Monday, December 29, 2008

TopChart: Top30 Winter PVs


Here’s my top 30 PVs about anything winter (xmas, snow etc.). I based my rank on the PV as well as the actual song.

You can also check out last year’s Winter PV TopChart, it has a completely different set of winter PVs.

Sit back and ENJOY!(^_^)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Review: Last Friends

Alternative Title: ラスト・フレンズ
Genre: Romance
Episodes: 11
Broadcast: Apr. - Jun. 2008

  • Nagasawa Masami as Aida Michiru
  • Ueno Juri as Kishimoto Ruka
  • Eita as Mizushima Takeru
  • Nishikido Ryo as Oikawa Sosuke
Michiru has to deal with many life issues. Her father died when she was young and her mom constantly drinks and invites other men to her home. She is also bullied at her workplace where she is a hairdresser. Michiru decides to live with her boyfriend, Sosuke, a man who works at Child Welfare. Later on, Michiru coincidentally meets Ruka, a childhood friend that Michiru hasn’t seen since high school.


After seeing the cast of Last Friends, I knew I had to give this drama a try. It probably has one of the most all-star casts I’ve ever. All the main characters are played by actors you’ve probably seen in another popular drama. Ueno, Eita and Mizukawa also starred in Nodame no Cantabile. Nagasawa is in just about every romance J-movie out there and Nishikido is from the J-pop group NewS.

Let’s start with the good stuff first. I thought the number one thing this drama did good was the story. First of all, it was fast-paced. Each episode ended with an interesting cliff-hanger and I didn’t feel that much time was wasted. Secondly, the story touches on issues you normally don’t see in other dramas. In other words, there aren’t the usual clichés that you would find in other dramas. Another aspect of the story I liked was how it ended. The last episode didn’t introduce anything too new or introduce another twist in the story. The series just ended exactly the way that I wanted it to end.

Even though, most aspects of the story were very well done, there were some negatives about it as well. Some episodes felt a little repetitive with same thing happening over and over again. Also, I felt that some episodes had a slower story midway through and didn’t continue on the previous episode’s cliff-hanger. The biggest downside for me was Nishikido Ryo (the guy from NewS who plays Sosuke). I know the girls will disagree but Nishikido should not be allowed to act. He is probably my pick as the worst actor ever. He shows absolutely no emotion and always seems to act cool. However, with the exception of Nishikido, the rest of the cast was superb in acting, especially the actresses who played Michiru and Ruka.

  • Fast-paced story (for most episodes)
  • Touches on issues you don’t find in other dramas
  • Ending was perfect
  • Most of the acting was very good
  • Nishikido Ryo’s acting
  • Story was a bit repetitive at times
  • Story was slow midway through some of the episode
If you’re looking for a unique J-drama that deals with sensitive issues then watch Last Friends.

Rating: 8/10

Video Preview
Here’s a short CM for Last Friends.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Annoucement: New Holiday Header

I've decided to create a header image for the winter holidays. I hope everyone likes it! (^_^)

From now on, I hope to create different headers during special days...I guess the next time that I'll change the header image is during valentine's stay tuned!



Monday, December 15, 2008

Review: Sword of the Stranger

Alternative Titles: ストレンヂア -無皇刃譚-, Mukoh Hadan
Genre: Action, adventure
Release Date: Sept. 29, 2007

While being attacked by solders from China, a young boy named Kotaru is saved by a samurai named Nanashi. Still unaware of why the Chinese would want Kotaru, Nanashi agrees to protect him.

Ironically, I’ve never watched a historical anime movie even though I’m a huge fan of historical movies. Even by watching the first few minutes of the movie, I knew that Sword of the Stranger was going to be one of the best anime movies I’ve watched. After watching the whole movie, it didn’t disappoint. Sword of the Stranger is action-packed film, so I expected the action sequences to be good. But to my surprise, it was a lot better than I had thought. So much so that I think this movie has the best fight scene animation I’ve ever seem is an anime series or movie. The animation for the action scenes were smooth and crisp, the choreography was unique, and there was a lot of exaggerated gore like spraying blood. In addition, the music was also very well done, especially for the action scenes. The background music added even more excitement to the fight scenes.

Also, you might think the story is pretty basic, but it’s actually pretty good, with plenty of twists to keep it interesting. My summary is very basic because I didn’t want to give away too much of the story.

I didn’t have any major things I disliked, only a few minor things. My first dislike was that I thought some of the action sequences were way too fast, especially in the last scene. I even had to rewind and re-play several scenes to actually figure out what happened. However, I consider this to be minor because I think it adds some excitement to the movie. Another thing I disliked was how some of the characters were killed off too quickly. I really wanted to see them in more action because they seemed like good fighters, but they’re quickly killed at the beginning of a battle.

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  • Some of the best animated fight scenes I’ve ever seen
  • Fight scenes were smooth, crisp, unique and exciting
  • Music adds even more excitement to the fight scenes
  • A lot of exaggerated gore
  • Some parts of the fight scenes were way too fast
  • Some characters killed off too quickly
If you’re into action/adventure anime, then this is a must-watch.

