Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New About Page

I've been using the same about page since I started The Keizou Journal, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a major revamp of it.

Overall, it tells you a lot more about the blog and me. Hope every likes the new about page!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Review: Zettai Kareshi Special

Warning: This review contains spoilers for those who haven’t watched the Zettai Kareshi drama series.

Alternative Title: Absolute Boyfriend, 絶対彼氏。
Genre: romance
Broadcast: Mar. 2009
  • Hayami Mokomichi as Tenjo Night
  • Mizushima Hiro as Asamoto Soshi
  • Aibu Saki as Izawa Riiko
It’s been 3 years since the events of the last episode of the drama. Riiko has returned from Paris, successfully completing her patissier training. She is hired by Asamoto’s business to create a new pastry and Night is mysteriously revived by a Kronos Heaven employee.


Acting remains somewhat solid: Just like in the drama, I thought Hayami Mokomichi does a good job playing a robot and Aibu Saki is pretty good as well.

Continues the Zettai Kareshi “saga”: This isn’t really a “pro”. It just that there isn’t really nothing that I enjoyed in this special, but at least they made a continuation of the drama series, which ended abruptly.


More like a retelling of the original series: My biggest dislike for this special is the story. There are several things that I thought were done poorly (which I described below). But my biggest upset was how the story is very similar to that of the drama. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’ll just say that you’ll get a lot of déjà vu when you watch this special.

No scenes showing Riiko’s patissier (pastry chef) training: As you might have remembered, at the end of the series, Riiko went to Paris to train to be a patissier. I thought the special would show how Riiko goes through her training. The whole patissier thing was pretty important in the drama series, but in the special, it’s very insignificant. The special just fast forwards 3 years when Riiko returns from her training.

Ending was unsatisfying: The ending left a lot to be desired. It doesn’t quite finish up the storylines that were introduced in the drama and in this special. For example, the special doesn’t explain if Soshi’s pastry business goes well. Plus, there’s a bunch of other things that go unfinished.

That American company was a huge gimmick: The makers obviously wanted this special to be more attractive by randomly adding this top secret US organization to the story. In the end, it actually made the overall story even worse. It seemed like it was supposed to be a main part of the story, but the organization is quickly introduced and eliminated. In addition, the story doesn’t do a good job of explaining this secret organization, leaving you with a plot hole.

Bad special effects: Not a significant dislike for me since there wasn’t too much special effects. But the special effects were absolutely terrible, just like in the drama series.

Recommendation: I only recommend this special to those who watched the series and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I think you’ll be disappointed.

Rating: 5/10

Video Preview
Here’s the first 5 min. of the special.

Related Reviews
Zettai Kareshi

Friday, July 24, 2009

Announcement: All TopCharts updated

I've been hard at work for the last 2 weeks trying to convert all TopCharts into video playlists and replace broken videos. I was originally going to convert all my charts into the playlist but I decided that the charts with fewer than 10 PVs will be kept in their original format.

I also had to remove my first TopChart since one of the PVs mysteriously disappeared (I think it has something to do w/ imeem closing down its video service).

Anyhow, here's a list of all my TopCharts for your enjoyment (starting from the oldest ones).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Annoucement: TopCharts now in playlist form


Over the past few days, I've been hard at work converting my TopChart posts into very slick video playlists, using a website called Embedr. I doing this so that it's easier to view the TopCharts.

The video playlist allows you to easily view TopCharts without having to load every single embed on the page (which can take a while for slow internet connections).

I'll make another announcement once I'm done all TopCharts. So far, I've converted my Slo-mo PVs and Winter PVs into video playlists.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review: The Handsome Suit

Alternative Title: ハンサム★スーツ, Hansamu sutsu
Genre: romance, comedy
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2008

  • Muga Tsukaji as Takuro Ohki
  • Keiko Kitagawa as Hiroko Hoshino
  • Shosuke Tanihara as Annin Hikariyama
Takuro has never had a girlfriend. After his mother dies, he takes over ownership of her diner. Everyone likes his food but his face and body aren’t so great. He falls in love with a girl who comes in the diner looking for a job. However, she is not attracted to him. When finding a tux for a friend’s wedding, Takuro ends up with the Handsome Suit, a suit that transforms the wearer into a good-looking guy.


