Shiranakute Ii Koto

There are two sides to a coin. And there is always another perspective to every story we come across. Sometimes, we are so caught up in what we think is the correct version of the “truth” that we neglect to consider what the other party is thinking, or whether there is new information that sheds light on something and makes us reconsider what we think we already know. The good Japanese workplace dramas do that, without judgment as far as possible. 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

Suna no Utsuwa

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Sometimes when I like what I see on screen, I make a beeline for the source material on which it was based. This was the case for Suna no Utsuwa, the 2011 tanpatsu starring Tamaki Hiroshi and Kobayashi Kaoru. The novel of the same name by Matsumoto Seicho has had a few adaptations, including a 2004 J-drama with Watanabe Ken and Nakai Masahiro, and a 1974 film by Nomura Yoshitaro, a testament to the enduring popularity of this story and the crime genre in general.

Given the difference in formats, I suppose it is mission impossible for screen adaptations not to add stuff that was not in the print source material. Still, I can generally accept it better if the adaptation more or less stays faithful to the essence of the source, even if certain changes have been made to improve story flow or tighten plot and characterisation. However, where the adaptation makes up a character or changes the perspective from which the story was originally told, it kind of annoys me. Yes, I’m Chiaki-like that way. Continue reading

Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi

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It seems appropriate, given the currently airing Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu, to take a look at another Tamaki Hiroshi-Ayase Haruka collaboration, the 2008 drama Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi. This is an underrated gem that gets passed by often because of its fantastical plot, but it is an awesome watch and cannot be recommended enough.

Ogawa Takanobu (Tamaki Hiroshi) takes up a teaching job at a girls’ high school in Nara after being forced out of his research group due to conflicts with his colleagues. He stays at a boarding house with a few other teachers, including the history-loving Fujiwara Michiko (Ayase Haruka) and the wise Fukuhara Shigehisa (Sasaki Kuranosuke). Ogawa, however, soon gets off on the wrong foot with one of his students, Hotta Ito (Tabe Mikako), when she arrives late and gives a ridiculous excuse – that she got a ticket trying to park her deer in front of the train station. Ogawa later experiences something even stranger when he is confronted by a talking deer who orders him to prevent the destruction of Japan by fulfilling a very special mission… Continue reading