Nothing Makes Me Feel Better Than Hana Kimi

 

I just finished watching Hanazakari No Kimitachi E for the second time. Hana Kimi, in case you don’t know, is by far THE best Japanese drama there is. It is hilarious to the point of pain and heartwarming and sweet as any mushy romantic comedy high school drama has the capability of being.

As a massive fan of this drama, I rewarded myself on my birthday with watching this drama for the second time, and reliving all the glorious comedy I had forgotten since I saw it about a year ago.

Horikita Maki, Shun Oguri and Ikuta Toma absolutely SHINE in this tremendously entertaining drama about the classicly wonderful girl-disguised-as-a-boy plot in this story. It’s about cute darling Horikita Maki playing Ashiya Mizuki, a girl who crossdresses in order to attend an all-boys school with the love of her life Sano Izumi (Shun Oguri) and the many other ridiculous colorful characters of the school.

One of my favorite quotes of this drama is said in the very last episode, when Akiha-san, the local photographer, hands Ashiya a photo album of all the great memories of the school and says very simply: “When you feel like crying, look at these idiots and laugh”.

This quote, to me, just about sums up all that is Hana Kimi. Idiots and laughter. So, so so much laughter.

I will never forget: the adorable sweet tomboyishness that is Horikita Maki, the shining gleaming hilarious comedic PERFECTION that is the character Nakatsu Shuuici, and all the unfathomably entertaining amounts of idiocracy which surround all three of the dorms in this crazy school.

Hana Kimi was a huge success when it came out back in ’07. I was a nerd in middle school at this time and didn’t discover this drama until 2011, but it is still timeless and classic as one of the funniest J-dramas ever created. I am certain of that.

It’s hard to mention comedy without bringing up Ikuta Toma, and his golden character Nakatsu Shuuici, who is BY FAR my #1 favorite-character-of-any-drama-ever. Yes, I just created that title. Anyways, Nakatsu is completely and utterly everything that is Hana Kimi. Just ask the fans. As much as girls always choose the cool, tall dark and handsome type (Shun Oguri as Sano Izumi here), the hilarious, loud, and sweet-heart best friend seems to always garner the most love from viewers. Viewers meaning me.

In every K-drama romance triangle I have witnessed, I have never been on the right side. The guy I always root for NEVER wins, you know, the nice guy who doesn’t treat her like crap, is open with his feelings and is always supportive? Yeah, well that’s what happens here once more. No, I’m not spoiling anything since it’s pretty obvious from the get-go that poor fantastic amazing Nakatsu, with his red hair, wide grin and long charming monologues which leave me crying of laughter, is in the loser’s seat.

Oh welll….Nakatsu may not be Ashiya’s first choice since she is stupidly hung up on boring Sano (sorry, not a big fan here) but there is enough outside plot- if the foolish games in this drama can be called ‘plot’ – to subdue any viewer who doesn’t favor the spotlight romance. The shenanigans of the outsiders such as Hibari Four, Kagurazaka and his strange rivalry/love for Sano, Dr Umeda and his enemy/lover? Akiha-san, the three Dorm heads Tennouji-sama, Oscar and Nanba-senpai, minor, but adorable characters such as “aura-boy” Kayashima, the-name-no-one-remembers Sekime, Nanba’s stalker Nakao, the dog-who-is-oddly-a-major-character Yuujiro, and all the crazy people within each dorm never cease to be extremely entertaining.

You will laugh, you will cry, and you will miss every scene that Nakatsu is not in. At least, that is the basic jist of MY emotions. Ha Ha.

If you are someone who cannot find a J-drama worth watching or has lost any faith in the misunderstood comedy of Japan, you must watch Hana Kimi. It is reveered and loved by all, and will forever and ever by my all time favorite Japanese drama.

I just keep in mind that when I’m feeling down, and I want to cry, I can look at these idiots and laugh. What more could anyone ask for? 😀

Sou da, arigatou ne, minna-san! Jaa, matta! Tanoshikatta yo!

