Monthly Archives: July 2013

Movie Review: The Kirishima Thing

Kirishima-screenie

 

Japanese: Kirishima, Bukattsu Yamerutteyo (桐島、部活やめるってよ) – literally, “Kirishima, quit all the clubs”

Starring: Kamiki Ryunosuke, Higashide Masahiro, Ohgo Suzuka

Plot/Summary: In this heartbreaking film, it is a story about high school students being desperate about Kirishima’s disappearance. Here, Kirishima is the well-known team captain of the Libero team in volleyball. What reunited these students is Kirishima’s presence, but physically he’s not even existing. Here, it talks about normal life in high school and school clubs and their dilemmas.

Review: This film is actually a breakthrough and for the record, it is much, much better compared to the Thai movie, “First Love” (known in the Philippines as A Crazy Little Thing Called Love).

The elements of the story would be:

– Interaction between fiction and reality.
– Interaction between indie and mainstream.

There are reasons why I consider this one a better film to watch compared to First Love:

1.) The Kirishima Thing is more realistic as compared to First Love, in some way that there are NO elements that actually glorify superficiality.

2.) Some elements in The Kirishima Thing are actually found in Golden Slumber which are the lenghtening of not-so-important scenes, but these scenes serve as the independent variables that support some interesting series that are dependent variables.

3.) There is no such thing as competition in the good looks department. While The Kirishima Thing shows a lot of good-looking people, at least the story is about behing THE BEST in your craft and at the same time balancing your social life and your club that you’re into.

I did like the scenes wherein Maeda (Kamiki), Hiroki (Higashiede) and Sawashima (Ohgo) were the lead characters. Maeda is a film junkie (a geek), Hiroki is a non-participating baseball club member and Sawashima is an introverted saxophone player.

Here, this Japanese series is known for its style of combining elements coming from indie films plus mainstream entertainment.

Rating: 10/10 – Well, it’s obviously an award-winning breakthrough film.

Movie Review: Golden Slumber

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One word: It’s a REAL masterpiece! It’s like the movies that I see in Screen Red!

Sakai Musings…

Masato Sakai again, never fails to amaze the audience in this thriller-suspense, filled with comedy (oh, what do you expect with this guy? He’s like the Japanese version of Johnny Depp and Binoe!)! One thing that I really like about “Golden Slumber” is how he dealt with the conspiracy that framed him as the “perpetrator” of the Prime Minister’s assassination. It was life between the accused and the accuser–which are the heavy security who will do everything to capture Aoyagi Masaharu (Sakai’s character).

Review (!?)

Well, what? I cannot say that this movie should be a 10/10. The ending is SOOOOOO bitin that Aoyagi ended up being the impostor himself. Therefore, I could either say that the rating ranges from 9.5-10/10 because of the ending. I really did not like the ending at all, and it’s much more disappointing than a typical deus ex machina–only a longer version.

The movie BTW, is derived from “Golden Slumbers,” by the Beatles. Well, not a fan of the song, though. I only liked the scenes where Masato sang in English (at last! HAHA)–and more LHD vehicles on the scene.

Overall, this is recommended to watch if you’re learning more Japanese phrases and also, if you’re into thriller movies. Nothing is really boring with Masato-chan!

Rating: 3.5-4.0

The Making of Legal High: Behind-the-Scenes Special!

One thing that I could say about the entire video: ERMAHGERD it’s awesome! I would err… give a lot of comments regarding this one.

First of all, it seemed that all of the cast have these two things: CAMARADERIE and TEAMWORK, which I think is something that even Filipino artists and celebrities should observe while on the set. Have you ever heard of some issues regarding Yui Aragaki and Masato Sakai being involved with one another like, they’re “ON” as in they’re officially together off-cam? I don’t think so.

I really do have more respect towards Sakai-sama for his professionalism as an actor–there is NO SUCH THING as TAKE TWO when he’s the man–in fact, he does excel in his craft the hard way, and you could see that he’s really a hardworking actor. There are also scenes where he helps and teaches his co-actors on their roles, lines, preparation–you will see his professionalism, which I think the younger generation of Filipino actors should imitate. Masato Sakai should be looked up to and be a ROLE MODEL to these young actors.

