Sunday, 15 October 2017

Chiisana Kyojin 2017 summary and review

Okada Masaki as the hot, secretive Yamada Haruhiko (山田春彦) 

I finally finished Chiisana Kyojin (小さな巨人 , literally translated as "Little Giants"), albeit it's not yet subtitled, hence following it is rather difficult. The series is so good that I watched it twice, partly to get a better understanding of the story, and partly just to have a Masaki-festa. Okada Masaki played as another detective, but unlike when he was at the Scientific Investigation Squad (as Inspector Yurine Tomohisa), this time Yamada Haruhiko (山田春彦) was a serious detective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Trivia: 春彦 Haruhiko means “the lad of spring time”, hence Yamada’s name can be interpreted as “the lad of spring time that wanders around the mountains and paddy fields”. Nice, eh?

I’m VERY happy that Masaki took this role, because Yamada diversified Masaki’s portfolio a lot. Yamada Haruhiko is officially my favourite Okada Masaki character to date (excluding those I haven’t seen, e.g., Nijimura Keichō and Katsura Kotarō). Seriously, Masaki was AMAZING as Yamada Haruhiko. Aside from the fact that I totally think he’s hot as Yamada, Masaki as Yamada also had a screen presence. Yamada’s steps were decided, determined and – at times – also threatening.  His manner of speaking was brisk and at times clipped, such that it created throbbing sensations in my heart (and I’m not the only one thinking like that…). Unlike many of Masaki’s characters (the unlucky yet kind Kakushidate Yakusuke comes to mind) who had the penchant of speaking long sentences very fast, Yamada’s sentences are jagged and to the point. Yamada isn’t a person who beats around the bush, and he’s generally very clear of what he wants. Masaki also retained his habit to pronounce every “u” in any “desu” Yamada said (instead of just “des”), and this actually had lent to more impactful conversations with his jagged deliveries.

(I have not finished summarizing all episodes, though I know the general storyline now. Therefore, I am just going to post up to Ep 7 here and then I will add more as I finish each episode recap).


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bloodthirsty Justice - an Okada Masaki MV


So I made my first Okada Masaki MV last night! I didn't think I'd finish it so quickly, but I did! I chose Rurutia's 'Hallelujah' as the music, and it's a beautiful arrangement by the very talented singer. The music, however, is full of beats that I have to sync with the clips, hence I thought I would need at least a full day's of work for that. Glad that I finished it in just a few hours.

I combined three of Masaki's recent characters that I love: Nijimura Keichō 虹村形兆  (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure live action 2017), Yamada Haruhiko 山田春彦 (Chiisana Kyojin 2017) and Aoki Ikkō 青木一行 (Himitsu: the Top Secret 2016). I thought it would be nice to pit Masaki's characters against each other, in this case Keichō vs the team up of Yamada and Aoki.  I quite like the result.

Was thinking of using Masaki's character as Hazama Kurō (the Young Black Jack 2011), but I had no space for him in the MV. Perhaps next time if I can find Seinaru Kaibutsutachi clips, for that would mesh well with Black Jack.

Rurutia's 'Hallelujah' lyrics are after the break. Hope you like the MV!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

A Lost Love, A Found Love

A Chiisana Kyojin fanfiction, starring Okada Masaki, Yoshine Kyoko and Hasegawa Hiroki. Contains spoilers, thus those who prefer not to be spoiled might be better off not reading this fan-fiction… 

Okada Masaki-kun as the sizzling hot Yamada Haruhiko 山田春彦 (Chiisana Kyojin, Ep 5)

The autumn rain kindly drizzled just as the funeral service was being concluded. Since it was just a drizzle, none of the very few attendants moved away from around the grave; they just produced their umbrellas and respectfully waited until the priest had finished the procedure. Yet, as it rained harder, one by one the attendants left, leaving Yamada Haruhiko standing in the rain as he watched the workers industriously closed the pit.

Sayōnara, Otō-sama…

Yamada felt warm drops slowly running over his face. Warm, so uncharacteristic of the autumn rain. Yet, it wasn’t the rain: it was his tears. Annoyed, he wiped his tears away.

“Yamada, we should go home now.”


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Himitsu: Top Secret (2016) review

Okada Masaki as the disturbed Clark Kent, I mean, Aoki Ikko


There are many things I love about Okada Masaki. His acting, his friendliness, his goofiness, his smile, his laughter, his hair (yeah, even his perm)… but most of all, I love his optimism and pure, utter sincerity. I posted earlier that Masaki’s name consists of two characters: 将 Masa (leader, future) and 生 Ki (life, pure). Together, 'Masaki' 将生 denotes 'prosperity'. While I’m of course glad that he prospers throughout the years, I’m more than happy to see that he still has that purity in him (as per the other meaning of 生), albeit all the attentions and success he receives. If I were him, I don’t think I could be that sincere. I will try to be sincere, but Masaki seems to just exudes that sincerity organically.

