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Viewing profile :: phlargo
Avatar All about phlargo

Joined:  24 Mar 2008
Total posts:  1969
[0.22% of total / 0.55 posts per day]
Find all posts by phlargo
Country (Nationality):  United States
Location:  Newbury Park, CA
Website:  http://phlargo.spaces.live.com
Occupation:  Unemployed
Interests: Cuisine, Nutrition, Fitness, Television, Anime, Movies, Computer Games, Reading
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phlargo's drama votes (7)
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
Even though I think the official description captures this drama all wrong, I think it was a great experience and I'm really glad I watched it. Don't miss it!
GTO [麻辣教師]
Always a classic and inspiring like none other
Koi ni Ochitara ~Boku no Seikou no Himitsu~ [恋におちたら〜僕の成功の秘密〜]
Maybe the best Jdrama I've seen yet - I enjoyed every last minute of it and just when I thought I was going to get tired of it, it came back and satisfied once again.
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王]
Great series! Don't miss it. Surely gets my vote.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
Wonderful Drama, Great Characters, Very good acting... why does my heart hurt? Music lovers rejoice.
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
Not to be missed! Beautiful story of caregiving (mostly emotional) and understanding disability, akin to Beautiful Life. Tsumabuki Satoshi is awesome. Shibasaki Kou also very good, if a little thin (actingwise) at times. Great directing! Generally forgettable plot - overuse of drama cliches. Screenplay is only so-so. Character design leaves a little to be desired in some of the supporting roles.
Pride [プライド]
Great series - don't miss it. This one is popular for a reason.

phlargo's artiste votes (9)
Harada Natsuki [原田夏希]
One of the gems of Honey and Clover. Even if her performance was severely hindered by the directorial decisions, I think she's a great actress and handled the role quite admirably.
Ikuta Toma [生田斗真]
One of the highlights of Honey and Clover. I don't know if he was what I'd call a great actor in it, but the role was so much better cast than the anime, I couldn't help but really enjoy him!
Kimura Takuya [木村拓哉]
Perfectly awkward in Beautiful Life. He's consistently good and tends to steal the show.
Shibasaki Kou [柴咲コウ]
Just saw the first ep. of Orange Days and she gets a vote for sure - she's really great! I was super impressed by her acting, straight from the beginning. I'm really looking forward to to the rest of the series
Sorimachi Takashi [反町隆史]
An absolute favorite.
Takeuchi Yuko [竹内結子]
I've seen the first 4 eps of Lunch No Joou and she gets a vote already. Best smile ever.
Tamaki Hiroshi [玉木宏]
Chiaki - fantastic acting - genuine and deep (even if painfully oblivious to the scenario at hand). Seeing him conduct reminded me of everything I love about music and ensembles.
Tsumabuki Satoshi [妻夫木聡]
Just saw him in Orange Days and his acting was superb. Sure the writing and directing also really highlighted his character, but he took it and ran. Maybe the best performance I've seen in a Jdrama yet.
Ueno Juri [上野樹里]
I can't say "Chiaki-sempai" without my heart tugging at me. Well done, young lady.

phlargo's dramas (21)
Bara no nai Hanaya [薔薇のない花屋]
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A heartwarming/heartbreaking story of finding and fighting for love. Two characters fighting against each other for much of the series only to finally come together in the face of tragedy. Captures some good themes about beauty and honesty but perhaps falls short of true greatness - the idea of 'life as beauty' only get a cursory examination and could be so much more deeply explored with the same characters. The characters are for the most part very well played. Certain scenes in the end (and likely throughout) will require a handy box of tissues to mop up your face.
Daisuki!! [だいすき!!]
Galileo [ガリレオ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I loved the main characters' chemistry - probably my favorite thing about the show. I didn't like the thinking/physics montages, but I really enjoyed the cinematography otherwise. They made it feel like the director/writers were trying to dumb it down too much for us regular folks - like the professor was so far above anyone that even looking at his logic couldn't possibly make sense to mere mortals. I'm okay with that.. but then don't use a bunch of silly drawings and compulsive writing to accomplish it. Some of the early eps were weak - but I think at least 4 near the end were really good. I really enjoyed seeing the professor's growth and the subtle changes Kou's character made as she got exposed to more and more logic from the prof. She was a little juvenile at times - I would have liked to see her being a more authoritative, even if she was just a rookie. She felt a little too comic at times, for the reason she was bumbling around. She is so cute Loved the professor - I think he was great all around, though I could have done without his post-montage poses... I really didn't like that part, can you tell? Fun show! It gets the nod.