This also made me respect Yui Aragaki more–I really think she’s waaaaaaaay better than those other actresses who are just “pa-cute” and OA in the Japanese entertainment industry. She may not be one of the “most excellent” Japanese actresses we know, but acting-wise, she is not as over-acting as other Japanese actresses who do nothing but being pa-cute. She has been improving after watching Hanamizuki, when she shifted from being a high school student towards being a career woman. However, I don’t think she’s still ready to become a serious career woman–actually, her co-stars, Ryoka Suzuki, Eiko Koike and Ryoko Hirosue (SP) could actually pull off the “professional look.” I could not even imagine Sandara Park pulling off the “professional look” as well, and same other East Asian actresses, well of course, exceptions would be Zhang Ziyi, Shu Qi, Cecilia Cheung and other East Asian actresses who serve as the “mediator” between pa-tweetums, pa-cute versus the “matured” look.

Their CAMARADERIE and TEAMWORK is of course, unquestionable. Legal High wouldn’t be as impressive as what we think of it if there are such issues na “nagkatampuhan” si ganito-ganyan, and “pakapalan ng mukha” is only manifested when shooting a scene. For instance, Sakai-sama really showcased his prowess on Episode 9–patuloy-tuloy niyang ipinahayag ang kanyang mga linya’t hindi maitatanggi na padalos-dalos lang, walang interruptions. If some of you people think that Sakai’s acting is over-acting, then fuck you! The reason why he IS a good actor and WON many awards is because of his dedication, passion and err… love for his craft. Remember that he was theater-trained in Waseda, while majoring in Chinese literature, and his love for reading is actually one of the strong points when he memorizes his lines–for him I guess, it’s not a matter of memorizing lines. It’s about putting emotions and placing yourself as the character–which some of the “lamest” and “lousiest” actors failed to do.

Side Note: No wonder, Ina, Kapatid, Anak is plagued with surrounding controversies with the Kim-Maja hulabaloo–check out PEP for those details. I don’t think maganda talaga ang denouement ng teleserye is mainly because of the off-screen conflict. This also applies to Dahil Sa Pag-Ibig. Bakit madaling natapos ang teleseryeng, starring Piolo Pascual, Rafael Rossell and Jericho Rosales; Cristine Reyes, Denise Laurel at saka ni Maricar Reyes? Tapos ‘yung mga ibang BIGATING artista pa ‘yan, ah? Well, simple: Cristine Reyes is simply a NUISANCE! In Legal High, NONE of the actors there are prone to controversies, as opposed to most Filipino actors who are pa-controversial (which are often rejected by GMA and welcomed by ABS-CBN through casting couch). Whatever issues they had, at least they are still keen on their privacy and only give a few details about their personal life, as opposed to Filipino actors, isang isyu pa lang, pagpi-piyestahan na ‘yan. Also, don’t get me started when I bash pa-controversial celebrities–telling me that “tao” rin sila. Well, I find veteran actors more human than those actors who are pa-controversial–most of them are beyond superficial!

I also liked the scene where the entire cast and crew celebrated Gakky’s birthday. It’s like work and at the same time, bonding. There are NO moments where you’ll see them having conflicts with one another, and whatnot; plus, what I really liked about this one is that, there’s no such thing as superiority complex among them. In other words, PATAS lang. Even Masato-chan treated his co-stars as good friends, so the series turned out to be a masterpiece, rather than a nuisance.

When looking at the actors, the cast and crew, they’re really PROFESSIONAL in their fields. Ha! I think AA should learn from these actors if she wants to be a well-respected actress in Japan. Whatever controversy AA does, it equates losing face in Japan, and it would be much worse if she’s in Korea (ask Roxyisferox, since I’m not a fan of Korean entertainment). Also, what I liked about these actors is that, they laugh at their scenes, meaning to say that they don’t think that their final scene is perfect. Masato-chan was simply, bleh(!) when he saw his scene–it means that he’s used to watching himself all over and over again.

This is one thing that I really like about the Japanese entertainment industry–when non-JE actors are involved right here. Most of them would actually improve their craft by being cooperative towards their co-actors, and there is NO SUCH THING as crab mentality. Work habits through the Japanese way shows that they learn how to make things effective–in a way that the series will be SUCCESSFUL.

