As it says, short takes on two dramas I’ve recently watched; Hello, Franceska (kdrama) and Sugarless (jdrama). The first one is very much worth watching, especially S1. The second one is for… should I say, ‘acquired’ taste. *g*
What a fun little sitcom Hello, Franceska was! I started the S1 several months ago (I even wrote a short introduction to it) and then kinda forgot about it for a while, LOL! I picked it up again few weeks back and ended up mainlining the rest of S1 and all of S2 at one go. (There is also a S3 but I’ve read that it’s nowhere near as good and only few of the original cast remains.) At about 25 min the episodes are bite size – pun inteded.^^
Hello, Franceska is absolutely hilarious for the most part and yet manages to be oddly poignant at times, I welled up more than once. It’s chock full of funny takes on many of the typical kdrama clichés and really underlines how silly most of them are. I laughed out loud SO many times! It also uses well known scenes from different dramas and movies to showcase some of the funny. Yes, it is rather OTT in places but that is intentional, so not as in-your-face as one would initially think. There is a nice, well calculated balance, especially in S1. The drama has several cameos by people you may or may not recognise. I picked out fiew but as I haven’t been able to find out who most of them were, I’m still kinda clueless. Like this guy who first featured in an epi as one of Elizabeth’s persistent suitors who then falls for Franceska at first sight. Guy was filming his own melodrama – tears, stalking and angst filled monologues included. 😀 He came back for a several ep long arch later on. The actor seems vaguely familiar but can’t for the life of me figure out who he is. Does anyone know?
The first season of ‘Franceska’ is definitely the best though. S2 isn’t quite as funny and I didn’t really warm up to the storyline of PinkLady and her 2 suitors, though even that one had it’s moments.
On a whim I also marathoned Sugarless, one of those Japanese “delinquent-school” dramas that are on another level of awesomely stupid. XD You know, those drama schools that never seem to have any classes, no teachers nor other authroity figures in sight and that are run by different gangs who constantly clash, either with each other or with gangs of other schools. Some of the students (often the leaders) always look like they doubled every class since middle school, LOL!
I’d call Sugarless a ‘guilty pleasure’ if I was even the least bit guilty about it. Yup, there are times when I don’t have any taste whatsoever. *g* I’m pretty sure I lost more than a few brain cells watching this but it was surprisingly funny and oddly uplifting in it’s way. Our ‘hero’ Shiiba (Alan Shirahama of GENERATIONS – he was pretty good but I seem to recall he was originally with Gekidan Exile, the acting troupe of LDH) is a total pea-brain and can’t fight for toffee, just about anyone could floor him. What he does have is tenacity bordering on idiocy and a big heart. His unflinching will to go through anything and never admit defeat actully ended up insipring the others to do better. Not in their academic endeavours alas, but in their strive to become the next Ultimate Leader, the TOP of Kushima High School. A position currently held by Shake, the unbeatable 3rd year student (played by SHOKICHI, who at the time was all of 27 yrs – double HA!).
Sugarless is based on a manga so don’t expect anything to do with reality. I doubt it was even ment to be taken seriously at any level, heh. I had to LOL at how cuts and bruises wanished, broken bones healed and torn and bloodied clothes miraculously got mended within the next few scenes (which was convenient as EVERYONE wore the same clothes throughout the drama.) 😀 There is lot of (on the surface) reluctant bonding (“Luv ya, man!” expressed in beating the daylights out of each other) and fighting, that had this been RL would have resulted in most of the guys in either ICU or morgue. Plenty of shirtlessness and sweaty bodies in slow-mo. I mean, the opening should already give a hint of what’s to come, LOL! 🎶Brave it out… MA・MA・MA・Madamada…🎶 ~ Ah-hem… The fight scenes are rather nicely choreographed though and the OST is great, if you like j-rock. Most of the songs are by Japanese alternative rock/metal band ‘Pay Money To My Pain’. The only non fight related theme in the drama is Shiiba’s hilarious but undying crush on fellow student Haruka. He did win her over in the end.^^ My fave character is probably one of the 3rd tier supporting ones; ittybitty Tanaka (Sato Taiki), who seems to know everything about everyone, be it in Kushima High or any other school in the area.