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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Crows Zero 2 (Japanese Movie 2009)

Synopsis:

Several months after “Crows: Episode 0” trouble brews again when thugs known as “The Army of Killers” from rival high school Hosen Academy threaten Suzuran High aka the School of Crows. The ruthless Hosen gang go after Suzuran alumni Sho Kawanishi after his release from the reformatory for killing a Hosen member two years back. Kawanishi turns to his younger Suzuran gang members for protection. The Housen gang then seeks outright revenge on the entire Suzuran school, while fighting at Suzuran High makes them even more susceptible to the Housen threat.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

Words from Me:

The second installment was not as dramatic and action packed as the first but it definitely had substance. What got my attention during the whole movie was how the characters paved the way to make a real man out of a man. Does anyone get my drift? So who was the best example in the film to show how a real man should act? It was Genji’s father.

Darn! I so love the old man. He seems like the regular kind of yakuza-boss-gangster who only knows how to fight and spill blood, but he definitely says the right thing at the right moment.

Setting the father figure aside, rival gangs are always not my cup of tea when watching violent movies but CROW ZERO II worked on me for some reason. Of course there were still a lot of comparison from the first movie due to many differences, yet watching it still felt good. Even though it may not the best it was still worth my time.

Oguri Shun’s character as Genji-san shall never be forgotten and simply holds a special place in my heart. I’m partly thankful that most of the sub characters made him seem extraordinary. They truly were great in supporting the main character.

The soundtrack was perfect even for the fighting scenes. I love how they have incorporated the music in crucial moments. That’s one thing that I love with Japanese films, they use rock music that really pumps up the adrenaline of anyone who listens to it regardless if the lyrics are understood or not.

I’m recommending this movie even though it’s not as good as the first one, it’s still a pretty neat watch and a great reminder of how cool Genji’s character is.

 

Ao to Shiro de Mizuiro (Japanese Movie 2001)

Synopsis: 

Uchiyama Kaede (Miyazaki Aoi) and Shiina Kasumi (Aoi Yuu) used to be best friends. Now in high school, Kasumi grew more popular than Kaede, which has led her to continually bully her ex-best friend. One day after school, Kaede meets Kishida Takumi (Oguri Shun), a bike thief who’s especially talented in picking locks. She asks him for a favour: if he could possibly open the key to the school roof. Meanwhile, the arrival of a new teacher (Konishi Manami) seems to bring changes to the school.

Excerpted from: Drama Wiki

Words from Me:

The film was short, simple and has a lot in it. Although I didn’t understand 75% of what they’re talking about, I was able to get the gist of the whole movie. What I love about it is that it doesn’t need much words for me to understand what was really happening on screen. Still, I would really love to see this with subs! It was a good watch especially for teenagers who are having troubles in school and bullying.

The film shows two unlikely characters meeting and helping each other in the most critical circumstances. The storyline is quite heavy as the theme is about bullying and suicide. In a place where a person feels isolated and hurt, despair usually creeps in and when that happens, the mind can make a person think irrationally. The ending was pretty much special for me and I personally think it was directed well. The last scene kind of gives you a glimpse of a drastic change due to a decision that was made.

Since this is a fairly old movie, the main characters Miyazaki Aoi, Oguri Shun and Aoi Yu wer still young and looked like they were still in their teens. Even though they were young, that doesn’t mean they did not portray their characters well, because they were good that dialogues weren’t that much important.

That’s all I could say about this movie because if I talk some more about it, I’ll just probably blurt out some spoilers, so I’d rather have people checking it out instead.