Nagi no Asukara (2013)

Would you choose friendship over love?

Advertisements
ab1ed5aaaee7561e30843a287f5f7e7f1380849418_full
Source: crunchyroll.com

Title: Nagi no Asukara (凪のあすから)

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Slice of Life

Studio: P. A. Works

Number of Episode(s): 26

Songs:

  • lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~ by Ray (1st Opening)
  • Ebb and Flow by Ray (2nd Opening)
  • Aqua Terrarium by Yanagi Nagi (1st Ending)
  • Mitsuba no Musubime by Yanagi Nagi (2nd Ending)

Plot:

Manaka, Hikari, Chisaki and Kaname were 14 years old middle school students from the sea village Shioshishio. They had to go to Mihama Junior High on the surface since their old school has been closed down. At first, they did not get along very well with their classmates because of the fundamental separation between the sea and land people. But soon after they joined Tsumugu to build the Ojoshi-sama for Ofunehiki festival, they started to overcome their differences and worked together with the rest of the class. But the problem was not only how they adjust to the completely new environment, they also had to deal with their complicated feelings toward each other which they feared would ruin their friendship.

Then there was a bigger problem, the salt-flake snow which was supposed to fall only on the sea, started to fall on the surface. This occurrence was predicted to bring disaster to humankind as the surface will become very cold so the land people would die because they could not stand the cold while the sea people would be hibernating until the salt-flake snow stopped falling. It was believed that it happened because the Sea God lost some of his power so he became weak.

As the situation became more serious, they decided to hold the real Ofunehiki festival with expectation that it would help the Sea God restores his power and the disaster could be avoided. But the festival itself was a disaster. There was a terrible storm just when the group arrived in the middle of the sea. Manaka ended up became the Ojoshi-sama, the offering to the Sea God instead of Hikari’s sister. Hikari who failed to save Manaka, could not make it to the surface and gone in the middle of the storm. Kaname also fell to the sea after helping Chisaki saved Tsumugu. Chisaki, being the one left on the surface, could not go back to Shioshishio as the sea people already started hibernating and all access to Shioshishio has been blocked to protect the villagers. She ended up live with Tsumugu and his grandfather because she did not have anywhere to go on the surface.

Five years later, the story continued. While Chisaki and Tsumugu has grown up as a college student, Hikari, Kaname, and Manaka did not age at all because of the hibernation. The salt-flake snow is still falling on the surface too. Once again, they had to deal with their complicated feelings toward each other which was not resolved yet and the disastrous Ofunehiki festival which gonna be held again to finish what they started five years ago.

Review:

Personally, this is my favorite anime of the respected season besides Kyoukai no Kanata. Because I really like it, I watched all of the episodes in one day. I was totally lacking in sleep but it was worth the watch. In my opinion, this anime is very well made in all components. The soundtracks fit perfectly with the anime.

For the art, it is amazingly detailed, from the environment until the character design. What I love most from the anime is the psychological development of each character of the anime. They successfully deliver complex and deep character so throughout the series we are drawn to fully understand each characters and their feelings.

And for the story, I must say that it is indeed very beautiful and touching tale of friendship and love. It can bring you into tears and smile at the same time. We can really feel the character’s emotion as the story progresses. One thing that’s bugging me is I didn’t really satisfied with the ending, in my opinion it’s kinda rushed and it could be better than that. But it doesn’t really matter, the happy ending is still delivered nicely. Even though the plot is kinda slow at the beginning, it’s still worth the watch. Very recommended!

Orange (2015)

If you’re given a chance to save someone you love, will you live differently?

ffe0b0a8e6120d3b4dfde46f5f3704c4

Title: オレンジ (Orenji) / Orange

Genre: Friendship, Drama, Romance, School Life

Main Cast(s):

  • Tsuchiya Tao as Takamiya Naho
  • Yamazaki Kento as Naruse Kakeru
  • Ryusei Ryo as Suwa Hiroto
  • Yamazaki Hirona as Chino Takako
  • Sakurada Dori as Hagita Saku
  • Shimizu Kurumi as Murasaka Azusa

Running Time: 139 minutes

Orange is a 2015 Japanese teen drama movie adapted from a manga with the same title, written and illustrated by Takano Ichigo. It tells a story about group of six high school friends in their school life while trying to save one of them from depression.