Rating: 9/10

Video Preview
Here’s a short teaser showing the beginning of a fight.

Related Reviews (historical/quasi-historical)
Shinobi – Heart Under Blade
Azumi – Death or Love

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TopChart: Top15 Animated PVs


To qualify for this TopChart, the PV must have at least one animated scene and the animation must be original (not from an anime, game etc.).

Note that I based this list solely on how well I thought the animation was.

This is a pretty long list so sit back and ENJOY!!!

15. Yuki - Hoshikuzu Sunset

14. NewS - Happy Birthday

13. Genki Rockets - Heavenly Star

12. YUI - CHE.R.RY

11. SMAP - Arigatou

10. JULEPS - Tabidatsu Hi Kanzenban

9. Takasugi Satomi - Yukiboshi

8. Arashi - One Love

7. Miyu Nagase - Akane

6. Bonnie Pink - Ring a Bell

5. LOVE - White Choco

4. Ai Otsuka - Yumekui

3. Utada Hikaru - Boku wa Kuma

2. Monkey Majik - Endless Summer with Blaise Plant

1. Utada Hikaru - Stay Gold

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Review: Koizora

Alternative Titles: Sky of Love
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Nov. 3, 2007

  • Aragaki Yui as Mika
  • Miura Haruma as Hiro
Mika is freshman at a high school. One day she loses her cell phone. A classmate at her school named Hiro finds her cell phone and tells her where it is. Hiro calls Mika to have conversations even though Mika doesn’t know who’s calling. At first, Mika is annoyed by the stranger that keeps calling her, but after a while, Mika starts to fall in love with him.

I haven’t had a good experience with romance J-movies. The only romance J-movie that I gave a very good rating to was Heavenly Forest. I find most of them to be very slow-paced with an unoriginal story. Koizora was no different. It has the most cliché storylines packed into a single J-movie. Judging from my summary, it might seem like the story is original, but I just describe the first 30 or so minutes of the movie. After that, the movie is filled with things we’ve seen a million times in Japanese dramas and movies. In addition, the story is incredibly slow-paced which makes it boring at times. There are many scenes were there’s complete silence without any background music or dialogue. In addition, like many other romance J-movies, the ending is a bit controversial. You’ll probably wish that the ending was slightly different.

On the positive side, Aragaki Yui brought some enjoyment to the otherwise boring movie. She’s a perfect fit as a schoolgirl. Aragaki has actually starred in several school dramas before and she has great acting in all of them. Aragaki isn’t as good as popular actresses like Horikito Maki and Toda Erika, but she’s pretty close. However, I wasn’t too pleased with the acting of Miura Haruma. He didn’t act out some the scenes as good as I would’ve liked, especially in the very tense scenes.

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  • Aragaki Yui fits perfectly in a school girl role
  • Most cliché storylines packed into one J-movie
  • Very slow-paced
  • Some might not like the ending
  • Didn’t like acting from Miura Haruma
Some people might get some enjoyment because of Aragaki Yui, but if you’re not a fan then you should stay away from Koizora.

Rating: 5/10

Video Preview
Warning: The second half of this trailer contains spoilers.

Related Reviews
Papa to Musume
Dragon Zakura

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Review: Attention Please Special

Alternative Title: アテンションプリーズ
Genre: Romance, comedy
Broadcast: Jan. 2007
Ueto Aya as Misaki Yoko
Nishikido Ryo as Nakahara Shota

Now that Misaki Yoko has passed her basic flight attendant training, she begins her training for international flights. As part of her training, she is assigned to a flight to Honolulu, Hawaii.

I wasn’t pleased with the original series, so I wasn’t expecting a lot from the special. But to my surprise, the special was a lot worse than I imagined. The number one thing that ruined the special was definitely the story. It was the most lame, cheesy and downright boring mix of story elements I’ve ever seen in any drama or drama special. The first 45 minutes had absolutely no story, just a bunch of training sessions and Yoko serving people on the plane. It’s not until an hour into the special that a story starts to develop, but it’s just a very lame and predictable romance story involving some hula dancer. The conflict of the story is quickly resolved in 30 minutes and then you realize that you’ve wasted 1.5 hours of your time.

The series was supposed to be a comedy, but it really wasn’t. Same with the special, it tries really hard to be funny, but there was nothing that made me laugh (other than how lame the romance story was). In addition, I hoped that the special would finish off the romance subplot from the original series involving Misaki Yoko, but in my opinion, it didn’t. Overall, like the series, the special doesn’t focus on one genre. It tries to be many different genres and doesn’t excel at any of them.

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  • [Can’t think of anything]
  • Lame and predictable romance subplot which doesn’t last long
  • More scenes showing flight attendant training
  • First 45 min. had absolutely no story
  • Other subplots are boring
  • Labelled as comedy, but wasn’t funny
The worst drama (series or special) that I’ve ever watched.

