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?