Overall Take

I don’t expect the series to be 100% perfection–I only expect the best in the series, and there’s no certain formula to create a successful and a watch-able TV series, which the Filipino entertainment industry must learn a thing or two.

Late Post: Atlantis Production’s Piaf


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I could not recall about what happened in the storyline of Piaf, but I think this was the only play I’ve watched that is not even school-related.

Actually, I was not interested to watch any play, but because one of my close friends introduced me to someone hmmm… (I don’t wanna elaborate further), well, I just said “yes” when he asked me if I’m interested in watching a play. When we went to the venue itself, nako, RCBC plaza has nothing really very special to offer except the facade of the building itself–and the auditorium is small, just like the audi that I went where I watched “King Lear” in the Filipino version. Well, I should have not worn a gown or a formal dress since my companion is super filthy rich (and tbh, he’s quite choosy and too particular with clothes–he has the traits of Komikado Kensuke, but less exaggerated).

The Whole Play

I didn’t expect that the play is about the personal life of Edith Piaf, and actually, the lights, the stage props, the costume, it shows the ambience of the mid- to late-19th century up to the early phase of the 20th century in France. The actors are really very professional, especially the likes of Pinky Amador and G Toengi. While I really liked the play in some aspects, I am not really much into Western-influenced form of entertainment, or any English-speaking play with this defined accent that we hear (in fact, I believe I’m more like a mediator between “sosyal” and “maka-masa” stuff). If you were to ask me, “Haring Lear” was more relatable and the actors are friendlier to the audience after the play (only a handful of the Piaf cast actually bothered to interact with the audience after the play). However, in Piaf, you’ll learn a lot of new stuff about history, and including the Nazi regime isn’t new to me after all. In fact, Piaf lived a very tragic life, and it really manifested that she’s more human, alongside the actors during the classical film age (to name a few, Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Brigitte Bardot, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor).

Pinky Amador did a very great job portraying Piaf. As much as I do admire her as a thespian, I really hated her in her role as Mei Mei in “Mangarap Ka,” starring Piolo Pascual. In contrast to Chin-Chin Gutierrez, she knows how to adjust herself from stage to onscreen drama. When her (Pinky) acting is for the stage, it’s for the stage, and when she’s onscreen, her acting suits right for the screen.

In the play, I also didn’t expect that I would encounter G Toengi in person, and yes, she’s also a stage performer. However, just like Chin-Chin, her acting isn’t really apt onscreen (check out her role as Stella in “Aryana”). I think she failed to adjust again when she came back from the US (she tried her luck to be in Hollywood). I thought she was snob at first since she went straight home from the play and did not interact with Pinky and the rest of the team, but when I tweeted to her on Twitter, she proved me wrong. She replied and told me to spread the word. I’d say that she’s really a great person inside and out, but since I am not very familiar with her personal life, I won’t turn on my Perez Hilton mode against her. Haha.

This play is something remarkable, which makes Pinky Amador a true-blooded and a legit thespian. No wonder, she has been well-respected in the showbiz industry as a pro and as a veteran as well.

Rating (4.0 as the highest, 1.0 as the lowest): 3.0-3.5

On the Spotlight: Masato Sakai

I have to admit, after watching Legal High, I’d say that he’s drool-worthy! ;p

According to wellesley.edu/Faces of the Shinsengumi:

Born on October 14, 1973 in Miyazaki Prefecture, Sakai Masato first started appearing in films and drama series in 1999. In comparison to other actors, he began his career rather late, but he has demonstrated his talents time and time again.

One of his biggest roles was in the Shinsengumi film When the Last Sword is Drawn as Okita Souji. His training in preparation for this role would soon come in handy for the following year he appeared as Yamanami Keisuke in the Shinsengumi NHK Taiga Drama series. Although a strong actor, his preference appears to be supporting actors, for which he has received awards several times.

And… for the nth time, he’s a CHARMER.

I found some information that he used to be part of the Acting Club in high school and he even majored in Chinese literature in Waseda Daigaku… meaning to say that his Chinese is not bad, although heavily accented. Also, his English is fairly fine, although not as excellent like Kouhei’s.

