August 2019 Anime & Asian Drama Wrap-Up

These are the shows I watched in August. This is my first time doing something like this, so I’ll see if I’ll continue it. I worked on this post for a month and wrote a bit whenever I watched a show.

I normally watch more episodes/shows, but the highlights of my month were playing Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair so that took a lot of time away from watching shows.

Durarara!!x2 Ten: Onoroke Chakapoko

Episodes watched: 1/1

Prior to watching this special episode, I watched everything related to Durarara!! except for two special episodes. So… I decided to watch them both on the same day. Durarara!! is one of my favourite anime and my favourite character is from this anime. Unfortunately, Izaya was barely in these episodes but I did learn that he does not like dogs.

This episode was focused on Shinra and Celty’s relationship.

Durarara!!x2 Shou: Watashi no Kokoro wa Nabe Moyou

Episodes watched: 1/1

This special episode takes place during the time Mikado and the others attended a hot pot party at Shinra’s apartment. We see a few flashbacks in this episode and it was nice to see what the characters were like when they were young.

Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou

Episodes watched: 3/13

This is season 2 of Natsume’s Book of Friends. I really enjoyed season 1. To be honest, I’m not too impressed with it so far but I’m sure my mind will change as I watch more…

Given (ongoing)

Episodes watched: 4 (4-7)

Given is a boys love anime and I recommend this. I’m really enjoying this anime.

The four main characters are in a music band and the ending song is sang and performed by them! Sato’s voice actor is amazing at singing. I am in love with the song. The opening song is also really good!

Dr. Stone (ongoing)

Episodes watched: 5 (5-9)

I was hooked on Dr. Stone within the first ten minutes of episode one. Dr. Stone continues to be a show I look forward to watching every week.

Vinland Saga (ongoing)

Episodes watched: 4 (5-8)

Vinland Saga is an anime about vikings. What I like about Vinland Saga is that I feel like I’m in the setting in which the story takes place. I’m completely immersed in the show every time I watch it.

Aimer sings the ending theme!

Autumn’s Concerto

Episodes watched: 1 (23 on Netflix)

Autumn’s Concerto is one of my favourite Taiwanese dramas and I cry a lot whenever I watch this. The main guy, Guang Xi, starts off as a jerk but he treats the main girl, Mu Cheng, very well later on. I recommend this drama.

Abyss

Episodes watched: 2/16

Abyss is a South Korean drama that was recommended to me. It’s alright so far. Asian drama episodes feel so long… I’m too used to anime episodes…

Kimetsu no Yaiba (ongoing)

Episodes watched: 6 (16-21)

I heard episode 19 was really good so I caught up to the anime. Inosuke and Zenitsu are irritating at times, but they’re both growing on me. I’m really proud of Tanjirou and Nezuko. They make a wonderful team.

One Piece (ongoing)

Episodes watched: 17 (730-746)

I finally finished watching the fight between Luffy and Doflamingo. One Piece is my favourite anime of all time but the bird cage lasted a very long time. Time isn’t very logical in One Piece. The episodes and fights are definitely dragged out in addition to the recap every episode but I’ll still watch every episode of One Piece.

It’s a little crazy to think that I’ve watched over 700 episodes of One Piece. I started watching One Piece from the beginning in 2016 and I’ve been consistently watching seasonal anime too.

Dororo

Episodes watched: 2 (14-15)

I hear that the ending is awesome. The start of Dororo was very strong but the anime feels kind of long…

Fruits Basket (2019) (ongoing)

Episodes watched: 1 (8)

I’ve watched the first Fruits Basket anime adaptation and I’ve completed the manga so maybe that’s why it’s taking me a while to catch up to this anime…

Kotoura-san

Episodes watched: 1/12

I watched the first ten minutes of this anime a long time ago, but I thought it was depressing so I dropped it. This anime was recommended to me and I gave it another try. The rest of the first episode certainly had a different feeling to it, so I guess the moral of the story is to not drop shows so hastily and to finish the first episode, at the very least!