On the first day of school in the second year of high school, Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter from herself ten years in the future. The letter tells her that now her future self is living with a lot of regrets and wants her younger self to prevent her biggest regret from happening. The letter itself contains predictions of what’s going to happen next in current Naho’s time to help her so that she won’t make the same mistakes. Most of the predictions are related to the transfer student from Tokyo, Naruse Kakeru.

At first, Naho didn’t believe in the letter. But after several things happened as written on the letter, she starts acting differently in hope that she can at least lessen the regrets carried by her future self. She also learns from the letter that ten years from now, Kakeru is no longer with them. In parallel, ten years in the future, Naho, Hiroto, Chino, Hagita, and Azu visiting Kakeru’s house in memorial of him. They learn the bitter truth from Kakeru’s grandmother, that Kakeru’s death is not pure accident but suicide.

Later, Hiroto confessed to Naho that he got the same letter from his future self. The content of the letter is almost the same with Naho’s, a request to save Kakeru. They realizes that even though they can’t save Kakeru in their future self’s world, at least they can create a parallel world where Kakeru will live. Both of them ask the others to help them achieve that goal, together they celebrate Kakeru’s birthday and join the relay race, where Kakeru finally reveals the truth about his mother.

On the New Year’s Eve, the time when Kakeru will commit suicide according to the letter, they make promise to go to the shrine together. But when Kakeru’s late, they start searching for him through the streets in panic. Before at home, Kakeru finds a recording of his mother who confessed that she commit suicide so Kakeru won’t feel burdened by her and wished that he will find happiness somewhere. The recording causes him a mental breakdown and he goes out of the house in his bicycle thinking that he will go after his mother. Right when he is about to get hit by the truck, the memories of his friends flash before him. He dodges the truck at the last minute, at the same time when his friends found him. He apologizes to everyone for having a thought of suicide. He confesses that he doesn’t want to die knowing that he won’t see all of them again.

Usually I always find something wrong in a live action movie, especially when I really like the manga. Because I do have my expectations when it comes to live action. The settings, the actors and actresses, the scripts, everything. But it is different with this movie. I can say I really love this live action version. This movie successfully left a deep emotional impact for me. It managed to bring me on the verge of tears in many scenes.

It might be because the manga is not that long, only for 22 chapters so that it felt like nothing has been left behind. There are scenes from the manga which is cut from the movie for sure, but it’s not a big deal. The movie still can be enjoyed as a whole without missing something.

Yamazaki Kento will always be my favorite anime guy. He often got the lead role of the live action movie of mostly favorite shoujo manga and never disappoints me. Even though I don’t really know the rest of the casts, I think they really suit their character. Overall, this movie is not that kind of tearjerker movie, but still leave a big impact to the viewer. If you ever disappointed with live action movie of your favorite manga, trust me you will not disappointed with this one. So I think this movie should be on the must watch live action movie list.

A Silent Voice (2016)

When life hits you hard, will you fight for it?

Koe-no-Katachi-Anime-Visual
Source: otakutale.com

Title: 聲の形 / A Silent Voice

Genre: Animation, Drama, Friendship

Production Company: Kyoto Animation

Running Time: 129 minutes

Koe no Katachi or in english titled A Silent Voice, is a 2016 japanese anime movie produced by Kyoto Animation, the same studio which produced popular anime such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, K-On!!, Hyouka, etc. The movie is based on a manga with the same title written and illustrated by Yoshitoki Ōima.

It tells a story about Ishida Shoya who bullied a deaf girl named Nishimiya Shoko alongside his classmates back then in elementary school. The bullying continues to the point that Nishimiya has to transfer school. His classmates and the teacher blamed Ishida for what happened to Nishimiya, made him a scapegoat despite his classmates role in bullying her.