Unique story: The number one thing I liked about this movie is it’s story. Only after learning about the story had I decided to watch it. There were some silly and far-fetched things in the story, but at least it’s unique compared to other romance J-movies I’ve watched. I’m getting pretty tried of the classic J-movie romance story about a boy and girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl, separated-somehow, girl-gets-deadly-disease, and love-isn’t-found storyline. The story in this movie is more like a blend of Zettai Kareshi and Densha Otoko.

Underlying message:
Another plus side for me was that the movie had an underlying message for viewers that love should be for what’s in the inside. It’s cliché, but the movie brings out the message well.

Good mix of romance and comedy: Being my first romantic comedy J-movie, The Handsome Suit has a good mix of both genres. There were some hilarious scenes, but that didn’t deter me from enjoying the romance part of the story. Overall, the teary-eye scenes and the funny scenes were done pretty well.

All-star cast: Most people wouldn’t consider this drama to have an all-star cast, but I do. This is partly due to the fact that the two main characters from Mop Girl (one of my J-drama favs) play leading roles in The Handsome Suit. There also a bunch of other actors that fans might remember from popular J-dramas Hana Kimi, Hana Yori Dango and Densha Otoko.


Story is a bit predictable: About a third way’s through the movie, you’ll probably get a very good idea as to how the story will turn out. I don’t think the story is entirely predictable, since there is a twist in the story that I didn’t see coming.

Some wackiness: Although not a huge annoyance for me, I have to admit that sometimes, the movie tries too hard to be funny. It just ends up being really dry and wacky, no humour at all.

Recommendation: I know a lot of people will hate this movie, but if you’re looking for a more unique romance J-movie then watch The Handsome Suit. I would also recommend this movie to those who enjoyed Densha Otoko or Zettai Kareshi.

Rating: 8/10

Video Preview
Note that this trailer does contain some minor spoilers. If you want to avoid them, just watch the first minute of this trailer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Annoucement: twitter!

I've decided to finally join twitter so that you can follow The Keizou Journal via twitter. You can find my twitter page at twitter.com/the_kj.

What's twitter? If you don't know, see this quick video.

Why follow The Keizou Journal on twitter?
Because you'll get...
  • very short versions of my reviews (for those really lazy people)
  • a heads-ups on upcoming reviews and other posts
  • short reviews on non-Japanese movies (J-movies aren't the only movies I watch)
  • updates on what J-music song that I'm currently addicted to
This is my first time ever using twitter so I'm not sure how it'll turn out. If things go well, I'll probably use twitter for even more things, so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Review: Cat Street

Alternative Title: キャットストリート
Genre: Romance, drama
Episodes: 6
Broadcast: Aug. - Oct. 2008
  • Tanimura Mitsuki as Aoyama Keito
  • Katsuji Ryo as Mine Koichi
Aoyama Keito was once a popular child actress, but following a traumatic incident involving her best friend, she distanced herself away from society and her acting career. She is now 17 years old and accidentally enrols in a school for dropouts.


Background music: I’m guessing most J-drama fans don’t pay too much attention to the music in a drama, but it’s something that is important to me and Cat Street does it well. The background music didn’t play too often but when it does, there’s some very nice orchestral music to be heard. Furthermore, the insert song was actually integrated into the story which I thought was very unique and interesting (you’ll see what I mean by this when you watch ep.3).


Acting: You’d expect good acting from the main character since she’s an actress playing an actress, but not so. She does the teary scenes alright, but most of the time she shows no emotion. Also, I noticed that she always stands still, there no emotion in her movements either. Of all the other actors, there’s no one that stood out to me. All of them were you’re average drama actors. Some of the sad scenes were acted out very poorer and I felt like a lot of the actors were melodramatic in alot of the scenes.

