Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Mitsu no Aji" ep. 11 finale

In this episode, Aya comes out smelling like a rose.  Her physical collapse causes her to rethink things. She finally gives up on Masato and even sort of helps the couple (with Kirishima, wut?) by stopping Norisugi from continuing his tabloid campaign.  The couple are fired from every clinic at which they attempt to practice medicine.  Naoko briefly struggles with her severed ties with her parents after learning her mother is ill.  Her parents reject her as a daughter and a doctor.  But ironically, Aya saves the day.  Rai finds another love.  Norisugi decides to forget Naoko.  But where can the couple go in Japan to be happy?  Apparently, nowhere, since they end up being doctors in an unnamed foreign war-torn city.  I rooted for the couple because their love is forbidden. I think the whole lure of the show was to watch them struggle and finally give into their love.  But the most riveting part of the series was watching Kanno Miho playing Aya.  Her character changes the most.  At first, she was an unfeeling, manipulative, slightly psycho person.  She turns into a more sympathetic (but still manipulative) character who ironically is the one person who understands their love more than anyone else.  Would I give up my family for ARATA?  Hmmm.

"Mitsu no Aji" ep. 10 recap

Naoko confirms with Masato that they are really going to be together, even with all the forthcoming hardships.  Masato tells Aya he's quitting the university.  Naoko's parents visit Aya who confirms their fears.  Naoko's dad confronts Masato while Naoko's mother confronts Naoko.  Both are steadfast in the resolve to stay together to the torment of the parents.  Masato even gets beaten up.  Afterward they go out in the rain (I guess rain is their thing) and find each other even without the aid of a cell phone.  It must be true love, right?  Aya coincidentally sees them kissing in the rain.  Poor Aya.  Naoko and Masato finally do the deed.  The show ends with Norisugi secretly passing info to Kirishima, Aya collapsing in the lab, and the couple walking arm in arm to start a new life in a new town. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Kaseifu no Mita" final ep. 11

OMG.  I think I used up half a Kleenex box on this episode.  I feel a bit manipulated, but hey, the show did a good job of it.  Mita gets the children to want and accept Urara as a guardian figure.  Mita also convinces Urara of her own worth.  There is a scene where Mita slaps Urara around to get her to quit being nicey-nice which was a bit disturbing.  Props to the makeup team who showed the red hand prints on Urara's face in a subsequent scene.   Mita's farewell dinner is when the waterworks started for me.   Mita smiling at all the family members was a heartbreaking scene.  The final topper was Kii's tearful farewell to Mita.  Whoa.  Everyone is happier due to Mita's interventions and Mita is a bit happier (and less self-abusive) due to the love of the children.  It's funny how she can detect wrong thinking in everyone else but herself.  Great show, and great acting by all the kids and Matsushima Nanako, who plays Mita. 

"Kaseifu no Mita" ep. 10

Mita's interactions with the Asuda family are causing her to think more often about her dead husband and son.   Kaito has to write an essay about how he appreciates his mother.  This brings up the issue of the family's anger toward their mother for abandoning them.  Mita reassures them that their mother really did love them and probably wanted to back out of the suicide and be with her family, but couldn't at the last moment save herself.  When Kaito reads aloud his esssay about how he wishes he said "thank you" to his mother while she was alive, it's tear-inducing.  Kii has an accident after deciding to let Kii help in the kitchen.  It reinforces Mita's fear that she brings trouble to her loved ones whenever she acts on her own free will.  She escapes to the amusement park and has her usual self-destructive imaginary lunch with her dead husband and son.  The kids follow her and beg her to stop punishing herself, even swearing to always eat the food laid out for her dead husband and son.  Mita actually cries and yells at them to stop being so nice to her.  Sob.  The kids assure her that nothing bad will happen to them if Mita loves them.  Sob.  Meanwhile, Urara continues to evade her feelings for her brother-in-law by pursuing an arranged marriage.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Mitsu no Aji" ep. 9 recap

Takinohara decides to cover up Masato's medication "error."   Naoko accuses Norisugi of using her password, but he denies it.  Hosegawa finally dumps Rai.  Norisugi admits to Aya that he framed Naoko/Masato for the error.  Aya is horrified that he would endanger a patient.  A magazine article exposes the uncle-niece relationship and the cover-up of the medication error.  Kirishima is thrilled.  Masato accuses Aya of being responsible.  She identifies Norisugi as the culprit.  Naoko and Norisugi confront each other at the apartment.  She refuses his attempt to reconcile.  He attempts to rape Naoko, but Masato suddenly appears and saves her.  Masato confesses their love and that they just want to be together no matter the consequences.  Aya gets a phone call from Naoko's parents who just got into town.  Uh oh.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Mitsu no Aji" ep. 8 recap

