JDrama: Bloody Monday 2

I realized I never blogged about Bloody Monday Season 1. I forgot when I watched it, it might be last year I guess. Bloody Monday 2 is a continuation of season 1 only in the sense the characters are ported over, even the antagonists, but in this drama, the main antagonists are a different bunch of terrorists waiting to destroy Japan using a hydrogen bomb.

I enjoyed Bloody Monday 2 lesser than Bloody Monday 1, as I thought there were some fundamental flaws. I didn’t see the point of having the kids obtaining guns when they don’t really do anything to contribute to the main storyline. Neither did they inflict much damage to society.

Bloody Monday 2 continued on Bloody Monday 1’s suspense by continually making you wonder who the mole in the police force is, who the mysterious Spider is etc. But they first bring you through scenes that make you strongly feel that person A is the bad guy but in reality she is not. Then once you realize she is not, you wonder questions like “So why did she react this way at that point in time”, and you get confused.

But the main storyline is interesting, with many twist and turns as to what the real objective of the terrorists are. As usual, the key ingredient of the show is the hacking skills of Falcon, acted by Miura Haruma. It does seemed that everything can be hacked in this world of computers, and it questions on the capabilities of those who built the system in the first place. How can you have a Nuclear Facility that is not properly guarded and terrorists can just over-run it easily? And then from the nuclear facility, hackers can take over the control systems of other facilities? But I guess this is why the story is fiction. In reality it is much harder to achieve the same objectives using such a simple plan.

I am most disappointed with the ending of this drama. Many questions were left unanswered. Suddenly the mastermind of the whole terrorist plot is the main antagonist of season 1, and one of the terrorists of season 2 is loyal to him when all the other terrorists are killed either in an internal struggle or by the police? I do wonder if they are planning to release Bloody Monday Season 3 or at least a special episode to explain the loose ends.

It is still an interesting drama to watch when you have the time. 🙂

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JDrama: Lady Saigo no Hanzai Profile

After my exams ended, this is the first drama that I watched. Ok lah, this is the only drama I have watched so far. Anyway the title of this drama is “Lady: Saigo no Hanzai Profile” (最後の犯罪profile), which loosely translated means the “last crime profile” The “Lady” part didn’t make sense to me until the final few episodes, as the key bad guy is dubbed the “Lady Killer”.

Profiling is basically something like a statistical tool of some sorts, where you try to predict the actions of the bad guy, or the place he would appear. This is highly dependent on the amount of information about the person, as you have to have some degree of understanding of the person to be able to profile him accurately. For example, in one episode, they estimated the places a runaway prisoner would go to, given that he was spotted in a place. It worked based on the probability that the fugitive will not run away too far from his nest.

Another example would be getting data from the previous few murders and the places the victims were abducted. By analyzing the order of which the abduction is performed, one is able to generate a prediction of the next location. This works on probability, hence the probability of error is always there. Profiling is not a 100% accurate thing.

The other side of profiling, a less statistical one, is performed by the main lead actress Kazuki, acted by Kitagawa Keiko. As a talented profiler trained with the FBI, she visits the scenes of the crime and tries to understand the criminal by imagining herself in their shoes. Since certain clues can be found in the scene of the crime, she is able to reconstruct some parts of what the criminal did, and then predict the possible actions.

Naturally I was quite skeptical of the profiling performed by CPS, the fictional department in the police force. It can’t be that accurate, can it? But maybe it can, since data could have been collected for many criminals and analyzed. Perhaps by leveraging on previous crimes, one can indeed model a criminal mind and guess, with some degree of accuracy, what a criminal might do.

There are a few things I learnt from this drama (sarcasm coming up)

1. Scenes of the crime are usually left alone in the original form. The tables that were overturned are untouched, and profilers can go back to see the original state and do re-profiling. Yes, even for crimes that happen 5 years ago.

2. The Japan police force is quite stupid 10 years ago, and the introduction of profilers suddenly made it easy to capture one criminal. I must say I was quite disappointed with the anti-climax ending, as I thought the police should have figured it out instead of dragging it till 10 years.

3. When criminals come back and hit the policeman who is pointing a gun at their comrade, the policeman will faint and they will run, but somehow their comrade does not follow immediately. As such a girl can take up the gun of the policeman and kill the comrade, and the runaway convicts will not hear the gunshots and hence does not come back.

