Sunday, December 26, 2010

Maou魔王 – Release July 08


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Ryo Naruse (Ohno Satoshi) 大野智 is a brilliant lawyer who helps people who are poor and innocent. He was given a nick name “Angle” by mass media for representing poor people in court.  Ryo Naruse (Ohno Satoshi) 大野智 has a dark evil side driven by revenge, a revenge of getting back to those who are responsible for the death of his brother. The person responsible for the death of his brother is Serizawa Naoto (Ikuta Toma) 生田斗真 who is also a police detective. It has been 11 years since the death of Ryo Naruse (Ohno Satoshi) 大野智’s brother but he has been monitor closely at Serizawa Naoto (Ikuta Toma) 生田斗真. When a serial murder case which involves victims related to people close by with Serizawa Naoto (Ikuta Toma) 生田斗真, it seems like justice starts to catch up with what he did 11 years ago. Is it revenge, karma or just pure murder? With the help of Sakita Shiori (Kobayashi Ryoko) 小林涼子, Serizawa Naoto (Ikuta Toma) 生田斗真 must solve the serial murder case before people around him getting hurt, and that includes himself.

Feelings and comments:

This drama is a remake of a popular Korean drama “The Devil”. It seems like it’s able to receive good rating and viewer rates in Japan too. Although the drama looks interesting and nice to watch, there is one thing that makes me feel not right. It seems like the police are hopeless but have to rely on the psychic power of a girl. Plus, Serizawa Naoto (Ikuta Toma) 生田斗真 definitely does not have the looks and behavior of a detective. He looks more like a runner that always chasing criminal instead of solving cases. In the other hand, the role of Ryo Naruse (Ohno Satoshi) 大野智 is very persuasive with a brilliant, disturb, sad, good and evil characteristic.
     I suppose the Korean version of “The Devil” is much more interesting than this drama. I’ll let those of you that watched both Korean and Japanese version decided on that. I think the best version comes if the role of Ryo Naruse and Serizawa Naoto are played well by the actors.
    There are reasons we are who we are today. That includes choosing the path of our life and occupation. We always have the choice and option to do good or bad. It does not matter what happens to us, we always still have the choice. Don’t make any incident that happens to us becomes an excuse of who we become today.  In fact see it as an experience which helps us to choose and become a better person.

Things that caught my eyes:
The tarot cards and psychic power of Sakita Shiori (Kobayashi Ryoko) 小林涼子 definitely increases the mystery within the drama. By the way the coffee seems tasty at the coffee house where Sakita Shiori (Kobayashi Ryoko) 小林涼子 stays.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to Watch. This drama is exciting, suspense and interesting but I just felt that the police was unable to do anything but running around. The overall sense of mystery and evil plot throughout the drama is great.

Purchase:

2008 Japanese Drama: Maou w/ English Subtitle

Drama Theme Song: Truth by Arashi

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kimitachi ni Asu wa na君たちに明日はない – Release Jan 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Murakami Shinsuke (Sakaguchi Kenji) 坂口憲二 works as a consultant in a company which specializes in lay off and company restructuring. Murakami Shinsuke (Sakaguchi Kenji) 坂口憲二 is very good at his job and always received top performance in his work. Although he is very successful in his career, he often doubts his work of laying off employees is the right thing to do. One day Murakami Shinsuke (Sakaguchi Kenji) 坂口憲二 was assign on a job to lay off 200 employees from a building material company. He met a female employee name Serizawa Yoko (Tanaka Misako) 田中美佐子 who is on the list of lay off. As Murakami Shinsuke (Sakaguchi Kenji) 坂口憲二 has strong feelings towards Serizawa Yoko (Tanaka Misako) 田中美佐子, Murakami Shinsuke (Sakaguchi Kenji) 坂口憲二 is facing a hard performing his task of laying off her.

Feelings and comments:
Although the drama includes love story but still the main focus is on lay off and company restructuring. We often read news about lay off, voluntary retirement and company restructuring, especially during economic downturn couple of years ago. Have you ever wonder why a company needs to go through restructuring? And why you’re being lay off? Before looking for the answers, it will be best to think about some of the basic terms like company, job position and work responsibility. Company which does not generate revenue will face restructuring or shut down eventually. A job position which does not help company to grow or generate income will be deleted. An employee who does not carry out or perform their work responsibility will be deleted. All the above are link to the growth and revenue of a company. So if you’re trying to avoid getting lay off, find a company that makes money, secure an important job position and carry out the work responsibility accordingly.
It is interesting to listen to their conversation during the interview of voluntary retirement. We can find out lots of evil tactics company use to force an individual to accept the deal. I actually enjoyed looking at Murakami Shinsuke (Sakaguchi Kenji) 坂口憲二 facial expression when he confronts the employees.

Things that caught my eyes:
It is interesting to take a look at how a company which specializes in lay off and restructuring works. Especially when the consultant trying to persuade an employee to voluntary resign, that’s actually brilliant.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. This is an interesting drama about lay off and company restructuring. As an employee, it’s a must to watch.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama: Kimitachi ni Asu wa nai w/ Eng Sub

Drama Theme Song: Tomorrow Waltz by Toshinobu Kubota

Japan Drama Preview:
Sorry, not available.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hidarime Tantei EYE左目探偵EYE – Release Jan 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Tanaka Ainosuke (Yamada Ryosuke) 山田涼介 received cornea transplant for his left eye from his brother Tanaka Yumehito (Yokoyama Yu) 横山裕 when his brother pass away. Ever since the transplant Tanaka Ainosuke (Yamada Ryosuke) 山田涼介 begins to receive mysterious images which related to his brother. It turns out his brother Tanaka Yumehito (Yokoyama Yu) 横山裕 fake his death. Tanaka Ainosuke (Yamada Ryosuke) 山田涼介 also discovered that his brother is actually the master mind of a criminal organization. With the help of his teacher Sayama Hitomi (Ishihara Satomi) 石原さとみ and the images received from his left eye, Tanaka Ainosuke (Yamada Ryosuke) 山田涼介 begins to track down his brother and determine to stop his criminal plot and activities.

