Saturday, July 28, 2007

Review: Densha Otoko DX~Saigo no Seizen (2nd SP)

Alternative Titles: 電車男デラックス, 最後の聖戦, Densha Otoko Deluxe
Genre: Romance, comedy
Episodes: 1 (1.47 hr.)
Broadcast: Sept. 23, 06
Starring: Itoh Mizaki as Aoyama Saori, Itoh Atsushi as Yamada Tsuyoshi
Related: Densha Otoko (orig. series) review, Another Final SP review (1st SP)

Densha Otoko DX takes place a year after the events of the original series and the first special. It starts off by introducing the drastic changes that are happening in the Akihabara distict of Tokyo. (see my review of the orig. series for more info on Akihabara). In the original series, Akihabara was the Holy Land for otakus, a place where they are safe from the rest of Tokyo. However, normal people have started to go to Akihabara and torment the otakus, causing most of them to go into hiding.

Meanwhile, Tsuyoshi tries to propose to Saori, but he fails. Tsuyoshi returns to forum and tells his story. While he's trying to propose, something else is going on. Densha Otoko has now become very popular, but no one knows his real identity so a large corporation mysteriously offers one million yen to anyone who can find his real identity...

Interesting Fact
- A girl idol group named AKB48 or Akihabara48 makes a short appearance in Densha Otoko DX
- They have their own theater in Akihabara and they do weekly performances
- They are quite popular among the otaku in Akihabara

Densha Otoko DX is the best (and longest) drama special that I've ever watched. Densha Otoko DX has the same great elements found in the original series. All the classic characters, funny scenes, and otakuness are back! Basically, everything that I said was good about the orig. series remains the same for DX.

When comparing it to the first special, Densha Otoko DX is a lot better. One thing I thought they really improved on is the plot. DX had a more interesting plot than the first special. I also thought that DX had a much higher production value than the orig. series. It had more extra actors in many scenes and they actually went to Tahiti to film part of it.

  • Same great characters and hilarious scenes
  • Some very touching moments (esp. towards the end)
  • Ending was really nice (T▽T)
  • Plot is more interesting than 1st special
  • Increased production values
  • Star wars music!
  • n/a (-_-)
If you enjoyed the original series then this special is must watch! Note that you don't need to watch the first sp. to understand DX.

Rating: 10/10

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review: Honey and Clover (live-action movie)

Alternative Titles: ハチミツとクローバー, Hachimitsu to Clover, Hachikuro
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Jul. 22, 2006 (Japan)
Starring: Sakurai Sho as Takemoto Yuta, Aoi Yu as Hanamoto Hagumi

Honey and Clover centers around four art students (Takemoto Yuta, Mayama Takumi, Morita Shinobu and Yamada Ayumi) who live in the same housing complex that is run by an art teacher, Hanamoto Shuji. During a party at the complex, Hanamoto introduces a new member to the building, a relative of his named Hanamoto Hagumi. Takemoto instantly falls in love with Hagumi. While Takemoto is trying to confess his love, another love story between Mayama and Yamada is happening. Mayama likes Yamada but Yamada doesn't return her love and secretly loves an older women named Harada Rika.

Honey and Clover is a very subtle, slow-paced, and simple romance movie. It basically tells the story of two love-triangle and there isn't much more than that. That's the main reason why it tends to be a bit too slow-paced (ie. there's not a whole lot happening in the plot). There aren't even many twists in the plot to keep it interesting and when there is a plot "twist", it's usually predictable. The strongest point of H&C are the scenes when one of the characters confesses his/her love to another person. These scenes have pretty good acting and they can make butterflies go up your spine.

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  • Romantic confession scenes have good acting
  • Scene with Mayama spying on Rikua is just hilarious
  • Slow-pace, not much going on in plot
  • Very simple story
  • Plot twists are too predictable
Do professional painters REALLY paint like Hagu does?

H&C is more for the female audience, but it deserves a try are those who enjoy romantic movies.

Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, July 22, 2007

TopChart: Top9 Most Beautiful PVs

Here's the the top six most beautiful PVs. Here's a definition of beautiful so that you'll know what exactly this list of PVs represent.

Beautiful - adjective
Having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, or think about.

9. Tainaka Sachi - Saikou no Kataomoi
Beautiful because: Nice scenery and lots of flowers, trees, and greens
Please don't judge this one by the beginning vocal part. I know that it's bad but the song gets better.