Too many diversion from main plot: I expected (and hoped) that the drama would focus on the main plot about Keiko’s acting career. I thought it was a very original story that very few dramas have touched on. In addition, I thought it would be interesting seeing how Keiko progresses through her acting career. However, after watching the drama, it was the complete opposite of what I expected. Most of drama was not about Keiko’s acting career. There were many diversions from it including an episode focusing on a minor character’s love life. There were only two scenes that actually showed people filming and there was only one time we got to see Keiko act in a scene.

Slow pace: Cat Street is only six episodes and I expected the story to move quickly, but overall, this drama had a dreadfully slow pace. I usually find in good dramas that the story is a bit slow at times, but cliffhangers and unexpected twist make up for the slowness. I can’t say the say the same about Cat Street, it was pretty much slow from start to end. Cat Street is filled a lot of scenes where you feel like nothing’s happening to progress the story. Just to give you an ideal of how slow this drama is, Keiko doesn’t go back to her acting career until more than halfway through the drama (!)

I had high expectation from a drama based on a manga by the same manga-ka as HYD. It had very high potential but in the end, it was a huge disappointment. Even if you’re a fan of Kamio Yoko, I wouldn’t recommend this to you.

Rating: 5/10

Video Preview
Here’s the first 5 min. of episode 1.

Related Reviews
HYD season 1
HYD season 2
HYD movie

Monday, June 22, 2009

Review: The Place Promised in our Eearly Days

Alternative Title: 雲のむこう、約束の場所, Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
Genre: romance, sci-fi
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2004
  • Hidetaka Yoshioka as Hiroki Fujisawa
  • Masato Hagiwara as Takuya Shirakawa
  • Yuuka Nanri as Sayuri Sawatari
Japan is divided into two parts after the second World War. One part of Japan, Hokkaido, was taken over by an organization named “Union”, while the rest of Japan is occupied by the United States. After the separation, a mysterious tower was constructed at Hokkaido. In the summer of 1996, three high school students make a promise that they would build an airplane and fly to the tower. While the student are preparing for their adventure, the two parts of Japan edge closer to war as the US tries to unravel the mystery concerning the tower.


Animation: Like Makoto Shinkai’s newer movie, 5 Centimetres per Second, the animation in this movie is absolutely breathtaking. It was released in 2004, but the animation is some of the best I’ve seen. The lighting is very realistic and there’s a great amount of detail in just about everything in the movie. Every single frame in this movie is beautiful. Even when the movie shows a torn down warehouse, all the lighting effects and detail make it irresistible to stare at. Just take a look at the sceenshots and see for yourself.

Poetic script: The script in this movie is very poetic and well-thought. Sure, most of it doesn’t really progress the story, but it is sometimes very touching to listen to and it adds a lot to the emotion to the scene.


Sci-fi, romance…scimance: This movie blends sci-fi with romance, but it doesn’t focus of any one genre, leaving me wishing it did. The sci-fi segments were very loosely explained, creating some confusion about the story. The characters rarely mention the conflict between the two parts of Japan and we mostly learn more about the conflict through short TV messages. Some of the technology seen in the movie looked really interesting, but it’s not explained enough to keep your interest. Also, the romance part of the movie wasn’t really completed. I expected a bit more to happen in terms of the romance sub-plot

Get’s a bit confusing 30 min in: After watching about 30 minutes, the story suddenly flashes forward 3 years and you’re pretty much dropped into a setting which you know nothing about. By the end of the movie, you sort of get the main point of the story, but you’ll probably be still confused about some parts of the story, especially the stuff about the tower. In addition, I wish the movie spent more time explaining what happened to the main characters in those 3 years that we know little about.

Slow-placed story: I also thought the story was a bit slow-paced. There are many scenes showing one of the characters just poetically talking to themselves about life. However, the superb animation and the script sort of make up for those otherwise boring scenes.

There wasn’t enough sci-fi to satisfy sci-fi fans and there’s wasn’t enough romance to satisfy romance fans. However, just taking the animation into consideration, I recommend this movie to everyone.

Rating: 8/10

Video Preview
Here’s a short 1 min. spoiler-free trailer. Note that I had to cut out parts from the original trailer because it had some major spoilers. It actually explained pretty much the whole story!