His sincere and optimistic personality is made more pronounced after watching two of Masaki’s latest production: “Chiisana Kyojin (Little Giants)” and “Himitsu: Top Secret”. None of them are yet subtitled, but gratefully I can still understand the majority of the storyline. I love Chiisana Kyojin and I will make  have made a dedicated post about it. For now, this post is about Himitsu: Top Secret.


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Suggested projects for Okada Masaki

Masaki-kun is so cute with glasses...

That’s what happens when you leave a love for several years (or decades). When you return, he (or they) demand a lot of attention. Michael Miu and Barbara Yung demanded my attention for two years… Candy and Terry demanded my attention and brain cells for two months or so… and now Okada Masaki-kun demanded I spend time with him a lot since I last wrote about him in 2013. I’ve been cramming on Masaki series for the last two weeks that I feel my Japanese has improved slightly… and my sleep reduced significantly. Happy, Masaki-kun?

Anyway. After rambling about his latest projects here, I think a post on suggested future projects for Masaki-kun is needed. I have three suggested projects for Masaki based on my favourite manga, anime and novel. So anyway, the projects I suggested are: Yokohama Monogatari (manga by Waki Yamato), Prince Heinel in Voltes V (Toei), and the Cloud of Sparrow (Matsuoka Takashi). Beforehand, though, I just want to share a trivia about his name. Well, not really trivia, cos it’s beautiful and meaningful, actually.


Monday, 25 September 2017

Masaki Medley

Okada Masaki's latest character as Nijimura Keichō
in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2017), a totally irresistible bastard 

I haven't watched Okada Masaki series for a while. The last Okada series that I watched was Legal High 2 (2013) where he was the supporting actor for Aragaki Yui's and Sakai Masato's characters. I wasn't really impressed by Masaki-kun's character in Legal High 2 (too upbeat and cheerful, too one-dimensional), until the last episode that is, when Sakai Masato's character managed to make Masaki's character angry. And it was a very nice explosion, but too limited a use of Masaki's spectrum of talent.

Anyway, then about two weeks ago, I found out that Masaki-kun starred against Oguri Shun again in 2017 in Gintama live action as Katsura Kotarō. That finding rebooted my fan-girling of Okada Masaki, thus this post, where I will briefly post videos, photos or GIFs of Masaki-kun in his recent roles since playing as Minamoto no Yoritomo in "Taira no Kiyomori". Including in this post are Masaki-kun's character as Nijimura Keichō (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), Katsura Kotarō (Gintama), Kakushidate Yakusuke (Okitegami Kyōko no Biboroku), Yamada Haruhiko (Little Giants, Chiisana Kyojin), and... a very surprising fact that Masaki actually participated in 2-3 stage performances (!!) in 2014!

It has been a great journey re-finding Okada Masaki, for his acting has matured since then... (although I am very proud that he played Yoritomo and narrated that Taiga drama!). Hence, consider me a very happy fan of Okada Masaki!


Saturday, 23 September 2017

The 10-years delayed dinner

After about four years of hiatus, I saw Okada Masaki's series again. Love them, still love him. Then I saw Himitsu no Akko-chan last night (Eng-sub), and decided to write this fan-fiction. Hope you like it. The story takes place after the last scene in the movie. 


Akko (Haruka Ayase) and Naoto (Okada Masaki), Himitsu no Akko-chan (2012)


Kagami Atsuko looked absentmindedly at the paperwork in front of her. The approval document for the new organic facial cleanser that she developed with her new team has to be signed by the manager of the R&D team tomorrow. She knew there was nothing wrong with the document or the associated product, trials had indicated that the customers loved the product and it would sell well.

However, there’s one tiny problem for the document. It had to be signed by Hayase Naoto, the R&D Manager. And since her reintroduction to Akatsuka last April, facing Hayase-san, or Naoto as she used to call him, had been difficult. Apparently, things didn’t remain the same forever.

Originally, she was ecstatic that she was accepted in the Research & Development Office, the same department that Naoto had been leading for more than 10 years. The department was bigger now, it had an established cosmetics section and a separate skin care section. Within the cosmetics section, they had developed cosmetics for daily use, for gala dinner, and for anything in between, including a new section for teenagers. Within the skin care section, they had developed the organic line. Akko was assigned in that department, which shared the same wing with Naoto, yet a different section thus she couldn’t always see him.