Feelings and comments:
Before you watch this drama, it will be better to go over the single initial episode that aired last year October. Although the drama did flashback the previous story at the beginning of the first episode but you’ll still have a feeling that you’ve miss out a big chunk of the story.
I suppose the most interesting part in this drama is how Tanaka Yumehito (Yokoyama Yu) 横山裕 plans his perfect crime. The main focus in this drama is the show of perfect crimes. There is not much investigation or detective work. It’s mostly the wait for the images from the left eye. The big suspense in this drama is the game that the two brothers are playing. Sometimes we just might not know or understand how a person thinks, including the one that closes to us.
The funny part in this drama is around the teacher Sayama Hitomi (Ishihara Satomi) 石原さとみ. Her role is actually to ease out the serious part of this drama with lots of jokes. Other than that, you’ll see the hand on the left eye pose just like the picture above. Plus you’ll see lots of punching on the left eye because that’s how the images are produced. Honestly the most interesting part of the story already been told in the previous initial single episode. This drama is basically the illustration of all the plots of so call perfect crime.

Things that caught my eyes:
Tanaka Ainosuke (Yamada Ryosuke) 山田涼介 is able to maintain his handsome face without any scar or injuries after receiving so many punches from Sayama Hitomi (Ishihara Satomi) 石原さとみ.

Japan Drama Rating:
Interesting to watch. This drama is not really a detective or crime investigation drama. It’s basically a story about a younger brother who keeps on pursuing the old brother who plans and organizes multiple perfect crimes.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama : Hidarime Tantei EYE w/ Eng Sub, Original Soundtrack

Drama Theme Song: Hitomi no Screen by Hey! Say! JUMP

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mother – Release April 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Suzuhara Nao (Matsuyuki Yasuko) 松雪泰子 works as a temporally elementary school teacher who likes birds watching. She even tries to apply for a job in university that related to bird watching research. One day she met a young female student name Michiki Reina(Ashida Mana) 芦田愛菜 who behaves differently from other students. Michiki Reina(Ashida Mana) 芦田愛菜 seems to be more mature compare to other students. Suzuhara Nao (Matsuyuki Yasuko) 松雪泰子 also sense that Michiki Reina(Ashida Mana) 芦田愛菜 has family problems and was abuse by somebody at home. As there is very least Suzuhara Nao (Matsuyuki Yasuko) 松雪泰子can do legally, she decided to volunteer herself as Michiki Reina(Ashida Mana) 芦田愛菜 substitute mother and take her away from Hokkaido to start a new life in Tokyo. Thus they start a journey which changes their entire life.

Feelings and comments:
This drama is about motherhood or to be precise it’s about maternal instincts. Plus this drama emphasize that motherhood has nothing to do with bloodline. A mother love is natural towards any child. This drama is not just about the story between both Suzuhara Nao (Matsuyuki Yasuko) 松雪泰子 and Michiki Reina(Ashida Mana) 芦田愛菜 but also people around them. That includes the people and events that they went through along their journey.
My first impression about this drama is sad and cold but as the drama continues, it’s more about thinking positive no matter what situation we are in. Plus a lot of warm and comfortable love from mothers. A good advice from Michiki Reina(Ashida Mana) 芦田愛菜 the little girl is to think about the things that you like always.

Things that caught my eyes:
The conversation between Suzuhara Nao (Matsuyuki Yasuko) 松雪泰子 and Michiki Reina (Ashida Mana) 芦田愛菜 is really interesting because it shows lots of sensible talk which kids normally won’t do. I suppose that’s the attraction of this drama. There are also lots of beautiful scenes captured in this drama.

Japan Drama Rating:
Worth watching. The theme of this drama is about motherhood and maternal instincts. The story is simple but the drama is able to create the atmosphere that brings out the love, especially when there is no bloodline related.

Purchase:
 2010 Japanese Drama : Mother w/ Eng Sub


Drama Theme Song: Nakigao Smile by hinaco

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tumblingタンブリング – Release April 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Azuma Wataru (Yamamoto Yusuke) 山本裕典 is a student that don’t like to study nor involve in school activities. His is only good in gang fighting. One day his teacher told him there are not enough school attendance points and he might need to repeat the same year of study. The only two options available for Azuma Wataru (Yamamoto Yusuke) 山本裕典 is either take on additional tuitions or participate in school club activities to make up with the points. Azuma Wataru (Yamamoto Yusuke) 山本裕典 chooses to take on activities in school club but it seems like none of the club suits him. However he finally chooses to join rhythmic gymnastics club because he wants to impress a girl that he likes. At the end of the day rhythmic gymnastics turns out to be an activity that he is passion of.

Feelings and comments:
This drama is all about male rhythmic gymnastics. There aren’t any popular actors in the drama. The main focus of this drama is in the rhythmic gymnastics. You’ll get to learn and understand rhythmic gymnastics as you watch the drama. Honestly I think that’s the main purpose of this drama. That is to promote and introduce rhythmic gymnastics.
I think most of you that watched the animation “Slam Dunk” will instantly smell a sense of similarities in this drama. The story and script is about the same just that the drama changes the basket ball into rhythmic gymnastics. But still it’s a good way of getting lots of attention and interest. The first episode looks good and promising but it doesn’t seem so after that. I suppose those of you who are interested in rhythmic gymnastics will love to watch this drama.

