Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Skip Beat Review: Live-Action Drama!!!

The long-anticipated Skip Beat has finally come out in live action! I was surprised when I saw this on mysoju whilst skimming the newly added shows.

Skip Beat AKA Extravagant Challenge, is a Taiwanese drama that stars Korean actors, Siwon and Donghae along with Taiwanese main actress, Ivy Chen. The drama is based off the original Japanese manga, "Skip Beat" by Nakamura Yoshiki.

After watching the first episode, I found myself a bit torn because there are some situations that are a bit too comical and ridiculous in humor. An example would be the scene where Gong Xi (Mogami Kyoko) is riding her bike inhumanly fast to get a poster at a store. I guess this drama is going to be one of those that religiously stay true to the manga so I just brush off the ridiculousness.

The episodes actually do get better and much funnier/heartfelt as they go on. I watched up to episode 4 and so far so good! The humor gets a lot less ridiculous after the first two episodes.

Ivy Chen does an excellent job portraying Mogami Kyoko's character. She's very emotional and has a lot of energy (including negative) like her character should. She has a wide variety of expressions in her face which can range from sweet and sentimental to ridiculously funny/PO'd. I also like her evil laugh. HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! *v*

Siwon on the other hand... He's good-looking and tall but I don't think he has the 'dark' image that Ren Tsuruga would have. I believe Siwon is good at acting quiet and cold but more in a humorous or stuck up way like 'mister arrogant'. When he's doing his acting, he seems calm and composed but it doesn't have any dark undertone to it and there's no strong and charismatic energy coming from him. So I was a bit disappointed with the casting of him as Dun He Lian (Tsuruga Ren).

Donghae... He is so cute in this drama. I believe that he fits his character very well and he makes a very arrogant and conceited Bu Puo Shang (Fuwa Shou).

I think that in a way, it's the character that is arrogant/shallow/mean but sweet underneath it all that's easier for actors to portray so most are successful at it. Donghae even looks the part so that's another plus for him.

Now for my criticism. The thing that bother's me the most is the bad graphics. I'm sorry but after hearing what a high budget this drama has, I would've expected better graphics.

It doesn't look too bad here, but anyway, the 'evil sprites' are cheesey-looking and remind me of a CGI kids' series that's based off a much better animated movie such as Kung Fu Panda or Madagascar. The animated evil sprites just make me cringe from the bad quality. The colors look dull for one thing, especially in the opening song. There's also that CGI chicken thing in the opening song and both CGI's just KILL me because the opening song is so GOOD and even the video concept with repetitive movements is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E.
But then they show the chicken and evil sprites and it just makes me feel awkward... (~__~)

Lastly, I'm wondering to myself about the fact that they have Korean actors acting in a Taiwanese drama WHILE being dubbed. I mean, if they had to go through the trouble of dubbing over the actors' real voices, wouldn't they want to simply cast a Taiwanese actor??? I recall reading another blog and its comments and one commentor questioned if Taiwanese actors aren't good-looking enough. lol
But I was like, yeah! Seriously, right?

After thinking about it for a bit, it could be because all of Asia is sooooo crazy about Super Junior and they even have them singing in Mandarin so maybe SM Entertainment wanted to try getting Korean actors into the Taiwanese market... Perhaps this is like an experiment?

I also hear that Koo Hye Sun (Geum Jandi from the popular K-drama "Boys Before Flowers") is going to be acting in the upcoming Taiwanese drama, "Absolute Boyfriend" (another drama based off an original Japanese manga). At first I was wondering if she would be speaking in Mandarin but now I'm starting to believe my assumption is probably too good to be true. They might have her act and speak in Korean and then dubb over her real voice. I really hope not but that might be the case seeing what they did with Siwon and Donghae.

Anyway, I HOPE they didn't cast Super Junior members because Taiwan doesn't think Taiwanese actors are good enough. I can already think of a few Taiwanese actors that could probably portray Tsuruga Ren's character better than Siwon.

I found that Jerry Yan was originally cast to play Tsuruga Ren and he already looks so much more like the character!


Doesn't he have a much darker-look than Siwon? I feel bad because Siwon is already cast but IMO, Jerry Yan would have been a better choice. It's just too bad it didn't turn out that way. D:

Sorry Siwon, but you still seem more like the type that's the arrogant/stuck up guy who eventually becomes a softy. I hate to say it but I also think an actor's appearance plays some part of the picture. Siwon just does NOT look like Tsuruga Ren.

That's what I think of the drama. I think it's really funny and has a lot of promise besides the fact that the graphics aren't that great and the Korean actors' voices are dubbed over them speaking KOREAN... Yes, KOREAN. I read that they speak Korean while acting and they're being dubbed in Mandarin over THAT. No wonder the lip movements were so off at times...
Imagine watching Tsuruga Ren talking but his voice is not matching his lip movements.. This is kinda a mood killer.

Well, whatever, maybe Korea and Japan will pick up the fact that Skip Beat is an AMAZING story and decide to make their own versions. Not saying that the Taiwansese version is completely bad. There are just a few things that bother me about it but besides that, it's very funny and amusing and most of the actors and cast are great. :D

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Code Geass: Sexy bishounen, bishoujo, and MECHAS!!!

Somehow I can always find more good anime even after watching an amazing one as Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood which has so much caliber.

So after getting depressed over FMA Brotherhood ending, I thought about all the anime I saw in pictures but never watched and came across none other than the Code Geass series.

The series is VERY good. Story and animation both A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and thankfully, consistent as well. I'm so happy that anime coming out these days are consistent in their quality. Basically the story is about this hot guy named Lelouch (exiled prince of Britannia) who fate has it, meets a mysterious girl that gives him the power of "Geass." This grants him the power to tell people to do whatever he wants. So he goes ahead and uses it to bring down the Britannian Empire (who is in the process of taking over every country on Earth) so he can make a better world for his disabled sister. That's about it in a nutshell.

I didn't watch it all this time, maybe because I just wasn't sure about it. My bro watched this before me and he would always joke about how all the male characters have no penis, lmao. It makes sense though because YES, I admit I am a bit of a perv, but the dudes in this anime wear REALLY tight spandex suits (come on, we can't help but look there!) and there's nothing, not even space for one! lol I also find it funny that their legs/arms are ridiculously long and skinny. Damn anime characters having stick legs. lol But their eyes, *sigh* beautiful. I like to draw manga/anime so I always appreciate unique looking eyes. The animators did a great job.

I guess you just get used to the artwork after watching the anime. It really is beautiful and Lelouch especially is quite the pretty boy. I have a new respect for CLAMP after watching Code Geass. They come up with the most kick ass character designs. *Artwork from CLAMP above*. Their designs will give people eyegasms, I swear. (*_*)



SO! Unfortunately for naive me, when I borrowed the Code Geass DVD's, I ended up watching the R2 series first AKA, season 2 of Code Geass. AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, how could I have been so dumb??!! The writers did a very nice job with the storyboarding though because I didn't really have any problem keeping up even if I didn't watch the first series. I was just confused with all the flash backs and would wonder, are they ever going to get to these? lol Little did stupid me know that the flashbacks were from season 1.
I saw the ending and was like (@o@)! WHY~~~~~~~~~~~~
***I won't give any spoilers if you haven't watched it but it's one of the best endings I've ever seen in an anime***

Now I'm watching season one online (sometimes I wonder why I borrow anime DVD's when I can find almost anything I want on the internet.. (-__-)

I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes action, a little romance, comedy, and a cool and original story.