This results in Ishida being bullied and shunned by his classmates until he decides to isolate himself up until high school. He thinks that there is no point of having friends again and even considering suicide by jumping off the bridge. But then he decides to continue living after he reconciles with Nishimiya and sets to a path of redemption by trying to reconnect Nishimiya and their old classmates.

While Ishida tried to make Nishimiya befriend the others again, they realizes that they still haven’t changed from back then and so they along with the others from elementary school have a break down. They still blame each other for being ignorant of Nishimiya’s bullying, resulting in Nishimiya’s attempt to suicide by jumping off from her apartment because she blames herself for causing Ishida lost all of his friends.

At the last minute, Ishida managed to save her at the cost of his life. He is the one who fell from the veranda instead of Nishimiya. When Ishida is not conscious yet, Ueno stands by him all the time and forbids Nishimiya from visiting him. But his accident becomes a turning point for Nishimiya and his friends. When Ishida wakes up, he realizes that all of his friends are there waiting for him and he’s not alone. Together with Nishimiya and the others, he fight his biggest fears and enjoy the school festival. He decides to not ignore his surroundings anymore and moves on.

Koe no Katachi was one of the most anticipated movie in my must watch list. The movie aired in Japan around September 2016, not too long ago after Kimi No Na Wa which is aired on August 2016. So I expected the same thing happened. But even after Kimi No Na Wa finished airing in my country, it took few months later until this movie is coming out on the theater. I already finished reading the manga when I watched the movie. I can say the production house did a good job adapting the manga into a whole movie. Even people who haven’t read the manga can enjoy the movie in almost the same excitement with the people who did.

It was a journey full of mixed feelings for 2 hours. It showed us how bad bullying can affect someone’s life, even for someone who acted as the bully. It also told us that life is not all good all the way. Sometimes we are above the others, but the next seconds the situation could turn around drastically. That’s life for us.

Through Nishimiya character, we were taught that how bad our condition is, we should learn to love ourself. By doing that, not only we will live happier, people around us would also feel happy. Suicide was not a solution, it could only bring despair to people who love us. While through Ishida character, we were taught that running away is not an option. We shouldn’t be ignorant to our surroundings and never give up. There is always people like Nagatsuka who is willing to accept us as who we are. If we just open up a little and let the others come in.

There are different supporting characters with different personalities. In my opinion, those personalities are the examples of people in real life. We can’t judge the others as only good or bad. For example, Ueno. I think we are all agree that she’s a b*tch by the way she acted towards Nishimiya. But I can’t bring myself to really hate her, because I found a little bit of truth in her words. I think people are like that, not all good and not all bad.

Honestly I can’t love this movie as much as I love Kimi No Na Wa. Maybe because in Kimi No Na Wa case, I have nothing to compare except for Shinkai’s previous works. But in Koe no Katachi, which previously known as manga, people (including me) unconsciously will compare the movie with the manga. In my opinion, the transition between scenes were to fast. So it didn’t leave a deep emotional impact even on the saddest scenes. Maybe they tried so hard to fit those 60+ chapters of manga into a 2 hours long movie. I know it’s hard. In my opinion, for a story like this, the manga has already quite compact and I can say almost all of the scenes are important. So if you want to know the story in more detail I suggest you to read the manga.

So if we want to compare objectively as a standalone movie, I can say both Koe no Katachi and Kimi No Na Wa were masterpieces. Both of them had a strong emotional impact for the viewers and has such beautiful story. But if you seek more life lessons, then Koe no Katachi is better.

 

Another Oh Hae-young (2016)

When fate decides you another way…

Another-Oh-Hae-Young-Poster
Source: forums.soompi.com

Title: 또! 오해영 / Another Oh Hae-young

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Main Cast(s):

Number of Episode(s): 18 + 2 special

Plot:

