I am sorry to announce that I have made a decision to officially close Cypsis' Blog.

All the reviews stay up as they are, but I will not write more reviews. Cypsis' Blog had many ups-and-downs during those 7 years and I have tried to give the best I could, but unfortunately my life has moved on so much that finding time for reviewing has become more and more difficult. Closing the blog is breaking my heart, but I have thought a lot about it and understood that it is for the best. I am very thankful to everybody who have enjoyed reading my reviews.
(PS. I am still continuing to watch Asian dramas and you can always find me on

Thank you for all these 7 years. I hope that those 240 reviews made you happy. I truly had unforgettable time writing them!

Sincerely, Cypsis

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

Country: USA/Japan
Genre: war, history
Format: movie
Cast: Watanabe Ken, Ninomiya Kazunari, Ihara Tsuyoshi, Kaze Ryo, Nakamura Shido, Watanabe Hiroshi, Bando Takumi, Matsuzaki Yuki, Yamaguchi Takashi, Ozaki Eijiro, Nae, Sakagami Nobumasa, Luke Eberl, Sonny Saito, Mark Moses
Synopsis: World War II, battle between USA and Japan on island called Iwo Jima. Japanese solders are sent to Iwo Jima to protect their country from USA invasion, but lack of military help from the headparty puts soldiers into the position, where returning home alive seems to be impossible. Saigo is young baker, who had almost everything taken away and wants to see his child and wife again. Gen. Kuribayashi has travelled in America and does not favor the traditional Japanese army policy and reglements, which makes him disrespected by many Lieutenants. There are men who believe in pacifism and men who rather die than surrender.  
Rating: 5/5
Clint Eastwood made this movie to be a companion to "Flags of our fathers", which shows USA version of the battle of Iwo Jima. "Letters from Iwo Jima" is made after original General Tadamichi
Kuribayashi's letters, which he sent to his family.
Gen. Kuribayashi believes that there is another way to live. He has different war methods, that are based on logic and strategy while others only think about theory and set regalement. I think that not listening to Gen. and lack of communication between troops made Japanese army very vulnerable. Watanabe Ken in this role was more than significant. He read all the original letters through to play the character as real as he could.
Saigo, played by Ninomiya Kazunari, represents all those soldiers, who had everything taken away and were forced to fight and die for their country. He is the most sarcastic person in the film, yet he tries to see the positive light hoping there is a way back to home. He writes letters to his wife, but most of them might never reach her because of the censorship.
There are many other characters. Like Lt. Nishi, former Olympic champion of horse riding, and Shimizu, former army police officer, who has a lot of heart, but at the same time there are Lt. Ito and Admiral Ohsugi, who find Kuribayashi's views wrong. Putting these kind of different human nature's onto one limited area makes it even more complicated to preserve one's dignity and common sense. 
"Letters from Iwo Jima" script was actually written in English and later translated into Japanese. The shootings were mostly made in Barstow and Bakersfield in California. The on-location shootings are only the skeleton crew scenes. Filming crew got only one day, after being given a special permission by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, to film on Iwo Jima. Want the reason? There are still more than 10 000 missing Japanese solders resting underneath the soil. 
About 3/4 of the movie I cried, so after first 30th minutes I started crying. I am 100% pacifist and I hate-hate-hate-hate wars. Just to think that millions die from wars, millions lose someone precious to them, millions lose their homes and nature takes tens and tens years to recover - I cannot stand it. It is just too much pain and many times for pointless reasons.
I think it is another movie, which you must see to understand history.

Ashita no Joe (2011)