Related Reviews
5 cm per Second

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Announcement: New review format

I previously said that I’ll be making one major change, so here’s it is. I decided that it’s time to change the format of my reviews (for all future reviews).

The new format is designed to be more organized and concise. Also, I hope it will satisfy all types of readers, those who like to skim by reviews and those who actually read the whole thing. I’ve created a new Review Guideline page that briefly explains the new format.

Like my previous reviews, the new reviews will be completely spoiler-free (incl. the screens, summary and video). If there happens to be a section with spoilers then I’ll clearly indicate it.

One last thing: I’ll be posting a poll sometime in the future (after I’ve wrote a couple of reviews in the new format) so that I can get an idea of what readers think of the new format.

Hope everyone likes the new format (^_^)!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2 Year Anniversary


Today's the day. The Keizou Journal was officially started 2 years ago from today.

Because of this, I've decided to make a few changes to the blog that will take effect over the next few weeks. So far, I'm planning to make one major change and few minor changes.

Note the word "planning" since I'm not too sure yet. However, I hope everyone will like the changes (if they do come).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review: LIFE


Alternative Title: ライフ
Genre: School
Episodes: 11
Broadcast: Jun. - Sept. 2007
  • Kitano Kii as Shiiba Ayumu
  • Fukuda Saki as Anzai Manami
  • Hosoda Yoshihiko as Sako Katsumi
Shiiba Ayumu has a terrible past. She receives help from her best friend Yuuko to successfully complete an exam and enter a prestigious high school. However, Yuuko fails to enter the same school and blames Ayumu for her failure. As a result, Yuuko attempts to commit suicide. Ayumu attends the new school but things get worse. She is continuously bullied by her classmates because of the incident that happened to her in the past.

If you thought Nobuta wo Produce dealt with bullying in schools, you’re in for a surprise. LIFE pretty much deals with a ton of issues including bullying, raping and gangs, just to name a few. But after watching the entire series, I have to say that there’s way too much bullying for the first 5 or so episodes. There was almost no progression in the story. It was just about the main character getting bullied with few students or teachers caring about the situation.

However, the first 5 episodes weren’t the biggest issue for me. I thought the biggest annoyance was the music. Most of the background music is this synthesized heavy-metal music stuff. Saying it was dreadful would’ve been an understatement. LIFE has some of the most repetitive, horrible, annoying background music I’ve ever heard. It almost ever fits with the mood of a scene since it’s always fast-paced and repetitive. Out of all the scenes in the drama, there were only a very few that actually had good music. Another thing I disliked was the ending. I don’t want to reveal anything too much about the story so all I’ll say that the ending might leave some disappointed.

In terms of the good stuff, I would have to say the last half was LIFE’s strongest advantage. After episode 5, I saw myself wanting to watch LIFE more than before. The story got more exciting and it wasn’t just about the main character getting continuously bullied. Another plus side is the acting. Overall, I thought every actor did a good job, considering most of them are old teenagers or young adults. The actor that stood out the most was definitely the main character played my Kitano Kii. Lately, she’s been starring in leading roles in more J-movie and J-dramas. I’m certain she’ll be one of the most popular J-drama actresses in the years to come.

  • Acting, epically from main character
  • Second half of the series
  • Deals with a lot of issues not found in other dramas
  • Absolutely horrible background music
  • First half of series
  • Ending might leave some disappointed
I certainly consider the pros to outweigh the cons for LIFE. The music is horrible but the story and acting will make up for it. If you’re a fan of school dramas, this is one school drama that is like no other and you should give it a try.

Rating: 8/10

Video Preview
This a short clip from the first episode. It basically shows what I described in the summary above.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

TopChart: Top15 Slow Motion PVs


This is probably the most interesting TopChart I’ve done so far. I can’t believe I actually found 15 PVs with slow motion footage!

