18 Apr 2014

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu anime review


English: Haruka Nogizaka's Secret
Type: TV
Episodes: 12
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 3, 2008 to Sep 25, 2008
Producers: Geneon Universal Entertainment, Diomedea, ASCII Media Works, Studio Mausu
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (Haruka Nogizaka's Secret) is an Ecchi, Romantic, Comedy about a relationship formed from a secret shared between two high school students. This anime doesn’t offer anything remarkably different to your average Rom/Com; however it certainly has a refreshing feel to it.


Yuuto Ayase is a fairly normal guy and Haruka Nogizaka is the school idol but their separate lives soon intertwine when Yuuto discovers Haruka’s secret hobby (Anime). Hardcore anime fans may enjoy the concept because it’s easy to relate to the stigma that may comes along with being an ‘open anime fan’, even though it does go a bit overboard. Though what makes this anime worth watching is the sweet romance that develops. The story moves at a steady pace, dealing with one issue at a time however the problem with this is that the episodes feel very disjointed, as there’s no real flow between one episode and the next. Also once the major issue about Haruka is resolved, this ends up becoming yet another typical romance anime.


Like in most romance anime, this one centres on the characters in the main relationship. Well unlike most protagonists in these kinds of Rom/Coms, Yuuto is quite the appealing guy and acts how a guy is supposed to be and is a welcome change from all the spineless loser-kuns. Then there’s the main attraction, Haruka who is seemingly perfect and has a cute timid personality, however she also comes with her own problems. The supporting characters do an alright job providing some comedy, but can be a real nuisance when it comes to the story.


Just from looking at this series’ picture, anime fans can expect this anime to go for animation and music that we are used to. The art style is very typical for this type of anime, with very simple big-eyed character designs but the way it is animated is certainly better than some similar looking anime (Myself; Yourself, H20, etc.). On the other hand this series doesn’t perform too well in the sound department. The music is sub par and can easily go unnoticed during the non-dramatic scenes.


Overall Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu is one of the decent Rom/Com of its season, though I feel that there can be an unnecessary amount of fanservice. The comedy is okay, especially on the rare occasions that it includes some obvious anime references but it does get stale after a while. Nevertheless the endearing romance is the only real reason worth watching this anime. It’s a shame the romantic relationship lacks a sense of progression and is littered with trivial problems.

Opening:


Rio 2 movie review


In RIO 2, rare blue macaw lovebirds Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are now married with three juvenile birds of their own, living in the bird sanctuary established by their married human friends Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro). During a trip to the Amazon, Linda and Tulio discover that there are more blue macaws living in a remote cluster of Brazil nut trees deep in the rainforest. When news gets out about their discovery, Jewel decides that her overly domesticated family needs to go to the Amazon and find out about their roots -- and, as it turns out, her father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia), and old boyfriend, Roberto (Bruno Mars), are the leaders of the flock. Blu has a tough time acclimating to his new wild environment, but even more trouble is brewing: A greedy logging CEO and Blu's old nemesis, Nigel (Jemaine Clement), are both set to destroy the macaws and their habitat.

Director Carlos Saldanha continues his visual love letter to his home country of Brazil with a second adventure exploring the natural beauty of his native land. The plot of Rio 2 may not be as thorough or exciting as the original, but moving the adventure to the Amazon adds even more colors and animals to a franchise that differentiated itself with its detail to landscapes and location. And thanks to spectacular singers like Mars, Kristin Chenoweth (as Gabi the hilarious poisonous frog), and Janelle Monae joining will.i.am, Clement, and Hathaway, the music is once again fabulously memorable.

Rio's "fish out of water" plot line for Blu already felt played out by the time the original movie was over, so it's a bit of a drag to see him still struggling to fit in with his wild(er) mate Jewel's idea of home. And Fernando, the orphaned boy who played such a prominent role in the original, is only seen once in this installment. But even though it's not quite as singular as its predecessor, Rio 2 is still a fun and thoughtful sequel that will make families leave the theater happy and ready to samba, learn capoeira, and adopt a capybara.

Trailer:


Oculus movie review


This surprise packet of a horror chiller marks the arrival of promising newbie director Mike Flanagan. Expanded from his own half-hour short film, Oculus builds up a palpable sense of dread from the get-go. Tantalising the viewers’ imagination without resorting to shock tactics or gratuitous violence, Flanagan gets more scares from an antique mirror than most genre directors can scrape together with ghouls, gore and what have you.

Serving also as the film’s editor, the auteur adroitly melds events occurring in parallel time frames 11 years apart.  The set-up is simple but it would be futile to expect clear-cut explanations for the supernatural elements here.  

A decade after the mysterious death of their parents, 20-something siblings (Gillan-Thwaites) set out to investigate the malevolent forces unleashed by a century-old mirror in their family home. 