Things that caught my eyes:
My first impression is the red head, student gangster, fighting champ but participating in rhythmic gymnastics. No doubt it’s a rhythmic gymnastics version of “Slam Dunk”. I’m just interested to see how much similarity the drama is produced.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. This drama is just like any other passionate and energetic sports drama which focuses on rhythmic gymnastics. You’ll notice a lot of similarities between this drama and the popular basketball animation “Slam Dunk”.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama : Tumbling w/ Eng Sub, Original Soundtrack

Drama Theme Song: Manazashi by Honey L Days

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yako no Kaidan夜光の階段 – Release April 09


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Sayama Michio (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人 is a hairstylist who dreams of running his own saloon shop. Sayama Michio (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人 has the talent, potential and a handsome face that attracts female. In order to fulfill his dream, he makes use of his charm to gather money, connection and power from women. In the other hand, a detective has been working on a murder case for years that is related to Sayama Michio (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人. It seems like Sayama Michio (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人 is not his real name and his past is a mystery. As Sayama Michio (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人 is getting closer to achieve his dream, the detective is getting closer to solve the case and finding out the truth.

Feelings and comments:
This drama looks more like a mystery murder case that focus on Sayama Michio (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人. It is a good experience to watch Fujiki Naohito (藤木直人) acts as different character other than good old nice person. Although his facial expression is not so suitable for this character but he is still able to brings out a sense of bad sign.
    It is difficult to be success with just talent only. Most of the time luck plays a big role in making the path to success. If you have power and money, the path of success can be made easily. It’s basically just having more chances to reach for success. If you compare the success rates between people who are rich and powerful and people who started out with nothing, the results are obvious. Still that does not mean possibility is not there. You just have to work harder or sacrifice other important things to reach your goal. Some people even willing to sold their soul in order to be success. It’s just the choice we have to make to get what we wanted. 

Things that caught my eyes:
The first thing that impressed me is the work of the hairstylist. It actually can bring out the beauty within a person with the right hair cut. The second thing is that women seems be more powerful and influential in this drama, even though men seems to be in control.

Japan Drama Rating:
Interesting to watch. This drama is special as we can see a dark evil side of Sayama Michio (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人 which will do anything to fulfill his dream. I think this is the first time that we see Fujiki Naohito (藤木直人) act on this type of character.

Purchase:
2009 Japanese Drama : Yako No Kaidan w/ Eng Sub

Drama Theme Song: Crime of Love by Fujiki Naohito

Japan Drama Preview:
Sorry, not available.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boku no Imotoぼくの妹 – Release April 09


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Egami Mei (Odagiri Joe) 小田切譲 and Egami Saya (Nagasawa Masami) 長澤まさみ are brother and sister with absolute opposite characteristic and personality. Egami Mei (Odagiri Joe) 小田切譲 is a talented doctor who is a quiet and generous but not good in socialize. He is neither good nor active in sports but loves cycling. Egami Saya (Nagasawa Masami) 長澤まさみ does not have a permanent job and not as smart as his brother. She is very good in socialize and is a street smart kind of person. Although both of the brother and sister have a different kind of life style, different point of views and different values, they take care of each other since their parents died. One day an incident which involves the death of a woman name Kirihara Satoko (Tomosaka Rie) ともさかりえ brings big impact to both their life.

Feelings and comments:
This is actually a normal ordinary story about brother and sister. The brother is a mature realistic person that always does the right thing. The sister does things according to her feelings and always gets into trouble. It’s a typical example of brother and sister. Even though they do things differently, they both have the same intention. They care for each other and they wanted to help as much as possible. The problem is sometimes the help they trying to do create more damages then good. That is why sometimes doing the right thing might not be helpful. This is where misunderstanding occurs if people don’t sit down and talk about it.
    This is a slow sentimental drama that focuses on the relationship between brother and sister. You have to be very patient in order to finish the drama. The death incident is the mystery that connects the drama together. There is lots of suspense too. I suppose that’s the only reason that makes me continue watching this drama. Once you get to know each of the characters in the drama, you’ll gain the curiosity to find out how things turn out at the end.

Things that caught my eyes:
Everything is simple and ordinary in this drama. Even the talented doctor Egami Mei (Odagiri Joe) 小田切譲 lives an ordinary life just like everybody else. The only special thing in this drama is the opposite characteristic of the brother and sister.

Japan Drama Rating:
Fan of Odagiri Joe (小田切譲) and Nagasawa Masami (長澤まさみ) should watch the drama. Most of the scenes in this drama are focus on both of them. You have to watch until the 3rd episode to find the interest to keep on watching. Honestly I think this drama is kind of boring.

Purchase:
Not available

Drama Theme Song: Futari by Ikimono-gakari

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wagaya no Rekishiわが家の歴史 – Release April 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
This is a drama that tells the story of a family from 1945 to 1964. The family of seven members goes through life as society of Japan changes drastically after the war. The family experienced poor, rich, losses, gain and many other issues. They witness the change of Japan history and famous historical people that appear around them.

Feelings and comments:
The story of this drama is simple as it’s almost like telling the history of Japan and the famous people that appeared during that time. The thing that makes the drama connects with the audiences is they included a normal regular family and tells their simple life story. This gives an impression to everybody that says “My life is just the same during that period of time”. Most important of all the drama has a whole army of top actors for almost all the roles and guest stars. You won’t feel the rush to keep on watching the drama and tries to finish in one shot. Instead you’ll feel a comfortable and relaxing sense of calm when watching the drama. Although life is not easy and most of the time it doesn’t goes as what we plan, but still it’s full of surprises and excitement. I suppose the best theme to describe this drama is “Don’t worry and be happy, eventually things will be fine.”

