|Asunaro hakusho [あすなろ白書]|
Interesting relationships... [Rating: 8/10]
A story that revolves around five teenagers against the innocent and beautiful campus background, Asunaro Hakusho captures the confusing complexity of youngsters' feelings and thoughts. There is a conglomeration of love, sacrifice, tears, joy and pain heightened by the soothing but melancholic piano tunes of the background.
Kimura's generous personality is to die for. However, cutesy Ishida has a I'm-so-sunny-but-stubborn demeanour that is particularly irritating, and when this manifests in the female lead who appears in almost every scene, you know it spells trouble.
And the next problem is that once the story starts to chronicle their lives after they have left school and entered the working world, the drama starts to take an even slower pace and almost completely loses its watchability.
The show manages to examine the importance of life and death and friendship and love, but Tsutsui and Ishida's on off I-love-you-I-love-you-not business can kill even the most patient romantic viewer.
Watch it for its fantastic soundtrack, But then again, you could simply buy the soundtrack off the shelves without having to sit through this show.
|Food fight [フードファイト]|
Fabulous fabulous fabulous [Rating: 10/10]
A fresh storyline miles away from dramas that try painstakingly to portray students' troubles/ problems or map out a beautiful love story, this is one dorama that stands different with a new script and a fresh combination of actors. Deprived of childhood happiness and family love, Kusangai feasts on food to satisfy his insatiable appetite, while every competition symbolizes, also, a triumph not just on the battlefield of food but of love, kinship, morals and values. I admit it- I became a fan of Kusanagi right after the first three episodes- albeit not sublime acting, there's an unspeakable charisma that the skinny smap member exudes which is alluring. Though every episode can stand on its own, the linking factors; Kyoko as the love interest, Kimura as the adorably annoying crow, and the story behind the masterminds of the contest; all serve to unravel a semi-mystery about Kusanagi's past and post expectations for his future. Comments about its lack of realism are not unfounded but who cares?? There is a winning formula of novelty, wit, humour, tears, feelings, friendship, love and food in this show. It may sound terrible but there is a gout of sadistic pleasure to be derived from watching a skinny person devour all that food and then still claim, deadpan, that his stomach is as huge as the entire universe. A cannot-miss, even for those who insist that they are only addicted to sops like Love generation, beautiful life, etc!
|Hatachi no yakusoku [二十の約束]|
GREAT show [Rating: 8/10]
I watched this show when I was in secondary one - which means six years ago - but till now I can vividly remember the plot and the characters. Probably one of the first doramas I was introduced to. Goro struck as a dashing young punk then, with a hidden, painful love for Makisa Riho. Despite a series of convoluted obstacles, mutual withdrawals and uncertainty the couple unites in the end. Though the ambiguity of the ending leaves one relatively perturbed - did Goro die on riho's lap? - the innocent beauty of a love between two apparently incompatible youngsters torn apart not just by family prejudice but also personal self doubts and peer pressure reaches the heart.
cool [Rating: 9/10]
Cool filming technique the way the camera pans the characters and the ofice. Also an interesting storyline although the ''romance'' between kimura and takako is VERY trying. do they get together or not!!!?!!! but a good performance by kimura I think, different from the rest of the shows. Critics that say he can't act for nuts should try opening their eyes a bit more. There is nothing more difficult than to make acting look as though it is NOT acting.
|Ii hito [いいひと。]|
Fantastic vehicle for Kusanagi's energy [Rating: 9/10]
Fantastic show that exhibits Kusanagi's spirited, enthusiastic acting. Although the plot seems a little unrealistic and Yuuji a little TOO good to be true sometimes, the feel-good element of the show saves the day. Guest appearances by Shingo Katori etc give the show an additional boost.
|Imouto yo [妹よ]|
Fabulous [Rating: 9/10]
Let's just say I fell in love with Japanese drama because of this show. Toshiaki Karasawa is sooooooo good looking in this drama, I remembered him as Takagi Masashi ever since.
And anyway there IS a reason for calling it Tokyo Cinderalla story, you know... so (to piglet44) 'too fairy tale' is definitely justifiable!!!!