^_^ ~

The Absolutely Astoundingly Amazing Awesomeness That is Secret Garden and Hyun Bin

 

Okay. So I REALLY have been dying to write about my current craving for Secret Garden, but I wanted to wait until I was a little deeper into the series before I decided to delve into it. Or should I say, delve in Hyun Bin.

In all honesty, this drama IS Hyun Bin. I swear Ha Ji Won is just there for color commentary and a dosage of a pretty girl. But, I swear, almost every scene is reserved exclusively for Hyun Bin, and the character I thought to have been the main (Gil Ra Im)is proving less adorable than the male lead. Hard to believe? Allow me to explain.

First of all, let me start by saying that when I read the synopsis for this drama, I was less than impressed. A story about a guy and girl who switch bodies, and the twisted form of so-called “romance” that develops from it? No thanks. I like my men as men, and my girls as girls. Not the other way around. OR SO I THOUGHT.

This plotline is BY FAR, the most unique, hilarious, and fantastic of anything I have ever watched. I have NEVER laughed so hard during a Korean Drama. It builds with several episodes with the characters (Poor, sweet Gil Ra Im and snobby, rich-guy smartass Joo Won) who meet as their “normal” selves and battle between class differences and their growing attraction to one another. You think it’s just going to be your cookie-cutter sugary little K-drama romance, and then BAM! An accident causes them to switch bodies.

I kept waiting for it to happen, thinking to myself “this drama is going to be SO lame when they do the stupid switch up”.  But, OH MY, did it make things fun. I never thought this kind of thing could work in a K-drama, but it DOES!

Now we have the smart-ass, snobby, selfish personality of Joo Won in the pretty body of Gil Ra Im, and the soft, girliness of her in the body of Joo Won (Hyun Bin). Sure the whole “take a walk in another’s shoes” concept is big (especially since she is poor and he is rich), but better than any morale-teaching, self-discovery plot, is the acting.

This drama PROVES that personality overpowers appearance, and, even moreso, how cute Hyun Bin is as a girly, clueless, bashful feminine character. I was never a big Hyun Bin fan; he always seems to play the dominant, rich, snoody kind of alpha-male. I hated him as Joo Won in this, he was annoying as hell, and then BAM he turns into a soft, darling girl character, despite still looking like a man. And then, suddenly, I absolutely LOVED Hyun Bin. Personality can COMPLETELY change a person. Gil Ra Im is cute and lovely when she is herself, and then she becomes Joo Won, with that arrogant, sarcastic attitude, she suddenly doesn’t seem cute anymore.

Sounds weird? Trust me, any potential weirdness is completely overruled by how incredible of an actor Hyun Bin is. Regardless of which character he is (Joo Won or Gil Ra Im) It’s still Hyun Bin, one guy, playing the part of two strongly opposite characters with such a natural grace, you feel like he IS the character. Ha Ji Won, also, manages to completely make you believe she is both a guy and a girl. However, Hyun Bin, being a giggly, innocent, sweet character is too adorable to bear. I laugh SO hard. In fact, I do truly believe that Secret Garden takes the prize for the most I have laughed over the course of a K-drama.

If this were the Academy Awards, and I was the Committee, this guy would get my vote:

 

Hyun Bin, You Rock.

You’re Beautiful: It’s Beautiful

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Oh my god. I am so crazy about this drama right now.

You’re Beautiful is just my style of K-drama; it’s got the unrealistic but fantastic plot, the sickenly adorable cross-dressing female, and the juicy, heartbreaking romance that can only be found in one hell of a great love triangle. Yeah, it’s all there.

I’ve always heard this drama being raved about. It can easily be said that “You’re Beautiful” is one of the very highest in the ranks of some of the most popular and famous K-dramas, and now, at last, I understand why.

