Drama grab-bag – the jdrama edition

I’m rewatching Gift. 😉 Been wanting to for ages and today a quick trip down memory lane just prompted me to pick it up again. I’d almost forgotten how much fun it was. I’ve watched eps 1-2 now and there were times I was litterally howling with laughter. Ah, and the theme song… ‘Tokyo Joe’ by Bryan Ferry. I love the insert sequency with the errant package. LOL! It’s SO strange. Like parts of the drama, though it’s nowhere near Keizoku level of strange, ha. The vid quality is crap but that’s to be expected of a drama made in 1997. Gift has a very young and very pretty KimuTaku. I don’t think he’s ever been this lumniously pretty since. I swear, the guy is almost ethereal in some scenes. XD He is actyally pretty darned good in this one! His comic timing is almost perfect but he manages to be very convoncing in the more serious bits too. Yup, there was a time KimuTaku actually made dramas that were worth watching and mostly good. Some are even very good indeed.
I’m thinking about dropping Ouroboros. I never had any expectations as I don’t know the manga it’s based on but I did hope it’d be more…. well, more interesting? Unconventional? But, I’m not really feeling it. So, not another Border. Which, by the way is very good. One of the best I’ve seen in a while. I hated the ending but that was honestly the only way it could end. LOL! I’m still finding it hard to believe they dared to go there. Really! I knew pretty much early on where we were heading. The drama is called ‘Border’ after all; not just the border of the living and the dead but one between right and wrong. Hope there’ll be S2.

So, with nothing current on my plate I decided to pick up one from my jdrama backlog. One that I’d already started watching but forgot when something more shiny came along. I wouldn’t say Starman is ‘the best thing evah’ but I quite enjoyed it. It’s ever so slightly off-kilter in that special jdrama way that just can’t be re-produced or copied. Which I love. It’s heart warming, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny and gave me the warm fuzzies. And it makes no effort to hide that this is exactly what it’s supposed to do. It aims to make you care. Of course it’s nowhere near as good as those wonderful feel-good dramas of yonder years it tries to emulate. Close but no cigar.

In the past few years I’ve actually watched several somewhat similar dramas in tone. Tonbi, Tokyo Bandwagon, Itsuka Hi no Ataru Basho de, Shima no Sensei, Arifureta Kiseki, Nemureru Mori no Jukujo and even an older one from 2002; Yume no California. What I like about them is that there are no truly evil people, just erring humans who sometimes do bad stuff. They are also thankfully devoid of the makjangy elements most kdramas are pickled in. The characters are more relateble and truer to life. There is often a tightknit community, loving families, circles of good friends. People truly wanting the best for others. But presented in that peculiarly engaging, quirky jdrama way. 🙂 Naive? Yes, but a welcome relief from all the backstabbing and betrayal that goes on e.g. in kdramas. It’s a pity jdramas have stagnated to the never ending stream of crime procedurals and idol infested youth dramas. Most of which don’t amount to much. There used to be more variety.

Drama grab-bag

The brouhaha around Healer continues but I’m still not getting the “feels”. It’s an ok drama and I do tend to watch the episodes as soon as they are available but I don’t have any burning need to write about them. I’ve been pondering about the popularity and came to the conclusion that the main draw is a) Ji Chang Wook, b) Ji Chang Wook, c) Ji Chang Wook, d) the OTP + romance and the rest comes somwhere behind these. XD The story is journeying on a pretty well travelled path and the premise of a group of friends, one of which is coveting his friends wife, has shades of Resurrection in it. Anyways, with Healer I’ve got my Mon-Tue covered.

Kill Me, Heal Me turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I anticipated. It’s sort of bizarre funny with some poignant and lovely scenes sprinkled here and there. Then there’s also the mystery of WTH! happened to Do Hyun to splinter his personality and how are he, Ri Jin and Ri Ohn connected. Ji Sung is wonderful in all the different aspects of Do Hyun. 🙂 There’s something oddly fragile about the character, even when it’s Se Gi. Hwang Jung Eum still overacts like there’s no tomorrow but I don’t think it’s her fault entirely. PD Nim should really tone it down. Park Seo Joon continues to be a delight to watch. His role isn’t all that central, at least atm, but he just grabs your attention whenever he’s in a scene. Definitely holding his own.

I wasn’t initially going to pick up Heart to Heart but after reading few reactions to the first few episodes got me interested enough to give it a go. I really liked it! It’s delightfully quirky and just enough off kilter to suit me, ha. There’s a definite j-drama feel to it. I like the characters, yes even Chun Jung Myung’s Yi Suk. 🙂 Boy is a prat but as that’s not all he is, he gets a pass. Most of the time. He is self-centerd and often thoughtless, saying and doing things without thinking how they affect others but I’ve got the feeling the rudeness is at least partly a defence mechanism. Underneath all that he is oddly childlike, which is something he shares with Choi Kang Hee’s Hong Do. Both are also socially inept, only it manifests differently. I love Hong Do, she is a bundle of contradictions. Extremely shy and wary of people and yet curious about many things and can be very opinionated and vocal but only with Yi Suk or when in disguise it seems. Her years long crush on Detective Jang is adorable but it’s just that – a crush mixed up with hero worship. The good detective is a typical 2nd lead, too nice. His soft approach to Hong Do has not been able to bring her out of her shell. What she needed was someone like Yi Suk who barged through her barreers by treating her just like he treats everyone else. ;P They connect; she cancells out his inability to deal with certain people and he her social phobia and blushing. Together they make a pretty good team. If only he could stop turning into a 3rd grader half the time he is with her. The stunts he pulls thinking they are funny… I’d be ready strangle him too.^^

Still undecided about Persevere Goo Hae Ra. The 3rd epi was slightly better than the two before but it’s still mostly just a collection of scenes stitched together and acting is all over the place. The plot moves at a snails pace and as this is a once a week drama, it feels even slower. None of the leads are as easily and instantly appealing as Sul Chan was, I had such a soft spot for that boy. *g* They are all sorta colourless. I’m also not too thrilled about the use of ‘flash forward’ in the beginning of each epi. It’s clunky and doesn’t really add anything relevant to the episode. Still, I’m mildy interesed in seeing how the ‘new’ addition will shake things up.

I couldn’t muster any interest in the new Binnie drama. Also checked out Shine or Go Crazy but it’s not my cup of tea at all. Instead I decided to go with Ouroboros, which has all the makings of a crack drama. I loved the first episode and can’t wait for more!