Review: Mamoru Hosada's Breathtaking and Emotional Wolf Children

TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
No spoilers.

The announcement of Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement surprised and saddened fans of excellent filmmaking as well as fans of Japanese animation. Many of Miyazaki’s own films and those under Studio Ghibli helped introduce Japanese animation to the world.

But even as Miyazaki has made what is likely his final film, there is still much to look forward to as a brand new generation of filmmakers look to continue the creativity and groundbreaking filmmaking Japanese animation has come to be known for. Mamoru Hosada’s Wolf Children is an excellent example. Continue reading

First Impression Review: TV5 Goes Dark and Mature with Positive and For Love or Money


TYPE OF REVIEW : FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
Moderate spoilers.

TV5 has long had their foot in the door, but can’t seem to make their way inside what has become a duopoly between ABS-CBN and GMA Network. They hope to take another step into that inner circle with their new weekly dramas Positive and For Love or Money.

Yes, weekly. I’ve believed that for TV5 to really distinguish itself from the others, it needs to try something different with their programming line-up. They tried, to reasonable success with Wil Time Big Time as counter-programming to news and soaps in the evenings. They expanded by airing their own daily dramas opposite their rivals’ newscasts (to less success). But I think trying out weekly programs, like American television, or even trying a twice a week drama schedule like Korea would help the network set itself apart. They give it a try with these two new dramas.

But aside from their odd (for the Philippines) airing pattern, both Positive and For Love or Money take a much darker and mature tone to their stories that is certainly different from anything the other networks are currently offering. Continue reading

First Impression Review: NBC's Visually Stunning Dracula Needs a Little More Bite

TYPE OF REVIEW : FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
Moderate premiere spoilers.

Yes, I went there.

But it’s really the perfect way to describe NBC’s “reimagining” of Dracula. The 10 episode limited series is visually stunning and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is quite a looker himself of course (as is the rest of the cast), but the story leaves much to be desired. Without that “bite,” there isn’t much to get excited about or engaged in. At least in the first episode. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: tvN’s Charming Flower Boy Next Door a Satisfying Journey with Plenty of Heart

Flower Boy Next Door

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Lots of spoilers! For my First Impression Review, click over here.

tvN’s Flower Boy Next Door did not disappoint. It started out as a sweet and charming romantic comedy and it ended a sweet and charming romantic comedy.

That isn’t always the case. Sometimes Korean dramas start out all light and fluffy then turn into a melodrama, or vice versa.

But Flower Boy Next Door maintained its sweet and warmhearted tone throughout, telling the love story of Go Dok Mi and Enrique Geum while also helping the other characters find love as well. The series was cute and fun with touches of drama that never overwhelmed its lighter side. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: How Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Had Everything I Look For

Go-Busters

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Lots of spoilers.

It was my fourth Super Sentai series and I can confidently say Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters may be my favorite one so far.

It was an experimental season that toyed with formula. It featured a dramatic, emotional storyline, but didn’t forget to have a little fun to help put things into perspective. It had legitimate and truly surprising twists that kept things exciting. It had a large group of likeable characters and a deliciously crafty and slick villain.

In other words, it had everything I look for in a Sentai (or Power Rangers for that matter) series. Continue reading

Review: KBS’ Dark, Compelling Drama Special, Sirius

Sirius

TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
Some big spoilers, but I give a warning before they start.

The KBS Drama Special has presented some of the most provocative, original and even irreverent stories on Korean television. Different from the more mainstream primetime and daily dramas, Drama Special has focused on anything from psychological thrillers like the miniseries White Christmas to Daughters of Bilitis Club, a controversial one-episode drama about a group of lesbian best friends living in the city.

Sirius, KBS’ opening salvo Drama Special for 2013, is another one of those atypical, yet incredibly engrossing series that there should be more of on Korean television. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: KBS’ Authentic and Resonant School 2013

School 2013

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Fair amount of spoilers. Less spoilery First Impression Review here.

There have been many high school-set Korean dramas in recent years, all with varying degrees of commercial and creative success. But none have been able to (though many didn’t aspire to) accurately and realistically portray the lives of contemporary youths.

But KBS’s School 2013 was able to do just that.

This 2013 revival of KBS’ successful turn of the century drama franchise which ended more than ten years ago was a harshly realistic, but sincere depiction of today’s youth and the people and situations that will play a part in shaping the rest of their lives. Continue reading