Posted tagged ‘horikita maki’

Graphics: Nobuta wo Produce Icons (credit: topazera @ LiveJournal)

June 23, 2010

86 Nobuta wo Produce Ikon-kons from topazera @ LiveJournal

by Ender’s Girl

It was a monumental oversight on my part to not have included topazera‘s amazing batch of icons in my recent posts about Nobuta wo Produce. Thus, it’s my great pleasure to rec them here in a separate post.

Here are just a few, for starters:

These icons elicited everything in me, from laughs to sniffles to “awwws” to loopy smiles, because they’re all so incredibly funny and clever and slashy and sweet. Best of all, they NAIL the very essence of this drama and its characters whom we have all come to love so much. But don’t take my word for it! Do check them out — and please credit topazera accordingly. Thanks muchly!

Click to view MOAR of topazera’s icons!!! MOAR!!!

Drama Review (Part 2): Nobuta wo Produce (NTV, 2005)

May 27, 2010

Pure. Magic. Realism.

by Ender’s Girl

[Read Part One of review]
[Related post: Nobuta wo Produce / Seishun Amigo vid clips]
[Related post: The Nobuta wo Produce Readers’ Choice Awards Poll]
[Related post: 86 Nobuta wo Produce icons from topazera @ LiveJournal]

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The Cast:
Kamenashi Kazuya, Yamashita Tomohisa, Horikita Maki, Toda Erika, Hiiragi Rumi, Natsuki Mari, Okada Yoshinori, Takahashi Katsumi

(SpoilLert: MOAR of ‘em!)

[Recommended companion track: “Seishun Amigo” by Shuji to Akira, natch!]

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Welcome to Planet High School: Abandon Hope, All Who Enter!

The beauty of Nobuta wo Produce is that it doesn’t purport to be anything other than a high school drama, and that’s precisely what makes it so much more than just a high school drama. (Am I even getting my point across? Lol) What I’m trying to say is that the characters are every inch high school kids — no more, no less, neither dumbed down nor savvied up. But they speak from the heart because the writing keeps it all REAL and just lets the characters be themselves, be the thinking, feeling, self-aware teens that they are.

This drama explores the inner universe of adolescence, governed by its own whimsical vagaries and constant flux of emotions. And I love the judicious use of voice-overs as the main characters ponder such things as the future and the uncertainty of life. The dialogue is intelligent without being pseudo-intellectual, complex without being contrived (uh, Dawson’s Creek, anyone? man, talk about a series that tried too hard to be smart and deep and witty, but always felt like it was written by 40-year-olds *roll eyes*). The writing of NwP doesn’t try to be all these, it just IS. Just because the drama is about a bunch of high school kids doesn’t mean it has to be infantile and shallow, nor does it have to play at being implausibly grown-up.

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Drama Review (Part 1): Nobuta wo Produce (NTV, 2005)

May 26, 2010

Time of Your Life

by Ender’s Girl

[Related post: Nobuta wo Produce / Seishun Amigo vid clips]
[Related post: The Nobuta wo Produce Readers’ Choice Awards Poll]

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The Cast:
Kamenashi Kazuya, Yamashita Tomohisa, Horikita Maki, Toda Erika, Hiiragi Rumi, Natsuki Mari, Okada Yoshinori, Takahashi Katsumi

In a Nutshell:
Popular boy Kiritani Shuji secretly joins forces with class goofball Kusano Akira to give a new student — a troubled girl with zero social skills — a makeover. Hell-bent on “producing” their subject as the school’s newest it girl, Shuji and Akira soon realize that their social experiment is turning out to be nothing like they ever expected.

(SpoilLert: Very. Spoilah powah, chunyuu!)

[Recommended companion track: “Graduation Song” by Vitamin C]

“Youth is, after all, just a moment, but it is the moment, the spark, that you always carry in your heart.”

– Raisa M. Gorbachev

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High school.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of teenage angst, it was the season of puppy love; it was the spring of maturity, it was the winter of childhood; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…

God bless his soul, but Mr. Dickens must be turning in his grave this very minute knowing that his iconic opener from “A Tale of Two Cities” was hijacked by some slush-brained Jdorama fangirl, and then bastardized into a paean to the Universal High School Experience. Even worse, imagine his horror to find this piece to be just a pretext for a long and gushy tribute to a rather unsightly pair of Japanese teen idols — one scrawny and effeminate, the other looking perpetually lobotomized — who, by their performances in the drama that’s about to be dissected, have effectively clinched said fangirl’s undying affections (pure and, uh, otherwise). If our esteemed Victorian novelist only knew that his classic lines would later be co-opted into a rhapsody about a couple of Johnnies fer gawdssakes, he wouldn’t just be turning in his grave by now, but doing freakin’ somersaults while chewing on his elbows or something — or worse, gyrating furiously to the “Seishun Amigo” chorus. (Sacrilege!!! Is nothing sacred now? Not even Dickens???)