Sunday, 27 August 2017

Epilogue (Anohito’s voice, smile and his open arms)

Is Terry's gentle smile also Anohito's smile? (manga from Chapter 4,
art by Igarashi Yumiko, story by Mizuki Kyoko)

In this post, we will look at the three aspects on that passage: Anohito’s voice, his smile, and his open arms to which Candy run into. I have explained them sporadically in the summary of Nee-chan’s blog, but I think a more dedicated post on this passage is needed.

After a laborious day (I kid you not), using JishoRomajidesu, and Nihongo-pro, I finally deciphered the whole Epilogue in Japanese script. Before I resume, though, I’d like to reiterate the importance of Candy’s monologues (including Prologue and Epilogue). These monologues show what happened in Candy’s current life with Anohito. We can decipher Anohito’s identity from the hints in Candy Candy Final Story flashbacks and manga. I agree with Scottie that the anime isn’t as faithful as manga, so I don’t use the anime as a source. 

It has to be said: even though Candy still had emotions to Terry by the time she wrote her unsent letter, she could have changed by the time Terry sent her his letter post-Susanna’s death. Also, although I couldn’t detect any romance between Candy and Albert in her last letter to Albert, her feelings to him could also have changed by the time Terry sent her his letter post-Susanna’s death. I have to take those possibilities into account. Having said that, Albert’s habits and Terry’s habits found in the manga and CCFS flashbacks are still very useful when analyzing Candy’s monologues. Those are historical records of Terry’s and Albert’s personalities, and we should not discount them in analyzing Candy’s monologues.

Go to my new Candy Candy blog to read the rest of the article! 

Update 29 August 2017: I have uploaded an article discussing the notorious scene where Candy and Terry were having slapping-contest here.  I do not agree with Terry slapping Candy back, but I see it more in a larger context of him as a teenager who had been emotionally neglected and abused since childhood. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Candy Candy Final Story Proposed Chronology and Timeline

In which the blog authoress postulates her theory about the chronology and timeline of Candy Candy the Final Story. Scroll down to the end of the letter – I mean, post – to read the proposed timeline. Also, check my new Candy Candy blog here!

Candy's wish to be with Terry has be granted! (panel from Chapter 8,
story by Mizuki Kyoto, art by Igarashi Yumiko)

Thanks to Nila from the CandyTerry.com, I’ve gained access to the precious unofficial English translations of the Candy Candy the Final Story. The translations were done by many fans, and because I do not have their permissions to disclose their screen names, I will not attribute the translators one by one. Suffice to say I’m forever grateful for their service. If you’d like to read those translations, contact Nila at the CT Forum for access.

I was rather worried before reading the novel, worried that it would be too difficult to understand. However, the novel turns out to be not so difficult to follow. Nagita Keiko wrote CCFS in flashback styles, here represented by a third person reminiscence of the events in Candy’s life from her childhood at Pony’s Home until she left St. Paul’s. Those events are divided into two volumes, Volume 1 (up to Candy knowing Terry’s lineage secret at St. Paul’s) and Volume 2 (until Candy left St. Paul’s to pursue Terry in America). Volume 1 contains Chapter 1 (Anthony’s story) and Chapter 2 (Terry’s story), while the first part of Volume 2 contains Candy’s life with Terry in St. Paul’s London.  Candy only returned to her present time twice until this moment: the first one was after reminiscing on Anthony’s death and the second one was when she started to reminisce on her journey to and in the UK.  I think these recollections or monologues serve the novel well, for it bridges us back to the “present moment” where Candy was at her new home by the Avon River.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Anohito analyses recap and Candy Candy end theme

Check my new Candy Candy blog here!

Candy imagining herself and Terry, Chapter 4

I’ve recapped the summary of a Japanese blog about Anohito last weekend (I nicknamed the author as "Nee-chan"). It’s a rather long post, so I better make a more simplified recap of Anohito facts and analyses. I will also present an interesting epiphany I obtained from listening to Candy Candy end theme (“Ashita ga suki”), the lyrics of which were written by Mizuki Kyoko (a.k.a Nagita Keiko) herself.

In recapping the analyses of Anohito, I use Nee-chan’s blog posts and also Scottie’s post. To be fair(er) to pro-Albert fans, I’ll refrain from talking about two main events in the Candy Candy the Final Story, i.e. Susanna Marlowe’s death and Terry’s letter to Candy afterwards. I will not analyse Candy’s unsent email to Terry, because, assuming that Candy later fell in love with Albert, that letter, and Terry’s letter to Candy post-Susanna’s death, became a moot point. However, if Candy later fell in love with Albert, I don’t think that Candy would not reply to Terry’s letter, as Bequi claimed. I think Candy would still write to Terry, but she would inform the poor man that her heart now belonged to someone else…