My favourite shows from this season are Dr. Stone and Demon Slayer/Kimetsu no Yaiba.

As usual, I also read manga and webtoons but that would make a very long post so let’s not get into that.

Advertisements

My Top Posts (According to Views)

These are the posts that people have been reading the most.

BL Review: HIStory 2: Boundary Crossing

This is a Taiwanese Boys Love drama. I do recommend it, and I list my reasons in the blog post.

Singer 2018 – 华晨宇 Hua Chenyu Reactions

Singer was a huge show in 2018. It is a singing competition that takes place in China and the contestants are all established singers. In that year, Hua Chenyu, Jessie J, and other singers ran in the competition. You can read the post here.

Superstar Spotlight: Hua Chenyu

In this post, I talk about who Hua Chenyu is. You can read the post here. Hua Chenyu is my favourite singer. I’ve also done similar blog posts for Kwang-ho Hong and Bii.

Representation of Chinese Characters in Anime

I was surprised that this one was popular. I do think that it’s an important topic that needs to be talked about. I roll my eyes when Chinese characters are drawn in traditional clothing in a modern day setting. You can read it here.

Song Meaning: 薛之謙 Joker Xue – 演員 Actor

In this post, I interpret Actor, a song by Joker Xue. I’ve also written my thoughts about another one of Joker’s songs called Animal World (Click here for the post).

Kaiji References in Anime

Kaiji is my second favourite anime (my first favourite is One Piece) so this makes me happy. You can read the post here. I have written more posts about Kaiji, including Character Spotlight: Fashionable Kaiji and Animal World: Kaiji Film Adaptation Review.

Peach Girl (2017) – Japanese Film Review

Peach Girl (2017) is a Japanese live-action adaptation of the shoujo manga with the same title. The scenery was pretty but the pacing of the story wasn’t very good. You can read more about it here.


I think I’m starting to see a pattern here. Maybe I should write more posts on Asian dramas and Chinese singers. Topics that are not talked a lot about seem to do well too.

Animal World: Kaiji Film Adaptation Review

Animal World (2018) is a Chinese film based on the manga, Kaiji by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It is on the rock-paper-scissors arc of the manga. As a huge Kaiji fan, I had to watch this film.

0529046e0f73073c1f992cb6e08e3838

Synopsis: Zheng Kaisi is tricked into shouldering on his friend’s debt. He enters a game that takes place on a ship. There, he sees players from all over the world with enormous debts. If he wins, he will be debt-free. However – if he loses, he will have to face a life worse than imaginable. The game is rock-paper-scissors but it has its own set of rules. Zheng Kaisi has to beat the other players in rock-paper-scissors. Sounds straight-forward, right?

Actually, it’s an extremely intense and interesting game. There are various psychological elements to consider, such as cheating, betrayal, working with comrades and greed. This psychological thriller/gambling film adapts the Kaiji manga very well. The gambling that happens in the film is identical to the manga, so you won’t be disappointed with the ending.

Something that was interesting was that the players were diverse and spoke different languages. Kaisi communicated with non-Chinese players by listening to an earpiece that translated the other player’s words into Chinese in real time. I thought this was realistic.

methode-times-prod-web-bin-b5ec45fc-7af2-11e8-9c4a-473552a1b7c8.jpg

Kaiji is a great manga that tackles themes such as human nature and I think that ‘Animal World’ is a suitable name for the film because in an environment where there are not a lot of regulations, humans may succumb to “animal-like behaviours.” Kaisi is a great protagonist that refuses to degrade himself like that. In this game, he fights the resistance to betray others. He is a flawed protagonist that does not have a 100% chance of winning. That is what makes him such a relatable character.