Norisugi rages at Naoko saying he was only a substitute for Masato and that she loves Masato and not him.  She doesn't deny it.  He wants to break up.  She doesn't resist.  Takinohara wins the medical director election.  Kirishima is majorly disappointed.  Aya encourages Hosegawa to dump Rai.  There is a funny moment when Aya says she should have been with Hosegawa instead, but then says "Naaaa."  After a victory party, Masato asks Naoko to go shopping with him.  Funnily enough, she says only parent and child or couples go shopping together.  He gives the excuse that he doesn't know where to shop.  They look like a couple shopping together. He buys her a clothes.  Looks like a date to me.  They talk at a restaurant.  She asks what would have happened 8 years ago if he hadn't got the call from the hospital after they kissed.  He says he wouldn't have left her, but he still would have left for Pittsburgh.  There are no flustered looks surprisingly.  They act very mature and cool about it.  Kirishima blames his loss of the election to the return of Masato.  Norisugi confronts Naoko.  Does she want to break up really?  She says yes. She doesn't deny loving Masato and says she and Norisugi have no relationship anymore.  He is crushed.  Aya tells Masato she is not divorcing him.  She says that he only returned to Japan to be with Naoko.  She doesn't want them to be together.  He denies having those feelings and says he can never marry Naoko anyway.   Hosegawa asks Masato to go back to Aya.  He says no way and denies liking anyone else. Hosegawa says Masato will never be free from Aya.  Norisugi visits Aya and they comfort each other.  She says they can't break them up because they have a taboo relationship.  A patient of Masato and Naoko suffers from an overdose of a medication  Someone tampered with his orders and increased the dose using Naoko's computer password.  He takes responsibility himself by saying he ordered her to increase the dose in order to protect Naoko.  Who knew her password?  Did Norisugi or Aya do it? 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Kaseifu no Mita" ep. 9

It's another, wonderful, tear-jerking episode.  Mita has left the household, only to become the housekeeper for the nosy and mean neighbor next door.  The kids and father Keiichi unsuccessfully try to get Mita to come back.  Yui knows that Mita does dangerous things hoping to hurt herself and that working for the neighbor will lead to trouble.  The neighbor orders Mita to kill her husband, herself, and their child in a fire (ironically).  When the neighbor sees Mita actually following through, the neighbor tells Mita to kill herself, which is just what Mita was waiting for.  She pours kerosene on herself and holds a candle...but the kids rush in and stop her.  Mita explains she became a robotic housekeeper so that she would have as little free will as possible since every time she acted on her own, something terrible happened.  They tell her they want to protect her and it seems to get through.  Mita shows some emotion for once, anger and tears.  She comes back to the household, but experiences a daydream/vision/haunting of her husband and little boy.  I sense a catharsis coming for Mita very soon.  Urara notices Mita is back and looks a bit jealous.  In fact, she confides to Mita that she likes her brother-in-law Keiichi.  I wonder what Mita will do with this info. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Kaseifu no Mita" ep. 7 and ep. 8

Episode 7 was a multiple-hanky episode in which Keiichi, the dad, finally asserts his desire to love his kids.  Keiichi has to hit rock bottom first, though.  He gets fired from his job.  He loses Kii's symbolic "dad" rock.  He is busted for Mita calling in a bomb threat to Kii's school.  He has zero confidence as a father.  His kids see his pain as he tries to throw himself into the river.  But they stop him by saying he needs to see Kii's play.  So they reenact it at home in an incredibly cute way.  He breaks down and apologizes for not loving their mother enough and asks for their forgiveness.  And they accept him.  It is nice to see Mita supporting Keiichi in her own weird way.  Then the kids get even more curious about Mita's past...
In episode 8, the kids try to wheedle Mita's story out of her in some funny scenes as they challenge her in some games. But Mita is apparently a rock, paper, scissors/Rubiks' cube/basketball genius.  (Props to Matsushima Nanako for her no cut, real time cube solving scene.)  After that, the show gets serious as Grandpa ends up in the hospital.  Of course, Mita ends up doing something totally outrageous again.  Which leads to Grandpa admitting that he is afraid that everyone he loves will end up dead or unhappy.  Mita sets Grandpa straight in her straightforward way.  Several Kleenexes later,  Grandpa makes up with his family.  In a show of their feelings for Mita, the family invites her to dinner.  Only after some heartfelt requests, Mita sits down with them.  And proceeds to tell the saddest story ever about her past.  More tissues are needed.  I had to check DramaWiki to make sure there were more episodes since the show ends with sort of final-feeling scene.  I was happy to find out there are 3 more episodes coming.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Mawaru Penguindrum" ep. 20

