decided to let her stay at the school by working as a servant.

The drama was alright. Nothing super special that would make me remember it down the road. There was a point in the drama where they showed her doing what she believed was right. The others told her sometimes what she believes is right can actually hurt others. I felt though, as if they were forcing the audience to believe that Seira’s not perfect and this is why. True, nobody is perfect, but I felt like the way she acted wasn’t exactly wrong. She didn’t do what she did to hurt the other person since she didn’t know the full story. It felt like they were trying to find an excuse for the others in the drama to hate her @_@.

3.5/5

Sakuran ;; Haken no Hinkaku

Sakuran

Mika Ninagawa's lavishly produced, broadly-scaled period epic Sakuran unfurls in 18th century Edo, the embryonic fishing village that in later years blossomed into the Japanese metropolis of Tokyo. Anna Tsuchiya stars as Kiyoha, a social-climbing courtesan who inhabits and works in a bordello of the exclusive Yoshiwara district. Exceptionally particular regarding her customers/bedmates, Kiyoha seeks liberation from the lifestyle and career that have ensconced her - but refuses to accept such emancipation at the hands of a rich man's purchase. Deliberately, yet with great assurance and conviction, Kiyoha approaches the prospect of freedom and attempts to surmount the social and cultural obstacles that stand in her way.

Mika Ninagawa is a popular Japanese photographer who is known for using bright, vibrant colours. Sakuran, I think, is her directorial debut. Sakuran is definitely a beautiful piece of art. Mika really did a good job making the set look appealing to the eyes and stayed true to herself while at it. Every scene is like a bright, beautiful painting. Is it accurate when depicting Edo historically? Probably not.

I haven’t read the manga, but I’ve put it on to my “plan to read” list after the movie! With that said, I can’t say how closely they follow the manga so I’m not sure if the characters were portrayed correctly. Kiyoha is a loud-mouthed girl who always dreams of the day where she can achieve her freedom. If you piss her off don’t be surprised when she beats you up for it because she’s sure as hell not afraid of speaking her mind. Anna Tsuchiya seems to play the role quite well and I believed her. Maybe it’s the rocker side of her showing through.

What I noticed though is that their image of a geisha in Sakuran is very different from Memoirs of a Geisha. While Sayuri in MoaG is expected to play a delicate, respectful woman full of class, Kiyoha seems to be the complete opposite. I don’t know if that’s how she’s supposed to be or if it’s Anna not playing that role. When she walks into a room do I feel like her presence and actions are brimming with class? No.

Kiyoha is often shown as short-tempered and bull-headed about thins which ends up in her getting punished.. a lot. It gets a bit confusing at some points because it’s a bit choppy. It shows a short scene and then it cuts to something else. Many times it cuts to her being punished haha!

There was one point in the movie that really confused me and I had to search google to see if anyone understood the significance of the scene. Kiyoha is shown crying when she saw her lover while outside of the okiya and proceeds to run to the river to cry by herself. I guess I’m a bit slow LOL I couldn’t understand why she cried when he smiled.. but google saved the day.

There are some sex scenes in the movie but nothing overly done. They don’t make a big scene out of them which I’m glad about. The scenes do play a role to a certain extent so it’s not just some good filler for the boys to ogle over haha.

Movie wasn’t bad, and I think it’s a pretty good one to check out if only to look at how beautiful everything looked haha. It’s a more contemporary view on an old subject.

4/5



Haken no Hinkaku

Oomae Haruko is an A+ Temp worker who never cracks a smile or minces words, and leaves work on the dot. But her cynical nature indicates she has something painful to hide. Satonaka Kensuke has just been promoted to head S&F’s new Marketing Division. Saddled with a rag-tag group of subordinates, he is struggling to lift his division off the ground. When Oomae is placed in Kensuke’s department, she finds herself doing more work than she’s ever done before.

This is a timely drama that examines the different attitudes toward temp workers and regular employees, and the ways to overcome frictions in interpersonal relationships. This follows an October report on labor conditions by the Labor Ministry, which showed that, after regulations were relaxed, the proportion of regular employees to Temps had doubled compared to that of eight years ago.

Due to an incident in the past, Oomae Haruko decided to live her life as a super temp instead of an employee that dedicates their life to one company. She’s a no-nonsense worker and stays away from making friendships with anyone she works with. Work life and personal life are to be distinctly separated.

I actually had a different drama in mind before watching it. The poster made it seem like she’s this power woman who is fashionable, adored by all, etc. The actual drama is very different from that. I wouldn’t call her fashionable – pretty sure she wears kind of the same thing every time. She’s hard to love because of her hard exterior. Of course, everyone changes their mind after when they see how competent she is. She’s like a power woman in the sense that she can do just about any job that you can think of. Her certificates need an album and don’t even fit on her resume.

The ending was pretty average. It left it off as a bit of a cliffhanger but not really one that I felt makes the viewers happy. The plot didn’t seem to have enough substance I think. Probably an okay drama to watch if you’re bored and don’t care too much about what you’re watching. Not one that would wow you.

3/5

Liar Game 2


Liar Game 2

The naïve Kanzaki Nao and expert swindler Akiyama Shinichi have not heard anything from the LIAR GAME organization since the end of the previous game, so it seems they may have actually escaped. But Nao suddenly gets another invitation and is once again caught up in the game. This time, she has to team up with Shinichi and one of their previous rivals named Fukunaga, facing off against three more opponents in new games of deception, such as "24 Rensou Russian Roulette" and "17 Poker."

This was season two of Liar Game. Nao is thrown back into another round as she cannot bring herself to let others suffer through the giant debt people incur from the game. Shinichi had decided to sit out, but was convinced to come back to find out who is the one responsible for Liar Game.

I’m not sure why, although I do like the idea of how they got people to battle it out with their wits, I just don’t really enjoy watching Nao. Maybe because of her character. She’s overly naive for me. I usually like the more strong female types. She did show improvement in this season though by coming up with some of her own tactics.

This season they put in a formidable adversary for Shinichi. We got the clue that they’re somehow linked, but they never reveal how so until halfway through the drama. Kikuchi Rinko is always dressed in sort of a gothic lolita fashion with a cane. Not sure what’s up with the cane because it doesn’t seem like she even needs it LOL. One thing’s for sure though and that’s her goal to destroy Shinichi. She’s an interesting character.. I think she majored in psychology so she knows how to play with people’s minds and she also knows how people usually react. In that way, she seems to always be able to know how Shinichi is going to act and would be one step ahead.

You will have to watch the movie to actually knows what happens to Nao and Shinichi as they left the finals for the movie. Nice tactic to force people to watch it haha. Not something I’ll be rushing to watch any time soon though. Thought the first season was more interesting when the idea was more fresh.

3/5