Ah yes, feel the neglect. I have been neglecting my duties, shame on me. But, now I have lovely things for you. Upcoming dramas, new music releases and of course, plenty of love to go around. So without further ado, let the debauchery ensue.
This spring drama season looks, well, slightly jumbled. There doesn't seem to be a trend like winter. Winter seemed aimed towards the younger generation, with dramas like ハチミツとクローバー (Honey and Clover), １ポンドの福音 (1 Pound Gospel), 貧乏男子/ボンビーメン (Binbo Danshi/BonbiiMen), even 薔薇のない花屋 (Bara no nai hanaya). So this season is very eclectic.
Here is a preview, of some, not all (as I have taken the liberty of sorting all the crappy ones out in advance...you're welcome) of spring 2008 dramas.
Probably the most anticipated spring drama: ごくせん３
Who:仲間由紀惠 Nakama Yukie, in her 3rd season of Gokusen, it looks like 3rd seasons are a charm for 仲間, (remember Trick was 3 seasons as well, folks). The boys pimped out for this season you ask? 28 "fresh" names...三浦春馬 (Miuri Haruma) ring a bell? Yeah, me either...Wanna know why no one knows him, he's not Johnny's. Case and point. He was, in 貧乏男子 from last season, so I guess we gotta give him that. What a sad world. You're not known until you've been molested by Johnny. Next is, 高木雄也 (Takaki Yuya) I think he is supposed to be this season's 亀梨 (Kamenashi)? Ha. Anyway, he's part of Johnny's, (hehe, that made me giggle)...I don't know him, but apparently he's in Hey! Say! Jump! The lamest named group ever...next to KAT-TUN...maybe worse than KAT-TUN...I dunno...I haven't decided. Moving, on...石黒英雄 (Ishiguro Hideo), now although he probably hasn't been fondled by Johnny, he was in ごくせん 2, １ポンドの福音 (from last season) and for those of you who watch "Kamen Rider Den-O", he was in that...apparently...yeah. Go whats-his-face. Next are two members from the group B.A.D, I didn't know such a group existed. But it does. Hm. That's just a bad name, lmao. I'm funny. 桐山照史 (Kiriyama Akito) and 中間淳太 (Nakama Junta), they are Jr.'s and you know what that means, extra gropage by The John. And finally some other dude who has been in absolutely nothing but ごくせん３, 三浦翔平 (Miura Shohei), who has also not had the pleasure of being groped by Johnny. In addition to those fine, strapping 6 young men, 22 other boys will fill the screen. You can view them here.
What's it about: Have you been living in a cave? No, I bet you haven't. It's about a gangster teacher (from a highly feared and recognized yakuza family) who teaches delinquent students, via lessons about life and friendship. Ahh, so sweet. She's a bad ass teacher and the show's extremely hilarious. So watch it.
Rating: I am watching and so can you! I dunno about the new cast, no one can top 松潤(Matsu Jun) season 1, but whatever. I'll give these "noobs" a chance. So go watch it.
Important info: It airs April 19th at 9:00 (21:00) on NTV (Nippon Television). You can check the official site out here. If you need to catch up on seasons one and two, watch them at crunchyroll.
猟奇的な彼女 (りょうきてきなかのじょ）- My Sassy Girl
Yes. It's the same one. The Korean movie was such a hit, not only in its home country, but a mega hit in Japan too. They have taken the liberty, used all their creative skills and remade it into a drama.
Who: 草彅剛 (Kusanagi Tsuyoshi) from SMAP...need I say more. If I do, then shame on you. 田中麗奈 (Tanaka Rena), she's been in, ゲゲゲの鬼太郎(Gegege no Kitarou) and ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 2 (2008), she was also in NIN x NIN (did anyone else see this besides me...'cause I think I'm the only one).
Rating: Well, "My Sassy Girl" is a great movie. The problem is 剛 (Tsuyoshi) , I have never seen him in a drama that I liked, ever. I think this is going to be ill cast. On top of that, the original was very upbeat and young. 剛 may be just 34, and for people like Kimutaku, age isn't a factor. But 剛 looks so old. So old. And he always plays such a wussy, downbeat, pathetic, character. So, I don't know that it is going to work well in this. I know they have to rotate the SMAP "kids", pimp them out with the seasons, but ugh. He's my least favorite. I'll probably watch to see the damage. Hopefully it won't be cringe worthy. It'll get the ratings, don't get me wrong, it has a SMAP guy in it and it's "My Sassy Girl"...but will it live up to its predecessor...I don't think so.
