Category: Winter 2014


SHARK Ep 12 Review

This is the final episode of SHARK – or at least, the first season of it, which was focused on the story of Kurata Mizuki (Hirano Sho). In a very concrete way, it’s the finest finale episode of any drama I’ve reviewed – and possibly that I’ve ever seen. Since doing a synopsis of the episode is a futile way to approach it, let me explain why I think it was such a successful conclusion.

For most Japanese dramas, the last episode is a culmination of expected events in a smooth resolution. Occasionally, there’s a surprise or a twist. More often there’s a lengthy recap of key scenes from the entire drama in the form of a flashback as the conflict reaches its climax. It is unusual for the finale to also be the best episode of the series.

The tension in this episode is largely dictated by Ichika (Yamashita Rio)’s mood. She starts out elated that the concert that will determine whether SHARK will début or not has been sold out, but her mood changes as she figures out about Mizuki’s voice. In general, viewers probably followed the same trajectory as Ichika – starting out excited to hear the band play, and then having more complicated feelings with every song.

SHARK Ep 12 000SHARK Ep 12 001SHARK Ep 12 002

And, of course, the reason why we’re excited to hear them play is because the writers and director have been careful to minimize how long we’ve gotten to hear the group up to this point. They’ve also minimized the group’s wardrobe, but that’s another point entirely.

SHARK Ep 12 003

The concert takes up almost the entire half-hour, and features the songs “Reflexion”, “Smile”, “Kagayaki”, “Answer”, and “Keep Walking”. At the start, the only people who know about Mizuki’s vocal cord problems are Mizuki himself and Kaede (Kawaei Rina), but that won’t be true by the end.

Continue reading

Advertisements

SHARK Ep 11 Review

At the end of the previous episode of SHARK, the record company director the band is having trouble with – the same one who used to be Mizuki (Hirano Sho)’s manager, agreed to listen to the group’s new song on one condition – if Mizuki was fired as vocalist.

SHARK Ep 11 000SHARK Ep 11 001

Ichika (Yamashita Rio) informs Mizuki of the ultimatum, and while she assures him that she rejected the notion, it’s pretty clear that the problem here is between Mizuki and the director. It’s personal.

SHARK Ep 11 002SHARK Ep 11 003SHARK Ep 11 004SHARK Ep 11 005

Because it seems to be just between the director and Mizuki, Ichika decides not to tell the other band members and urges Mizuki to try to resolve the situation. She wonders if there’s something he’s not telling her, but he’s tight-lipped.

Continue reading

SHARK Ep 10 Review

We’re getting subtitles for the remaining episodes of SHARK’s first season just as the new season begins (thank you, Hakuchan!) so, let me try and get through these ASAP so that I can start on the new season. Not that I think that the next three episodes aren’t going to be fun, mind you, but my curiosity is fully mobilized in wondering what sort of storyline they’ll build around the new cast and how they’ll transition from this story.

At the start of this episode, Mizuki (Hirano Sho) tries to listen to the song from his rival in the Castaways. I guess it was an attempt at bravery in the face of the cataclysmic realization of his lack of comparative vocal skill, and . . . he fails this particular test of bravery. It doesn’t take more than a few lines of the song before he ditches the headphones.

SHARK Ep 10 000SHARK Ep 10 001

Back at headquarters, Mizuki takes revenge on Shinobu of Castaways by drawing all over his image on the cover of Indies Press. Hmm . . . I’m not sure this is an adequate way to get revenge, but the rest of the band got a laugh out of it.

SHARK Ep 10 002SHARK Ep 10 003

Ichika (Yamashita Rio) is not so sanguine about the situation, though. Walking in utter depressed, she breaks the news that their début is in jeopardy because a director at the record company has nixed it.

Continue reading

SHARK Ep 09 Review

The storyline to SHARK has been fairly straightforward and easy to follow all the way through. That’s a good thing, because it looks like I’m going to have to review the remaining episodes without subtitles if I want to get through them before I need to start reviewing the second season of this drama, which starts on April 20th.

At the end of episode eight, Mizuki (Hirano Sho) basically froze on stage, having a sudden loss of confidence after seeing and hearing Akashi Shinobu (Kakizawa Hayato) perform. In truth, Mizuki’s constant bluster and show of confidence had always served to mask his deep self-doubt, and he just couldn’t maintain the act any longer because he was faced with a rival he didn’t believe he could defeat.

SHARK Ep 09 000

He exited, leaving Kai (Hamada Takahiro) to handle the vocals.

SHARK Ep 09 001SHARK Ep 09 002

Outside, Kaede (Kawaei Rina) is waiting for Mizuki, but he can’t bring himself to say anything to her – not even something rude.

Continue reading

SHARK Ep 08 Review

English subs for this episode of SHARK are now available, so let’s continue our journey with the group. There’s also news that we can expect a second season of SHARK with a somewhat different though equally interesting cast starting in April, so look forward to that.

This episode begins with SHARK participating in a radio interview. As you’d expect, Mizuki (Hirano Sho)’s attitude dashes any hope that it will go smoothly, and Ichika (Yamashita Rio) has to apologize profusely for his rudeness.

SHARK Ep 08 000SHARK Ep 08 001SHARK Ep 08 002SHARK Ep 08 003

Afterward, she expresses legitimate concern that the station will never invite them on again, even though the show’s producer shrugged Mizuki’s attitude off.

SHARK Ep 08 005

Kai (Hamada Takahiro) wonders about their chances for a début, and Ichika admits that her boss isn’t having much luck with their superiors. If SHARK wants to début, they’re going to have to gain popularity first.

Continue reading