Akemashite omedetou! Happy new year! My recaps come a little late because I’ve doubled the amount of blogs I contribute to. One of them is Drama-MAX. It’s going to be the new home to my movie and drama reviews so please check it out. Of course, I’ll post reminders, but there’s content from other writers that are worth reading.
2012 was a really hit-or-miss year. On one hand, I came across some stellar adaptations of anime on both the silver and TV screens. On the other, I had many moments when I struggled to find a good drama to watch. It seemed like TV was saturated with mysteries and thrillers, which often had a supernatural or sci-fi twist. The formula just didn’t work for most. However, the really good stuff, like Ace Attorney and Ruroni Kenshin, are the ones you can watch over and over again.
NOTE: This recap may contain spoilers!
Best appearance in an overseas production – Mika Nakashima in Resident Evil: Retribution
Even though she only had a bit part as a zombie in Resident Evil: Afterlife, Mika Nakashima made a big impression on the director and Milla Jovovich that they brought her back. I haven’t seen Retribution, but the clip of her fight with Alice is pretty wicked.
Best line – “Yes, I have no desire to give you such a gift. But… to protect Kaoru-dono, I will be the hitokiri once again!”
This line could make or break the live-action Ruroni Kenshin. Kenshin isn’t Bruce Banner so this line has to be full of intention as much as rage, not to mention love. Takeru Sato’s delivery was spot-on.
Best pairing – Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura (Sengoku BASARA: Moonlight Party)
Since I wasn’t impressed by the romantic pairings this year, my pick goes to the Date-Sanada bromance. Normally I’d get tired of watching two character fight all the time, but the two of them have such explosive chemistry that I stuck by the series just to see them interact.
Best theme – “RUNAWAY” by CREAM (VISION Koroshi ga Mieru Onna)
The smooth R&B sound brings attention to the sexiness of VISION. Minami’s voice is both sultry and vulnerable, which perfectly describes the main character Rena.
Most memorable character – Yume Ouji (Akumu-chan)
Gackt is born to play one archetype, and that’s the prince. His name literally translates as “Dream Prince” so everything about his character is over-the-top. This role also evokes his Malice Mizer and “Mizerable” days.
Most memorable scene – Last scene of VISION
The ending was a mess, but the epilogue scene with Kazuma and Rena made up for it. It starts off really sweet, and then at the very last frame, the tone does a complete 180, making you rethink your views of the characters and events. Nobuaki Kaneko, who had been mostly okay, gave me chills with that final look.
Biggest disappointment – Saikou no Jinsei no Owarikata ~Ending Planner~
This wasn’t a bad drama per say; it just wasn’t anything special. It had so many Asian drama clichés, and I found myself being more interested in the side characters. Yamapi and Nana Eikura could do so much better.
Breakthrough role – AKIRA as Eikichi Onizuka (Great Teacher Onizuka)
I wasn’t sure if anybody could do Onizuka as well as Takeshi Sorimachi, but AKIRA was the anime character brought to life. He embodied the immature yet loveable personality of the renegade teacher, and he also looked the part.
Actor of the year – Takeru Sato
Even though he only had one TV/film role this year, that was enough. Takeru Sato nailed every aspect of Kenshin’s personality, and it’s not like he has been sitting around. He made his stage debut in Romeo and Juliet and proved to be a stand-up guy by taking care of a drunk celebrity friend. We might as well start calling him the Japanese Ryan Gosling.
Drama of the year – Great Teacher Onizuka
The original GTO drama was my first, and then I watched the anime so I had high expectations for the remake. It delivered with a fantastic lead and a great supporting cast that actually included Urumi and Ryuji (my two favorites from the anime).
Movie of the year – Ace Attorney
I think the hardest I laughed in the past year was while watching Ace Attorney. Although I’ve never played the games, I could still follow the movie and enjoy the little gags. The casting was perfect, and there were some serious moments to balance out all the crazy humor.
Most anticipated show/film for 2013 – Kuroshitsuji
Hiro Mizushima is back, and he’s going to be one hell of a butler (hey, he’s been a kickas butler before so this should be good). Kuroshitsuji is a stunning anime, and I can’t wait to see the fashion and the special effects.
Members of the film and TV industry who will be missed in 2013:
- Hideaki Nitani – Kenji Aizawa (Tokyo Drifter)
- Eiko Ishoka – costume designer for The Cell and Mirror, Mirror
- Chikage Awashima – Masako Sugiyama (Early Spring)
- Rikiya Yasuoka – Pisken (Tampopo)
- Kaneto Shindo – director of Children of Hiroshima and Kuroneko
- Takeo Chii – Tokiuchi Shokei (Lady Snowblood)
- Isuzu Yamada – Asaji (Throne of Blood) , Orin (Yojimbo)
- Yoichi Takabayashi – director of Death at an Old Mansion
- Keiko Tsushima – Shino (Seven Samurai)
- Taketoshi Naito – Private Kobayashi (The Burmese Harp), Kanzen Inukai (Samurai Fiction)
- Hideji Otaki – Masakage Yamagata (Kagemusha), General Kamijo (Casshern)
Listening to: “By My Side” by Hemenway