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Vid Clips: Nobuta wo Produce / Seishun Amigo (Shuji to Akira)

May 21, 2010

THIS Is How You Do High School, Japan.

by Ender’s Girl

I’ve been thinking about Nobuta wo Produce (NTV, 2005) a lot lately — so much, in fact, that I finally attempted writing a decent review. There’s something universal about this drama, and by universal I don’t mean “two half-formed J-Pop idoru frolicking their way through adolescence” lolz. Instead, what I find universal is the way NwP can take us back to that ONE season in our lives that was all at once magical, evanescent, immortal. For we may be nineteen or ninety, but were we all not in high school once? And can we truly look back on that time without feeling the bittersweet nostalgia for days gone by? Because I can’t.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ in case you’ve also been feeling a strange hankering for Nobuta powah. I know there’s an entire cottage industry of fan-made and fan-uploaded NwP videos floating about cyberspace, but I chose only a few of my personal favorites.

Nobuta wo Produce: Fave Fanvids

1) “Graduation Song” by Vitamin C

This is my FAVORITE Nobuta wo Produce fanvid bar none because the “Graduation Song” lyrics are absolutely PERFECT for the drama, and because the montage includes all those iconic, unforgettable moments. I hope this vid never gets taken down. I must have watched this a bajillion times but it still gets me hard whenever I hit “play.” *sniffle* So watch it, sing along to the chorus (As we go on, we remember / All the times we had together / And as our lives change, come whatever / We will still be friends forever…), and bawl your eyes out all over again. Babies. (Credit: Bankaigirl @ Youtube)

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Drama Reviews: Gokusen 1 (NTV, 2002); Gokusen 2 (NTV, 2005); Hana Kimi (Fuji TV, 2007)

November 23, 2009

High School Farcical
Part One

by Ender’s Girl

With a precious few exceptions (like Nobuta wo Produce), high school-based J-dramas seem to be nothing but an endless wasteland of sheer inanity, where people are one-dimensional buffoons and situational plausibility gets pimped out for cheap laughs. In this world, school IS a joke. Literally.

I give you Exhibit A:

Groundhog Day with the Gokusens

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The Cast:
Nakama Yukie, Utsui Ken, Namase Katsuhisa, and a truckload of Johnnies, Johnny-types, Johnny wannabes, and Johnny rejects… plus the seasonal posse of Angry Young Rebels aka Yankumi’s Core Group

In a Nutshell:
Young math teacher Yankumi + her homeroom class of toughies and teenage dirtbags = Too much violence, waaaaaay too much playing hooky, but not enough algebra. (Stand and Deliver this ain’t.)

(SpoilLert: Ehhhh… the whole damn nutshell IS the plot.)

[Recommended companion track: “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus]

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I finally gave Gokusen a try because of all the hype surrounding the series/franchise/commercial juggernaut. And I suppose anyone would’ve found the story *marginally* enjoyable… if they were FIVE years old, that is. Sitting through the Gokusens I kept feeling like frikkin’ Bill Murray in Groundhog Day: You’re forced to relive the same episode over and over and over again, watching various permutations of the same rehashed situations: The baaad, baaaad boys of Class 3-D are mean to Yankumi! Yankumi gets tough on them! The boys get into various scrapes/fisticuffs with the Criminal Elements of Society! Yankumi saves her “precious students” — because Yankumi is really… a Yakuza scion trained in the age-old art of a$$-kicking! So the boys inevitably end up learning Valuable Life Lessons! Like… Obey your elders! Choose your battles wisely! Learn to appreciate your teachers! Finish high school, and reach!your!potential! Follow your heart! (Hahaha)

Really, they could’ve done ALL OF THIS with just one SP and achieved the same result — instead of 3 seasons, 2 SPs and a feature film.

But for purposes of comparison: Gokusen 1 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Gokusen 2.

Gokusen 1 is definitely less frenetic and less cartoonish than G2, and loads more enjoyable. (And the 3-D classroom of G1 looks so… normal, unlike that pigsty from G2. *shudders*) I actually found myself emotionally involved at some level — the Kumai boy’s (Waki Tomohiro) story in particular. And Nakama Yukie has great chemistry with Matsumoto Jun as Sawada Shin, G1’s Alpha Male of the Angry Young Rebels. Nothing sexual or anything (she’s his frikkin’ teacher, duh), but their scenes make the viewer wish for some post-graduation romance, haha. NOW I understand why there are like, 1 million YankumixShin shippers out there (…and why the Kame haters increased by 1 million when the movie came out this year, lol).

And it’s interesting to see MatsuJun and Oguri Shun in their career-making roles (this was way back in 2002, after all)… even more interesting to see how they looked before the advent of eyebrow threading and orthodontia, lol.

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<Now this is the part where my three regular readers get whittled down to two. (Run away!!! Run away!!!)>

(No, come back! Come back!!!) Next up: Gokusen 2 and Hana Kimi! Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!