I recently started reading and watching “So I Married the Anti-Fan”

Webtoon version of Sooyoung x Choi Tae Joon's drama 'So I Married An Anti- Fan' launching today | allkpop

 

The lengths they went with the K-Drama to stay true to the source material–the Webcomic, which was adapted from the Light Novel of the same name–is why I have decided to read the Webtoon and watch the K-Drama at the same time. I finished reading Episode 24 of the Webcomic (On Webtoon) and just started Episode 2 of the K-Drama (on Viki).

Without spoiling too much, the pair is about to start filming their reality TV show in the Webtoon while the pair are separately dealing with the immediate aftermath of their imfamous exchange at JJ’s Nightclub in the K-Drama. That’s where I’m at right now with both Mediums. I plan to read the Webtoon version first, then get caught up in the K-Drama version. The Webtoon version was only recently released and was actually released to promote the K-Drama, which is a bit further ahead in the story. As a reminder, both were adapted from the Light Novel of the same name. From what I’ve read, the Light Novel was first released back in 2012 so…yeah.

 

The birth of an idol | HS Insider

It was easy for me to see why this series was so popular in both mediums: It gives audiences a deep dive into the Idol Culture both South Korea and Japan are known for.

 

That’s a good segway into this video:

 

Here’s the original song it’s based on by Bo Burnham:

 

The dark side of the idol industy in Japan and South Korea has been getting a lot of attention in recent years as more and more former Idols and people from the industry talk about their experiences. Basically, the purpose of your existence is to play a role until it’s no longer profitable. You almost never have time for relationships and often don’t get to see your own family much. When their American and European counterparts start to feel mental health-related burnout, they will just take time off. Not in Japan and South Korea due to cultural differences and expectations. That’s how brutal the Entertainment industry Complex is in Japan and South Korea. Your life is literally no longer your own.

I’ve read stories of Male idols basically having to meet with their girlfriends in secret for their girlfriends’ safety. Why? Because if some of the more crazy fans found out, their girlfriend’s life would probably be in danger. Yes, really. Some people literally worship JPop/KPop Idols to the point they feel their perception must be maintained no matter what. It’s even worse for Female Idols though this is more widely known. More often than not, idols are not allowed to be seen “out of character” while in public if they haven’t completely changed or disguised their appearance.

Both Male and Female Idols who find love after getting into the business is usually kept a closely guarded secret if their love interest is not a public figure or celebrity. If they found love before getting in the business, they have some leeway with both their agency and fans though. If a Female Idol gets pregnant, how the agency handles it depends on if her relationship was publicly known or not. If it was publicly known, they’ll announce it and she’ll have time off until after she gives birth. If the relationship wasn’t publicly known, they will have her take time off and will usually arrange for her to not be publicly seen for at least a year. In more extreme cases, she may even be forced to quietly have an abortion. Why? Because profits over people that’s why.

As far as most Idol Agencies are concerned, the Idol is a product of their making and they can do whatever they want with you as long as you’re profitable. When you’re no longer profitable, they show you the door without compensation. You are not even entitled to royalties. The Agencies ensure that. Some former Idols actually do find Indie success but without the backing of their former agencies, most are forced to find some other kind of work. More so if they left their former agency on bad terms. You’re nothing more than a cog in the machine. That is the Idol Industrial Complex in South Korea and Japan. It used to be like that in the U.S. too but not as much these days.

…What does all of this have to do with Anti-Fan you may wonder? Read and/or Watch and see for yourself =)

 

 

 

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Future Blog Plans

First things first, I want to repeat what I said at the end of my previous article. Please consider supporting me financially via the PayPal Links above and below. If you’re sharing my articles on Twitter and other platforms, please ask your people to consider giving me financial support as well. I do all this for free but the financial support would be greatly appreciated.

 

This is one of my first blogs and since it’s been a while, I figure I would take the time to explain the direction I plan to move with this blog moving forward. One thing I plan to continue is give analysis of various Anime and Asian Dramas I watch. I also plan to continue giving an analyis of various Dramas and Webtoons I read. Of course, I’ll also talk about Anime Boston as I have been for almost 10 years now.

Something I’ve noticably been making an effort to do more of is delve into current events in Japan outside Pop Culture. I have also been expanding things outside strictly Japan especially when I talk about Manwa (Korean Manga) and Manhua (Chinese Manga), more so because of their increased international popularity in recent years.

It goes without saying Japan won the Cultural War it declared on the West in the Mid to late 90s. Western Cultures scoffed at what they viewed to be a “niche” subculture in the early 2000s but by the early 2010s, it really started to take off. Now, it’s more or less considered mainstream. To say Western society is obsessed with Japanese and Asian/Pacific Culture(s) now goes without saying. A lot of that has to do with the fact let’s be honest, Western Moral Values have become virtually non-existent over the last 20 years. Of course, much of that is because of our own doing–violence, sexual immorality, profanity and crime glorified in our entertainment–so the results of that on our society shouldn’t surprise anyone.

