Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Akumu-chan (My Little Nightmare)

Akumu-chan ( 悪夢ちゃん ) aka My Little Nightmare poster.

Akumu-chan is a family drama with a bizarre twist and quirky characters. Our leading lady, in need of much development, is Mutoi Ayami played by Kitagawa Keiko. On the outside, she is a perfectly friendly elementary school teacher who does and says all the right things. But the moment she turns away, the smile melts from her face and she remains emotionally isolated. There's a good reason for this, of course, but we'll only find out as her life gets disrupted and she begins to open up.

Kitagawa Keiko 北川景子 (きたがわ けいこ) as Mutoi Ayami notices Kimura Manatsu 木村真那月 (きむら まなつ) as Koto Yuiko, staring at her in the hallway.

Enter the strange introverted child, Koto Yuiko, played by Kimura Manatsu. She suffers from prophetic dreams and for some reason, she and her grandfather have chosen Ayami as her teacher and savior. Ayami is, naturally, averse to the latter.

Koto Yuiko awakens from a nightmare, wearing her headset. / Mutoi Ayami, Koto Yuiko and Koto Banosuke, played by Kohinata Fumiyo 小日向文世 (こひなた ふみよ) in the lab, watch Yuiko's latest nightmare.

Grandfather Koto, played by Kohinata Fumiyo, is a scientist who has developed the technology to record dreams and play them back for anyone to see. When the dreams involve people at the school, Ayami is forced to help interpret them, and resolve the conflicts.

Gackt ガクト as the Dream Prince with Ayami as a princess in her dream. / Gackt as Shiki Takashi meeting Ayami for the first time as her mouth hangs open.

Ayami, always in control of her life, also controls her dreams. She often frolics with her Dream Prince, played by Gackt, who caters to her every wish. When she meets him in the real world, she is taken aback and their relationship becomes quite unusual.

The professor's car drives up a winding road to a oddly shaped building that serves as his lab, under a sky heavy with dark clouds.

Even waking scenes seem dreamlike as the director uses skewed camera angles, dramatic skies, disorienting architecture and bits of exoticism here and there.

One of Ayami's students with many hissing snakes protruding around him.

The special effects utilized in the dreams don't look super cutting edge, but they're done well and used appropriately. All the dream symbolism was entertaining and made sense as it was revealed step by step.

Yuka 優香 (ゆうか) as nurse Hirashim Kotoha eagerly reads a blog on her laptop. / Vice principal Nakagomi Shinya played by Anan Kenji 阿南健治 (あなん けんじ) interacts with principal Amasawa Tatsuko played by Kimura Midoriko キムラ緑子.

The supporting cast was fun and unpredictable. Aside from being excellent comic relief, some inspired suspicion as you didn't know if they were going to end up being a help or a hindrance. Others invoked curiosity due to an obvious, but hidden connection.

A row of colorful characters appear before a group of headlights, creating a road block.

The episodic format was enjoyable as the dreams were always interesting, and Ayami's ongoing progression towards finding herself held a bit of mystery and suspense.

SION performs with harmonica and guitar, and of course, his gorgeous raspy voice.

There were many illustrious guest appearances as well, including SION; what a wonderful surprise! I actually didn't recognize him until I heard him sing, and then I fell over in happiness.

For the most part, I loved Akumu-chan with its layers of fantasy and reality. However, the writing got sloppy in episode ten, and by the end, an important part of the plot didn't even stay within the bounds of the series' own system of logic. Then there was the comparatively minor flaw of a website in episode nine which was supposed to be geared towards English readers, yet the English was so bad, the site would never have worked.

My last complaint was the horrible perm (wig?) they gave to Gackt. Certainly the man is gorgeous no matter what, but that hair really put a damper on things. Still, I loved watching him and listening to his delicious voice.

The ending definitely lent itself to the notion that things were not quite over yet. Confirmation of the fact is coming in May with Akumu-chan The Movie. Despite its flaws, this drama is well worth watching for its fresh, fantastical story and engaging characters.