Rating: 2/10

Related Review
Attention Please (series)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review: Dororo

Alternative Title: どろろ
Genre: Action, adventure
Release Date: Jan. 27, 2007

  • Shibasaki Kou as Dororo
  • Tsumabuki Satoshi as Hyakkimaru
After losing a battle, a desperate feudal lord makes a pact with demons, offering his son’s body in exchange for the ability to rule the world. When the son is born, being an immortal and barely human, he is abandoned by his parents. Many years later, that same son, now named Hyakki-maru, is on a mission to kill the demons that took away his human body. After fighting one of the demons, he meets a thief named Dororo.


As some of you may have guessed, I’m a hug fan of historical/quasi-historical J-movies. I’ve seen several of them so far, but none of them disappointed me greatly. All of the historical J-movies I’ve reviewed so far had something I liked. But that was before I watched Dororo. I had high expectations after watching the awesome trailer, but it turned out to be the worst historical J-movie I’ve ever watched.

This is the first J-movie that I’ve watched with a lead male role played by women. I thought it would be interesting to see actress Shibasaki Kou play a boy, but it wasn’t. I thought Shibasaki tries way too hard to act like a boy. She forces her voice lower, slants her eyebrows and always tries to look tough throughout the entire movie. The result is a extremely annoying character that makes the movie almost unwatchable. Another huge miss is the CGI used to create the monsters. Saying that the CGI was terrible would be an understatement. They were sooo terrible even the first Starwars movie had better CGI and it was made more than 30 years ago. CGI was unrealistic (some even looked 2-D) and some of the monster movements were choppy.

It wasn’t only the CGI that was bad, all the special affect were terrible. In one scene, they even used someone dressed in a monster costume and it looked like one of those monsters from Power Rangers. This scene probably had the worst special effects of the whole movie, since they tried to make the monster seem gigantic but it was obviously just the size of a human.

The only major thing that I liked about Dororo was how it remained gritty and dark throughout the whole movie. The colours are very dark and some effects were used to add to the dark feel. I noticed that for one scene they made the picture look a bit grainy which fitted well with what was going on in the scene. However, this didn’t do much to make the overall movie more enjoyable.

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  • Maintains a dark/gritty look throughout the whole movie
  • Last fight scene was decent
  • Shibasaki tires too hard to act like a boy, making her character very annoying
  • Special effects were TERRIBLE!
  • Every other fight scene was mediocre
  • Minor characters get too much attention
  • Story was unoriginal
  • Music was annoying at times
Stay away from this one at all costs!!!(>_<)


Video Preview

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Review: Zettai Kareshi

Alternative Titles: 絶対彼氏。, Absolute Boyfriend
Genre: Romance, comedy
Episodes: 11
Broadcast: Apr. - Jun. 2008

  • Hayami Mokomichi as Tenjo Night
  • Mizushima Hiro as Asamoto Soshi
  • Aibu Saki as Izawa Riiko
Kronos Heaven, a robot maker, develops “Tenjo Night”, a robot programmed to be the perfect boyfriend. The company finds a temp office worker named Izawa Riiko and realizes that she’s the perfect person to test the new robot on. Kronos Heaven gives her a free 5-day trail, but Riiko only sees Night as an appliance.

Interesting Fact
Zettai Kareshi is based on the manga of the same name, but the two are very different. For example, in the manga, Riiko is a school girl and Soshi is her childhood friend. In the drama, Riiko is an adult working at a pastry company and Soshi is her boss.

I expected that this was going to be a good drama. I’ve read a couple of Yuu Watase mangas before, but I’ve never read Zettai Kareshi. Nevertheless, I thought this going to be a fun drama to watch. After finishing the series, it was actually a bit better than I first thought.

The number one thing I liked about this drama was the story. I thought it was very original, but more importantly, it was well-paced. Nearly every episode ended with a cliff-hanger to keep you tuned and I didn’t feel like there were any downright boring scenes. In other words, every episode had something to offer to keep your attention. I also thought the character development was done very well done. The series does a great job showing how Riiko grows closer to Night. In addition, the acting was good. Aibu Saki is perfect for the role. As for Hayami Mokomichi, I think he did an alright job portraying a robot, though its hard to critique someone who’s playing a robot since robots aren’t suppose to have emotions.

I had only had two major annoyances. The first episode introduced a co-worker at Riiko’s workplace who Riiko had a crush on. However, at the end of the episode, he just disappears from the series and he’s never seen again in any other episode. This left the story kind of unfinished at the end of episode one. Also, the last episode was a bit weaker than I thought. The main conflict with Night was resolved very early on, so most of the episode was more like an epilogue and it was slow-placed compared to the other episodes. But anyhow, the ending was good.

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  • Story was well-paced
  • Cliff-hangers keep you watching
  • Character development was excellent
  • Acting was good
  • Story in first episode was a bit unfinished
  • Last episode was weaker than I thought
  • Special effects were terrible
Most J-drama fans will get plenty of enjoyment from this drama. I recommend you to watch at least three episodes before deciding whether you want to continue.

