Sandpanther (sandpanther) wrote,

Watching Things

Had J-drama night with swtjemz. Tonight we watched:

This is excellent, and I highly recommend it. First off, the plot is interesting and engaging. Second off, Matsuda Shota (of HanaDan Nishikado fame) is lovely in it -- both in appearance and in the way he portrays his character. The main character is a girl who is so innocent she's easily taken in by anyone. She's invited to join a game called the Liar Game, which consists of a series of mind games designed to try and get people to trick and double-cross each other. So far she's managed to stay pure and naieve, even despite all the machinations going on around her. We're only three episodes in so it's hard to say where it's going. But it's been a fascinating ride so far.

This one's fun as well. Relatively light in tone, despite so far having the corpse of the week. (Sometimes more than one.) A group of jr. high school students are studying to be detectives, and are pretty darn good at it. Each character is well defined and interesting, and the plots move along nicely. As an added bonus, they end up in Akihabara regularly, which makes me smile. Oh, and there's a minor character who's showed up in both of the episodes so far who has to be bribed with monster figurines from Ultraman. (Teppei's soulmate?) I lost a large section of important plot exposition to fangirl squee'ing over her multiple Namegon figurines. And I really should pull out my big book of all things Ultraman to ID a couple of the common ones, 'cause I'm feeling stupid at forgetting their names, and --

Uh, I was talking about a different show here, wasn't I?

Anyway, this is fun, and well worth watching as well. Nowhere near as intense as Liar Game, so this provides a nice lightening of the mood. There's a group working on subbing this, only as far as I can tell they aren't releasing subs, they're releasing timed scripts. I'm intrigued. But this means if I want to show it to other people I'm going to have to do the encoding myself. Meh. :P

Today we got started a little earlier than usual, so we had time to throw in something else. Being brain dead and not feeling up to Bambino we tossed in Drift 4

I bought this for exactly two reasons: hot Japanese cars, and cute Japanese guys. Notice the total lack of caring about plot, character development, anything. Yes, I'm being shallow. This will become pertinent later.

This has two toku actors in it: Igarashi Shunji and Handa Kento (of KR 555's Takumi fame). Igarashi's the main character for this volume. He spends a lot of time being all emo, which amuses me. Not Mirai-chipper emo. More like both the Takahashi brothers rolled into one kind of emo. Hot tempered, yet whining that there isn't anyone good enough to give him a challenge racing on the touge. He spends a lot of time standing around looking pretty, which is a job well within his repertoire. He also has the honor of, so far, being the only one of the actors driving who looks like he might actually have a driver's license. One of the actresses in particular did a very good job of convincing me that she's never been behind the wheel in her life. Pity her character's supposed to be a hot-shot driving talent. Oh, and Igarashi keeps his eyes on the road -- pretty impressive for a driving series. I mean, IniD they were pretty much never looking at the road.

Handa Kento doesn't show up much so far, so not a lot to say about him.

This series needs more hot cars. Okay, yeah, my bias shows in being miffed that the main character is driving a Miata. (When he's not driving a pink... Silvia of some kind, I think it is.) Imprezas are always nice -- though I'm sad to admit at first I thought it was an Integra. >.>;;; A couple of GT-Rs, just because. But yeah, nothing that really turns me on, automotively. Alas.

We only watched half of it so I don't know how it ends. And don't particularly care. The plot is incredibly weak and the characters range from bland to boring. Fortunately, I didn't buy it for any of that stuff -- and I'm deriving a fair amount of amusement watching it just to say snarky things. (Heel and toe double clutching? Le'huh? WTF??) Besides, I wanted to watch mindless stuff with cars in it, and this is fitting the bill beautifully. I may pick up some of the other volumes just for, well, more mindless stuff with pretty cars and pretty boys in it.

On a J-drama note,

Not quite caught up yet (I typed this post rather than watching ep. 4 -- oh well.) This seems to be developing into a series that one watches just to experience, rather than it being about any plot or character development. Fortunately I like the world it's in and the thematic and design elements enough to still find it engaging to watch even without any of the normal vehicles that would carry my attention.

Episode 2 made me realize that not only is this a world without light, it's very monochromatic. Black, white, and dark blues make up most of the landscape. Occasionally there is a pool of yellow in the glow of one of those rare lamps that isn't a stark white. Absolutely no green -- to the extent that when the nature shots show up in the end credits it's almost startling. And about the only red is Seven. It makes him stand out as unique, the only patch of strong color against the monotony of everything else.

I noticed that Kei and the mystery woman (don't remember her name) both wear white. Jin is in the same black as the bad guys. It's an interesting design choice, and I wonder what it's trying to indicate. If the bad guys are aliens, maybe it's a visual sign classing Jin/Seven in with them? Hard to say at this point.

Episode 3, in contrast, is practically a riot of color. Greens and nature are suddenly introduced as we start the episode in a park, out in bright daylight. After all the stark cityscape of the previous two episodes this sudden torrent of nature seemed almost unnatural. The nature-is-unnatural theme was quietly underscored by the Hopeless being the ones living in the park. People who have something live in cities, while those without live out in nature, primal.

This one seems to have a bit more of a plot as well, or at least is trying to make a statement. We start seeing an explicit theme of "why save these people, they don't want to save themselves". Earlier episode felt a bit like that to me -- something in the way they all seemed to prefer being stuck in their dark, monochromatic, high-tech world -- but never came right out and said it so much. (Though in retrospect weren't the people being taking in the UFO an aspect of that? They surely didn't want to save themselves.) I continue on in the belief that there is more to this series than just a lot of Blade Runner, William Gibson world. I think there is an overarching plot. It's just been very shy about showing itself. We will see, as the episodes develop.

Tags: igarashi shunji, j-drama, liar game, tantei gakuen q, ultraseven x

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