Feb. 16th, 2011

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
this is an insanely popular franchise; there is a 37 volume manga (licensed by viz), an anime (subbed for the north american market), a taiwanese tv drama, a korean tv drama, a japanese film, and who knows what else. people go into ecstatic raptures over it. the manga won the 1996 shougakukan manga award, and is the best-selling shoujo manga in japan. so it made it onto my list of jdramas to watch (but i was prepared for disappointment; ecstatic general raptures seem to usually predict serious disappointment for me, and even award winners do not always come through). i have not read the manga, nor seen the anime or watched the chinese version.

the storyline is fairly cliched (though the manga started in 1992; maybe it was fresh then): makino tsukushi (inoue mao), a girl from a poor working-class family, attends an elite high school, where the other pupils all come from high-society families. at the very top are the "F4", a group of 4 boys from powerful families. naturally, they're all good-looking, and the entire school is ga-ga over them. unfortunately they also rule with an iron fist, and get away with bullying anyone who doesn't fit in. makino hates the lot, but is determined to keep her head down and just work towards graduation. but one day the only girl who befriended her accidentally runs into doumyouji tsukasa (matsumoto jun) (the leader of the F4) and spills food on him. despite apologizing profusely, that results in a "red notice" -- the F4's public call to seriously harass her. we're not just talking nasty words here, but physical abuse as well.

that's when makino's resolve to be quiet and unobtrusive cracks, and she tells doumyouji just what she thinks of him, and then punches him hard enough so he goes down.

the next day there is a red notice in her locker, and the entire school starts to make her life miserable. there seems to be only one person who's not joining in: hanazawa rui (oguri shun), another member of the F4, who likes makino's spunk and starts to stick up for her.

ok, so it's cliched, but at first glance the female lead seemed to be a strong person who wasn't shy in conveying her disdain for bullying, and i always like some butt-kicking by a strong female lead.

alas the drama is unmitigated crap.
read why; spoilers )
i like the music; it fits well with the emotions of the story. opening song is "WISH" by arashi (matsumoto jun's group); pleasant jungle. ending song is "planetarium" by ohtsuka ai; i like it too and let it play out every time.

the production values are unusually high; too bad they're wasted on such a uninspired show.

there is a second season, and a movie. i am debating whether to start the manga to see whether it's any better, but 37 volumes is a lot, and i didn't like the art when i looked at it. normally i wouldn't even bother, but if something is this popular i keep thinking maybe i missed something.

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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

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