Country: Japan
Genre: boxing, dreams
Format: movie
Cast: Yamashita Tomohisa, Iseya Yusuke, Karina, Kagawa Teruyuki, Katsuya, Koga Mitsuki, Moro Morooka, Nishida Naomi, Sugimoto Tetta, Baisho Mitsuko, Tsugawa Masahiko, Hulk Ren,
Synopsis: Story is set in 1960s in a city slum. Yabuki Joe is poor, but a great fighter. His fighting skills get noticed by ex-boxer Tange Danpei, who now has ruined his life with alcohol. Unfortunatelly, the fight leads Joe into prison for one year. Tange has made up his mind to make Joe into professional boxer. After losing a man-to-man match to Rikiishi Toru, Joe decides to accept Tange's offer in order to pay back to Rikiishi, who after releasing from prison continued his shining boxer-career. 
Rating: 5/5
Made after one of the most famous same-named sport-manga by Isao Bitou. Manga was published from 1968 to 1973, but is still famous nowadays.
Yabuki Joe is one badass. He tends to think he is much better than he really is, which makes him more vulnerable and naive. Most of the time he does not listen to Danpei on the match. Btw, I adore his hair =P I think that Joe's role shows how great and willing is Yamashita Tomohisa as an actor. He went on a serious boxer diet, that did not contain any red meat (!), for the role. He took down about 9 kg and 9% of body fat and went through boxer training. About the diet he said at first that it was okey, but as the time went on, he admitted that no-one should go through it and the diet was more like a nightmare. I agree - he looked too skinny in the end and there was no chubby cheeks.
One amazing fact about the movie is that all the punches were real - I think they wanted to make it very real-like... Under-cover fact, there is a rumor that he got one veeeery painful punch to one very gentle spot during filming, but he said that he is okey and continued to film until the end of the scene - after that he went to dressing room alone and kept punching the wall because of the pain - how much more can one actor put up with for the sake of the role??
Rikiishi Toru was Joe's only real rival, but I saw them more as best buddies too. They saw each other as the reason to continue with boxing and they were the only ones to truly understand each other. Iseya Yusuke also took down on weight and in the end his body fat was only 3-4%!!! In movie, I felt sick when I saw his abs - he was way to skinny! I do not find man with these kind of abs sexy..
Karina was very elegant in Yoko role. Yoko was one fateful woman. I did not understand what she felt towards Joe, but as you see, she had feelings for Rikiishi. Also, Yoko suffered from past trauma, which makes her real bitch, who cares less about pour people. That's why I enjoyed all the things Joe said to her. Brilliant!
Danpei's actor Kagawa Teruyuki actually is a big boxing fan, so in his free days he went and taught Yamashita about box.  I liked the saying "Tomorrow will never come if you do not spend today well".
I have no words left. It was very interesting and I understand why it is soooo great. There are some slow motion scenes and they look horrible! (in a good way). The shootings were amazing! but even after watching an incredible movie as "Ashita no Joe", I do not like box - it is too violent.
Definitely, WATCH IT!! You will not regret it!

SPOILER review: In the end of the manga, Joe dies too. In movie, he does not die, but Rikiishi dies after the ending match. Weird is it that I cried when Joe lost the match, but I did not cry when Rikiishi died...

