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

Monday, April 04, 2011

Chonmage Purin / ちょんまげぷりん

#4 FIVE-STAR review

Summer, 2010, Japanese movie that stars Ryo Nishikido-kun as Kijima Yasube, a samurai from the Edo period 180 years ago who ends up in modern-day Tokyo after praying for a better job before a Buddha statue in his country hamlet.

Yes, its based on another Manga turned anime, but that's entirely beside the point as this happened to be one of them that I appreciated being turned into live-action stuff ~ what's more, I super appreciate the fact that they chose RYO-san to play the part of the confused but dutiful samurai!

Baby boy who stole the show (Fuku Suzuki as Tomoya Yusa) and his single mother are on their way to work/school when Yusa notices a samurai standing stiff in front of a convenience store near their apartment building, and while the mother seems somewhat alarmed by what she sees, it isn't enough to send her screaming for the police and instead, she takes hold of her adorable son's hand and encourages him to be on his way.

After school/work, they return to the apartment when Yusa decides its time to play hide & seek without telling his mother - and as she is darting about the parking lot looking for him, she encounters the samurai - still dazed and slightly pissed off about his confusing circumstances.

Baby boy creeps up behind them under the cover of a box, and when he jumps out yelling 'Boo!', the samurai does what any samurai would do - he draws his sword, aiming it at the wide-eyed boy's throat.

Yusa wants a playmate, and the samurai looks to be a great catch, so he's delighted when his okāsan decides to take in the bewildered and obviously lost or homeless, young man who must have hit his head and now thinks he's a samurai from the Edo period.

In exchange for room & board, Samurai Kijima Yasube offers to play the role of 'Josei' or woman by doing the housework, cooking, and taking care of kawaii baby boy, Yusa.

There was a funny scene when the phone rings while he's cleaning house, but aside from that, Yasube seemed not to find the 'future' all that shocking, which disappointed me, but not to such an extent that I didn't want to watch the rest of this absolutely FABULOUS show!

Right away, Yasube makes himself useful by taking up pastry making, for which he turns out to be a natural, and he ends up in a contest that pits him and Yusa against other dad/child teams in creating a fantastic cake based on a design of their choosing.

Yasube ends up leaving the Josei role to work in a bakery run by one of the judges of the contest, breaking both Yusa and his mother's hearts.

In between, though, he spent quality time with them both, learning more about the future from the woman while also instilling some of his staunch mentality on the baby boy.

Toward the end of the story, he encounters some bad guys, and since he's promised not to unsheathe his sword and risk going to jail, Yasube decides on an unconventional way to put the bad guys to rest.

It was beyond HOT stuff, I must admit.

The inevitable occurs toward the end, and it even made me cry, but the ENDING isn't a sad one, so don't despair!

Highly recommend this one if you haven't already watched Chonmage Purin!

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho / 내 여자친구는 구미호

My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox

#3 in the FIVE-STAR category

August to September of 2010 Korean drama that starred Lee Seung gi as Cha Dae woong, a hapless college student determined to become the next Bruce Lee action star (he's even got Bruce Lee posters on his wall).

His Harabeoji owns a string of beauty salons (which means they're rich), and because Dae woong lost his parents when he was little, Harabeoji raised him along with his own, older daughter - Dae woong's aunt.

At the start of this sixteen-episode laugh-riot we learn as much about Dae woong as we need to, and that he's a bit on the selfish side while also using his money & influence to impress so-called friends who turn their back on him the minute he needs their help.

Harabeoji knows this and tries what he can to make the boy grow up; threatening to yank his fool ass out of the action school if he doesn't, stop using his tuition money for things other than tuition, and letting all his 'friends' get free hair styles, perms, etc. at the salon.

Dae woong is in line for a big part in an action flick put on by a producer who emulates none other than Chow Yun Fat (and yes, he even has posters of the guy on his office wall and constant, running images of the many gangster flicks the guy starred in, too).

Sung Dong il as Ban Doo hong, who nearly stole the show

The producer's daughter has the hots for Dae woong, but Dae woong is too caught up in the moment of his budding career to notice or care - plus the fact that he carries a torch for a snooty Sunbae with the nastiest bitch attitude of any female Korean character I've seen so far.

