Sunday, 23 December 2012

9 Years of Being Gods of the East

For the past 9 years, five boys have been continuing to inspire me through their passion and music. They're the five boys who introduced me to KPOP, and they're pretty much the main reason why I stayed. They may be in two groups now, but I'll always consider the three as inactive members of TVXQ. Hee. This is such a tricky situation since I know that ChangMin and YunHo are the only ones performing as TVXQ, but I cannot not consider JaeJoong, YooChun and JunSu as TVXQ, too. I knew them as 5 and the magic that the five of them created is impossible to forget!

Being in this fandom is not easy, really not easy. People will always ask you who are you talking about when you say TVXQ. Homin or DB5K? I am often left speechless because I do not know myself. I have never seen so much war go on in a fandom. Just look at any comment section on their Youtube videos and you'd be disheartened at how the fans talk to other fans. The boys never wanted us to fight. Divided Cassiopeia is a sad sight to see especially if you know how amazing and powerful this fandom can be if united.

But these five individuals have proven time and time again why it's all worth it. Why all this hoping and waiting and believing is worth it. All the support and time and love we give them, they repay by being one of the humblest and most talented idols in the business. They will always be the gods of KPOP for me. And since the 23rd of December on 2003, they have been making their fans proud of them. I know I'll always be proud of them. Always.

It's their singing that got into this whole emotional business called fangirling. I have no regrets, though. I can never put into words why I love them so I'll just let the following videos speak for themselves. I think these are the videos that fully show their talent and color as a group.

Stand By U
The Secret Code, 2009

Love in the Ice
~T~ Tour 2008

Why Did I Fall in Love With You
A-Nation 2008

Mirotic Concert in Seoul, 2009

Purple Line
A-Nation 2008

Hug (Acapella)
Five in the Black, 2007

KBS, I do not know the year, prolly 2009 

I have no idea when I'll see the five of them perform on the same stage again. Heck, just even seeing them on the same broadcast seems to be too far-fetched. But I will not lose hope. They may not come back as TVXQ and the five of them may not perform as Dong Bang Shin Ki, a fellow fan once said that they could still perform as as JYJHM and I'll take that! :)

And now, for the two people who decided to continue the name of Dong Bang Shin Ki, who proves all detractors that they can survive as two, here's a message for you:

I respect your decision and people may always give you not enough credits for what you do, but us, Cassies will support you despite it all. We believe in your passion and your talent, and some people may think otherwise, but you are strong individuals who give your 100% in everything you do, and I love you. I love you as much as my fangirl heart can possibly allow me to.

To leader-sshi and the snarky maknae, I will always, always be your fan. I might have been inactive during the hiatus but I'm back now. And I don't think I'm going anywhere else. Just be your perfect selves and I'm pretty it will be pretty easy to stay as a fan. I have easily done it all these years, and I see no reason to stop. You have grown over the past two years and I know the battles you faced (and are still facing) only toughen you and make you such strong individuals. I am pretty sure that you can take on anything and I'm also pretty sure that we, fans, will always be behind everything you do.

And to the three who I'm pretty sure still want to be TVXQ, we are waiting. The lawsuit is now over and we are waiting for you. I could only wish the very best for you. And I don't care whatever group name you perform in because you, JaeJoong, YooChun, and JunSu, will always be one of the five Koryans that will be closest to my heart. I believe in your music and I'm pretty sure that someday, you'll  one day once again stand on stage and face broadcast.

Happy 9th anniversary, TVXQ.

And when I say I am keeping my faith, I only mean I believe that you will one day perform as five, and it doesn't even matter if you call yourselves as TVXQ or just be a nameless band. It doesn't matter. I believe in your music, and most of all, I believe in your friendship.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Rurouni Kenshin (2012)

I saw Rurouni Kenshin last Friday and my excitement hasn't worn off. After months and months of waiting, months and months of dying to know whether it'd be shown in the Philippines, I finally saw the most awaited live action movie of the year. I think no other Japanese film had been anticipated this year as much as the anticipation for this movie.

And it didn't disappoint. If the tons of applause during the closing credits is any indication, the movie gives justice to the much loved anime and the fans appreciate it. I remember watching Samurai X right after I got home from school almost a decade ago. And what I felt then when I watched it on TV was magnified a hundred folds whenever Sato Takeru appears on the screen and perfectly brings to life Himura Kenshin's character.

I remember very little from the anime and I haven't read the manga, so I cannot give a fair comment whether the movie stayed faithful to the original material. But I can tell you that they chose a perfect actor to embody Battousai. It's a delight to watch Sato Takeru because you don't see an actor playing Kenshin, but you see Kenshin himself. He is so so so perfect as Kenshin and I seriously have no idea how to say that without being too biased.

