News Nibbly: Idols Jin and Meisa Tie the Knot Before You Can Say “Dekichatta Kekkon”

Posted February 14, 2012 by Ender's Girl
Categories: J-Ent: Welcome to the Freakshow, Miscellaneous

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Jin Takes Meisa for a Test Drive, and Guess Who Calls ‘Shotgun!’

by Ender’s Girl

Last February 2nd, at the Akanishi-Kuroki Nuptials…

(Just kidding!)

So news is out that Akanishi Jin, who by the look of things spent the better part of his adult life taking his, uh, WildOatsMobile for more Test Drives than he can probably remember, is now a Married Man – and maybe a Dad-to-Be as well, with brand-new wifey Kuroki Meisa rumored to be a couple of months impregnito (lol). Shocker, I know. (While Meisa’s condition isn’t official (yet), her abrupt cancelation of all media and event appearances a few days before the Feb. 15 launch of her new album has kept the grapevine buzzing and those raised eyebrows, well, raised.)

Jin’s vows, after the jump!

Film Review: Ashita no Joe / Tomorrow’s Joe (2011)

Posted December 29, 2011 by Ender's Girl
Categories: J-Drama & Film

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Mighty Joe Young and the Pecs of Tomorrow

by Ender’s Girl

(Related post: Boxer… Shorts: Vid Clips from Ashita no Joe, Crying Fist and 1-Pound Gospel)

The Cast:
Yamashita Tomohisa, Iseya Yusuke, Karina, Kagawa Teruyuki, and Yomoshita Tomohisa’s various muscle groups in a dazzling repeat performance!!!

Directed by Sori Fumihiko / TBS Pictures, 2011

In a Nutshell:
A scrappy young delinquent discovers a love for boxing and rises from the slums to challenge an old rival in the ring – with a little help from a boozy nut of a trainer, unconventional fighting techniques, and his magic moobs.

(SpoilLert: Everything but the ending!)

[Recommended sing-along companion track: “Eye of the Tiger” by YamaPi. No, by Survivor]

Risin’ up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances…
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive…

Yamashita Tomohisa, he of the “mighty chest” (LMAO) and plum Getsuku dramas, steps into the ring as Japan’s favorite boxing icon Yabuki Joe in this live-action adaptation of the acclaimed manga epic from Takamori Asao and Chiba Tetsuya.

Serialized from 1968 to 1973 in the Weekly Shounen Magazine, “Ashita no Joe” was an ode to the working-class hero – the social archetype that became wildly popular during the boom years of the ‘50s and ‘60s, when Japan’s remarkable economic growth was largely driven by heavy industry and mass production.

While the coming-of-age theme of “Ashita no Joe” holds universal appeal, the story would resonate especially with members of the so-called “manga generation.” Born around 1950, many of these youths were uneducated factory workers uprooted from rural areas, or radical university students when “Ashita no Joe” was first published. In the character of Yabuki Joe, a street punk who boxes his way to a bantamweight championship despite all odds, these readers found a protagonist they could identify with and root for, and who best embodied their own dreams of overcoming whatever obstacles stood in the way of personal progress.

Let’s get rrrready to GRRRUMBLE! (heh) MOAR after the jump!

The Little Dorama Girl – 2nd Anniversary Post: Once Upon a Johnny

Posted November 3, 2011 by Ender's Girl
Categories: J-Ent: Welcome to the Freakshow, Misc, Miscellaneous, The Kimura Project

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The Terrible Twos

The Little Dorama Girl turned two a few days ago (um, yay), although I know that things have been a little quiet on the bloggy front the past year. To be honest I haven’t had much progress with my drama To-Watch and review To-Write lists due to (what else?) Real Life obligations. But I hope that my 22 regular readers (down 2 from 24, ohnoes!) find themselves in a forgiving mood as they read this. THANK YOU for continuing to patronize my daft fangirly drivel, really I mean it. I don’t know if you notice, but I totally feel yer lurrve each time you drop me a line! Your comments brighten up my day, and that’s a fact. =D (And – dammit lurkers, STOP HIDING IN KAMENASHI’S CLOSET! lol)

