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Viewing profile :: kartanoman
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Joined:  08 Feb 2007
Total posts:  0
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Country (Nationality):  United States
Location:  Northern Alabama
Website:  http://www.geocities.com/kartanoman/
Occupation:  Engineering
Interests: Running, vintage TV show collecting
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kartanoman's dramas (33)
Ai no Uta [あいのうた]
(Bought & Watched)
Aishiteiru to Ittekure [愛していると言ってくれ]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
I agree with the folks who speak high volumes of this series, its main characters and the theme song as they all significantly contributed to the success of this dorama. Though my wife and I have already watched "Utsukushii hito" and "Beautiful life," this series won us over to actress Takako Tokiwa as one of our favorites. Her ability to master such a complex part, given the need to act young and bubbly one minute, serious and insecure the next ... not to mention having to learn sign language, is a credit to her acting credentials. This was a very complex story that touches on several levels. The first, and obvious, is the relationship between the characters Hiroko and Koji and the obstacles of overcoming the communication barrier, Koji's half sister "loving" him, Koji's ex returning onto the scene as well as Hiroko's childhood friend Ken confessing his love to her. On a deeper level, it tries to answer the eternal question most folks in a relationship end up wondering at one time or another: is love simply enough? Even deeper is the examination of Hiroko as she "grows up" in front of us ... starting with falling madly in love with Koji, eventually revealing her own insecurities whenever that love was confronted ... to the realization of her own weaknesses and need to go off on her own to find herself and her way in the world. Her leaving Koji in the end was indeed a sad moment; however, the re-enactment of the opening scene, when the two first met, some three years later ends the story on a hopeful note that the two, with Hiroko now more mature and secure of herself, may rekindle their relationship and this time be more successful. The story leaves you yearning for more. The message in this story rings clear for anyone who has been in a relationship where each person is on a different maturity level. Whether it (the relationship) can work out or not isn't the intent of this story ... but the importance of being true to one's feelings as the cornerstone of every relationship as well as openly communicating one's thoughts, dreams and fears to their partner. From that standpoint, this series was a masterpiece!
Akimahende! [あきまへんで!]
Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched)
A zany comedy-laden dorama that you'll either like or you won't due to its high-energy plot with every individual having issues to overcome while trying not get tangled up with each other! On the surface, it may seem like a woman assuming the role of housekeeper trying to win over the household that will eventually become her family ... as she's engaged to the head of the household who's away on business. Dig in a little deeper and chaos begins to surface! Noriko Fujiwara as the spoiled wanna-be actress with marriage problems. Yuki Uchida and Masahiko Nishimura (Sumire .... Sam-O) trying to sustain a secret relationship that gives way to Noriko giving Masahiko the nick-name "Pikachu" ... absolutely hilarious! The story is likely to make your head spin; however, it's definitely worth a watch!
Brand [ブランド]
(Bought & Watched)
Dare Yori mo Mama wo Aisu [誰よりもままを愛す]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
Another funny dorama starring Tamura Masakazu as Japan's own "Mr. Mom" except by his own choice! Yuki Uchida (whom we've watched in "Akimahende!") was brilliant in generating the comedy in this series. In all, a touching family plot of a husband's love and devotion to his hard-working lawyer wife, his dealing with the issue-laden neighbor next door, am older son who befriends a transvestite, a daughter who is looking to rush blindly into marriage with a rich man and a young child who faces the teasing by his siblings over his stay-at-home dad. In the end, even these trials take back stage to more serious matters and the love and strength of the family shows in dealing with them. Bottom line: a funny dorama that can be silly at times ... but one that is equally heart-warming.
Dekichatta Kekkon [できちゃった結婚]
(Bought & Watched)
Engine [エンジン]
Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched)
Kimura and Koyuki played very well off each other and made this dorama very entertaining. It's very easy to like Kimura's character as the "adult orphan" in the household who is able to understand and relate to the children better than the staff themselves! I expected a predictable ending, once I understood the plot, but was pleased when the ending didn't unfold quite as I had expected. Kimura has entertained us with many of his doramas and this one is no exception!
First Love
(Bought & Watched)
Furuhata Ninzaburo Season 3 [古畑任三郎 3]
(Bought & Watched)
Fuufu [夫婦。]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
Finally rewarded for my patience as this series was recently commercially released w/ English subtitles. My wife and I are huge Tamura Masakazu and Kuroki Hitomi fans ... going all the way back to their last performance together in Oyaji. These two perform well together in both series but they clearly shine in Fuufu. I absolutely loved the start of each episode as Tamura-san cheerfully introduces one of his products for sale with his catch-phrase "my wife is going to be mad at me for selling at these low prices" ... or something to that effect. I'll try not to go too much into the details on the series but will highly recommend this to any married couple who has been together a long time (e.g. 10 years or more). As Tamura and Kuroki's characters continue to play out the script, it caused me to reflect on my own marriage and especially on the things I have taken for granted regarding my wife during our time together. When it appears the ending is headed for depression and hopelessness, the divorced couple meet and the program ends with a ray of hope that everything they've learned about themselves and each other, over the course of the series, will give them the courage to reunite and try again. In all, a touching story that's well worth watching. This is about the fourth series I've seen with Tamura playing the father role in a family J-dorama (the others being Oyaji, Otousan and I Love you Mum) and I think his talents serve that role well. I've seen Kuroki in series such as Oyaki, Ringu and Good Luck and, while she was excellent in all of those, she seems to play the motherly role in these series the best.
