Oda Nobunaga

oda nobunaga dramaThis is the second taiga drama of Kimura Takuya that I’ve seen.  The other one is Chuusingura.  Oda Nobunaga (TBS, 1998) is a two hour New Year Special of TBS.  Kimura does a good portrayal of the  young Oda Nobunaga, non-conformist heir of a feudal clan Oda in Japan, before he became one of the greatest shoguns in Japanese history.  The drama is not boring at all.  What caught my attention was the theme song which sounded just like an Eric Clapton music.

Advertisements

Secret Garden (2010) and the Resurrection of Hyun Bin

Secret_garden_korean_dramaI was so happy to see Hyun Bin’s dedimpled cheek again on Secret Garden, five years since I first saw him in Kim Sam Soon.  I thought he had gone  into hibernation because of his compulsory military training, only to find out he only went there after Secret Garden, which was shown from 13 November 2010-16 January 2011..  I watched Secret Garden because I  read that it is the best drama in 2011.  Although I wouldn’t say it is the best drama for me, I found the drama series very entertaining–it had both light and funny momentI watched Secret Garden because it was listed as the best Korean drama of 2011 (it showed from November 13, 2010 to 16 January 2011), having won several awards  for best drama and actor/actress. I was surprised to find that Hyun Bin is the lead actor, who played Kim Joo Woon, a 34 year old rich, arrogant and spoilt CEO of a huge department store and heir of a huge Korean conglomerate in property development. It was reported that his career was lackluster after Kim Sam Soon and was revived with Secret Garden). Kim Joo Won  falls in love with a poor stuntwoman, Gil Ra Im (played by Ha Ji Won), but does not know why because a woman without the “proper family background ” is not his type.  In the end, he finds admits that  Ra Im is an “amazing” woman who can ride a race car like a devil, kick the ass of sexual harrassers,  etc.  Of course, the rich and haughty mother of Kim is against the relationship. This K drama is very entertaining–it has light and funny moments, dramatic and crying moments, mysteries and intrigues, fantasy,and best of all, romance.  In fact, this is one K drama where there is quite a lot of touching and kissing scenes between the lead actors.  (In fact I read in Wikipedia that Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won are currently dating as of 2012). There were some dragging moments in the middle of the series, but there were also surprises and twists and turns around the switiching of the two lead actors.  Most of the funny moments were during these switching times when Kim Joo Won would be in the body of Ra Im.  But the saddest moment also had to do with switching.  Kim gave up his life for the unconsious Kim by sntaching the unconsioud Ra Im from her hospital bed so that they could switch bodies when the rain comes. Thus, Kim would be in the body of the unconsious Ra Im while Ra Im will find herself alive but in the body of Kim Joo Won.  In the end, the spell that led to switching was lifted by this courageous act of Kim giving up his life for the love of Ra Im.  The two end up married to each other and blessed with three kids but until the end of the drama, the relationship of the couple was not yet recognized by the very haughty mom of Kim.  In the end, it was also revealed that the two were destined to be together since Ra Im’s father was the one who dies while saving Kim Joo Won when he was trapped in an elevator during an accident when he was 21 years old.  He forgot the events during the accident and was made to believe that he had a car accident and claustrophobia so he did not ride elevators. A cute scene is the star struck Ra Im everytime she sees her idol Oska (Choi Joo Won, cousin of Kim, played by Yoon Sang Hyun) and calls her “oppa”  and wears Oska socks, which makes Kim jealous because Ra Im does not call him “oppa.” Funny moments include the scenes when the lead actors swiched so that they would find themselves in compromising situations like when Oska and switched Kim would be in the spa and swticed Kim-Ra Im would blush when he seen the private body parts of Oska.   Also, there are some angles where Yoon Sang Hyun looked like Japanese idol Kimura Takuya, for example, his expressive eyes etc). I think the weak pint of the movie is the lack of explanation for the reason for the switching and the end of the magical spell but these seems to have been glossed over since the drama is not realistic anyway.

