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!

^_^ ~

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Finally A Super Awesome J-Drama: Sunao Ni Narenakute

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Wow. i just finished one jem of a great J-Drama- probably the best and most realistic drama I’ve ever seen.

Sunao Ni Naranakute, FINALLY proved to me that a J-drama can truly be mature, well-made, and serious while still producing good results. I’ve had enough of the manga-turned-live action teen comedy dramas with too much ridiculous comedy and not enough realism, so this drama was like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise oversaturated market of uber-kawaii romantic comedy J-dramas.

This was such a human drama. All about a group of close-knit friends and their own personally screwed up lives, this drama tackles everything from drug addiction to suicide, meanwhile tangling up a bizarre string of love triangles- both heterosexual and homosexual.

While at times one can feel depressed by the otherwise “intense” melodramtic plotline, you can’t help but feel that this drama is exactly the opposite of it’s title, which translated literally means “Can’t become honest”, since this drama, in every form of the word, is purely honest. It displays real struggles that real people face, both in Japan and in the world. It also shows how friendship, support and love can get anyone through anything 🙂

For once a drama doesn’t have to sugar-coat and fluff all the characters and plotlines to suit a cookie-cutter demographic. It’s real and raw, and that’s what was so damn great about it. It also, unfortunately, is what kept this unconventional drama from becoming very famous, as many viewers claim it being simply too “depressing”.

Well, aside from the weaklings who can’t seem to handle real DRAMA, I happen to whole-heartedly appreciate this beautiful drama. Starring the lovely and talented Ueno Juri, and her popular counterpart Eita, the two stars clearly steal every scene from the “minor” characters.

For those out there who, like myself, are sickenly in love with DBSK and Jaejoong, you will be VERY HAPPY by the extreme cuteness exhibited by the character ‘Doctor’ who is played by the beautiful perfection that is Jaejoong. He is DELIGHTFUL. I feel I could watch him all day long and never get tired of his adorable nature. Not to mention he is beautifully fluent in Japanese. I got such enjoyment out of anytime he would throw in a little Korean reference: ex. Fighting! But aside from the usually important things such as “acting” and “character” his ridiculous good looks make me want to scream at his costars to appreciate the fact that such sublime beauty is standing beside them. His beauty literally makes me want to cry sometimes. I don’t know whether to be madly in love with him or just jealous- haha!

But that’s getting off-topic….(I’ll save Jaejoong for his own blog post :P)

Another minor character I simply ADORED was Tamayama Tetsuji’s character Linda. Tamayama is such a freaking amazing actor. I never even knew the guy till I saw this drama, and I am now in love with him. He is just awesome…wow. His portrayal of the tormented homosexual character Linda was stunning and beautifully heartbreaking 😦 I love you, man.

Due to my own personal disinterest in giving a plot synopsis and acting review, I just want to say that I give this show a great big five stars, and a hopeful wish that someday someone can begin to appreciate this wonderful Japanese drama for all that it is. 11 episodes of greatness indeed. I laughed, I cried big slopppy sobs, and I just flat out loved it. I can only hope that can find another J-drama out there as good as this one.

Please, I beg of thee- watch this drama.

But now that my adventure with this lovely drama has ended, I move onto a Korean drama, which, sadly, will probably steal the limelight once again. But don’t fear, SNN, wasurenagusa! I won’t forget you. And for fans like myself who have trouble admitting it- NO this drama does not equal Jaejoong. Please, appreciate this drama as something other than JUST HIM (if you can)

I’m off- here’s another silly drama review from Ria-chan! Sayounara! Oyasumi~ ^^

P.S. When I was looking for a picture to add to this blog, probably 3/4 (maybe more) of the Sunao Ni Narenakute image results were Jaejoong screenshots. I find this hilariously enjoyable.

PSS. Wait…no actually ALL the image results are Jaejoong screenshots. Sorry.

To be fair, I think Ueno Juri, Eita, Tamayama Testuji and Peach deserve a hell of a lot more credit. Where are all their screenshots? Hmph.

Dreams DO Come True: My First Trip to Japan! Yes, I’m That Girl.

Hello Blog. Tonight I felt compelled to stray from my usual topics of K-pop and J-dramas to bring you an exclusive look into the personal life of this crazy blogger that I am.