But other than that, the drama is quite entertaining since it is something new that isn’t seen often on television. Makes me wonder why Mediacorp doesn’t record such shows that actually glorifies the work done by our police officers. The cases are pretty memorable, with many bizarre kind of murders. But deep down every murderer has a sad story. It is usually society that does not accept them properly, causing them to have mental disturbances and go the wrong way.

Perhaps as a society we should always be encouraging towards all members of society, making sure they don’t fall through the cracks in our system, so everyone can live a dignified life. We would then have less people going mentally insane, and hence less chances of seeing such sick murders. Ok this paragraph sounds not simple. Haha.

JDrama: Juunen Saki mo Kimi ni Koishite「十年先も君に恋して」

After a long period of not blogging about dramas, I find myself back to do a short write up on this JDrama that I have watched recently. Judging from the Japanese title, is it possible to guess what the drama is about? Firstly it involves the concept of time, ten years ago. In the drama, the husband named Maruyama Hiroshi, an engineer working on space elevators, travels 10 years back into the past to prevent his wife, Onozawa Rika from meeting him. Secondly, the word “jun” or 君 means you in Japanese. The last clue is then the single last kanji word which represents love. Loosely translated, the title means “I’ll still love you in 10 years”, so I guess you can sort of guess what the ending is.

Hiroshi, who travelled 10 years into the past, cannot meet up with his younger self because he would get a headache whenever the two of them got too near. Hence he had to strike from Rika, by preventing her from boarding the bus which they met in. He managed to successfully prevent Rika from boarding the bus, because Rika was afraid of this weird guy who kept following her. But as fate dictates that the two of them will meet again after just one hour later. I guess this is what it means by fate?

Having his plan failed, Hiroshi had to devise other means, and finally showed himself after Rika had fallen in love with his younger self. Rika had a shock. Who wouldn’t? But then it became a painful emotional struggle when one has to wonder, if knowing that you would be unhappy 10 years later with this guy, would you still choose him?

In this short 6 episode drama, I manage to be able to feel the character of Hiroshi, and understand the feeling he has when he made the decision to travel back in time. It is obvious that he still loves Rika, and flashbacks show how they often quarrel, because Rika was unhappy that she didn’t live out her dream. Which got me thinking, really, as time goes by, do couples really grow apart? Would we one day decide that we regretted sacrificing for the other person because we did not get what we want?

In the drama, Hiroshi successfully engineers a plan and it leads to the younger Hiroshi being suspicious of Rika’s faithfulness and so they break up. On the surface rthe plan was a success, but was Hiroshi truly happy? Bearing in mind the great love he has for Rika; that he went back 10 years so that she could live the life she wanted, without him. And him having to tell lies to tell Rika that he hates her. It’s just so so emo.

But Hiroshi finally changes his mind, and with the help of Rika’s brother, manages to convince the two that they really do have feelings for each other, and hence young Hiroshi patched back with Rika. As Hiroshi left, memories of the old Hiroshi would fade in the young Rika’s mind, and Hiroshi bravely went back to the present, 2020, to face the divorce that he is having with his wife.

The story ended nicely with Rika getting a letter she wrote to herself 10 years ago in 2010. Rika went back to being an editor, and the two realized they do have feelings for each other, and it ends with Hiroshi realizing that Rika secretly made him a cup of coffee, and the two enjoyed a happy moment together.

So this is it. This is what it is meant by I’ll still love you in 10 years. It doesn’t matter how long the relationship is, but when both live their lives to what they want to be, it would be great. So in the relationship, no party needs to overly sacrifice for the other. Dreams have to be met for everyone to remain satisfied with themselves. I guess I should also pursue my dreams. As always, the question I ask myself on this blog is: 私の夢は何ですか?

JMovie: Nodame Cantabile

The movie version of Nodame Cantabile was created to reflect whatever that happened to Nodame and Chiaki after they went to Paris. The drama version took us from Nodame being in school and falling in love with her Chiaki senpai, and then how she decided to work hard for him instead of just being a kindergarten teacher. The special episodes then took them to Paris, and the movie concludes the entire series.