Oh Hae-young, Park Do-kyung’s fiancee, never show up on their wedding day and leave him devastated. So when Do-kyung is told later that Oh Hae-young will marry a rich businessman called Han Tae-jin, he plans to ruin their marriage by making Tae-jin going bankrupt as a revenge. But he doesn’t know that the Oh Hae-young whom Tae-jin is going to marry is not his ex-fiancee, but totally a stranger with the same name. Tae-jin, who never expects that he is going to bankrupt, calls off his marriage with Hae-young because he is going to jail and doesn’t want her to live miserably while waiting for him to come out. Things become complicated as Oh Hae-young, whose wedding was ruined by Do-kyung moves in to the apartment next to Do-kyung’s. As they share the same pain of being dumped before the wedding and their continuous interaction as neighbors, they got closer and later fall in love with each other. But their love story doesn’t go that smooth. The ex-fiancee, the pretty Hae-young is back and claiming that she still loves Do-kyung. Tae-jin is also out from the jail and determine to win the plain Hae-young’s heart again. Their love was also challenged when the plain Hae-young knows that the one who ruined her wedding is Do-kyung.

Review:

I really like the main idea of this drama, a story about two women with the same name and one of them is mistaken as the other. It is such a simple idea, yet with the additional of this and that, the writer succeed to create such a wonderful story. This drama is one of the best romantic comedy drama I ever watch, besides The Sassy Girl Chun Hyang I think. When usually the other drama will only focus on the sad scene and forget the comedy part, I love how they make the comedy in this drama consistent. Even in the depressing scenes, the drama still can make you laugh. Even so, it doesn’t make the roller coaster of feeling of this drama becomes less.

A good drama is not only depends on a good writer. It should be supported by a great actors and actress to make this drama successful. In my opinion, this drama has one of the best casts. Everyone was so into the character to the point that I can’t imagine those character can be played by another actor/actress.

My favorite is of course Seo Hyun-jin. Her acting was great as the plain Oh Hae-young. Funny, straightforward, crazy and yet attractive. I always say to myself when I watch her doing something hilarious on the screen, “Oh this crazy girl, how can she be so funny!”. The plain Oh Hae-young’s character was very expressive, and I think she’s very good at making expression, whether it is funny, angry, sad, happy, etc.

Another actor who catch my eye is Lee Han-wi who acted as the plain Oh Hae-young’s father. He didn’t have many dialogues on the drama, but that’s exactly what made him interesting. He always give me this funny feeling when he appeared on screen. If it wasn’t him, I bet it would give the drama a totally different feel. Overall, all of the casts were funny and I enjoy their acting very much.

I think what’s most interesting about this drama is, they tried to show us that there are many forms of love and relationship in this world. Do-kyung’s love for the pretty Oh Hae-young might be a pity. Han Tae-jin’s love for the plain Oh Hae-young is letting her go and hurt her instead of let her made the choice. Do-kyung and plain Hae-young’s love was a kind of love that will do anything for the one you love. Park Hoon and Anna’s love life was a an exciting and passionate love. While Jin-sang and Soo-kyung’s love was a siblings like love but on their way to couple’s love. I can’t say that Do-kyung’s and Hae-young’s love is the best, but I agree that when it comes to different people, we love them in different form and nothing is right or wrong when it comes to love.

Because we can relate in our everyday life, the explanation about love becomes very realistic. What if Do-kyung never met the plain Oh Hae-young and marry the pretty Oh Hae-young instead, will he become happy? I think so. We already watch several times how devastated Do-kyung when pretty Hae-young leaves, so is the plain Hae-young. They did really love their partner wholeheartedly, but it’s just fate that plays with them and give them another way instead.

One thing that feels off for this drama is on the episode 15 until the end, they already become a too lovey-dovey couple with nothing to afraid about, which is very rare in Korean drama world. So a few last episodes were feel like filler only episodes instead of conclusions. I didn’t hate the finals, but it is just anti-climax so it becomes a little bit boring for me.

