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

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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

Hanzai Shokogun

I never thought there’d be a day when I could (remotely) root for a character played by Tanihara Shosuke, but the heavens must have been listening and there finally is a drama that allows me to do just that.

Muto Takashi (Tamayama Tetsuji) quit the police force a year ago after he lost his sister Sayuri to a crime committed by a juvenile offender. He now works at a detective agency investigating infidelity cases. One day, he is asked by Tamaki Keigo (Watabe Atsuro) of the MPD to take on a special case that he cannot refuse… Continue reading

Rich Man Poor Woman

I try not to watch dramas because of hype, since I’d be disappointed inevitably if they don’t live up to my expectations. There are times, however, when I give in just to see what the fuss is all about. Usually the fuss is much ado about nothing.

Hyuga Toru (Oguri Shun) is an IT whizkid whose company, Next Innovation, is the next big thing in the technology world. Hyuga is rich and successful, and his company is where young, creative people want to be at. Natsui Makoto (Ishihara Satomi) is a luckless young woman who has trouble finding a job. She attends a presentation for new recruits at Next Innovation, but when Hyuga humiliates her in front of the other applicants, she stands up for herself. Hyuga asks for her name and gets told it is Sawaki Chihiro, which stuns him… Continue reading

Fate Twisters: Todome no Kiss & Final Cut

Sometimes I try to be less picky about what to watch, but taking a chance on the unknown is risky business and I’m not always lucky enough to hit jackpot. So since I thought it’s about time I learn to broaden my drama-watching tastes, I decided I’d give two dramas, whose lead actors I don’t give a fig about, the chance to impress me. Continue reading

Tamaki Hiroshi, Kinami Haruka tie the knot

Look who’s getting married today!

Tamaki Hiroshi dropped the bombshell last week that he and actress Kinami Haruka would marry on June 26, news that stunned fans as there was no rumour whatsoever that they were in a relationship. Tamaki and Kinami have been friends for eight years, and started getting close after working together in the 2017 drama SP Onna no Kunshou starring Matsushima Nanako. In that SP, Tamaki played an ambitious, manipulative man who toyed with women to get what he wanted, and Kinami’s character was one of his victims.

I’m delighted for Tamaki that he has found his other half! There’s always something sweet about a friends turned lovers story, and even better that it has resulted in marriage! I vaguely remember seeing Kinami in what I skimmed of Onna no Kunshou and Yuusha Yoshihiko, but don’t recall seeing her in anything else yet. Nevertheless, she seems like a very sweet lady and a solid actress from what I’ve read, so I’m happy for her and Tamaki. No baby is on the way as yet, and the couple plan to continue working after marriage.

Tamaki was recently in the drama Anata ni wa kaeru ie ga aru and the film Laplace’s Witch, while Kinami was in Hana nochi Hare. Coincidentally, both dramas featured in the 2018 spring season.

Congratulations to Tamaki and Kinami! Wishing them bliss and happiness!

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Inuyashiki

I have a thing for hot antagonists and I cannot lie. Especially if they’re played by the likes of Sato Takeru.

Inuyashiki Ichiro (Kinashi Noritake) is a luckless elderly salaryman who is stuck in a deadbeat job and has an uncaring family. One evening, he is struck by an explosion and realises he has turned into a cyborg with incredible powers. Inuyashiki sees a new purpose to his life and makes use of his powers to heal people. Also struck in the same explosion is teenager Shishigami Hiro (Sato Takeru), who instead uses his newfound capabilities to go on a killing spree…

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Asa ga Kita: Weeks 13-16

Here’s another round of Asa ga Kita. These weeks see quite a few important changes in our characters’ lives and in the history of Japan. We also bid farewell to one key character, which is pretty sad. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate to start off with a screencap of the two most handsome men in the asadora, just to brighten your day. Continue reading

Hirunaka no Ryuusei

Actor combinations are strange things. If I like a potential pairing, I might actually want to be nice and check out their previous works, just to be sure I won’t be in for a rude shock when said pairing actually graces my screen. So it was with some interest that I watched Hirunaka no Ryuusei, a light and fluffy film adaptation of the shoujo manga by Yamamori Mika.

When her parents move to Bangladesh and decide not to take her along, Yosano Suzume (Nagano Mei) moves to Tokyo to live with her uncle Yukichi. Lost in the big city, she sees a shooting star during the day and also gets help from a man, Shishio Satsuki (Miura Shohei), who turns out to be her teacher at school. Suzume also tries to make friends with her standoffish classmate Mamura Daiki (Shirahama Alan), who is actually a gynophobe… Continue reading

Happy birthday, Tamaki Hiroshi!

The cast of Aku to kamen no ruuru celebrating Tamaki’s birthday with a “肉ケーキ” (niku keki) during a press conference. From left: director Nakamura Teppei, Araki Yuuko, Tamaki Hiroshi, Yoshizawa Ryo and Nakamura Tatsuya.

Happy birthday, Tamaki Hiroshi! 💕💕

Tamaki turns 38 this year and here’s wishing him many happy returns and all the best for the year! 2017 was a pretty decent year for Tamaki – even though he didn’t feature much on TV except for a few SPs, he made a successful return to the stage. One SP, Kichiku, aired really late in December last year and was about Tamaki’s character Takenaka Soukichi having to deal with the consequences of his affair when his lover dumps their three children on him and his family before disappearing. The SP was based on the novel of the same name by Matsumoto Seicho, and I think this is Tamaki’s second time doing an SP based on Matsumoto’s work (the other being 2011’s Suna no Utsuwa).

This year, he will have three films (and counting?) coming out. The first is Aku to kamen no ruuru (Evil and the Mask), where he plays the lead character of Kuki Fumihiro. There is also Love x Doc, where he plays a gym trainer called Nomura Shunsuke, who is in a relationship with Goda Asuka, played by Yoshida Yo. Tamaki will also feature in Laplace’s Witch, playing Nakaoka Yuji, a police detective. It doesn’t seem like a big role, but at least it’s something to look forward to.

I read Aku to kamen no ruuru and found it quite interesting, in the sense that it isn’t your traditional crime thriller, but is quite philosophical and psychological in a way as the characters talk about evil, criminal intents and various other ideas and their impact on society. I hope this has translated well to screen, as novels like that can sometimes be washed down to one main idea to make it more palatable. Aku to kamen no ruuru is already out in the cinemas, so go watch it! 🙂 Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite:

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