JPTV Spring 2007 Season
I think it’s really amusing how much of a hold Japanese Television has on me, especially in comparison to the lack of a hold American Television has. Granted, I’m watching the shows days after it airs on Japanese channels, but we bow to the glory of the Internet for that.
With that said, I foresee hours of me sitting in front of my laptop this season, engrossed in shows spoken in a language I do not completely understand. Possibly failing my finals as well, thanks to lack of studying from too much watching.
Spring 2007 Drama Season looks good – 4 shows that I definitely want to watch, possibly 5 depending on how I react to the currently most-prolific Johnny’s boy, Matsumoto Jun.
LIAR GAME: Toda Erika plays Kanzaki Nao, a girl too honest for her own good. One day she receives a hundred million dollars and a card telling her she has been chosen to participate in the Liar Game Tournament, where you trick other players out of their hundred million dollars. Her opponent turns out to be her old middle-school teacher, and he easily tricks her out of her money. The police can’t help her, so she seeks out genius swindler, Akiyama Shinichi (played by Matsuda Shota), and thus begins the task of getting the hundred million back.
I’m not up on the whole Sawajiri Erika vs. Toda Erika thing, so eeeh. All I can tell you is that Toda is in the dramas I want to watch (Nobuta wo Produce.), Sawajiri is in the ones I’m going out of my way to avoid (1 Litre of Tears). The premise of this series is definitely interesting. The execution of the Liar Game Tournament is a bit creepy, but I would definitely want to participate if the stakes weren’t so high. Nakata Yasutaka (of capsule and Perfume fame) is handling the soundtrack, which immediately gets points with me. Toda’s likable as the honest idiot Nao, which is good because normally it’s a character type that’s overdone and gets annoying pretty quickly.
As for the other lead… Matsuda Shota is hot. Swindlers (especially after Kurosagi) are hot. Swindler!Matsuda Shota? Didn’t go wrong. In any way. Mmmm.
Sexy Voice and Robo: Hayashi Niko (Ohgo Suzuka) is a schoolgirl who can change her voice. So far she’s used it to manipulate men through telephone clubs and study people, but a chance encounter with Sudo Ichiro (Matsuyama Kenichi), who she nicknames “Robo”, and an offer she can’t refuse leads her to use it (and Robo) to solve various cases.
Actually, I pulled that summary out of what I remember from the manga (which I enjoyed). It probably won’t be the same in the drama. For heightened dramatic tension or something. It would be cooler if Ohgo Suzuka actually changed her voice while acting, but I get the feeling that she’s just dubbed over. On the other hand, Matsuyama Kenichi looks good as a mecha geek, and I think I’m one of the few people who thought he wasn’t all that handsome/good-looking/whatever in the NANA and DEATH NOTE movies.
Delicious Gakuin: One day, three boys are kidnapped and made to enroll in a cooking academy, where they will be trained to become top chefs. Along the way, they will learn not only recipes, but also life lessons.
Let’s be frank. Why am I watching this? (Actually, I haven’t even started. The conjoined episodes, courtesy of the fans at TORI-E@Blogspot, are just sitting on my hard drive.) AAA fandom demands I do, as Nishijima Takahiro takes the starring role and Atae Shinjiro is a frequent side character. It’s really just Iron Chef (Academy) with Pretty Boys, which promises to be full of over-acted crack. Oh, wait. Yeah, there’s that too.
What’s most amusing about this for me is how it seems to be off the general J-Drama community’s radar, but I’m still hearing about it all over because it has two of my fandoms – the aforementioned AAA, and the Tennis no Oujisama Musicals (Aiba Hiroki, another lead, and Nagayama Takashi, another frequent side character, both got their “big breaks” there).
Kuitan 2: Takano Seiya (Higashiyama Noriyuki), the detective with a never-ending appetite, and the Holmes Detective Agency return for another season of crimes, comedic hijinks, and of course, food.
I reviewed it in the first incarnation of this blog, and the second season apparently won’t change a thing. (Well, maybe less character development. We’ve gotten used to these guys already.) I’m still envious of Higashiyama because he gets to eat and look good on the job. I’m still in love with the characters of Ogata Momo and Igarashi Whatever-his-first-name-is and gladly looking forward to another season of Kyono Kotomi and Sano Shiro playing them, respectively. And I’m sort of curious to see what classical piece will be butchered this time. (In the first series, it was Vivaldi’s “4 Seasons, Spring, First Movement” punctured with odd hip-hop style “Oh yeah!”s. My sister and I heard the piece later being used in conjunction with a water show and stared at each other before I imitated the “Oh yeah!”. We collapsed in laughter.)
Otherwise, it’s food, comedy, and mystery/crime – everything I look for in any show I want to watch. Higashiyama gets another shot at playing with foreign languages. The abuse of classical and operatic music is back in full force. You can’t go wrong. Oh yeah!
Bambino!: A drama adaptation of a popular comic written by Sekiya Tetsuji. Matsumoto Jun plays the overenthusiastic protagonist from Fukuoka who comes to Tokyo with the desire to become a chef. The drama will display cooking skills and the Italian language. (from d-addicts)
I’m actually still contemplating watching this drama. The food topic is good, and I am always amused by the presence of non-Japanese languages and how they get mangled (The abuse of Cantonese in the Kuitan special has no words to describe it.) or handled (Fukada Kyoko was surprisingly spot-on with her English in Fugoh Keiji.).
The problem is how I’ll react to Matsumoto Jun. I’m trying to decide between dying of laughter or dying with tears. And why are there so many drama series with food this season?
The anime season’s got a lot going for it, too, but I think I’m pretty much over my anime phase. What does look interesting? (Forgive the lack of proper summaries.)
Romeo x Juliet: Shakespeare’s overused classic with the usual anime twists. I actually don’t really know the main voice actors, but the character design looks lovely, what little I’ve seen of the animation hasn’t disappointed, and after too many readings of the original and other adaptations, I’m ready for the tragedy on drugs. I just have to get past the slow opening first.
Darker than Black -Kuro no Keiyakusha-: People get special powers but lose their emotions thanks to a mysterious phenomena in the sky called “Hell’s Gate”. Called Contractors, they are utilized by various intelligence agencies in battles to discover the most about “Hell’s Gate”. Or something like that. Again, love the character designs, but anything with “special powers” gets me hooked. Superheroes and mutants and stuff like that. Sort of makes me wonder why I’m more a fan of Japanese superhero comics than American.
Hayate no Gotoku: Also called Hayate the Combat Butler. Boy with a ridiculous amount of debts thanks to his no-good parents somehow ends up being hired by a rich little girl to be her butler. Unfortunately for him, this is an anime and he ends up having to protect her from various ridiculous things like rampaging wild animals and giant robots. Fortunately for him, this is an anime and he’s ridiculously lucky and invincible. It’s a comedic and episodic show that’s not afraid to break the fourth wall. You can’t go wrong with that. I read the manga before and enjoyed it, and despite some laziness in animation, the voice work and coloring is really good.
There are a bunch more I’m interested in watching, but aaaaaaah, there’s not enough time! Kind of makes me wish I had the power to freeze time for myself now…
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