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Dunno why I never posted this before.  This is one Arashi video that is on repeat mode on my iPod.
The song is catchy and the choreography is kick-ass :)
I cannot count how many times I’ve watched it already but I am still not getting tired of it.

Loved the start where only Jun is moving to the beat..
Loved Nino’s slide-in move.. I think he’s got all the best dance moves here.
Love-love Ohno’s voice (as usual).

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Another Matsumoto gem.

I’ve watched some of it on youtube (I know, bad of me, but I can’t find the DVD anywhere). Anyway, I plan on reviewing it in detail after I find a DVD of it and re-watched again.

Quick comment that I’d have to say though. I find that I like him better here than HYD. He’s acting more spontaneous and he’s got a chance to show more range here. Actually, it took me a long time before I gave this series a chance. I initially thought the storyline is quite weird and I thought the role wouldn’t suit him. Basically, in Kimi Wa Petto, he got adopted as a pet by an older lady and their relationship developed from there. Can you imagine Tsukasa (or Matsujun) acting submissive and lovable as a puppy? But he actually sold the character. I love him here. Hmmm.. short comment right? =)

Anyway, as I’ve said, I’ll review again when I get the DVD. Can’t wait to watch it again!


Man, this is one serious movie.  And I never expected it when I bought this DVD.  I thought it’s a light and fluffy about friends bonding together and pursuing their dreams.

Yes, it is a story about 4 friends, all aspiring artists and have dreams of succeeding in their craft.  The four are  Eisuke (the manga artist), Ryuzo (the novelist), Shoichi (the singer/songwriter), and Kei (the oil painter).  This group believes that if only they can really focus on their art without worrying about other aspects of life (i.e. money, food, rent), they’ll achieve their goal and gain the freedom in “doing what you please, as you please”.  Thus, starts their summer journey where they learn the facts of life.

What made this movie special is the message it wants to impart is so real and true.  I may be a cynic speaking but, although you may have dreams of what you want your life to be, life may have different plans for you.  You may want to live life doing what you want and not take day jobs, but reality is, you’d have to eat, pay rent.. survive.

The movie is actually not a deep drama where you cry.  It doesn’t have any complex themes.  It’s like a subdued narration of life.   So somehow, it makes you think about your own life story after watching it.

Acting-wise, again, the characters are played by all 5 of the arashi members.  Eisuke is played by Ninomiya.  He’s starting to get my attention with his acting.  He’s good at portraying Eisuke, the idealistic manga artist, with a dying mother and 3 tag-alongs to care for.  Sakurai Sho’s delivery is a vast improvement from the Yamada Taro series and he’s actually quite believable as a bum novelist.  Actually, the other two are quite good as well (Ohno – the painter, Aiba – the singer).  Jun Matsumoto is more of just an extra in the movie, and I found his delivery more on the over-eager side (or it could be, that was how the character is supposed to be).  Overall, I’m quite impressed.

The atmosphere set by the film is also something to take notice of.  Some may find it dull, with the lack of flashy scenes and complicated sets, but it blends well with the story.  It’s a simple, quiet film.  And in it’s silence, it somehow makes the sadness of story resonate more.

This movie is also a goldmine of quotable quotes.  I’d have to jot a few of them down here.

“freedom is doing what you please, as you please” – Kei.  Straight for the mouth of the naive, I would say. =)

“starving is part of being an artist.  It adds to the experience.” – Ryuzo.  Words of a bum.

“no point in being lonely together.  Isn’t it easier to be lonely alone?” – Tokei.  Hmm.. Come to think of it, yes, she’s got a point there.

“how ironic that our season of doing what we please has caused us to abandon just that.” – Kei.  That reflection is kinda bittersweet.  The end of the summer is like a coming of age to them.  Reality has set in.

“In the face of my life, all I can do is panic
such is my useless and pathetic youth
Now, what we acquire along with our first wrinkle, is our trust in life
this consent and this smile, which says,
‘Friend, I know all about you.’
Looking back we will learn,
Life never deceives man. Life… has never deceived man” – Kei, quoting a French poet, Ryuzo.  It’s quite deep.  No matter how many times I read these lines, I come up with new reflection on it.  Yep, life has never deceived man.


I’ve just finished this Japanese drama starring two of the Arashi members – Nino and Sho.

Hmmm.. actually, it’s been in my to-be-watched pile for a long time now, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it.  It’s not that the premise doesn’t sound interesting but  somehow, I didn’t want to watch it coz it means after that, no more new arashi for me to watch.  Hehehe.. yeah.. skewed logic.

We’ll.. I love it!  It’s a super feel good movie that has lots of heart.  It’s a comedy that somehow brings tears to your eyes at the end of every episode.  It’s neither tears of sadness nor laughter.  It’ s just so touching that you’d end up with moist eyes after each eppie.