Rating: 8.7/10

Video Preview

Related Reviews
Attention Please
Hana Kimi

Friday, July 4, 2008

Announcement: All TopCharts Fixed

As some of you have noticed, a couple of videos in my TopChart posts are “broken”. They were removed by the user or by the video hosting site.

I’m now happy to announce that I’ve replaced all “broken” videos with new ones. You can now fully enjoy every TopChart!

Here’s a complete list of all the TopCharts I’ve posted (starting from the oldest):

Thursday, June 26, 2008

TopChart: Top15 Summer PVs


To celebrate the start of summer, here’s the top16 PVs about summer!

My comments continue the following phrase: Summer’s all about…

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One Year Anniversary


Today’s the day. The Keizou Journal has now been in operation for one year! As part of the anniversary, I’ve already made two major changes. One is the change to the Featured Artists posts and the other was the introduction of Anime movie reviews.

Be sure to stay tuned! In the coming I plan on making some major changes. One of them is so significant, that I’ve been working on it for a few weeks (you can try to guess what it is).

UPDATE: New Layout and Design, codename: Graphite
- June 19, 2008

Well, here’s the big surprise: a revamp of the layout and design of The Keizou Journal. I’ve been tirelessly working on it for a few weeks and I FINALLY completed it today, after overcoming a couple of issues. I had to temporarily cut off access to The Keizou Journal so that I was able to implement the changes.

I wanted the new template to make TheKJ more readable. Therefore, I decided to make a template with dark backgrounds and light text so that reading the blog is easier on the eyes. I also tried to make navigating the site a bit easier.

Even though the design is finalize, I’ll still be making some minor changes over the next few days.

Anyways, I hope everyone enjoys this new design. It would be much appreciated if you vote in the poll and post any comments/suggestions you might have. Thanks! (^_^)

Also, I thought it would be nice to give my templates codenames, so this new one is called Graphite and the previous is known as Rounds.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Review: Heavenly Forest

Alternative Titles: Tada, kimi wo aishiteru
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Oct. 27, 2006

  • Miyazaki Aoi as Satonaka Shizuru
  • Tamaki Hiroshi as Segawa Makoto
Makoto is a shy person who has no friends. After he attends his university entrance ceremony, he meets Shizuru. Unlike others, Makoto becomes more comfortable around Shizuru. They develop a close friendship and Makoto tells her about his hobby, photography. Makoto also shows her a secret forest where he gets most of his photos from. Their bond grows closer, but they face obstacles that could ruin everything.

Heavenly Forest was a big surprise for me. It turned out to be more entertaining than I first thought, most likely because of the characters. The two main characters aren’t the usual ones you see often in a romance J-movie. Makoto is a sky freshman at his university and Shizuru, also a first year student, is someone who doesn’t have growth hormones, has no friends, and is sensitive to other people. Throughout the movie, it’s interesting to see how an unlikely couple develop a relationship. As for the story, it was okay. I thought it had some originality, but most of it was a slice-of-life story. With that in mind, I thought some parts would be very boring, but there weren’t any scenes that were too boring that it ruined the movie.

Another thing I thought was well done was these two scenes that were extremely beautiful. I don’t want to reveal too much because the two scenes contain major spoilers. One scene takes place in the forest, about three quarters through the movie. It can also be argued that this scene was the climax to the movie. The other scene took place about 10 minutes before the end of the movie. Also, I thought the whole ending was very good, using flashbacks and photos to elegantly end the movie. The last major aspect of the movie that I enjoyed was the acting by Miyazaki Aoi. The other actors were alright, but the charming Miyazaki fits the role perfectly.

The only beef I had with Heavenly Forest was that it vaguely explains Shizuru’s side of the story in the last quarter of the movie. I thought it would have been better if it explained Miyazaki’s character is more depth and what happened to her towards the end of the movie instead of focusing all the attention on Makoto.

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  • Story isn’t as boring as first thought
  • Two scenes were extremely well-done
  • Miyazaki Aoi and Tamaki Hiroshi have great chemistry
  • Vaguely explains Shizuru’s side of the story during last quarter
  • Ending might be a bit disappointing for some
Heavenly Forest is my favourite live-action romance J-movie so far. Not a must-watch, but it’s worth a try for most fans of romance J-movies.

Rating: 8.5

Video Preview
Note: I think this trailer reveals way too much about the movie. It even shows a scene from the last few scenes of the movie! Only watch the first 50 seconds of this trailer if you want to avoid the spoilers.

Related Reviews (Romance J-movies)
Nada Sousou
Nana 1 & Nana 2

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Review: Hanayome to Papa

Alternative Title: 花嫁とパパ
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Episodes: 12
Broadcast: Apr. - Jun. 2007

  • Ishihara Satomi as Uzaki Aiko
  • Tokito Saburo as Uzaki Kentaro
  • Taguchi Junnosuke as Miura Seiji
Uzaki Aiko just got hired at a clothing design company, but her father still treats her like a child and places house rules that she has to follow. One of the rules is no soliciting with the opposite sex. Nevertheless, Aiko falls in love with a co-worker at her workplace and begins a mission to convince her father to accept her boyfriend and remove the house rules.

