In terms of today's discussion i thought i'd pick something that i KNOW we all can discuss and i'm pretty sure everyone has at least one thing to say. I realise that this community is looking for real academia and information when it comes to the geinoukai but you know, sometimes we all need some random discussion about topics that just cannot be taken serious. No, i'm not starting a discussion on the proliferation of the rabid Johnny's fan and the komgthxbubai! phenomenon (although i do remember essie07 asking that we take a look later) but at Japanese dramas and things you are likely to see in them. I'm using this as a topic because i think we all love Japanese dramas and there are plenty of things we've seen that are Japan specific that make us laugh/cry/think 'WTF?!' And just to make the topic a bit more academic i'm going to start with the list given on aspects of Japanese drama in 'The Couch Potato's Guide to Japan: Inside the World of Japanese TV' by WM. Penn (2003). [Great book. Looks at lots of aspects of TV: Dramas, samurai dramas, SMAP, variety shows, comedy, sports, linguistics. Hell, it's about Japanese TV. Go buy.] And to make things fun i'll be adding my random comments on what i've seen to give this depth (i wish) but will really cause you guys to agree/disagree/hate me.
::coughs:: Here beginneth the 'Elements of Japanese TV Drama'!!!
- AIDS fears are never allowed to get in the way of aimlessly mixing and matching characters.[Ok, so i can't comment here after all. I haven't seen a drama looking at AIDS yet but i do remember/think that drama with half-Japanese dude from House of Flying Daggers (Takeshi Ku-something) as a rock star and him having a relationship with someone who suffers from AIDS. Kami, Mo Sukoshi Jikan or something like that. Of course, my brain could have completely made this up. Maybe.]
- Abortion is a non-issue in Japan. "Off-to-the-abortion-clinic" scenes are relatively common. [Um. Pass.]
- Bullying lives. There is no lack of it in many dramas, especially school tales. [That there explains Gokusen. Gokusen II. Hana Yori Dango. Nobuta wo Produce. Majou no Jouken... Maybe explains why Gokusen II sucked with the terrible 'fight scenes' - after one series of unbelievable 'hometeacher Yankumi' it just cannot be sustained.]
- Cinderella stories are a winner every time. [I love these! Doesn't everyone? HYD and BusuKoi good examples of this, with BusuKoi giving a new twist to things.]
- Dejavu. If you think you have seen it before, you probably have in an overseas film. [Now, the Japanese might take things from overseas but believe me, they're tonnes times better than the Indian film industry which basically takes anything and everything from the US and pretends its new. Idiots.]
- Envy may be a sin but it is a recurring theme. [I could list dramas but meh.]
- Friendship comes preferably in...
- Groups of seven. These tales are referred to in the vernacular as shichinin monogatari. [Ah, the Seven Samurai. How great you are... And also. I wonder where these dramas are? Anyone?]
- Happy endings are never a sure thing, not by a long shot. [Well, that is the case if you're watching a drama that's called SekaiChu/Byaku/IchiNami/girl with a debilitating disease who falls in love then dies. Ooops. I've spoiled every drama. And why is it always girls anyway? Let the guy die for once...]
- Intertwined characters dangle in a spider's web of sticky entanglements. Always look for the hidden connection. [YAY for Kizarazu Cat's Eye because they did the tangledness fantastically. Hell yeah.]
- Jealously fuels many a plot. [Oh Tsukasa.... What green eyes of jealously you have...]
- Kiss scenes are increasing but seldom surpass the intensity of two butterflies flitting past each other. [JESUS YES! Japan is terrible for the dual sex image they have with all that random scary porn and then top stars barely kissing one another. Some dramas can be really sexless, which makes no sense if they're trying to sell relationships. I think i spend most dramas watching kisses and rating the sexiness of them. A lot of them are terrible. I would make a topic where people picked their hottest kisses in Jdorama but i fear it will lower the tone of the community.
- Koseki, the family register that holds all the secrets of lineage, is an investigator's dream. [I'm assuming this is the case for older dramas. Although i guess this point is slightly true of Yankumi.]
- Long lines of dialogue are not common, except Sugako Hashida scripts. She is notorious for having her characters speak in paragraphs. [Guess that expects KCE's Ucchi.]
- Maths ability is definitely a boon to understanding romantic dramas. Triangular, quadrangular, frustratingly complex and irritatingly roundabout romantic angles prevail. Even romantic parallelograms, where the characters move on two separate planes and never intersect, are likely to surface. There are few straight lines to romance in Japanese dramas. [Explains all those stupid crazy diagrams you get in TV magazines that should explain relations in dramas but just confuse you further.]
- Mother complexes can spell disaster for young brides while... [It's that real famous drama with the scary mother and under her thumb son and poor daughter-in-law with the butterfly analogy. I read this somewhere. Sorry.]
- Neurotic sons, or the simply clueless, are well represented in family dramas. [I asked noesunexito if you could class Bussan as being neurotic but he's cute drunk neurotic so i feel so it's ok.]
- Obligations are an endlessly heavy weight binding many characters, especially if they feel indebted to a benefactor. [Here comes the giri...]
- Parentage puzzles are a natural choice of theme for a society that has long tolerated mistresses, second wives and a divorce settlement system that often grants one parent sole custody of the children. [Where are these dramas and why haven't i seen them??? ::thinks:: Oooh! Kusanagi's drama where his wife leaves him and he's such a crappy father to his daughter to begin with and... actually that's all i watched up to.]
- Questions? Viewers are often left with more questions than answers as they try to fill in all the holes or tie all the threads in a tattered script. [Yes. Why Majou no Jouken, why???]
- Revenge is a universal theme in every Japanese drama genre. [Taiyou no Kisetsu, i'm looking at you. And again with the girl... I'll stop now.]
- Stereotypes commonly lend reassuring predictability to a plot. [Kimura Takuya, i'm looking at you. Nah, love you really.]
- Tatamae, how the characters behave before others, contrasts with honne, what is really on their minds, to add endless twist to a plot. [I guess the onscreen thoughts of Anego and Kurosawa was a good example of this. Although where getting drunk and hitting onto your boss comes into this, i don't know.]
- Unctuous underlings abound in every institutional drama from schools and hospitals to corporate headquarters and gangster groups. [The list could go on here so i won't bother.]
- Violence, usually gratuitous and very physical, is not uncommon, but it si seldom carried out with a gun. Kicking, stabbing and punching are preferred. Whacking students and teachers over the head are also common. [That's Gokusen down to a tee.]
- Xenophobia limits roles for non-Japanese characters, although some improvement has been seen in this area in the last two decades. [Reminds me of this random daytime drama i used to vaguely watch in Japan with this English-speaking white guy who told some woman he loved her in really badly accented Japanese. For some reason i keep thinking his name was Ben. Hmm.]
- Youth are the demographic of choice. Most dramas feature the adventures of 20-somethings or younger. [Pretty much true, although a lot of established older actors can make or break a drama too. And then there's JE and their influence...]
- Zangyou, working overtime, is a script standard and usually the excuse for choice for covert 'after five' activities like trysting with one's girlfriend. [Ah... Yay for getting drunk and hanging out with hostesses/hosts.]
THE END. And ouch, does my hand hurt or what? ::vows never to type that amount again::
SO. People. Let us DISCUSS and exchange views on the above. [Sorry, i'm a little hyper. End of exams does that to you.] Are there points that you disagree/agree with? Any comments i've made you hate/have no idea about/think are just stupid? Yes?