MR BRAIN

400px-MR-BRAIN-banner

This is Takuya Kimura’s latest renzoku drama for 2009 (TBS, 2009).   It is very short–just eight episodes.  It is not really a renzoku drama in the real sense of the word since the episodes don’t have to be seen in chronological order.  There is not much continuity except for the transition from Ep 5-6 which stars Nakama Yukie.  Each episode has a famous guest star–from Gackt to Kazuya Kamenashi of Kat-Tun, Koyuki, etc.  Takuya plays Tsukumo Ryusuke, a former “hosto” turned neuroscientist after he experiences an accident which alters his brain.  Tsukumo’s kanji is the japanese kanji  for numbers “9-10-9”. He works at the IPS (Institute of Policy Science–Kakeiken) which researches criminal methods to advance investigation of crimes.   I started watching it in May after it premiered on May 28, Saturday, 7:40-8:40 Japan time.  It’s first episode garnered a 34% rating, which is rare for a Staurday drama. It is a comedy, mystery type of drama.  Tsukumo is a weird scientist who wears his pajama’s under his business suit and wears a blue denim lab gown in contrast to the regular white gown.   He looks at everyone close up and eats a lot of bananas for potassium which perks up and energizes people.  He also eats a lot of carbs for breakfast which he said is good for the brain.   HIs assistant is Ayase Haruka, a young pretty star who has a crush on him.  Another supporting actor is neophyte detective Hayashida (Rinda to Tsukumo) played by Mizoguzhi Hiroyuki.   Mr Brain is interesting; but I wish Takuya would take a break from playing non-conventional roles to go into the more romantic genre where he falls in love again.  His most recent dramas, that is Karei Naru Ichizoku in 2007, then Change in 2008 and then now Mr Brain doesn’t put him in a more romantic role unlike his earlier films.  I thought he may be choosing roles that would fit his age in his mid-30s.  However, these days, a lot of guys in their mid-30s just start dating and falling in love so it is not too old for him to be playing these roles.  I am really grateful to Giri Giri fansubs because theur subs facilitated my understanding of the drama, which is a little difficult to undertsand becasue of scientific terms related to neuroscience.  But the drama is very educational and advances new theories about brain behavior in neuroscince.  I also found the instructional anime inserts in the drama–so very cute Japanese.

2046 Kimura’s cameo role

2046

Just finished watching Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 (2004).  It has an all star Asian cast–Tony Leung, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, and Kimura Takuya, Faye Wong  and Maggie Cheung.  The story is set in the 1960s in Hong Kong, although the fim was actually shot in Shanghai.  A journalist and sci-fi writer, Chow Mo-wen (Tony Leung Chui-Wai), writes a novel about “2046” using the room number next to his hotel room as an apt title into the future–2046, that place in time where you can recapture lost memories and lost love.  Many people go there and never come back, except for one man, Tak, (Kimura Takuya) , who went to 2046 to look for his loved one, but failing to find her, returned from 2046. Along the time travel back to present, he falls in love with an android   attendant (Faye Wong)  and asks her to come back with him but receives no reply. At first, he thought the reason for such is the delay in android’s  reaction due to the long time journey but later, he realizes that the android never loved him; that she could be in love with someone else.  Incidentally, 2046 is also the number of the hotel room where  Chow Mo wen  made love to his one and only love Su Lizhen.  2046 is actually the continuing story of Chow’s unconsummated love.  Chow fell in love once with Su Lizhen, a married woman. (In the pre- and sequels, Days of Being Wild (1991) and In the Mood for Love (2006), the Chow-Su Lizhen romance is played up more). As a result of his frustrations, Chow has had  affairs with several women who occupied Rm 2046 in Oriental hotel,   including  Bai Ling (Zhang Ziyi)  who desperately loved him.  Just when I thought Chow was falling in love with Bai Ling, when the latter asks if   they  start their relationship all over again  (“Why can’t it be like before?”) , if she could borrow him for just that last night before she leaves for Singapore,  Chow  said ” This is simply something that I will never lend.”  In fact, while he was nursing his sad fate over his lost love by gambling in casinos in Singapore, he was rescued by Black Spider (Gong Li) , a  woman also bearing Su Lizhen’s name.  Chow asked her to  come with him but Su declined.   Chow reflects ” I know why she declined.  In love there is no substitute and she knew.”  The scene ends with Chow going into his own 2046 and returning from there.

