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Sayonara, 2011 (I hate you)!

I want to be a Akihabara maid. I wish the Mayans would stop scaring us all.

Since it’s the end of the year I guess I’ll share a little on my thoughts about this year with everyone. And don’t worry, it doesn’t concern my everyday life dramas -I’ll spare you on that for now- but rather on what anime, dramas, music, and video games have brought us. Before heading on to the main subjects, let’s look back now on what happened on May.

This might be a bit awkward to talk about it, but it is rather inevitable since this was a big disaster that shook the entire world this year. I remember hearing about it at school in the morning: everyone was talking about it and were sincerely worried about the sort of the victims. But it was only after school that I had the chance to see what really happened with my own eyes – buildings that have crumbled to the ground because of the earthquake, a giant flood that covered everything in sight except for the roofs of houses, men and women crying for the lost of their friends and family…

What was even harder for me at that moment was that I had no idea if my Japanese family members were safe (Fortunately, they’re from Tokyo where nothing happened). The news didn’t help – once we heard about the nuclear crisis in Japan, journalists kept exaggerating the situation and continued worrying those concerned around the world that couldn’t do anything to help. May 2011 was beyond doubt a tough period for Japan until help arrived.

Today, the situation has of course gotten better, but the bitterness is still present. One of my wishes for next year is that the concerned Japanese will rapidly get back on their feet.

After getting that off my chest, let’s move on to something more joyful, shall we?

  • Anime

This year’s anime was rather good this year, wasn’t it? Like always, there were a few disappointments (I’m looking at you, Aoi no Exorcist and [C]) we couldn’t avoid, but everything turned out well. What really marked me concerning anime were the summer and fall seasons since it was the first time I was able to comment, share and add my two cenz on the anime that were currently viewed by a big number of anime-bloggers — you could say I felt a bit at home because I got to join in on the fun with other bloggers.

  • Dramas

While I have commented, impatiently waited, and criticized a lot of J-dramas this year (I am terribly sorry to the people I know on J-drama community sites), I have practically watched nothing that came out in 2011. I have viewed the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club after mercilessly criticizing the choice of cast, forgot to watch the episodes, did the same thing for Arakawa Under The Bridge (regardless of the presence of my Shun Oguri in the cast), and didn’t dare watch the remake of Hanakimi because I was still pissed that there was even a remake.

Now that I think about it, the J-dramas I just mentioned above are all adaptations of manga. Dear me :3

  • Music

After anime, music really had an important place in my list this year. I looked forward to alot of great J-rock groups such as school food punishment and ONE OK ROCK, but their albums this year were unfortunately easy to forget and didn’t ‘wow’ me. Not their singles, of course! I have nothing to say about their singles this year.

In order to widen my repertoire in Asian music, I tried a little K-pop (for the fifth time) since the Hallyuu wave was impossible to miss. I’m happy to say that after a few failed tries of getting into it in the past, I’m now a new fan. IU, MBLAQ, GD and TOP, Super Junior and Girls’ Generation (not too sure) are now artists I listen to on my iPod. I still have yet to understand them in Korean though. Concerning other Japanese artists (I won’t mention all of them :P), I’m rather sad SAWA and Kanon Wakeshima didn’t release anything this year. And as for moumoon, I couldn’t get into their new material this year.

  • Video Games

They could have made a better job with the graphics on Zelda. But then the story was good enough to make me forget.

I was personally very pleased with all the fantastic games that came out this year: Yakuza 4, Final Fantasy, Pokémon and the list goes on and on, however Skyward Sword was the big surprise for me at the end of the year. I shamefully admit that it is the first Zelda game I have ever played…Ever since I can remember, I already knew who Zelda and Link were and how they looked like, but I never had the curiosity to buy the game until an old friend of mine (and living Zelda encyclopedia) kept indirectly pressuring me about it. In the end, I spent a large amount of money just for the collector’s version and I have no regrets. Besides, playing the legendary bishonen Link and swinging a sword around isn’t something so unpleasant~!

Hm, I managed to ramble about my life somehow. I should really do something about that problem before it’s too late. Oh well.

Hope you don’t end up like them tonight. Happy New Year!

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Stand Up !!


Episodes: 11

Theme song: Kotoba Yori Taisetsu na Mono by Arashi

Viewership Rating: 10.2

Genre: Human drama, romance

Broadcast period: July 4th to September 12th 2003.

Main Actors:

Ninomiya Kazunari as Asai Shouhei

Yamashita Tomohisa as Iwasaki Kengo

Suzuki Anne as Oowada Chie

Narimiya Hiroki as Udagawa Hayato

Oguri Shun as Enami Kouji

Résumé

Four schoolboys find themselves the last virgins left at school. During the summer holidays, a girl they knew as children 11 years ago, moves back to the neighborhood. Despite their childhood attraction to her, they realize she is a mere shadow of the “princess” they all thought they knew. This story of summer – love, friendship, school, family, the hypocrisy of adults, complications of life, experience and failure is set in an everyday shopping district and shows the clumsiness of children who have developed a little later than their peers. It’s a bright romantic comedy that both young and old can appreciate.” –TBS

Information taken from here: DramaWiki

The Characters

 Shou-kun, or Shouhei is the main character of the story  and is the little nervous guy who has a big crush on his  English teacher. Shouhei lives in a pharmacy taken care of by  his father, who is also vice-president of the neighborhood  committee.  Played by Ninomiya Kazunari, Shouhei is one of  the most common characters that I’ve ever seen in a drama. He’s practically the essence of being real and nerdy!

My first drama crush, Kenken (rarely called Kengo in the drama) is a childhood friend of Shouhei and is the calm character of the group. His mother is the owner of the love hotel in their neighborhood and the boys consider it as their Headquarters (and perfect place to spy on couples doing their “business”). Kenken is the only one who has a girlfriend, but unfortunately for him, she isn’t ready to move on to the “next step” until she goes to university.


 Goodness, Suzuki Anne is an actress to follow! Very, very, convincing as Chie, I could say I was flabbergasted at her acting. Chie was the childhood crush of the four boys before she moved and recently came back for summer vacation. The Chie the boys fell in love with isn’t the same ever since she moved. She’s become a slightly annoying (and unattractive) person in their opinion, but what Chie wants is just to return to the good old days where everyone was innocent.

The most hyperactive boy of the group, Udayan is the most perverted boy of the group (DB4- Virgin boys). Frustrated by the fact he can’t, well, you know, and that everyone around him except his friends have already lost their virginity, Udayan decides to create a group that has the goal of keeping their virginity until marriage. Played by Narimiya Hiroki, Udayan is the main comical relief of the drama due to the way he gets bullied by girls and how ridiculous he is.

And finally is Kou-kun acted by the one and only Shun Oguri! The um, nearly invisible one of the group (since I’ve remarked that people who watched Stand Up !! rarely remember him) is the one that also voices out what a reasonable person would think during the most bizarre moments.

It’ll be stupid to say that Shun Oguri isn’t a good actor, but he just didn’t really “shine” in this drama. Still loved him away~

Critique

Ah, my first Japanese drama. What good memories. I remember watching this during winter vacation as obsessed as a housewife watching The days of our lives. The Humor was present, the ever-present friendship was there, and the occasional dramatic story was there as well. Aside from a few things that could get annoying such as the characters, some bad-acting and how cruel some characters were, this is really a drama I’d recommend to anyone(unless you’re 13 that is, lol).

My Note: 7/10