The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rondo / 輪舞曲 / 윤무곡 / Yunmugok

Rondo came out back in 2006 and it stars Takanouchi Yutaka as Nishijima Sho / Kanayama Takumi though I couldn't tell you why he's got two Japanese names, or why he kept telling everyone at the beginning of this 11-episode nail-biter that he was Korean (make that Corean).

The reason for my confusion is that this Japanese product with Korean dialogue was translated to ENGLISH by someone who is Chinese.

I know it was a great story with a lot of interesting twists & turns, and even a fair amount of realism mixed in with a boat-load of 'wtf' moments - but, it's drama and I'm over that far-fetched aspect of the game already.

I can tell you from experience that if I paid for this online and opened the box with anticipatory excitement, hoping to spend a few days glued to the laptop screen, I'd have been beyond disappointed and as pissed off as I was when I bought Kodoku no Kake and discovered to my utter dismay that the Japanese language was translated to English by a Chinese.

Maybe there are a new crop of bubble-gum chewing hair twisters in charge at that has caused the quality of the movies and dramas at that web site to slowly turn to crap, who knows.
Rondo was a garbled mess that made it extremely difficult to follow, much less enjoy or want to continue to watch ~ but watch it I did, and I'm glad I did despite the protest.

If I caught the 'whatever' translations correctly, it's about a boy whose father is a Japanese cop, and they are in Korea for some reason when terrorists blow up a hotel, killing his father and a few, other important characters you discover about later in the story.
Thus, our hero grows up to become a cop so that he can avenge (not REvenge) his father.

The Japanese and Korean names were translated to Chinese names, which is why I had so much trouble trying to figure out who was whom and what was what.
The grammar, time, and place translations left me baffled as well, so it's really hard for me to blog effectively about this, particular drama.
Trust me, though, it was worth the watch.

The other, difficult aspect about Rondo was the darkness ~ a cinematographic effect that is misused or over abused throughout.
Take, for instance, one of our villains, Hayami Mokomichi as an example:

Personally, I think he's slammin' hot with a terrific bod as well, but this was the best shot I could get of the guy, sad to say.
Every time he entered the picture as the son of a crazed, Japanese mogul out to destroy his country's economy, he was either in a cinematic blur, at a noisy nightclub with strobe lights ready to cause an epileptic fit, snippet scenes as he leaves a building surrounded by bodyguards, or in one of those stomach-turning spin effects.
Regardless, he was never in living color ~ always blues, greens, and darkness, and never on camera when it remained perfectly still so that the viewer could take the time to study him for even a half second.

Two Korean girls enter the picture at the start, arriving in Japan in search of their father.
Older sister is an accomplished violinist who gets conned out of a lot of pay after performing at a club, so she opens a restaurant instead (because it's just, so easy to do these things in an inflated economy country like Japan).
Younger sister has a bad heart (of course) but she helps out at the restaurant between pass-out sessions that cart her lame ass off to the hospital throughout the drama.
I can just imagine what she must have been thinking to get that part -
"Great, I get to spend all my time on my back in a hospital bed with a stupid oxygen mask over my face."

And, naturally, our hero meets noona when his puppy, Justice, escapes from an animal hospital a few blocks away from the 'just happened to be available for no money' restaurant.

Justice stole the show, too!

When Takanouchi crouched down to look underneath his bed and this face was staring back at him, I about died!
Whining, touching the screen, and then wanting a Boston Terrier of my own now.

You find out a lot of interesting shit about these, two girls later in the drama, and a lot more repeat about what a young Takumi went through before, during, and after his father died back in 1982.

The suspense builds when you don't know if his elder cop superior is on Takumi's side, yanking his chain, or messin' with the devil, so to speak.
Takumi has been working undercover as an infiltrated member of the gangland corporation king who is out to destroy Japan's economy, and you never know from one minute to the next when or if he will get popped ~ it's frustrating, to say the least.

Another thing that threw me was the fact that Eiji Wentz is supposed to be in this drama, yet I couldn't figure out who he portrayed.
Is it this guy?

He's supposed to be Toda Masata, but throughout the drama, the Chinese translator referred to him as Rolling Hills or Bus Stop, or whatever the Mandarin version of his Japanese name is.

I think it might be Wentz character, but it looks more like Sato Ryuta to me. Toward the end of Rondo someone shouted his name, and I saw clearly Masata on the screen, though. It's obvious someone screwed up somewhere, so whatever.

Anyway, he was another scene stealer, imho.
His hair, his freaky personality, and his great skill as an actor ~ talk about nail biting moments.
I never knew if he was a cop, just a bum looking to make good money, a friend of Takumi, or the dreaded enemy who would stab him in the back at a crucial, episode 9 moment, when all hell typically breaks loose anyhow.

Guess who else was in this??

Shin Hyun Jun

My hawkish buddy from Cain & Abel!
Mr. Tennis himself, and again ~ was he a baddie or a good-guy undercover?
At first, he was an absolute bastard who pissed me off BIG-time when he made it seem like he would rape our noona, and then he proceeds to have her newly established restaurant destroyed by his hoodlum buddies.
You never knew one minute to the next if he would cap Takumi's ass, either.
I was disappointed, hoping he wouldn't end up being type-cast as the hood throughout his career the way that his side-kick, So, is type-cast as the downtrodden orphan with no hope for success or happiness.

The only thing for certain in this drama was that Hayami played to the hilt thug oppressed by a domineering and vain father even if you couldn't see him in action AT ALL.
Personally, the best part about this dude is his natural ability to tower over everyone else in a scene.
It's hilarious and exhilarating at the same time.

Here are more pics from the drama:

The pissy-poor subtitles ~

what the hell is a stumer?

why I have no idea who Eiji's character is

At least you can see for yourself what you have to put up with when viewing this at anyhow.
AND proof positive of my dislike of the dark, blurred, and spin-effect aspects of the drama as well.
The camera never stood still unless someone had a gun in their hand, ready to pull the trigger.

Ok, I did a wth retake on this a few times before I finally said to hell with it, I'm gonna post this here and see if anyone can explain it to me from a technical aspect that makes sense.

In scene one, Takumi meets his mama at the harbor, and the stand-out, red building is in the waaay background, yes?

and then, the camera closes in on him, and - yikes!
that frickin', red building is closing in on him!

now, a few minutes later, toward the end of the dialogue, what do you see behind our gorgeous hero?

not what happened 'at' that day, (grammatically incorrect), but - what the hell happened to the moving, red building behind me?

funny stuff
the UNcontinuity thing, I suppose

1 comment:

  1. i started watching ep 1, through the aznv link.
    But I gave up. not because the sub was bad,but because parts had no english subs.
    I thought what was subbed, was pretty good.
    So went looking for it elsewhere.
    I found it on doramax264. In ep 1 at least, the english sub was more complete, but the aznv subbing was better.


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