Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

20Mar/090

Koizora Fan MV

Artists: Kokia
Song: Arigatou
Creator: chibimikki

1Jan/080

Sakuran Fan MV

Artist: Miyuki Nakajima
Song: Rouge
Creator: zettaireality

15Sep/071

Sakuran (2007)

Sakuran

Japanese Title: さくらん
Genre: Period, Drama
Starring: Anna Tsuchiya, Hiroki Narimiya, Yoshino Kimura, Miho Kanno, Masatoshi Nagase, Masanobu Ando
Screenwriter: Yuki Tanada
Director: Mika Ninagawa
MPAA: R

Synopsis:
Based on the manga "Sakuran" by Moyoco Anno.

A young kamuro (maid in a brothel) is sold into the red-light district Yoshiwara, and is put under the care of the current oiran of the Tamakiku-house, Shouhi, who names her Tomeki. The girl is very rebellious and does not cry when punished, is foul-mouthed and bad-mannered, and talks back and even hits the other kamuros. It is because of this that the more experienced people in the household begin to think that she will be one day a great oiran, since to be an oiran one needs not only beauty and talent, but she should also have the tenacity to maintain the position.

After that, we follow Tomeki as she becomes O-Rin, a hikkomi (or prostitute-in training), and later Kiyoha, the most beautiful girl at the Tamakiku-household. Her popularity threatens the position of Tamakiku's oiran Mikumo, which creates great tension and jealousy between the two.

But rivalry is not the main problem to overcome for young Kiyoha, but rather the appearance of young Soujiro and the impossibility of love in the love-quarters.
Source: Wikipedia

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Sakuran is a delightful movie, meant for mature audiences only. Its story similar to "Memoirs of a Geisha" but it is less romantic in a sense. The girls in the movie are no geisha, and to put it bluntly, they are high-class prostitutes of the Red Light District. Not to mention, Kiyoha, as rebellious as she is, holds no desire for the position of oiran in the beginning. The way the story presented is clear as you are hooked into the life of Kiyoha and those around her. It's hard to explain the story without spoiling it. It's one that requires you to watch the story from beginning to end without skipping any parts. The high points of the movie are the visuals. The clothing, setting, everything is beautifully done, and you shouldn't expect less. Fans of Masanobu Ando might enjoy seeing him in this movie, as well. The ending was quite a surprise, but it is a happy one. This is one movie you shouldn't pass up.

27Jun/070

Ooku Fan MV

Artist: Rin'
Song: Sakura Sakura
Creator: zettaireality

26Jun/071

Love and Honor (2006)

Love and Honor

Japanese Title: 武士の一分 (Bushi no Ichibun, A Samurai's Honor)
Genre: Period, Drama, Romance, samurai
Starring: Kimura Takuya, Dan Rei, Bando Mitsugoro, Sasano Takashi, Ogata Ken
Screenwriter: Fujisawa Shuuhei
Director: Yamada Yoji
MPAA: R

Synopsis: Though he is low rank with modest means, young samurai Mimura Shinnojo (Kimura Takuya) has a fairly happy and stable life with his loving wife Kayo (Dan Rei). All this comes crashing down, however, when Shinnojo, as the lord's food taster, eats poisoned shellfish and becomes blind. Distressed by his inability to support the household, he turns violent and resentful, and even considers ending his own life to redeem his name. At the urging of unsympathetic relatives, Kayo seeks the assistance of captain Shimada Toya (Bando Mitsugoro), who uses his influence to help Shinnojo retain his income and rank. As the rumors begin to get louder, Shinnojo becomes increasingly troubled that he may be losing his wife and honor to another man.
Source: YesAsia

Rating: A+ (Masterpiece)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Love and Honor is the third and final installment of Yamada Yoji's samurai trilogy based on the novels written by Fujisawa Shuuhei. However, Love and Honor stands alone from the other two as being the best of the trilogy. In the movie, Mimura struggles for honor in the face of many challenges: his blindness and the rumors about his wife. The movie's portrayal of this was superb. People shouldn't expect fighting scenes just because it involves samurai. After all, it is a drama and it does uphold that genre. I found myself crying in buckets at some parts of the movie, but that doesn't mean this movie is full of melodramatic silliness. The title "Love and Honor" fits the movie well because they are something that Mimura has to fight for in the end. The acting were especially wonderful and everybody were perfect in their role. People who watched the 80s samurai movies will recognize an old face, Ken Ogata. I didn't think there were anything lacking in this movie. It does take patience to watch it, however. I love everything about this movie and it is something that everyone will enjoy.