I really didn’t expect much from Hanayome to Papa before watching it. The only reason why I choose to watch it was because I never watched a drama starring Ishihara Satomi. Considering her popularity, I thought I’d at least watch one of their dramas. After sitting through the entire series, it turned out to be a mixed bag, with some episodes being better than others. More specifically, I thought the second half of the series was much better than the first half. The second half had more twists, making the story more interesting and entertaining. It also had a more serious tone, allowing for a better showcase of Ishihara’s acting abilities. There was also a fair amount of tense moments that were well acted by the main characters.

There were two main things I disliked about Hanayome to Papa. One obviously being the first half, which I thought was a drag to watch. It was basically about Aiko trying to convince her father to allow her marriage. My other dislike was the chemistry between Ishihara Satomi and Taguchi Junnosuke. Throughout the entire series, they seemed like good friends rather than I couple. They always appear to be nervous when they were around each other. They should have showed how their relationship developed throughout the series, instead of making it seem like they were friends for the entire show.

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  • Second half had a more interesting story, better acting
  • Some scenes had terrific acting
  • The most family-friendly romance drama I’ve seen
  • First half was boring
  • Chemistry between Ishihara and Taguchi wasn’t so great
This drama would be a waste of time for most fans. I would only watch the whole series if you were a fan of Ishihara or Taguchi (from J-pop group KAT-TUN). If you’re looking for a better Father-Daughter drama, I recommend Papa to Musume.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Featured Artist: JYONGRI

Note: My second major change to The Keizou Journal is a revamp of my Featured Artist posts. I’ve decided to include a PV, pictures and a brief bio in one embed. This allows you to listen/watch a PV, view photos and read a bio of the artist at ONE time(!)


My first revamped Feature Artist post is Jyongri. Be sure to vote on the poll and post any suggestions or comments you may have. ENJOY!!!(^_^)

This includes one of her latest PVs, “Kissing Me”. I recommend you watch it from the site where I created it. That way, the size of the video and pictures will be larger. (Sorry in advance for the slightly delayed sound. I uploaded it several times, but it kept being delayed.)

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I’ve also included a playlist of my favourite songs by JYONGRI.

Jyongri is my all-time favourite artists out of all the ones I’ve featured so far, mostly because all her songs combine Japanese and English lyrics very beautifully. I also enjoy how her songs are very upbeat. Jyongri is a fairly new artist, debuting about two years ago. She’s definitely an artist I expect to grow into a very popular Japanese singer/songwriter.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Review: 5 Centimetres per Second

Alternative Titles: 秒速5センチメートル, Byosoku Go Senchimetoru
Genre: Romance, Drama
Release Date: Mar. 3, 2007

Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari are close friends who become separated after graduating from high school because of their families moving. They keep in touch with each other through letter mail, but they’re afraid that they’ll never see each other again. One day, Tono decides to visit Akira.

5 Centimetres per Second is definitely one anime movie I’ll never forget. I initially had high expectations for the film and they were almost exceeded. In my opinion, the strongest part of this movie was the animation. Saying that the animation quality was breathtaking would be an understatement. I thought the animation was so well done, it was beyond breathtaking. Everything was just extremely detailed and flashy. Even minor things like the main character’s watch and packages in a convenience store are drawn with so much detail that it looks like the real thing.

As you might have guessed, the story isn’t one of its strong points. The story isn’t very original and it’s a fairly simple slice of life story. However, the way that the story is told is the strong point. The story is told mainly using the thoughts of the main characters. In other words, what they were thinking of during each scene. This way of presenting the story makes every line of speech very poetic and touching. Overall, it gives added value to the simple story.

The only part of 5 Centimetres per Second that I disliked was the last 5 minutes. These last 5 minutes contains a montage of several different scenes. The montage was nice to see, however, the problem with it was that some of the scenes were flashbacks, while some where completely new. The new scenes cause you to desperately want to see what happened to lead up to that scene. However, the only thing you can do is guess what happened. I thought they should have eliminated the montage and added another 30 minutes to the movie to clarify some of these parts.

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  • Best animation quality, I’ve ever seen in any anime
  • Story is told in a very poetic way
  • Sound effects and background music was excellent
  • Very simple slice of life story
  • Last part contained several puzzling scenes; have to guess what happened to the main characters
Just watching the first two episodes would have made a near-perfect ending. Therefore, I recommend the first two episodes. I can’t say the same for the last episode. Just be aware that you might be disappointed if you watch the last episode.

Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Announcement: Introducing anime movie reviews

Like I’ve announced before, on the 18th of June, The Keizou Journal will be in operation for one year, yay~(ノ^_^)ノ. Therefore, I’m starting to make some major announcements.