Like his other friends, Sunbae also uses and strings along our poor Dae woong, leading him to think she is interested when all she really wants is a huge part in the same movie Dae woong is guaranteed to star in.

Park Soo jin as Eun Hye in

Harabeoji has had enough and attempts to kidnap Dae woong, but the crafty dude slips away, ducks inside the back of a vegetable truck, and away he goes - miles and miles away from Seoul and everything familiar to him.

He ends up at this monastery with a crooked monk who collects money from ajumma's who go there to pray that their children find suitable marriage partners, and the monk explains the story about the 3-Gods who created a nine-tail fox (kumiyo) from natural elements, and that the 3-Gods decided one day to let gumiho have a wish granted to take human form and look for true love.

Story goes that she was far, too beautiful for her own good, and that all the women were jealous, so they began to spread nasty rumors about her so that no man would want anything to do with her (namely, that she eats the liver of her lover).

Beautiful kumiyo waited for a year for her lover to come for her, and when he never showed, 3-Gods returned her to the portrait that now hangs in the monastery.

800 years have passed since that time, and kumiyo is anxious to try again, so late at night, when Dae woong slips away to make a phone call, she entices him to enter the temple and draw nine tails on the ancient portrait.

Once the deed is done, the ground begins to shake, the sky opens up, and the heavens begin to roar, terrifying Dae woong so that he runs screaming from the temple and into the forest.

It's night time, so naturally, he slips and tumbles over the edge of a low cliff, landing on his back near a beautiful waterfall, where he lay unconscious.

Beautiful kumiyo likes him and thinks that he'll be a big help to her in the human world, so she secretly entrusts him with her 'bead' - which is actually a lovely, glowing blue stream of health, strength, and longevity that has powerful benefits for the human body.

Dae woong awakens the next morning feeling refreshed and not the least, bit affected by the terrible fall when he sees the beautiful woman smiling up at him, and for a few seconds he is dazed by her charms before realizing that she's slumped him over the branch of a tree to keep the wild hogs from getting to him.

Of course, he doesn't believe she is a nine-tail fox, but when he realizes that it might be true, he recalls the fables he heard about kumiyo and what she does to humans, so he makes a mad dash into the forest, hoping to be rid of the bewitching creature.

One hilarious thing leads to another until both Dae woong and the fox end up together in Seoul, and after seeing her lovely, nine tails in the moonlight, Dae woong has no, other choice but to do whatever it is she wants so that he can keep his liver and his life.

He knows about the bead, and that she craves beef, but for a majority of this drama, he is intent on shaking off the legendary creature so that he can go back to being a normal, unaffected college student.

As their relationship slowly begins to form, Dae woong transforms and matures while the beautiful kumiyo continues to yearn for her freedom from the portrait and a chance to turn into a real human who finds love.

There is this totally gorgeous 'vampire' like dude who works at an animal hospital, but his real goal is to capture and kill the gumiho - and when he knows she's escaped from the portrait, he spends much of the drama luring her to him so that he can drive an ancient dagger through her heart.

His reason for being in the show wasn't, quite clear to me, and it was never explained to the viewer why he was half-human, why he had to kill the gumiho, or even what his reasons for knowing her in the past had to do with his emotions in the present, but I was perfectly content to ignore all that just for the chance to gaze at him whenever he was on screen.

No Min woo as Park Dong joo

Mi yo (Shin Min ah) as Dae woong refers to gumiho, has super-human strength along with the ability to see and hear at great distances as well as to run really fast, so she becomes helpful to Dae woong in his efforts to do the best at his movie debut.

As long as he remains with the bead inside him he cannot get hurt and possesses a tad of the nine-tails strength as well, which does him a lot of good on the set of the movie.

Dae woong is jealous of Park Dong ju (the animal doctor), but for a long time he isn't ready to accept the fact that his heart is heading in Mi yo's direction.

He clings to the bitch who doesn't like him, hurting Mi yo in the process, but because she isn't, quite human yet, the jealous emotions don't register the same way they would for you & I - at least not until the dastardly Dong ju convinces her that to become human is a good idea - failing to add that if she does so, that she will surely die without the bead, and that if Dae woong returns the bead, that he will definitely die.