People are looking for decent entertainment that has a lot of the good morals that used to be be all over TV’s first few decades. Until about 30 years ago, parents in America didn’t need to worry about what their kids watched on TV. Obviously, now parents do and then some. I’ll spare you the history lesson but basically, people are just tired of the garbage that is today’s American TV. This is also what makes Asian Programming in general so attractive to Western Audiences. People are seeing things in the vein of what they saw when they were young or in the case of younger viewers, they’re seeing something wholesome.

China and to a lesser extent Korea are known for producing Period dramas alongside Dramas set in the modern age. The Period dramas set in the past give Western audiences a look into life in either country’s history even when there are historical inaccuracies or a hard lean into Fantasy elements. After all, Anicent China was the home of both Buddhism and Confucianism though there are also elements of Taoism as well.

Most of the modern shows I watch highlight the cultural struggles in China and Korea with the influences of Capitalism and other Western influences with established longtime cultural values. When the 2018 American movie Bohemian Rhapsody was released in China, the Chinese government agreed to allow the movie to be shown in the country but there was a catch: The movie had to be edited to remove references to the lead character being Bisexual. The Chinese government does censor international movies, literature and TV shows not just on moral grounds but for political reasons. Of course, the will also censor anything that mocks or goes against or threatens Chinese cultural beliefs as a whole. Yes, really.

While just the idea of government censorship is enough to trigger well…everyone in the U.S., you won’t find a lot of people who oppose the idea of the American Media Industry getting cleaned up. The problem is the industry has made it clear it has no interest or will to police itself so…yeah. I’ll stop there since it’s a topic for another blog though.

All that said, I am WELL aware of the Sexually Explicit and graphic violence in some Japanese Anime and Manga. I hate it personally and more so when I feel a lot of it is unncessary. I also hate the fact Sexually Lewd content in particular has seeped into video games from Japanese developers being localized in the West. Why do they do it? Because in Japan, those types of games are deliberately marketed to adults. Same for “Girls/Boys Love” Ecchi and Harem genre games.

Don’t even get me started on charcters regardless of medium featured that are physically “child-like” but are actually 18+ AND teenagers under 18 with exaggerated physical proportions being put in sexually suggestive situations or scenes. All that said, the Japanese goverment finally stepped in a few years ago and more so because of Anime like Higehiro where unfortunately concerns someone would try to replicate what they see depicted actually did. This was never a concern for Japanese society in the past but that was before so much of their mass media was as saturated with Sexual Content as it is now.

What I was pleasantly surprised to learn in recent years is there are people on both sides of the Pacific who are basically saying “Enough. All this [Fan Service] isn’t necessary”. It’s commonly known as Fan Service which in Anime/Manga is almost always females being sexually suggestive or Lewd, usually in an over the top or deliberate way. Those in Japan are tired of being stereotyped over it first and its not as socially accepted in Japan as people might think second. Even more so these days. Those outside Japan are pushing back hard against those who oppose content makers who edit out or change sexually explicit content. When you’re older, you realize “less is more” anyways.

 

Moving on. I snuck this in at the end of the last article but I set up a Discord Server! I started using Discord for the first time ever this year and I see it as a potential alternative to some social media platforms. I have Discord on my iPad as well so I’ll be able to follow conversations anytime and anywhere. I’ll add more channels to the server over time as well so it’s not a bad idea to drop in at least.

 

Things You Probably Didn't Know About Instant Ramen Noodles

Instant Pot Ramen Noodles | Gluten Free Ramen Noodles - Confessions of a Fit Foodie

 

I do plan to add a section for Japanese Foods with complete recipes.

Instant Ramen and Cup Ramen have been around for over 50 years but did you know you can and it’s reccommended you spice it up to look like it does in Anime? Instant Ramen and Cup Ramen imfamously got a bad reputation in the late 1990s to mid-2000s in the U.S. but that changed after the Naruto Manga and later Anime were released. Anime Fans in particular began to realize they were mostly eating it wrong their whole lives: The Flavor packet was for the broth BUT it was assumed you would add the protein and veggies yourself. If this isn’t a reason to learn how to cook, I don’t know what is!

I’ll add a new section for Japanese foods before the end of this year. Of that you can be certain. I’ll announce in posts when content is added as well, don’t worry. I won’t just post recipes but more importantly, how you can make certain things without access to an Asian Grocery Store like Super 88. Most Supermarkets in the U.S. do have an aisle or two lined with Sauces, Spices, Seasonings and other Asian ingredients or food products. Those will cover everything I plan to feature over time but if live near an Asian Grocery store, you can ask staff about specifics.