My first major announcement is that I’ll be starting to review anime movies. I made this decision because I’ve watched a few anime movies lately that I thought would be fun to review. However, the number of anime movies I’ll review will be very limited since I don’t watch them often. Also, I’m placing restrictions on what anime movies I can review.

I won’t be reviewing anime movies based on an existing anime series, including adaptations, sequels and prequels. For example, I won’t be reviewing the Naruto or Bleach movies because they’re based on an anime series. Everything else, I can review.

Stay tuned for my first anime movie review, which I’m close to completing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Review: Attention Please

Alternative Title: アテンションプリーズ
Genre: Comedy
Episodes: 11
Broadcast: Apr. – Jun. 2006

  • Ueto Aya as Misaki Yoko
  • Nishikido Ryo as Nakahara Shouta
  • Aibu Saki as Wakamura Yayoi
  • Uehara Misa as Hirota Saori
As a child, Misaki Yoko always hung out with boys and stayed away from girls. When she becomes an adult, she starts a band with four of her male friends. One day, the band decides to break up because one of the members, Tsukasa, gets a job in Tokyo. Misaki has feelings for Tsukasa, but is afraid to tell him. When Misaki goes to the airport to see Tsukasa for the last time, Tsukasa tells Misaki that he wonders what she would look like as a flight attendant. After hearing that, Misaki decides to become a flight attendant.

I wanted to watch Attention Please because Ueto Aya plays the main character and I’ve never seen a drama with Ueto Aya before. After seeing her in Azumi, I had high expectations for a drama with her, but after watching the series, I was disappointed by many things.

In the first three episodes, it was kind of interesting to see what kind of training flight attentions have to go through. However, the series absolutely overdid it with the training. Attention Please become more like a training video for flight attentions than a drama. After episode three, the training just becomes really boring. Every episode just features a class of trainees being trained by an iron-face teacher who is as boring as the training itself. Just to give you an example, the worst training scene was probably the one about how to bow and say “thank you” the proper way. There was about two episodes about this and you can imagine how boring it is watching dozens trainees bowing and saying “thank you”.

The overuse of training was definitely one of the problems with Attention Please, but I thought the most significant problem was the lack of focus on one specific genre. Instead, it attempts to have many genres, but none of them stand out. It tries really hard to be a romance drama, but all of the romance subplots were weak and some were unfinished. It also tries to be a comedy in many scenes, but those scenes just featured some over-the-top passengers and were completely “dry”.

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  • Interesting to see how flight attendants are trained…
  • …but they absolutely overdid it with the training
  • Was more of a flight attendant training video than a drama
  • Tries to mix a variety of genres but none truly stand out
  • Romance subplots were weak and some gone unfinished
  • Subplot about Misaki’s roommate = worst subplot EVER
  • Ending was terrible, one of the worst I’ve seen
I recommend that everyone stay away from this one, but if you really want to watch this (I’m guessing many female fans will want to watch because of Nishikido Ryo from NEWS), just watch the first episode then watch episodes ten and eleven. You’ll miss some minor stuff here and there, but you’ll get the gist of the story.

Rating: 4/10

Stay Tuned! Believe it or not, they actually made two specials and I plan on reviewing both of them. Hopefully, the specials will finish off some the romance subplots and be more entertaining than the series.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Review: 69

Alternative Titles: シクスティナイン, Sixty-nine
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Jul. 10, 2004

  • Tsumabuki Satoshi as Yazaki Kenichi
  • Masanobu Ando as Tadashi "Adama" Yamada
Ken, a high school student, hopes to catch a girl’s attention by creating a festival that would include film, theatre and rock music. After talking to the girl he has a crush on, he then develops his project into barricading the school. He gathers a group of students to help him out. However, his plan also catches the attention of the local media and the police.

After finding out about this movie, I watched a trailer of it and read some comments on various sites. I definitely thought this movie was going to be a hilarious ride, but it wasn’t as funny as I first hyped. In my opinion, 69 turned out to be the most random J-movie I’ve seen. First and foremost, the story is just off the charts. Some high school student wants to barricade his school to impress a girl. This movie was so random that I didn’t even know what was going on for most scenes. I didn’t know if I was too bored to enjoy or what, but this movie does have a lot of randomness to it. There are many scenes where you just don’t know what the main characters are trying to do. Its clear that they’re trying to barricade the school and start a festival, but for there are parts that seem they aren’t connected to the main story.

Also, another downside to the movie that I would like to mention is that one of the scenes is REALLY disgusting. The most disgusting scene in any J-movie, ever. If you decide to watch 69, make sure you’re not eating something or else you’ll barf it out.

On the flip side, there were some scenes that were absolutely hilarious. However, that’s the only good thing I can say about the movie.

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  • Some scenes were absolutely hilarious
  • Story is completely random
  • Didn’t understand what was going on for most of the movie
  • One of the scenes is really disgusting (don’t eat anything while watching this movie! (-_-‘)
The funny scenes definitely don’t offset my dislikes of 69. I would stay away from it at all costs.