Smiling photo of cast members Kawamura Yosuke, Gackt, Kimura Manatsu, Kohinata Fumiyo and Kitagawa Keiko.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Love Those Johnny's Boys

Johnny's boys are here to lift you out of any post V-Day depression you may be experiencing. Not one, not five, not even, 25, but 77 boys in all ages, shapes and sizes.

Johnny's Entertainment members including SMAP, Tokio, KinkiKids, V6, ARASHI, Tackey and Tsubasa, NEWS, KANJANI EIGHT, KAT-TUN, Hey! Say! JUMP, Kis-My-Ft2, Sexy Zone, A.B.C-Z, Masahiko Kondo, Shonentai, Uchiumi Kohji, Sato Atsuhiro, Okamoto Kenichi, Yamashita Tomohisa, Ikuta Toma, Akanishi Jin and Uchi Hiroki.

EDIT: Batzy-chan pointed out that names are needed and I can't deny my dongsaeng anything, so here goes:

Column 1: Shonentai members Nishikiori Kazukiyo, Higashiyama Noriyuki, Katsuhide Uekusa. SMAP members Nakai Masahiro, Kimura Takuya, Inagaki Gorou, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, Katori Shingo. TOKIO members Joshima Shigeru, Yamaguchi Tatsuya, Kokubun Taichi.

Column 2: V6 members Sakamoto Masayuki, Nagano Hiroshi, Inohara Yoshihiko, Morita Go, Miyake Ken, Okada Junichi. Kinki Kids members Domoto Koichi, Domoto Tsuyoshi (not related). TOKIO members Matsuoka Masahiro, Nagase Tomoya. Kondo Masahiko (Matchy).

Column 3: ARASHI members Ohno Satoshi, Ninomiya Kazunari, Sakurai Sho, Matsumoto Jun, Aiba Masaki. Akanishi Jin. KAT-TUN members Kamenashi Kazuya, Taguchi Junnosuke, Ueda Tatsuya, Nakamaru Yuichi. Okamoto Kenichi (former member of Otokogumi).

Column 4: Takizawa Hideaki (Tackey), Imai Tsubasa. KANJANI EIGHT members Shibutani Subaru, Nishikido Ryo, Maruyama Ryuhei, Yasuda Shota, Okura Tadayoshi, Murakami Shingo, Yokoyama You. Former Hikaru Genji members Uchiumi Kohji, Sato Atsuhiro.

Column 5: Yamashita Tomohisa (Yamapi). Ikuta Toma. NEWS members Koyama Keiichiro, Kato Shigeaki, Masuda Takahisa, Tegoshi Yuya. A.B.C-Z members Hashimoto Ryosuke, Totsuka Shota, Kawai Fumito, Goseki Koichi, Tsukada Ryoichi.

Column 6: Kis-My-Ft2 members Kitayama Hiromitsu, Fujigaya Taisuke, Tamamori Yuta, Yokoo Wataru, Senga Kento, Nikaido Takashi, Miyata Toshiya. Sexy Zone members Sato Shori, Nakajima Kento, Kikuchi Fuma, Matsushima So.

Column 7: Uchi Hiroki (formerly of V. West, KANJANI EIGHT and NEWS.) Hey! Say! JUMP members Yamada Ryosuke, Chinen Yuri, Nakajima Yuto, Okamoto Keito, Arioka Daiki, Takaki Yuya, Inoo Kei, Yaotome Hikaru, Yabu Kota. Sexy Zone member Yo Marius.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day:// Royal Pirates

Royal Pirates have been asking their fans, 'What song should we do a cover for on Valentine's Day?'

Well the answer is finally here. Even though I requested Hoobastank's Reason on their facebook page, the chosen tune was none other than Ra.D's I'm in love. This marks R.P's first Valentine's Day with their fans (since debut), and this was an awesome way to display their love.

