Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Nose Knows: Hiroshi Abe in “The Sniffer”

Just when I thought Detective J-dramas had run out of curious and unusual characteristics to adhere to their eccentric characters, here comes the new Hiroshi Abe/Teruyuki Kagawa drama “The Sniffer” and it is a very odd show indeed!
 The Sniffer tells the tale of a man named Tatsuro Komukai (Kagawa) who has just been assigned to a new division of the Police Force. Upon getting there, he is informed by his new boss Uwabe (Toru Nomaguchi) that he will be joining agents Kozo Hosoi (Toru Baba), Kurono (Takemori Senri) and Yuri Hayami (the svelte and sexy MaryJun Takahashi), whose main job will be to assist and look after a special “consultant” to the force.
This man’s name is Shinichiro Hanaoka and when Teruyuki meets him, he finds that this is a man whose sense of smell is so hyper-advanced that he can tell nearly everything about a person just from one whiff...once he is on the scene, all he has to do is remove his nose-plugs and inhale deeply- form the scents, he can if they are married, if they drink a lot, and in some circumstances, even if they are lying or not!
Having such a talent might make someone a one-person problem solver, but (as is usual for Hiroshi Abe roles) while Hanaoka is at the forefront when it comes to his nose-worthy CSI casework, he is utterly useless with human interactions and dealing with other people. And it’s here that Teruyuki and his cohorts come in, doing all the talking, smoothing over and doing all the “regular” stuff a detective has to do the wrap up the case! Together these four are an unstoppable team!
Watching this show, it occurred to me that this is in fact the second detective drama where the detective used their keen sense of smell to solve crimes, as Tabe Mikako did just the same in her fun comedy “Deka Wanko”. But where Tabe used her nose like a bloodhound, Abe uses it in an almost super-human way, when he takes his nose plugs out and inhales, the entire crime scene opens up to him, almost like a ghostly playback!
  Along the way we are also introduced to a few more intersting characters in Hanaoka’s life, including an attractive doctor named Yuki Suenaga who seems to interest Hanaoka and whom he talks to about his problems (hmm, shades of Kekkon Dekinai Otoko here?) played by the pretty Haruka Igawa... equally pretty (if extremely uptight) ex-wife named Megumi Katayama (Yuka Itaya)...
...and a saucily sassy daughter named Misato( Kaho Mizutani) who insists on inviting herself to Hanaoka's pad, despite his complaints that he wants a private life alone...
Komukai, on the other hand, hasn’t a whole lot of women in his life, and in fact the only person he has is his sweetly doting mother (played with great fastidiousness by able Kazuko Yoshiyuki) who makes a point of pointing out his single-ness every morning, LOL!
Just like the Yo Yoshida drama COLD CASE, this crime drama is based on a show from another country, in this case the Ukraine. Is this becoming a new trend in J-drama detective shows? Whatever it is, it seems to work!
So far it’s a pretty interesting show, and watching Hiroshi Abe and Kagawa Teruyuki together again (they were great in Shinzanmono) is always a joy to behold!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Drama Of The 10 Dark Ladies

6 Dueling Ladies (With Another 3 Still to Come....)
Hahaha, over halfway through the comedy drama “Kuroi 10-Nin No Onna”and I’m just DYING with laughter! MAN, how freaking AWESOMELY zany this show is! This tale of Riko Narumi as Kumi, one of 9 women in philandering playboy Kaze’s lovelife, just gets wackier and wackier with each episode! Though the drama may have started out as a reguar romcom, by episode 6 with each of the women in Kaze’s life trying to undermine and sabotage each other, the show has reached near Bugs Bunny/Wile E. Coyote proportions!
Soooo much fun, and that’s in no small part to the awesome actresses whch make up the 9 Lovers, well, at least the ones we have so far been introduced to…
Riko Narumi as the befuddled Sweet Girl Kumi…
Miki Mizuno as Kayo, the self-appointed “Den Mother” of the lovers group
Hitomi Sato as the bitter and conniving Miwa…
Aya Hirayama as the cool and stoic Yume….
Megumi as the svelte and sexy Natsuki..
and WOW, special mention MUST be made of Reina Trendl’s insanely adorable turn as Shino Aiba, she is SUCH a sweetie in this one, soooo cute and cuddly and SO hilarious when she decides to fight back agaisnt all these bullying “Babas” (Old Hags) around her! 
And wrapping it all up we gotta include Eichiiro Funakoshi as Kaze, the man whose silver tongue and dapper style has honey-talked all 9 of these women into becoming willing participants in his ongoing melodrama! This is one true “master of the Speak”!
Aw MAN, such a GREAT drama, Kuroi 10-nin Na Onna has even surpassed Jimi Ni Sugoi Koetsu Gal Kono Etsuko and We Got Married as a Job as my NUMBER ONE MUST SEE drama every week!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