26Jun/072

Ooku (2006)

Ooku

A.K.A.: Oh-Oku - The Women of the Inner Palace
Japanese Title: 大奥
Genre: Period, Drama, Romance
Starring: Nakama Yukie, Igawa Haruka, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Oikawa Mitsuhiro
Screenwriter: Hayashi Tou
Director: Asano Taeko
MPAA: R

Synopsis: Set in 1713, during the reign of child Shogun, Tokugawa Ietsugu, Ooku addresses the scandals of the inner palace where the Shogun's wife and concubines reign. While men battle on the battlefield and in the courts for power, the women themselves also battle within their own chambers for power as well as love. Lady Gekoin, the previous Shogun's concubine and the current Shogun's mother, supposedly has an illicit affair with court advisor Lord Echizen. Lady Eijima, Lady Gekoin's closest friend, knows of this and keeps it a secret from Lady Gekoin's rival, Lady Teneiin, the late Shogun's widow. Things become more complicated as Lady Teneiin becomes aware of the affair and plans to trap Lady Eijima into confessing to Lady Gekoin's crime by hiring a Kabuki actor to seduce her.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A+ (Masterpiece)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Ooku is a wonderful period movie about love and politics within the doors of the inner palace of the Tokugawa shogunate. Although the viewer is first introduced to the two main parties in the beginning of the movie, Lady Gekoin and Lady Teneiin, the true main character is in fact Lady Eijima played by Nakama Yukie. Nakama Yukie fits perfectly into her role as Lady Eijima, who is not only loyal but doesn't easily fall prey to traps. Throughout this movie, Lady Eijima learns two things that she has never experienced before: love and intimacy. The movie is more about her transformation as she ventures through the palace and outside the palace, although it does provide viewers an insight into the happenings of the inner palace.

I really enjoyed watching every bit of this movie, and I thought that it was simply beautiful. It's one of those movies where we have to pay attention to everything. The pace of the movie can seem slow for most people with a lot of conversations held throughout the movie, but I didn't think so at all. And people will surely appreciate the love that blossoms in this movie, and I'm not referring to the affair between Lady Gekoin and Lord Echizen. Everything was subtle, but I can feel that it was true love. Not to mention, the costumes and the scenery was simply magnificent.

The ending was just right and I didn't feel like anything was missing at all. I really recommend this movie for people to watch. It'll provide you an insight to the minds and hearts of the women in the inner palace during the Tokugawa shogunate. It's a movie of politics, friendship, and love.

24Jun/070

Nightmare Detective (2006)

Nightmare Detective

Japanese Title: 悪夢探偵 (Akumu Tantei)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Supernatural
Starring: Matsuda Ryuhei, Hitomi, Ando Masanobu, Osugi Ken
Screenwriter: Tsukamoto Shinya
Director: Tsukamoto Shinya
MPAA: R

Synopsis: Mysterious deaths burst out on scene in Tokyo with victims brutally injuring themselves till their death. An investigation lead the detectives to an unknown phone number starting with the number '0.' A witness tells the detectives that before one of the victims died, it seemed like he was having a nightmare. Detective Kirishima (hitomi) refused to believe that the deaths were simply suicide and contemplates that a killer who can manipulate people in their dreams is on the loose. While gathering information, Kirishima and her colleague Wakamiya (Ando Masanobu), stumbles upon one about Kagenuma, a man whom can enter people's dream. Now, they must seek out his help and find an end to the nightmare that plagues Tokyo.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Nightmare Detective is a movie that is a refresher on the Japanese horror movie scene. More than just the usual hack-and-slash horror movies, it takes a different approach using the mystery behind dreams as its approach. The movie is not entirely about dreams, however, because it also focuses on the inner depths of human nature. Most of the characters in the movie have an inner-self that they hide from the outside world and watching their inner selves unfold is the most shocking.