So, we finally have confirmation that the three are not blood related.  Kanba is actually Masako's older brother.  I wonder how he ended up being a Takakura.  In an extended, rather straightforward flashback, we see Shoma meeting Himari and saving her from the Child Broiler by choosing her part of the Takakura family.  Is the Child Broiler a metaphor for child neglect?  Or is this a real place where unwanted kids are sent?  Shoma feels guilty at having Himari pay for any crimes the parents committed and hates them.  But Kanba is still gung ho in supporting his parents' organization and in saving Himari.  I wonder what the story is with Kanba and his change of family ties?  I wonder how Masako's father is involved with the "Kiga Group."  The sequence where HImari is talking with Sanetoshi is too philosophical for me to figure out.  I think HImari is talking about how she doesn't want to or can't or doesn't know how to love someone.  But how that ties in with the plot beats me.  I hope the next episode shows why Kanba was adopted into the Takakura family and just why he is so insanely bent on saving Himari.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Mitsu no Aji" ep. 7 recap

Masato figures out Aya made the mysterious phone call.  Aya "accidentally" tells Norisugi that Naoko is actually still in Tokyo doing a secret surgery with her husband Masato.  When Naoko comes home, Norisugi busts Naoko for lying.  He is pissed that Aya knew, but he didn't, and that Naoko isn't enthusiastic about getting married.  After a nudge from Takinohara, Naoko asks Masato to stay in Japan, and he actually does end up coming back the hospital as a surgeon/teacher.  Masato tells Aya he's coming back to the hospital and offers to turn in the divorce paper himself.  Aya tells a somewhat suspicious Masato that she will turn in their divorce paper after the medical director election. Masato invites himself over for dinner with Naoko and Norisugi.  Norisugi notices how comfortably uncle and niece interact. Aya cries and realizes she wants Masato back and doesn't want Naoko to have him.  Aya invites Rai over to ply her with wine and potential political gain in order to get Rai to tell her all the dirt on Naoko.    Rai goes to Naoko's place to warn Naoko about Aya sniffing around.  Naoko denies having any feelings of love left over from 8 years ago for Masato.  Just then Norisugi overhears their conversation and the show ends with an awkward moment between all three of them.  Aya meanwhile tears up the divorce paper.  Psycho Aya is back!  Poor Norisugi...  Again, there is only one semi-forbidden moment where Naoko turns around expectantly when Masato calls her name... but it's only for her to take more trash to throw away!  Boo.  I like how Rai is really backing up her friend.  I hope she doesn't give in to the dark side with Aya.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Mitsu no Aji" episode 6 recap

Masato is back... to perform liver surgery on his old teacher Takinohara at a secret location.  Takinohara wants to keep his illness/surgery secret to avoid damaging his chances of being promoted to medical director.  Takinohara gets the bright idea to get Naoko to help Masato during the surgery/recovery which will last 10 days.  Naoko looks shocked, confused, and happy about all of this.  She has to lie to her fiance Norisugi about what she is doing for 10 days away.  Norisugi pressures Naoko to get married quickly.  But she dodges the issue.  Meanwhile, Aya looks happy/mentally balanced when she meets Masato, even agreeing to a divorce finally.  But Naoko's old classmates, Rai and Hosokawa (who are having an affair) see Naoko and Masato outside a hotel together (it's near the hospital where the surgery is being performed). They jump to conclusions.  Hosokawa and Rai are fired because of gossip of their affair by the other man in the running for the directorship, Kirishima.  But Aya sticks up for them and saves their jobs.  Hosokawa then confides to Aya about seeing Naoko and Masato together.  I'm not sure if he is trying to curry favor with Kirishima or if he's trying to downplay his affair by exposing Naoko and Masato.  Meanwhile, the surgery looks successful and Masato and Naoko are thanked by Takinohara's son, another old classmate.   Aya hears about Naoko being away for 10 days just like Masato.  Aya puts two and two together and calls the secret hospital asking for Masato...and gets Naoko on the phone.  Aya hangs up and looks pained.  Masato and Naoko look worried after realizing the call was some sort of ruse.  There are no confessions of love or longing glances, except for Naoko having a meaningful look at Masato's chest mole (eww).  So this episode is just a set up for what I suspect is Aya harrasing Naoko again and Naoko and Masato trying to fight their feelings again.  I feel sorry for Norisugi.  But it will be fun to watch Aya go psycho again.  Damn those V-neck scrubs...