It seems that their parents (Katee Sackhoff-Rory Cochrane) had inexplicably gone berserk under the influence of the demonic mirror.  Now, the focus is on the psychological impact of the tragedy on the two parentless siblings who have to relive their childhood nightmare.
Low on special effects but high on horror and intrigue, here’s a rare small-scaled Hollywood film which delivers the goods and how.  Karen Gillan is outstanding as the sister determined to unravel the mystery. Brenton Thwaites is equally impressive as her beleaguered brother.   

The sparse background music score by The Newton Brothers is extremely effective. A compelling experiment in terror, Oculus is a must-experience.

Trailer:


Kim Hyun Joong's world tour and Secret dating.


"Inspiring Generation" actor Kim Hyun Joong will be kicking off his world tour this June in Korea!

Kim Hyun Joong recently concluded the KBS 2TV drama "Inspiring Generation" successfully, and he's planning to greet his fans with a new album and world tour. Kim Hyun Joong said, "I'll be starting my world tour on June 28th in Korea. Although the visiting countries have not yet all been confirmed, it looks like there will be quite a lot. Before my world tour I'll also be releasing a new album." This will be Kim Hyun Joong's first solo album since July last year.

He also said, "I want to present music that's worthy of the World Cup," and threw hints about his new music.
"For the upcoming World Cup, I need to celebrate with chicken & beer. And I want to prepare an exciting album that's worthy of the World Cup. Apart from chart ranks, I'm more concerned about creating music that will give you the feeling that Korea is going to win, with music that can gather many hearts in one place. I want to make music that the fans in the audience can enjoy rather than just broadcasts. But I'm not just aiming at the World Cup (laughter)."

Kim Hyun Joong's 2nd drama "Inspiring Generation" came to an end on the 3rd. He played the role of loyal Shin Jung Tae, through which he received high praise for his acting. He said, "I still cannot believe that the drama has ended. It was a work where I really immersed myself. It's not easy to let go of the character Shin Jung Tae. I've been feeling really down lately." He continued, "I really liked Shin Jung Tae, and was obsessed. Although it's unrealistic to protect the people you love with your life, but it was warm."

But now it's time to say goodbye to Shin Jung Tae. He should reduce the consumption of such feelings and focus on his own. That's why he's decided to attend a popular music concert all by himself.
"I wanted a diversion, so I went to Nell's concert by myself. However it was such an emotional concert and I returned feeling even more down. I often go alone to concerts. I'm kind of embarrassed that my realest emotions are being shared with others."

He'll also be leaving on a trip to Jeju Island on his time off. He's planning to go scuba diving, which is his hobby, as well as go bike riding. He will be joined by his agency's CEO and senior actor Bae Yong Joon.
"I was planning to leave for vacation alone, but Bae Yong Joon said he'll be coming with me. I want to take this opportunity to teach him how to scuba dive."

Meanwhile, Kim Hyun Joong is also seriously considering his next work. When asked how he would respond if he received an offer for a work of action as a sequel, he answered flatly, "I absolutely won't. My pride won't allow me to do what I've already shown you." He added, "While I'm young I want to show you many faces."

What about a romance like "Boys Over Flowers"? Again he rejected the idea, saying, "For one, I'm not going to be wearing the uniform. And I don't think I can do content like 'Boys Over Flowers' because I'll be too uncomfortable. I want to do something that can appear in a documentary, a possibly true story among ourselves, as an ordinary character," and raised expectations for his next work.


Kim Hyun Joong remained firm on his decision that he will never go public with a relationship.

In a recent interview with Newsen, Kim Hyun Joong was asked about marriage given that he is in his late twenties. He shared that marriage might not be in the cards for him, "I don't think I will be able to... I have to go to the military and if I do other things, I will be over 35 years old... In the past, I thought that I really have to [get married someday] but now I don't have confidence. I love work so much so I don't think I will be able to be faithful to my family. If a dilemma suddenly comes about in my drama, singing, and concerts one day, then I think I will do it."

He was also asked about his love life to which he honesty remarked, "If I say I don't date, that would be a lie... I dated in secret about a year ago, but I am not dating currently."

He also added, "I want to date a bit more comfortably now. I think a relationship based on impulsive passion and clinging on are not that great... A normal dating relationship is the best. Rather than buying flowers and doing surprise events, eating and holding hands while walking is better. I didn't realize that sometimes normal and ordinary things are the best when I was younger, but I am feeling it now."

"I will never go public with a relationship. I noticed that when people date publicly and breakup it's the woman that has to suffer for it. I don't think there is any need for a woman, who may be later married, to have the title of being 'someone's woman' following them... If I'm not going to marry that person, I will never go public with a relationship out of respect for that person's life."