What else? I have also read that he did not finish college to pursue acting. So far, he debuted in 1995 (Source: D-Addicts Wiki), but he’s better known in the movies–he could actually be very serious, then very funny, and imagine that he has showcased his English in “Sukiyaki Western Django” as Shigemori, although he has a few lines there.


Yahoo! Japan Images|Sakai-sama as Shigemori

Check out his background/profile here.

Actually, he’s the most underrated actor out there, aside from Kei Tanaka. I really don’t get it why the hell does he not get more popular projects compared to good-looking Japanese guys who are merely just members of boybands. Like, come on, people like him deserves MORE and MOAR exposure! Sadly, since he’s underrated, little is known about his personal life, we only know that he’s finally married to Miho Kanno, but during that time, I was yet to watch Legal High.

In other words, since he was part of the Acting Club and studied in Waseda, it makes him earn more POGI POINTS since what he learned is actually applied once he acts like err… wait, I really do not have any idea whether he has memorable roles, but so far, he won a lot of awards (not to mention he even hosted an awarding ceremony), and not to mention he didn’t actually reveal much of his personal life since the Japanese people value their privacy very much to the point that they won’t flash anything behind close doors, and I think Masato-niichan is excellent in doing things that won’t ever tarnish his stardom.

In fact, he should be in the “racial” trio, together with Chris Tucker (USA) and Rowan Atkinson (UK).

Kanara Ty said:

I strongly believe that Masato Sakai is one of Japan’s under-appreciated actors. Usually known for playing serious roles, Sakai takes on a refreshing comedic role as Kensuke Komikado, a sleazy and conniving lawyer who’s never lost a case. While the show had a strong supporting cast, it was Sakai that carried the drama (as he usually does), case after case.

Wow ah, she knows what “nagdala” really is, and I really appreciate her for that! 😀 I didn’t realize that Sakai-sama is a serious actor in reality, but I’d say that he could actually be at-par with Johnny Depp and Robert Downey, Jr. when it comes to serious roles–they mix it up with comical acts, whether it is intentional or not.

I really do not know how Masato retains that sarcastic expression if he acts too nice or too serious. I’d say that despite being under-rated, I call him a veteran actor under the age of 50. Even though his role as Komikado-sensei is exaggerated, he isn’t over-acting compared to other Japanese actors who exaggerate with going overboard, thus adding blandness towards the series. If he’s not very handsome according to Japanese standards, I consider him as H-A-N-D-S-O-M-E. Yeah, he may look like Osamu Mukai and Kei Tanaka, but among these O-type cuties, he’s the best-looking amongst them. He is the most charming and there are no dull moments when he’s in the series.

One forum in AsianFanatics.net said:

Sakai is the antithesis of mannered acting. You never quite know what this exciting, constantly smiling actor will do next, but you can always see him thinking.

Now this is the reason behind his sarcastic facial expression despite looking very serious or very emotional. This so-called “anti-thesis” of mannered acting usually applies to these actors I’ve mentioned who has a comparable acting trademark like Sakai-sama. This also makes me think that “reading between the lines” has also been applied in his role as well.

hippokathy88 said:

i dont know about the others but Masato Sakai & Tae Kimura are definitely very under-rated! theyre wonderful artists!!! and to be honest i dont think Yoshitaka Yuriko can act that well, but then again ive only seen her in Tokyo DOGS.

Totes agree, although I haven’t seen Tae Kimura yet or her movies, but I partially agree that Yuriko Yoshitaka isn’t that great in acting (I’ve seen her Cannonball Wedlock, she’s too over-acting), which makes me prefer Yui Aragaki more (Yui has improved a lot and I think she acts better) and Yukie Nakama. I also consider Chiaki Kuriyama underrated as well, even though she starred as the deadly Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill, and one of the students in Battle Royale.