If you’ve never seen the Produce section of your local supermarket, most do sell Daikon–it’s a type of Radish for those who don’t know–as well as Shitake Mushrooms as well as Leeks (Green Onions). If you want Kobe Beef, you would have to go to either go to an Asian grocery store or a Butcher Shop though it won’t be cheap. Alternatively, you can use other cuts of beef instead. Oh and I won’t just feature Japanese food. I also plan to feature foods from South Korea, The Philippines and China to name a few places.

I also plan to add a section for the Idol Industry in Japan and South Korea as a whole to explain some things many of those outside South Korea and Japan may not understand culturally. The Western World knows who BTS is now but until very recently, they were only known in South Korea. The Dark Side of K-Pop and J-Pop Fandoms is touched on in other media but I’m gonna make a section to show folks what could have been the U.S. Pop Scene about 25 years ago. I feel it’s important for folks to be aware at least.

 

…Whew.

Yeah, I know this is quite a lot of big things I have planned moving forward. Your continued support will be greatly appreciated moving forward. Really, I mean it. Thank you ^_^

 

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal by clicking here. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I now have a Discord Server! You can find it here. My Discord name is mraurabolt.

Rakuten Viki and Crunchyroll Renewed for another year; Reviews for Recently Completed Anime

Korean Drama, Taiwanese Drama, Bollywood, Anime and Telenovelas free online with subtitles - Rakuten Viki

 

Despite the Pandemic turning most of the world into shut-ins, I haven’t been able to spend most of this year consistently binging Asian Dramas on Viki. Such is my life sadly. Even so, I did manage to watch almost 30 shows in their entirety over the last year. With a lot of the stuff I have cued and am watching now, it makes the most sense for me to renew my Viki subscription for another year. With the things I am working on in life right now, I know I will be able to make the time for Viki in the coming year. Same with Crunchyroll, which I also plan to renew in a few months.

The majority of Viki’s offerings are from China and South Korea. There is a modest selection from Japan and Taiwan however. Like other streaming services, a lot of it has to do with licensing. If you get either of the premium subscriptions, you get immediate access to shows still airing. The more expensive subscription (Premium+) gives you access to everything the platform has to offer barring regional restrictions. When I start working, I will upgrade to Premium+ for both Viki and Crunchyroll.

Funimation and Crunchyroll partnership to help North American anime industry - Nerd Reactor

Nearly a year after Funimation abruptly ended their partnership with Crunchyroll, Sony (which owns Funimation) has announced they have bought Crunchyroll (owned by WarnerMedia) for almost $2 Billion. The sale has to clear some regulatory hurtles which is expected to so the purchase is effectively a done deal.

The reactions from fans and users of Crunchyroll online has been overwhelmingly negative since the news broke on December 9. As of this writing, Crunchyroll has announced the buyout/merger on their website but no further information is available. Most likely, they don’t know themselves yet. We don’t know if Crunchyroll and Funimation’s streaming services will continue to operate separately or will be merged. We might not know until maybe next month most likely.

The funny thing is the same day as this announcement, I renewed my Crunchyroll Premium for another year. I don’t think those who are currently subscribed will be impacted without at least be offered compensation personally. I remember when Neon Alley being folded into Hulu was first announced, they offered a full or partial refund to premium subscribers if they didn’t want to switch over. I expect something like that to be offered if Crunchyroll is folded into Funimation. Of course, it’s certainly possible they will be allowed to perate separately but all we can really do is wait and see.

 

Disney Mulan 2020 film premiers on Disney+ for $30 - Geeky Gadgets

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to comment on the political controversy surrounding the Live Action Mulan movie. Originally planned for a March theatrical release, the movie was released in July on Disney+ due to the ongoing Pandemic in progress. The movie has become a lightning rod of criticism because Disney thanked government officials in Xinjiang Province where the movie was filmed in the movie’s credits.

Why is that a problem?

It turns out a detention center imfamous for being used to house Muslims for “Re-Education” is located not far from where most of the movie was filmed. Disney explained they chose that region for the movie “after consulting scholars and historians”. The movie used an all-Chinese cast and crew. This can easily be handwaved away as just appeasing the Chinese government and public but some now believe the filming location being so close to the Detention Center may have been why they wanted to keep a lot of details under wraps even from Disney.

It’s not hard to believe Chinese government officials worked with the film crew to help keep Disney from knowing about the Detention Center during filming. I get Disney’s hands were tied mostly due to soured relations between the U.S. and China in recent years but that’s still no excuse. They should’ve realized something was up when they were basically told certain areas were off-limits.