I based this list mostly on how enjoyable the slo-mo was for each PV. ENJOY! (^_^)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: Mop Girl

Alternative Title: モップガール
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Episodes: 10
Broadcast: Oct. - Dec. 2007

  • Kitagawa Keiko as Hasegawa Momoko
  • Tanihara Shosuke as Ohtomo Shotaro
  • Asami Reina as Ookouchi Hina
Hasegawa Momoko works for a wedding planning company, but after a workplace incident, she is transferred to Little Angels, a subsidiary of her former employer that provides funeral services. When she was a child, Momoko was involved in a traffic accident but was saved by a mysterious woman who gave Momoko the ability to travel back in time. When she becomes an adult, she learns that in order to use her ability, she has to touch an important item belonging to a deceased person. Working for a funeral planning company, she often comes into contact with dead people and uses her power to travel back in time to save that person’s life.

Mop girl is probably the biggest surprises I’ve seen and I consider it to be one of the most underrated J-dramas ever. I decided to give Mop Girl a try after reading the summary. It seemed like a very original storyline in terms of J-dramas. However, I didn’t expect much from this drama. I didn’t know most of the cast and I’m not a huge fan of mystery/crime dramas since they’re too episodic for me. After watching the series, I was thoroughly surprise.

The thing I liked most about Mop Girl is that even though it is largely episodic, there’s an overarching plot. Every episode features a different mystery with different secondary characters, but there’s an overarching plot about Momoko’s powers. We don’t know anything about the women who gave Momoko’s power and why exactly did that person have time-travelling powers in the first place. This overarching mystery entices you to continue watching.

Another plus for Mop Girl is that overall, each mystery was fairly good. Most had an unexpected plot twist at the end and I think it’s fair to say that each one was enjoyable. I have to say though, it does get a bit repetitive. All episodes start with a scene briefly showing a mysterious culprit and all episodes end with more or less the same plot twist. However, there’s a lot of variety in each episode that makes up for the repetitiveness. Each mystery features a very different setting and very different characters that we haven’t seen in previous episodes. One episode features a very bad rapper while another is about a group of authors. In terms of setting, one episode takes place in a maid café while another is set in a school.

In addition, I thought Kitagawa Keiko played her role excellently. She’s good at those humorous scenes, but she’s equally good at acting in those sadder scenes. This was the first time I’ve seen her in a drama and I definitely look forward to other J-dramas that feature her.

The biggest upset for me was the last episode. The mystery in the last episode was a bit less enjoyable than the other episodes. The characters introduced in the episode were a bit bland and the story was predictable. Also, the episode only explains the overarching story for less than 5 minutes. I wished they went into more detail about the incident when Momoko received her time-travelling powers. I can only hope a special will be made that will go into further detail and fill in the plot holes.

  • Surprisingly good episodic mystery J-drama
  • All episodes were fairly enjoyable
  • Largely episodic but overarching storyline keeps you wanting more
  • A lot of variety in each episode in terms of characters and setting
  • Kitagawa fits her role well
  • Good mix of comedy, mystery, romance and drama
  • Last episode didn’t go into much detail about overarching story
Mop Girl is one of those undiscovered gems. It’s unpopular, but in my opinion, you should give this drama a try, even if you’re not a fan of mystery dramas.

Rating: 9/10

Video Preview
Here’s a clip from the first episode.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Review: Hana Yori Dango movie

Alternative Title: Hana Yori Dango Final, 花より男子~ファイナル~
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Jun. 28, 2008

  • Mao Inoue as Tsukushi Makino
  • Jun Matsumoto as Tsukasa Domyoji
  • Shun Oguri as Rui Hanazawa
The popular J-drama series Hana Yori Dango ends with this movie. After Tsukasa announces his engagement with Tsukushi, his mother presents him with the family heirloom, a precious tiara called the Smile of Venus. Shortly after, the tiara is stolen and the feuding couple go on an adventure around the world in search of it.

This is one movie I had a lot of expectations (and hype) for. After finishing the second season of Hana Yori Dango, I’ve been waiting for more than a year for this movie to be released. There were definitely a lot of surprises with this movie and not all of them were good.

