Posted tagged ‘kuroki meisa’

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

February 14, 2012

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: Space Battleship Yamato (2010)

August 15, 2011

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?????????????


(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.)

Movie Smackdown (Part 1): Crows Zero (2007 & 2009) vs. Volcano High (2001)

September 24, 2010

Battlefield High School

Part One: Counting Crows, Feuding Foes

by Ender’s Girl

A murder of Crows, a violent eruption of teen superpowers… and oh yes, those epic dogfights in the pelting rain and churning mud. Get a taste of high school action, J- and K-style.

Love is a battlefield, as Pat Benatar lustily declared in her 1983 song. Planet Earth is one too, according to John Travolta’s alien Psychlo character from his 2000 intergalactic flop.

Aaaand… so is high school, apparently – a premise that has spawned an entire genre of teen action comedy/dramedy on screens big and small. You need only transplant the barroom brawling and gangsta-mongering from mainstream action flicks into the tamer, more innocuous environs of an educational institution, and voila! – Battlefield High School.

The fact that these stories are set on a high school campus lends a patina of harmlessness to the violent scenarios — even though the plot actually has less to do with academics than with a bunch of overgrown kids fond of rearranging each others’ faces and dislocating random body parts as their after-school routine. To describe these types of productions (most rating not lower than PG-15 or its equivalent) as being “about high school life” is like saying that Titanic was about the, um, iceberg. The school setting isn’t really the point; films like these get made so that teen audiences — ah, those intense little creatures! — can live out their aggressive, hormone-fueled fantasies that continually chafe (futilely, it seems to them) against the carefully imposed strictures of a traditionalistic, “adults rule” society.

Korean director Kim Tae-gyun and Japanese filmmaker Miike Takashi tender two alternate interpretations of this proposition with Volcano High and the Crows Zeros, respectively — all diverting, popcorn-friendly fare, but each bearing the unique and heavily stylized stamp of its maker.

Crows Zero & Crows Zero II

The Cast:
Oguri Shun, Yamada Takayuki, Yabe Kyosuke, Kiritani Kenta, Takaoka Sousuke, Kaneko Nobuaki, Miura Haruma

Directed by Miike Takashi / Toho Company, 2007 & 2009

In a Nutshell:
Senior toughie Takiya Genji transfers to the notoriously lawless Suzuran All-Boys’ High School. His mission? To vanquish the rival student gangs one by one and earn the title of Suzuran’s top dog – er, crow – and thus prove to his yakuza boss of a father that he has what it takes to inherit the family business. The biggest obstacle to Genji’s mission happens to be Suzuran’s strongest and most dangerous punk Serizawa Tamao and his head-bashing posse of high school hoods.

(SpoilLert: Moderately spoilery.)

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Drama Review (Part 2): Ninkyo Helper (Fuji TV, 2009)

March 6, 2010

The Ties That Bind

by Ender’s Girl

[Read Part 1 of review]


The Cast:
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, Natsukawa Yui, Kuroki Meisa, Kato Seishiro, Yabu Kouta, Igarashi Shunji, Yuki Jutta, Ukaji Takashi, Naka Riisa, Osugi Ren, Yamamoto Yusuke, Matsudaira Ken

(SpoilLert: Ze zpoilerz continue! Allez allez!)

[Recommended companion track: “Sotto Kyutto” by SMAP]

“Freely we serve,
Because we freely love, as in our will
To love or not; in this we stand or fall:”

– John Milton, “Paradise Lost”


They say that relationships change you – for the better, or for the worse. But for Tsubasa Hikoichi, there’s really nowhere to go but UP, right?

Ninkyo Helper is one of those dramas wherein the interactions between the main characters actually transcend the plotting. If you peel away the first two layers — a yakuza caper, and a commentary on aging and eldercare — you’ll get the beating heart of Ninkyo Helper, which is really a deep but empathetic exploration of human relationships. (Although funnily enough, it isn’t evident from the title  — “Ninkyo” pointing to the yakuza angle, and “Helper” to eldercare.) I’ve realized while writing this review that I tolerated the gangster part, appreciated the social commentary, and fell head over heels in love with the main characters’ interrelationships.