The acting done by the cast is superb with Matsuda befitting the role of the nightmare detective, who is everything but happy. The nightmare detective is negative, antisocial, and suicidal to boot, and Matsuda plays his role well. His occasional scowls and negative comments can be rather humorous despite the movie being horror. Hitomi's role as Kirishima is only mediocre; she is neither good nor bad. Viewers probably won't be able to sympathize with her character much. The acting overall done by the actors and actresses is excellent though.

One of the downside of the movie is that some answers are left to be unanswered in the end. However, on further speculation, it seems that the director is planning on creating the sequel as well as a third installment to wrap things up, and hopefully answer all previous questions that are addressed in the first movie.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this movie. Viewers should be forewarned that there are rather gruesome scenes, but it's nothing that might give you 'nightmares.' This is one of the better movies in Japanese horror, and I'm definitely waiting for its sequel set to be released next year.

20May/070

Sway (2006)

Yureru

Japanese Title: ゆれる (Yureru)
Genre: Drama, Family
Screenwriter: Miwa Nishikawa
Director: Miwa Nishikawa
Starring: Odagiri Joe, Kagawa Teruyuki
MPAA: R

Synopsis
When successful Tokyo photographer, Takeru (Odagiri Joe), returns home for his mother's funeral, he faces problems he has been running away from for several years. He comes face to face with his older brother, Minoru (Kagawa Teruyuki), and his childhood friend Chieko. A hiking trip with Minoru and Chieko leads to a fatal result when Chieko falls from a suspension bridge to her death and Minoru is put on trial for murder. This forces Takeru to reconsider his fast-paced life and the slow, traditional life he came from.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Yureru unravels truth about human nature with its rather simple storytelling. Although it circles mainly around a courtroom investigation on a woman's death, it is neither courtroom drama nor murder mystery. Instead, it seeks to find out what lies underneath human skin. An investigation into Minoru's role in Chieko's death provides some insight, but what matters here is not the truth but trust, perception, and how the human can sway so easily from the truth. Characters and relationship are stripped down to their core and what the viewer shockingly see is selfishness, fragility, and resentment.

Odagiri Joe fits perfectly in the role of Takeru as a confused, swaying Tokyo photographer with forgotten memories of his hometown. And Kagawa Teruyuki is great in his role as Takeru's older, Minoru, who simply stays bound in the hometown working for his family's gas station with no aspirations of his own. Their personalities contrast and their relationship is tense beneath after years of very little contact and unspoken words. The two brothers go hiking with Chieko with her ultimately falling to her death and Takeru watching from afar. However, trust begins to sway in the courtroom as Takeru gets mixed feelings of what he thinks he sees and what he truly sees.

Yureru is a great movie about the human trust and perception. Sometimes what we think we see is not what we see in reality. Our memories can be clouded by hate and resentment. It makes you really question human testimony in the courtroom. However, this movie is more about family ties and how one event can cause the family relations to slip and waver. What or who is the one that swayed in the end? The bridge, or the man?

20May/070

Collage of Our Life Fan MV,

Artist: Suara
Song: Seiza
Creator: zettaireality

7May/070

Nobody Knows Fan MV

Artist: Tate Takako
Song: Houseki
Creator: zettaireality

Lyrics Translation
English Title: Jewel

Verse 1:
When I questioned the midnight sky
The stars simply shine
Into the black lake of my molten heart
I can only flow

Verse 2:
Will the angel even give me a backward glance?
Do you want to splash around in my heart?
The waves being shaken by the winds of winter
Eventually, I am invited into the darkness

Chorus:
With eyes as withered as ice
I'm growing up and becoming mature
A jewel pungent with a stench
that lets nobody approach

Final Verse:
The emptiness of my heart in the dark sky
Tonight, the stars simply shine
When the light of spring comes eventually
My breath was sucked

Final Chorus:
With eyes as withered as ice
I'm growing up and becoming mature
A jewel pungent with a stench
that lets nobody approach.