8. GAM - melodies
Beautiful because: Fujimoto Miki and Matsuura Aya in the same video, wearing nice white dresses

7. melody. - Realize
Beautiful because: Scenery and melody's dress

6. Otsuka Ai - Planetarium
Beautiful because: Up-close shots of Otsuka Ai

5. melody. - See You
Beautiful because: Melody's dress and up-close shots of her

4. Leah Dizon - Softly
Beautiful because: Nice scenery and the part where she's walking on the beach

3. Shimatani Hitomi - Haru Machibito
Beautiful because: Cherry blossoms and the kimono

2. Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai - Bokura Ga Ikiru My Asia
Beautiful because: A lot of white and the blue dresses

1. Shimatani Hitomi - Camellia
Beautiful because: The ballroom dancing scenes

Previous TopChart
Top5 Weirdest PVs

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Review: Densha Otoko - Another Final SP

Alternative Titles: 電車男, でんしゃおとこ, The Train Man
Genre: Romance, comedy
Episodes: 1
Broadcast Year: 2005
Starring: Itoh Mizaki as Aoyama Saori, Itoh Atsushi as Yamada Tsuyoshi

Another Final SP takes place three months before the last episode of the original series (ie. beginning of episode one) and tells the story of the whole series from the perpective of two characters, Matsunaga Yuusaku and Ushijima Sadao. (Yuusaku is Yamada's friend, the otaku that does the turtle impression. Sadao is one of the form members that is a fan of the Tokyo Tigers.)

The special tells the story of Yuusaku's encounter with a girl on a internet dating service and Sadao's story of trying to win over the love of someone named Tiffany. The special starts off a few hours before the first episode of the orig. series when Yuusaku gets tricked by a girl into buying a guitar. He goes on the forum (before Tsuyoshi becomes Densha Otoko) and he tells others about his problems. Thus, he is given the name, Guitar Otoko.

This special is a very nice spinoff to the Densha Otoko series. Another Final SP shows a lot of memorable scenes from the original series and then shows what Sadao and Yuusaku were doing at the time of that scene. All of the classic characters and humour from the original series are back. All the forum members are still funny and Matsunaga Yuusaku is even funnier. I previously said that this special takes place throughtout the whole orginal series but there's actually some extra content featuring Saori and Tsuyoshi that isn't in the original series.

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  • Same great characters and humour from original series
  • Shows classic scenes from original series
  • Some classic scenes are re-created using Sakurai (the restaurant owner) and Jinkama (Tsuyoshi's co-worker)
  • Extra content featuring main characters from original series
  • (-_-') Can't think of any
Watch Another Final SP if you have already watched the Densha Otoko original series and you enjoyed it.

Rating: 10/10

Stay Tuned! I plan to review the second Densha Otoko special (Densha Otoko DX)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Review: Shinobi - Heart Under Blade

Alternative Titles: Shinobi
Genre: Romance, Action
Release Date: Sept. 17, 05 (Japan)
Starring: Odagiri Jo as Gennosuke, Nakama Yukie as Oboro
Related: Basilisk anime review

Shinobi is a movie adaptation of the novel, The Kouga Ninja Scrolls by Yamada Futaro. Shinobi is about two ninja clans named Kouga and Iga. Both ninja clans practice superhuman techniques that are unknown to the rest of Japan. Both clans have been waging war against each other for hundreds of years but a truce brought peace to both clans. However, the current ruler of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu, sees the threat posed by the two ninja clans. Tokugawa comes up with a plan. He lifts the truce and tells both clans to choose five of their best ninjas to battle to their deaths.

Shinobi is all about ninjas and awesome fighting scenes. It has a very easy-to-understand plot. Shinobi also contains a nice subplot about the romance between the leader of Iga and the leader of Kouga, but there aren't many scenes that focus on it. Shinobi is more about ninjas fighting each other. It's filled with well-choreographed fight scenes that shows each ninja's unique abilities.

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  • Interesting characters with unique abilities
  • Well-choreographed fighting scenes
  • Nice scenery in many parts
  • Simple story and plenty of action
  • Some characters die way too early on and you'll wish that you got to see more of their abilities
  • Some people might not like the simple story
Shinobi was obviously made for the male audience so you'll enjoy it if your a male. I recommend watching the anime adaptation, Basilisk, if you enjoyed Shinobi.

Rating: 8/10

Here's a 3 minute clip I made. It shows the first fighting scene in the movie.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Featured Artist: Kou Shibasaki

Alternative Names: Shibasaki Kou, 柴咲コウ
Real Name: Yamamura Yukie, 山村幸恵
Birthdate: Aug. 5, 81
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
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Kou Shibasaki is a Japanese actress and singer. She started her career at 14 when an agent found out about her talent. She became working on many TV shows and commercials including excellent performance in the movie Battle Royale as Souma Mitsuko.