Friday, February 24, 2012


SHABAKE (2007)
Country: Japan
Genre: supernatural, mystery
Format: TV-movie
Cast: Tegoshi Yuya, Tanihara Shosuke, Takasugi Ko, Miyasuki Hiroyuki, Maya Miki, Kishibe Ittoko, Okada Yoshinori, Takaki Yuya, Saotome Taichi
Synopsis: Story takes place in Edo period, where young Ichitaro is able to see ayakashis (ghosts/supernatural beings), but he keeps it secret from everyone. He was born with weak health, which makes his parents worry about him more than they should. While he tries to find a way to connect with his separated half-brother, murders start to take place. 
Rating: 3/5
I fancy all kind of supernatural things and since I am a fan of anime "Natsume's Book of Friends", then I reallly liked "Shabake" too. Shabake is actually made after same-named novel by Hatakenaka Megumi.
To start with, Ichitaro's character is plainly weird. His mother acts like he is 5 years old, he acts like 10 and in reality he is 17 and dad tries to force him to marry. Ichitaro is kind, intelligent and friendly. Even though, Tegoshi Yuya played the main role - Ichitaro's character was just weak, so he does not make any impressive impact on viewer (expect for Tegoshi's fans, who "kya~!" every time he is on screen).  Mostly he has that annoyingly sweet, calm and "lets make the world a better place" nature and voice.
 Hakutaku and Inugami were Ichitaro's bodyguards, servants and babysitters. As people they are known as Nikichi and Sasuke. Tanihara Shosuke is quite cool in it - Hakutaku/Nikichi is wise, thoughtful and composed. At the same time Inugami/ Sasuke has very short temper, many times scared and rather stupid, but his loyalty is astonishing - his similarity to dogs comes out in consistent barking, if you do not know then in rough translation Inugami means "Dog-god" (If you know Inuyasha, then his father was Inugami too). Hakutaku is here referred more as a horse with many horns, but actual meaning of Hakutaku is Bai Ze - Chinese mythical beast who is half lion and half goat, has many horns and 8 eyes.
Ichitaro has a Byobu Nozumo in his room - he is some kind folding screen ghost, who cannot leave the room. Also there are yanaris - they are second-best ayakashis. They are made with 100% computer - they are sooo cute and funny~! My favourite ayakashi was Suzuhiko-hime. "She" is so beautiful, stylish, elegant and I liked that "she" had some feelings for Hakutaku. but there is a joke with "her" (read the review of second series for that)
About human-beings: Dad is stupid and believes in all kind of charms. He made a very stupid
mistake in the past, when he got one other woman pregnant. But I think that even worse is mom's actions - because of her Matsunosuke (that half-brother of Ichitaro) was kicked out and left on his own under the clear sky. I understand it is painful etc, but it was heartless. AH! there is Eikichi too - he is Ichitaro's only childhood friend, who does not know about Ichitaro's special ability either.
Story is interesting if you like supernatural things with a loony side. You might hate the shootings - even though it is 2007 year movie, it looks like from the start of 2000 - I know the video had a bad quality too~!
Spoilers: The end is rather unexpected. I did not understand why Ichitaro did not think that mother kept all these years it a secret that she can also see ayakashis, while he was suffering. Beside, he did not leave any sign that he was surprised by the fact that his grandma was ayakashi! In addition, I understood that the woman Hakutaku loved was also grandma - why not when granny was over 3000 years old and Hakutaku over 2000...

Country: Japan
Genre: supernatural, mystery
Format: TV-movie
Cast: Tegoshi Yuya, Tanihara Shosuke, Takasugi Ko, Miyasuki Hiroyuki, Maya Miki, Kishibe Ittoko, Okada Yoshinori,Takaki Yuya, Saotome Taichi
Synopsis:  Ichitaro's adventure goes on. He starts to feel earthquakes, which no-one else does, and a voice telling to kill Ichitaro. His grandma gives him one flower's seeds and also tells Ichitaro's mother to let him go to Hakone. Mother approves it and Ichitaro takes up a trip to Hakone with Matsunosuke, Hakutaku and Sasuke, but only two of them arrive to Hakone, where earth trembles even more and people are more vulgar.
Rating: 3/5
Funny, that many people do not know that Shabake had a sequel too - there are only view places to read about it - and one is here!! ^^
It was more interesting than the first movie, also it had much better screening - all shooting was great and they added more believable computer-effects.
Ichitaro was even more naive than in the first movie. He and Matsunosuke were ready to sacrifice themselves for each other all the time and that's why they got into really stupid situations.
Mostly the movie dedicates on jealousy and how people tend to compare each other lives. Most of them tell that Ichitaro is so lucky and his life is easy, but in reality he is hanging on the edge of a life and death. I do not understand why people are jealous - everyone have their lucks and happiness as well as serious problems and worries - some of them just do not show the bad side to the whole world.
Even so, Himegisama story is sad and made me cry. I have never liked humans personality for its two-faced being, but this is just so wrong in the movie. She is so sweet little girl.
In fact, there is Death Valley/Hell Valley/Great boiling Valley in Hakone. It is a popular tourist place, which stinks, and where you can buy longevity eggs.
Now the "joke" about Suzuhiko-hime.. "She" decides to help Ichitaro. After that you will meet with a wanderer Suzunosuke - and you can see that it is a guy, but
Gyoza sake how similar he is with Suzuhiko-hime. and then you want to find out the actress of Suzuhiko-hime and actor of Suzunosuke and then there is the truth that they both where played by Saotome Taichi - one of the most famous taishu enki (kabuki one form) actor and he usually plays young males and beautiful women. Well, how many girls have confidence that they are pretty as girls when they must stand beside him - he makes a prettier girl than most of girls are... In the end, I felt like both Ichitaro's father and mother are going to abuse him O.o Father dragged him home and just look Mom's glance at him =P

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Loss Time Life (2008)