Let’s get the bad surprises off my shoulders first. One of things that surprised me about this movie was that it’s nothing like the drama series. The drama was known to have addictive episodes with a lot of drama and unpredictable twists. The movie on the other hand, had none of that. I didn’t feel like there were any sad moments like in the drama. In addition, the story was very predictable, you’ll probably have a good idea of the ending once you get halfway through the movie.

In addition, the movie seemed to have a totally different genre than the drama. The drama was mostly drama/romance, but this movie tries to mix in a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t work for a HYD movie. There’s a bit of a mystery element to the movie and there’s even this very long chase scene! It was almost like they were trying to make this a Bond movie and if you think about it, the movie does have a lot of similarities to recent Bond movies. There’s a chase scene, exotic locations, nice hotel rooms, a mysterious baddy, nice cars etc.

I also thought there was some very unnecessary scenes like the one on the tropical island. Overall, it seemed like the plot wasn’t made for Hana Yori Dango fans. They tried to appeal to a greater audience and it failed miserably. I just wish they had formulated a plot that was similar to the drama series.

There wasn’t really anything that stood out for me. The only good thing I can really say is that the movie concluded what the drama started (but of course, not is a good way).

  • It concluded what the drama started
  • Plot is completely different from what HYD fans would expect
  • Poor attempts at other genres like mystery/action
  • The extremely long chase scene
  • Ending is lame
I’m guessing everyone who has watched the HYD drama has already watched this movie. If you’re a HYD fan, I recommend it since it does sort of puts an end to the story, but in my opinion, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

Rating: 5/10

Video Preview
Here’s the clip of that dreadful chase scene that I mentioned.

Related Reviews
Hana Yori Dango season 1
Hana Yori Dango season 2

Friday, May 1, 2009

Back in Action!

You may have noticed my ~3 month hiatus. I'm happy to announce that I've just finished my final exams, so I'll be devoting a lot more time to the blog for my summer break.

In fact, I'm currently working on several posts right now, so stay tuned!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Review: L - Change the World

Alternative Title: Lの本当の秘密
Genre: Action, adventure
Release Date: Feb. 9, 2008

  • Ken'ichi Matsuyama as L
  • Mayuko Fukuda as Maki Nikaido
After writing his own name in the Death Note in order to beat Light Yagami, L only has 28 days to live. He takes on one final case involving a bio-terrorist group that wants to kill humanity with a virus.

I honestly didn’t expect much from this movie. Being a spin-off of the Death Note series, I didn’t think it was going to that good. In the end, this movie was a complete waste of time.

The main problem about L: Change the World was the story. Firstly, it’s obvious that this movie is supposed to be a suspense/mystery movie, but it comes no where near it. The original anime was one of most suspenseful animes that I’ve watched and L: Change the World fails to provide any suspense. The story was very predictable, with no twists to keep it interesting. The story was also supposed to have a grand scale. There’s a virus that’s about to infect the whole world. But the movie makes it seem like L is the only person in the world that cares. At one point, an FBI agent comes to help, but he seemed more like an ordinary Japanese salary man than FBI material.

Another dislike I had was the beginning. The beginning seemed like it was going to start off strong, but it turned out to be really terrible. It had some of most cheesy acting, with all those infected people trying to act like zombies. But it looked more like they just had a sever acme condition and were moaning.

The movie also had the most unnecessary use of English I’ve ever seen in a J-movie. For some reason, the boy in the first scene (who looks perfectly Japanese) can only understand English. This makes for some pretty laughable scenes, especially in the beginning scene where the Japanese investigator is driving away from the bad guys and tells the boy to get help, but since the actor can barely speak English, the scene is totally out of place…no suspense at all (see the video preview below).

  • L was in it
  • Absolutely no suspense of mystery
  • Story was very predictable
  • Cheesy acting
  • Unnecessary use of English
Officially the worst J-movie I’ve ever seen (at the time of this posting). I don’t recommend this movie to anyone, even if you’re a Death Note fan.

Rating: 2/10

Video Preview
Here’s the clip that shows what I mean when I say “unnecessary use of English”.

Related Reviews
Death Note
Death Note: The Last Name