Perhaps you thought that all I ever do is dream about going to Japan (which is true) but in 2 days from now, August 29th, I’ll be leaving my quaint, but overwhelmingly dull and restrictive small-town in America to head to about 4 different airports over the course of 4 days. On August 30th, I’ll be boarding my 12-hour flight headed straight one way across the Pacific, my destination? Osaka, Japan.

I’ve been dreaming about this trip for years; the day that I, the silly fangirl of Japan, may actually set foot on that magical island. And now, it will at last be a reality.

I’m only 17 years old, but in about 3 days, I will have officially visited 3 continents. And all just this summer.

Though I am young, I am more mature than the expectations of my friends and family. For years, all they have seen was this crazy little fangirl, the girl who had a map of Japan hanging over her bed, and an obsessive collection of Japanese newpapers, candy, and wall decorations slung across the small confines of her room. A girl who, rather than hanging out with friends at lunch, would sit alone in the cafeteria, scribbling Japanese into a notebook, and muttering to herself “watashi wa…” as she cared more for studying than actual socializing. They’ve seen the silly girl who only listened to “foreign” music, and screamed at the computer screen during a particularly intense scene in her asian drama. The girl who would practice Para Para in her basement, or sing along to Anime theme songs. The girl who walked around her house, constantly narrating her life in Japanese (much to the annoyance of her little brother). The girl who cried even in her classes at school for days on end after the tsunami hit Japan. The girl who never stopped studying, who never even got an A- in school, all because of her immense desire. The girl who’s dedication to this foriegn place seemed greater than any passion any of them had felt in their lives.

I’m that girl.

Yet, the girl who is going to Japan on Monday is not that absent-minded, dreamy fangirl she’s been for years. Rather, she is an adult. Something she has never been before. Something that will scare her as much as it will excite her.

 Buying tickets, talking to shop keepers, navigating the streets of Osaka, trains, buses, conversation. All of it, up to this young adult in a few days.

I have taken a leave of absence from school, and will make-up the month’s worth of work via emails on my new laptop. Meanwhile, my mother and I will be staying with our new host family in Nara, Japan, working in a homeschool, teaching English to elementary students, translating the town flier, and playing with toddlers at the daycare. For free.

Sounds too good to be true? Well it’s not. I returned from Ireland recently, where we also went on a work exchange. “Work Exchange” is a fancy way of saying, you can stay for free room, board, and meals, in exchange for your “work” (though I don’t think playing with Japanese toddlers is very difficult labor). In Ireland, for instance, my mom and I (she and I are a work team) merely painted an Irish woman’s house and helped her decorate. In exchange we had two heavenly weeks in the southwest of Ireland, with all the juicy, exciting adventures you could possibly imagine.

And now, it’s Japan. Real Japan. In the flesh and blood. In the soil and water. REAL. Not a fabricated ideal in my fangirl mind, but an actual place, which is now in my grasp. In my power.

I wonder how I got so lucky. How I got a Dad who worked in the airline business so long that our entire family has FREE flight to anywhere in the world. How I stumbled across this magical work exchange program. How I had the patience and, I suppose, intelligence, to learn the frustrating Japanese language. How I ever discovered Japanese Pop Culture in the first place. How I managed to recruit the teachers and principals of the school to back me up and allow me to miss school to go to Japan. How I did all of this at seventeen.

How? I really couldn’t say. Mama? My mom did alot of it. Thank you Mama.

My advice to anyone who desires a far-away thing, whether it be a job, a place, or a person, is just to TRY. I mean, if you want it as bad as you think you do, then just do it, damnit! Stop saying you don’t have the potential, you don’t have the smarts, the looks, the ability. ANYBODY can do what they want. It’s the oldest speech in the book, but it’s true.

I wanted something, Japan, and so I worked hard. I worked so hard in school, so hard at home, that I guess, in a weird way, everything just fell into my lap like “Hey, look, here’s your dream, thanks for your hard work”. I’m only seventeen, but I’ve already done things many people will never do in their lives.

Thought all I did was sit on my laptop and watch dramas all day? Think again 😉

I’ll write when I get to Japan. But…for now? Sayounara. Oyasuminasai!

 

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.)