Graphics by jicks (sankyou jicks! words are not enough!!! gahahaha xD)

So I hope you’ll enjoy what I’ve cooked up for my Second Anniversary Offering. Then again, maybe you’ll read this and curse the day you chanced upon my site, hahaha. But it’s Johnnies who got me blogging, and by gum, it’s Johnnies who’ll KEEP me going. I owe their skinny, tinsel-clad heinies more than most people give them credit for, so this post is for them – and for you, if you can, uh, keep an open mind while reading. This is something I’ve never tried before, but DAYYUM I HAD FUN WRITING IT SO THERE!!!

xoxo Ender’s Girl

*cue fairytale-y music*

Hello, I’m Ender’s Girl. For centuries, storytellers have spun their tales of magic and enchantment for the young at heart. There’s something about fairy tales that feels so familiar and universal, regardless of culture or clime. Some of these tales are funny, some are scary, and some romantic. But whatever the setting, these classic stories never fail to enthrall and entertain us – whether in their original form, or as modern-day retellings given a feminist  twist, like Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber,” or a satirical spin, like  James Finn Garner’s “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.”

I’ve taken the liberty of adding my own voice to the growing potpourri of contemporary fairy tale adaptations. So sit back and relax, and enjoy my collection of familiar stories – like you’ve never known them before:

A poor aspiring performer learns that with patience, hard work and a little magic, musical dreams really do come true, in “Jinderella.” A wooden puppet who yearns to be a real boy sets out on the journey of his life, in “YamaPinocchio.” And a beautiful kabuki princess fleeing great danger crosses paths with five multi-talented, chain-smoking miners who may just change her life forever, in “Matsu and the Five SMAPs.”

Enter my Never Never Land. After the jump!

Film Review: 13 Assassins (2010)

Posted October 19, 2011 by Ender's Girl
Categories: J-Drama & Film

Tags: , , , ,

My ‘ssassin Boys

by Ender’s Girl

(Sorry for the lame-o title-o, but a pun on the hit 2001 K-romcom My Sassy Girl was the best I could come up with – though I know not everyone can relate. My apologies.)


The Cast:
Yakusho Koji, Yamada Takayuki, Iseya Yusuke, Matsukata Hiroki, Inagaki Goro, Ihara Tsuyoshi, Sawamura Ikki, Furuta Arata, Takaoka Sousuke, Rokkaku Seiji, Matsumoto Koshiro, Namioka Kazuki, Kondo Koen, Ishigaki Yuma, Kubota Masataka, Ichimura Masachika

Directed by Miike Takashi / Toho & Sedic International, 2010

In a Nutshell:
A crack team of 13 samurai battles the odds – and an army of 200 elite guardsmen – in a suicide mission to dispatch an evil lord in late-Edo Japan.

(SpoilLert: Don’t worry, not saying who dies – or lives – in the end!)

“A good fort needs a gap. The enemy must be lured in so we can attack them. If we only defend, we lose the war.”

– Shimada Kambei in Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954)

With 13 Assassins, master provoc-auteur Miike Takashi takes on a revitalized genre that, in recent years, has become the playground of veteran filmmakers like Yamada Yoji who favor quieter, deconstructed re-imaginings of samurai slumming it in the relatively bloodless years of the Pax Tokugawa.

In sharp contrast to Miike’s 2010 period opus (and, uh, 183,034th career feature to date lol), Yamada Yoji jidaigeki (Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade) are leisurely explorations of the minutiae of Japanese feudal society – samurai pass their time running office errands, dabbling in a trade, or perhaps, on more exciting days, refereeing (or figuring in) a domestic spat or two. In this era of peace, nobody has time to whinge about not having any civil wars to fight, or foreign armies to repel, or rival daimyo to vanquish (the daily grind of life is a battle in itself). And instead of traditional heroes and villains, Yamada Yoji protagonists are but regular blokes, and the antagonists usually snooty in-laws or petty, opportunistic bureaucrats.