Rating: 5/10

Friday, April 25, 2008

Review: Stand Up!!

Genre: Love, comedy
Episodes: 11
Broadcast: Jul. - Sept. 2003

  • Ninomiya Kazunari as Asai Shouhei
  • Yamashita Tomohisa as Iwasaki Kengo
  • Oguri Shun as Enami Kouji
  • Narimiya Hiroki as Udagawa Hayato
  • Suzuki Anne as Oowada Chie
Four friends are teased by their schoolmates as the only virgins in the entire school. When summer break begins, they go on a mission to end their virginity. During the break, one of their childhood friends named Chie, comes back to her four best friends after 11 years apart. However, Chie isn’t the beautiful girl they once knew 11 years ago. Despite seeing Chie again, the four buddies continue their mission. Shouhei gets a crush on his English teacher and tries to win her love. Kengo tries to convince his stubborn girlfriend to have sex with him. Soccer team captain, Kouji and the panties-loving Hayato, also continue their journey to get laid.

When I first found out about Stand Up!!, I realized that many people were saying that it’s like the American Pie of Japanese dramas. I agree that Stand Up!! and American Pie has some similarities, but after watching the entire series, Stand Up!! turns out to be very different. I have to emit that before watching the entire series, I really did think Stand Up!! was going to be very similar to American Pie. In other words, I thought that it would just be about a group of guys trying to get laid. After watching the series, I noticed it had some story elements about friendship and romance that provide plenty of drama to the series. The stuff about getting laid and other mature stuff provides tons of humour. In the end, Stand Up!! is a great mix of friendship, romance and humour.

The two most important things about Stand Up!! that made it an enjoyable drama was the humour and the characters. There’s always at least one funny scene in each episode and of course, there wouldn’t any humour without the huge line-up of funny and unique characters. The drama even portrays the whole community that is home to the main characters, including parents and fellow classmates. I especially like how there’s a couple of entertaining minor characters that make an appearance in every episode.

Another plus-side is the cast that plays the major characters. You can’t get a better all-star male cast than the one in Stand Up!!. Ninomiya Kazunari and Yamashita Tomohisa are from extremely popular boy bands Arashi and NEWS, respectively. Oguri Shun, Narimiya Hiroki, and Suzuki Anne are popular actors who you may remember from some popular dramas and movies. All of these actors do a exceptional job portraying their characters. I wasn’t overly disappointed with any of the acting by the major characters.

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Stand Up!! does deal with mature subjects, but there’s absolutely no full nudity from episodes 1 to 10. However, to my surprise, there was a flash of frontal nudity in the last episode. It came without warning and it was very awkward and definitely didn’t fit with in the series.

  • A lot more than just about getting laid
  • Good mix of humour, romance, drama
  • One of the funniest dramas I’ve seen
  • Good line-up of characters
  • Well-known cast
  • Minor characters that make appearances every episode
  • Wacky music fits well with some of the scenes
  • Story was a bit weak in the first two episodes
Stand Up!! has something for everyone, because of its mix of genres. I definitely recommend it to all drama fans, but since it does deal with mature subjects, I only recommend it to people over 16.

Rating: 9.5/10

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Back in Action~!

Hi readers,

As you know, I haven't posted for a while now (a little more than a month) because I've been quite busy with university exams. However, I recently finished my exams so stay tuned to The Keizou Journal as I now have four months of summer break! Expect many more posts for the weeks to come. (I'm actually working on three new posts as I post this message). Also, The Keizou Journal will be turning one year old on June 18, so I'll be trying to do something special. (^_^)v

Thursday, March 20, 2008

TopChart: Top23 Sakura PVs


It’s the first day of spring so I’ve created a TopChart full of PVs about sakura (cherry blossoms). As most of you know, sakura is major part of Japanese culture, so much so that artists release songs about sakura every year.

I’ve judged each PV on the actual song as well as the PV itself. This is the most extensive TopChart I’ve created so far, so sit back, relax and ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review: Nada Sousou

Alternative Titles: Nada sô sô, 涙そうそう, Tears for you
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Sept. 30, 2006

  • Nagasawa Masami as Shingaki Kaoru
  • Tsumabuki Satoshi as Shingaki Youtaro
When Youtaro was a young child, his mother marries another man who plays at a Jazz club in Naha, Okinawa (the place where Youtaro and his mother lives). The man’s daughter, named Kaoru becomes Youtaro’s step sister. Soon after, Kaoru’s father abandons her and Youtaro’s mother dies. Before she dies, she tells Youtaro to send Kaoru to his grandmother’s place. To fulfill his mother’s last wishes, Youtaro sends Kaoru to a small island to live with Youtaro’s grandmother while Youtaro says in Naha. Thirteen years later, Kaoru returns to Naha to live with Youtaro and attend high school. However, several problems face Youtaro and Kaoru as they continue to live together.