GTO [麻辣教師]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Despite some weaker episodes, the good stuff is truly fantastic. Don't miss this one. Find it. Watch it. And watch the anime too - it exemplifies what makes anime great.
Hachimitsu to Kuroba [ハチミツとクローバー]
Rating: 4/10 (Watched)
Despite a very promising opening couple of episodes and great casting, I found the middle of the series to be painfully weak. The ending was good, but the anime beats it out in almost every way. I think the character design for Takemoto, Morita, and most of the main characters was so much better than the anime, but the direction fell flat on its face. Too bad - it had some strong potential.
Hana Yori Dango [花より男子]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Pretty light and easy drama. Don't expect much from the story or writing - it's merely average at best. The characters are very cute but thin. The main character, "Makino" (Inoue Mao), has a good balance of strength and timidness which makes her both really cute and endearing. The male lead, "Domyouji" (Matsumoto Jun) is frustratingly thin in development. This series may have some of the most irritating and fake female laughing I've ever heard. While it can be very endearing at times and the direction is sometimes quite good, the series as a whole suffers too deep a reliance on played drama cliches and "classic" plot twists that make it so predictable, it can be a little rough to get through. Watch it if you love the actors, but otherwise your time can be better spent elsewhere.
Hana Yori Dango 2 [花より男子]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
More of the same. Too much more of the same. Makino Tsukushi is still positively adorable.
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [1リットルの涙]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Go into this knowing that the main character is in for a rough ride. Her health basically goes downhill the whole series. The story is sweet and there is lots of inspiration to be seen in Aya's fight with her disease, but it's a hard road to watch. I think the younger sister, Ako (the very talented, young, and pretty Narumi Riko - wish I had liked her more in Honey and Clover) was the real winner for me in the series. Aya's father, Mizou was also a favorite character for me. I think he was actually the best at showing the devastation and confusion of watching Aya's descent into invalidity. Ryo is way better in this than he is in Last Friends. He was a pretty sympathetic character really, and often quite realistic. That was the best thing about the characters in this series - the attempt to show their inner conflicts: guilt, concern, openness, fear, anger, jealousy. They touched on them, but they could have been accomplished so much better. I find I didn't really "get in" to the series until the 5th or 6th episode, but from there it was a really good watch. In some ways, some aspects of Aya's changes felt rushed and others felt labored. I think this drama could have been 6 or 7 episodes.. or 20 episodes. I'm not sure they figured out the pacing for her story. Very inspirational.
Koi ni Ochitara ~Boku no Seikou no Himitsu~ [恋におちたら〜僕の成功の秘密〜]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
Excellent drama. Definitely on my must see list. Suzuki Shimao's actor was a little wooden at times, but it was made up for by a superb supporting cast (his sister, the other execs and the founder of Frontier!!) - generally great acting in this one! The intro is probably second best only to (or even on par with) Orange Days for getting you into the mood for the Drama. I'm actually going to keep my review brief - you should watch it. I don't give out 10s easily and if I do, it means I am giving my strongest recommendation to enjoy it if you haven't see it before. I really liked the direction and writing. The music got me really excited. Like Odoru... when something was going to happen or change, the music got you excited and ready for it. One of the few dramas that had me humming the melody and thinking about the action. And for the guys out there - it's chock full of very attractive womens :) Kaori is positively yummy. Lots of other cuties in here too. Enjoy!