Things that caught my eyes:
The famous historical people guest star by popular actors is the most interesting parts in this drama. The family seems to meet all the Japan historical people during that period of time who soon to be famous. My favorite part of the drama is when they try to make the rice ball using the bowl without touching the rice. 

Japan Drama Rating:
Worth watching. This is a warm and comfortable drama suitable for all family members. It’s like listening to grandparents’ story. You’ll find some similarities with the popular US movie “Forest Gump”.

Purchase:
Original Soundtrack

Drama Theme Song: Jidai by Nakashima Miyuki

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mioka美丘 – Release July 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Minegishi Mioka (Yoshitaka Yuriko) 吉高由里子 has a rare disease and was told there was no cure for it. It’s a disease where her brain shrinks and there is nothing can be done for current medical knowledge. One day Minegishi Mioka (Yoshitaka Yuriko) 吉高由里子 stands over the fence on top of school building looking at the view thinking about her disease and the short remaining time she has. She was spotted by Hashimoto Taichi (Hayashi Kento) 林遣都 who rushes to the roof thinking that she might commit suicide. That’s how they first met. They perform a high level self introduction but were soon call down from the roof. It’s a love in first sight. Despite knowing the disease and the cruel reality that Minegishi Mioka (Yoshitaka Yuriko) 吉高由里子only have a year or less to live, they still decided to spend the little time they have together.

Feelings and comments:
If you like this type of romantic Japan drama which the girl pass away at the end of story, you probably like Taiyou no Uta, 1 Litre no Namida and Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu. Probably the way that couples cherish their limited time together makes these dramas so attractive. Plus people see things differently when told they have not much time left to live.
    This kind of drama actually brings out the acting ability of an actor. The success of this drama depends on how good the main actor presents. No doubt Yoshitaka Yuriko (吉高由里子) has successfully play Minegishi Mioka in this drama. If you check out the previous similar drama that I introduce above, all of the actors turn out successful after the drama.
    One particular repeated action you’ll notice in this drama is that Minegishi Mioka (Yoshitaka Yuriko) 吉高由里子 do things right now as soon as she thought of it. She does not wait nor think twice. Time is precious especially for Minegishi Mioka (Yoshitaka Yuriko) 吉高由里子. As she has only a year or more to live, she tries to do as many things she can. That is why her life is meaningful and enjoyable as she makes full use of her remaining time. Imagine if we can live for a thousand years but reduces to only hundred years, will we try to live out best to cover the things we lost for 900 years? I suppose it doesn’t matter how long we can live. What matters most is how we live the best of our lives within the given time.

Things that caught my eyes:
Despite of the sad crying scene, we see happy, enjoyable and cherish moment a lot more in this drama. It gives us feelings that although life has been shorten but it contains the best and wonderful moments of a normal 100 year life.

Japan Drama Rating:
Worth watching. This type of Japan drama never fails to touch the heart and soul of audiences. Each of these Japan dramas introduces different uncured diseases but presents the strong will and fighting spirits of a person to stay alive.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama: Mioka w/ Eng Sub

Drama Theme Song: Hotaru by Fukuyama Masaharu

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tsuki no Koibito月の恋人 – Release May 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya) 木村拓哉 is the president of a furniture company call Regolith. His vision is to supply furniture to every corner in the world under the name of Regolith. As his company launches the first outlet and factory in Shanghai China, Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya) 木村拓哉 met a poor factor worker name Liu Xiu Mei (Lin Chi Ling) 林志玲 and instantly falls in love with her. Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya) 木村拓哉 brought her back to Japan and trained her to be the company model. Besides Liu Xiu Mei (Lin Chi Ling) 林志玲 there are two other women that falls in love with Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya) 木村拓哉, Onuki Yuzuki (Kitagawa Keiko) 北川景子, the daughter of his rival company and Ninomiya Maemi (Shinohara Ryoko) 篠原涼子, the top furniture designer. As Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya) 木村拓哉 strive to expand his company in the competitive market, he faces lots of obstacles not just from his rival company but also his own employees. The success and falls of Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya) 木村拓哉 are related very much to the 3 women who love him. At the end who will Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya) 木村拓哉 choose for his partner of life?

Feelings and comments:
I have to admit the biggest attraction of this drama is to watch Lin Chi Ling (林志玲) interacts with other Japanese actors especially Kimura Takuya (木村拓哉). Perhaps all the other main actors are too talented and thus it magnifies the lack of acting experience within Lin Chi Ling (林志玲). Hopefully we can see more of Lin Chi Ling (林志玲) in the coming Japanese drama.
    The drama looks pretty good from all aspect but still it doesn’t feel good enough. Perhaps we have high hope that this drama can bring out a very romantic feeling but instead it shows more reality pressure and struggling to overcome obstacles.  I think with the same group of actors and production stuff but with a different story and script, this drama can be a hit. This also proves that if you use the best ingredients to produce a drama, it might not turn out as good as we expected.

Things that caught my eyes:
No doubt Liu Xiu Mei (Lin Chi Ling) 林志玲 is the focus in this drama. This is her first debut in Japan Drama. Although her acting performance still needs lots of improvement but we can see that she’s giving her best shot, especially at the beginning of the drama where she is able to put aside her beauty image for acting.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to Watch. This drama has great actors, great scene, great car, great song and great music but unfortunately lack of a great story line or script. I just felt a bit disappointed as this drama can be better.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama : Moon Lovers (Tsuki No Koibito) w/ Eng Sub

Drama Theme Song: LOVE RAIN ~ Koi no Ame ~ by Kubota Toshinobu

Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hotaru no Hikari ホタルノヒカリ Season 2 – Release July 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか has return to Japan after station for 3 years in Hong Kong. Her first action after returning to her old rented house is to transform back to “don’t worry but lay around and relax” style.  After 3 years Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか is still the same girl who likes to wear jersey and relax at home. Unfortunately Takano Seiichi  (Fujiki Naohito ) 藤木直人  who is her landlord, her superior and her boy friend already have lots of plans for both of them. As Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか is looking forward to get back to her same old lifestyle, Takano Seiichi (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人 is preparing to marry Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか. This is a big surprise to Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか as she lifestyle might take a big turn because of the marriage or after the marriage. While she is very happy with the suggestion, Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか has no idea about what marriage is about.