Good Luck !! [グッドラック!!]
Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched)
AN excellent story of a young co-pilot who overcomes critical management and personal setbacks to fully understand and appreciate his love of flying. Takuya Kimura's doramas are commonplace in our household and this one ranks up there as one of his best efforts. Kou Shibasaki turned in a fine performance as the mechanic but high marks go to Kuroki Hitomi and Shinichi Tsutsumi, whom we've both seen in several doramas before, play off each other very well to create a secondary plot within the story. In all, a pleasure to watch and, in addition to the developing love story, a revealing look at behind-the-scenes corporate world issues in the airline industry.
Hoshi no kinka 1 [星の金貨]
Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched)
Absolutely loved Noriko Sakai in this dorama! The number of plot twists bordered on the excessive; however, you were always held by the suspense whether Aya and Shuichi would finally be together ... only to learn that the cat and mouse game would continue into a season two.
Hoshi no kinka Season 2 / Zoku hoshi no kinka [續。星の金貨]
Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched)
As in season one, Noriko Sakai turns in another strong performance and is the highlight of this show. Not to be outdone by the wild array of soap opera-like action in the first season, the writers go to extreme measures to include every drama tactic, both imaginable and unimaginable, to keep the viewers on their seats in pursuit of the ultimate question - will Aya and Shuichi be together forever. The answer is quite clear in the end ... but not before viewers experience more plot twists than a Greek tragedy! Noriko Sakai alone is my justification for giving this one 8/10 as I was not impressed by the overboard scripts of the writers of this show. For those of you who can't get enough, hunt down the Heaven's Coins Finale program which recaps both seasons between segments focusing on the aftermath of everything. Bottom line - the Heaven's Coins trilogy made Noriko Sakai my favorite J-dorama artist!
Hotman [ホットマン]
Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched)
Funny and heart-warming dorama! Enjoyed Takashi Sorimachi's portryal as Enzo and beign held in suspense as to whether he and Akiko Yada (playing Misuzu) would end up together in the end. Little Nana Yamauchi, however, clearly wins the prize for the most entertaining character ... simply priceless! Highly recommended!
Itsumo futari de [いつもふたりで]
Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched)
Huge Takako Matsu fan here and kudos to her for leading the way towards yet another fun loving dorama! After watching this show, I now have a HUGE craving for curry bread ... ;) !!! Very enjoyable to watch!
Koi ga shitai Koi ga shitai Koi ga shitai [恋がしたい恋がしたい]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
VERY touching drama about the lives of seven different characters interwoven together and the formation of a special bond. In addition, the theme of "when the door closes, the window opens" rings in many areas throughout. The fantastic ballads by "The Carpenters" add depth and warmth to create what was one of our favorite J-doramas.
Koi ni Ochitara ~Boku no Seikou no Himitsu~ [恋におちたら〜僕の成功の秘密〜]
(Bought & Watched)
Kyousoukyoku [協奏曲]
Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched)
A pleasure to watch a fine performance by one of my favorites (Tamura Masakazu) and my first look at Kimura Takuya whose dorama series my wife and I are watching on a regular basis nowadays. These two, together with Rie Miyazawa, put on a fine performance in a story about a young couple (Kimura as a budding architect) struggling in their relationship and the girl eventually is swept off of her feet by a famous and accomplished architect (Tamura) who is also divorced. One would expect bad blood between the characters Ebisawa and Kakeru; however, their common interest in architecture and Kakeru's desire to work for, and subsequently prove himself worthy to Ebisawa, lead to what were some intensely complex moments ... none more so when the two architects were in the running for an award for the best design plans. How do they handle their mutual respect for each other ... as well as their feelings for Hana? The answer is a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the dorama ... enjoy!
Long vacation [ロングバケーション]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
Wow! What a super dorama and a fantastic cast to pull off a series filled with humor, unpredictability, disappointment, misunderstandings and the ultimate reward of loyalty to the heart. Takuya Kimura is one of our favorite actors and his performance was outstanding as always. Another favorite, Takako Matsu, did well in her role as Ryoko and kept us wondering if she and Hidetoshi (Kimura's character) would ever come together. It was also nice to see another favorite of ours - a young Ryoko Hirosue as a gifted piano student. The leading role (Minami), played by Tomoko Yamaguchi, was performed outstandingly! This was the first time we've seen Tomoko and the way she played the oftentimes annoying and pestering Minami won our hearts hands down. The storyline was excellent and highlighted by the emotionally powerful performance of Hidetoshi Senna in the music contest ... but did Minami actually make it to the concert hall to hear it? Watch the dorama for the answer! Finally, enjoyed the dorama's theme "La La La Love Song!"
