Ouroboros (Japanese Drama 2015)

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Drama Rating: 9/10

Ryuzaki Ikuo and Danno Tatsuya are orphans who grew up in an orphanage called Mahoroba no Ie. When they were elementary school students, an orphanage staff, who took care of them like an older sister, was killed by someone before their very eyes. The two of them gave statements to the police, but their words were squashed by a police official with a gold watch and the case was also covered up for some reason. 15 years later, Ikuo has become a detective. Skilled at catching whiff of cases, he has the highest rate of arrests in his police precinct. On the other hand, Tatsuya has risen to the top of the underworld as a leading member of an organised crime group. A police and a gangster with only each other to trust. The objectives of these two people, who should never have any association, are to locate the gold watch man within the police, find out the truth and expose the darkness of this all powerful organization.

Based on the manga series “Ouroboros” by Kanzaki Yuuya.

Excerpted from: My Dramalist

Ouroboros may sound like a simple story about 2 boys who met in the orphanage and set Ouroboros - 02.mp4_002343641off to get revenge when their foster mother was killed right in front of them, however don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the summary because there’s more that this drama could offer. It has a dark humor hovering around the dialogues, violence, secrets within a secret and the never ending conspiracies from one another. It’s a twisty piece of work that would keep you on your toes, even though at times it is easy to guess who the culprit is, it still does not deter the mysterious death of some characters due to an underlying circumstances in every episode.

I knew what I was getting myself into when I started this drama and yet I still watched it until the very end. Though there were a lot of things in this series which I didn’t like, there were MORE things which I found likable that it made up for the lack luster of what I was expecting. Another thing about the story line is the ending, it was great that the writers were not afraid to go into that kind of direction for the final episode. It made me smile and cry at the same time.

The bonus point for me in this drama is the fact that Ikuta Toma and Oguri Shun are my Japanese Actor biases. Then add up Ueno Juri into the tandem, that makes it a perfect cast for me. They are a bunch of veterans and I felt the vibe of the whole drama along with the cast’s chemistry. It was really something that these actors can pull off. One minute they are being all funny, then the next they’re mad and then all of the sudden they’re crying. It’s like watching a whirl wind of emotions set to trap me in all those feels.

There were times though when they are set up in a ridiculous situation and have to give an over the top acting style (which is sometimes annoying) but they eventually redeem themselves with the dialogues and the funny inserts. But mostly, this drama is full of seriousness and has a heavy feel. It shows that every action has consequences andOuroboros - 01.mp4_000002002 choices made whether it’s right or wrong has its own ramifications. In the end Karma wins everything. I love how they explained what Ouroborus meant, it is actually an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The name originates from within Greek language; (oura) meaning “tail” and (boros) meaning “eating”, thus “he who eats the tail” (excerpted from Crystalinks), in the drama they explained that it also meant life and death, the cycle of humans who lived then died and lived again.

Music wise, this OST really caught my attention. Hearing the sound track felt really familiar, it was as if I heard them before on several dramas. When I researched, Arashi’s name came out. That’ when I realized the music score felt like listening to Maou’s OST which was also sang by Arashi. It was a really good music score which was attractive enough to fit the drama’s tone.

Another thing that made this enjoyable was the political battles inside the police government and each department. It’s fun seeing who’s side would win and who along the way would be affected. Usually though due to these political strife the innocent becomes not so innocent due to grudges held. I want to say more but I’m holding myself off since I don’t want to give spoiler alerts to anyone.

Last note: this drama has a minimal or almost nonexistent romance along the story line so I would suggest for people to check out this drama if they are in the mood for the things I have mentioned above except for the romance part.

Some of the photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.
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The Fallen Angel (Japanese Movie 2010)

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Movie Rating: 8/10

~Synopsis~

“No Longer Human” tells the story of a young man who has felt since childhood utterly alien from others around him. Since that time he has learned to put on a face to hide his alienation. He feels incapable of belonging to the human society, especially so by society’s refusal to take him seriously. He then follows a descent into alcohol, drugs, & suicide …

Yozo Oba (Toma Ikuta) was born into a wealthy family in Tsugaru. As a child he practiced smiling to hide his true feelings and to get along with others. His classmate Dakeichi found out about Yozo’s eccentric behavior and told others about him. But Dakeichi also told Yozo a strange prediction about his life … that he will become popular with the ladies and draw beautiful pictures.

During Yozo’s high school years he moved to Tokyo. In Tokyo he meets Horiki (Yusuke Iseya), a guy six years older than him. Horiki is known for being a player and one day drags Yozo to the Blue Flower Bar run by Madame Ritsuko (Michiyo Ookusu). At the bar there is poet Chuya Nakahara (Go Morita) who proclaims “war is brown like the color of shit”. Yozo doesn’t say anything as he takes in the environment.