Disney dropped the ball big time and not just over this. Liu Yufei, who plays Mulan in the movie expressed her support for Hong Kong Police last year. Anyone following the news involving China and Hong Kong in recent years knows how volatile things are now. Yufei, who is a Chinese-born American made the remarks on her Weibo Account (Weibo is China’s version of Twitter for those who don’t know). Many perceived her support of the authorities in Hong Kong as support of the sometimes violent crackdowns in Hong Kong by the Chinese government.

Yufei’s comments on Weibo and the Xinjiang Detention Center controversy has led to many wordwide to call for Mulan to be boycotted. Thailand and Taiwan have both banned the movie. Many in China criticized the original 1998 animated version, feeling it was too Westernized and seemed to mock Chinese history in some regards. A lot of the criticsm from within China towards the live version has to do with hand signals and gestures used during the movie’s action scenes lookng too “Ninja-like”. I would point the blame toward whoever from the Chinese government was supposed to oversee the Chinese version of the movie.

For those who don’t know, two versions of the movie were made: The International version and a second version just for Chinese-speaking audiences. Every scene was shot twice, once in English and once in Chinese. This is why the entire cast is Chinese. I do think Disney will be forced to reshoot the International version a third time because of the controversy with the lead role recast. Disney should have redid the whole movie after Yufei’s comments went public last year but I won’t digress further.

I am on the fence about watching the movie myself but I’m leaning toward not seeing it. Mostly because of how poorly recieved it’s been in China more than anything else. I just hope Disney learned from all this or they will be in trouble down the road.

Both versions of the movie is based on a Chinese folk tale called Hua Mulan, which tells the story of a young heroine who disguises herself as a man to take the place of her ailing father to fight in the Imperial Army. The first movie renewed debate in China as to weather or not this really happened. At first it was dismissed as fiction but historical records from the period the folk tale was believed to have come from seems to indicate it’s likely true.

At the time drafts only applied to sons, not daughters as the army was all Male. If the family had no sons, the father or grandfather would be drafted. The consript was given to the family which required one Male from the family to serve in the military. Anyone who tried to defy the draft risked their entire family being punished or killed. Only families that had no Males capable of fighting were excused from the draft. In the case of Mulan’s family, her father was a decorated soldier in his younger days. It’s not clear weather he was in poor health or had an injury but regardles, he accepted the conscript on behalf of the family. Mulan took matters into her own hands when she took off with the conscript and her father’s armor.

While women disguising themselves as men to get military training or fight in the miliary was not uncommon, most who were found out were sent home, executed or raped. Some like Mulan who proved themselves capable and earned the respect of her fellow soldiers were allowed to return home after serving in the military.

 

Watch Food Wars! Streaming Online | Hulu (Free Trial)

 

The last two episodes were clearly rushed but the ending was still very satisfying. It ended the same way it began prettymuch: Yukihira trying to get Erina to be honest about her feelings to him. There was so much going on in the last two episodes, they should have been split into 2 or 3 episodes each. You have Yukihira beating Saiba to go on and face Erina. We all knew that was the showdown being built towards.

Joichiro being revealed to have mentored Saiba when he was a kid explains a lot of his personal animosity towards Yukihira. Joichiro telling Saiba after the match “I will always be your father as a chef.” was pretty boss. Finding out during the credits Saiba and Erina were actually half-siblings though…that makes certain thoughts go through your head until you realize neither of them knew they were blood related until after the fact and almost off-screen. Their dad basically says “Oh by the way Erina you know that guy who wanted to marry you if he won? He’s actually your older half-brother.” That right there is a whole episode. So was Yukihira traveling abroad for 6 months after losing to Nakiri in the final match. Instead that was skipped entirely to his return for the final moments of the series.

Make no mistake Food Wars was an amazing anime from start to finish. Delays between seasons 4/5, 4/3 and 3/2 did slow momentum but not to the extent the months-long delay two episodes into the final season due to COVID-19 caused. It didn’t take away from the rest of the season though. My only real complaint is how rushed the last two episodes were. They tried to do too much in them and it came out looking sloppy to me.

 

 

The Misfit of Demon King Academy || First Episode Impressions | Anime Amino

 

This Anime’s lead character is a legit Mary Sue yet somehow this Anime makes it work by not making him the focus from start to finish. Instead, the focus is put world building. Somehow, it just works. The ending kinda leaves the door open for a second season but I felt like this was it.

 

 

Ahiru no Sora Episode 14 Release Date, Watch Online - Spoiler Guy

 

Ahiru no Sora was quite the amazing coming of age anime with a bit of everything. Sure, the ending is unresolved but I think it was the safe way to close things out.

If they decide to make a Season 2, there’s plenty of material to work with now.

 

REVIEW: 'Fire Force,' Season 2 Episode 15 - “A Three Way Melee”

Fire Force Season 2 just wrapped up and now the wait is on for Season 3.