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Kaseifu no Mita" ep. 6

I liked this Yui-centered episode.  Yui becomes suicidal from her family situation and from being betrayed by her boyfriend.  The bumbling aunt finally does something right and saves Yui from jumping off a bridge.  In a weirdly horrific scene, Mita tries to kill Yui under Yui's orders with scissors, then a kitchen knife.  The best part is when Mita finally shares what she is thinking which helps to talk Yui down from the metaphorical ledge.  The dad finally does something fatherly by telling Yui she was really wanted when she was born.  At the end, the kids want their dad back.  But will he go for his ex-girlfriend over his kids?  Can't tell with this guy.  It's funny how Mita will literally do almost anything she is ordered to do.  Her willingness to go to the extreme to follow an order points out how foolish that order was in the first place.

"Mawaru Penguindrum" ep. 19

Hot dad makes an appearance.

I like the look of surprise on everyone's face.

Red apple magic.
I'm more confused than ever after this episode.  Still don't know what Sanetoshi's motives are.  Where have the parents been hiding and what is the goal of their group?  Is Himari adopted?  Highlights of the show:  Seeing the hot dad again.  The penguins mirroring the sweater gifting.  A possible Utena reference when Kanba says "moo."  Masako obsessing on Himari's forehead.  Weird scene where the Natsume boulders are rolling around. Revealing Shoma as the one who saved Himari from the "child broiler" instead of Kanba.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Mitsu no Aji" ep. 5 recap

The show is getting good.  Masato tells Aya he wants a divorce and is moving away.  She won't sign the papers though and sort of claws at him like she did before.  Masato agrees to a dinner with Naoko to break the news of his leaving.  He notices that Naoko really was thoughtful and caring about him because she thought of buying a beer for his dinner visit and practiced making curry for him.  She plays it cool when he tells her he'll be gone for at least four years.  She says she'll be all right without him and will have a boyfriend when he gets back.  He says he's doing it to stop Aya from harrassing Naoko.  But without saying anything explicitly, they both know he is leaving because any romantic love they feel for each other is wrong.  She waves good bye with a brave, smiling face, but breaks down when he leaves.  I was surprised to see Masato breaking down at the bridge on the way home.  It's the first obvious outward sign of his interest besides one hug from the last episode.  When he frantically returns and kisses Naoko, it's a pretty hot scene.  But of course, after a convenient emergency phone call, he leaves her.  Flash forward eight years.  Naoko is a up and coming surgeon and engaged to Norisugi, played by Mizobata Junpei.  Aya is a rising star assistant professor on track to be the first female prof at the school.  She also seems to finally be ready for a divorce and seems more concerned with research.  At the end of the show, we see Masato arriving at the airport!  Why is he coming back?  Who is he coming back for?  Will Aya go psycho for Masato again?  (ARATA is now the right age for his character and he doesn't have the moppy hair anymore. Finally.)