So I am not too sure if people who hadn’t watched Nodame Cantabile from the start, beginning with the drama, would enjoy such a movie. They would probably not be able to grasp the characters and plot.

Nodame Cantabile, the movie, is also split into two parts, hence it is impossible to fully grasp the idea of Nodame Cantabile if one had not watched the first part. I do not know why, but actually most movies that are based on existing dramas and animes would not seem to be able to stand on its own as a movie. I guess, people actually go on to watch Nodame Cantabile after they enjoyed the drama.

As usual, the drama is full of many different pieces of classical music written by many people, but the one that was emphasised quite often was Chopin. There were a few major performances in the show, and I quite liked them. Spoilers, so skip the paragraph below if you are intending to watch it.

Kiyora’s violin performance in her competition, with an orchestra
Nodame’s rendition of the music she heard in the piano competition, which I liked
Son Rui’s new debut on Piano with Chiaki as conductor (didn’t really like it, most part because Nodame was upset cause she wanted to play this piece with Chiaki as the conductor. Yes, its the one she performed after she heard it in the piano competition)
Nodame’s saigo no performance (last performance) for Franz Stresemann
Nodame’s debut with Franz Stresemann
Nodame and Chiaki’s two piano symphony

Nodame’s last performance isn’t really her last. She was just upset after Son Rui’s performance and her failed attempt at proposing to Chiaki. LOL. So Stresemann came and heard her play and said that Nodame had finally arrived. So he whisked her off and placed her inside his performance and brought her to the skies. And she was afraid that she would never beat that performance and hence she escapes. And Chiaki brought her confidence back with the two piano piece that they played in part 1.

The credits were “short”, at least those without any images. They did show Nodame and Chiaki and what happened after that, so don’t walk away. I doubt you need to stand up even. The two girls who stood up found themselves wondering if they should stand or sit, and for a few seconds my view was blocked. Luckily they sat down.

I can’t voice out how much I love Stresemann that weirdo. He has that weird curly hair and that fake French accent and why in Part 2 he isn’t caught inside a club full of girls by his side? That’s like his trademark scene. He always makes me laugh.

Anyway for a great and detailed analysis on Nodame the movie, I have to wait till Rina’s post come up. She will know which piece of music was played in the different scenes! 🙂

JDrama: Ace wo Nerae!

Ace wo nerae, or エースをねらえ in Japanese, means “Aim for the Ace!”. This drama is about this girl Oka Hiromi, who joined the Nishi High School tennis club after seeing this girl (nicknamed Ochoufujin, お蝶夫人) play gracefully on the court. She’s a total newbie, yet the new coach Munakata Jin took notice of her persevering spirit and made her one of the players representing the school for competition. Naturally this means the more qualified seniors are unhappy about the arrangement and seeks means and ways to make Oka feel bad.

The beauty of this drama is in how the coach spends time and effort grooming Oka, and even though Oka does not understand the coach very well, she continues to come back time and again after running away from tennis. Eventually Oka understands the coach’s feelings and at the end of the entire drama she made it as a representative of Japan to go to America to play in the Youth Cup.

We might find ourselves running away from time to time, not understanding what is going on. We may doubt and question ourselves in the choice we make. Oka frequently asks herself why she chose to play tennis. What does tennis mean to her. When Ochoufujin asks her to choose between tennis and herself, Oka initially chooses Ochoufujin, but realizes that she loved tennis so much, so she returned.

Sometimes life gives us challenges, and we may feel dejected for a moment. But as long as we truly believed in ourselves, and we truly worked hard for our goals, we will reach there. Even if the world didn’t believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. The world doesn’t owe us a duty to believe, but we can make them believe. With perseverance and hard work, one day we’ll achieve the things that we are aiming for, and then everyone would be forced to believe.

Ace wo nerae, minna.

JDrama: Hotelier

I finished this JDrama a few days ago, and the time spent from the beginning of the drama at episode one to its ending at episode 9 took me almost 6 months. This is because the source for the stream was really bad and it took very long to load the parts. Thanks to Dom, I got to watch the rest of the episodes from episode 5 onwards without any lag.

Hotelier is a drama about managing a hotel. The hotel is facing a crisis as there is a person who is looking forward to take over this hotel through the acquiring of the majority of its shares. The guy’s personal reason for doing so was rather childish in my opinion.