Country: Japan
Genre:  mystery, life&death, human, surreal
Format: drama, but all 9 episodes have different stories and so do Specials too
The main idea - there are people who take life for granted, thinking they have time and do unnecessary-pointless things. What if when you die you are given extra time - additional time as they do in soccer? How would you spend the last hours of your life when there are 4 man always reminding you that the clock is ticking...
Rating: 2/5
I am going to make each drama detail-review separately with casts, it is a little bit easier to understand then - But I will put only one rating to all of it.. sorry for possible spoilers too!
I liked that they made it like sport overcasting - I do not know much about football nor footballers, but it was fun in drama. I bet those who know a bit about football and "its legendary players/moment", will have more interesting time watching it. I like those weird comments they make and referees are funny - I consider them as one of the highlights =D Especially during the commercial break. Drama also has a documentary-touch in it, which makes watching it really awesome.  
Episode 1. "Cameraman"
Cast: Eita, Fukiishi Kazue, Koichi Mantaro, Oshima Yoko,
Eita plays an cameraman, who takes photos of disasters, for example fires and hostage dramas,  for newspapers (which I find really disturbing and sick). Being an awarded photographer he wishes to dye on the scene of crime while taking a great photo. After his first-page-photo gets changed with heartwarming amateur photo,  he decides to take an even better photo for photo contest, but situation gets complicated with him being the foresight of the gun.
- Nice and interesting episode to start drama. It explained very much about the whole drama. It had the most documentary look - some moments it seemed that Eita did not know they where filming xD  He gets yellow card for saying "I was killed/ I died". Ends with a big twist so you start to wish that he will stay alive. 

Episode 2. "Detective"
Cast: Koyama Keiichiro, Hiraizumi Sei, Waki Tomohiro, Yamaguchi Miyako, Tanaka Tetsushi
Tsunami Kouta is young fresh detective whose dream is to catch villians and resolve crimes. His dream gets crushed when he finds out that his supervisor is old detective Gomi, who spends time on drinking tea. Finally, they are one step from arresting a criminal, but the criminal is fast and does not use gun for the first time in his life.
- So Kouta gets "loss time". It is very interesting to see how he tries to see some threads in this mess, which takes him back to armed bank rob years ago. The main sentence is "Only the dog who chases tirelessly gets feed", sadly it comes with big losses. the saddest moment is Kouta's phone call to mother. He gets red card for wanting to refuse from loss time.

Episode 3. "Sukiyaki"
Cast: Tomochika, Matsuzawa Kazuyuki, Tajima Yumika, Nagashima Shugo,
A mother who sacrifices everything for her family and also saves from everything. She must pay hard to make her family the best sukiyaki in the world. - It is sad episode, because I think she is the only one who really becomes discouraged and feels helpless - and that is not because of the dying, but because she is afraid how the family will survive without her. She literally saves from everything - all things you know in the world, she will make an cheaper alternative for it. You can see a race of the crazy housewives and how mean they can be.  

Episode 4. "Nurse"
Cast: Ueno Juri, Shitara Osamu, Rokkaku Seji, Nukumizu Youichi
I think it was the funniest episode. Matsunaga Yukiko is a nurse, whose boyfriend has dumped her and she finds the suicide to be the only possibility. At first she wants to re-kill herself, but she gets yellow card, like that would stop someone who knows nothing about football. She meets with Omoto who also wants to jump from the same roof as she did. Main sentence is "Even one loss is not the end of the world". The end is rather unexpected. - I do not understand suicides, because I do not see any reason to be enough to end one's life.

Episode 5. "Childhood friend"
Cast: Ito Atsushi, Minami, Iketani Nobue, Yabe Kenji,
This is the most cliched episode. It is cute, but usual story that guy, Hajime, has promised to become mangaka in childhood. Life roads have gone apart and girl, Yukari is going to be married - right when she hears that Hajime has debuted as mangaka. By chance they meet again, but time is limited.

Episode 6. "Hero Show"
Cast: Tanaka Naoki, Tanaka Kei, Yasuda Misako, Takagiri Hairi, Harada Atsushi, Hatano Hiroko, Okuda Tatsuhito, Hayakawa Ryo
It was the weirdest episode.. Koichi is very egocentric and he cannot fulfill any of his dreams. He wants to be world-famous actor, but non of his dreams include his wife Yoko. - Koichi was the woooooooooorst actor ever! and whoever played the part of SunVisorX was amazing =D There are really cute animations included to episode and in the end you want him to have extra time, but surprise-surprise - I did not understand a thing what happened to him in the end - did he die? did he got extra time? what it was?? 