Yozo starts to drink more often and starts to live the fast life like Horiki. Like Dakeichi’s prediction, Yozo also becomes popular with the ladies and always has a woman next to him. But, Yozo starts to become sick of this lifestyle.

At a cafe, Yozo meets Hisako (Shinobu Terajima) a women who lets him drink without paying. Yozo senses that Hisako feels a heavy sense of loneliness like himself. One day Yozo and Hisako attempts to kill themselves out in the Sea of Kamakura. Hisako dies, but Yozo survives. His family then takes Yozo to a sanitarium.

Excerpted from: AsianMediaWiki

I have initially put this movie on hold, since I wasn’t really ready to handle a depressing film as per the initial summary I’ve read at Avistaz but I’m glad I finally got to watch it. The movie is mostly slow and has a really complex story line. Despite that, the portrayal of the actors was top of the line, it felt realistic and they have nailed each character with so much fervor it could actually affect the way you think of the movie.

Upon watching, I feel like the main character Yozo Oba has lived such a bleak existence. He had no sense of purpose and I felt bad for him as he trudged on with his life not knowing where to go, what exactly he wants to achieve or simply not knowing how to live in happiness. Near the end of the film though, there was a glimpse of a little fulfillment and joy in his desolate life, but it didn’t actually last long. Things simply happen and life was being a bitch to him.

Music wise, it was melancholic and enough to make the film into what its tone should be but it’s not something that has wowed me enough to remember it. I’m having second thoughts on re-watching it, probably I will in the far future if I wanted to re-analyze my own life if it has indeed become as depressing as Yozo Oba.

Overall, I would suggest that if someone would decide to check this movie out simply because Ikuta Toma is their bias, think again. It’s not romantic, it’s also devoid of anything funny because this film can sap the happiness out of you like it did for me and lastly it has a heavy atmosphere all throughout its run time. That said, I’m still recommending it because it happened in real life, it is a beautiful memoir and it has fantastic actors to back it up.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.

Osozaki no Himawari (Japanese Drama 2012)

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Drama Rating: 9.5/10

Jotaro is a young man who finds himself at loss after losing his job and breaking up with his girl friend. In a desperate move to make something out of his life and find employment, he decided to move from Tokyo City to a small province in Kochi to join the “Revitalization Group” of the Shimanto River. In this place, he meets several people who becomes his friends and shares the same sentiments that he has in life.

What makes Osozaki no Himawari such a special drama is how it portrayed all these types of characters and slowly peeled off their facade to show the kind of person they really are… in a good way.

The story line is very simple, a guy named Jotaro came to a province as a temp worker and in this process he gets to learn and find more about himself then touch the lives of the people around him. The people he meets along the way has their own quirks, but upon watching the episode further, these people show some similarities specially in the way they thought about each other, which made it more interesting. One person envied the other for having what they don’t have but at the same time, that same person is thinking of the exact same thing of the other.

The characters in this drama were portrayed so well that it left me deep impressions on each actor. I am already a fan of Ikuta Toma so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see him back into a bubbly character such as Jotaro. Kiritani Kenta, I’ve seen this guy in the movie Solanin and Beck, he definitely has that gangster look and he can easily play that kind of character, but his character in this drama, Junichi – I would have to say that he definitely tried hard to portray a guy who can be really gentle and vulnerable despite his looks and he pulled it off brilliantly. Maki Yoko as Nikaido is one of the characters that really stuck in my head, not only is she pretty but her voice… it resonates in my ears and I love hearing her talk. I feel that she’s really a good actress despite the fact that this is the first drama I’ve seen her in. Her chemistry with Toma was great and I really love the scenes in which they start their phone conversation like this even though they already know who’s at the other end of the line:

Jotaro: Ore, ore. (It’s me, me.)

Kahori: Ore, ore Tada re? (Who’s me, me?)

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I also like the message the drama is sending its viewers, there is no contentment until you’ve experienced something without regrets. Finding ones contentment and happiness depends on the individual, people all get to the point when they’ve lived their lives the same way for so long, think about the past and the choices they made then eventually regret those choices and resent the current situation they are in. Another thing that makes this drama more meaningful for me is that the age of the characters are basically the same as mine, so I could relate so well to it.

The OST was well incorporated to the drama while the opening song was really catchy and very much enjoyable to watch specially when the main characters lip sync along with the song. Because of that, I don’t get tired of listening and watching the intro of this drama. I will also surely re-watch this drama as it has been marked as something dear to my heart.

Recommending it to those who are into a dramas that depicts life and reality, those who are at a cross road and for those who just want to watch something good, light and meaningful.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.