 

Most of Season 2 focused on character development as well as world building. The Season ended with the news all eight Special Fire Force companies as well as the Hajima Company and the Military will coming together to take on a common enemy in the mysterious White Clad and their benefactor, the malevolent Evangelist. Season 3 will presumably delve into their backstory as the stage is set for war between them and the Fire Force.

Season 3 hasn’t been announced yet and likely due to the ongoing Pandemic. All we know is there WILL be one eventually.

 

…Whew.

Folks should expect the next season for most Anime to be delayed due to COVID-19. Attack of Titan and Dr. Stone’s season premeires were originally supposed to be over the summer but they were pushed back due to the ongoing pandemic. The next season for Rising of The Shield Hero was also supposed to be around this time but it’s been pushed to sometime next year for the same reason.

Attack on Titan’s final season just premiered. I’ll do a recap of the story up to now for the benefit of those who may not have been following Attack on Titan’s story since the first season AND haven’t read the Manga. From how the final season opened, we’re going to be getting a lot of backstory that should tie up a lot of loose ends and explain where the Titans came from.

 

 

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Review: Melting Me Softly (Korea, 2019)

 

 

 

Image result for Melting Me Softly

Ah, Human Cryogenics.

The summary on Viki felt underwhelming to me at a glance but I decided to give it a try anyway. This show got me hooked within the first 5 minutes of the opening episode to say the least. Ji Chang Wook is Ma Dong Chan, a TV Producer who volunteers to participate in a Frozen Human Experiment for 24 hours. Won Jin Ah is Go Mi Ran, a volunteer who agrees to participate in the same experiment for 24 hours in exchange for monetary compensation. The experiment, which was only meant to last for 24 hours ended up lasting 20 years.

I’m gonna explain an outline of the sequence of events in the next several paragraphs with some plot spoilers so if you haven’t seen it yet or started watching and do not want to be spoiled, skip to the next picture.

The experiment begins in 1999.

Ma Dong Chan (Age 32) approaches the eccentric, mysterious but brilliant Professor Hwang to volunteer to participate in the Frozen Human Project for 24 hours. Go Mi Ran (Age 24), who is jobless and looking for opportunity also volunteers after being offer monetary compensation. 22 hours after Professor Hwang puts Ma Dong Chan and Go Mi Ran in the Refrigeration Capsules, he gets a mysterious phone call and leaves the laboratory. While he’s away, the professor is nearly killed and ends up in a coma. Since he is the only person who can safely revive Ma Dong Chan and Go Mi Ran, the two end up being Cryogenically Frozen for 20 years instead of 24 hours…in 2019.

Aside from history as we know it, much has happened during the 20 years Ma Dong Chan and Go Mi Ran were frozen. Those they knew before they were frozen have aged but they themselves are physically the same as they were 20 years earlier. Ma Dong Chan, who feels personally responsible for Go Mi Ran’s lost years as well as their shared physical state commits himself to investigating what happened in the past. The Broadcast Station where he worked covered up its involvement in the Human Freezing Project after his disappearance and his father died while he was frozen. Go Mi Ran’s family learned about what happened to her from the professor’s assistant only because she requested the money promised to her be given to her family if something happened.

The world is shocked and mesmerized when Ma Dong Chan announces to the world that he is the world’s first frozen human. Go Mi Ran’s status as the other Refrigeration Capsule volunteer is later publicly revealed as well. One of the interesting things in an early episode is a talk show-style debate on which age someone who was cryogenically frozen and then revived years later would go by. Should they go by their legal age or the age they were when they were frozen? Ma Dong went from 32 to 52 while Go Mi Ran went from 24 to 44. Physically and biologically, they were still their former ages but legally and chronologically, they were their latter ages. Fortunately, they didn’t complicate it further by having either of them have kids though the third person did have a son who is now a grown man 21 years later.

Moving on. Professor Hwang suddenly awoke from his coma 20 years after they were frozen long enough to revive them before passing out again. The revival was successful but not without a major side effect the professor was aware of: Ma Dong Chang and Go Mi Ran’s body temperature have to mantain a body temperature of 31.5 Celsius (88.7 Fahrenheit), which is WELL below Hypothermia levels. A normal human body temperature is around 37 Celsus (98.6 Fahrenheit) so…yeah. I’ll get to the medical science aspects in a bit but in short, their heat tolerance is very low to say the least. The only way to have their body temperature restored to normal rests in Professor Hwang, whose past is tied to their current situation.

