Spring 2014 Part 2: The Idol Edition

66837_10152435966669155_592208219_nShinigami-kun Bitter blood

Yowakutemo Katemasu (Though we are weak, we can win)

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Starring: Ninomiya Kazunari, Nakajima Yuto, Sota Fukushi, Yamazaki Kento, Kasumi Arimura, Kanata Hongo

What it’s about:  After his research lab gets shut down, Tamo Aoshi (Ninomiya Kazunari) returns to his alma mater, Jotoku High School, as a temporary teacher. A school known for preparing students for Tokyo University, Jotoku also has one of the worst baseball teams in the nation as they have never won a game. Aoshi, who was also a member of the team during his school days, decides to become the coach and aims to go to Koshien.

Thoughts:  I was really excited for Yowakutemo. Not only is it Nino’s first drama in four years, but I am a sucker for underdog sports dramas. At four episodes, I’ve realized Yowkutemo isn’t going to be the sports drama I thought it would be, as the pacing is slow and the lack of any real stakes doesn’t make for a very compelling watch.

But, I like it. Not every small story has been good (Sota Fukushi’s character has a whole episode where he agonizes over the fact that he’s good at everything *facepalm*), there have been some memorable ones like the backstory of the overzealous Kamezawa (Kanata Hongo) and Yuzuko’s(Kasumi Arimura) relationship with her dad. Ok, and I get a kick out of the not quite bromance between Ebato (Yamazaki Kento) and Okadome (Mamiya Shotaro).

As for our hero, Aoshi is passionate and can get carried away, but thankfully he’s not the type of teacher that says, “You can do anything if you believe.” He’s realistic and knows how to approach his team’s problems in ways that don’t involve giving an emotional spiel. He’s not cold as much as he’s practical, so he doesn’t come off as an asshole. He’s also a total wimp when it comes to solving his own problems, like his rivalry with Yachida.

With all of the kids’ backstories out of the way and games poised to take the forefront, I’m hoping that the story will pick up and head towards a good ending. C’mon Yowakutemo, don’t let me down.

Shinigami-kun

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Starring: Ohno Satoshi, Kiritani Mirei, Suda Masaki, Matsushige Yutaka

What it’s about: Shinigami #413 (Ohno Satoshi) is a rookie grim reaper that calls on humans about to die and helps them set their worldly affairs in order before they pass on.

Thoughts: Surprisingly, the best thing about Shinigami-kun is Ohno’s performance as the quirky, bumbling death god. He’s more naive than stupid about human affairs which makes his interactions with the humans entertaining. I especially liked the brief friendship between #413 and Hayashi Kento in episode two as they bonded over the fact they both suck at their job.

Shinigami-kun has avoided being formulaic, with #413 being presented with different problems each episode, but the stories are a little too on the nose for my liking. I was particularly disappointed with the end of the second episode since it kept Hayashi Kento’s character from taking responsibility for his actions.

Not bad, but since I’ve already decided to stick to Yowakutemo, I think I’ll save this one for later.

Bitter Blood

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Starring: Sato Takeru, Watabe Atsuro, Kutsuna Shiori

What it’s about: Sahara Natsuki (Sato Takeru) has just joined the Ginza Police First Division. Little does he know that his estranged father, Shimao Akimura (Watabe Atsuro) works in the same division. The two want nothing to do with each other, but are forced to become partners.

Thoughts: I wasn’t too impressed with Bitter Blood‘s set-up episode, but I came around by the second episode. The cases are decent, but the comedy is hit or miss. I did think it was odd that the end of episode one didn’t directly lead into the second episode or at least get addressed even for two minutes that I went back and made sure I was actually watching episode two. I mean, if you’re going to end an episode with the main villain setting off a bomb in the police station, then you could at least mention it in a flashback or something. You need to work more on connecting stuff show.

That aside, I’m not so much interested in the big baddie as I am in the relationship between the father-son pair, because hey, if you’re trying to add a gimmick to a cop show, that better be front and center. While the first episode has some rather uninspired bickering, the second one has some nice beats, like Shimao trying to show off in front of Sahara by buying him eel and the super awkward silence between them while they’re following the victim’s mom.

You’d expect Sahara to be the more hot-headed one, and while he does run into situations without thinking, he tends to be serious and earnest. Surprisingly, Shimao’s sort of an airhead (He says “Nonsense!” all the time for no reason and gets mad at Sahara when he wears the same tie as him), but he knows how to do his job and cares a lot about his son.

I really want to see these two repair their relationship, so I’ll keep my eye on this one.

 

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