So the conclusion is, if you don’t want to watch a heartbreaking story which will make you depressed but still want a good lesson from it, go watch this drama. It’s really worth your time 🙂

Descendants of the Sun (2016)

Between love, country, and responsibilities.

poster-medium
Source: kistodaynews.wordpress.com

Title: 태양의 후예 / Descendants of the Sun

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Action, Melodrama

Main Cast(s):

Number of Episode(s): 16 + 3 special

Plot:

Yoo Si-Jin is the captain of South Korean Special Forces unit. When he caught a motorcycle thief along with Sergeant Seo Dae-young, the thief got injured and is sent to the hospital. It was the hospital where Si-jin met Kang Mo-yeon for the first time, when he and Seo Dae-young tried to retrieve Dae-young’s cellphone which had stolen by the thief before. Si-jin immediately falls in love with Mo-yeon. Soon, they began dating. But due to their jobs, their date was not going smoothly. Si-jin received order to lead his team on a mission to Urk and Mo-yeon failed to become a professor. When both of them meet again, they talked about how different they are and decided to break up. On the other hand, relationship of Seo Dae-young and Myung-ju is not going well either because Myung-ju’s father disapproval of them.

Eight months later, four of them are reunited in Urk. Si-jin and Mo-yeon are falling in love with each other again. They officially start dating after Mo-yeon accidentally confessed her feelings to Si-jin. As for the second couple they finally can be together after so many ups and downs. Back in Korea, both couple still continue their relationship until Si-jin and his team are sent on a mission where both Si-jin and Dae-young went missing and assumed to be dead. Few months later, it is revealed that Si-jin and Dae-young are still alive after being rescued by a North Korean soldier whom Si-jin saved in earlier episode.

Review:

I originally wanted to watch this drama after it finished airing in Korea, so I don’t have to go through the torture of waiting for the next episode. But since my friends often talk about how good this drama is, my curiosity wins. And really, I had no regrets. This drama is one of the best drama ever. I really liked how the drama has unique background story (military combined with medical) that no other drama has. This drama is not just depending of its famous actor/actress, but it really has interesting story which packed with a balanced amount of humor and thriller. Few scenes can make you laugh out loud while the others can make you hold your breath and even crying (especially near the final episode). Not only the lead actor/actress(s) have great acting, but the other supporting roles also have awesome acting skill. It was as if they were chosen to play that role. I would also say this drama has the best original soundtrack ever! There’s no other drama soundtrack which can make me listen to it for weeks without getting bored. Even now, I’m still not over the soundtrack.

To be honest, when there’s a rumor that this drama will have a sad ending made me scared. I don’t want a sad ending for my favorite drama, and I think everyone who loves this drama will think the same too. But after watching the final episode, I feel like it might be better to leave the drama end on the 14th episode where Si-jin and Dae-young are assumed to be dead. With that, the viewers may be on rage, but the drama will leave a huge impact on the viewer. Because in my opinion, the happy ending offered by the story writer is not really satisfying and somewhat forced. But I’m still relieved it does end in happy ending, surely I couldn’t bear the tears if it ends in sad ending. Overall, this is a super recommended drama and really really worth to watch. Don’t forget to listen to the original soundtrack as well, you definitely will like it.

The K2 (2016)

What would you do to protect the most important thing in your life?

the-k2-korean-2016
Source: http://i.boxasian.com

Title: 더 케이투 / The K2

Genre: Action, Romance, Melodrama, Politics

Main Cast(s): 

Number of Episode(s): 16

Plot:

Kim Je-ha is a former mercenary soldier for Blackstone. While in Iraq, he gets framed for murder of a civilian named Raniya who is also his fiancee. As a result, he runs away and becomes a fugitive. He eventually returns to South Korea and initially is an enemy of Choi Yoo-jin, the wife of the presidential candidate Jang Se-joon. But later on, he agrees to work as a bodyguard on JSS Security Company owned by Yoo-jin. By accepting the job, he will get information he needs regarding his revenge on another presidential candidate, Park Kwan-soo, who previously ordered the killing of Raniya. In the meantime, Je-ha gets assigned to guard Go Anna, the hidden daughter of Jang Se-joon, whose life is always threatened because of Yoo-jin, her stepmother. Anna, who is lonely all her life, starts relying on Je-ha, who shows concern for her and protects her at all costs. They slowly fall in love with each other, which makes Je-ha torn between having to work with Yoo-jin, in order to get his revenge and at the same time he must protect Anna against Yoo-jin.