"Yokai Ningen Bem" eps. 1 - 4

"Yokai Ningen Bem" is a tokusatsu drama about a trio of heroic monsters who just want to be human.  But they are misunderstood throughout their immortal lives and shunned by the regular humans they want to become.  The hero aspect of the show has taken a back seat to a surprising tear-jerking, philosophical aspect.  What is it to be human?  Why bother being alive?  So far, they have helped more depressed people than criminals out for money or power.  The one bad guy is a mysterious yokai who takes advantage of of psychologically vulnerable humans by throwing a green slime to their eyes that makes them commit crimes.  Kamenashi Kazuya from KAT-TUN, "Nobuta wa Produce," "Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge," plays Bem, the gloomy, but nice father figure of the yokai family.  Anne, who I haven't seen before, plays the mother figure Bela who is sort of tsundere.  Suzuki Fuko plays the adorable yokai child Belo who can't grow up.  I haven't really watched any tokusatsu dramas (not counting "Ultra Man" from childhood days).  So seeing the monster get-ups is rather strange and amusing.  But, underneath the latex, the acting is actually pretty good.   Anne plays Bela with just the right amount of attitude.  Suzuki Fuko is just adorable as Belo.  However, Kamenashi doesn't get to do much more than be silent and teary and have a bromance with a police officer.  He seems too young to be Bem, but he is eye candy for the ladies and a draw for the show.  (It worked on me.)  I like that the show is more of a drama about being human than the kiddie action show I was expecting. 

"Mawaru Penguindrum" ep. 18

This time it's a terrible mother.  Keiju's mother ignored Keiju when it looked like he wasn't the piano prodigy she wanted.  His little brother took over that role especially since Keiju injured his own hand to take the pressure off.  The symbolic "child broiler" sequence was well done.  Momoka seemed to want to save everyone, including the neglected Keiju.  Is she like Supergirl or something?  Kanba is getting his money from his parent's underground terrorist group?  That was a surprise.  Himari knew she had a terminal illness and that Kanba was responsible for her being alive.  It's touching when she tells Kanba to live for himself instead of for her.  I guess the devotion of the siblings to each other stops Keiju from killing Himari.  I'm not sure how, if she was plummeting to the ground in an iron tub and he was still above, but I'll go with it.  Keiju still hates himself for being a monster.  Keiju had issues we never thought he had. 

"The Musical" ep. 10

I liked this episode which was mostly all about Jae Yi.   Jae Yi straight up tells Kang Hee that there isn't a chance for them.  Jae Yi straight up confesses his love to Eun Bi...and is shot down.  When the financial backing of the musical is pulled Jae Yi takes action to repay the debt left by Gu Jak's irresponsible spending.  When he realizes he can't touch his money which is controlled by his first-time-mentioned sister in the USA, he signs his four years of his life with an exclusive contract with a girl group.  Jae Yi needed some screen time to become a main character again. Yu Jin still leaves his mark on this episode his awesome singing!  We get a new song finally too.  Another notable thing:  Jessie is not the airhead we thought she was.  Surprise!  I'm happy there was some singing.... more "musical" in "The Musical" please.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ace Attorney Live Action Movie!

This trailer is awesome.  I hope the movie turns out well.  Hiroki Narimiya cast as Phoenix Wright is a surprise to me.  I keep picturing him in "Yankee-kun to Megani-chan" and "Juui Dolittle." Yes, I watched those Jdramas.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Mitsu no Aji" ep. 4 recap

Masato finally wakes up and leaves uncaring wife Aya. He sleeps over at Naoko's place (nothing happens, except for a few gazes to the other futon). Aya blames Naoko for his leaving, calls her an animal for digging on her uncle, denies going to Naoko's apartment and threatening Naoko, and even suggests Naoko has a mental illness.  Later, Masato wavers, but still believes Naoko (yay!).    Naoko tries to stay away, with the help of her friend.  The friend isn't all judgemental, but tries to steer Naoko away from the forbidden path.  But she can't stay away from Masato who keeps calling her, damn it.  They have to stop walking near traffic, because they have another romantic moment involving Masato protecting Naoko from approaching vehicles and/ or their splashing.  Naoko starts crying says she can't stop loving him and... he hugs her.  Cut scene to a week later.  A visit from Masato's brother/ Naoko's father highlights the guilt they feel.  After Masato sees Aya and Naoko staring each other down at school, he runs accept an offer to study at Pittsburgh University.  It's either really noble or really chicken.  Both I guess.  Darn, it looks like both women have to go on without the oh-so-desirable Masato.  Until he comes back, otherwise there's no show, of course.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"The Musical" up to ep. 9

The first few episodes were the best ones so far.  Seeing Jae Yi being all affectionate for Eun Bi was extremely cute.  I liked the part where Eun Bi auditioned for the lead role.  We get to see her singing improve.  I like the characters of Kang Hee and Yoo Jin.  They add some needed spice to the show.  The part where they all go to camp, I mean the retreat, is when the show starts losing steam.  Eun Bi becomes less spunky.  The whole politics of muscial production is takes over the story which is not really exciting.  Will the show go on?  Just start putting it on already.  Best things so far:  Kang Hee being a wonderful bitch.  Yoo Jin becoming more human.  The potential Yoo Jin/ Eun Bi relationship.  The early Jae Yi/ Eun Bi relationship.  Anything involving singing.  I want to see more of the making of the musical (rehearsals, singing) than the financial backing of the making of a musical. Maybe that's coming up. I do still get a little thrill finding out the latest episode is subbed and released on Dramafever, so I probably won't drop it and will still hope for more musical stuff in "The Musical."

