Review: 초감 각커플 (Chogam Kakkeopeul/The ESP Couple)

Year: 2008
Director: Kim Hyeong-Ju (김형주)
Screenplay:  Kim Hyeong-Ju (김형주)
Cast: Jin Goo (진구), Park Bo-Young (박보영).
Trailer: The ESP Couple (no subtitles)
Su-min (Jin Goo) is a college student with the ability to read – even manipulate – other people’s minds. It is not a talent that he particularly enjoys as the opening scene with its slightly eerie tone reveals. Continue reading “Review: 초감 각커플 (Chogam Kakkeopeul/The ESP Couple)”

Review: 피아니스트 (Pianiseuteu/Pianist)

Year: 2010
Director: Moon Joon Ha (문준하)
Screenplay: Park Eun Young (박은영)
Cast: Han Ji-hye (한지혜), Choi Minho (최민호).
Trailer: (not subtitled)
Oh Je Ro (Choi Minho, of the K-pop group SHINee) is young man who may seem average but is anything but. His life is ordinary, or perhaps even less than ordinary: he is from a poor family and has never finished education beyond middle school. He works as a piano tuner and spends his time hidden away in his family’s warehouse or fixing pianos while his clients are out, barely acknowledged by anyone. What people do not realise is that behind the quiet, gentle demeanour, behind the humbleness, there is an individual who has more love and talent for music – and life really – than many celebrated pianists on the world stage. Continue reading “Review: 피아니스트 (Pianiseuteu/Pianist)”

Review: 借りぐらしのアリエッティ (Karigurashi no Arrietty/Arrietty)

Year: 2010
Director: Yonebayashi Hiromasa (米林 宏昌)
Screenplay: Miyazaki Hayao (宮崎 駿) and Niwa Keiko (丹羽 圭子)
While in Japan Kokurikozaka kara (コクリコ坂から, lit. From Corn Poppy Hill) was released in July, the rest of the world is finally getting to see the 2010 Studio Ghibli feature: Arrietty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ Karigurashi no Arrietty, lit. “Arrietty the Borrower”), the directorial debut of Yonebayahsi Hiromasa, is currently screening in cinemas across the UK. It is another enchanting offering from the renown Japanese anime studio, but being no Hollywood blockbuster anyone wanting to see it on the big screen should catch it sooner rather than later. Continue reading “Review: 借りぐらしのアリエッティ (Karigurashi no Arrietty/Arrietty)”

Review: 「スマイル」 (Sumairu/Smile)

Year: 2009
Director: Yasuharu Ishii, Toshio Tsuboi, Akihiko Watase
Screenplay: Takayuki Takuma
Cast: Matsumoto Jun, Aragaki Yui, Nakai Kiichi
There is a plethora of Asian dramas out there, the majority of which suffer from the same ailments: weak, often completely nonsensical plot lines and an overindulgence in clichés and stock characters. The 11-episode Japanese dorama スマイル (Smile, 2009) has none of these faults, but sets itself apart with the pertinent as well as heart-wrenching story of Hayakawa Vito (played by a very tanned Matsumoto Jun), a hardworking half-Japanese, half-Filipino man who always has a smile on his face. Vito has only ever lived in Japan, speaks only Japanese and really knows nothing about Filipino culture yet has suffered from prejudice for being a ‘foreigner’ (‘gaijin’) since childhood. This discrimination makes no sense at all but persists in Japan to this day, with Sumairu courageously putting the issue of racism in Japanese society at the core of this drama. Continue reading “Review: 「スマイル」 (Sumairu/Smile)”

Review: 時をかける少女 (Toki o Kakeru Shoujo – The Girl Who Leapt through Time)

Year: 2006
Director: Hosoda Mamoru
Screenplay: Okudera Satoko
Hosoda’s anime The Girl Who Leapt through Time (Toki o Kakeru Shōjo or short TokiKake) is a loose continuation of a 1967 novel by Tsutsui Yasutaka of the same title and tells the story of 17-year old tomboy schoolgirl Konno Makoto, who after an accident in the chemistry lab discovers that she is able to leap through time. In line with her initially somewhat immature and happy-go-lucky personality, Makoto uses her new ability to improve test grades and avoid her usual mishaps, but soon finds that it is not quite so easy to manipulate events and that self-serving choices have consequences for others. As a result, her close friendship with two classmates – the handsome, studious and kind Kousuke and the more nonchalant redhead Chiaki, who is portrayed as somewhat of a slacker – suddenly becomes more complicated. Continue reading “Review: 時をかける少女 (Toki o Kakeru Shoujo – The Girl Who Leapt through Time)”