The problem is he suffered temporary but severe memory loss due to being in a coma for 20 years. While he was an amnesiac, he got to know Go Mi Ran’s family and bonded with her brother, who has a low IQ. Professor Hwang laments as he begins to understand the psychological and emotional pain of the families of those who are frozen for the first time. When he finally regains his memories, he sets to work developing a thermal formula to restore Ma Dong Chan and Go Mi Ran to normal. Ma Dong Chan volunteers to test the formula first and after 7 days, it is successful (WOOT!). As for Go Mi Ran, tragedy strikes the day before she would begin treatment. She is severely injured but because of her low body temperature, doctors cannot operate on her. A decision needs to be made so Professor Hwang puts her back in a Refrigeration Capsule for 3 years while he makes a new, stronger formula from scratch to thaw her quickly so that the surgery can be done. It’s decided the third person, who was severely injured before being frozen will have their body temperature returned to normal at a later time.

Ma Dong Chan and Go Mi Ran were two of six people we know of who were put in refrigeration capsules by the professor but we find out who a third is since it’s tied to a major plot point. The identities of the other three or why they were frozen is never mentioned at any point. All we’re told is only Professor Hwang knows who they are and their identities are a closely guarded secret. The one whose identity is revealed is a major plot spoiler I won’t divulge here though so go watch to find out. I will say this person who was frozen in 1998 played an indirect role in Ma Dong Chan and Go Mi Ran being frozen for 20 years.

 

Image result for melting me softly

 

…Whew. Obviously, I was sucked in by all the science aspects of this series!

I want to get back to the Lower Body Temperature the two leads are afflicted with for most of the series. Clearly they did their homework and what I loved about this is they did not shy away from the science around this. The Thawing Process was not perfected at the time–and as far as we know the two leads plus the identified third person were the first known people to have been revived from the Refrigeration Capsules. I mentioned Professor Hwang had discovered the problem when he did clinical trials on a Dolphin that died. He could not pinpoint the exact cause of death but it became more clear thanks to the two leads. If their body temperature rose above 32.5 C (92 F), they could die.

Since their core body temperature is lower than normal, they have little to no tolerance to heat but an abnormally high tolerence to cold. This is displayed a few times when the two are thrown in the back of a refrigerator truck as well as when they visit a Cold Room (a room with near or at freezing temperatures some spas offer). They also drink ice water a lot to help maintain their lower body temperature. A life-threatening mutation was discovered but fortunately, the professor’s assistant was able to quickly develop an antidote. When the professor finally develops a proper medicine to raise their body temperature to normal,

There is plenty of material for a season two with new characters. One of the opening dialogues for the first episode notes that it’s believed that there are at least 600 people who are in Refrigeration Capsules in Korea, the U.S. and Russia. Sadly, it looks like the show didn’t do very well when it first aired last Fall in Korea. It’s easy to see why despite the Korean celebrity cameos in some episodes. The show clearly tried too hard to be a Rom Com, Mystery and a Sci-Fi Medical Drama all at once when it should have picked one of them and stuck with it.

I must also agree with the overall consensus that although they tried hard, they came up short with the storytelling. The Science aspects wasn’t the problem but rather it was pretty obvious the producers didn’t have a clue about what kind of story they wanted to tell. Most of the supporting cast also got too much development given it was a 16-episode series, which is too much for one that short. It also shows where things are rushed or just not really given ample time to move things along.

A few things that come to mind–and there are some minor spoilers–include:

  • Ma Dong Chan’s ex girlfriend and Go Mi Ran’s ex boyfriend don’t really seem to get happy endings or satisfying endings. Both wanted to pick up where they left off despite one having since married. I do think the dissatisfied endings were intended but the problem is they both got so much screentime and development.
  • The third person who gets thawed was at the center of most of the story…but he doesn’t get an ending. The last we hear before Go Mi Ran gets hurt is the plan is to raise his body temperature once he’s recovered more. He’s never seen or heard from after that. You’re left to presume he recovers offscreen.
  • The man who stabbed Go Mi Ran has absolutely no background story and “The boss wants one of them dead for you to be paid”. This point is highlighted by the fact he’s not seen again after he stabs her but is apparently tracked down offscreen.
  • Yes, the same actor who plays Ma Dong Chan’s father in the first episode plays his brother for the rest of the series. That was actually pretty clever and the same was done with one of his colleagues. One actor playing two roles. The 20-year gap makes this discrepency easier to explain but it makes a lot more sense with his brother and father. His father died a few years earlier from a stroke.
  • It’s very surprising that there are only two instances in which Go Mi Ran and Ma Dong Chan meet people who are interested in being put in Refrigeration Capsules. This makes even less sense after Professor Hwang perfects the thawing formula for there to not be a lot more folks interested in being frozen.
  • Speaking the professor. Until Go Mi Ran got put back in a capsule, he states several times that other than himself, his assistant and participants, no one is allowed to enter his laboratory. This is presumably to keep certain information from being made public or falling into the hands of those who would misuse the tech. After Go Mi Ran is put back in a capsule, it’s explained many of the world’s leading scientists are working with him to develop a new thawing formula for her and his lab is like a beehive. I doubt those other scientists would have been able to help him without knowing the specifics of how the Refrigeration Capsules work as well as about Ma Dong Chan, who is restored. I also doubt they would have agreed to leave what they learned in that lab. What’s to say someone doesn’t take that knowledge with them back to their own country?
  • Going with that last point. It’s stated in the first episode that about 600 people are believed to be frozen in the U.S., Russia and Korea. The actor playing Kim Jong Un in one scene remarks had North Korean known about the Refrigeration Capsules, they could have used it to freeze his late father Kim Jong Il. This was a one-off scene but it does raise the question never touched during the course of the series: Do world governments try to develop their own Refrigeration Capsules?