Kim Hyun Joong previously denied dating rumors with After School's UEE and after reading his stance on never going public with a relationship, shippers are left wondering if this could mean that there was some truth to the rumors. However, it seems we will never know as Kim Hyun Joong seems like a man who will fight to protect those close to him and kudos to him for that!


Kim Hyun Joong’s 김현중 Interview - Kim Hyun Joong, A Man With Surprises, promotional images




Q: It's a tough journey. How do you feel about 'Inspiring Generation' for the past 3 months?

A: The 3 months was as if one year. (laughs) 'Inspiring Generation' started its production since June last year. I was (always)contemplating how should I bring out the character of 'Shin Jeong-tae' throughout the 10 months. Although there were tough times during the timing, it ended perfectly thanks to the love and supports from the viewers.

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Q: There were quite a few characters that left a deep impression. How did you able to adapt to that?

A: Every scene was shot with 100% effort. The best was given for every moment/shots. If I couldn't receive a positive approval, I will accept the fact that I might not have done enough yet. 

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Q: There were concerns on the comparison between you and the top actors, but your crying scenes in the early-mid part of the drama have wiped out the concerns.

A: I did cry a lot during the crying scenes, but it’s a little pity if the focus of acting skills was only zooming into those scenes. In fact, a lot of emotions that were as much as crying scenes, were put into angry scenes, funny scenes and even sad scenes. It was up to the point that I contemplated on how should I hold a spoon during acting. I’ve always tried my best to imagine the scenario whenever I received the script. When I looked at the father’s (Shin Yeong-chul) picture, I imagined how his life and actions would be. I’ve also tried to imagine the little habits that Chung-ah have when looking at her picture, and even tried the speech intonation I (as Shin Jeong-tae) when speaking to her. Perhaps I was always thinking about all these, I even dreamed about ‘Inspiring Generation’. When I was napping for around 2-3 hours, I dreamed about Shin I-chi and Wang Baek-san chasing after me. (laughs) Then I realised ‘I’ve really fallen for IG’.

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Q: Have you ever thought you could erase the clear image you’ve got in the long run from KBS2 ‘Boys Over Flower’ through ‘Inspiring Generation’?

A: I’ve never thought of breaking the ‘flower boy’ image. The ‘image’ choice belongs to the viewers, isn’t it? However I think there is a limitation in which acting skills can reach in romantic comedy genre. It was one of the reason why I chose a more manly period drama so I make a turning point through my acting skills. As much as the preparation was done, in order to express the right emotions of the characters, I think it’s best to choose the right character (first that suits yourself). 

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Q: There were positive feedbacks on your acting skills, including your action scenes. It wasn’t easy to try action scenes for the first time.

A: I attended action schools for a few days, but I haven’t practiced a lot. I learned martial acting and there’s a line that I can still remember very well, ‘Action is not about synchronicity, it’s emotions’. It feels a whole lot different when you were fighting against a stranger and someone you loved. The latter one consists of a more complex actions and emotions. ‘Inspiring Generation’ have changed a big part of my mindset on martial acting.

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Q: Are you personally satisfied with the production this time? Have you gained any meaningful experiences?

A: The feedbacks were more than what I was expecting. But I think it could have been better. I will not stop here nor will I choose to act a character that is similar to ‘Shin Jeong-tae’. Instead, I will show something that is beyond what I have achieved now. Since there is no endpoint to martial arts, I will continue and show something different in the future. 

Q: From the change of scriptwriter and the production cost scandal, it was quite an interference to the broadcast of ‘Inspiring Generation’. Were you affected by it?

A: I had a hard time too but I did not have any dissatisfaction about it since I was one of the lead cast, I have to continue with the filming. I have to prepare to bring out the best for the scene even if I have no more than 5 minutes to memorise the script. So I wasn’t really affected by changing of the scriptwriter. A part of me had become one with ‘Shin Jeong-tae’, so almost everything I do was to bring the best of the character. Besides, there was a good collaboration between the casts. To be able to make a production up to this standard under such condition, the casts deserve large credits. Everyone were able to focus, no matter during filming or off filming.

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Q: Although it was said after filming, ‘Although it was a 150million KRW mass production, the viewerships ratings were just so-so’. And ‘Inspiring Generation’ was highly anticipated by outsiders from the start. It’s another task for you to shake off this burden. 

A: I don’t know how I should say this, but I did not feel any burden. When it comes to ‘Kim Hyun-Joong’, it’s surely thrilling & nervous. However I was ‘Shin Jeong-tae’, not ‘Kim Hyun-Joong’ in ‘Inspiring Generation’. It was also a reason why tears fell naturally when Jeong Jae-hwa (Kim Seong-oh) and the Bangsamtong’s people kneeled before me. Rather than feeling stressed towards the expectations for the drama, I felt sorry for the people together with me whom I cannot protect. Whether it’s the cast or the factors beyond the production. 