"Mawaru Penguindrum" ep. 17

Even the possessed enjoy takoyaki.
All right already with the champagne.
This was more of setup episode than a standalone one like the last two.  A few highlights:
Finding out Keiju and Yuri were in cahoots the whole time to resurrect Momoka.  More disturbing Kanba/Himari relationship implications.  Keiju drinking out of two different glasses of champagne.  (The significance of that escapes me, but there were too many close ups of the glasses and champagne bottle for that to be insignificant.) Spaghetti western music playing when Masako and Yuri were dueling.  Keiju taking an active and sinister role in the show.  (Where is his psychological-hang-up/childhood flashback episode?)  Penguins vs. squid.  The creepy end card with Keiju and ... Momoka?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Mawaru Penguindrum" ep. 16

This episode again delves into the past of one of the characters, this time Masako, the obsessed ex of Kanba.  This time we have a nominee for worst grandfather in an anime.  The weird sense of humor in this show was kicked up a notch for this episode.  Renjaku, a new character, has a hilarious encounter with Himari/Momoka.  The increasingly bizarre ways to kill grandpa are hilarious too.  Every time the sychophant assistant spoke it was in English without an accent (props for using native speaker).  It was disturbing to see how grandpa was going to train Mario to be a man. The training was symbolized in a hilarious (and disturbing) way.  Somehow blowfish become a main plot point as well.  It looks like Masako wants to save Mario like Kanba wants to save Himari... but doesn't she have to get on the train at the end?  What did her father lose and what did he gain if he was a "chosen one" like Kanba?  WTF?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Mawaru Penguindrum" ep. 15

Yuri's father could be the worst father in anime.  He tells her she's ugly and he can't love her because he only loves beautiful things.  But, if Yuri will undergo his artistic alterations to her body, becoming beautiful, he will love her.  Not only does he emotionally abuse her, he physically abuses her (it's all implied with chisels, chiseling noises and mysterious bandages, very effective).  Momoko saves Yuri from sure death by using the magical power of her diary.  Yuri wants the diary to save Momoko...from death?  What Yuri attempts to do to Ringo is shocking.  Each episode becomes more and more shocking.  Topping each previous episode will take some doing.

"Mitsu no Aji - A Taste of Honey"

"Mitsu no Aji" is a strange drama.  Naoko (played by Eikura Nana, from "Mei-chan no Shitsuji") is naive girl who falls in love with her uncle, Masato (who was adopted, but still...).  She follows him to Tokyo to medical school with dreams of being with him.  But, turns out he had a girlfriend all along, Aya (played by Kanna Miho who was great in "Guilty" and "Magerarenai Onna").  She is brilliant, cold, and calculating and senses Naoko's feelings for Masato.  Aya's actions in response to Naoko's appearance in Tokyo all scream "get away from my man, he's mine."  We see Aya's secret smiles of glee as she destroys Naoko's hopes of being with Masato.  Why Aya is so threatened is a bit puzzing, since Masato acts oblivious to Naoko's feelings.  The whole taboo angle I admit is part of why I'm watching.  I don't get why Naoko is so into Masato.  I think I just don't find the actor ARATA to be all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips.  He seems a bit old for the part, but since the show takes pains to say it's taking place in 2003, maybe the show will progress to the present and the age thing won't be bothering me later.  I've only seen the first two episodes, but Kanna Miho's performance is really good so far.  Eikura Nana as Naoko is growing on me.  Mizobata Junpei (the current "Detective Conan") plays Naoko's classmate who will probably form the "love rectangle" of the show.  I'm interested in how it's going to play out.  I don't think the show will let Naoko and Masato live happily ever after, so how this is going to resolve will be interesting.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Kaseifu no Mita"