Anyway, he hired a takeover expert who has successfully engineered several takeovers in the past. The expert then stayed in the hotel silently to evaluate the hotel.

Through a series of fortunate events, he fell in love with the Assistant Manager Odagiri (played by Ueto Aya). But his identity was eventually exposed and there were some confusion on Odagiri’s part as she was loyal to the hotel for being her home all these years, and on the other hand she had feelings for the expert.

Eventually after lots of ups and downs, the expert switched sides and saved the hotel.

Notice that I didn’t really remember the names of key personnel, and I didn’t give more review to this drama. This is because the drama isn’t really exciting, and it was slow at some points in time. Had it not been Ueto Aya’s work, I would probably not have finished this drama. Probably this is another reason why it dragged beyond 6 months. I guess people can skip this drama?

JDrama: Buzzer Beat

I finished watching Buzzer Beat yesterday, taking 4 days to finish this 11 episode Jdrama. I must say I took it nice and slow compared to most dramas that I finish within 2 or 3 days. This is especially so since I can’t sleep late due to the need to wake up early for work, so I watched 2 eps on Sunday, and 3 eps on the remaining 3 days till Wednesday. If you wonder why there’s lesser eps on a weekend compared to a weekday, well, I got the drama from Dom only in our Sunday sting ray outing, and I reached home at 8 plus.

Buzzer Beat is probably more of a romantic drama than anything else. There’s not so much of professional basketball than the development of the character’s affection and internal angst. In a way I can understand the feelings of Naoki (played by Yamashita Tomohisa, affectionately known as Yamapi) when he sees that his girlfriend (played by Saki Aibu of Zettai Kareshi) was cheating on him. The feeling would be really crushing, and from then on I was supporting his character all the way. But I guess I already knew he would end up with Riko (played by Kitagawa Keiko), so I was expecting them to have some development.

And Buzzer Beat didn’t disappoint. But Naoki made me very sad when he didn’t tell the truth to Riko. I think even if you saw your ex and passed her an umbrella, one should let one’s girlfriend know to prevent any problems from happening. Instead of letting her imagination go wild and stuff.

I loved Buzzer Beat because the characters are both 24 (which is my age!). Ok that isn’t true. The thing is, they were both chasing their dreams. Naoki wanting to win the Basketball championship, and Riko wanting to be a violinist in a concert. I was especially happy when Riko said she would stay by Naoki’s side because she didn’t want to leave him (but before you shout MCP!), and Naoki told her to pursue his dreams (why? because..), because Riko was his no 1 basketball fan, and Naoki said he would be Riko’s no 1 violin fan. Two people mutually supporting each other and chasing their dreams, and finally achieving it, I think it’s really sweet.

I like the Coach too, because he is really mature and sweet, and understanding too. He could have potentially caused problems for Naoki and Riko, but he didn’t.

There are a few quotes I liked in the show, but I can’t remember every single one. Perhaps one of the more memorable ones would be “I didn’t know it then, but the ball of fate has already unwind at that time”. Kinda makes you wonder whether some ball of fate has already unwind for you isn’t it?

But I guess in a way, the show is still a drama. Obsessively believing that someone that good will come is like gambling. Waiting for the odds to come. But for most mortals, we typically encounter bad traits and have to learnt to accept them. Life doesn’t always give you someone as nice and handsome as Naoki, or as understanding and pretty as Riko. But I guess what life is about is the mutual support and understanding you can give to each other.

🙂

Anyway, Buzzer Beat refers to the ball going into the net as the buzzer for the time out begins to sound. It signifies a last minute score, and it changed the winning team at the beginning and end games. I guess no prizes for guessing who scored the Buzzer Beat on the last one. Yes that baka hachi ban, Naoki.

“Awanai nante iwanai de” looks and sounds like a rhyme but it just means “Don’t say let’s not meet”.

I went to check the wiki, Yamapi and Keiko won the Best Actor and Best Actress last year using this show! I remember my first JDrama was Kurosagi, and Yamapi won the Best Actor then, and Maki won the Best Supporting Actress. At least now Keiko is considered the main and not the supporting. 🙂

I love this drama. Shall store it and watch it when I am bored next time.