I cannot cite a specific flaw in the movie because I am way overwhelmed with what makes it amazing. There are too many reason so let's just enumerate them:

The perfect Kenshin. As I've mentioned and emphasized and raved about, Sato Takeru is the perfect Kenshin. I wondered why they decide only decided this year to make a movie out of the manga, and I realized that maybe they're waiting for Sato Takeru to appear. There's a lot of pressure on him since he's playing one of the most celebrated anime characters of all time. Heck, even people who don't really watch anime know him! And there he is, proving in every scene why he's the right choice. He can pull off the silly Kenshin with his hunger issues and child-like approach to things, and he can also pull off the fierce Battousai who can wipe out an entire personal army. And when he did that Hiten Mitsurugi  stance, oh my god. SATO TAKERU I LOVE YOU. I can't stress that enough. This movie cemented him on top of the list of my favorite Japanese actors. I just love everything he's in.

Kickass action sequences. My jaw dropped a couple of times during the movie, and it's mostly because of the fight scenes. How they make it seem so realistic, I'll never know. Sato Takeru can't be that fast in real life! But really. It's all well-executed! And who could forget that comic but intense fist fight between Sanosuke and Inui Banjin? Definitely one of the most enjoyable parst of the movie. My second favorite is definitely the one between Kenshin and Sanosuke because that's all laughs and stunts, too, though Kenshin doesn't exactly do anything. Heh.

Awesome set of cast. I still feel like Aoki Munetaka is too small to be Sanosuke but he has that charm that I think my other choices for the role can't pull off. Aoi Yuu is perfect as Megumi, of course. I actually didn't expect her to be a fantastic Megumi since I only saw her in subdued roles, very feminine ones, too. But her flirty, sassy, and smart Megumi pawns Takei Emi's Kaoru. Though many people don't really like her portrayal of Kaoru, I don't have much complaints, mostly because I had never been a fan of the character, anyway. But overall, I think they did a pretty good job! Even the villains are amazing! Kagawa Teruyuki's crazy Kanryu is enjoyable to watch. He's the kind of villain you won't exactly hate because he's doing such a fine job creating an exciting conflict for our hero. Also, Tanaka Taketo's Yahiko is too adorable! I can't even. To think that I didn't really like anime Yahiko. Anyway.

Compelling narrative. For a two-hour long movie, it manages to fit quite a lot of events in the story. There's no filler scenes, only essential ones to create an exciting narrative. Though you'd feel it's too short because you want more, it's safe to say that the movie feels complete. Even people who have no Samurai X background won't get confused since the movie has a cohesive flow. It doesn't assume anything by ommitting scenes, thinking that it's unnecessary since the audience know it already. Many adaptations tend to do that, and I'm just glad Rurouni Kenshin didn't take that path.

I may be biased in this little commentary, but this movie only strengthens my love for the wanderer. Adaptations are often categorized under good or bad, and this one definitely falls under the former. With a pretty tight writing, strong ensemble cast, and amazing direction, this is probably best anime adaptation I have watched. Though many people have made this live action movie possible, I cannot thank Sato Takeru enough for exceeding the expectations of fans and only leaving us craving for more. I cannot wait for the promised sequels.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Blind (2011)

Blind (2011)

Kim HaNeul plays SooAh, a blind woman who's a witness to a crime. She's joined by the noona-killer Yoo SeungHo who plays KiSub. Wait, that sounds wrong. He's not the killer in the movie, he's simply the killer in terms of killing one noona after another because he's a ridiculously good actor who happens to be too young to be fancied by noonas like me. Wow. This is becoming less and less like a coherent review. Anyway.

The concept is good since it's ironic how a blind woman is the only solid link to solve a crime. She's a witness but it's quite hard to say that she really witnessed what happened. Good thing her other senses are heightened and she still manages to help solve the crime because she's so sensitive to movement, smell, and sound. Their representaion of SooAh's way of viewing things is so creative. Instead of just always seeing her fumbling through the scene, we see it through her perspective where she only sees shadows and blurred objects against a black backdrop.

But Blind is not as tensed as I hoped. The killer is not as scary as I expected. I'm just not at ease at how he seems to be more impulsive than other serial murderers. He does things without caution and leaves prints everywhere. And how he kills people so easily, even those he doesn't intend to be his victim, seems too unrealistic. Or maybe he's just really psychotic and cold-blooded that he no longer cares about being found out.

I like Yoo SeungHo's role in the movie and how his relationship with SooAh ensues. I guess it's a relief that there's no romance angle in the movie since that often ruins thriller films for me. But here, all we have is noona love and that's more than I can hope for. It also doesn't hurt that he's so cute that ugh. I have no words.

