Scene; HiGH&LOW Ep 6

Usually there’s some kind of content-based reason why I love any particular scene but the reason why I loved this one was because it was so visually RIDICULOUS. The Rude Boys fight scene was just packed with sweet camera and editing work.

Right off the bat when Smoky runs off with the bag we get an inkling of things to come, which is, the shot is filmed from such a low angle that it’s like we’re lying on the ground seeing him kick the door.

It sets the tone right. Smoky bursts in from above, placing him in a visual position of power, the dust flies like a kungfu movie, the two guys fly to the side and you know instantly that parkour boy’s got the upper hand.

This is one of the things I love about this scene. They switch it up constantly between high angle and low angle shots.

First this actually helps to expand the setting a little. Because some shots are shot specifically to make it seem like you are looking up, and down at other times, it seems like the area they cover is huge.

There’s also a sense that action is happening EVERYWHERE, which is the point really. You look up, something’s happening, you look around, a fight’s definitely going on, you look down and someone’s running. It’s exciting.

Many of the shots are also sped up or slowed down so monotony is avoided. I tried to think about how it would be like if they just used the same cuts but didn’t change the speed. It just wouldn’t be as impactful. Stating the obvious a little here, but sped up shots emphasize the guys’ speed, which in turn makes the slowed shots much more powerful. They are like an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence, packing a punch.

It also lends a video game feel to the whole thing.

Then let’s talk about the use of what I believe to be a steadicam (sorry not a film pro, just an enthusiast) in this because I think this is one of the best things about this scene. The lack of stability and the constant movement makes it like we’re part of the scene. It thoroughly engages.

Take for example this part with Smoky. It’s like we are standing right by him avoiding punches and watching him go. When the camera tilts up and down it’s like we are literally watching the bad guys fall. The close-up shots also help to make us feel physically close to him. (P.S. I slowed this gif down a bit so you can see the camera movement better).

When he finally beats of the bad guys the camera stops moving and while that gives fangirls some time to just oogle at him (cough), it also carries on the illusion that we were fighting alongside him but now have stopped.

Also how amazing is it when they tracked this guy and edited the speed of it after. Not only does this help to pinpoint and identify one member of Generations (remember, we are selling the LDH groups here), but it also creates a sense of exhilaration, like we’re running alongside him.

Another favourite of mine is when we suddenly switch to a POV shot. In this scene we know that it’s not us but because of the way it’s shot it’s kind of ‘us’ holding that bag. But then the camera cuts and suddenly we’re thrown back out to a 3rd person perspective. That couple of seconds is enough to draw us into the action in a tactile sense. As I hear the sound of the bag landing in ‘my’ hands, and as I watch as ‘I’ run with ‘my’ shadow below me. So it wasn’t enough that we’re already experiencing the heady experience as if we were watching the action up close. Nah, we quite literally embody it for a few seconds too.

Same thing happens at this jump.

Of course what pulls everything together is the skill of the actor/performers. All that jumping, swinging, breakdancing, whatcha-ma-call-it…I mean…The street gang genre is the perfect one in which to play up physicality, and play it up they did.

I haven’t gotten around to watching the 2nd season of HiGH&LOW but I’m hoping it’ll step it up and give me more of this.

Scene; HiGH&LOW Ep 6

5 Scenes that Elevated Juhan Shuttai! Above Your Average Feel Good Drama (Part 2/5)

Nakata, oh Nakata. What can I say but this smol goblin needs to be protected at ALL costs. I never thought a character introduced mid-series would have such an impact on my frosty heart. Nakata as a character is a real winner with his brash honesty, his competitiveness, his desperation, his helplessness, his genius, his willingness to learn.

Scene 2: Nakata meets Ayu

Throughout episode 9 Nakata struggles to put a face to the female character for his manga. And in order to find ‘her’ he even has a run-in with the law. He meets her in the most unlikely of circumstances, and the reason why this scene stood out to me so much is that I never expected it to be a character that had already been introduced before, much less Ayu, genius mangaka Uroshida’s teenage daughter.