First of all, the cast. We’ve got Park Shin Hye, who, up until now was nothing more to me than a famous name, who is beautiful both in her acting and in her looks. She is the kind of boyish, naive, sweet little character that I always pray for in a K-drama, and her acting is superb. I enjoy every minute she’s on screen. In addition to her, there’s Jang Geun Suk, who’s name alone promises some really high-quality acting, singing, and just plain charisma. He is really perfect for this role; and I hate his snoody, stuck-up, jerk-of-a-character as much as I adore him. He’s the kind of character who can make you pissed and super mad one minute, and then have you swooning and sighing “Awe” the next moment. Together with Park Shin Hye, there is one great pair.

Then, there is also Jung Yong Hwa. (Isn’t he lovely?)

 Though his character is slightly more minor, I felt compelled to give him his own paragraph in my blog here, particularly because I think I have seriously fallen in love with him over the course of these few episodes of You’re Beautiful (6 to be exact). I don’t know who I love more, him, or his character. I remember reading his name on the cast list and thinking “Isn’t he some guy from CN Blue?” I happen to be a HUGE CNBlue fan, although I’ve never been all that familiar with the actual members. Anyways, aside from his obvious overwhelming talent as a singer/songwriter/musician in his band, I am so happy to see him in a drama. His character Shin Woo might just be the sweetest, most heart-wrenching character I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. I almost cry every time I see him, and I am constantly thinking to myself “Please, OH PLEASE, let the next scene have Shin Woo in it!” Sadly, he has very few scenes, but the scenes he does have are packed with so much shy, sweet, love and sincerity that I think I’m going to melt from all the adorable darlingness of he and Go Minam’s relationship (Team Shin Woo, NOT Taekyung, thank you very much!) ❤

Okay, okay, so aside from my clear fondness for Jung Yong Hwa, and my consitantly recurring attachment to drama’s that feature a cross-dressing girl (Is it just me or are those drama’s always the best?), I am more than loving this drama. I have to fight the urge not to watch about ten episodes per sitting, and painfully must will myself to only watch 2-3 a day.

The romance, the drama, the comedy. It is so addicting and delicious, I don’t think I can possibly keep myself from anymore episodes.

As of now, I shall go watch another episode. And, as usual, hope for more Jung Yong Hwa ❤

Much Love, Ria

Can’t Get Enough Hotaru no Hikari!!

                OMG. I am crazy about this J-drama. Not only did I fly through the first season (thank god there is more than one) but I am now heavily in love with the second season; possibly moreso than I was in season 1.

This drama encompasses everything I love about J-dramas, and dramas in general. I have NEVER adored a character as I do Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka). I laugh so hard watching this adorable drama. Her and Buchou and all their sweet little antics, such as beers out on the porch or a nice little “gororororo” rolling segment just melts my heart. Amemiya Hotaru is both incredibly hilarious, and hopelessly endearing. I see so much of myself in her, as well as so much I wish I could be. She is a perfect all-around character, and I shall forever have enormous respect for Ayase Haruka based on this role. Buchou as well! AHHH! I love him. And Futatsugi-san and Yamada-ne-san, funny Seno “Himono-Otoko”-san, and even Makoto-kun from Season 1 who I earlier ranted about hating,

Oh gosh I just love everything about it.

I know in my last entry I sounded like an angry anti-fan, but I assure you that pet peeve has passed (it ended up being resolved within the next episode) and now I am hopelessly in love with this show.

Sure, it ‘ain’t no K-drama, and it doesn’t have all that high quality glitz and glamor or deep plotlines. Rather, it is just the silly mishaps of the ditzy and clueless Hotaru, and her weird, but sweet, friend/lover relationship with her boss, but current roommate, Buchou. I know, sounds confusing, but trust me, this is perhaps the simpliest drama ever. No crazy, in-depth drama or sadness. No intense or suspenseful twists. No cliche’ plot hang ups. Just pure and simple fun.

