on J-drama

Jul. 28th, 2015 03:25 pm
xparrot: Chopper reading (books)
So [livejournal.com profile] gnine and I just finished watching the Japanese dorama Ouroboros, which came out earlier this year.

In the end I can't honestly recommend it, though I really enjoyed a lot of it. The concept (adapted from a seinen manga I might have to look up) is compelling - two orphan boys witness the murder of their teacher/foster mother and vow to get revenge; twenty years later, one of the boys has become a police detective, the other is a rising yakuza lieutenant, and they're still working together towards their vengeance. The plot spirals out from there into government conspiracies, secret agendas, and conflicting loyalties; the story has more turns than a Boston street, constantly leaving you guessing who's on what side and what's really going on. The violently codependent bond between the two main guys, with the added identity porn of their shared secrets, is pure fan catnip and milked for all its worth as only a drama can - it's often campy and cheesy and always over the top, but man do they deliver on the angst and h/c. Also I've finally gained an appreciation for Oguri Shun - never quite got the appeal before but apparently all it took was putting him in a pair of cool glasses and three-piece yakuza suits (and then repeatedly shooting him and beating him bloody. Mmm yeah Japan knows fangirls.)

...Then there was the end. Massive spoilers for the series finale; general content warnings that would be spoilery to specify. )
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
In order of viewing:

Having just rewatched the Ouran High School Host Club anime for the *mumbleth* time, I then went and reread the manga, and oh man if only they would animate the second half of the story! because it's just like the first half only ten times as good. One of my favorite shoujo, that series - the art slides some in the later volumes, but it makes up for it in story and character and comedy and just, all of it. I was initially unsure about reading the manga, because I love the anime but it ends with certain plot threads incomplete and unsettling and I wasn't sure any of them could be tied off in ways that wouldn't break my heart at least a little - and then the manga goes and deals with all of them SO SO SATISFYINGLY! The romance is silly and ridiculous, and the friendship and family stuff is adorable and affecting, and just, awww that is what I want my comedy to be like. (Also there is one chapter that made me cry both times I read it, and it's not even really that sad - there's no death or anything like that; but it just - it's the part where Kaoru tries to break away from Hikaru, so Hikaru can be happy and then in the end - Hikaru pulls big brother rank and dyes his hair and says that they're twins no matter what and so they can grow up and grow apart without ever breaking apart - and just - oh oh oh my heart...) ...And yeah, Kyouya is still my favorite because, megane-type, and that's the whole joke - the brilliant thing about Ouran is that even knowing that they are parody, that they are the ultimate classic stereotypes of moe chars - those types still work.

Then, one of my fellow wranglers forced me to watch recommended the j-drama SPEC (aka Keizoku 2: SPEC though apparently Keizoku 1 is mostly unrelated) and OMG CRAAAAAACK. Even for a j-drama. SPEC is basically Japan doing X-files-meets-Heroes. With vuvuzelas. And starring a woman who I swear is what you'd get if Nodame (from Nodame Cantabile) and Sherlock (from Sherlock) had a daughter. And then died in a tragic plane-crash so she was raised by Fox Mulder. Touma is VERY VERY VERY SPECIAL, is what I am saying. (And kind of spectacular for it; can't recall offhand any other female characters with her particular blend of weird socially maladjusted borderline-unbalanced obsessive genius.) It's also fascinating for being maybe the only show I've ever seen (Japanese, American, UK, whatever) starring twenty-something male and female leads in which the sexuality of BOTH leads is 100% up in the air. They could be straight, gay, bi, or ace - there are hints for several things but no actual confirmation in the show itself. And Touma and her partner Sebumi have this intense but bizarre bond that is entirely up for interpretive grabs.

I cannot recommend this one wholeheartedly - if you don't know Asian drama, you might want to try something else first to warm up, else you might risk spraining your brain; and if you do know it...I am totally not joking about the vuvuzelas. (Also warning that Touma and Sebumi are kind of a manzai couple so can come across as mutually abusive if you don't know your classic tsukkomi & boke play...) That being said, it's definitely an experience! And there's a movie that just came out (that maybe will finish the story?) - very interested in seeing it!

(Also there is Ninomae! +<3333PSYCHOHEARTS)

And last, what everyone's been waiting for - YES I saw Avengers, YES I loved it, YES Joss Whedon should only do superhero movies from now on, YES every word out of Tony Stark's mouth is comic gold, YES the Black Widow is awesome, and YES I love Loki way too much. A few miscellaneous possibly spoilery observations below the cut - I don't have anything in particular to say that hasn't been said before. bit of spoilers! all squee all the time! )
xparrot: (karkat omg yikes)
Regarding the latest HS update:

spoilers, as nonsensical as ever! )

Have also been watching the Nodame Cantabile j-drama - have seen the show and the specials, just the 2nd movie left. It's thoroughly delightful, and of course the music is gorgeous (Hiroshi Tamaki as Chiaki is also gorgeous - plus his voice reminds me of Tsuda Kenjirou's, deep sexy arrogance, mmm). Maybe doesn't quite supplant my favorite dramas ever (that would be Odoru Daisousasen, for being perfect for what it is (even if the last movie was VERY VERY WTFFFFF); and Tiger & Dragon for its amazing and unique storytelling style, which I've never seen anything quite like in any other TV show, Japanese or other) but it's great stuff, and the balance of absurdism to earnest Japanese-style melodrama is perfect considering it's all about the classical music world (really, does it get more melodramatic than, say, Verdi's Dies Irae - which is a recurring theme in Nodame, and only gets more hysterical as it goes along). Definitely recommended if you like your romantic comedy with classical music and lots of ridiculous and surprisingly touching crack.

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