Just watched the first episode of this currently airing show.  It's mysterious, dramatic, and funny all at the same time.  Mita is the new housekeeper hired to help a family who is coping with the recent death of the mother.  Despite her robotic and macabre demeanor she somehow manages to help the family cope with their emotional problems.  Mita is played by Matsushima Nanako.  The father is played by Hasegawa Hiroki.   He is also in another series I'm watching called "Suzuki Sensei."  The eldest daughter is played by Kutsuna Shiori, who played the character Ran from the recent "Detective Conan" drama.  I was surprised to see Aibu Saki (from "Absolute Boyfriend," "Rebound," and "Buzzer Beat") playing the well-intentioned, but bumbling sister of the deceased.  I'm looking forward to future episodes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Un-Go" and "Guilty Crown"

"Un-Go" is being simulcast by Crunchyroll and "Guilty Crown" is being simulcast by Funimation.  That makes the whole "noitaminA" Fuji TV block of animation available to at least the USA.  I just watched the first episodes of both shows.  "Un-Go" reminds me of an edgier, semi-supernatural Detective Conan show where murder always seems to follow the protagonist detective everywhere and the mystery is solved in a brilliant, but questionable fashion. Questionable at least to me anyway. I like the character design and the animation looks good.  The studio behind it is Bones which is a the studio that did "Gosick," and "Star Driver."  They also did "No. 6" which was flawed but enjoyable.  "Guilty Crown" has awesome artwork.  The lead female seems to not be wearing very much, but she is pretty.  The post-apocalyptic story seems to be headed towards the "high school student saves the world" direction.  Production I.G ("Sky Crawlers," "Eden of the East") is behind this one.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Ouran High School Host Club" ep 11 Finale

I have to say that I enjoyed this show a lot.  Each episode was just a half hour, so it was easy to watch.  Yamamoto Yusuke's Tamaki was sincere and over-the-top at the same time.  And Kawaguchi Haruna as Haruhi was cute either dressed as a guy or a girl which made the show more believable (if that's possible with a comedy like this).  Spoiler highlights:  Flashback of Kyouya being recruited into the club.  We get to see a "younger" Kyouya which just means he has different glasses and uniform.  Kyouya visiting Haruhi's apartment.  (I guess I just like the Kyouya x Haruhi scenario.)  Mori playing the harp and the older women going gaga.  All the girls wanting to dance with the "cosplaying" Haruhi.  Mori doing the princess carry.  Awkward accidental kiss between Haruhi and Tamaki (and just on the cheek).  Finally, some doki-doki action from Haruhi.
Kyouya is recruited.

This made me LOL.

Haruhi gets a clue.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Guilty" Jdrama

I've been meaning to watch this show for a while now.  Finally got to it and was pleasantly surprised.  It's a good thriller with good acting and an entertaining, but improbable plot.  Kanno Miho (from "Magerarenai Onna") plays Nogami Meiko who is out to get revenge on the people who framed her for murder.  You root for her, even as she exacts her deadly revenge.  Tamaki Hiroshi plays Mashima Takuro, a detective investigating the disappearance of his mentor on the force.  There is forbidden romance since he is the cop and she is the suspect.  The supporting cast is excellent.  I also liked the background music, the ending song (Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo by JUJU) and insert song ("Guilty" by The New Classics).

Friday, September 30, 2011

"Ouran High School Host Club" ep 10

In this episode, Honey-sempai is kidnapped by the newspaper club who is about to "out" Tamaki's family status.  Wrestlers appear as the henchmen and they periodically do unsettling exercises. Honey kicks ass with his major judo abilities.  Tamaki's family situation as the unwanted illegitimate grandson is explained.  Honey and Mori's curious relationship is explained.  Kyouya's lot as the the third son of his magnate family is shown.  We get to see Tamaki recruit a rather deep-voiced and serious Honey with cake, a bunny puppet, and some words of wisdom.  Mori meets one of his fans and gets some screen time and lines.  Tamaki's grandmother gives Tamaki an order.  Haruhi learns about Tamaki's resilience.  The episode ends with a shocking revelation...what is going to happen to the host club?  A fun episode that reveals more details of the lives of the club members.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My new Galaxy S WiFi 5.0

Came home from work, and my new toy was sitting in my mailbox.  Basically, it's a slightly bigger iPod touch that runs Android.  All I need is a screen protector!  The pic above compares the new toy to my trusty iPod touch 3G.  Why don't I just get an iPhone?