However, just like how it suddenly clicks for Nakata as she walks away from him – It makes so much sense as an audience. Ayu, rational and wise beyond her years, kind with a tinge of melancholy, does seem to be the kind of protagonist for the world of Peeve Transition. This combination that also happens to push the story forward is great that it’s entirely unexpected. Who would have thought that in a middle of two converging storylines, Rinne running away and Nakata struggling to find a model on which to base his character, a seemingly unrelated party would turn up? Maybe it’s just that I’m really bad at drawing connections, but I like to be surprised, and this scene showed that it doesn’t take a huge plot twist to achieve that effect.

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What I personally love about it is that Nakata immediately falls to the ground and draws her. It speaks so much about his disregard for protocol. It is entirely in keeping with his character.

 

5 Scenes that Elevated Juhan Shuttai! Above Your Average Feel Good Drama (Part 2/5)

5 Scenes that Elevated Juhan Shuttai! Above Your Average Feel Good Drama (Part 1/5)

It’s gonna be awhile before I ‘get over’ this show. So here’s a look back at 5 times Juhan Shuttai! really tugged at my heartstrings, or surprised me with its masterful storytelling and clever camera choices.

Scene 1: Wada quietly thanks Yasui, and Yasui walks through the office

Yasui’s story was one that I wanted to throw a table at honestly. It was going in the highly melodramatic flashback direction and for awhile there, I, having had my expectations lowered over the years, really thought that they were going to ‘change’ Yasui and have him have an epiphany to become more Kurosawa-ish. But no, Yasui doesn’t change and go back to the way he was because in reality what has past has past and he has made a decision for himself. Yasui doesn’t NEED to change. For most of the episode we thought Yasui was bitter and conniving, but it turns out that he has merely changed his outlook and resolution.

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In a masterful turn-around towards the end of the episode, the show is able to change our perspective on Yasui. While he may seem blase about artistes and uncaring about VIBES, he cares deeply for the future of the magazine. His ‘crusher’ ways allow him to put in the time where it counts, save his marriage, pull in sales.

Wada acknowledges this by telling him:

Yasui tells him he’s just doing it for his salary, but the subsequent moments speak otherwise. As a re-emphasis of Wada’s words, Yasui walks past the other editors in deep, animated discussions with the manga artists under their care.

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We already know the deep trust and relationship between these two pairs from previous episodes, so it is deeply affecting, when we get one last flashback of Yasui and Kato, and their own bond.

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It adds a whole new level of pathos to the show, knowing that deep inside Yasui is no longer the idealistic editor he used to be, but he still cares for manga artists and manga as a craft.

Aside

Scene; Dear Sister Ep 7

I make no secret of my love for Dear Sister. It’s one of the few female-oriented dramas that have been satisfying on all levels – plot continuity, commitment to factual details, prioritising of female familial relationships, great acting (I love you Ishihara Satomi), tons of fun, and most of all a refreshing portrayal of women.

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I’m a long time jdrama fan who also happens to be big on romance as a genre. The thing about romance dramas is – I like them, I really do. I am very much aware that there are so many released every season specifically catered to female audiences like myself. My first instinct is almost always to pick a romance over a detective drama. Another dark thriller? Meh, give me fluff. I would even say that I’m really generous when it comes to accepting cliches (every genre has their own after all), but good heavens does it take time and effort to sieve through to get to a good one.

Sure, Dear Sister isn’t a romance drama, but it is targeted at females and does have romance storylines embedded within it. I also bring up romances because so often I feel like these shows make an effort to make a statement about women and how they are like, and most of the time I just don’t identify with what is being presented to me.

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This is why this scene in Episode 7 of Dear Sister surprised me so much. I’d watched so many romance sub plots leave a bad taste in my mouth with their misogyny or lack of realism that I couldn’t believe I was watching a Japanese female character say the following:

Continue reading “Scene; Dear Sister Ep 7”

Scene; Dear Sister Ep 7