Episode 7. "Wife of a mob member"
Cast: Tokiwa Takako, Hamada Gaku, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Nomaguchi Toru,
Ruiko is a yakuza-family's member. She hears that her husband has been taken by another yakuza-gang and she is going to take a revenge.  - It is a little bit sad. I say spoiler - she is fighting for  her love, but it comes out that all this time her husband wanted to have a normal life with normal family and in reality she was the real target. - Tokiwa Takako is very elegant and I looooove her kimono. I like that Ruiko has pride and she does not let herself fall, but it is too sad to see how she is trying to not express her real feelings.

Episode 8. "Director"
Cast: Maki Yoko, Iwasa Mayuko, Takeno Isao, Omiya Taro, Yajima Kenichi, Nukumizu Youichi
Actually, this was my favorite episode. Horiike is a company section director, who is real workaholic and has committed all her last years to her job - not because she wants to work so much, but she has a great sense of duty. Even so, she gets fired when she gives wrinkles what to change in the company. - This episode shows the most how irresponsible, mean and two-faced people might be. Horiike dies from heart failure, which occurred because of too much work, stress and less sleep time. This is something that most likely will happen to me if my current life-style continues O.o. I liked that she was very rational and knows what to do. She is the only character who showed the most sides of herself in the whole drama. Sentence is "Getting fired is like heartbreak in relationship". You can also meet again with Omoto - so sad that he is rather stupid.. Even though Horiike gets yellow card for changing clothes, the referees finally allow it - they are too sad. In the end, all she wanted to do, is to be happy - I liked that she sometimes thought that maybe going with her boyfriend would have been a better choice.  

Episode 9. "Hikikomori"
Cast: Oizumi Yo, Haruyama Mikisuke, Koide Saori, Tajima Reiko, Oshima Yoko, Nukumizu Youichi
Miura is a guy who has no desire to live, but also does not make a suicide - by the way, he has not gone out of the house for 12 years! New judge is Omoto and even referees are having hard time with understand the loss time as the clock seems to be broken - or is it?  - Miura is sooooo useless -.- he annoyed me so much, so I liked the end result :) 

Special/ Overtime "Omoto Yuzo Monogatari"
Cast: Kuriyama Chiaki, Kajihara Ken, Sakai Wakana, Tamura Ryo, Nukumizu Youichi, Tajima Reiko, Oshima Yoko
From the title it seems like Omoto will die, but no. The Special episode explains everything about Omoto.. and his wife, his former job etc. It is just like another episode. Nukumizu is amazing actor - he is so talented and funny! Omoto's life story is cute and the end is veeery cute. Sakai Wakana is adorable and I like that she plays stupid person this time xD All in all, it connects many previous episodes together and makes you realize what was going on.

I hope it can make you understand your life priorities - I wish I could tell it made my mind clear from this point, but with current life tempo I cannot have any other priority than school and entrance exams, BUT I know that the most important in the life still is family, love and friends ^^

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Paradise Kiss (2011)

