Category Archive: J-Drama Reviews

Jan 31 2017

Terrace House – Season 1 (Series Review)

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Terrace House – Boys and Girls in the City Season 1 – Part 1 Review by David Cirone Terrace House, now streaming in the U.S. on Netflix, is the Japanese “Real World”-style reality show watered-down to be as polite and PG as possible. Absent are the sensational, over-the-top, media-career-minded personalities we’re accustomed to on U.S. …

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Oct 09 2016

Hanzawa Naoki – Episode 3 (Review)

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Hanzawa Naoki Episode 3 Review by David Cirone Even though Hanzawa failed to grab Higashida’s property, the determined banker is causing too much trouble for his scheming superiors, and they order a surprise three-day inspection to keep him off balance and prevent any more surprise moves. Led by Tokyo Chuo Bank’s Deputy Manager Ogiso (still …

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Oct 07 2016

Kasha (Review)

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Kasha Review by David Cirone Kasha, based on the mystery novel by Miyuki Miyabe, is a disappointingly flat adaptation, packed with thematic missteps and lacking both the heart and intrigue of the original story. Set in the early 90s, Kasha (superbly translated by Alfred Birnbaum in the U.S book version as All She Was Worth) …

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Sep 08 2016

Hanzawa Naoki – Episode 2 (Review)

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Hanzawa Naoki Episode 2 Review by David Cirone In the aftermath of Hanzawa’s face-off with the bank’s disciplinary committee, his superiors scramble to do damage control and put a swift end to Hanzawa’s unpredictable plan. Moreover, the longer they wait to put Hanzawa in his place, the more they’ll risk damage to their own fragile …

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Sep 03 2016

Hibana (Spark) (Series Review)

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Hibana (Spark) Series Review by David Cirone Netflix’s latest Japanese series Hibana (Spark) is a deeply-felt, intelligent character drama about the highs and lows of the “manzai” comedy world, viewed through the complex friendship of its two lead characters, the shy but driven Tokunaga (Kento Hayashi) and the abrasive wild man Kamiya (Kazuki Namioka). Based …

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Aug 20 2016

Hanzawa Naoki – Episode 1 (Review)

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Hanzawa Naoki Episode 1 Review by David Cirone Hanzawa Naoki‘s opening shot, a slowly-zooming close-up of the title character’s confession of beliefs, instantly brings to mind comparisons to The Godfather. Like Michael Corleone, mild-mannered banker Hanzawa is a man who transforms because of a duty to family, a dedication to his father, and ultimately, a …

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Feb 15 2016

Atelier (Series Review)

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Atelier Series Review by David Cirone Netflix Japan’s premiere original series Atelier (titled “Underwear” for its Japanese release) is an infuriatingly weak attempt to showcase the provocative world of lingerie. Cardboard characters, illogical plot twists, and episode-after-episode of junior-high-school idealistic speeches made this series a real challenge to finish. In truth, the story is over …

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Dec 06 2015

Flying Colors (Film Review)

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Flying Colors Review by David Cirone The magic of Flying Colors is also its weakness. You know what you’re getting from the very first moments — it’s the kind of feel-good, predictable fast-food film that modern Japanese cinema and film excel at. It’s the strength of the actors and the simplicity of execution that make …

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