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Q: You have experience in acting from modern drama to period drama throughout your short acting journey. What do you think that matches you between the two?

A: To be honest, it was hard filming for a period drama. (laughs) Because we had to play a lot with the intonation and moves. It was hard to express your emotions in a limited area. On the other hand, if I were to point out a good point about period drama, it’s going to be ‘stepping into the past through acting’. If ‘time machine’ really does exist, wouldn’t it be ‘period drama’? The historical sentiments, culture and incidents that I wanted to feel so real. I’ve felt/learned a lot of things from ‘Inspiring Generation’. For example, ‘So 1930 era was such a depressing era’, ‘The only way to protect your family was only through fighting’, ‘Without handphones (text messages), there’s no misunderstanding’. (laughs)

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Q: The steady fandom since your days as a singer idol seemed to have become more solid while you were engaged in both activities. Have you have any thoughts of expanding your acting career overseas?

A: I don’t know, honestly. Even with dubbings and subtitles, I think there ought to have problems if I’m filming just because of my popularity, using a language I do not know. No matter what, I do not want to do it just because of the money value. I’m the type whom I will not do anything that I am not confident in. Although I wanted to learn foreign language, but it’ll not be Japanese or Chinese. It’s likely to be English since it’s a more widely used language. I’m not a person who can absorb a variety of languages well. (laughs)

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Q: Then what do you think about ‘actor Lee Byung-hun’? He’s one of the very few Korean stars who officially entered Hollywood.

A: Ah, I really respected him. If you watched his acting, it seemed as if he’s a native(English) speaking in mother tongue language. An acting skills whom he did research on the proper language pronunciation alongside with the sentiments it brings along. If I’m going to do this, I wanted to do it like that as well.

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Q: You are a singer and actor to the public at the same time. Especially there are sayings that ‘There’s a lot of burden as an actor’. So how did you manage to balance between the two?

A: There are ups and downs for both singer and actor. Although I didn’t want to be outstanding on one career over another. (laughs) Rather than choosing what I should be doing, a lot more thoughts are need to be given when running the both activities at the same time. As I’m thinking about ‘Why can’t an idol-turned actor received appraisals for their acting skills?’, I came down with the conclusion that viewers weren’t expecting much about their acting skills, aside from the ‘misleading’ image they have (as an idol). No matter on which side, I think more time is needed to be given for viewers to forget about the image. So I think I’m going on a tour as a singer for a while. 

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Q: You made your first turning point via ‘Inspiring Generation’. And you have also reached the ‘important age’ of an actor. Have you got any plans ahead?

A: I want to try a beautiful melodrama as an actor. For a romantic comedy, it’s ‘Wherever there’s wind, I’m able to go travel freely’ (Kim Hyun-joong used his famous line from Boys Over Flowers and said ‘Isn’t that line referring to a kite?’. But for this famous quote, I don’t think it’s still usable in the next century. (laughs) Just like the previous quote, there are many lines that do not quite make sense. Since melodramas are more related to our daily lives, I want to focus more on that. 

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Q: What do you think as a man who reached 29 this year.There are many things you should think of now.

A: I’m planning to enlist next year. To be honest, I’ve postponed the date of enlistment so I’ll make it a memorable one. In other words, before I enlist, I’ve done everything I wish I could do. With no regrets, with no worries. (laughs) Maybe I’m afraid I will forget about it (things he wish to do), so instead of worrying about it, I bring along the the memories of myself (accomplishing the things he wished to do) into the army. After I come back, I’m going to show a more steady acting skills, more band-liked music of different style as compared to now, in order to repay fans. Also displaying a more diverse personality as a public figure, as well as keeping the profile as low as possible. *laughs* (P/S: meaning less public criticism and less scandals).




















Taylor Swift Surprises Ohio Fan at Her Bridal Shower


Taylor Swift spent Saturday evening in New York City. With her friend and former tourmate Ed Sheeran performing on "Saturday Night Live," Swift was not only in attendance but also made a cameo during host Seth Rogan's opening monologue.

But if you pegged the 24-year-old to stick around Sunday for a trendy brunch in the West Village, think again. Instead the songstress hopped aboard a plane, flew to Columbus, Ohio, and surprised a fan during her bridal shower.

"There's this girl named Gena who's been coming to my shows for years, and she's been really, really dedicated and very loyal," Swift explained in a video diary she posted about the trip on her YouTube channel. "I was at the management office the other day, and we were going through fan mail and invitations and stuff. And I got this wedding invitation, and I noticed I couldn't make it to the wedding. But in the wedding invitation, there was a bridal shower invitation. And I've never been to a bridal shower. So we're going to fly to Ohio today."