Last Christmas [ラストクリスマス]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Fun show.. although it gets a little cookie cutter at times, employing all the jdrama stereotypes/cliches you can muster. Oda Yuji is the classic ne'er do wrong - always compromises his own needs to help others, etc. The drama falls into the classic episodic 'new problem - frustration - solution - resolution - new problem arises' cycle for most of the series. The ending's a little cheesy and again, abusive: they spend a lot of effort trying to mislead you. All in all, fun to watch. Not great, but certainly not bad. Aoi's a darling, if a pain. I love the childhood friend, Sally (Ryo) - she's awesome. And the chick who hooks up with Tamaki Hiroshi's character is really really pretty. Check it out. I won't be watching it again, but I'm glad I got through it :)
Last Friends [ラスト・フレンズ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
The verdict is in. A hotly awaited, all-star (or close enough) cast, a compelling premise. A personal favorite return of a good section of the Nodame cast.... and? Well, sadly, it was unfocused and hasty. It covered too many stories and provided far too little detail on any one of them. The director was pretty weak - there were a few really good episodes in the middle.. but they were lost on the second quarter and final quarter of the episodes (not very good at all) To give it credit, it was really fun to watch at times and it was very exciting at others. I really enjoyed seeing Asame, Eita, and of course Juri in it. Ryo's character, Sousuke, was really a disappointment. There wasn't much for him to do. Masami's Michiru was generally boring and repetitive. To avoid spoilers, I'll avoid the story. Just be warned - lots of promise - not so much on the return. Was it a decent show? Sure. Can I whole heartedly recommend it? Not even close.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Good drama... got much better as it went on. Really boring first third in my mind. I think the real gems were hidden in the structure: some of the side characters were really fun dramatic explorations more than they were full characters. Momoko was great for this! What a weird device she was - much more a toy for the writer/director than a character in the show, really.. Most of the commentary was pretty surfacey, nothing overly deep here. Yamaguchi Tomoko stood out much more than Kimura Takuya (who was much better in Beautiful Life, in my opinion). Her character was really a pleasure to watch and interact with through the drama. I think the discussion of Ryoko's innocence was kinda fun too. She was otherwise forgettable.
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Aside from a last act that went on a little longer than it needed to (read: way too long), this was a really wonderful drama. The characters were fun and rich and sweet. The emotions were high. The novelty value was good. Actors and characters were great. Highly highly recommended - it goes on my short list of top series, for sure!
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
Greater than the sum of its parts. The story is well design and neatly packaged. The characters are so endearing and special. Good introduction to classical music if you've never been a fan (you'll certainly fall in love with some of the music). Great soundtrack (not surprising). Ueno Juri at her best! Nodame is sooo sweet and cute. It's hard not to fall for her. There are times where some of her emotional responsed feel a little overdone. She's brilliant when she gets pissed at Chiaki and lays the Nodame-smack down. Gyabo! Tamaki Hiroshi is great in this as the (mostly) unflappable Chiaki. He's very well done and emotionally balanced. His mannerisms are graceful and his facial responses are superb. Even though I'm a bigger Juri fan, I really think he made this drama. Almost all of the other characters are at least pretty good. Such a varied ensemble. Mine and Kiyora (why didn't we see 10x more of her!!!) deserve special mention for being vulnerable and arrogant, both. Special mention to Mine's dad - he's a hero of mine :)
Odoru Daisousasen [踊る大捜査線]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
It felt a little rough starting out. The music and the characters are infectious. Sure, it was really really cheesy at points, but in the end I really enjoyed the series and gladly recommend it to others. The action theme music totally sucked me in - you knew when things were going to happen and you got excited about it (well, kinda at least). It was fun! The older retiring detective, Waku, was one of my favs. I also really like Murai (the headquarters supervisor who was always frowning). It was rewarding to watch, even if it probably felt dated 10+ years ago when it came out ;-)
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I wanted to give it a 10. I absolutely loved it. It was great. It was fun. It was sweet. All the goodies. The opening music is very simple but every time the opening credits came on, I was happy to see them - the song is simple and catchy and just feels right. Kai is brilliantly acted, even if the character is a little compartmentalized. He may have belted out one of the most impressive performances I've seen in a Jdrama. Sae's challenges and personality are amazingly handled, if a little over the top at times. She has that bifurcated personality that can make her unbelievably sweet and endearing but at the flip of a coin, an unreasonable and confused child. Akane is actually a very strong role as well. She grows a lot (perhaps a little too introspective) through the series and is suprisingly strong. Shohei was a little underdeveloped (a lot of potential for him), as was Keita. Miho was a treat as the ambitious helper who could never quite get it right. However, it was not without its flaws: The plot is quite cyclical and never very deep. The ending is hasty and curt and somewhat cliche. How often can they throw the same scenario at us and expect us to be excited by it (return of the ex...) I think it suffers from imbalance on the main characters relative influence on the relationship, putting almost all of the weight on poor Kai. Sae is portrayed as overly weak and doesn't get sufficient opportunity for redemption - her power play at the end is passive and almost codependant. Kai brushes it off with the same skill and charm that makes him almost too invulnerable. The final shot is so unbelievably cathartic it breathes spectacular richness into the entire experience, even if entirely predictable. I've never had a single shot make me cry every time I watch it - so much vunerability and trust. (writing that made me choke up).