Hotaru no Hikari ホタルノヒカリ First Season Review

Feelings and comments:
Season 2 of this drama still is as good as season 1. There are lots of changes after 3 years but the chemistry between Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか and Takano Seiichi (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人 is still there. I guess the best part of this drama is to see how they interact with each other.
    This drama actually brings out all the concern from both parties when it comes to marriage. The example provided in this drama is very good as the differences between the couple are a lot but yet they are still able to work things out just because they understand and love each other. If you take a look closely you’ll find that they have differences in age, status, thoughts, personality and lifestyle. It’s almost like opposite attracts. Although it seems like this couple is a matching between brainless and brainy but the problems they encounter while preparing for the wedding are about the same as everybody else. At the end of the drama you might find that both of them are able to solve their problems and differences with just one simple method.

Things that caught my eyes:
I suppose the weird thoughts of Amemiya Hotaru (Ayase Haruka) 綾瀬はるか are the most interesting part. You’ll never know what to expect from this girl. Ironically Takano Seiichi (Fujiki Naohito) 藤木直人seems to understand her well enough to know exactly how she thinks.

Japan Drama Rating:
Worth watching. It’s a fun romantic comedy with getting married as the title theme. It will be better to catch up with the first season of this drama before watching second season.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama: Hotaru no Hikari II w/ Eng Sub, Theme Song Single

Drama Theme Song: Kimi ga iru by Ikimono-gakari


Japan Drama Preview:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rinjo臨場 Season 2 – Release April 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Kuraishi Yoshio (Uchino Masaaki) 内野聖陽 is a forensic expert who is very good in picking up details and finding out the truth. Kuraishi Yoshio (Uchino Masaaki) 内野聖陽 and his team is responsible in analyzing crime scene initially and determine if it is a suicidal case or murder case. Kuraishi Yoshio (Uchino Masaaki) 内野聖陽 has the habit of digging out the truth no matter what it takes. Sometimes he even goes beyond his authority to get the answer. Thus he always picks up fights with people in police department.

Rinjo臨場 First Season Review

Feelings and comments:
The crime scene is still as interesting as the first season but there is just not much excitement within. You can feel the second season seems to put in more budgets to produce a much better drama. Just like the first season, the investigation teams are able to solve one criminal case in one episode. Honestly there aren’t many changes compare to the first season. In the second season the investigation teams get a new boss and Kuraishi Yoshio (Uchino Masaaki) 内野聖陽 gets a new stuff as one of his subordinate gets transfer back to the original investigation team. Overall if you like the first season of this drama, you’ll be interested to take a look at the second season. I suppose the most interesting part in the second season is the unsolved case which involved the new guy that transferred to Kuraishi Yoshio (Uchino Masaaki) 内野聖陽’s team.

Things that caught my eyes:
Seems like most of the cases are solved by Kuraishi Yoshio (Uchino Masaaki) 内野聖陽. But his working attitude of sleeping in the office is not so encouraging.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. The second season still maintains the same quality and excitement. Although there is not much change in the story but there are improvements in overall production especially in music and theme song.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama : Rinjo II w/ Eng Sub, Ifu Doudou Single by Hirahara Ayaka

Drama Theme Song: Ifu Doudou by Hirahara Ayaka

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P/S: This preview is from season 1 as season 2 is not available.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chaseチェイス – Release April 10


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Japan Drama Story:
Haruma Sosuke (Eguchi Yosuke) 江口洋介 is a government agent for the National Tax Agency Bureau. His job is to investigate businesses or individuals who evades or falsely report taxes. One day a plane crash incident which causes the death of his wife changes his life. Haruma Sosuke (Eguchi Yosuke) 江口洋介 has to reduces his work load to take care of his daughter. In the other hand, several cases which Haruma Sosuke (Eguchi Yosuke) 江口洋介 used to handle reveals a connection towards the plane crash accident and the death of his wife. As Haruma Sosuke (Eguchi Yosuke) 江口洋介 started to investigate deeper, he found out a professional tax evades name Shuji Murakumo (Arata) 井浦新 who is behind several complicated tax evade plans. These plans involves international taxation are part of a huge deceive plan which links to the death of his wife.

Feelings and comments:
There are two things that make this drama interesting. First is the taxation law around the world and methods to evade tax. You may discover that taxation is a big topic which not just involves income taxes but also business taxes and international export/import taxes. It is fascinating to discover that in some countries there are no income taxes, and in some countries there is no inheritance tax.
    Second is the outstanding acting performance of Shuji Murakumo (Arata) 井浦新. He actually creates a very deep impression and mysterious aura which draws attention and curiosity of viewers. Haruma Sosuke (Eguchi Yosuke) 江口洋介 still is as good as always but Shuji Murakumo (Arata) 井浦新 turns out extraordinary in this drama.
    It’s a large amount of money as one has to pay inheritance tax of up to 50% of property. I won’t be surprise if people will take all necessary steps to reduce or evade the tax. Even normal salary man will try to pay as little tax as possible when filling income tax. So do we have anybody who is happy to pay their taxes?

Things that caught my eyes:
It’s interesting to know the differences of taxation laws in other countries. Especially for the case of inheritance tax, I beginning to understand why some people love to travel, buy a yachts and give birth in other country.