Mi yo slowly transforms, losing a tail a week until she is down to just one, and by then she and Dae woong are head-over-heels in love.

She must make the horribly sad decision to die for his sake since she can't ask for the bead back.

Dae woong finds out the truth and even though he still believes that if he gives in and has sex with Mi yo that she will cut out his liver, he does something so totally and excitingly romantic that it brought tears to my eyes.

The ending actually made me cry - buckets - but believe it or not, there is a happy ending to this terrific drama!

It was hilarious, fast-paced, and didn't stray from the original storyline by going off in the direction of some, other character - nor did it spend too much time with the lingering pauses that cause Korean dramas to go for sixteen or twenty episodes when nine or eleven would suffice.

I will admit, though, that about 3/4 of the way through things did start to drag, but by then I was so emotionally involved that I had no choice but to wade through the lull in an effort to discover how things would turn out for our two, likable leads.

Shin Min ah did an outstanding job in this one, and they couldn't have picked a more perfect actress to portray someone who is supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous, too.

Mi yo when she gets horny

I wasn't able to clearly capture the scene in the mall with the school children walking by blowing bubbles, but it was a reference to The Little Mermaid and Mi yo's desire to become human - another tear jerking moment for me and that left a lasting impression.

I'm not, too certain about the OST for this one, either - though I know Seung gi sang some of them (not sure he can actually sing~sounded a tad off-key to me, but who knows) there were tunes that were memorable, though.

Seung gisshi came to me by way of ill bak ee ill and while everyone else seems to think he is all that, I am more inclined to favor Lee Su geun and Kim Jong min - heck, even PD Na! But then I watched Gumiho and now I have a new-found appreciation for and kinda-sorta crush on our daffy Seung gi.

To me, he's the goofy boy next door with teeth too big for his face, a lean, gangly frame, and a mop-top to go with his Beaver Cleaver wardrobe (although he did sport a nifty lego watch in Gumiho!)

Let's just say that when this guy finally DOES have sex, it'll be on his wedding night and leave it at that, shall we?

HOWEVER ~ and this is a biggie ~ his approach to kissing, I must admit, is somewhat on the heady romantic c'mon baby! side. (It's all about the eye contact, ladies - the EYES).

Just watch Gumiho and you'll know what I mean.


gumi ****************** ho

Hotaru no Hikari: Season 2 / ホタルノヒカリ 2

Glow of Fireflies 2


2010 JDorama that stars the same lead cast as the first drama ~ HURRAY!

Three years have gone by since Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) and Takano Seiichi (Fujiki Naohito) last saw each other (or since we last saw them for that matter).

She is returned from Hong Kong when the story picks up where it left off in Season 1, only Seiichi is upset about the fact that during those three years, Hotaru never did anything that she had said she would via yakusoku, like text every night, reply to all his e-mails, etc.

Hotaru is as adorable, flustered, and introverted as ever, but when you watch this version, it will be plain to see that our lovable characters have matured while still managing to maintain a modicum of their idiosyncratic ways.

Seiichi (kumichou) is as uppity, anal, and seemingly inattentive as ever while Amemiya immediately falls right back into her laid-back, slovenly routine at the home they still share.

She is so pretty, he is so handsome, and their home is so charming that there isn't a wonder at all about how much I rooted for them, smiled until my face became sore, and with excited anticipation waited for the next of ten episodes to begin.

Season 2 was only uploaded eighteen days ago at, but I happened to discover it just a day after the fact, and BOY was I ecstatic!

None of the original formula that lent so, much charm and wonder to this story was left out or forgotten, albeit the theme song, which changed ~ but not the adorable, little girl in animation who chases a firefly up a hillside at her
Obaasan's house.

The only real concern (for me anyway) was the inevitable question as to whether or not they will ... well, DO it ...

There is a new nemesis in the office, too - another handsome, young guy who is immediately taken by our pretty Amemiya, and with our aging Seiichi looking on, it was kawaii to see his stiff resolve crumble with insecure jealousy only to have the ever-clueless Amemiya straighten him right out with a mere glance or unknowing remark that always managed to have an effect of relief to make him feel better.