Slow, but fairly watchable [Rating: 7/10]
It's painful to watch your favourite actor play second fiddle to a 50-something-year-old man and be rejected hurtingly by Matsu Takako who somehow sees more oomph in liking her -oh god- own father, albeit not one related by blood. I admit that Tamura Masakazu does exude a certain degree of charm, truth be said. But the nostalgic reflections on love, life, death and touching depiction of touching souls between an elder man and a younger girl cannot save the slowness and dryness of the drama. I fell asleep thrice through the series. Kusanagi's still a little raw and it comes across quite starkly in juxtaposition to Tamura who, after all, has Kimura Takuya (it has been said) looking to him for tips on acting. Unless one is really hard-up for a kinship-mixed-love story, cliches on the strength of love prevails over everything else, discussions of whales or simply for Takako, who, beautiful as usual, acts marvellously, my advice -stick away. Buy some other vcd if you can help it.
|Kimi to ita mirai no tame ni ~ airu bi bakku [君といた未来のために I'll be back]|
A cut above the rest [Rating: 10/10]
I was overjoyed to read the comments by Gungod, Susie and amethyst, because it proves I am not the only one bowled over by the thoughtfulness and uniqueness of the show. It is truly a cut above the mundane shows that harp endlessly on love and whatnot - this drama teaches lessons on love and life values too but the way in which the scriptwriter attempts to do so is intriguing. The repetitive cycle to the past mirrors Tsuyoshi's reflections upon himself, his ideals, his goals and his surroundings. What makes the show particularly watchable is that it doesn't stop at the time cycle plot but captures a mystery also on tsuyoshi's mother, the screening in the cinema, and even until the final episode the script deals out yet another twist. I love the thread - Icarus Monggol Fielight - that links the entire show and gives it an additional eerie glow.
tsuyoshi proves himself a true actor, alternating between being the disillusioned teen, a devious schemer, a filial son, an unexpressive lover, etc.
This show deserves much more publicity and kudos than it has so far been dished out.
|Koi no katamichi kippu|
bad [Rating: 5/10]
The show blatantly is a vehicle for Esumi, nothing else. even goro seems nothing but the complement, and one not fully appreciated either. i accidentally broke the 6th episode VCD, but it only gave me the excuse not to continue watching the whole show anymore. found it boring, unhumerous, and at times downright bland. even the family scenes supposed to make the show uplifting are just, plainly, lacking in chemistry. tad disappointing, i say.
|Koishite Shinitai [恋して死にたい]|
KAKOII!! [Rating: 8/10]
although a few episodes where Kyoko keeps leeching onto tsuyoshi and tsuyoshi keep rejecting her can get very trying on the nerves, Tsuyoshi's extraodinarily goodlooking image in this show manages to save the day!! It's essentially a very simple plot with a very simple message involving very few actors but there's a magic touch to the show that makes one stay with it to the end, JUST to get the kick of seeing Tsuyoshi get together with Kyoko, something whcih you know the director couldnt possibly bear to deprive his audience from.
|Love complex [ラブコンプレックス]|
I still have no idea what to make of it!!! [Rating: 10/10]
It's either a 1 or a 10 and I decided to give it a 10 in the end. It was first the sight of Karasawa Toshiaki and Sorimachi Takashi on the cover that prompted me to buy the drama but after watching the first episode it was no longer the the two but the strangeness of the plot and story that pulled me in. I agree with the reviews that say 'weird'. Till now I am still VERY disturbed by the show and confused as to what message it tries to send, one of this being the reason for Takashi flinging himself out of the window when he was such a champion of life!
The shooting techniques are perturbing - the sudden slow motions, the story-book frames, the Blair Witch Project parody in one scene, a shot of the director introducing the film in a hair-raisingly self-parodying way, the freaky'Merry Christmas' sequences that has Toshiaki dressed up part Santa Claus part clown. No doubt a thought-provoking show that examines the psychological complexities and eccentricities of a warped society exemplified by six secretaries who perpetually wear an eerie, frozen cold smile on their faces - the pathos of a pretentious working class. What is either best or worst about the show is that till the very end I suddenly discovered I DON'T know who the criminal is or what on earth Toshiaki's true identity is, which was what the show has set out to unearth in the first place. Upon reflection the only conclusion I came up with, to dispel the idea the the scriptwriter went nuts halfway through his creation, is that it is another of the story's twist; it defies expectations and logic by proving that these are non-existent in a wrought society and proves that the story stretches beyond a suspense thriller, a mystery or examination of office politics in a large coporation to a micrscopic view of man's impulses, hidden fears and self-deception.
And these are only the first stage of my review. I believe a second watch will solicit a different perception.
