Freitag, 30. Oktober 2015

Missing Noir M

실종 느와르 M (Missing Noir M) that aired on OCN from March 28th to May 30th 2015.

"사라진 사람, 숨겨진 진실" (the sentence on the poster) directly translates to "Missing People. Hidden Truth." So you might make a guess if this drama is appealing to you just by knowing that.

Story: Gil Soo-hyun (or James Gil) is an extremely intelligent former FBI agent who attended Harvard University at the age of 10. Because of Lee Jung-soo, who only wants to talk to him, he comes back to Korea and solves the first case with the help of Detective Oh Dae-young and hacker Jin Seo-joon. Those three become the Special Investigation Unit for Missing Persons. As they solve cases, they also discover rather personal cases as well as dark family backgrounds and the fact that power can be more important than the law.

Cast: I openly admit not knowing much about the actors and I'll just talk about what I see in this series. Kim Kang-woo as James Gil Soo-hyun is extremely fascinating in this drama. I just wanted to know more and more about him and noticed that there's another drama with him in the main cast I am planning to watch. Anyways, what was the most fascinating except for his well-hidden past is actually his eyecolor. I know this sounds weird. But especially in Ep. 9 I noticed that it's almost a mix of gold and brown and I really find this interesting and beautiful. (This is not intense fangirling though, so please forgive me..)
Well, Park Hee-soon... is it weird that I just noticed I've watched another drama with him before? He looks so different as Oh Dae-young, I never would've noticed that without MDL and/or asianwiki. I love the way he's portraying the veteran detecive (who is a typical character in every OCN series in case you missed it). Long story short, I loved his acting. A lot.
The last person who's around almost all the time is Jin Seo-joon played by Jo Bo-ah. She is really beautiful. That's what I'm going to admit first. Her acting wasn't bad but I felt like her character wasn't shown enough to really judge her as an actress - sure there was one outstanding episode and I loved her in that episode but the rest of the time she's just a typical team member following what she's told to do by her seniors and her acting seemed a bit awkward or.. rather monotonous? Does that make sense to those who are reading this?
Anyway, others in the cast include Kim Kyu-chul as Park Jung-do and Park So-hyun as Kang Joo-young. They both were good in their respecitve roles, and Park Jung-do as a character even managed to surprise me in the end.

Soundtrack: The music in this drama deserves 10/10 without a doubt! This is one of the few dramas only including one song, "자각몽 (Lucid Dream)" by Kim Yun-ah, but this song is great and atmospheric. But as much as I love this, the Original Score owns this drama. The song that really makes me shiver is actually "Was Justice Delivered" by No Hyung-woo but also "Story of the Victim" is a great instrumental. However, if you're not that much into instrumentals and classical instruments, there is a chance you might not like this at all. The atmosphere those pieces (as well as most of the others on the Original Score) deliver still makes me shiver.

So do we need to talk about my rating? It's a definite 10/10 and I'm not joking when I say this is one of the best crime series in Korea as well.

The atmosphere becomes darker and darker, some cases basically killed me inside (I think especially Ep. 5 or 6 did an awesome job living me behind as an emotional mess). The cases are great and filled with suspense so you won't end up bored. Some plottwists seemed individual and I didn't expect some things at all. And you know, this series is probably more realistic than others and not always comes up with a happy ending.
Looking at my notes, the only negative things I wrote down always ended with "But that's SO OCN! I hate them for doing this.." while I still love this channel more than any other. Okay, I still criticize that we only get a tiny little bit of background information about James. And OCN still leaves an option about Oh Dae-young as well. I would've loved more concrete facts but then again we'll probably get a second season and therefore there is a chance we get to know more then. Which leads to the point that I hate waiting for episodes. Especially, if two episodes are directly connected and you just want to know what's going to happen next. Which leads to the next point I more or less criticize - TOO MANY SPLIT CASES. I do understand that not every episode could have a duration of two hours but waiting for the second part drove me nuts (since I've been watching this drama while it was airing). Now all the episodes are up and the problem just disappeared, yay for those who were able to wait.
Just one thing I found to be rather acceptable - there are some English parts when it comes to FBI stories. Which are messed up. It sounds too clear and too simple. But then again it's not surprising - productions from other countries would probably mess up Korean worse so I'm willing to forgive them since it's not complete nonsense either and we can understand it.

Watch this if you like crime, suspense and thriller. It's worth it.

Oh, and the last GIF - that's almost the way I used to sit there after finishing this drama. Severe Post-Drama Depression.

Freitag, 23. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: That Sunny Blue Sky

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

あの、晴れた青空 (That Sunny Blue Sky), also known as the fifth and final part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2011.