Kumichou still allows Amemiya to do her thing in her own way while also scolding her in the process - but when it comes to affairs of the heart, he still leaves everything to chance - I wonder while also believing that Amemiya is his eternally and that he actually has little to fear.

There is a love-interest on Kumichou's side, too, though ~ in the form of a pretty and refined lady with a little daughter who refers to Seiichi as Papa.

Like Kumichou, Amemiya will step back and let things happen without voicing her opinion or inner fears - but, only until she can't take the pressure anymore, and then she will blurt - something that still bugs our Seiichi, yet it is endearingly obvious he has grown accustomed and actually likes when she says what is on her mind.

They rolled across the floor a few times, they shared a lot of beer on the veranda, and they bickered about cleanliness, dress codes, and keeping promises, too.

Seiichi proposes to Amemiya this time, and with the most gorgeous, $12,500 ring in the whole world, too.

She loves him and even tells him as much, but it isn't right away that she accepts his proposal - and there is a funny scene where they think she's misplaced that expensive ring as well.

Amemiya does a lot of running around trying to help with crotchety clients, inter-office affairs, and the personal issues her friends are dealing with at that moment while also trying desperately hard to be more open and responsive with Seiichi.

She's not, even sure if she likes the new guy, but only because he makes her heart flutter - something that also occurs quite regularly whenever Kumichou is around.

She's jealous of the pretty lady, but because of her self-esteem issues, she thinks it might be best to just let Kumichou go to the woman in better standing than her - but, of course, Seiichi isn't going to let that happen.

At another point in the story, Seiichi lets Amemiya know that before his first marriage or meeting her, that he was quite the ladies man and had sex at whim - which causes Amemiya to refer to him thereafter as 'the beast', and every time that Kumichou orders her to his room, her first thought is that the beast has emerged and he wants sex on demand.

She's so kawaii and he's so RIGHT for her!

I loved this show - I was completely happy with the ending, and I don't see the need for Season 3, though I certainly won't complain if they decide to make one!

Here are some screen captures, and I forgot to mention that the subs were pretty deplorable (as if the person writing them had deaf people in mind).

I had no idea (I swear) that there was a past-tense version of the word!

like this needs (explanation)

maybe this one was helpful, I'm still (not) sure

gee, thanks! (I think)

guess it was for the hearing impaired (??)

I don't know, I think it's just (weird), and the timer made it impossible (to read all this added info) anyhow!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge / ヤマトナデシコ七変化

Perfect Girl Evolution

This is the start of a slew of 5-star reviews.

It was difficult for me to decide which of them I should even showcase first, so don't let that have any affect on your judgment since it wasn't that way for me, either ~ I simply decided it was best to just highlight them in the order that I watched them.

And, you can blame it on for taking this long to upload these shows, too, not me.

Now, with regards to Japan's 2010 Yamato Nadeshiko ...
It was another of them '...taken right from the pages of Manga' dramas filled with overly colorful imagery, out-of-this-world scenery AND characters, and a whole lot of nonsense mixed in to make this what it was ... fun from start to finish.

Four exceedingly handsome boys (one of whom is actually kicked out of his house for being too gorgeous) end up boarding together inside the lavish manse of an eccentric widow with a kindergarten son who declares himself to be head of the household while his mother is jetting about the world in search of another man to love.

They all attend the same high school, where, of course, all the ladies are waiting with banners, streamers, fan cards, and screeching shouts of joy each and every day that they arrive before the bell.

This doesn't occur too often, however, because the gist of this story revolves around a spooky chick who hides herself under the black cloak of doom after being jilted by a boy in middle school.

She asked him out and he said he wouldn't date anyone who was ugly: thus began her downward spiral into goth territory and the macabre.

She ends up visiting her little cousin at the Manse and bumps into 'shiny brightness' in the form of Kamenashi Kazuya as Takano Kyohei - the boy so handsome that his own mother ordered him to leave the house so she could get some peace & quiet from the thousands of admirers who stood outside their apartment to see him, phoned him non-stop, and stalked him in a creepy stalker kind of way.

Even straight men wanted to be gay just to get close enough to touch our unbelievably magnetic Kyohei.

This is Kyohei in the anime version - which makes it seem even creepier than a creepy, stalker-chick if you ask me.

The license they give to pedophiles over in Japan just boggles the mind, I tell you.