Moonchul's voice is hypnotic and both James and SY were quite charismatic while playing. Their rendition is sure to make some hearts flutter. It's calming and full of affection so enjoy this episode of RP Tv. It's good enough for me to almost wish I was in love. (And I mean love other than the love I have for RP. ;)) Prepare to swoon ladies and gents, and Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MelOn Premiere: BTS: Skool Luv Affair

On Feb 11, 2014, one day before Bangtan Boys comeback with their new album Skool Luv Affair, I saw the live streaming of the MelOn performance on Loen's youtube. I will apologize in advance for the lack of screenies in this post.

At about 3am EST, there was a standby screen set for 2 hrs in counting. I set my alarm and slept for about a that long in order to make sure that I didn't miss this.
5am EST/ 7PM KST: My alarm goes off and I run to the computer to be greeted by images of BTS. Then the following played.
1. Skool luv affair album preview video
2. N.O MV
3. Boy In Luv TS
4. No More Dream
5. We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2
and repeated for another 2-3x...
After around the first showing of number 4, I realized it wasn't 8PM KST and they were building a hell of a lot of anticipation.

The boys take the stage with a performance of their new song 'Jump' followed by a showing of their animated MV for their Skool Luv Affair Intro. VJ Yumdda was the host of the performance and then calls the boys out one by one to come to the stage and have a seat. (In order: J-Hope, V, Jimin, Suga, Rap Monster, Jin, and Jung Kook) This began a Q&A session. There was even a bulletin board filled with sticky notes that had questions written by the fans in attendance as they walked into the event space.

Images of their concept photos were played on a big screen behind the boys. Suga cringed at the pictures of him with Jungkookie. Girls screamed as each of the members pictures flashed on the big screen behind them.

What is your favorite song on the album?

Rap Monster: 'Where you from', because I wrote an amazing bridge.
J-Hope: 'Just one day', because he felt most sincere writing the lyrics.
Jin: 'Just one day', fit his feelings and his voice sounds great with it.
V: 'Cipher' because the rappers were amazing.
Jung Kook: 'Cipher'. He says his hyungs did very well on that song.
Jimin: 'Boy In luv', since its title song.
Suga: 'Tomorrow', because wrote the melody and beat when he was a trainee.

'Jump' was produced by Suga around that time. J-Hope and Rap Monster are also listed on the album for writing and producing.

When asked about abs, Jimin says he would show them but since its 19+ content, A.R.M.Ys have to wait til they are old enough.

He did try to pass it off to V, where I was too lost to hear the words coming out of Tae-Tae's mouth. (And the fact that the translations were so lagged and in some parts nonexistent, didn't help me understand anything either. But I still watched attentively.) But Jimin, really? Who hasn't seen your abs? You have been showing them off since day one. Maybe the chocolate melted? 555. Jin did tease as if he was going to show how much he worked on his body lately, but disappointedly stood up, pretended to lift his shirt then blushed, shaking his hand 'NO' to the screaming girls in the audience. He shyly smiled and covering his face, returned to his seat.

What did you have the most trouble during this album/promotions? JK: singing live is his difficulty.
Jin: diet and choreo was the hardest.
Jimin: Appearance(?) He says he looks chubby because of his short hair.
V: choreo was the hardest.
JH: working on songs between performances during the Attack on Bangtan promotions.

After this the Boy In Luv TS was shown. Jin explains about his shoving scene with the female lead. (Which I will post in the MV Breakdown.)

V showed a little 4D aegyo. V also demonstrates how he will propose to a girl. Straightforward. *Strong eye contact.* 'Go out with me' mercy huh V. *melts*

They perform, Just one day and after ask the crowd how they liked the song. Suga asked for more reassurance after the crowd said yes. "Are you sure, do you really mean it/like it?" To which the crowd responded with a loud "Ne/Yes".

After the Boy In Luv Performance , Bangtan explains they don't have a "Point" in the choreography and ask the crowd what they felt the main point of the dance was. Few yells later, V comes out to demonstrate his strong dance moves, and settles on this being the main point of choreography.

Rap Monster explains that they also prepared to perform 'No More Dream' and 'N.O'. As the lights cut off for the boys to start their performances, a congratulatory song is sung and a surprise bday cake for J-Hope appears. During all the excitement V blew out the candles so they have to relight it for him. In V's defense...they should have sang Happy birthday. The song of Congratulations~ Congratulations~ could have confused anyone. It could have been a cake to congratulate them on their comeback, right? I'm sure A.R.M.Y's knew.

