Japanese Film Festival 2018 – Flash Review on Three Films

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Last weekend I got to catch three films from this year’s Japanese Film Festival, and despite the 30-minute drive up on three different days to catch three different films, I can safely say that I have no regrets. JFF is the combination of two things that I love, Japan and films. It was a struggle having to limit myself to three films (movie tickets in Australia aren’t cheap) since there were quite a few that I wanted to watch (The Crime That Binds, The Blood of Wolves, Tampopo) but I’m glad I at least got to catch some of the films this year.  That said, here’s my quick take on the three films that I watched – The 8-year Engagement, Ramen Shop and Yakiniku Dragon.

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First Impressions – Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略)Ep. 1 – 10

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Story of Yanxi Palace had been making its rounds on my social media with posts written in Chinese (which I gave up trying to read)and even memes that are clearly inspired by the show. I had been anticipating the release of Ruyi’s Royal Love In The Palace and while waiting the series to finish airing, I decided to give Story of Yanxi Palace a go.

The opening is reminiscent of old Hong Kong period dramas that I grew up watching as a kid, not the whole thing but just that last sequence.

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Review: Narratage (ナラタージュ)

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Synopsis:
Izumi Kudo agrees to return to her high school to help out the drama club at the request of her old high school teacher and object of her unrequited love. She returns to the club to find her feelings still strong and struggles to move on from her first love but it seems Hayama-sensei harbours the same mixed feelings for Kudo.

Review:
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Rio Shimamoto, the film starts of poignant, poetic and beautifully-shot, evoking feelings of nostalgia and the innocence of an unrequited high school love. Yet despite its high poduction value, the film seems to perpetuate some disturbing messages relating to the forbidden romance between teachers and their students that makes me rethink the value of the film.

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Review: Todome No Kiss (トドメの接吻)

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I first chanced upon Todome No Kiss through Kmuse’s first impressions post on Dramas With A Side Of Kimchi and the I was intrigued by the plot and fresh concept of the show. Not to mention I’ve been looking for a good J-dorama to get me back into the world of doramas which have always held a special place in my heart and Todome No Kiss was exactly the drama I was looking for.

Synopsis:
Dojima Otaro (Yamazaki Kento) doesn’t believe in love and instead makes money his one true goal, in the form of heiress, Namiki Mikoto (Yuko Araki) who is worth 10 billion. But his dreams get disrupted when he is kissed by a mysterious woman and dies. Only to wake up 7 days in the past.

Review:
I seemed to have developed a habit of reimagining plots then getting disappointed when the plot isn’t what I had imagined. I had initially thought the reason why Otaro was being kissed by Saiko (Kadowaki Mugi) was a threat to make him change a new leaf and treat the women better. (I have no idea where I got that idea from lol) But turns out the reason for the deadly kisses are actually more innocent than that. Not that I’m complaining.

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Thoughts: The First Half Of My Life (我的前半生)

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If you know me then you’ll know that I am a HUGE fan of melodramas or slice-of-life dramas, which shouldn’t be surprising that The First Half Of My Life would end up on my must-watch list and taking one of the top spots. If you like dramas like Ode To Joy, Age of Youth or you just love a heartwarming realistic drama then this will definitely be the drama for you.

For this post I’ve decided to write about my thoughts rather than try to do a review since there’s just too much I want to talk about in terms of what the show is trying to portray about relationships, society and being a woman. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to watch it, that will mean you’re actually showing interest and you should just give it a go.

It’s soooooo good you’ll not regret it.

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First Impressions – Nirvana In Fire II (琅琊榜之风起长林)Ep. 1 – 10

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Ever since the masterpiece that is Nirvana In Fire, I have been waiting with mixed feelings of excitement and dread when the sequel was first announced. Excitement for more of the visual feast and intricate storytelling that has spoiled me in the first season, and dread for the disappointment resulting from a subpar sequel that has plagued so many other films and dramas from the past (imagine my restlessness in waiting for Legend of Ruyi, sequel to the great masterpiece Legend of Zhen Huan).

But after watching 10 episodes of Nirvana In Fire 2: The Wind Blows In Changlin, I think it’s safe to say that the sequel definitely did not disappoint and not seeing my beloved Hu Ge and Wang Kai on screen…isn’t too bad after all.

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Though I wouldn’t say the sequel is bad, it was hard to shake off what I had initially been expecting, having already seen the first season. So here are some of my thoughts and first impressions of the highly anticipated Nirvana In Fire 2: The Wind Blows In Changlin. 

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Review: A Love So Beautiful (致我们单纯的小美好)

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Synopsis:
The story follows the life of Chen Xiao Xi, a high school student as she nurses and chases after (literally) her longtime crush, Jiang Chen, despite his countless rejections. Together with a group of friends, Xiao Xi goes through the ups and downs of family, friendship and young love.

Review:

I know I’m really late in the game since this drama was aired somewhere in November  2017 and it is now 2018. A friend of mine actually introduced this show to me quite early on but I just never got around to seeing it. I was even going to give this show a miss since I’m not really a fan of youth dramas until another friend started raving about this show.

I’m so glad I didn’t end up giving this a miss. In fact I haven’t felt this much for a youth drama in a long, long time. Since most of the time I never actually finish them. Not to mention this drama was so good that when my Dad chanced upon me watching this show, he ended up finishing it way before I did lol. If a youth drama can capture the attention of a 50 year old man and he actually finish it, then you know it’s a good one.

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