I don’t think that Kaiji is a simple manga to adapt. Animal World did it well, because of a number of reasons. One, the cinematography is really well done. Nobuyuki Fukumoto does a lot of panels with metaphors, and Animal World has amazing graphics that showcases those metaphors. Metaphors help the audience understand the depths of what the character is feeling. I liked that the film remained close to the source material in this way.

The actor who plays Kaiji/Kaisi, Li Yifeng, is a great actor. He is famous in China and played the role really well. Kaisi is different from Kaiji in terms of his personality, family background, life situation and relationships, which gives Animal World its own sense of originality. Like Kaiji, Kaisi is a likable and strong protagonist.

min-nguen-mn-animalworld-ship-int-06.jpg

The budget for this film and also the cinematography allowed the manga to come to life. Extra elements were added in the film but they were enjoyable to watch. Overall, I was really impressed with this adaptation and enjoyed it a lot. I recommend watching Animal World, even if you have never read or watched Kaiji. If you are a Kaiji fan, it doesn’t hurt to give this a try.

Animal World is available on Netflix.

Korean Film Recommendation: Always (2011)

I’m writing this immediately after I finished watching Always, because that’s how good it was. My nose is still stuffy and my eyes are still sore from crying so much. It’s also almost 1 AM.

Always-029.jpg

Synopsis: During his shift at his job as a parking lot attendant, Cheol Min is visited by Jung Hwa, a woman who is blind. She was friends with the former parking lot attendant. Cheol Min and Jung Hwa develop a friendship, which turns into something more.

So much happens in this movie and I really cannot spoil too much. This is a romance movie and they do become a couple. That’s the focus of the first part of the film. They are in a serious relationship and they intend to have children together.

Always_(Korean_Movie)-04.jpg

In the second half of the film, Cheol Min and Jung Hwa’s happy life together is disrupted. Sad events ensue, and that’s when the ugly crying happens. The film has a happy ending, which I had to make sure before I even watched it. I can’t spoil what happens, so you’ll just have to watch it.

I loved this film because one, it evoked such a strong reaction out of me. Two, because I really enjoyed watching the daily life of the two together, and the simplicity of it. Three, because of how strong their love is. I think it’s inspiring to watch a story of a couple that have such an unbreakable bond. The film was really good at producing motifs and stories that only the two of them would know.

The only major thing I would have liked to be different is that I wish they gave us some more scenes in the end. I know, I’m greedy.

Peach Girl (2017) – Japanese Film Review

Peach Girl (2017) is a Japanese live-action film based on the manga with the same name.

DAd1ybMXUAA0rcp-large

Synopsis: Momo Adachi is a high school student who is always mistaken as “easy” and “scandalous” due to her tan skin. She doesn’t care what others think about her, as long as Kazuya Toji believes in her. A rumor gets out that Momo kissed Kairi Okayasu, the most popular guy at school. This starts a spiral of complicated matters because Toji is the one Momo is in love with!

The antagonist of this story is Sae Kashiwagi, a girl who pretends to be Momo’s friend but she actually takes pleasure in ruining Momo’s life. I watched the Taiwanese drama of this story in my childhood and to this day Sae has always been my most hated character. Momo is so sweet though, because she still cares about Sae. Sae is played by Mei Nagano, the actress who played Rinko Yamato from Ore Monogatari!! She’s a great actress because she played Sae’s character well, who is the complete opposite of Yamato’s character.

What I Liked: I liked the cast and liked how things were peach themed, especially with Momo’s name (meaning peach). Everyone was very fashionable, which reminds me of shojo manga. I liked the imagery, such as the beach scenes, flower shop and restaurant scenes. Overall, it was a pretty movie and the ending was cute.

What I Disliked: This movie had pacing issues. Things happened too quickly. There were overly dramatic scenes as well and it didn’t feel natural. While this film had its good moments, I would not rewatch this film.

Rating: 7/10

Ore Monogatari!! (2015) – Japanese Film Review

Ore Monogatari!! (2015), also known as My Love Story!! is the Japanese live-action film adaptation of the anime with the same name.