Those are just some things that came to mind for me. By the way there IS cryogenic freezing IRL but as of right now, only those who have already died can be frozen. As far as I know, no one has figured out a way to safely cryogenically freeze a living person. Sure, you can freeze someone in ice but they’ll die. The thing that needs to be figured out is freezing someone without killing them, causing permanent nerve damage or causing permanent tissue and organ damage. Once that can be figure out…well, who knows.

 

Overall, I give Melting Me Softly an 8/10. It’s definitely worth watching at least once. In addition to being on Viki, it was released on Blu Ray internationally (Korean Audio with English subtitles). If there is a Season 2, it would need to fix a lot of the storytelling-related problems from the first season even if it uses an entirely different cast and production team.

 

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Not gonna lie, I’ve been watching a LOT of Viki since mid-June

Image result for Rakuten Viki

 

…It’s also why my Anime-related posts have significantly slowed since mid-summer. It’s now been almost a year since Drama Fever suddenly shut down with no warning or notice. I’d been watching Crunchyroll and WWE Network through Winter when I suddenly got my Roku for my birthday in March. I got the English Language version of NHK Japan Channel on my Roku–really good for anyone planning to visit Japan on that note–but I knew I wanted to get something to watch live Asian Programming.

…Then I remembered Viki.

I actually had a repeat of a situation that happened with Drama Fever where I started a show on one Streaming Service but couldn’t finish for reasons beyond my control. Last year, it was the Chinese historical drama The King’s Woman. I watched half of it on Drama Fever before it suddenly closed but was able to watch the rest on Viki, which also carried it. Two weeks ago, it was The Legend of The White Snake. I started it on Netflix but then my 30-day free trial expired. I watched the first 20 episodes on Netflix but I was able to watch the rest of the series on Viki.

Earlier this month, I got the 7-Day trial for Viki Pass Standard. It removes the Ads, gives HD Quality Viewing and certain other perks. The Premium Pass is like Crunchyroll’s Premium and Premium+ in which is does those things but also allows you to watch new episodes as they become available in their native countries. It also allows you to watch all available programming that isn’t Region Locked. Like Crunchyroll’s Premium+ you do pay more for Viki’s Premium Pass if you go the 1 year route which I do. Standard is $50 annual while Premium is $100 anual (both are $10 monthly).

As of 4:03PM on September 23, 2019 I now have the annual Standard Pass($50). I now watch Viki enough to justify getting the annual pass and went with the lower priced one. The ads actually aren’t annoyingly invasive and it’s mostly because the programming is 35 minutes or more per episode unlike Anime, which is 25 minutes per episode on average. I haven’t seen that much bad timing with the ads in the Free version so far –and I assume it’s like that thanks to user feedback–so the emotional buildup some scenes might be going for isn’t terribly destroyed. About 90% of the time, a 30-second ad or 3 pops during dialogue–usually one ad on average–with a black loading screen before and after the ad plays. The other 10% is before an episode starts and after it ends. I barely notice between episodes personally.

All that said. I got the Standard Pass to remove the ads and for HD Quality Viewing. That way, I can binge watch the 30+ episode series I have qued much faster. With winter not far off, it’s sure to come in handy!

…I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some Dramas I recently watched a mention:

 

Image result for Sweet Combat

This 2018 Chinese Drama‘s two leads are real life boyfriend and girlfriend. Lu Han plays Ming Tian, a young man trained as a martial artist living in the shadows of his late father’s dark legacy. Guan Xio Tong plays Fang Yu, an corporate heiress by day who is the most decorated MMA fighter in the nation with a troubled past of her own. From what I read online, the Sweet Combat co-stars became an item during the course of the show’s filming bu waited until after filming was done to announce their relationship last year. We’ll have to wait and see if the two team up for a project again in the future but their fans in China would love to see it.

This drama is a must-watch because of the attention to detail with the training scenes and the fight scenes. If you’re remotely interested in MMA, you’ll like this series overall as it gives you a behind the scenes peek at young MMA fighters, what drives them and so on.