Story: This movie actually starts with the ending of the third one and therefore ignores the side story (which wouldn't change anything anyways).
The death anniversary of Takumi's older brother is getting closer and he receives a phone call from his mom. Actually Takumi still hasn't forgiven his parents nor his older brother and asks Gii to go with him. Gii promises to join him.
But on the same day, there's a snooker competition in which Gii wants to take part. Takumi feels betrayed and the whole situation obviously creates some tension.

Cast: Ah, one last time we have Daisuke Watanabe as Giichi Saki and Kyousuke Hamao as Takumi Hayama. I have to admit that they've developed a lot through the movies. While in the second movie, there was some good chemistry but they didn't seem to be that comfortable with their roles, they really improved and this might be the peak. I'm really curious how they would've developed if there was another movie. Sadly, we'll never know.
And also, we have Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike. I really have to praise him as an actor like I did through the whole series. As a good friend who's always helping the clueless couple and a shadow just carefully watching over everything I came to wish for a friend like him as well. And did you notice? He's basically the only actor who appears in all movies.
We also see Ryoma Baba as Arata Misu in this movie once again, and one shouldn't underestimate his role in this movie. Though I know I've said that before - his charisma is no joke, and though he keeps saying that he hates Gii, he cares for Takumi somewhat. A character I didn't like in the beginning but will surely miss somehow.

Soundtrack: Just as a short review of the whole series, I loved the music and the use of moments of silence which made me expect something to happen. I loved the sounds they used in general, not only the music, but simple background sounds. I know it works similar in many movies but they just managed to support the atmosphere through music and sounds a lot better than some other movies.

My rating for this movie is a 9/10. It's cute, it's lovely - and I'm dying because I know the whole series is over now. If it was about me, they could go on forever but sadly all good things come to an end.
But I still have to mention some points I've been criticizing before - well, mainly the flashbacks. If they had to change the setting and even what was spoken, at least a little bit, they should've tried to make it more clear that you're watching something that happened in the past. Sure the change of the lead actors made it difficult since they had to film all those scenes again but then again it was quite confusing. And even if they would've used something like a special frame or a color filter. It would've been a lot easier.

I'll miss this series, and I think I'll watch the movies again for sure just because I love all of them.. except for the second movie which made me feel depressed. I remember how often those movies made me smile, sometimes laugh, and at times it made me want to hug the characters..

Freitag, 16. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: PURE

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

ピュア (Pure), also known as the fourth part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2010. Though it does have a strong connection to the original series, this movie can be described as a side story.

Story: Different from 3 previous movies, this Takumi Pure's movie is focus on the relationship between Arata Misu and Kanemitsu Shingyouji. Shingyouji fell for Arata at first sight but their relationship somehow evolves into a push-and-pull game because of Arata having a crush on Takahiro Sagara, a student who graduated before. Takumi, Gii and Shozo Akaike decide to help them out. On the other side, Gii also has to help Izumi Takabayashi and Michio Yoshizawa to solve their problems.

Cast: So this is basically the only movie where the main cast completely changed since we don't see Takumi and Gii that often. But still, since they do appear, we see Daisuke Watanabe and Kyousuke Hamao again in their roles. Their chemistry is still special, and at least there are some cute scenes even in this movie that focusses on side stories. We cannot forget about Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike either. As you might have noticed in the earlier entries, I came to like his character so much. A calm and helpful friend, the so-called 'saving grace' or 'fairy god-mother father'.
There's also Ryoma Baba as Arata Misu again. I don't want to give too many spoilers but his charisma is no joke onscreen, and I was seriously surprised but had to think about the title "You're my pet" in the end. Not that it's related in any way but sometimes such things just appear in my had.
The rest of the cast changed completely though. As Kanemitsu Shingyouji we see Taiki Naito and I admit that he actually is really cute and somewhat pitiful but - well, a one-sided love is always sad.
Suddenly we have Ryo Mitsuya as Izumi Takabayashi. Not that he's doing a bad job but seriously, all those different actors playing the same character just makes it hard to really recognize him at first. I wonder who had the idea. And Yutaka Kobayashi accepted the role of Michio Yoshizawa.
Oh, and just because it was really hard to find the information: Takahiro Sagara is played by Yusuke Hirose. It took me some time to find out his full name so if that's the information you were looking for, you're welcome.

So I did realize that this is the first time watching this movie but it probably won't be the last. My rating is 8.5/10 since I actually think it's a refreshing and cute story. BUT I'll still argue that it would've been a good idea to just try and keep at least some parts of the actual cast. It's so confusing when the actors change all the time..

Freitag, 9. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: The Beauty of Detail

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

美貌のディテイル (The Beauty of Detail), also known as the third part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2010. The whole movie series is based on a manga series of the same name.