Important Information: You can catch 猟奇的な彼女 on TBS at 9:00 (21:00) starting in April. The official website is here. You can watch the original "My Sassy Girl", free, on crunchyroll or buy it on ebay, yesasia, cdjapan, among other places. So, check it out, it's worth it.
Just to clarify my point about 剛 being old...and the original cast being young and vibrant. Here are some comparison photos.
The first two are the original cast members, the green one...剛. So unflattering. That's just how he looks. Just...ugh.
ROOKIES - Based on the popular manga by 森田 まさのり.
Who: 佐藤隆太 (Sato Ryuta), he's been in a lot of stuff, I never know his name, but I always know the face. He's been in 歌姫 (Utahime), バンビーノ! (Bambino!) and a bunch of other dramas along with a few movies. 市原隼人 (Ichiharu Hayato), he's been in a few things, probably he's most notable for his role in Water Boys 2. 小出恵介 (Koide Keisuke), he was in Nodame and the special, he was the afro dude, and ごくせん2...among a string of other things...I think he's creepy looking and at some points very orange. 城田優 (Shirota Yu) a half Japanese half Spanish dude, wow some diversity...*cough*. I've never heard of him, he was in the Prince of Tennis Movie, wow. Probably 'cause he looks white...lol. Anyway...there are more peeps, but I'm gonna stop. You can check the whole roster here.
What its about: Alright, honestly it reminds me of ごくせん- baseball style, but without the yakuza influence. It's about a teacher who tries to help some delinquent students straighten out by getting them to join a baseball team. Will it work, will the students learn the value of friendship and teamwork? Will they change their punk-ass ways? Tune in to find out!
Rating: Although it may not be the most unique premise and we all know how its going to end and what is going to happen in every single episode...these are so predictable, I'll give it a watch.
Translation: I'll watch it once, get frustrated, tell myself I can make dramas way better than this crap, demand my money back. Realize I didn't pay for it, and go back to watching it two months later.
Important Information: You can check this out Saturday on TBS at 8:00 (20:00) beginning in April, the official site is here. You can get the manga via Kinokunya, Amazon Japan or any other Japanese book retailer.
This! What is this!? Girl? Boy? IS? (If anyone knows this reference (IS) props to you!). 中山優馬 (Nakama Yuma) that's what it is.
What it's about: Who cares, the only reason I posted this is to post that picture, 'cause I thought it was a girl! I never get mixed up! I swear that looks like a 11 year old girl! But, then I saw it's in...surprise, Johnny's. Spooky. Anyway, it's not even just that picture, I did research folks, every single picture he's in, he looks like a chick! If you can find one where IS looks like a boy... and you can convince me...you send it to me. You'll get my undying devotion... and a post on our blog...not to mention...mad props...Haha. Okay.
Rating: I'm not gonna watch it. And if your wondering, it's actually about baseball.
絶対彼氏 (Zettai Kareshi)
Who: 速水もこみち (Hayami Mokomichi), so cute. He's been in a bunch of dramas. He was in 働きマン (Hataraki Man), ごくせん2, 女帝 (Jotei), 電車男 (Densha Otoko) and many other dramas. 相武紗季 (Aibu Saki), I've never heard of her, but she was in Water Boys, season 1. 水嶋ヒロ (Mizushima Hiro) he's cute too, he was in 私たちの教科書 (Watashitachi no kyokasho), which in my opinion was an underrated drama.
What it's about: I am so excited for this drama. It's based on the manga of the same name by 渡瀬 悠宇 (Watase Yu). I loved the manga, it's one of my favorites, so I can't wait for the drama. So basically I think it's a chicks version of Chobits. If you don't know what Chobits is, it's a dude's version of 絶対彼氏. It's about a girl (Riko) , who wants to find love. So naturally, she buys the absolute perfect boyfriend, except he's a robot. There's a love triangle, between Riko, the robot boyfriend (Night) and Riko's neighbor (Soshi), it's wonderful.
Rating: Oh, I'll be watching. You should too. Watch!
Important Information: You shall watch 絶対彼氏 beginning April 8th at 9:00 (21:00) on Fuji TV. The official site is here. If you wanna check out the manga, it's available in both Japanese and English. So you can get the English at your fine local book retailer thanks to VIZ media. It's called Absolute boyfriend. You can get the Japanese from Kinokuniya, Amazon Japan or any other fine Japanese book retailer. I highly recommend you do so, both versions are wonderful. So go read folks, show the world you're literate.