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
Takuya Kimura turns in a stellar performance and Takako Matsu was nothing short of brilliant in making a loud and oftentimes obnoxious and self-centered character so lovable and adorable. The storyline may not be the most original in the world (i.e. the continued miscommunications between the two). Still, you feel for them both and hope that they'll eventually work things out and be happy together. Also good seeing Noriko Fujiwara who is a favorite in our household. For whatever reason, the dorama's theme song "Shiawase na Ketsumatsu" is stuck in my head and I cannot get it out!
Nemureru mori [眠れる森]
(Bought & Watched)
Otousan [おとうさん]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
Another funny Tamura Masakazu dorama that pairs him with Ryoko Hirosue again (from Oyaji) and other fine performers that has a story plot that generally goes along the lines as Oyaji with a different family make-up. This dorama influenced my wife and I to try buckwheat soba (excellent, by the way)! Had a chuckle when Tamura and Ryoko Moriyama were singing the theme song to Oyaji (i.e. "Sayonara Daisukina Hito" by Hana Hana) in the koraoke house! Bottom line: if you enjoyed Oyaji, you'll like this one!
Oyaji~ [オヤジぃ]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
Perhaps the funniest Jdorama my wife and I have watched! Tamura Masakazu is one of our favorite actors and his portrayal of a cantankerous yet overly caring father (in a somewhat odd manner) makes this one most enjoyable to watch. Ryoko Hirosue also did a fabulous job as the rebellious daughter and has also become a household favorite with us. Miki Mizuno and Hitomi Kuroki also turn in stellar performances and we've gone out of our way to watch as many doramas as possible with these four characters. Bottom line: this one is our personal favorite!
Pride [プライド]
(Bought & Watched)
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
Easily one of my favorite doramas of all time! Absolutely loved the acting of Nagasawa Masami and Yamashita Tomohisa who perfectly complemented each other. The story was well written so well that my wife and I were fully engaged in this one ... almost yelling at the TV in hopes "Ken-zou" would grow a pair and tell "Rei" exactly how he felt about her. After viewing the childhood sequence, where a young "Ken-zou" vowed to always watch after and care for "Rei," it was almost painful to see him flounder, with each passing episode, in his vain attempts to convey what was, and who was, in his heart. Only when all hope seemed lost, right before the wedding, when he, in tears, finally confessed to her in front of everyone (including the sensei - her soon-to-be groom), and seeing a teary-eyed "Rei" completely moved by the magnitude of the moment, it validated their childhood vow to each other and it was very hard not to be choked up by that moment. With Keisuke Kuwata's beautiful and touching song "Ashita Hareru Kana" playing in the background, the show reached a powerful emotional climax. It was a shock, as well as a bit of a disappointment, to see the series end in the matter that it did - despite "Rei" chasing down and catching "Ken" as he was pushing his taxi cab. As I write this, however, the P.D. "Special" was televised (it will be available on DVD in July 2008) and it picked up from the series' end and provided a beautiful and touching end to the story. Again, both leads were phenomenal and worked very well together. I personally look forward to seeing Nagasawa Masami in more doramas in the future as she has wonderful acting talent and is a pleasure to watch.
Ring: Saishusho [リング 最終章]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A friend recommended this one to my wife and I. Although we do not watch horror films, this one had plenty of suspense to maintain our attention through to the end. Hitomi Kuroki (whom we've seen in "Oyaji" and "Good Luck") and Akiko Yada (whom we've seen in "Hotman") turn in excellent performances with the stars Toshiro Yanagiba and Tomoya Nagase. I would recommend this one to those who don't normally watch horror series as well as those who do.
Sayonara, Ozu Sensei [さよなら、小津先生]
Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched)
I make it a point to watch any Tamura Masakazu dorama I can get my hands on. I found this one mildly entertaining and appreciated the message of the value of a teacher listening to and "hearing" their students' issues in order to help them. Although this series didn't hold my attention like other Tamura Masakazu shows, it has its merits and is worth a watch.
Seija no koushin [聖者の行進]
(Bought & Watched)
Shigatsu no monogatari [四月の物語]
Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched)
The story of a "country" girl from Hokkaido attending college in Tokyo and trying to adjust to the differences of living in the big city, Takako Matsu is charming as she always is in assuming the lead role. I agree with the folks who suggest this is a simple, slow-paced movie and may not be for everyone. As my wife and I are fascinated with the scenes of the city of Tokyo, as well as the beautiful country in Hokkaido, as well as being huge Takako Matsu fans, we enjoyed this short movie.
Slow Dance [スローダンス]
(Bought & Watched)
Souri to yobanai de [総理と呼ばないで]
(Bought & Watched)
Utsukushii hito [美しい人]
Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched)
Picked this one up on the merits of Tamura Masakazu being in it. This was also the first time my wife and I watched Takako Tokiwa star and both were commendable in this one. Takako has become a favorite in our household because she brings an element of charm to every character she portrays (particularly "Aishiteiru to itte kure" and "Beautiful life"). It was interesting watching Takao Osawa play a somewhat villainous role as the cop after watching him as a doctor in the "Heaven's Coins" series ... but he did well. The plot was pretty good but it just didn't hold my interest as much as other doramas. Still I recommend it as the three characters above put on very good performances in this one.
With love
(Bought & Watched)

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