Posted tagged ‘yamapi’

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

December 29, 2011

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

November 3, 2011

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!

Vid Clips: Ashita no Joe; Crying Fist; One-Pound Gospel

August 20, 2010

Boxer… Shorts

by Ender’s Girl

Where I’m from, boxing is the unofficial state religion — and we’re a nation that’s 93% Christian, haha. Boxing is bigger than the Pope, karaoke, and malling combined. In fact it’s almost as big as… basketball, lol. On any given Manny Pacquiao fight morning (or fight night in Vegas, where his bouts are usually held), the entire country grinds to a complete standstill just to witness Pacman pummel the living daylights out of whoever is with him in the ring that day — de la Hoya, Clottey, Hatton, Marquez, Morales.

Televised boxing matches were an inevitable fixture in my home life growing up — although I must admit to always feeling repulsed by the raw physicality and Parkinson’s-inducing brutality that characterized the sport, and that always caused the combatants — whether loser or victor — to emerge from a fight looking like something on display at your friendly neighborhood meat house. But boxing movies — the Rockies, Cinderella Man, etc. —  hold a strange appeal for me because they’re usually premised on underdog stories, boxing after all being a true working-class sport birthed in the slums and back alleys of the given hero’s city of origin. And because boxing is such a personal, face-to-face, mano-a-mano engagement where the world is reduced to two people trying to pound each other into a pulp within a tiny enclosure, while the crowds roar their names and scream for their blood.

So here are three short clips of boxing-themed productions (two films and a drama) starring… let’s see… two of Korea’s most admired actors, and… two Johnnies from Japan, hahaha.

Click to view the vids!

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]


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!]


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]


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


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!!!