They preformed No More Dream, and N.O as promised. Then some backstage MV footage and practice footage was shown as well.

At the end, they showed the Boy In Luv MV, which I have been dying to see, especially after all the charismatic aura from the TS released on the 10th. Of course, I will write a MV Breakdown on it. Bangtan thanked everyone, Fans, VJ, Staff, everyone...for their support and promised to work hard.

Despite J-Hope being hospitalized for falling ill/exhaustion, Suga having an appendectomy, and the rest of the boys running around and working hard while preparing for this album as well as promoting Attack On Bangtan, they seemed very lively, fun and attractive on stage.It was great to see Bangtan comeback, and I can't wait to get the album. They have always had an awesome performance presence and what V called "Heavy Choreo". I wonder if they will be on Weekly Idol (EDIT: They will be on Weekly Idol Feb. 26, 2014.) or Running Man soon. Wouldn't that be great fellow A.R.M.Ys?

Stay healthy boys, and keep being awesome. BTS Fighting!

Friday, February 7, 2014

SAT:// Kim Yoo Bin

Welcome to She's All That; because fangirls adore, admire, and sometimes hate... other women. Our first SAT is a cutie patootie who I love to death, not just because she's super adorable, but because she's bursting with personality and talent.

Kim Yoo Bin 김유빈 poses in a hoodie.

Birthday:  January 14, 2005
Birthplace:  South Korea

Kim Yoo Bin poses sweetly / Models for Nobledress / At a function for Oh! My Lady

Yoo Bin started as a CF model at the young age of two. In 2007 she was featured in the Central Election Commission commercial. Then in 2008, she appeared for CJW Matseonsaeng and Ahtopam.

In 2010, Yoo Bin played Sung Ye Eun, Chae Rim's introverted daughter in Oh! My Lady. The role required her to be subdued, and she did a great job! She became very close with Choi Si Won during filming, and they would refer to each other as daddy and daughter.

Yoo Bin appeared in the 165 episode melodrama, The Scarlet Letter which ran from August 2010 to April 2011 on MBC. Actually, 2011 was quite busy for her as she appeared in four other dramas that year. In Crime Squad, she played Song Il Gook's daughter, Park Hae In.

In 49 Days, Yoo Bin played young Ji Hyun. It was a small, non-speaking role with no sexy daddy to dote on her, but she showed her bright smile - so cute!

In her role as Kim Ah Kang, Park Shi Hoo's niece in The Princess' Man, Yoo Bin got to show more of her personality. As an aristocratic young lady and subsequently, as a charming refugee, she was poised and delightful.

In the 57 episode Hooray for Love, Yoo Bin played Nam Da Reum, and sported matching curly locks with drama daddy, Ahn Sang Tae. She had so many line intensive scenes, that even if her charismatic performance hadn't have stolen the show on its own, I would have still been mightily impressed.

2011 MBC Drama Awards: Child Actress Award for Hooray for Love

In 2012, Yoo Bin appeared as Kang Ha Neul's baby sister in To the Beautiful You. She was the rebel with the attitude, the sweetie with the ecstatic smile, and the earnest dongsaeng who of course, made her brother a better person.

Yoo Bin received her first movie credit for the 2013 thriller, Psychometry (The Gifted Hands). As Da Hee, she portrays a precocious child, living with her alcoholic father, and targeted by a serial killer. Her body language and expressions throughout the film proved that she not only takes direction well, but she possesses immense natural talent for acting.

Also in 2013, Yoo Bin paired up with another gorgeous daddy, Lee Dong Wook, in Mandate of Heaven (Heaven's Will: The Fugitive of Joseon). She plays Choi Rang, the chronically ill daughter of the royal physician who eventually becomes a fugitive. Once again she takes us through a range of emotions with a maturity that belies her young age.