Since When Are Sweatpants a Sin? Himono-Onnas and Hotaru no Hikari

Okay. I seriously need to rant about this drama. Hotaru no Hikari. It is one of my very favorite J-dramas (is it me, or am I finding many good J-dramas lately?) and there is so much I feel I need to rave about, whether it be how great the plot is, or how frustrating it is.

The setting, the characters, the actors, the comedy. It is really just a perfect, delicious little combination of great acting and adorable romance. I have never identified with a character more than I do Amemiya Hotaru (played by the talented and lovely Ayase Haruka) and I feel like I am watching myself. Seriously.

But there is something I really feel frustrated with. My anger and confusion has been mounting throughout the series, and it seems to have reached it’s breaking point.

Please, someone tell me: Since when are sweatpants a sin?

This drama projects Hotaru, who likes dressing in sweats and jerseys and being a lazy beer-drinking slob while at home, to be this somehow tragic Himono-onna character with this deep black scorching secret of being that laid back at home. Okay, please, someone, englighten me with your opinion.

I know that in America, people wear sweats in the grocery store for god sakes. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t “relax” while at home and change into what I personally call “my home clothes” when they are just chillin at their place. Okay, so maybe some aspects of our personal lives can be embarassing, and I wouldn’t want to wear what I wear at home out in real life, but this drama is REALLY emphasizing the evils of what I assumed to be a totally normal way of life.

Hotaru is honestly shunned by society because she wears sweats at home. Literally. Her boyfriend, who “loves” her ran off on her when he found out what she was “really” like at home. I mean, WHAT THE HELL. So much for “I love you”. What is this? So because she wears sweats and not, I don’t know, a formal suit or dress, while hanging out at home, this makes her somehow a repulsive creature that he can suddenly not even love anymore? AH!

Is this somehow normal in Japan? What are women suppose to act like at home? I mean, really. Like, am I suppose to put on makeup, doll up my hair and pick out a nice outfit in order to be a couch potato for the day? And, one more thing, what’s wrong with Hotaru’s “home hair” I love it, and think it looks super cute.  Just saying…

Bucho is the person who I really love, aside from Hotaru. I love how, for once, in this drama a man and woman can honestly live together as best friends, without any awkward feelings for each other getting in the way. Bucho (I honestly can’t even think of his real name) is so delightful. I love every scene with him and Hotaru sitting on the porch or joking around at home. But hey, Bucho, lay off on the mean comments! She is just wearing sweatpants, not committing some kind of mortal crime! >_<

I read many comments on the video (since I watch all my dramas online) and everyone was just as pissed as me. If being lazy and wearing sweats qualifies a woman as a Himono-onna, then I, as well as about 150 million Americans are Himono-onnas. And, guess what? We’re not hated by society for it!

I’m protesting the strict crazy dress code that Japanese society seems to be enforcing. Those poor women! If you can’t be yourself in the comfort of your own home, then when can you be? And, moreover, Teshima, if you can’t love your girlfriend for everything she is, sweats and all, then you are an awful boyfriend. Yeah, that’s right Teshima Makoto-kun, you lost my vote as an awesome character. I thought you were better than that!

Ah, well, I still have a few episodes to go, and the Season 2, YAY! Maybe things will get better, and my anger will diminish. After all, as I watch this drama, I am dressed in some pretty unflattering “home clothes” and I don’t feel this guilt and self-hatred, I just feel comfortable!

After all, comfort is what home is all about right? ^_^

Jaa~ Matta!

Zettai Kareshi: The Ending, and My Overall Opinion (Many Spoilers)

I know what you might be thinking: Two posts in a row about the same topic? WHY?

Ahhgghhh! I really fell in love with this drama, and though it’s over, I still feel under it’s spell. I felt compelled to rant about the ending and the ‘Special’ episode, as well as more of the more minor elements of this great J-drama. It is for sure one of my all-time favorite dramas, and possibly my favorite Japanese one.

The story really developed from a somewhat irritating and impossible romance to something truly golden and touching. I became attached to Riiko and Night’s relationship, I was really crying hard at the end. I think this takes the prize for the most tears shed during a drama. The screen kept blurring from all my tears, I could barely watch it.

I wasn’t sure whether to be pissed off, devastated, or touched by the ending. Night “dying” was certainly sad, and I was really crying over the little memoir video and such *tear* But somehow, despite how heartbreaking it was, I found it strangely sufficient, and I felt comfortable with it.

