Today I watched the final two episodes of Dragon Zakura 2. It was a great continuation of the first series, which aired 16 year earlier. What I really liked about it was that besides Abe Hiroshi reprising his role, Nagasawa Masami returned in a starring role. In the original series, she was one of the students in the class that was aiming for admission into Tokyo University, and in this series, she is now a lawyer, after graduating from Todai.
The plot of Dragon Zakura 2 is more complicated, with deeper subplots, but both stories were interesting, and both casts were also very good. It was really cool that almost all of the original students came back for cameos in the second series. I actually didn’t think Aragaki Yui (whose is enjoying a successful acting career) would come back, but in the final few minutes of the last episode, she makes her cameo. In fact, only Yama-P didn’t return, which I didn’t really care about anyways. 😄
I highly recommend both Dragon Zakura and Dragon Zakura 2. Lots of fun!
Today I finished up watching the last episode of Rikokatsu リコカツ starring my favorite actress, Kitagawa Keiko 北川景子 as Saki. Co-starring with her is Nagayama Eita 永山瑛太 as her husband, Koichi. The premise of the story is that the couple meet by chance and marry quickly, and later decide that they have nothing in common and should divorce. Along with them, their parents are also divorcing, as well as Saki’s sister.
It’s a very lighthearted comedy, and Eita’s comedic acting is hilarious. I was laughing out loud several times watching this dorama because of him. Besides the humor, there were also a few times that tugged on the heart-strings which is something I always appreciate in a movie or dorama. 😭
I thought the story itself was just okay, and a bit repetitive and predictable. It’s a typical melodramatic Japanese dorama, so if you are in the mood for it (or a fan of one of the actors as I am) Rikokatsu is a decent choice.
One of the characters that I disliked greatly was Minazuki Ren, a novelist to whom Saki is assigned as editor. Minazuki’s behavior is infuriating, exhibiting sexual harassment, power harassment, and literal thievery. He’s a total asshole. I kept hoping he would get his lights punched out. I know this is not a serious dorama, but normalizing that kind of behavior (without any repercussions) is awful. Towards the end, we learn he had a difficult childhood and is struggling to become a better person, but the way he treats everyone just makes my blood boil.
Okay, back to the positives… the ending where Koichi bends a bit to make a compromise so that Saki can live her dream was pretty cool and well-done. The long-distance relationship and video calls were funny and during this pandemic time, everyone can relate. I enjoy anything Kitagawa Keiko is in, but in this dorama it was refreshing to watch her as a “normal” person. In Ie Uru Onna 家売るオンナ, her character is very one-dimensional, outwardly emotionless, and never smiled. After watching two seasons of that character, it was nice to see her acting as a person with a range of relatable emotions, and is not always dressed/made-up perfectly.
We’ve been enjoying the live-action version of Yurukyan ゆるキャン△ which is airing now. I’ve read the manga and watched the anime, so it’s fun to see how the live-action version stacks up. It’s pretty much the exact same story, which is a good thing because the manga is so fun. I enjoy seeing all the cool おしゃれ camping gear too!
I started watching the 2013 Chinese drama Legend of Hua Mulan 花木兰传奇 in anticipation of the Disney live-action movie, and I am enjoying it so far. There are 48 episodes, so it’s a long-haul of a historical drama, but it’s fun and the costumes are really cool. I don’t think they are historically too accurate (the make-up is very modern) but I think they look great. And I am getting a lot of ideas for sketches too, so that’s a big bonus!
I just wanted to share a photo of another yummy dinner Mariko made for us tonight. It’s a chicken dish with Thai basil and peppers. It didn’t have too much heat but was very flavorful. And then the egg just put it over the top! ❤
In other news, the new asadora has started. Natsuzora なつぞら looks pretty interesting! The main character will eventually become interested in art and animation, so I am looking forward to that part. In fact, the opening title sequence is an old ’70s style animation. Very cool! And I am a fan of Suzu Hirose 広瀬すず who plays the main character Natsu, so that is another plus. 😀 I thought she was great in Anone あのね.
FYI, we subscribe to TV Japan and every morning I turn it on while I make coffee and breakfast. During that time the asadora (morning drama) is shown, so I pretty much see every episode, except during the kids’ Spring Break, when our schedule changes. I don’t understand all the dialog, but as my Japanese study progresses, I find myself understanding more and more, which is really cool!