Japan Drama Rating:
Worth watching. This is an incredible crime story from a different way of approach.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama : CHASE (Kokuzei Sasatsukan) w/ Eng

Drama Theme Song: 退行by Naruyoshi Kikuchi

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Code Blueコード・ブルー 2nd season – Release Jan 10


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Japan Drama Story:
Young surgical interns Aizawa Kosaku (Yamashita Tomohisa) 山下智久, Shiraishi Megumi (Aragaki Yui) 新垣結衣, Hiyama Mihoko (Toda Erika) 戸田恵梨香 and Fujikawa Kazuo (Asari Yosuke) 浅利陽介almost completed their internship in Shoyo University’s North Hospital. This is the time they need to seriously consider their next destination in their surgical career. Some of them might graduate in flying colors and some might need to repeat their internship depending on their field performance. Despite surgical occupation is very challenging and tension, each of them has yet to deal with their personal problems.

Code Blueコード・ブル First Season Review

Feelings and comments:
I preferred the first season better. The second season has more tears and sadness than expected. It just felt that doctors sacrifice a lot of things to rescue lives. It will be better if the drama shows how these doctors release their tension and pressure. That should balance up the negative aura which viewers felt throughout the entire drama. I suppose humor is the best solution.
The second season focus more on each characters personal problems. They are able to deal with the problems successfully, but still it does not categorize as a happy ending. It’s more towards able to get over the things happened. I suppose this is what we call reality of getting through life. Surviving today and hopping for a better tomorrow.

Things that caught my eyes:
It seems like the Pub which belongs to Shiraishi Megumi (Aragaki Yui) 新垣結衣’s friend is the only place that they hang out other than hospital. This indicates doctors spend lots of time in Hospital, right?

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. Just like the first season with lots of medical cases and surgery. Unfortunately there are just too much tears and sadness.

Purchase:
2010 Japanese Drama: Code Blue (II) w/ Eng Sub2008 Japanese Drama: Code Blue w/ English Subtitle, Original Soundtrack, Special

Drama Theme Song: HANABI by Mr.Children

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sotsu Uta卒うた – Release March 10


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Japan Drama Story:
This is a 4 part episodes drama with independent story line but with same graduation topic. The first story is about high school graduation which we normally referred. The second story is about youngsters graduate from home and started to create their own new home. The third story is about a couple graduated from their relationship to pursuit their dreams. The fourth and final story is about a radio DJ graduated from a radio program. All 4 episodes are link to the radio DJ Tachibana Hitomi (Nagasawa Masami) 長澤まさみ. Takano Ayumi (Shida Mirai) 志田未来, Yamazaki Mariko (Kuninaka Ryoko) 国仲涼子 and Maejima Yurika (Kitano Kii) 北乃きい are actually the main characters of the first 3 episodes and fans of Tachibana Hitomi (Nagasawa Masami) 長澤まさみ.  Tachibana Hitomi (Nagasawa Masami) 長澤まさみ just share their stories on the radio program together with the right graduation songs.

Feelings and comments:
All 4 stories in this series of drama are very simple. It basically explains how people deal with an end of a relationship, journey or a process in life. Nothing is forever which is why we have the word graduation. It’s basically a review or a conclusion towards the things that we have done. It’s a turning point between an end and a beginning. It’s a changing point in life that we have to face and move on. In such situation we normally say “It’s time to grow up.”
Graduation is a path that we all go through in life. Only those who are able to overcome the obstacles and brave enough to face the changes can really understand and feel the spirit of graduation. If you have gone through lots of graduation, which means you’ve accomplish lots of things in your life. That’s a life that fills with stories and episodes. Graduation is simply the trophies that you gain.

Things that caught my eyes:
4 episodes of the stories are not related but all of them are connected through a radio DJ with the topic graduation. All of them are not related but they share the same thoughts from the beautiful graduation songs.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. It’s all about graduation. It’s not just about typical normal school graduation but includes different types of graduation within the journey in our life. It’s an end and beginning on part of our journey in life.

Purchase:

Graduation Song / Sotsu uta Japanese Movie Dvd English Sub NTSC All Region,

Drama Theme Song:
Best Friend by Kiroro
Michi by Exile
Kanade by Sukima Switch
Sotsugyo Shashin by Matsutoya Yumi





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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Massugu na Otokoまっすぐな男 – Release Jan 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Matsushima Kenichiro (Sato Ryuta) 佐藤隆太 works in a construction company. He is a straight honest man who will take action on things that he feels right. One day Matsushima Kenichiro (Sato Ryuta) 佐藤隆太 met Kurita Narumi (深田恭子) Fukada Kyoko in a party where she uses his identity to participate. Kurita Narumi (深田恭子) Fukada Kyoko is a mysterious girl who has a totally opposite character of Matsushima Kenichiro (Sato Ryuta) 佐藤隆太. Although both of them have lots of disagreement and argument but they keeps on bounce into each other. It seems like they don’t get along well but they always watch each other’s back. In fact they learn to see things differently from their different points of view towards life. As they are searching for partners and pursuing happiness in different ways, they find themselves attracted to each other as days goes by.

Feelings and comments:
I just felt that this drama has a flat tone. I’ve gone through 5 episodes of the drama but yet to find any excitement within. There are some jokes here and there but still that isn’t enough to make me continue watching nonstop. I think the way this drama presented does not lead viewers like a roller coaster but just a simple normal ride on a flat road. There are few talented actors in this drama but still it just feels like it doesn’t mix well and the flavors aren’t there.
    Basically this is a simple love comedy. Just that the story line did not focus much on the details. Sometimes you might wonder how the scene gets to this point and so on. Even the love story part starts to kick in only after couple of episodes.
    There is one part of the drama which I’m absolutely agreed about. Sometimes things aren’t what we think it is. The logic and realistic way of thinking that man always did can not apply to woman. Some women just have a different way of thinking which cannot be explain clearly. Instead of having only 2 options of judging things right and wrong. Women tend to have a 3rd option of neither right nor wrong. I think call it the grey area.