Now enter Miike Takashi’s World, where: “If it ain’t about the killin’, then it ain’t worth filmin’!!!” His samurai and aristos are just. too. cool to trouble themselves with such mind-numbing mundanities; they loaf through the hated peacetime torpor with a bad case of the blahs, willing themselves back to the good ol’ pre-shogunate g(l)ory days of barbarism and bloodshed, when everyone and everything went by the credo “Fight-o ergo sum.” Robbed of their self-validating license to do violence, they longingly finger their idle swords while dreaming of honor and sacrifice, and nursing death wishes of an epic scale to match their own aspirations to immortality.

Goro Gone Bad, after the jump! Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Film Review: Space Battleship Yamato (2010)

Posted August 15, 2011 by Ender's Girl
Categories: J-Drama & Film, Kimura as Hero of the Day, Kimura as Tom Cruise, The Kimura Project

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Moviestardom: The Final Frontier

by Ender’s Girl

 

The Cast:
Kimura Takuya, Kuroki Meisa, Yanagiba Toshiro, Ogata Naoto, Yamazaki Tsutomu

Directed by Yamazaki Takashi / Toho; TBS Films, 2010

In a Nutshell:
A single battleship and its doughty crew are mankind’s last hope against an invading alien race!!!

The Real Nutshell:
Kimura Takuya makes a bid for international moviestardom!!!

(SpoilLert: Well it’s that kind of film, so can there really be anything to spoil?)

It’s 2199 and there’s something straaange in the solar system: Earth is this close to getting nuked out of existence by an invading alien race – SO WHO YA GONNA CALL?????????????

KIMUTAKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Did the Ghostbusters theme song start playing in your head just now??? It did, dinnit??? Hahahaha)

The last time a cocky, nonconformist hero saved the world from imminent destruction while a Steven Tyler power ballad blared in the background, the year was 1998 and the movie was Armageddon. It’s 2011 and (a newly relevant) Steven Tyler is still caterwauling the same tune (well, almost), although the crew nationalities have changed from Eeemrrican to Japanese, the Earth faces a different kind of threat (enemy extraterrestrials! instead of giant asteroids!), and the hero (Kimura Takuya in full-on Moviestar Mode) has way more hair than Bruce Willis did in Armageddon (or anything he starred in since 1987, for that matter).

I don’t know if the producers of the 2010 Space Battleship Yamato remake intentionally hired Steven Tyler as a nod to Armageddon – and, by association, that other celestial-body-on-a-collision-course-with-Earth-OHNOES!!! flick from 1998, Deep Impact (whose plotline the Bay/Bruckheimer/Willis mega-production reportedly cribbed off, tsk tsk). Strictly speaking, Yamato isn’t a disaster sci-fi flick like Armageddon or Deep Impact, but it runs on the same basic premise: A motley crew of spacemen sets out on a hail-Mary mission to [insert planetary body], which they must [destroy/steal an alien device from] in order to save the earth. Chances of success or survival seem dire, but the intrepid officers and crewmen are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our planet!!! *cue [insert Steven Tyler song]*

Beam me up, E.G.! MOAR!!! after the jump. (Because… you don’t wanna miss a thing.)

Film Review: Kimi ni Todoke / From Me to You (2010)

Posted June 24, 2011 by Ender's Girl
Categories: J-Drama & Film

Tags: , , , , ,

Blue Skies and Cherry Blossoms: Miura’s Spring Awakenings

(continued)

by Ender’s Girl

(Read Part One: my Koizora review)

Kimi ni Todoke: Nice and Over Easy… (But Too Easy?)

The Cast:
Tabe Mikako, Miura Haruma, Renbutsu Mikako, Netsuna, Arata, Katsumura Masanobu

Directed by Kumazawa Naoto / NTV and Toho, 2010

In a Nutshell:
The last four decent students at West High attempt to draw out the class loner from her antisocial shell. Friendship, self-confidence and love bloom under the cherry trees!!!