Plot summary:  The story is about the life of Yamada Taro.  He’s a scholarship student in one private high school.  He’s intelligent, nice and good-looking.  He seems perfect and is a heartthrob in his school but none of his follower knows that he’s actually extremely poor.

I can’t exactly pinpoint what I liked about this drama but I really like Yamada’s (Nino)  character. We see him as a very loving son and brother to his 6 siblings.  We see his everyday struggle to care and provide for his family.  I actually didn’t want to call it a “struggle” ‘coz he never seems to mind or notice his hardships.  I think he doesn’t mind as long as at the end of the day, his brothers and sisters are happy.  I know, I know.. in real life.. no such person..  but, this is a drama.  We watch it to escape reality =)

You’d think that when watching Yamada take part-time works, not eat, do housework, etc, you’d hate his family for putting his through hardships.  But no, his little brothers and sisters are just as adorable.  They know how much effort their big brother is doing and they love him just as much as he loves them.  They are like the non-irritating Brady Bunch family.

Other points to love:

-  I love that their family have their own commandments they live by.  No borrowing of money, ‘coz they can’t pay it back (hee..)  I’d have to get that list sometime.  It’s something we all should follow.

-  Yamada, though very poor doesn’t seem to feel anything lacking in his life.  As long as his family is happy, that is enough.

-  He’s not ashamed of being poor.  Typical drama is at school, they pretend to be rich and so on.  For Yamada, everybody just assumed that he is rich.  And when he’s situation is about to get exposed, his close friend correctly deduced that Yamada really wouldn’t mind.  He doesn’t even know he has a secret.

-  I also like that there are no evil plots or bad guys in this story.  I guess his daily life is complicated enough and adding villains on top of that would have been an overkill for the story.

-  Although his mother is incompetent and his father is a useless bum, I couldn’t really bring myself hate them.  I don’t know, don’t want to over-analyze.

-  The friendship between Taro and Mimura Takuya is something to love as well.

I guess one major factor why I loved this story so much is because of how Ninomiya Kazunari portrayed Yamada Taro.  It seems to suit him so well.   Sho Sakurai’s on the other hand is.. hmmm.. it seems too “acted” in a way.  But still, it’s Sho.. so I can’t really say anything bad about him, good or bad acting, he’s still the adorable chipmunk for me.  =)

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Last week I’ve finished watching Hana Yori Dango 1 & 2. I finally gave in and watched. Initially, I didn’t want to because I can’t help but compare the actors playing in HYD with those in Meteor Garden. The HYD actors are just not appealing. But surprise! They grow on you =) So much that I am now obsessed with Matsumoto Jun (Doumyouji)

Ok.. before I get sidetracked with my gushing (I’ll do it on some other post), I’ll talk about HYD first.

Being an MG viewer first, it’s impossible for me to watch HYD without making comparisons. One standout item in HYD is it is super fast-paced! Imagine season 1 having 9 eps and 2 with 11 eps. On the plus side, being fast-paced meant I never got bored. There were no dragging parts compared to MG where there are fillers every episode. On the down side, I felt like character and relationship build up are lacking.

Definitely, MG trumps the HYD actors in conventional good looks department. But as mentioned earlier, they grew on me. I think because I managed to get past the superficial layer (really?!?) and focus on their delivery instead. Esp. Matsomoto Jun (here we go….)

I liked Doumyouji in this version. Although he doesn’t fit the description physically, he got the character down to pat. First look you would think, “is this the guy whose supposed to be violent and mean? But he’s such a stick!” But he totally had me seeing Doumyouji not only as mean and cruel but that he can be kind and reliable also. And his swagger screams arrogance and self-confidence.


Inoue Mao as Makino Tsukushi is also a perfect for the role I think. She’s not overly gorgeous, but she’s cute. She looks tough and acts tough which often times look fake when acted on screen. But for her, it all seemed natural.

Rui as a character seems a bit different to me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used to MG’s Lei (haven’t read nor watched the manga/anime before). But is he really supposed to be that… chatty? And jolly? He talks a lot and he laughs out loud. It weirds me out a little. I liked Lei’s air of mystery and his silent support to Sanchai. I’ve nothing much to say on the actor, really. Just the character he played.

hyd3_small.JPG Throughout the series, I found myself rooting for Doumyouji instead of Rui. This is a surprise since I’ve always been an avid Lei/Rui supporter during the MG craze. I never saw the appeal of the immature and short-tempered Doumyouji then. In HYD, I managed to see what made Doumyouji appealing to Tsukushi and others. It could also be because of how the role was acted.

Last, I just have to mention this… I love, love, love the relationship Doumyouji has with his sister (Tsubaki). They showed how much he looks up to his sister, which is adorable. Considering how rough he is to others, he becomes a little brother when dealing with his sister =)

Disclaimer: I don’t want to start a HYD vs. MG war. Just to make it clear, I’ve nothing against MG. In fact, there was a period that I was obsessed with it. =)