Fabbbuolllous [Rating: 10/10]
tsuyoshi is a notch more goodlooking here than his other traditional 'good guy' roles in most dramas. I really love the play on beer and champagne to highlight the two characters' differences and also to show how they come together in the end. A totally feel-good movie with many hilarious moments. Whether or not you're a fan of Kusanagi or Ijima, this is a worthy film!!!
|Oishii Kankei [おいしい關係]|
reasonably ok [Rating: 4/10]
Bought this show for kusanagi even though he plays a pretty minor role, and also because I thought the plot would be reasonably watchable, esp since the two pillars are miho and toshiaki. Well on both counts I was disappointed cos Tsuyoshi plays a less-than-secondary character who isn't even very endearing and the pace is really slow. The characters meet up with problems, they solve them, some occasional romance scenes, la di da, stereotypical fluff. If it was meant as a love story it isn't heartwarming enough. If meant for food junkies it isn't concentrated enough. Pretty sad stuff.
|Saikou no koibito [最高の恋人]|
GORO is gorgeous in this show! [Rating: 7/10]
Watching a 1995 show in 2002 can have severe setbacks. Firstly, what cld have been a novel plot then seems a bit outdated and worn out now that the Korean hit, Autumn Endless Love, has already officiated this brother-sister turned lover thing. And the next unbearable thing is the way they dress. Maybe fashion has evolved far too fast and too dramatically for our own good, but what Yumiko puts on herself is, well, quite gross. But Goro is just SO darn goodlooking in the drama that no matter how slow or unprogressive the story is you just have gotta pop the vcds into the player one after the other. No kiddin. Nevertheless, not highly recommended for people who want novelty, kick and babes. Not really existent in this dorama.
|Sensei shiranaino? [先生知らないの？]|
CUTE KIDS ... & equally cute Kusanagi [Rating: 9/10]
Must say that my opinion of this show may be tainted by the fact that Kusanagi is my all time favourite but it IS a good show. For those who have watched the later teacher-student drama by domoto tsuyoshi, there are similarities but Kusanagi plays a simpler, more honest and "daft" character here. This episode where he was trying to clear the air with a student who had a crush on him was really cute. Kusanagi performed pretty well in this show, but admittedly the students are the real pillars man. If you have a penchant for cute kids and touching stories on evolving class solidarity... THIS is IT!!
|Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ]|
A good one! [Rating: 8/10]
Watched this show in one day and found it refreshing, meaningful and heartwarming. Without seeming to try too hard and coming across, therefore, preachy, the drama does examine a couple of issues that teenagers have to contend with. What it does demonstrate, whether unwittingly or not, is also how the concept of making love has been trivialized by youngsters in Japanese society, though I do understand that the concept portrayed is that the act illustrates the sublimity of true love..
I especially enjoyed the soundtrack, the unique opening shots of every episode and the ongoing narration provided by a sensitive sounding and pensive Hideaki.
The twist at the end was pleasant. The buildup having led the audience to believe that his sister was dead for some reason (I did think that Kyoko would die at the snowy mountain top) and only part of his memory - therefore "I will never forget you" was repeated throughout the show- the relevation that she is STILL with him gives a nice touch.
Kyoko delivers as usual. Her flexibility in acting has been proved time and again and this time her persistent attitude towards love and fondness for her brother comes across. Her secret admirer Hideaki, whose every scene with her depicts familial warmth, also puts in a highly credible effort as confused-high school student- turned good-looking and caring teen. Other characters also make a fair contribution. In general, an excellent piece of drama with good acting, strong script, and the extra-a message to send as well.
|Team saiaku de saikouna futari [チーム]|
good show! [Rating: 8/10]
I was so disappointed that there's not a single review because it seems to indicate that no one has watched it?!! It's not a bad show, really. Plot and style go something like Hero in that the story turns out vignette by vignette. hehe gotta admit that Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, my favourite artiste, plays a crucial role in my bias for this show too... but I WOULD recommend it. there are some pretty funny lines and scenerios and some sparks fly between Kusanagi and Nishimura. Warning to the guys though: don't expect many babes. this is certainly not a show that plays on the babelicious bait.
|Tokyo daigaku monogatari|
Errr..... [Rating: 7/10]
An interesting starting with Goro voicing the inner thoughts of the hardworking top student who, suddenly, has his hormones stirred when he meets Asaka. So go the next four or five episodes where he constantly worries himself over the vulnerable relationship.
If the story had gone on this way I suppose the plot would have some thematic coherence to it but then later Ide Kaoru comes along, and what have you, goro pulls a two timing without himself realising it.
The point of the show, as the title implies, is probably the entrance of goro into tokyo U, with him being so uptight over it and with the audience kept on tenterhooks as to whether asaka will thwart the path to his goals. Sadly, he does't get into Tokyo U in the end, and ironically this is not because of asaka. So the scriptwriter played a trick on us. Goro was foiled by his own stupidity and undulating sentiments.
I suppose, however, the ending does convey the message that the university one enters isn't the end of the world. What you do with your life and the decisions you make is.