The movie was nominated in April 2004 for the Golden Palm Award at the 2004 Cannes film Festival. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the movie, because it isn’t anything like the super productions that leaves one in awe.  Why do I like the movie?  Of course, Kimura. my idol  is there and though his role was short, he really exuded that “X factor” that really is so appealing on cam.  I thought he was a great actor here–I love the voice;  those expressive eyes; he had kissing scenes here though shadowed by dark lighting so couldn’t really gauge  if he was a good kisser here.  Kimura plays  a Japanese businessman who  falls in love with the eldest daughter, Wnag Jing wen (Faye Wong)  of Oriental Hotel’s owner. Wang Sun, where   he stayed while on a  businesstrip  in HK.  Wang had objected to her daughter falling in love with a “Japanese” and because of anguish over the forbidden love, had to be placed in a mental institution. Wang ji wen also moved into 2046 before Bai Ling.  Jing wen  helped Chow in writing the novel 2046 which he later changed to 2047. Chow also helped in the correspondence of the two by having the mails from Japan coursed through him.  There was a hint that he also fell in love with Jing-wen although   the love never prospered because he realizedd that the girl “never loved him at all.” Jing-wen later leaves for  Japan until we hear the hotel owner happily announcing that he was going to Japan to attend his daughter’s wedding.  The daughter had asked Chow to change the ending of 2047  to a happier one.

Zhang Ziyi was really very beautiful here and her acting received raved reviews.

But I felt sympathy for Chow and I thought the development (or nondevelopment) of  Chow’s character  was great–thanks to Wong Kar Wai’s great directing. Tony Leung isn’t as handsome as Kimura, but he sure knows how to act and superbly portrayed the playboy- yet- desperately- seeking -the- love- of- his- life Su Lizhen Chow.

BTW, in the first part, there was reference to a certain bar girl Lu-LU who fell in love with a “Chinese-Filipino” from a rich family but who died young so left Lulu broken hearted…

Wish a greater role for Takuya Kimura in another Wong Kai War film.

Kimura T as hairdresser

blife

Just finished watching the 12 episode J-drama  “Beautiful Life” (TBS,2000) starring Kimura Takuya as Okishima Shuji, a 27-year old talented and popular hairdresser and  Tokiwa Takako as Machida Kyoko, a 27-year old physically handicapped wheelchair bound librarian with an incurable  disease.  Both met “on the road” under not so friendly circumstances in the beginning, but later the animosity gave way to a stormy love relationship.  This was the focus of the “love story”–the development of the relationship between a supposedly “normal” person in the character  of Shuji and a not normal (?) person in the character of Kyoko as they struggled with so many personal issues related to their “circumstances.”  Kyoko fell in love with Shuji because of Shuji’s being a person with a “barrier free” heart, a pun on a “barrier free” environment  where physically challenged people can move freely around.  Shuji was a guy who have never said the cliche “I will protect you”  to Kyoko; instead he said the unusual “We will face the challenge together” .  Neither did Shuji display any pity but rather had a unique way of  viewing Kyoko’s  physically challenged circunstances by saying “I wonder how the world looks like from a 100 cm height.”   Kyoko says she finds strength in Shuji; after all Shuji never gave up their relationship when he found out that Kyoko had a terminal illness; instead he even pursued her  (I thought I would hear the following line from Shuji when he learned that the Kyoko he loves will soon die:  “I would rather die having loved you even for a minute, than not having a chance to love you at all.”)

Takuya was very convincing as a  hairstylist (it was said that Takuya became a licensed hairstylist after that drama) but I really was so amazed at the last episode when he was shown for the first time putting on make-up for the dead Tokiwa.  Having seen Takuya play “macho” roles, I felt quite uneasy seeing  Takuya weild his cutting scissors through a woman’s hair; but all the more when he put make up on a woman  (in my country, the best hairstylists are mostly gays, you know….), but sasuga Takuya, he was able to get away with it.

The other actors were good as well.  I liked Kyoko’s brother, Masao (Watabe Atsuro)’s acting the best–he was cute as the bumbling and clumsy brother of the smart Kyoko.   Both Kimura and Tokiwa won Best Actor and Actress in the 24th Television Drama Awards, as well as  Atsuro and Mizuno Miki (role as Sachi, Kyoko’s best friend) for best supporting actor and actress.  In fact, according to drama-wiki, this drama holds the record for the most awards won from the television Drama Academy awards. Other awards went to: Best Newcomer: Nishikawa Takanori (satoru, the rival hairdresser); Screenwriter: Kitagawa Eriko; Best Director: Shono Jiro; Best Theme Song (Konya tsuki no mieru oka ni” by B’z) and Best Opening.

