Looking back on 2012

20 Dec

My first thought when getting ready to write this post was ‘meh, what a lackluster drama year’ and it certainly feels so with me stuck in this drama slump with no apparent end in sight. However when I skimmed through my lj entries as well as my written journal, I realised that while dramas didn’t consistently deliver through 2012, there were quite a few entertainment highlights that got me merrily obsessed. There will be a separate post on lakorns which should be coming this weekend.

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Led by my obsession with Nishijima Hidetoshi and Toda Erika, I had a bumper crop of Jdramas this year! Though I complain about the lack of good Japanese romance dramas, I am pretty happy with most of the procedurals I watched this year and a couple even managed to get me mad shipping despite romance not being the central theme.

1) Strawberry Night
2) My 99 Days with a Star
3) Team Batista 2: General Rogue no Gaisen (drama, SP and movie)
5) Team Batista 3: Ariadone no Dangan
6) Keizoku 2: SPEC (drama, SP and movie)
Can’t believe I’ve not written a single word on this fabulous series. The humour is offbeat, the plot out of this world and the characters quirky but the emotional connection between Toma and Sebumi is so real and raw that watching them brings me both joy and pain.
6) Kagi no Kakatta Heya
Locked room mystery is my favourite genre in detective fiction so I was pretty excited for this one but both the mysteries and characters turned out rather dull. I was especially disappointed by Toda Erika’s role of Junko who was such a wallflower that it required almost none of the acting skills I know Toda possessed after her spectacular turn as Toma in Keizoku 2:SPEC.
7) Maou
I enjoyed this revenge drama while it lasted but nothing sticks in particular once I’m done with it.

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1) Inborn Pair
I hadn’t been so into a Taiwanese idol drama since … since I can’t remember when! Sadly this daily drama went on for too long and tried my patience with episodes which led no where for both plot and relationship development and I gave up at the final stretch.

2) Unriddle 2
On the other hand, Unriddle 2 started off shaky but once the plot thread trailing from Unriddle was resolved, the rest of the drama delivered with top notch acting and writing. Well, there were some details which could’ve been better taken care of but overall the cases were convincingly tied together and Rui En was simply wow wow wow in her potrayal of Xiao Man being gradually pushed over the edge.

3) Poetic Justice
Provided a fair bit of shipping material but the story fizzled out by the end. Shame.

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I thought I was done with CLAMP after they wrecked the ending for xxxholic but noooooo, they had to go pick up ‘Legal Drug’ after a goodness knows how long hiatus and I ended up reading their old stuff while waiting for updates.

1)RG Veda
The art was lovely for such an old manga and it was an interesting read but I was left cold by the main characters. I found Yasha and Ashura’s relationship too simple and straightforward that I couldn’t even be wow-ed by Ashura turning the sword on himself instead of killing Yasha like the stars had ordained. I did like the host of side characters though, especially Taishakuten and Ashura-ou which were much more complicated and interesting characters to dissect.

2)Tokyo Babylon
I already knew how it ends (badly) but I was still a sobbing wreck at the last volume. Arg, so much feelings for Subaru and Seishirou.

3)X/1999
This feels like a rehash of RG Veda in modern times. The world is once again facing the apocalypse with more people involved in the game this time but I found the pacing and characterization wanting for a story of this scale. The continuation of SeiSub’s story was the main reason why I hung around for this manga and there was a good bit of crying for their parts but everything else was fun-to-read-but-I-don’t-really-care.

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Haven’t touched wuxia novels since my teenage days but thanks to my chance encounter with Cang Yue (even now I marvel at how I decided to pick that one novel at random amongst all the books in the library), I found myself searching out new authors and I’ve discovered some gems that gripped me with their storytelling and got me shedding buckets of tears over the fates of fictional characters. I wish I could chat with someone on these stories but sadly they have not been translated into English so English speaking fandom is non-existent unlike say for Louis Cha’s works which have been introduced all over the world through translated novels and subtitled dramas.

1) Cang Yue 沧月
听雪楼系列
鼎剑阁系列
镜系列
羽系列
2) Zhao Cheng Guang 赵晨光
清明雨
浩然剑
3) Chang Pu 菖蒲
韦苏系列

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4 Responses to “Looking back on 2012”

  1. jamieguo48 December 21, 2012 at 12:40 AM #

    Looking forward to your lakorn post. But you didn’t watch any Korean dramas this year? I think this year I watched more kdramas then anything else.

    I’m interested in watching quite a few dramas from your list, like Inborn Pair which was finally completed at viki. And I’ve been looking for some good jdramas to watch, but nothing compared to last years Keizoku 2:SPEC. I watched the first one this year, Keizoku, and loved it, but the special episode and movie really sucked.

    I thought Keizoku 2:SPEC the movie just really strained my incredulity by the revelation of Sebumi’s spec power. It made sense, but it made everything seem so cartoonish. And it seems from the movie like they were setting it up for more sequels, dramas, something to follow?

    Is there any dramas you’re looking forward to next year? I want to see Ann and Tik’s lakorn and looking for some Song Jong-ki action once again.

    • J December 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM #

      I watched 5,6 episodes of ‘Faith’, followed the rest in recaps and also caught 1 ep of ‘Aarang’ and that was the extend of my Kdrama watching this year. I feel that I’m getting increasingly disconnected from Kdramas and however much well shot, well acted or well written (to others) they are, I can’t seem to care for the characters.

      ‘Inborn Pair’ got too tedious for me by the last quarter but it’s a light, easy way to spend some free time. I agree that the SPEC movie was a bit of an overkill but I was just happy to see Toma and Sebumi on screen again and yes, I’ll bet a dollar that some form of sequel is in the works.

      I’ll be checking out Rome/Chompoo’s ‘Khun Samee’ as the subs come but otherwise I don’t have anything in mind. D:

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