I will also exclude the last few letters between Albert and Candy in the Epilogue of CCFS, because as I said in my previous post, the nature of those letters is such that those letters had to be exchanged immediately after Candy learned that Albert also the Prince of the Hill. Thus, those letters cannot be the chronological epilogue, as Scottie rightly argued. Those letters should be placed way earlier in the chronology. Regarding a letter from Candy to Albert where she was thinking of returning her own diary back to Albert for safe keep, I still think that the letter is also not part of the chronological epilogue. The tone of her letter (p. 322 Japanese ver.) makes me think that her heartbreak (because of the separation with Terry) wasn't truly healed yet, hence she wanted Albert to keep her diary once more. She did say that she was happy, but the tone denies that ("At this time, the diary that you have returned to me is with me. But I have not opened it."). You can read the translation at CT Forum, but you need to register first (contact Nila for registration).

Friday, 11 August 2017

Candy Candy the Final Story: summary of a Japanese blog on Anohito

This post contains my summary of some blog posts of a Japanese Candy-Terry fan. Notable findings (to me) are the original Japanese scripts for the complete collections of Shakespeare leather-bound books, the two references to daffodils, the "Uncle William" reference in Candy's very important monologue, and my realising that the letters between Candy and Albert should indeed be placed way earlier in the chronology, instead of placed in the Epilogue. Also check my new Candy Candy blog here!

Candy saw Terry in Scotland, Chapter 3
(story by Mizuki Kyoko, art by Igarashi Yumiko)

I've finished re-reading the Candy Candy manga. I’m glad to report that I still think Candy should end up with Terry, although Albert is truly a magnificent person. Truly, Albert was indeed an admirable person, and had CCFS not been published, I’d still consider him as Candy’s eventual husband, although not by choice (because Candy would still be with Terry had the New York incident not happened).

During my re-reading, I also cried several times, particularly when Anthony, Archie and Mr McGregor died. Unexpectedly, I didn't cry when Terry and Candy broke up, but it's mostly I think because I know Nagita Keiko has mercifully killed Susannah Marlowe hence freeing Terry to pursue Candy again. I was still gutted, though, seeing Terry chasing Candy down the stairs and hugging her, sobbing helplessly, didn’t want to let her go. Then, arriving at Chapter 9, I burst into tears as I read the Rockstown section, where Candy saw the despair Terry had post break up... and I cried again when he rose from his drunken stupor and embraced his true acting talent once more. I was once again sad when Candy, sitting by the fire with William Albert Ardlay next to her, reminiscing of another hearth in Scotland, in front of which she sat with Terry. 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Candy Candy the Final Story: the Real Happy Ending

Check my new Candy Candy blog here!

Terence G. Granchester and Candy White Ardlay (art by Yumiko Igarashi)

Created by Kyoko Mizuki and drawn by Yumiko Igarashi, Candy Candy was my first anime, if not the second, after Lulu the Flower Princess. That was way back in the mid 1980s when I was about 9-10 years old, when all mangas and animes were innocent and non-exploitative…

I love Candy for her exuberant character, despite all the hardship she had to endure as an orphan in Indiana USA. I thought that Candy would be forever with Anthony Brown, the sweetheart she met during her trying days at the Lagan House. Yet, I never finished her story, for somehow my VHS/Beta rental store stopped supplying her stories. Then when I was already in college, this was already 1992 onwards, I started reading Candy Candy manga from cover-to-cover, all the nine volumes. I remember the days when I went to Gramedia just to buy the next CC instalment. I returned to her early days in Pony Home, her beautiful days with Anthony Brown, Alistair Cornwell and Archibald Cornwell, her broken heart when [SPOILERS] Anthony died… and then my heart beat when she met Terence Granchester. Terry, the naughty yet broken boy who made her laugh again (but not before forcing her to face her nightmares about Anthony).

Then, as I reached for Volume 7, I cried my heart out when she and Terry broke up. Not because they grew out of love… but because Candy chose to leave Terry to Susanna Marlowe, a girl who rescued Terry during an accident. My heart broke when Candy left Susanna’s hospital in a snow blizzard, as Terry tried to stop her from leaving…


Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year 2017 and jianghu updates

Happy New Year 2017! May 2017 brings us more health, happiness, peace and joy...

Recapping what I've uploaded in the River and Lake site, I've posted Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 of Runaway Dragon and Missing Phoenix. I've also posted a self-musing fanfic about me and my charming but at times annoying muses here. Then a deleted chapter of Runaway Dragon here, then old photos of Michael Miu and Barbara Yung here (thanks to Hannah for the photos!).

Last but not least, two MVs of the United We Stand using Leslie Cheung's "A Thousand Dreams of You" and Madonna's "He's a Man".

Thanks, 2016... and blessings for 2017...