Story: After a long break, the students are returning to school and Gii and Takumi enter their third year. But Gii doesn't come to meet Takumi, and after hearing that Gii changed a lot, Takumi starts worrying and plans to visit his boyfriend. But even towards Takumi Gii shows a cold and completely different behavior which leads to a crisis, especially for Takumi who sees himself confronted with a problem he thought wouldn't appear again. Luckily, Shozo Akaike, Arata Misu, Takumi's new roommate, and Kanemitsu Shingyouji are there to help Takumi out - at least as good as they can.

Cast: Once again we have Daisuke Watanabe and Kyousuke Hamao as Gii and Takumi. The two of them already had a good chemistry in the second movie, Rainbow Colored Glass, but this third part seems even better to me. This might just be my idea but both of them seem to be more comfortable acting which makes their chemistry even better.
Once again we can see Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike, the saving grace of this series. How can a character with such a good heart just disappear from time to time.. he honestly would deserve his own movie but anyways, maybe he's the only straight student in that school (don't judge me, just a thought.) In this part, Ryoma Baba also appears for the first time as Arata Misu. Sadly we don't get to know why his character seems so cold towards Gii but as Takumi's new roommate his role in this movie is definitely one of the most important ones. Since he's the one to make Gii realize that something's seriously wrong. Kanemitsu Shingyouji is played by Bishin Kawasumi. While his role in this movie appears to be some minor role, it shouldn't be underestimated. And he's somewhat like a cheerful and cute puppy.
Lastly, we have Yasuka Saito back as Izumi Takabayashi. Once again I wonder, why there was another actor for this role in the second movie when Saito is the one playing this role in the first and third movie. Maybe that's just me but it doesn't make that much sense to me. Anyway, once again it's more like a guest role so it's not that bad actually.

As for the conclusion, my rating is 9.5/10. This movie is definitely more serious than the first one, yes, and it's therefore not as cheerful and bubbly as the first one but also not as sad and depressing as the second.
But they had to film some scenes that were actually included in the first movie with the new lead actors as well. That wouldn't be a problem at all if the setting wouldn't have changed that much. That is actually what makes flashbacks hard to understand. IF they had to change the cast, it would've been better, at least for the flashbacks, to at least try and reconstruct the dormitories presented in the first movie.

Freitag, 2. Oktober 2015

Takumi-kun: Rainbow Colored Glass

!Warning! This is a Boys Love movie - don't like it? Then ignore it.

虹色の硝子 (Rainbow Colored Glass), also known as the second part of the Takumi-kun series, is a Japanese movie that was released in 2009. The whole movie series is based on a manga series of the same name.

Story: Takumi Hayama and Saki Giichi are now an item at their all-boys school. However, Gii suddenly seems to be interested in Tooru Morita which makes things really difficult for Takumi. While the two of them try to solve their problem, Takeshi Suzuki, a friend of Gii, drops out of school.

Cast: As for this second movie, the main cast completely changed. If you're planning to watch this movie, you might be able to think for reasons by yourself.
Starting with this movie we have Daisuke Watanabe as Gii and Kyousuke Hamao as Takumi Hayama. Actually, those two have a great onscreen chemistry as well, and I remember watching a 'Making Off' as well. It seems the actors get along well and were able to transfer this into the story. (That doesn't mean that I really think they're gay, most likely they're something like friends, I don't even know.)
Though they're doing a good job I still have to deal with the sudden change of lead actors which makes it hard for me to identify with characters. The same issue appears with Kei Hosogai as Izumi Takabayashi. He rarely appears in this movie, so maybe it would've been better to just leave out his character? Especially since in the third movie, the actor switches back.
Yuta Takahashi can be seen as Takeshi Suzuki. I was quite impressed with some of his scenes. Yes, most of them were flashbacks quite at the end but I think he did a good job especially in displaying the struggles.
There's also Yuuki Hiyori as Tooru Morita. Despite of him having not that much display time either his character is just too adorable. I really loved some of the ending scenes just because of him.
And of course, once again last but not least, we have Yukihiro Takiguchi as Shozo Akaike. He's like the saving grace of all the characters, knows everything and gets involved only to help them out.

Soundtrack: Once again I can only say that I seriously loved the way silence was used, as well as some different classical instruments just to highlight the atmosphere.

My rating for this movie is 8/10 and actually that's only because I don't like the ending. Like not at all.
Actually the charming point about the first movie is the light and bubbly atmosphere - at least most of the time. It made me smile like an idiot because of the cute plot. Sure many people say it sounds like a fanfiction written by some 13 year old fangirl but then again they don't need to watch it.
As for a grown up young woman I understand that there are some difficulties when it comes to love but the actual charming point almost disappeared. It reminds me of a melodrama somehow and I'm not a huge fan of overly melodramatic stuff since I think some things are just way too common.
So as far as I remember this one is the weakest part of the series (I've watched either the first three or even four movies back in 2010/2011, I don't remember clearly) which I just didn't want to watch again because of the sad ending which made me cry back then but that doesn't work anymore for me.