I didn’t expect that he started his career late as an actor, but that’s okay, since the younger actors (particularly child actors) ended up doing drugs and some of them didn’t actually improve their craft that much. I really didn’t know why such good-looking actors in Japan have weaker acting prowess compared to the ones who are not even that good-looking in their standards. There are yes, good-looking actors in Japan, but the charm and X-factor isn’t shining on them, is it? Haha. To add, even though he prefers being a supporting actor, the audience would choose to stare at him more than the actual lead. There’s one video in youku wherein even though as a lead actor, he’s really willing to help another co-actor do the correct thing. He even taught Yui Aragaki how to display this paper written with Kanji characters on it. This makes Yui and Masato both teamplayers in Legal High, that’s why the series is more appealing to me compared to my very first J-Dorama, Misaki Number One!! (I honestly think that even though the story flow’s at its perfection, Karina’s exaggerated acting is labelled as over-acting, and it’s quite comparable to Masato’s effortless comic acts.

See more photos of Masato Sakai (screenshots from Legal High):

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If I were to watch again Legal High Season 2, I hope Sakai-sama would be given more projects, and I’d like to see him in an English-language film (Hollywood please!) or roles where he will speak English (not contented with his English lines in Legal High and in Sukiyaki Western Django).

Lastly, every skin tone suits him, whether he’s tanned or he’s fair–and although in some scenes he looks like PSY, he’s way better-looking and has a certain charisma that cannot be explained! HAHA!

Insights on Feuerbach’s atheistic philosophy


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I believe that these statements and arguments that Feuerbach explained in his atheistic philosophy is that, he caters people who do not believe that there is a God, though there are many religions that are actually atheistic just before Feuerbach entered the scene. Feuerbach’s atheistic philosophy is a mere attack towards Christianity because of the latter’s “authoritarian nature.” From someone who comes from a prayerful family, there are some points where I do agree with Feuerbach–that man lowers his attributes in order to worship God as a supreme being. This made me come up with an impression that “God” becomes authoritarian through the Bible, the Church and the Vatican–which has been distorting the theistic beliefs of Christians for so long. In fact, there is actually no such thing as an “authoritarian” deity, but this “deity” is more of a guide and a problem-solver, contrary to how extremely-religious people think about God. Another thing, I agree with Feuerbach to some extent that “theism is a disguised form of atheism.” This statement applies to people who will use the name of God as a form of power-tripping (otherwise known as an “authoritarian”) form of superiority complex. Overall, religion is man-made. It actually dates back during the time before the common era (BCE)–it is man who established religion as a group of people through society. It means that it is a society that dictates on what people should do, and if you do things that are usually out of the norm, you are labelled as a social outcast. It is society that acts as an “authoritarian god” that dictates one’s life according to social norms.

J-Dorama Review: Legal High

I don’t think this would be the best J-Drama for me so far, but I guess this is a must-watch.

Overview

The whole series is waaaaay different from what I usually watch on television. This is a comedy series that contains the following stars: Yui Aragaki (Machiko Mayuzumi), Masato Sakai (Kensuke Komikado), Kotaro Satomi (Hattori) and last but not least, the iconic legend Katsuhisa Namase who portays Miki Choichiro, Komikado-sensei’s worst opponent.

Kensuke is actually a very arrogant and sarcastic rich lawyer who has never lost a lawsuit. But deep down inside, he also has a serious side despite his intolerable antics towards Machiko. Meanwhile, Machiko is somewhat quite reserved and is more righteous and emotional, in contrast to Kensuke’s attitude.

Review/Comments

This is for me, Yui Aragaki’s comedy role as a lawyer. I really cannot imagine her being too funny in some sort, since her personality reflects on the ideal Japanese woman: the Yamato Nadeshiko (you’ll see all the shows she was featured in).

However, I’d like to say this one: Gakky doesn’t seem to fit the role of a lawyer at all. It was actually Masato Sakai who nailed the whole series ever–in Tagalog, siya ang nagdala.

In other words, Sakai’s acting is more neutral despite exaggerating the role of Komikado Kensuke, unlike most actors who exaggerate their roles in an over-acting manner. Sakai is a charmer; he could actually be a better actor compared to other Japanese actors who just err… bring their talent through their good looks (haha, I will still finish the other doramas that I have uploaded). Gakky, on the other hand, seemed to be more like the roles of Frodo and Harry Potter (portrayed by Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe, respectively)–in other words, the main protagonists’ role is actually more weak, and has the traits of a sidekick more than the protagonist. After all, this makes Sakai’s role a “backup solution.”