(SpoilLert: Yep, there’s quite a few!)

If Koizora was the Ultimate Makjang Fantasy, then Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You, lit. Reaching You) would be the Ultimate Shoujo Fantasy – not that this makes it a bad thing, not at all. I’ll take the most jejune of shoujo fiction over the obscene little sideshow that was Koizora any fureaking day of the year, thank you very much.

When this much-awaited live-action adaptation of the popular manga hit theaters in 2010, Miura Haruma could not have chosen a better post-Koizora palate-cleanser for fans clamoring to see him in another romantic-lead role – although this time, his character was a complete about-face from his soulful-cad-secretly-dying-of-too-much-hair-bleach-cancer in Koizora. If his Koizora character, Hiro, was the boy you loved to hate, then his Kazehaya Shota in Kimi ni Todoke was that boy in school, Mr. Perfect, the Golden Boy himself. (And forgive my inner geek-dork, but at this point I’m tempted to add that bit from the Voltron series opener: “…loved by good, feared by evil!” That’s Kazehaya-kun for you! lol) So I don’t see why fans of the original manga would ever object to Miura essaying the role of Kazehaya-kun; judging from the character’s description, the decision to cast the Most Agreeable-Looking Idoru Under 30 was right on the money.

[Sidebar: It’s quite interesting how Miura so convincingly embodies both the Ultimate Shounen Hero (in the Bloody Mondays) and the Ultimate Shoujo Heartthrob (Kimi ni Todoke). Could his idealized good looks and wholesome, sincere vibe have anything to do with it? Still, points for unisex appeal. *ka-ching!* ]

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Film Review: Koizora / Sky of Love (2007)

Posted June 14, 2011 by Ender's Girl
Categories: J-Drama & Film

Tags: , , , , ,

Blue Skies and Cherry Blossoms: Miura’s Spring Awakenings

by Ender’s Girl

“Nothing really matters / I don’t really care
What nobody tells me / I’m gonna be here
It’s a matter of extreme importance
My first teenage love affair…”

Alicia Keys, “Teenage Love Affair”

Ah, Spring! Never experienced it, lol. (Here in the tropics, we have only two seasons: El Niño and La Niña, hahaha) …And [noona alert!!! run away run away!!!] ah, Miura Haruma! — the ultimate poster boy for Spring: bright-eyed, fresh-faced and with a smile so sweetly accessible, a young man on the cusp of bloom standing tall and pure amid the orgiastic freakscape of dancing plassstic Johnny-botsss (my precioussss…).

It would only be fitting for an actor of Miura’s looks and appeal to move past the mandatory silliness of his earlier work and anchor his promising career on heartthrob roles of the young-adult persuasion. After all, the boy turned 21 this year, so forget the shounen-manga adventurism of the Bloody Mondays or the high school hijinks of Gokusen 3 and Samurai High School; because the real rite of passage, the definitive landmark of any aspiring leading man’s career, is the Romantic Drama Screen Test (RDST): 1) Can you convincingly play someone who’s young and in love? 2) Can you make female audiences fall in love with your character, and with you? and 3) Can you do it again and again until you make the transition to Hot Single Dad/Elder Statesman roles? (I hope you’re taking notes, KimuTaku. ha,ha,ha)

We all know how a 24-year-old Kimura aced his RDST in Long Vacation back in ‘96 (and no, Asunaro Hakusho doesn’t count, hahaha. eeewww geeks hahaha); ditto Tsumabuki Satoshi in the contemporary classic, Orange Days in 2004 (although fans may argue that Lunch Queen in 2002 was the real turning point). To follow this matinee-idol trajectory would be a wise career move as any for someone of Miura’s type. I mean, if weird little Kame, who skews more towards “horny hobgoblin” than “hetero heartthrob,” pulled it off beautifully in Tatta Hitotsu no Koi, then it ought to be a cinch for wholesome, normal-looking Haruma-kun, right?

Reviews after the jump. Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!


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