Okay, so now that we have established the decent dramas, and the "IS" drama. The returning dramas are: 渡る世間は鬼ばかり 9! Crap, 9 seasons! 7人の女弁護士 2 and 篤姫 (Atsuhime) one of the highest ranking dramas of last season, it's actually really interesting, so I recommend checking it out. 篤姫 is on NHK, sundays at 9:00 (21:00). You can download the first season at D-Addicts - via torrent.
Who: 木村拓哉 (Kimura Takuya), if you don't know who he is...start knowing him. 深津絵里 (Fukatsu Eri), she's been in a lot of movies and dramas, just nothing I'm familiar with...she was in "Saiyuuki", the drama and the movie, if you saw those; if not, I don't blame you. The recently wed 阿部寛 (Abe Hiroshi)! Yay! Everything he's been in is fabulous. He's probably best known for "Trick" or "Dragon Zakura". He is wonderful, lights up the screen folks. I could seriously write a whole series of posts dedicated to 阿部寛 dramas...maybe I will. 寺尾聰 (Terao Akira), he's really famous, so I know his face well, but not what he's been in. He was in "Casshern" and "Ran", a few other samurai movies and some dramas I didn't see. And finally, 加藤ローサ (Kato Rosa), I love her. She was in 女帝 (Jotei). So, the cast is amazing, uber huge and can definitely hold their own against someone like キムタク (kimutaku).
What it's about: キムタク is an elementary school teacher who gets mixed up in politics because of his family and winds up as Prime Minister of Japan. I think it's going to be top in the ratings and be widely accepted among audiences.
Rating: So, they are puting キムタクin yet another sort of dark "human drama" role. With the success of his last award-winning drama 華麗なる一族 (karei naru ichizoku), why wouldn't they? 華麗なる一族 was like nothing キムタク had ever done before, it showed off his matured acting skills and was a clear transition from the normal "fluffy" feel-good dramas he has been accustomed to in the past. "Change", I hope, will bring the same impact. It has an outstanding cast and the script was obviously written for キムタク, I don't think we can go wrong here. I definitely look forward to watching it.
Additional Info: Madonna will be gracing "Change" with an opening theme song from her new album "Hard Candy" set for release in the U.S. 4.28, the song is titled "Miles Away" and was co-written by Justin Timberlake.
Important Information: "Change" begins Monday, April 21st at 9:00 (21:00) on Fuji TV. You can check out the official site here. And apparently it's a HUGE thing that Madonna is doing the intro, it's making news right and left. You can read an article about it here (one of the many, Google it). It's talking about how Madonna met キムタク on the set of SMAP x SMAP (SMAP Bistro) and producers of the show "Change" asked Madonna to do a song for it, they didn't thing she would do it, she liked the story...said yes...so read away (Japanese).
ALRIGHT! Dramas are looking eclectic, but exciting. Let's move onto some music.
So, last week Asian Kung-Fu Generation Released their 4th full length album ワールド ワールド ワールド（World World World). Okay, being a huge fan of AKFG, I have to say, I am a little disappointed. Their last album rocked. It has to be one of my favorite CD's of all time...not to mention the one before that. ワールド ワールド ワールド just seems to fall a little flat. It has their trademark sound, but not their normal passion. Their songs sound generic and aren't as catchy or heartfelt as their previous albums. This isn't to say that there aren't any good songs on the album. But unlike their previous CD's, where you could enjoy the whole album and love every song, ワールド ワールド ワールド, I maybe like 3 songs...and I really had to try. So, I have graced you with my favorites on the side panel of the blog, enjoy them.
Rating: C. It lacks their normal impact...just download your favorites.
If you want to buy it, you can get it at CDjapan, yesasia, among other places.
Here is a preview of 宇多田ヒカルの "Fight The Blues", from her new album "Heart Station", dropping 3.19. I think the album is going to be really awesome.
浜崎あゆみ (Hamasaki Ayumi) is set to release a new single "Mirrorcle World". And no, that isn't a spelling error. Play on words, I assume. Clever. Anyway. It's set for release 4.8 with two new songs, "Mirrocle World", "Life" and a 10th anniversary addition of "Depend on You". You can get a preview of "Mirrorcle World" here on her new PV for Lumix cameras.
Here are a few recommended downloads:
BoA - Be With You
SMAP - そのまま
中島美嘉 - SAKURA～花霞～
いきものがかり - 花は桜 君は美し
And lastly don't forget to pick up a copy of クローズ Zero available 4.18. So go get it. 'Cause I want it. You can get it here.
For your viewing pleasure.
I'm bigger than a frog too. Yay.