Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekend Movie-viewing: J-dramas


I watched two Japanese dramas. (about ten 45-minutes-parts each etc)
The first was called Long, love letter or Drifting Classroom. It's about a school that --on a pleasant afternoon on school break-- suddenly seems to disappear into a sink hole. 

The kids in school are there to catch up on their schooling. There are the brand girls who are hip and like the Japanese version of Valley girls. There is the really committed kid who's gonna become a doctor. There is Ootomo who is a bit of a slacker, and who Serikya-Senpai (hot to trot money-wasting nutcase selfish teacher) has been trying to seduce. There is another kid who is trying to reconnect with his girlfriend. There are some teachers, the most important of which is Asami who is sweet and hip and popular and who is in love with Masaki who was a former teacher but who got into trouble and has a reputation (untrue) about her toughness. She IS pretty tough though. Asami was also the teacher who was talking about X, Y, and Z and time, space, etc on the axis and came to the conclusion: Live in the moment.  There is also a lame little girl who didn't fit in (she wanders away from the school because she wants to be away from her fellow students) and several losers who didn't fit into Japanese society but now they fit in wonderfully because they found work that is valid.

The sink hole has transported them to the future. The school is in the middle of sandy desert. They have to learn to deal with the moment, while looking for a way to grow food ( nutcase teacher has taken all the school food and is hold up in a room with a gun and will only give food to Ootomo is he sleeps with her) and find a way home. 

Since the premise is that time is fairly malleable and flexible, it's a bit like Frequency, Lost, and Castaway all rolled into a Japanese school movie. Some folks we really love die...and there is nothing like a noble person dying in a Japanese movie: the Japanese do sacrificial noble characters really well. Along the way, they find out the world was destroyed by human greed, pollution, war. Plus they meet the last human men who want to protect a little girl because the last humans in the world are men and women can't be born or can't have children. 

There there was Bound by Shooting Stars. Can't really say what the Jaapanese title was. A mystery/swindler story/romance. Three siblings (one of them is a girl who is really a step-sister but the sibs prefer not to talk about it) are orphaned as little kids when their parents are murdered. They grow up with the promise they will find the culprit and kill him. One of them, Taisuke, saw a glimpse of the murderer. But 14 years have gone by and it's 50 days before the 15th year which would be the statute of limitation. (I didn't know the japanese had a 15 year statute of limitation on murder but I guess they do.) The sibs are swindlers and have kept connected with the cops who investigated their parents' murder. One of the persons they aim to swindle is an annoying rich guy...whose dad has a restaurant which features hashed beef rice with a taste exactly like their fathers. Could it be rich guy's dad killed their dad? And why is little Sis falling in love with rich guy? Isn't she committed to finding out about the murderer and bringing him to justice?

Really good, once you accept the Japanese caveats of sacrifice and justice -- I mean the guys in Shooting Stars turned themselves in for their swindling EVEN THOUGH they paid back the swindlers. Talk about the Hays Code. 
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