In 2002, she embarked on a singing career with her first single, "Trust my feelings". Her second single, "Tsuki no Shizuku" was a major hit of 2003. In 2004 she had a minor role in the movie Crying out, in the Center of the World. When the movie was made into a drama, her song, "katachi aru mono" was featured as the beginning theme.

♥= My Favourites
[2002.07.24] Trust my feelings
[2003.01.15] Tsuki no Shizuku
[2003.06.04] Nemurenai Yoru wa Nemuranai Yume wo
[2003.09.03] Omoide Dake Dewa Tsura Sugiru
[2004.01.14] Ikutsuka no Sora
[2004.02.11] Mitsu (album)
[2004.08.11] Katachi Aru Mono
[2005.02.16] Glitter
[2005.10.05] Sweet Mom
[2005.12.14] Hitori Asobi (album)
[2006.02.15] Kage
[2006.08.09] invitation
[2006.12.06] actuality
[2007.02.21] at home
[2007.03.28] Hito Koi Meguri
[2007.05.30] Prism
[2007.04.25] Kiki (album)

Why Shibasaki is AOTW:
Shibasaki was chosen because she was one of the first J-Pop artists I listened to and I thought that her new album had most of her best songs in it.


Now that you know about Shibasaki, listen to her new album, Kiki.

Previous Featured Artist

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Review: Hana Yori Dango 2

WARNING, Proceed with caution! This post contains spoilers for those who haven't seen the first season of Hana Yori Dango.
(view HYD season 1 review)

Alternative Titles: 花より男子, Boys Before Flowers, Boys Over Flowers
Genre: Romance
Episodes: 11
Broadcast Year: 2007
Starring: Inoue Mao as Makino Tsukushi, Matsumoto Jun as Doumyouji Tsukasa
Related: Hana Yori Dango season one review

Hana Yori Dango 2 takes place a few months after the events in the last season. If you've seen season one you'll know that Doumyouji goes to New York to study business. Meanwhile, Makino hasn't seen Doumyouji for several months so she goes to New York. When Makino finally meets Doumyouji, he is a completey different person and he rejects Makino so she returns to Japan. Shortly after, Doumyouji's mother decides to go back to Japan to celebrate his birthday. At his birthday, Doumyouji's mother plans to announce something that is very important.

In my review of HYD season one, I said that HYD was an addictive drama. Season two still holds that advantage of keeping viewers hooked through every episode. However, I thought that season one was slightly better than season two. Mainly, season one had a better story than season two. This is because in season two, there were too many reused love-triangle story lines. Let me explain, in the first few episodes, Rui likes Makino, but then later on, Rui stops liking her then he suddenly starts liking her again. Obviously, it's more complicated then that but the point is that HYD2 keeps on switching the "who-likes-who" storyline just to make the story interesting.

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  • VERY addictive, plot will get you hooked
  • Inoue Mao is still the best J-drama actress I've seen
  • Same cliffhanger endings as season one keeps the story interesting
  • Matsumoto Jun!!! (that one's for the female J-drama fans (-_-')
  • Reused story lines from season one
  • Too many "who=likes-who" (love-triangle) changes between several characters
  • The dancing at the stadium in the last episodes was terrible
Even though I thought season one was slightly better, I still think all J-drama fans should watch both seasons of HYD.

Rating: 9.5/10

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Review: Death Note - The Last Name (2nd movie)

WARNING, proceed with caution! The following post may contain spoilers. Please see the review of the first Death Note movie if you haven't watched the 1st movie yet.

Alternative Titles: デスノート, Desu nôto: The last name
Genre: Mystery, Police, Supernatural
Release Date: Nov. 3, 2006 (Japan)
Starring: Fujiwara Tatsuya as Kira, Matsuyama Ken'ichi as L
Related: Death Note (1st movie) Review

The battle between L and Kira continues. L is now more suspicious that Light is Kira. In addition, Light meets a girl who also has a Death Note and is the second Kira. L learns of the second Kira and continues to investigate.

The second Death Note movie is very similar to the first. The plot remains interesting, but the acting is still mediocre. Once again, the plot remains almost identical to the anime except a few characters and scenes. Most notable, the ending was completely different from the anime and is probably the best part of the this movie.