Kim HaNeul won Best Actress for her role in Blind and I actually think it's well-deserved.

Poster source:

Saturday, 8 December 2012

TVXQ's Humanoids Performance (Music Bank) 12.07.12

AAAAAAH. I'm going crazy over this performances because of multiple reasons. I'm so proud of the boys for continually pulling strong performances week after week. But let me tell you why I love THIS:
  • Because they performed it live! I know,  know. They always perform live but heck, I'm still blown away how they can sing and dance at the same time, and really, that's some demanding choreography! DBSK, blowing me away since 2003. <3   
  • THEY'RE WEARING NORMAL CLOTHES OMG. I know, they don't stand out as much, but I seriously prefer these kind of performance costume over their loud colorful ones. Who's with me when I say that they look so damn hot in jeans? YES? YES? :)
  • Who the heck can dance that well in skinny jeans? WHOOOO! I can't even run properly when I'm wearing skinny. But they dance wildly in it! And they make it look soooooo good.
  • ChangMin's hair! OMG!!!! A really, really good one after a long long long long time. I mean, he's always cute, but his bowl cut is just ridic IDK. This one, though. *swoons* Please keep this hairstyle, oppa! :)
  • But really, the outfits! If the coordi noonas could come up with sane and normal and just as lovely outfits, why are they always going for the wacky ones? Argh. So handsome. Good-looking namjas are good-looking!
I realized I haven't properly blog about their Humanoids MV but I'll get to it one of these days. December is a crazy month, okay. You must forgive me for not updating as much, and November was as crazy.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Faith (2012)

Rating: out of 5
Cast: Lee MinHo, Kim HeeSun, Ryu DeokHwan, Park SeYoung

Faith was posed to be the most epic Korean drama to date, and it sadly failed in all levels. The team behind the series used big words to entice the audience, with a promise that makes the audience set high expectations. Honestly, I don't think any of those expectations are met at all. It could have been a great drama, but it failed to deliver so many times. It's a shame since it truly has the makings of a drama that will leave you breathless, only if it's given a better treatment and a better pace.

So, did I like it? Yes and no. Yes, because there's still a lot to be loved. And no, because it really leaves you hanging time and time again.


Because of the characters

With a set of characters as amazing as the one in Faith, it really makes you ask what went wrong. I love so many characters in the series and I can't even pick which one is my favorite! But overall, the characters I enjoyed the most are:

  • Woodalchi - You adorable dorks who are supposed to be the best warriors in the land but fail everytime, I so love you. Woodalchi aren't exactly as good as everyone expected them to be, but that doesn't stop them from being the cute sidekicks to our Woodalchi general. DaeMan, DeokMan and the gang surely liven up the scene whenever they appear. This drama could have been a drab if these dorks weren't being dorks. Heehee.
  • Lady Choi - She's like the head of the household, but in this case, the palace. She keeps things in order and even the general of Woodalchi cowers under her stare! It's just enjoyable how she's an elderly who knows how to handle soldiers and how to pacify hot-headed men. You rock, Lady Choi!
  • Noguk - The queen is a badass and everyone should bow down to her. She doesn't take crap from anyone, not even from the king. She doesn't just sit around waiting to be ordered around and letting everyone do the works for her. She thinks of solutions herself and devises ways to help the king. She carries herself pretty well, but she's always a good supporter to the king.
  • Gongnim - The king is one of the best written characters for the drama. This drama is a good character study for the king in a way that we see him start from a weak king into one of the strongest in Korean history. In no way is he perfect but that makes his character even more amazing. He gets confused at times and craves for his people to trust him. But he holds his head high no matter what and when he trusts and uses the right people, he emerges victorious.
  • Choi Young - He's the anti-thesis of a hero. He just likes to sleep a lot and doesn't really care whether he lives or dies. He's just intent to finish one task after another until he can finally leave the life of a warrior. But when he finds something worth fighting (living!) for and a king worth to be supported and hailed, he rises gracefully and become worthy to be the Woodalchi general. The fact that he's not just good in combat but also quite brainy when it comes to politics and warfare strategies make me love him even more. Daejang, I love you.
  • EunSoo - The heavenly doctor is the life of this drama. I do not know what would have happened if another actress played EunSoo, but Kim HeeSun adorably portrays the doctor. In the present, she's a dermatologist who's only intent on finding a rich guy that can help her build her own clinic. But transport her to the past and she's the breath of fresh air. She brings humor to not-so-humorous situations and she uses her head at all times. I think it'll be different to hate her when she's basically being the most humane character in this series. She's not a noble idiot, that's for sure. She fights to live and she fights  to be with the man she loves. When I grow up, I want to be EunSoo.

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