Things that caught my eyes:
The straight honest guy Matsushima Kenichiro (Sato Ryuta) 佐藤隆太 does not stand out as it suppose to be in this drama. Instead I find Kurita Narumi (深田恭子) Fukada Kyoko which always has unexpected action and conversation much more appealing.

Japan Drama Rating:
Fun to watch. Although there are lots of things that doesn’t make sense but still it’s good for a laugh.

Purchase:
Original Soundtrack, 2010 Japanese Drama: Massugu Na Otoko w/ Eng Sub

Drama Theme Song: Straight by Tortoise Matsumoto

Japan Drama Preview:
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Majisuka Gakuenマジスカ学園 – Release Jan 10


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Japan Drama Story:
Majisuka Gakuen is a girl school that fills with gangster students. There are lots of gangs in this school and Rappapa gang holds the strongest title. Only the strong will survive in this school. One day two students are transferred to Majisuka Gakuen. Both of them looks differently as one seems strong and the other seems week. Onizuka Daruma (Nachu) なちゅ picks up the first fight in school and won. Right after that she never wins another fight again. As for Maeda Atsuko (前田敦子), she wears glasses and only focused on her readings. She seems to be not interested at things happen around school. In fact she is a strong fighter when she gets serious.

Feelings and comments:
This drama is no doubt about AKB48 and for AKB48. The story and script of this drama is simple. Fans of AKB48 get to see a Yakuza style of AKB48 fighting with each other. Of cause the action scene won’t be so clear but still the drama is able to produce a Yakuza image. There are 48 members in AKB48. There aren’t many scripts that can actually fit in all the members. This is defiantly the drama made for fans of AKB48.
    Although the story line of this drama is simple but still you can see some AKB48 members can really act. It seems some of them have camera face that stands out on screen.

Things that caught my eyes:
We can see how producers and directors turn those cute girls into fighting machine, of cause without making any scar or spilling any blood.

Japan Drama Rating:
Fan of AKB48 should not miss this. This drama gives an opportunity for every member of AKB48 to test their acting ability. I’m sure will see more of them separately in other coming drama.

Purchase:
Majisuka Gakuen - 12 Episodes Japanese Drama w/ English Subtitle (Original 6 DVDs)

Drama Theme Song: Majisuka Rock n' Roll by AKB48

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunao ni Narenakute素直になれなくて – Release April 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
5 youngsters who don’t know each other get together through popular online social networking call Twitter. All of them have a simple wish, which is to find someone they can talk about anything without holding back. The group of friends is photographer Nakajima Keisuke (Eita) 瑛 太 or so call Nakaji, part time teacher Mizuno Tsukiko (Ueno Juri) 上野樹里 or so call Haru, sales girl Nishimura Hikari (Seki Megumi) 関めぐみ or so call Peach, magazine editor Ichihara Kaoru (Tamayama Tetsuji) 玉山鉄二 or so call Linda and medical equipment salesman Park Seonsu (Young Woong Jae Joong) 영웅재중 or so call Doctor. All of them have their own problems and difficulties at life and work. The best enjoyable moments they have is getting together, chit chat and have a couple of drinks.

Feelings and comments:
This drama is similar with a previous drama that I’ve introduced (Last Friends). If you’ve watch both drama then you’ll find lots of similarities within. Although this drama will gives you a sense of repeated scenario but still it’s very enjoyable and fills with lots of surprises. There are lots of misleading clips that plays around with your imagination but at the end it won’t be as what we expected. You will often hit by “Things are not what we seen.”  I suppose this is due to the ability of the script writer who is able to bring out new things out of the ordinary.
    Again you’ll find that Love is the main theme in this drama. Each of them are exploring and showing different kind of love. Some of them are able to say it out loud directly and some of them kept deeply within. Thus this described and brings out each of their characteristic or personality. As 5 of them are really good actors, they manage to bring out the immature love within youngsters. Although each of them is searching for partner of life, they still manage to maintain their friendship.

Things that caught my eyes:
This is the first drama that uses Twitter as communication tool instead of SMS or MMS. In order to do that the used of smart phone is a must, that’s where iPhone comes in. This gives a sense of trendy and feeling of updated new generation.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. This is a drama about love and friendship between 5 youngsters who met through Twitter. It is a story that describes how youngsters think and how they look at life and love.

Purchase:
Sunao ni Narenakute by Sugawara Sayuri, Hard to Say I Love You / Sunao ni Narenakute Japanese Tv Drama Digipak Collectible Boxset English Sub NTSC All Region

Drama Theme Song: Hard to say I love you ~Ii Dasenakute~ by WEAVER
Insert song: Sunao ni Narenakute by Sugawara Sayuri


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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tonari no Shibafuとなりの芝生 – Release July 09


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
After more than ten years of marriage, Takahira Tomoko (Seto Asaka) 瀬戸朝香 finally moved to the new house which the couple has been working hard for. It’s a double story house with 4 bed rooms which is just nice for the family with 2 kids. While the family is busy entertaining friends on house warming, the mother in law is planning a trip to visit the new house. Takahira Shino (Izumi Pinko)泉ピン子 or so call the husband’s mother is planning something bigger than just a visit. In fact she already decided to stay on for good. As little as the family knows her true intention, furniture and all her stuff has been sent over to the new house. The sudden change of the situation is not just the only surprise that the family gets as they need to learn to get along with the difficult mother in law, especially the wife.