Review:

My first impression of this drama is that the story development is quite slow at the beginning but kinda rushed towards the end. Go Anna character, which supposed to be one of the main leads, didn’t even appear much on the first three episodes. In my opinion, they served too many fights at the beginning to show off our protagonist, Kim Je-ha’s capabilities in fighting. Je-ha’s relationship with Anna was also developed quite fast too, despite their lack of interaction in the beginning of the drama. I do like their awkward but cute moments together though, it was fun to watch. You cannot resist to go ‘aww’ looking at how they treat each other. But even though Je-ha began relationship with Anna, I feel like he has deeper and complicated relationship instead with our star, Choi Yoo-jin. Honestly, relationship between Je-ha and Yoo-jin was more interesting to watch because it was so full of emotion.

I think that Choi Yoo-jin character was shining brighter than the rest of the main leads. She was the most human of them all. She was a witch indeed, but I do understand that she needs to be strong in order to protect what she already had. Imagine that in her position, she acted all weak and soft, her enemy would crush her right away. She was strong until the end, and every time she appeared on screen, I feel moved by her emotion. Whether it is her jealousy, anger, or sadness. Without Yoo-jin, this drama would be just an ordinary action romance drama. So I think Song Yoon-ah did a superb acting as Choi Yoo-jin.

I like Je-ha’s character too, but I think he was too strong like a Superman who has nine lives. It was like almost impossible to kill him as if he wasn’t human. I feel that his character started to not make sense from 10th episode where he has to fight the enemies in the middle of poisonous gas without mask at all. How is that possible even for the greatest mercenary ever? Did he hold his breath when fighting that hard? Even so, I still love to watch him fight as hard as he can. Ji Chang-wook nailed it as Je-ha.

As for Anna’s character, I just cannot love her as much as I love Yoo-jin’s character. In my opinion, her character wasn’t developed very well. She was too weak, all she can do was crying, got kidnapped, or fooled by other character. I understand that she was kept hidden for so many years with the slightest interaction with other people, but maybe I just can’t tolerate her innocence. Isn’t there something brave or useful that she can do besides being a damsel in distress every time?

For Jang Se-joon character, well he’s the least character that I had interest on. I feel that he’s too weak as a man. He was relying too much on Yoo-jin. For many years that he had lived with Yoo-jin, can’t he be a bit smarter to act by himself? It’s true that he was made as a puppet by Yoo-jin, but he should do something or plan something to break free from Yoo-jin. In the end, it was still Je-ha who gave him an escape plan.

Another character who caught my eye was Secretary Kim. Her loyalty to Yoo-jin deserved a standing applause. She was a strong woman who will do anything for Yoo-jin to the extend of killing people, just like what she did to Je-ha and Anna. Her final scene with Chairman Choi was also satisfying. What a way to teach a person a lesson.

Even though the ending was quite rushed, but watching the final episode was giving me a roller coaster ride of feelings. Yoo-jin’s ending was the best. She finally could rest in peace as she felt happy dying in the arm of the man she might still love. That expression of relieved in her face was really peaceful. And what’s with so many kisses that Je-ha and Anna had during the epilogue narration? It was so sweet and cute that it made me blush. But I was quite disappointed that until the end, Je-ha’s real name wasn’t revealed. Overall with its plus and minus, it was an addicting drama to watch.

Kuzu no Honkai (2012)

They found comfort in each other, even if it’s just temporary.

i254352
Source: mangaupdates.com

I’ve been curious about this manga for quite some time until I decided to give it a go. I just started reading this manga when it had reached chapter 42, only few chapters left until the end.

This manga tells a story about 17 years old couple Yasuraoka Hanabi and Awaya Mugi. Both of them had hopeless unrequited love for another person. Mugi loved Minagawa Akane, a young teacher and used to be his home tutor while Hanabi loved her teacher who was also her childhood friend. Hanabi was cute and Mugi was popular, both of the seemed like a perfect couple, but no one knows they were going out just to soothe their loneliness from their unrequited love. As someone who shared the same feelings, they found comfort in each other and so it led to loneliness-driven physical intimacy.

Continue reading “Kuzu no Honkai (2012)”