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  • Interesting plot
  • There are a few plot twists to keep story interesting
  • Ending is better than how season one of the anime ended
  • Matsuda is a bit less annoying
  • Acting from most of the minor characters is very weak
  • The girl who plays Light's sister is the worst actress I've ever seen
  • CGI for the death gods are terrible when compared to Hollywood films
  • Last few seconds was weird
First, watch the episodes 1 to 25 of the anime. Skip the first Death Note movie and watch the second movie so that you can see the awesome ending.

Rating: 8.0/10

Friday, July 6, 2007

TopChart: Top5 Weirdest PVs

Here's this week's TopChart. This is the Top5 Weirdest Japanese PVs. They represent the most bizarre PVs I could find, but that doesn't mean the song is bad. In my opinion, all of these PVs have a good melody except the one by misono.

5. Nana Kitade - Kibou no Kakera
What makes it Weird: Kitade is sort of cosplaying and her band are in mascot uniforms, but the song is pretty good.

4. Ai Otsuka - PEACH
What makes it Weird: The scenes with the Caucasian person moving his "breasts". The song's ok though.

3. misono - Lovely Cat's Eye
What makes it Weird: The background and how the story is conveyed. The song also is pretty bad.

2. SMAP - Arigatou
What makes it Weird: SMAP members are portrayed as Lego-esh figures, but the song is great.

1. Ai Otsuka - Chu-Lip
What makes it Weird: everything

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Quick Review: GUNxSWORD

Alternative Title: ガン×ソード
Genre: Mecha, Sci-fi, Adventure
Episodes: 26
Broadcast Year: 2005

A Man named Van searches the desert for a mysterious man with a claw hand that killed his wife during their wedding. During his travel, he saves a girl named Wendy from a group of bandits. Wendy is searching for her missing brother that disappeared many years ago. Van agrees to have Wendy tag along on his mission. Together, they fight more bandits and they meet tons of other characters that lead them closer to their goals.


  • Mechs are beautifully animated without using any CGI
  • Van and Wendy meet a lot of interesting characters
  • Twists in plot keep action going
  • Plot is easy to understand
  • A bit slow-placed at the beginning
  • Last few episodes can be confusing
Interesting thought: If you've ever watched CowboyBebop and Trigun, Van's character is like Vash and Spike out together. Van has many characteristics that are similar to those two characters.

Watch GUNxSWORD if you want a sci-fi anime with plenty of fighting and a simple story.

Rating: 8.5/10

Monday, July 2, 2007

Review: Densha Otoko

Alternative Titles: 電車男, でんしゃおとこ, The Train Man
Genre: Romance, comedy
Episodes: 11
Broadcast Year: 2005
Starring: Itoh Mizaki as Aoyama Saori, Itoh Atsushi as Yamada Tsuyoshi

Aoyama Saori works as an office lady. One day, she gets uncomfortable on the train when a drunken old man approaches her. She's saved by Yamada Tsuyoshi, who is an otaku (someone obsessed with anime, manga, games etc.). As a form of appreciation, she sends him “Hermes” teacups ("Hermes" is an expensive brand). Tsuyoshi, being an otaku, has no experience with the opposite sex, so he decides to ask for help on a internet message board on how to respond to Saori.

Interesting Facts
- Densha Otoko is a true story based on a message board discussion from the Internet.
- A Densha Otoko novel, a blockbuster hit movie and several mangas were also made.
- Otakus really exist in Japan.
- A large part of this drama takes place in a real distinct in Tokyo called Akihabara. Akihabara is the haven for an otaku and it's full of anime/manga shops, maid cafes, computer shops and anything that otakus like.


Densha Otoko is definitely my all-time favourite J-drama. The reason why I like it so much is because there are so many interesting and funny characters. Itoh Atsushi does a great job of being an otaku. In every scene he acts exactly like what most people think an otaku will act like. There are also the people on the message board who are equally funny. Densha Otoko focuses on comedy but there are also many romantic scenes in the last few episodes of the series.

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  • There are many funny characters and unforgettable scenes.
  • Atsushi does a good job of portraying an otaku.
  • The scenes showing conversation between the message board members were well made.
  • Good balance of comedy and romance.
  • Many plot twists to keep story interesting.
Cons I can't think of any! (-_-')


If you've never watched a Japanese drama before, this is the best one to get you hooked on J-dramas. If your a J-drama fan already, I strongly recommend Densha Otoko.

Rating: 10/10

Stay Tuned! I plan to review the Densha Otoko Specials. Both of which are sequels.