According to several drama database sites, as of March 2000, it was the second most watched drama ever in Japan with a 41.3 % rating with the no 1 drama being way back in 1983 with a 45.1% rating. I wouldn’t say this was my personal best drama starring Kimura Takuya  (I like Long vacation better and loved Takuya’s acting  in Pride and Miliion Stars Falling from the Sky).  However, I liked my learnings from the relationship bet the two characters–consider the feelings of both parties in a relationship (Kyoko would always say that she didn’t want Shuji to be disadvanatged with the relationship  so she would break their relationship without considering how Shuji feels ; that is Shuji on the other hand feels “disadvanatged” by not continuing the relationship with Kyoko).

Beautiful Life is the 12th J drama of Kimura Takuya that I have seen so far, and judging from the character that he played here and interviews I read about him, Shuji’s character seem to echo the real Takuya–straightforward, candid, rather than saying that he doesn’t really care about what people will say ; I may be wrong but he may be  a person who doesn’t get affected or mind what people thinks of him or his actions (although being in showbiz and being looked upon as an “idol” I don’t know how he practices this because he has a great responsibility as a “role model’ ).

Just as aside.  Kimura smoked a lot here and this reminded me of one side of Kimura that I do not appreciate–he IS a smoker in real life. I wish he would soon realize that smoking is not healthy not only for the smoker himself but to non-smokers as well.

Sleeping Forest (1998)

nmori2

This suspense thriller (Fuji, fall 1998) really kept me on my toes. I was a little disappointed when there was no romantic angle between Nakayama Miho and Kimura Takuya. This j drama is in the same genre as Takuya’s A Million Stars Falling from the Sky, one of my best Takuya dramas ever. In Sleeping, Takuya was younger and his acting was not as good though as in Million Stars, but both dramas cast him as being cold and mean in the beginning of the dramas. But there was more blood in Sleeping and the plot more mysterious. It was a whodunnit type of mystery…The ending is also not quite sad and not quite happy either,,,I had the hunch about who the murderer is but the plot misleads one into believing another guy did it. Also, this hallucinations about Hamazaki Kiichiro (Nakamori Toru)’s mother establishes the fact that he had some insane moments.

I like the profession of Takuya here as a stage lighting expert–really cool. I am not that hot over Takuya anymore and I do agree with some observations that he isn;t really that handsome but he does have expressive eyes and sexy lips. He is not tall either…

Thsi story pomders on whether people can just forget the past and just live on the present and the future. Hypnotic regressions, child abuse, illegitimate children, etc. The musical score is also great and adds toi the suspense and the thrill mood.

Found out the OSY is by Yoshimata Ryo, the same guy who composed the OST of A Million Stars.

BOYS OVER FLOWERS K drama

Just finished the 25-episode Boys Over Flowers, the Korean version of Hana Yori Dango and I must say that it is the better version than the Japanese one.  Why–the plot is less absurd and appealing; F4 definitely hotter esp Gu Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho) and Jan Di is cuter; OST is good.  The Korean version tried its best to piece together the missing links like the reasons for Yoon Ji Hoon’s loneliness, etc.  The K version also revised some scenes for the better such as the search for the Teen Princess and the bet placed with Domyouji’s mom; the staged suicide of the employee of the Domyouji group in the J-version which spurred Domyouji Tsukasa to intially turn his back on his promise to return to girlfriend, Tsukushi; bringing in the character of the former Korean President cum grandfather of Yoon; etc.  The F4 stars are “hot” esp Lee Min Ho whom I must say is very tall, handsome, (love it when he smiles); good actor (he reminds me of Prince Shin in Goong although after reviewing Goong, Lee Min Ho is far handsomer than Joo Ji Hoon.  Love the clothes of the guys too.  The K version tried to get the handsomer versions of the Japanese F4,  although Matsujun is a good actor and one of my favorites, Lee Min Ho was far more “macho” than Matsujun ; thought in the beginning that  Oguri Shun was good as Hanazawa Rui but now, I vote for the Korean guy.  The OST is better but having pop songs as OST is really less of a Japanese drama feature–J-dramas OST are really background music in the classical meaning of what OST should be, with a title song and on or two insert songs that are sung by  J pop singers.  I

I was so happy to be able to watch BOF and revived my sleepless night trying to finish the dramas.  Hope there would be BOF part 2.