Then came the Special. I totally knew Night was going to be revived, and that the love triangle would be launched once more, but I found the Special to be MUCH less lovely than I had hoped for. I was happy to see that the characters and setting were blissfully unaltered (despite the Special being filmed years later) and I was excited at the prospect of Night and Riiko’s love being restored, but…it was just different. As much as I love Soshi-san, I really don’t feel much emotion from him, despite his so-called “love” for Riiko. I just see him as kind of the best friend type, and seeing those two as a couple is just super weird to me, it doesn’t fit.

Anyways, aside from a very un-romantic reunion, I felt the plot to be too long, complex, and unnecessary. The Special was TWO hours long, but they could have shaved off a good hour. The little romance between whats-her-name Robot creator and her robot lover-look alike was cute, but took up a little too much of the story line. I also felt that the creators were pumping a little too much action (aka, the secret agent/fighter robot/badass Namikiri segment) into the show. Perhaps if there had been a little less Kamiya and Nanase and more Riiko, Soshi and Night, I would have been more of a fan.

This whole Special wouldn’t have bothered me at all if I wasn’t still super pissed at the ending. I mean, what the hell?

IT ENDED EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE FIRST ENDING! What was the point of making a sequel if Night just ended up going off to die in the end AGAIN. I was practically on the edge of my seat saying “No, Riiko will turn around any minute and stop Night from leaving! Any minute now!” but she didn’t. And then, like before, she just went on back to Soshi, who she ignored and treated like crap and barely seems to spend much time with anyways. But, I gotta give him credit, he IS a human 😛

Errgg.

Well overall, despite my crazy and seemingly hateful ranting, I ADORED this sweet beautiful drama. The romance was oh so heartwarming, and I cried and said “awwww” far too many times. It was just…wow. What a great drama. This was K-drama quality for sure, and I really applaude Japan for turning what could have been a potentially stupid storyline into something really wonderful and moving. Yay!

“Absolute Boyfriend” Korea is being made, or I think might be airing right now. My beloved adorable Goo Hye Sun from BOF is the “Riiko”, so I might be tempted to watch, despite my usual aversion to watching the same drama in different nationalities, haha! Oh well, I’m sure it will be great.

The worst thing about J-dramas? Only 10ish episodes!! K-drama’s usually have close to 20, and are individually about 15-20 minutes longer. ARG! I wish Japan put more into length. 

 Ahh well, since I am headed to Japan in about 2 weeks (for the first time ever!) , I need to stock up on as much Japanese  as humanly possible, so I am dedicating the rest of August to watching strictly Japanese dramas, despite how difficult it can be to find good ones :/ My language skills depend on it! (If only I could find some juicy ones in Kansai dialect, grr)

Oh well, time to go!  Oyasumi, tomodachi!! ^_^

Zettai Kareshi: The Start of Something Great?

 

            Konbanwa! I’m back with more juicy drama updates!

Recently, I was infectiously addicted to my beloved Sungkyunkwan Scandal, watching all 20 episodes in so many odd days within the confines of my small bedroom, fueled by a laptop and plenty of snacks 😀

However, that chapter has ended (it’s a good thing too- I was starting to have even less of a life than before!). I decided that I needed, god forbid, to get away from so much Korean. K-pop; K-dramas, all day, all the time. I need to stop! My Japanese needs some good ole’ J-Dramas to inspire me to study more.

This, however, was challenging. I almost always quit on J-dramas, despite how much of a chance I give them. I typically wait at least 3-4 episodes before I decide my opinion. However, I am VERY happy to report that in my latest drama, this was most certainly not the case!

The name? Zettai Kareshi. The plot? Seemingly questionable and incredibly stupid.

I resisted the possibility of this drama being good. I laughed just reading about it. A robot who is programmed to be the “perfect boyfriend”, and a weird blossoming romance between “it” and it’s “owner”? I could not possibly imagine that such a plot would be even mildly serious, and I trusted my so-called, self-proclaimed expertise in dramas in judging it to be as ridiculous and impossible as almost all J-Dramas.

However, due to the overwhelming lack of J-Dramas that I find interesting, I bit the bullet and decided to watch this one. If it is just a typical J-drama, then maybe, I thought, I would just force myself to enjoy it.