After watching the trailer a few days before watching the movie, I thought Nada Sousou would be a boring movie to watch. After watching the movie, I was surprise to see myself actually enjoying some of the movie. However, I didn’t enjoyed not because of the story, but rather the superb acting by the main characters.

I thought the story was not very original. It’s just about brother and sister finding their ways through different problems. I also didn’t like certain aspects of the story. For one, there are a few “plot-holes” in the story, especially concerning Youtaro’s and Kaoru’s past . For example, we don’t really know if Youtaro went with Kaoru to his grandmother’s place, I just assumed he stayed in Naha to simplify things. Secondly, I thought that the last 30 minutes or so were absolutely unneeded. It just ruined the entire movie for me because it had no relation to any other part of the story and I felt like it was just thrown in there for no reason. The last 30 minutes also made me felt like the story had gone unfinished. I don’t want to explain this too much because I’ll be spilling out some spoilers, but if you watched the movie you might get a better understanding of what I mean.

On the other hand, although the story wasn’t very interesting, at least it was heart warming. You might get watery eyes when watching some of the scenes. Also, most of the acting was pretty good. Nagasawa Masami, who you might recognize from many J-dramas, does a superb job in this movie. The same can be said for Tsumabuki Satoshi and most of the other actors who are in supporting roles.

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  • Not as boring as I first thought
  • Nagasawa is a great actress (as always)
  • Heart-warming story
  • Last 30 min. of movie were totally unnecessary and ruined the whole movie
  • Story was not very original
  • A few elements of the story are unexplained
If you enjoy romance movies, I would definitely recommend the first hour and half. I just can’t recommend the last 30 minutes for the reasons I’ve previously stated.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Poll: Winter 08 J-Drama Season

I recently browsed through all the J-dramas that are currently-airing for the winter season (Jan.-Mar.) and I was just overwhelmed by the number of dramas that seem like they're worth watching. Therefore, I thought it would be interested to start my very first real poll and find out what currently-airing dramas you are watching or plan to watch.

Please note that I couldn't fit every single currently-airing drama on the list. I just choose the ones that are generally the popular ones. If there's a drama not on this poll that you want to vote for, just leave a comment. (^_^)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Review: Papa to Musume no Nanokakan

Alternative Titles: パパとムスメの7日間, Seven days of a Father and Daughter
Genre: Comedy
Episodes: 7
Broadcast: Jul. – Aug. 2007

  • Tachi Hiroshi as Kawahara Kyoichiro
  • Aragaki Yui as Kawahara Koume
  • Kato Shigeaki as Osugi Kenta
Kyoichiro and his daughter Koume have a very bad daughter-father realationship. They rarely speak to each other and if they do, they’re probably arguing. One day, the Kawahara family goes to the countryside to visit Kyoichiro’s mother. When returning from the trip, the train they’re travelling on a malfunction which causes Kyoichiro and Koume to become unconscious. When they wake up in the hospital, hey find out they have switched bodies.

When I found out about Papa to Musume no Nanokakan, I became very interested in this drama. I expected it to have very original story and be filled with good acting and humour. After completing the drama in only two weeks, I have to say that it lived up to most of my expectations. Firstly, the story was very original and interesting. I thought that each episode had something to contribute to the overvall story. Since the series in only seven episodes, I didn’t felt that any of the episodes were just thrown in for no reason.

Each episode just deals with the various problems that Kyoichiro and Koume must overcome after having switched bodies. Kyoichiro (being inside his daughter’s body) lives the life of a high-schooler while Koume must learn the ropes of her father’s company. The parts showing Koume adapting to her father’s workplace might turn-off some people, but I thought they weren’t as bad as I originally thought because it doesn’t focus too much on business. Generally speaking, each episode had me laughing in at least one scene, but considering the story, I thought there was the potential for a lot more funny scenes. Another major aspect that I enjoyed was the background music. Papa to Musume no Nanokakan has the best background music I’ve heard in any drama. There’s absolutely no synthesized music, it’s all original orchestral pieces that fit well with what’s going on in the plot.

The only major thing I disliked was the acting by Kato Shigeaki (from J-Pop NewS) who plays the soccer player that Koume has a crush on. He is easily the worst actor I’ve ever seen in any drama. I know many female fans will like his looks, but in my opinion, he shows absolutely no emotion when acting.

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  • Best background music I’ve heard in any drama
  • At least one funny scene in each episode
  • Overall, acting was good
  • Ending was perfect
  • Although he has the looks, Kato Shigeaki (NewS) is by far, the worst drama actor I’ve seen (ーー;)
  • Had potential to be a lot funnier
I think most fans will get plenty of enjoyment from this drama. You should at least give it a try.

Rating: 8.7/10

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Here's the first 10 minutes or episode one.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish all readers a Happy New Year! The Keizou Journal started in mid-June and so far, I'm happy with the number of visitors. O(≧∇≦)O

Since it was the holidays for me, I had time to watch a lot of dramas and prepare blog posts. Stay tuned to The Keizou Journal! I'll be writing more blog posts and hopefully I'll be ready to announce a new type of blog post!