Feelings and comments:
This drama is all about family, especially the relationship between mother in law and daughter in law. We can witness the Japanese culture of family values within the drama. At the end of every episode, quotes regarding family values are presented. This is definitely an educated drama on how family members should work together and create a healthy happy family.
    It might seem a simple life that this family have but the truth is simple might not be easy. Every family have their own story to tell, either it’s good or bad. The question is how does family work together to solve the problems and live a better life. It’s the responsibility, commitment and sacrifices which leads to the final goal of happiness. This drama brings out almost all the details and consideration most people have in mind. Although the drama is a remake after 33 years but still the relationship between daughter in law and mother in law is always not easy to deal with.
    I think the kids are doing a good job in this drama. I’m referring to the acting. As the drama also involves how children reacts towards the sudden involvement of grandmother in their life, the kids really puts up a good show in reflecting their emotion and thoughts.

Things that caught my eyes:
Perhaps it’s how the wife able to get though life taking care of the family while having a job that interests me. By the way, the new double story 4 bed room house seems nice.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. It’s a classic remake of a warm family drama. Probably suitable for those who loves family related drama without much excitement. At some point this is kind of a boring drama, especially for youngsters.

Purchase:
Sorry, not available.

Drama Theme Song: Hidamari by KadoFuji
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shinzanmono新参者 – Release April 10


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Kaga Kyoichiro (Abe Hiroshi) 阿部寛 is just transferred to Nihonbashi police department. As soon as Kaga Kyoichiro (Abe Hiroshi) 阿部寛 starts working in this new environment, a woman who is also new in town was murdered. Immediately Kaga Kyoichiro (Abe Hiroshi) 阿部寛 is put on the investigation group to check out the murder suspects. This also gives him a chance to get to know the people around the streets. One by one Kaga Kyoichiro (Abe Hiroshi) 阿部寛 reads their mind and see through the lies within the suspects. This eventually brings him closer to the actual killer.

Feelings and comments:
There are three common reasons that people lie. The first reason is to protect own self. The second reason is trying to scam or trick others. The third reason is to protect or cover for others. Human is a creature that is good in lying. If we can sense the lies within, then we can certainly figure out the truth behind. Lies are the shadows of truth. We just have to trace it back to where it comes from.
    It’s always interesting and fun to watch drama cast by Abe Hiroshi (阿部寛). His facial impression speaks even when silent. I suppose that’s what we call great acting. Never the less most of the guest stars appeared in this drama are main cast in several other dramas. I suppose that is why such a simple story drama can be well presented.
    There is one thing that really impresses me is that in the process of investigating the homicide case, Kaga Kyoichiro (Abe Hiroshi) 阿部寛 not just investigating the suspects but also helps to solve their problems. The work of the police is not just fighting crimes but also helps to improve quality life of others. I think this is call serving the public.

Things that caught my eyes:
Those delicious desserts are always around. Kaga Kyoichiro (Abe Hiroshi) 阿部寛 interests on those desserts are just the same as the homicide case.

Japan Drama Rating:
Worth watching. The story is simple but the drama is able to bring out the very best of all the touching moments. This is not just a simple homicide detective drama but a collection of touching stories surrounding all the suspects.

Purchase:
Original Soundtrack, 2010 Japanese Drama : Shinzanmono w/ Eng Sub

Drama Theme Song: Machimonogatari by Yamashita Tatsuro

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fumo Chitai不毛地帯 – Release Oct 09


Kumo Japan Drama sneak!!

Japan Drama Story:
Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明 used to be a military leader who is in charge of planning war strategy back in World War 2 in Japan. Right after Japan surrendered, Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明 was captured and sentenced to 11 years of hard labor in Siberian. After surviving the long in prison years he was finally released and return to Japan. While adjusting his life at home, he was given two choices on what he can do in his new life. Either he can return to military or choose to start a new career in a major trading company. Considering from the persuasion from his family Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明 decided to start his second life in business. Despite trying to avoid getting involved with military again, Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明still have no choice when it comes to defending the wealth and benefits of his country. The war still continues but this time the battle field is in the business world.

Feelings and comments:
It is said that business world is like a war zone. Lots of battles are carried out even until today. In the world today money reflects the power of a country. Instead of launching missiles, we launch assets and business buy over. Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明 is an example of turning his ability in planning war strategy towards the business trading world. Basically what he did is collecting information, analyze data, make use of his connection and utilize his stuff efficiently. No doubt he is brilliant in his work. All of his energy and focus are into the job. He did not spend much time with his family and children. Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明 is a typical workaholic who devoted his life for his company and country. Such talented individual can easily draw enemy or friends.
    This drama is mostly focus on how Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明takes on the challenges in business. You will witness his actions in automotive business, oil development business and jet plane business. This is a serious drama. You won’t see much of Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明’s smiling face.
    If you’re a Japan drama lover, you’ll find lots of talented actor and actresses participate in this drama. You’ll find lots of familiar faces that you saw in other Japan drama. I suppose that’s one of the reasons that this drama is nice to watch.

Things that caught my eyes:
Probably the most eye catching part is the ability of Iki Tadashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) 唐沢寿明 to resolved every problems he encounter in business. By the way there are lots of names or title which is similar with the actual name in the real world. I think you’ll notice it because the pronunciation is almost the same, especially the major car company in US.

Japan Drama Rating:
Nice to watch. This drama is a remake of 1979 drama series of 31 episodes. It’s a classic version with lots of talented actors within. It’s kind of a man drama with lots of business topics. It can be boring if you don’t like this type of drama.

Purchase:
Original Soundtrack, The Waste Land / Fumo Chitai - Complete Season 1 & 2 - Japanese Drama w/ English Subtitle (Original 11 DVDs)

Drama Theme Song: Tom Traubert's Blues by Tom Waits

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