Hanbun, Aoi weeks 1-7

It’s taken me forever, but I finally got round to starting Hanbun, Aoi. I had wanted to wait until the subs were done, but couldn’t resist Sato Takeru’s first asadora, so before I knew it, I had devoured six weeks’ worth of episodes. So much for slowing down!

In a small town in Gifu prefecture, two babies were born on the same day. Nireno Suzume (Nagano Mei) and Hagio Ritsu (Sato Takeru) are best friends who know each other inside out. Suzume is deaf in one ear due to a childhood illness, but that has not put a dent on her sunny personality. As Suzume works towards her dream of becoming a mangaka, Ritsu protects his friend quietly from the sidelines… Continue reading

Anata no Ban desu

Watching a crime drama is one thing. Watching a whodunnit while it is airing and waiting weeks for the conclusion is akin to torture.

Nana (Harada Tomoyo) and Shota (Tanaka Kei) are a newlywed couple and Nana is 15 years older than Shota. Despite the age difference, they are very much in love and both enjoy reading mystery novels. Nana and Shota move into a new apartment, and they soon get embroiled in a spate of murders that take place in the apartment complex…

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Intermezzo: Lemon – Yonezu Kenshi

I watched Unnatural earlier in the year and really enjoyed it. Japan has done a number of medical procedurals, but one that focuses on forensic pathology is rare. Unnatural was a very solid drama from start to finish, and is one of the few times where Ishihara Satomi showed she had potential to shine in more serious works (unfortunately she’s gone back to silly stuff like Heaven). What also really stood out was the theme song, Lemon, by Yonezu Kenshi – the lyrics get to me every single time I listen to the song.

junny@5.50pm

Shiroi Kyoto 2019

Hospital politics have never been so intriguing.

Zaizen Goro (Okada Junichi) is a brilliant, ambitious surgeon at Naniwa University Hospital. An associate professor at the department of general surgery, he has his sights set on the professor post and will stop at nothing in his bid to climb up the corporate ladder… Continue reading

Butterfly Sleep

Kim Jae-wook speaking Japanese is love. Can he please start doing only Japanese films from now on?

Matsumura Ryoko (Nakayama Miho) is a popular novelist in her 50s who knows she has Alzheimer’s. One day, she meets So Chan-hae (Kim Jae-wook), a young Korean man in his 20s who is working and studying in Japan. Slowly, they become attracted to each other…

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Her Private Life

Kim Jae-wook is a work of art, and Her Private Life paid tribute to that.

Sung Deok-mi (Park Min-young) is a talented curator at Cheum Museum of Art, professional and devoted to her work. However, Deok-mi leads a double life as a dedicated fangirl of the singer Cha Shi-an. Deok-mi is happy to keep her work and personal lives separate, but everything changes when Ryan Gold (Kim Jae-wook), a famous painter and the museum’s new director, saunters into her life… Continue reading

Ossan’s Love

Nothing pleases me more than to see an underrated actor get the recognition he deserves, and finally, it is the turn of Tanaka Kei.

Haruta Soichi (Tanaka Kei) is a bachelor who works in the sales department of a real estate company. He is good-hearted and wants to get married, but is rather hapless and unpopular with women. Haruta takes in a roommate, Maki Ryota (Hayashi Kento), a new colleague who is good at household chores. One day, Haruta’s boss Kurosawa Musashi (Yoshida Kotaro) suddenly confesses his feelings for him. Haruta is further caught off guard when Maki says he has feelings for him too…

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Haru no Yuki

Greetings on the first day of spring! Real life has been really busy lately, so this post is much delayed. Still, I thought this post might be appropriate in the light of the changing seasons, the beauty and impermanence of it all. Some spoilers after the jump.

In the early years of the Taisho era, the closeted world of the aristocracy is having to deal with a new kind of social elite – rich provincial families who have come into money and power. Among them the Matsugae family, whose only son Kiyoaki (Tsumabuki Satoshi) has to grapple with the old and new, and his confused feelings for his childhood friend, the spirited and beautiful Satoko (Takeuchi Yuko). However, Satoko is engaged to be married to a royal prince… Continue reading

Alter-egos: Nanimono & Aku to Kamen no Ruru

Greetings for the new year! Here’s wishing everyone a plentiful year in terms of dramas and films, and whatever your heart desires. It is fitting therefore to begin the year with a post on films by two actors I like and who are always lovely to watch on screen. The two films are very different in content, but there are some surprising similarities to be found.

Also, happy birthday to Tamaki Hiroshi! 💖💖💖 He turns 39 this year, and after the big year he had in 2018 – getting married, starring in three films, and being picked for a WOWOW drama, among other achievements – here’s hoping 2019 will bring more success for him! Continue reading

River’s Edge Ookawabata Tanteisha

If you know your J-dramas, you’ll know they’re game for anything weird and wacky. And it’s a great feeling when you sign up for something on a whim and are taken on a surreal ride.

Nestled in one of the multi-tenanted and commercial buildings on the banks of the Sumida River in Asakusa is Ookawabata Tanteisha, a nondescript, humble private detective agency. It is run by three people – the Director (Ishibashi Renji), the licensed detective Muraki (Odagiri Joe), and the bubbly receptionist Megumi (Koizumi Maya). Their customers come from all walks of life, and bring with them plenty of strange requests… Continue reading

Tabineko Ripoto

So it was that, good cat slave that I am, I made a beeline for Japan’s latest offering of feline adorableness as soon as I could. Because, of course, shelling out money to watch a film about cats counts as worshipping my feline overlord.

Nana (voiced by Takahata Mitsuki) is a smart and sassy cat adored by his owner Satoru (Fukushi Sota). However, for reasons unknown, Satoru now cannot keep his cat, so he and Nana go on a journey across Japan to find a new home for the feline. As Nana and Satoru meet old friends and new, they uncover secrets and eventually Satoru’s past… Continue reading

Good Doctor

I had not expected to watch another Yamazaki Kento drama so soon after Todome no Kiss, but who can say no to Fujiki Naohito and Ueno Juri in the cast? Certainly not me.

Shindo Minato (Yamazaki Kento) is autistic with savant syndrome. When he was seven years old, his brother died in an accident while Minato was saved by the kindly Dr Shiga Akira (Emoto Akira). Minato grew up determined to be a paediatric surgeon so he could help other children become adults. Despite all odds, he passes the national examination for medical practitioners. At the invitation of Dr Shiga, Minato enters Togo Memorial Hospital to begin his journey as a paediatrician… Continue reading