Recommendation/Rating

Also, this is one way to learn new words in Japanese, and this is a recommended drama for those who are taking ISJ-LMG in DLSU, and to those Japanophiles who are learning Nihongo.

The subtitles should actually be slower for like, half a second, especially with Komikado-sensei’s lines! The challenge of subbing someone’s fast speech is quite difficult. Yeah, challenging but at least if you’re not going to watch it on TV, it would be good.

Rating (highest is 4.0, lowest is 1.0): 3.0-3.5

Animo, DLSU Green Archers! You finally nailed it!


Credits to Ken Koo, The LaSallian and FB for this photo!

Congratulations, my dear school’s team! You finally made it! Hooray!

Tomorrow there’s FREE mochiko! Thank goodness, kung kailan lang ang last term ko sa La Salle, they will win… but it’s a good thing that my dear fave AVO had his first VICTORY! WOO-HOO!

Again, An1mo LA SALLE!

The Golden Rules in Life

1.) Meekness (particularly meek-mindedness) is next to stupidity.

Meek-mindedness is a hindrance to one’s self-development, I must say. Meekness cannot actually raise their middle fingers against a know-it-all friendly society. People who are meek-minded do not ask permission from the younger people, and they often choose their life partners to be the much more unapproachable–for meek-minded women, they choose guys who often abuse the family-oriented system. For meek-minded guys, however, they choose gals who often have an attitude problem and speaks in an irritating manner. That is why I won’t ever accommodate or entertain suitors who are meek-minded. To be honest, a meek-minded person cannot actually get into an argument with a know-it-all. In short, all they say is “yes” because they cannot have the guts to raise their middle fingers towards a know-it-all person.

Meek-minded people allow themselves to be submissive towards know-it-alls, but MCD’s are actually backfighting them. If know-it-all walking contradictions would therefore treat meek-minded people as “under” them, then they could actually contribute towards slavery.

2.) Egalitarianism is hierarchy’s worst enemy.

Hierarchy is a bitch. Whether everyone likes it, OR LIKES IT, egalitarianism becomes hostile towards a know-it-all friendly society. In other words, egalitarianism embraces communism. This is where parents should have a fair share of asking permission from their children. If children (or let’s say teens) should ask for permission from their parents most of the time, then why can’t parents do the same? Parents who also ask permission from their children as the latter often does to the former is a sign of embracing egalitarianism. Hierarchy, on the other hand, is often in black-and-white and is often one-sided. There is no such thing as flexibility and it often reflects on what the caste system is. The class system is actually more flexible. If egalitarianism is hierarchy’s worst enemy, it is also an opposing response towards Confucianism. It is also the enemy of societies that think in black-and-white, therefore, if egalitarianism is imposed in a black-and-white society, then it will oppress that said society itself. Hierarchy allows meddling of minors, while egalitarianism doesn’t. As a matter of fact, an egalitarian society therefore must be a know-it-all oppressive society. Egalitarianism should also therefore become intolerant towards sexism (eradicate the habit of spoiling men in their society).

Meek-minded people in an egalitarian society must therefore learn to stand up and straighten up their beliefs, and abandon their faux traditional minds. Actually, what makes them meek is their background–if they do something without thinking, they must be exposed more in an egalitarian society wherein know-it-all people are often oppressed and unwelcomed; and when meek-minded people start to get rid of these know-it-all people, then they must therefore be enlightened.

3.) A know-it-all friendly society will never be progressive unless they abandon their backward-ish beliefs.

If a know-it-all society is therefore hostile towards introverts, they actually welcome those who have superiority complex. Arrogance and air-headedness is therefore welcomed and admired, and at the same time when one does not conform to the social norm, he or she is therefore discriminated. As a matter of fact, people with a know-it-all mentality contribute to what is called as the “Law of Detraction,” which is often (falsely) associated with crab mentality (crab mentality is originally “to help” people). Detracting people just to get that “thing” or “position” is a know-it-all mentality. If a society is hostile towards know-it-all people, then it is more progressive than a know-it-all friendly society.

Watch out for my next article, “The know-it-all culture of the Philippines.”