Fun fact: I watched this film years ago. Yesung from Super Junior recently watched this film, which prompted me to write a review.

e35dae32a02c31e6e83ce7a2623c3652c37bda55_hq

Synopsis: Takeo Goda is a sweet and thoughtful guy who wants a girlfriend, but he is always unsuccessful because of his scary and huge appearance. His best friend, Suna Makoto, on the other hand, is extremely popular because of his good looks. One day, Takeo saves a young girl named Rinko Yamato from a man who is harassing her. Yamato thanks him for saving her, and wants to get to know him better!

CLPEEFbUwAIvkpQ

Thoughts: This was so cute! However, it was also frustrating because there were so many misunderstandings. It’s worth watching to the end though. Since it’s a movie, a lot of characters from the anime aren’t introduced. The focus is on Takeo, Suna and Yamato.

This is one of the better live-action anime adaptations. Shojo manga adaptations are generally better than shonen titles because they are realistic and don’t require a huge budget. I think it’s crucial to have a good cast. The cast for this film is great. The actress who plays Yamato is perfect for the role, and Suna is great too. Takeo in the anime is bigger than the actor who plays him, but I think it would be hard to find someone as big as him in real life.

I really enjoyed watching this, and recommend this film if you’re looking for a cute high school romance.

Japanese Drama Recs: Romance Manga Adaptions

1. Switch Girl!!

Synopsis: Nika Tamiya is the most beautiful girl at school. All the boys are in love with her and a lot of girls are envious at how she does everything so perfectly. However, she has a secret… She is a switch girl! When she arrives home, she “switches off” and transforms into her “true” self: a lazy and unfeminine girl. Arata Kamiyama, a geeky guy at school, finds out her secret. Arata is the opposite of her… He appears to be geeky at school but he’s actually super hot!?

The plot of this romantic comedy shojo series is similar to the popular manga, Horimiya. I like Switch Girl!! more though. I liked this drama because the cast is spot on. Many Seventeen models play the characters, including Mariya Nishiuchi, the main lead. Renn Kiriyama who plays Arata is good-looking too.

I watched this back when I was in high school and I was hooked from the beginning. I ended up procrastinating on whatever homework I had, so fair warning.

If you like this, you might like:

  • Horimiya (manga)
  • Hotaru no Hikari (Japanese drama)

2. Good Morning Call

manga-good-morning-call.jpg

Synopsis: Nao Yoshikawa moved into a new place, but she finds that she was scammed because another person is living in the same place as her. The person she has to live with is Hisashi Uehara, one of the most popular guys at school. Uehara is aloof and hard to get along with. Good luck Nao and don’t fall in love.

Good Morning Call is a Netflix Original series, based on the romantic comedy shojo series. I don’t know a single person who did not like this! The “living with the most popular guy at school (or my boss) and he is also cold and distant” trope is done again and again. The ending is predictable, but it’s still enjoyable to watch.

If you like this, you might like:

  • It Started With A Kiss (Taiwanese drama)
  • Playful Kiss (Korean drama)
  • Just You (Taiwanese drama)
  • Hotaru no Hikari (Japanese drama)

3. Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai

Synopsis: Michiko Shibata is a woman in her thirties. She is jobless and just broke up with her money-swindling younger boyfriend. She encounters Ayumu Kurosawa, her former supervisor. Hearing her situation, he gives her a job and a place to stay at his cafe.

You may already be familiar with the actor who plays Ayumu. He is played by Dean Fujioka, the singer who sang History Maker, the opening song of Yuri on Ice. Ayumu is so sweet… Where can I find someone like that?

Personally, high school shows don’t interest me as much anymore. I’m into josei series like this one, because I can relate to their struggles more and we are closer in age.

If you like this, you might like:

  • Hotaru no Hikari (Japanese drama)
  • Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii (anime)
  • Just You (Taiwanese drama)