Well, long story short, I love it. Really. I genuinely am loving this drama, despite my slight shame in admitting it. Having become such an immense drama-snob these days, I often feel like I am being a bit silly when I watch dramas that are less “mature” than my typical K-dramas, but I confess, I love this one.

I must assure you, this drama is actually nothing like what I was expecting. Not only is the plot well thought out, not too rushed, and comfortable with the characters, but there is no crazy anime-esque overacting and ridiculous comedic stunts. It’s rather…normal, which is strange, considering how wild and fictional the plot is.

The characters are all likable. I don’t feel like the main character Izawa Riiko is too obnoxious (I find her cute, just as I do alll female heroines) and even the “robot” Tenjo Night is becoming rather enjoyable, despite my aversion to him in the beginning. I am a HUGE fan of love triangles; they make everything so juicy and exciting, and I have a feeling that the love triangle in this one will prove particularly delicious.

Side note: Japan is really astounding in it’s “recycling” of actors. Is it just me, or is Mizushima Hiro in practically every famous J-drama? The last 3 or 4 dramas I’ve checked out I just keep saying to myself, “Look! It’s Nanba-sempai from Hana Kimi AGAIN!'” But hey, he is pretty charming and good looking, so I guess I can see why he keeps getting hired, I just find it weird when I get attached to certain actors as one character, and then see them play someone else :/

Anyways, I just wanted to give my love and reccomendation for Zettai Kareshi. This drama has a certain K-drama style, and could almost be a K-Drama entirely! However, it does have plenty of Japanese appeal, just minus the crazy acting and overbearing comedy.

I am excited to see what else happens in this series; so far so good!!

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~

Korean Vs. Japanese Dramas

So, I’ve deduced that my Asian-drama addiction has lately breached the simple scope of merely ‘watching’. Aside from my growing collection of drama OST’s, I unconsciously spent about two hours today merely READING about dramas on DramaWiki. And that brought me plenty of fufillment, let me tell you.

It’s hard to resist the urge to watch strictly Korean dramas. They are FAR better than anything Japanese I have seen, but I have yet to explore the Taiwanese drama industry. I read about plenty of Taiwanese and Japanese dramas today (to the extent that I began recognizing actors and actresses in the cast list) and tried my best to be as interested in them as I was in the few-but incredible- Korean dramas I’ve heard of.

I think of it like this: Korean dramas are the ‘Hollywood’ (bear with me) of the Asian drama kingdom. They are high quality, glamorous and beautiful, with superb acting, regardless of how seemingly ridiculous the plotline. Japanese dramas, however, are completely NOT Hollywood, and resemble moreso an Indie film- enjoyable, but almost in the sense that you’re forcing yourself to like it simply because it seems so cute and low budget.

I know that sounds terrible, but I’ve only finished two of the Japanese dramas I ever started, and one wasn’t even that great. Like J-pop, I force myself to “enjoy” it merely because I love Japan so much, but UGH. I’ve never once walked out on a Korean drama, and K-pop is a constant element to my life.

I decided that the major difference between Korean dramas and their Japanese neighbor lies in the culture of the countries themselves. Koreans are more conservative when it comes to comedy and romance, where as the Japanese are much more liberal (for example, sexuality, and even homosexuality, are not nearly as big of a deal). Japanese entertainment in general is based so heavily on anime and manga that it seems that when Japanese use REAL people, rather than anime characters, the  actors still retain that traditional “anime” behavior, and it simply doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong though, Japanese dramas are not bad, I am simply a drama snob; too accustomed to Korean dramas and good anime to wrap my mind around them. I do admit, however, that Japanese have a talent in humor. I do believe I laughed more watching Hana Kimi (my favorite Japanese drama) than I probably ever did with Korean dramas. Also, Japanese dramas feel less “fake” than Korean dramas, as characters are less celebrity and polished.

If you like the fun, crazy exaggerated acting of anime characters, you will surely love Japanese dramas (most are based off manga) and if you ever need a good recommendation, check out Hana Kimi (a crazy fun cross-dressing comedy) or Orange Days (an emotional drama about a deaf girl). Or possibly the heartwarming Proposal Daisakusen. I plan to give Japanese dramas more of a fighting chance over Korean dramas, and I hope others notice their indie charm as well 😉

Oyasumi~