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Squid Girl" season 2

Ika-chan in "Shinrakyu! Ika Musume" is back for a second season.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoy the silly humor of the show.  It's streaming on Crunchyroll.  I give props to the translator who has to interpret the humor into a non-Japanese, but still funny, way.  All the characters are back, including the Squid Girls' stalker, Goro the lifeguard with the six pack, and the 3 stooge-scientists.  Squid Girl is always trying to invade earth, but gets sidetracked by her part time job at the beach restaurant.  If only she had some free time...we'd all be in trouble, right?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"The Musical"

The Korean drama that has appeared in my "queue" of current shows is "The Musical."  So far I've seen the first three episodes on Dramafever (yay! for their simulcasting of current shows).  Koo Hye Sun (from "Boys Over Flowers") plays Go Eun Bi, a med school student who is more interested in musicals than medicine.  A chance encounter with a critical musical composer Hong Jae Yi (played by Daniel Choi) motivates her to drop out to become a musical actress.  After a year of failure (and lying to her father) she meets Jae Yi again.  This time Jae Yi is motivated to return to composing musicals after a bad breakup with a famous actress.  Love triangles and quite a bit of singing ensue.  I like the chemistry of the main couple.  Hope this turns out to be a good one. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Ouran High School Host Club" ep 9

This is not inconspicuous.
Nekozawa looking chipper.
Tamaki saving Haruhi from thunder?!
The club follows Haruhi to her summer job in a resort town.  Kaoru sets up Hikaru on a "date" with Haruhi to teach him how to think of other people besides himself.  Hikaru ditches Haruhi out of jealousy and Tamaki saves the day.  Highlights: The strange fashions the club wears while stalking the dating couple, especially Honey's loli outfit.  Kyouya and Honey "flirting."  Nekozawa (and his puppet) in resort wear.  An especially corny episode (hard to believe Haruhi is so afraid of thunder), but it's nice to see Haruhi expecting Tamaki to show up in emergencies.

"Ikemen desu ne" ep 10

Of course, Ren comes back to Mio after finding out the lies his mother told.  Mio is happy to reunite with him, until she finds out how much her mother suffered because of Ren's mother.  Now it's her turn to blame him for the sins of the parent.   (Huh? I know.)
Okinawa scenery.
Ren and Shu make up...sort of. The real Mio shows up and we see a disturbing photoshopped image. 
Mio finally finds fault with Ren and leaves him (hah.)
The president actually finds out the big secret, unlike in the kdrama.

"Ikemen desu ne" ep 9

This episode certainly has everyone's emotions on a rollercoaster ride.  Ren and Mio are actually happy together...for about 15 minutes.  They announce their new relationship to Mabuchi (who give a fantastic yelp of surprise) and Yuuki.  Yuuki is devastated and rides the bus of catharsis.  We don't get a tearful, heartbreaking song over the cell phone as in the kdrama, but Yuuki's pain is shown pretty well.  Ren's mother can't stand Mio being "with" her son.  She drops the bombshell that she was the reason Mio's parents split up.  Ren is devastated to find out his new GF is the daughter of the man that ruined his life and rejects Mio.  Shu is there to pick up the pieces.  It's kind of hard to believe Ren would dump Mio over this, but I suppose Ren is a little damaged by his childhood.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Ikemen desu ne" ep 8

A lot of plot happens in this episode.  Highlights: 
Ren quizzes Mio on her worthiness to be a Ren Fan Club member.
Jang Geun Suk appearance!  He makes all the A.N.Jell members jealous and seems extremely tall. 
The boys make an awful spaghetti to "poison" Nana... but Yuuki ends up eating it.
Shu finally confesses his love to Mio at the airport...and you know what happens.
Ren finally confesses his love to Mio at the airport...and you know what happens.

"Ouran HIgh School Host Club" ep 8

This time we get to see Nekozawa without the hood and long hair...and he's cute! The funniest parts are when Nekozawa is training to like the light so that he can become closer to his little sister who is afraid of him.
Highlights: Kyouya sporting a police uniform and mirror shades...for some reason this cosplay is getting to it hot in here? 
The chairman of the school acting Tamaki-like. 
The "No shadow!" "Yes shadow!" exchange between Tamaki and Nekozawa.
Also, do I sense Haruhi warming up to Tamaki as she learns of his family's situation?  I think so...
Looking forward to the next episode when the host club members end up working at the same summer job.