Anyway ... Oomasa Aya as Nakahara Sunako is the wrecked boogie man spiriting around in the black cape so she can hide her ugliness from the outside world.

Here, she is relieved to finally have back her beloved Hiroshi-kun (a mannequin with exposed body organs).

and her anime version

Sunako has surrounded herself by all things gloomy, ugly, and Gothic in order to feel comfortable and has completely retreated from reality and society.

The Grande Dame of the house orders the boys to transform her niece into a Japanese High Society swan or risk being kicked out of the 'boarding' house.

She does this via video screen while aboard a lavish jet liner headed for nowhere in particular, and always somewhere exotic in order to meet yet, another candidate for new daddy for her adorably kawaii son.

The other boys are 'dazzling' in their own right with one (Tegoshi Yuya as Toyama Yukinojo) being a baby he/she kind a kawaii thing none of the gals can resist (he's into teddy bears, talking soft, and opposes violence).

Another is a rich snob (Uchi Hiroki as Oda Takenaga) born & bred to take over his authoritative father's flower arranging business (which seems to be a running theme in our manga turned anime genre - and perhaps because I'm not Japanese, I'll never understand why other than it seems a high-brow sort of hobby).

The fourth irresistible gentleman (Miyao Shuntaro as Morii Ranmaru) is a ladies man with all the charm of a viper who flits from one, amorous female to the next - not at all interested in something as passé as ai.

This means there are actually five stories balled up into one, ten-episode drama that had me begging for more so much so that I ended up not waiting for to upload the rest after episode seven, and I risked possessing a massive wipe-out PC virus by opening ANY file at ...

well, I didn't, actually ~ I opened the file there, and then pop-ups started attacking my task bar, so I hurried the hell out of there and searched until I finally decided on Youtube ~ you know, ten minute cut-offs and annoying ads at the bottom where the subtitles are?

whatever ... it was worth every, annoying second just to be able to watch this one clean through.

The subtitles weren't too bad, either - but they were in an eye-irritating pink outline that was sometimes blue.

So, Kyohei is sexually harassed all the time, which means he's got one hella bad temper, and it isn't unusual for him to pop someone in the mouth every, few minutes of this drama :)

So, too, does our unlikely heroine, Sunako, who goes absolutely berserk any time she hears the word ...

She's not, too fond of anyone that dazzles, either, and head-butts them if they get close enough to blind her with their brilliant light.

Besides having mad fight skills and a quick temper, Busunako can cook; something that truly pleases our hot-headed Kyohei to no end.

Guy's always hungry for a reason we're supposed to believe is a way for him to suppress his inner emotions about being abandoned by his parents and treated like a sex slave by absolute strangers.

Anyone else get the impression that our handsome Kyohei's mother had an affair with some gorgeous guy underneath that tree and THAT'S why she couldn't bear to look at her child anymore?

Of course, Sunako is by no means busunako - in fact, it's quite the opposite!

She's got huge, black eyes, porcelain skin, and great hair along with a nice set of legs, but she remains well hid beneath the cloak and wears her bangs to her chin in order to hide her busunako-ness from the world.

A lot of the comments at were unfavorable with regards to Sunako's inability to fully realize her potential and totally break out of her shell.

Yea, I disagree.

See, what I got out of it was that Kyohei liked her almost immediately because she was not only different from the other girls, but she was also obsessed with looks from the opposite standpoint as he was.

Kyohei hated that he was so gorgeous while Sunako hated that she was so busunako.

Kyohei worked to help her transform, but only so that he wouldn't get kicked out of the boarding house by having to pay an exorbitant amount of rent he couldn't afford because he wasn't able to keep a job long enough due to the sexual harassment that always forced him to use brute force on an overly amorous boss.

Eventually, the two had no choice but to come to terms with their reality, and because Sunako was as much in love with Kyohei as he was with her, it stood to reason that she remain at least slightly in that shell since that was what attracted Kyohei to her in the first place.


In the nine days since it was uploaded, and still at only seven episodes, more than 20,000 viewers have logged in to watch, and an overwhelming majority of them gave this one 5 thumbs-up, too ~ me included.

I also loved the running theme background music, so in my book, that makes this a winner all around.