2013 KBS Drama Awards: Best Youth Actress for Heaven's Mandate

Behind the scenes with her illustrious co-stars.

It's not just her acting that pairs her up with dream teams, Yoo Bin's quite fortunate with her modelling as well. 

Most recently, Yoo Bin filmed a commercial with Lee Kwang Soo for energy conservation. That makes two Running Man stars she's worked with. Batzy-chan, don't be too jealous!

With her hard work, talent, and extreme adorability (yes, being adorable is an ability!) Yoo Bin is bound to continue to win awards in a long and successful career full of enviable daddies and the hottest leading men. I shudder to think of how old I'll be when she steps into the lead roles of rom coms, but I also can't wait.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Love In Numbers

I just fixed the layout for the look of love. You like?

Panda Unnie has been writing 555 alot, partially because I introduced her to its meaning, and because it's cool.

The time I started to wonder about various numbers and what they were used as abbreviations for was when I heard Henry's 143.
I’m sending 1-4-3
geuljaron ajik jeondari an dwae (I still can’t express my feelings with words)
Sending 1-4-3, dansunhan sutjanoriga anya (it’s not just a simple game of numbers)
I love you 1-4-3, neoneun (you are) 4-8-6
Sending 1-4-3, neomu dareuji (we’re so different)
Sending 1-4-3, ajik eoryeopji (it’s still hard)
Dansunhan sutjanoriga anya (It’s not just a simple game of numbers) 1-4-3

Lyrics Source

At first I was like, wtf are you talking about Henry. And so the search for numbers began. Here are a list of some numbers and their intended meanings.

Origin/Language: Thai
Meaning: Ha Ha Ha
Why?: Because the number 5 in Thai is pronounced Haa.

Origin/Language: English
Meaning: I Love You
Why?: Because I is one letter, Love is 4 letters and You is 3 letters.

Origin/Language: Korean
Meaning: Saranghae. (I Love You)
Why?: Based on the number of strokes for each character in Saranghae. 사 (Sa) is 4 strokes, 랑 (Rang) is 8 strokes, 해 (hae) is 6 strokes.

Origin/Language: Korean
Meaning: Angel
Why?: Because B.A.P says so. Seriously its because the numbers are similar to Chun Sa which means angel in Korean. 1000 is Chun and 4 is Sa. Get it?

Origin/Language: English?
Meaning: I Miss You.
Why?: Because the internet told me.

Origin/Language: English
Meaning: Hugs and Kisses.
Why?: Because hugs is 4 letters, kisses is 6 and the word AND is irrelevant. XOXO. (EXO...Na eureureong eureureong eureureong dae~)

Origin/Language: Chinese/Mandarin
Meaning: I Love You
Why?: Because the numbers are similar to I Love You. (Wo Ai Ni).

Origin/Language: Chinese/Mandarin
Meaning: Forever
Why?: Because the numbers are similar to the word Forever. (yi san yi si/yi sheng yi shi)

Origin/Language: English
Meaning: I Love You
Why?: Because I is 4, L is 5 and Y is 9 on the telephone keypad.

Origin/Language: English
Meaning: I Love You
Why?: Because it's 8 letters, 3 words with 1 meaning.

If you guys know any others that I didn't list feel free to comment below and I will add them. Hope this helps aid in the age of chatspeak and unclear communications. Just say I love you or something special, straightforward and in a language you both can understand, especially on Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review:// Psychometry (The Gifted Hands)

Psychometry ( The Gifted Hands ) poster featuring Kim Kang Woo 김강우 and Kim Bum 김범.
Psychometry is the ability to divine information through touch. An intriguing element when a detective is desperately trying to find a young victim of abduction, and his only hope of saving her is a graffiti artist who paints crime scenes based on what he has sensed through his gifted hands.

I stumbled upon this thriller while following the cutie patootie, Kim Yoo Bin. Then I noticed Kim Bum was in it and was officially in heaven! You know, the Kim Bum from Boys Over Flowers, Padam Padam, That Winter, The Wind Blows - that sweet sexy flower boy!...... What was I doing?  Oh right, the review!