Hikoichi and the Taiyo residents have an interesting dynamic: he relates to them in the same churlish, unchivalrous manner that he treats everyone else (lol). But Hikoichi shows them the gruff, tough side of love, the side that can tackle an elderly wheelchair-bound man to the ground to get him to walk again, and the side that tells a paralyzed and semi-blind lady off for riding her daughter too hard. Hikoichi’s stint at the Taiyo home is very much a journey of self-awareness, because now he’s on the other side, on the side of the old and the infirm, the weak and the helpless. A critical moment occurs in the final episode, when Hikoichi receives a call from a smooth-talking swindler posing as a lawyer, ready to suck a pensioner dry — and oh, how well Hikoichi knows this style, he’s done it a million times before — and so he sees himself for the conning monster that he is. Or was. He slams down the handset in disgust and can feel the room closing in, the air thick with his own guilt. He makes for the nearest window and sticks his head out, fighting for breath. Oh. My. Goodness. I loved this moment, I even gasped when Hikoichi gasped. (Thank you Ninkyo Helper writer, for showing and not telling.)

When the Taiyo staff and residents throw a surprise birthday party for Hikoichi in Ep. 7, you can tell it touches him deeply. This little moment is just one of many that build and build until you realize, along with Hikoichi, that the Taiyo home has become just that: his home. And from the troubled faces of the other yakuza – Riko most of all – you know they know they’re losing their aniki bit by bit, though he may not have realized it yet. It’s how Hikoichi was written, how you really get to know him, that makes the character immensely appealing and truly unforgettable. The moral tension is real, it’s there, an actual battle of wills raging within. And his quirks and behavioral patterns really feel organic, and not mere embellishments — like how he always drinks the same black coffee brand, how he lounges on benches chain-smoking (with one foot up, lol!), how he picks the veggies out of his food. (Super LOL moment in Ep. 4 — when Hikoichi crankily tries to get a veggie-hating geezer to eat the carrots in his beef stew, saying “Don’t waste food.” Hahahaha OH HIKOICHI!) And I especially LOVED it whenever he’d go “Huh?” with that matching I-don’t-give-a-sh*t face, LOLLL!!!! Like, he must’ve done it at least five times every episode. Oh Hikoichi.

What is Hikoichi’s kryptonite? Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Drama Review (Part 1): Ninkyo Helper (Fuji TV, 2009)

March 6, 2010

Training Day

by Ender’s Girl


The Cast:
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, Natsukawa Yui, Kuroki Meisa, Kato Seishiro, Yabu Kouta, Igarashi Shunji, Yuki Jutta, Ukaji Takashi, Naka Riisa, Osugi Ren, Yamamoto Yusuke, Matsudaira Ken

In a Nutshell:
Six mid-level yakuza gunning for a coveted promotion find out that to qualify for the post, they must first hurdle their toughest gig ever: as undercover care workers at the Taiyo Nursing Home.

(SpoilLert: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you… heh heh)

[Recommended companion track: “All My Soul,” Ninkyo Helper OST]


Deconstructing Mr. Tsu

It isn’t easy being Kusanagi Tsuyoshi.

For starters, you were never as popular as other members of your manband. Yes, you’re part of a manband — one that used to be a boyband, but considering most of you will be 40 in a few years, your group can hardly be called that nowadays. Still, you belong to Nihon’s preeminent pop group S… M… A… P…, with a string of sold-out concerts, hit singles, TV and radio shows, a bajillion CMs, and a googolplex of magazine covers accrued over two decades — and counting, if you include the years before your official debut. No other boyband/manband has enjoyed the same level of success or staying power as SMAP, or has even come close. But for how much longer, is anyone’s guess.

Being part of a manband means there have to be some things you’re marginally good at, a few perfunctory talents up your sleeve to lend a semblance of credibility to your J-Pop icon status. Singing? Oh, you don’t have a terrible voice — not as bad as your mate Nakai’s, which could be mistaken for rapping — but yours won’t stand out in room full of people with real vocal talent. Sure, you can play a couple of instruments like the piano, but virtuoso you ain’t. Dancing, then? Oh no, no no no, your dancing is even worse, and you know it — painfully. No matter how hard you try, your stiff, gangly body always ends up doing these herky-jerky moves devoid of any iota of musicality or grace.

What is Tsuyoshi’s Secret Weapon? Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!