Category Archive: J-Drama Reviews

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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Sep 22 2015

Outrage (Film Review)

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Outrage Review by David Cirone In Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage, violence comes suddenly and at full force, often preceded by brief, polite conversation. A successful character study disguised as a standard yakuza crime drama, Kitano returns to his signature gangster genre (there’s a ten-year gap between this release and 2000’s Brother), stacking the film with great …

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Sep 06 2015

Rookies – Episode 11 (Review)

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ROOKIES Episode 11 Review by David Cirone SUMMARY The Nikogaku team has reached the semi-finals, and the dugout is filled with a feeling of dread and insecurity. Mikoshiba (Kiesuke Koide) speaks to his team with the full authority of his position as captain, urging them to keep fighting for the sake of their teammates and …

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Aug 20 2015

Last Cinderella (Series Review)

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LAST CINDERELLA Series Review by David Cirone Last Cinderella piles on the cute. As much a fantasy story as its namesake, the series trips over itself time and time again as it overtly panders to a middle-aged female audience. Despite its talented and earnest cast led by Ryoko Shinohara and featuring Haruma Miura and Naohito …

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