That’s all it is, just pure fun. Plenty of laugh out loud comedy, without the over-the-top animeness one might expect from a J-drama. It’s the kind of comedy that even someone as stuck-up (yeah, I’m stuck-up) as I can enjoy. Trust me, it’s good.

It’s a perfect feel-good drama about the awkwardness of young love, and the main idea of “if someone loves you, they should love you as you are” concept that is forever lovely.

I would HIGHLY reccommend this show. It is very beloved to me, and I am enjoying every minute of it.

And one more thing: Season 2 is honestly even better than Season 1, which is a sweet rarity. I feel so connected to the characters having known them for so many episodes, and the silly charms of Season 1 that I loved so much are (in my opinion) even more apparent and lovable in Season 2.

Can’t wait to watch more of Aho-Miya and Buchou, and see what other ridiculous trouble they get into 😛

Oyasumi! Jaa~

(P.S. To me the pic below sums up this show PERFECTLY. Hotaru doing something stupid and weird, and Buchou, as always looking at her as if to say “How can this kind of stupidity truly exist?” Ah, I love you Buchou. And you too Hotaru, of course.)

Nodame Cantabile: An Overview

 

Just when I dedicated a blog to the negative aspects of Japanese dramas, I find a great one which, though quintessentially “Japanese” in format and acting, is too charming and adorable to stop watching.

In case you aren’t familar with it, let me give you a small summary: It’s about this music school in Tokyo, and the crazy students that are apart of it, namely Nodame (Ueno Juri) and Chiaki-sempai (played by Tamaki Hiroshi) and their “romance” (which is almost non-existant it is advancing so slowly). Anyways, it’s about this misfit group of students who make up an orchestra, and all the hilarious things that happen to everyone, as well as emphasizing the underlying theme of individuality and following your dreams.

So, I didn’t think it sounded particularly interesting, and I only watched the first episode because I was forcing myself to watch something Japanese in the hopes it would be good. And though at first I was hesistant if I liked it or not, it just keeps getting better and better, and I am officially invested in this sweet comedy now.

When it comes to humor, this one is a killer. Though I typically hate the over-the-top ridiculous, obnoxious, slapstick comedy routines that belong in an anime, somehow, in this drama it just works. It is so annoying, crazy and unrealistic that I am endlessly entertained by all the ridiculous antics of these characters.

Though it is named after the character Nodame, it seems to focus almost entirely on Chiaki. WHICH IS FINE BY ME. I am continually astounded by his beauty. At first, yeah he was just a hot Japanese guy, but his charm is growing on me at such a rapid pace that I am now questioning just what really hooked me: the drama, or him. He is a complete jerk in the show, but you can forgive all his pissy moods when occasionally you get to see him smile (which is more of a weird half-smile, like the actor himself is trying to restrain himself from actually smiling). And his crazy eyes, which are both hilarious and strangely gorgeous, just add to his character. God, I’m in love.

As for Nodame, she is so overwhelmingly annoying that it’s just adorable. Her borderline grandmother-esque outfits I find ridiculously cute, and while at times her over-the-top comedic routines leave me starving for good acting, I can’t develop any anger for her, she is simply too darling.

The show centers almost entirely around classical music. The idea of constant orchestral background music and heavy emphasis on instruments may initially sound unappealing, but if you thought classical music was boring before, you need to watch this drama. I never saw classical orchestra performances that were quite as exciting and fun as the ones in this drama! This show seriously makes classical music way more awesome.

This show is no Korean drama, and if you’re looking for deep romance (or any serious plotline or acting WHATSOEVER) this is certainly not that show. However, despite it lacking all things I normally require in a good drama, I am endlessly entertained, and I laugh throughout the episode. It is cheerful and hilarious  (the character Stresman absolutely kills me! He is so funny with the way he talks!! AHAHA! >_<). Overall, it is like a great anime acted out by real people, with all the same weird charms of an animated show, and it tends to be more of a live-action than an actual drama.

Try it out! You won’t regret it! 😉

Oyasumi~