Pride [プライド]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Excellent series!! I'm not a big sports fan - but this wasn't really about Hockey and where it was, it made sense. As far as characters go, this may be the series with the best average character - I liked pretty much every character. One complaint is the overly positive nature of the male characters in relationship with the female characters (there was some redemption, but it seemed a little imbalanced). I thought Takeuchi and Takuya were great!! Lovely chemistry, and great characters in their own right. I really like Yuko (best smile, ever), but really it was Kimura who won me over again. There's a reason he's been in so many dramas - he's that good. I loved the opening theme enough to go download the original Queen song. It's a great song. I do have one serious complaint - an otherwise superb presentation hindered by one of my least favorite Jdorama cliches: characters in a pivotal moment pass by each other and their missing each other is a determinative factor in their relationship. Bleh. It would have had a 10 otherwise and it nearly earned an otherwise superb drama an 8. Watch this series.. especially if you don't care about hockey. It's a wonderful exploration of character development and the contrast between the negative and positive implications of Pride.
Ruri no shima [瑠璃の島]
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Great series. Ryoko as Hanami is perfect - she's absolutely adorable and fun and sweet.... and ridiculous. While perhaps being tarnished some by an utterly forgettable last couple of episodes, it was a really fun series. I loved Honami's family and I thought that her childhood friend was brilliant in his role. It was also cool to learn a little about ikibana and plastic surgery on the ride. If you've got it, watch it.
Top Sales [トップセールス]

phlargo's drama reviews (4)
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
Not perfect, but highly recommended [Rating: 8/10]
A heartwarming/heartbreaking story of finding and fighting for love. Two characters fighting against each other for much of the series only to finally come together in the face of tragedy. Captures some good themes about beauty and honesty but perhaps falls short of true greatness - the idea of 'life as beauty' only get a cursory examination and could be so much more deeply explored with the same characters. The characters are for the most part very well played. Certain scenes in the end (and likely throughout) will require a handy box of tissues to mop up your face.
Hachimitsu to Kuroba [ハチミツとクローバー]
So much potential... such poor execution [Rating: 4/10]
I was really pleased with the casting all around. Takemoto was so much better a character than in the anime. As was Morita (even though his story was severly truncated in the drama). I thought Romaya Sempai was a wonderful addition. The middle of the series was so fractured and dragged along so slowly that , however, I honestly can't recommend the series to anyone. I think the director should pretty much be shot. They were random scenes thrown together and like 6 or 7 episodes dragged by because they had so little greater meaning. If you want a good story, watch the anime instead.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
Amazing Series [Rating: 10/10]
I don't know if it's the time in my life or the magic of the series, but its the first time I've found myself seriously emotionally invested with the characters of an Anime or Drama (I watched both in rapid succession). Nodame breaks my heart every time she says "Chiaki-sempai" with her cute mouth. How embarassing to be a nearly 30 year old guy and swoon at a fictional character like that! Don't miss this one. It's fantastic!
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
A character driven do-not-miss [Rating: 8/10]
I wanted to give it a 10. I absolutely loved it. It was great. It was fun. It was sweet. All the goodies. The opening music is very simple but every time the opening credits came on, I was happy to see them - the song is simple and catchy and just feels right. Kai is brilliantly acted, even if the character is a little compartmentalized. He may have belted out one of the most impressive performances I've seen in a Jdrama. Sae's challenges and personality are amazingly handled, if a little over the top at times. She has that bifurcated personality that can make her unbelievably sweet and endearing but at the flip of a coin, an unreasonable and confused child. Akane is actually a very strong role as well. She grows a lot (perhaps a little too introspective) through the series and is suprisingly strong. Shohei was a little underdeveloped (a lot of potential for him), as was Keita. Miho was a treat as the ambitious helper who could never quite get it right. However, it was not without its flaws: The plot is quite cyclical and never very deep. The ending is hasty and curt and somewhat cliche. How often can they throw the same scenario at us and expect us to be excited by it (return of the ex...) I think it suffers from imbalance on the main characters relative influence on the relationship, putting almost all of the weight on poor Kai. Sae is portrayed as overly weak and doesn't get sufficient opportunity for redemption - her power play at the end is passive and almost codependant. Kai brushes it off with the same skill and charm that makes him almost too invulnerable. The final shot is so unbelievably cathartic it breathes spectacular richness into the entire experience, even if entirely predictable. I've never had a single shot make me cry every time I watch it - so much vunerability and trust. (writing that made me choke up).

   

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