2NE1 Are Done

Sigh, I'm sure you've all heard the news by now, but it seems 2NE1 are just the latest in an ever-growing list of "Second Generation Hallyu Wave" forerunners that have called it quits.
 Not that this is really shocking news to most, ever since Minzy announced her departure it really looked slim that they could continue on as they had before.
What a shame, such a great group!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Riko Narumi and The 9 Lovers

Riko Narumi as Kumi
Kumi Kanda is having a bit of a problem with her love life! Things started off fine when she was first being wooed by Kaze Matsukichi,(Funakoshi Eiichiro) a successful TV producer working in the building where she worked as a receptionist, and despite his older age, they soon hit it off and spent a wonderful 5 months together.
Eiichiro Funakoshi as Kaze
But it all came crashing down around her when Kumi found that Kaze, her so-called perfect guy, was a MARRIED MAN! It’s at this point that one would normally break it off, but as Kumi explains to the audience, she is the type who will continue on with a relationship even if it means having an affair because she feels her love is too strong, and thus is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Her friends Honoka (Yuriko Nitta) and Ayano (Hinako Sano) are quite frank about the situation Kumi’s gotten herself into, telling her she should forget the louse and move on. but she simply can’t. Despite their misgivings, these are friend that are always at her side, at least as close as you can get via cute and enthusiastic text messaging!
Hinako Sano as Ayano
Yuriko Nitta as Honoka
Then, out of the blue, Kumi gets a phone call from a mysterious woman who Kumi believes is Kaze’s wife. She wants to meet up, and Kumi spends the night in dread of what will happen. Will the wife sue her? Yell at her?  Or, in true drama fashion, throw a glass of water in her face? But when she meets up with her, Kumi is surprised to find an attractive and stylish woman named Kayo who is only friendly and cordial to her. 
Miki Mizuno as Kayo
Kumi bursts out in tears and begs the woman to forgive her for having an affair with her husband, and promises to never again go near Kaze, to which the amused woman states that not only is she NOT Kaze’s wife…but she’s another one of his lovers, just like Kumi!
 Kumi explodes with a “Ya Gotta be Kiddin’ Me!” and from there the two begin to argue, with Kayo saying she has years of relationship time with Kaze as opposed to Kumi’s 5 months, and Kumi retorts back that Kayo is just an old hag!
It’s then that another woman enters the picture and begins arguing with the mature Kayo-san. Her name is Miwa Yagami (Hitomi Sato), and after the two cool down and resume a more civilized tone, Kumi is stunned to find that THIS woman is a lover of Kaze’s, too!Kumi is FURTHER shocked when the two seasoned women casually tell her that besides the two of THEM, Kumi is actually the 9TH of Kaze’s lovers! 
Hitomi Sato as Miwa
"I'm one of NINE LOVERS????"
Wrapping her head around this news is hard for Kumi, and even harder to comprehend is the way these other lovers of Kaze’s are not only friendly with each other, but seem to regard each other as part of a group…and want HER to join in!
As the show progresses, we get to know not only Kumi and the women, butevern MORE of Kaze's lovers, including a sassy young thing named Shino Aiba (Reina Trendl, absolutely adorable here) who is an actress hired for the company’s latest project, and by the show’s end, Kaze even looks to be making the move on the pretty scriptwriter Natsuki Koyama (Megumi, a big fave of mine since like forever)!
Reina Trendl as Shino
Megumi as Natsuki
Such is the situation of these women in this highly captivating and seriously snazzy drama "Kuroi 10-nin Na Onna (Ten Dark Women)", sooooo much FUN, MAN, it’s been such a long time since i’ve seen Riko Narumi in anything and its a joy to see her in such a spirited show, but really, EVREYONE is pulling their weight here, each and every character is so much fun to watch! Such a wacky and spastic storyline, this show reminds me of the classic "Noises Off" in its' sheer screwball style, can't remember the las time I was so entertained!