Country: Japan
Genre: romance, comedy, fashion
Format: cinema movie
Cast: Kitagawa Keiko, Mukai Osamu, Kaku Kento, Oomasa Aya, Yamamoto Yusuke, Igarashi Shunji, Kato Natsuki, Hirayama Hiroyuki,
Synopsis: Hayasaka Yukari is a soon-graduating student, who has all her life studied in order to please her mother. After one hard day at school she is "scouted" by two boys who take her to studio called "Paradise Kiss". She meets with fashion students Arashi, Isabella, Miwako and a guy who gives her scary vibe - George. By becoming their model, Yukari soon discovers that there is more to life than just studying and each person must be in control of their own life.
Rating: 5/5
The movie is made after Yazawa Ai's same-named manga which 5 volumes were published during 1999-2003 (anime has 12 episodes and aired in 2005). I am happy, that "Paradise Kiss" live-action saw the light in 2011 and not before it, because this live-action has amazing technical effects and cast. I cannot say how much it was different from the original art as I have not read the manga, but I certainly want to read it in future! I know that the ending of the live-action is different from manga. But remember one thing - "Paradise Kiss" is a shoujo-manga, so the live-action is very girlish too, a bit chic flick.
Hayasaka Yukari is the main character. At first she is snobbish with art students, because their life-style is totally unacceptable. Even though she cannot put up with her mother, she is brave and has a lot of attitude, many times she acts before thinking clearly. I found it weird that in many scenes Yukari had forgotten all things that happened a day or some hours before and acted like it was nothing. Every girl would be on the edge of heart failure, but she had no changes in her emotions. But I will write that mistake on her attitude. Miwako likes to call her Caroline and Isabella mostly refers to her with name Carrie.
 Kitagawa Keiko was amazing in it. At first you can see her with almost no make-up!!! and she still looks like an angel (=.=), just a little bit strange if you have always seen her with good make-up (yeah, even "Buzzer Beat" non-make-up scenes had more make-up than in "Paradise Kiss") Kitagawa Keiko had a great advantage in acting as a model, because she started her rising-road with model-career, being the exclusive model for Japanese "Seventeen".
George is a bit rude, egocentric, playboy, super talented in dress-design, veeeeeery hot and in reality he suck with being true to his feelings. Some scenes might seem unfair to girls, but I think that this dude really knows how to make shocking-therapy xD I have heard that in manga he is bi-sexual and likes sadomasochism, well  there is no sign of it in the live-action. I feel sorry for George, because he is alone most of the time, even though Isabella is always beside him, it is not the same. I liked his one saying about making something great - "It is not tlent, it is a desire". I believe that it goes for most of the things - if you do not have talent, but you have the biggest desire to do it, you will manage it too. Mukai Osamu looks so hot. (Happy be-lated birthday, he got 30 on February 7th!)
Miwako is very naive and I have a feeling that many times she did not get the real point at all. Arashi at the same time is rough, loud and defensive. He at first does not like Yukari at all, because he is annoyed by Yukari's uncertain and high attitude. Miwako and Arashi are together, but its origins go a long way to their childhood, which includes Hiroyuki. I think that Oomasa Aya and Kaku Kento were the right choices for these characters.
Isabella has the least screen time - she is like the mother to the whole Paradise Kiss crew and she helps Yukari a lot when Yukari is feeling down. She is the most loyal friend to George as he was the one who help Isabella to understand her real self. By the way, Isabella is actually a guy.. but her soul is woman, if you know what I mean. Igarashi Shunji made brilliant job - I think that no man has a easy work to act woman role (or a man who feels like woman).
Hiroyuki is the first love of Yukari, a friend and a classmate. Yukari always thinks it is one-sided, but actually she is just too blind to see Hiroyuki's feelings. I think that they suited together so much! that's way I had hard time to decide which guy I prefer. But like I said Hiroyuki was childhood friend with Miwako and Arashi, which makes everything a lot more difficult..
Kaori is the biggest rival George has ever had, but the difference is that Kaori does not have that kind of talent. In manga there are hints that George has some feelings for her, but in live-action they are confuted. Minor roles of parents are there too - like all the time - parents are horrible and suck at first, but later understand how stupid they have been.
One of the most cutest scenes are memories where they are chibis! But weird is that they all discovered their personality at such early age, except Yukari.
I fell in love with George designed clothes - these are even more my style than clothes in "Runway Beat". I would buy all of them, but I am short of money. Does anyone knows where to buy same styled clothes?
Live-action has a great soundtrack too.. and I really love art students. Hopefully I will be one of them next year - I sent my application to university. It is one of the best fashion movies made recently!

SPOILER review: I wanted to comment their competition dresses too, but I do not think it would be right to do in real review. I found Kaori's dress too commercial and it was nothing special. Just open some Korean fashion online shop and most of the dresses are like it! If the meaning of the competition was "right into the shop", then okey, but seriously??! George's blue dress was the killer!!! It was soooo beautiful and difficult to make! I actually would have wanted to see the first, yellow dress too, but they dropped it with neck and crop.
Some words of the end - it was sickly cliched,  but it worked so great! I got double butterflies in my stomach! (do not ask how it feels..). Hint - Kitagawa Keiko really knows how to kiss and so does Mukai Osamu.