 

Image result for Sumika Sumire

 

Sumika Sumire is a 2016 Japanese Drama based on the Manga of the same name. Keiko Matsuzaka (67 years old) and Mirei Kiratani (29 years old) both play Sumi Kisaragi, a 64 year old woman who is magically aged down to 24 years of age. Sumi was unable to enjoy her youth because she had to take care of her mother after she finished high school. When her mother passed away, the now senior Sumi despairs as she realizes the time she lost is time she can never have back…or so it seems. A Cat Demon she accidently unseals takes pity on her and decides to give her a second chance at life by magically aging her back to her 20 year old self. What choices will she make differently now? Will she find love? Will she stay young forever? You’ll have to watch to find out!

I’m pretty sure it must have been cool for Kiratani and Matsuzaka to learn the script for two versions of the same character. Both had to learn to play characters a bit younger than they actually are though Matsuzaka was 64 at the time the filming was done. Hard to tell she’s that old though–I can tell makeup was used to make her “look” old though she could probably pass for half her age.

 

Image result for Frankenstein's Love

 

Frankenstein’s Love is a new take on a legendary character. This 2017 Japanese Drama follows a 120 year old love story with a very pure and beautiful message to all. Go Ayano does an amazing job as Frankenstein, a 120 year old man whose body hides a dark secret. It’s pretty impressive the 37 year old played a 120 year old character with the body permanently of a 25 year old. There are a few shirtless scenes as well as a flashback episode that really shows off Ayano’s impressive range as an actor. It goes without saying I highly reccommend watching this one!

…It’s been quite a while since I last reviewed Live Asian Programming.

Now that I have a 1-year subscription to Viki, I will try to post reviews so folks can see what I’ve been watching. I’ll talk about this more on my main blog, this one AND my Political blog but all the mass media distributors based in the U.S. have been playing catch up in recent years with bringing Asian Programming to the West. They greatly underestimated the demand for it early on and it’s exactly why they’ve been buying the rights to companies like Crunchyroll, Viki and Asian Crush in recent years. They’ve seen there’s a lot of money to be made in streaming services so…yeah.

 

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…To date, no donations have come in since I started including this in my posts across all of my blogs. I am now asking those who have especially come to enjoy my postings no matter how long it’s been to please donate. Without going into all the details here, I need your fiancial support. If you’re able donate but want to talk to me first, you can email me at btboston1@gmail.com.

DramaFever suddenly shut down sometime last night

Going to DramaFever, you will see this message:

Image result for DramaFever

My reaction was the same as when Neon Alley was bought by Hulu: Disappointment, disgust and anger.

My feelings were justified when I checked a few websites to find out the reason behind the shutdown. I wasn’t aware of this but Warner Brothers (now Warner Media) bought DramaFever two years ago. One of the site’s cofounders left after the buyout was finalized last year. There is speculation spreading that Warner Media bought DramaFever never planning to allow the service to continue because of the licensing costs alone. Apparently, the U.S. licensing costs jumped from $800,000 to $1 Million per season after the buyout was completed. DramaFever’s library of mostly Asian Dramas was likely another factor in the shutdown. It is fair to say DF’s model was not sustainable so…yeah. Still, the immediate shutdown with no notice was a bad move.

It is no secret the Media Giants based in the U.S. have been buying into streaming services that carry programming outside the U.S. Yes, the same content providers who LOL’d at Netflix 15 years ago are have been desparately trying to buy into the industry in recent years. Sweet irony. The networks are late to the party and have learned that these days, most Americans just don’t want to be bothered having to tune in every week to watch new TV episodes. Likewise, most also do not want to have to keep buying movies they’ll only watch once or twice. Why do either when you can just watch them on demand via streaming services?

So, no the networks are desperately trying to get in on the action just to survive. Many networks have already launched their own streaming service in recent years as they move to adapt to the new trends. Services like Netflix and WWE Network do not have free streaming but the tradeoff is there are no ads. Crunchyroll, DF, Viki and Funimation have free streaming but the tradeoff is there are ads and you have limited viewing options. As for why the media giants are buying into streaming services, their bottom line is threatened by the very services they are now turning to just to survive more or less. What’s in it for them? Licensing deals. Remember: Netflix got a long-term exclusive deal with Disney several years back. Not just Disney movies and Disney Channel content but ABC, Marvel and LucasFilms, which are also owned by Disney. That deal set the industry on notice and sent the message on demand services are the future of distribution content. Now they’re looking to get in on it like I said before.

Image result for DramaFever

Neon Alley and DF are two of the many casualties of corporate greed and more notable streaming services are sure to follow sadly. I feel for longtime users of the site. The site was indie until two years ago when it was bought by Time Warner, which then completed its merger with AT&T last year to become Warner Media. The shutdown effective immediately was done without any warning or notice to users though the message has promised more info to come “soon” and promises of refunds to subscription holders. I was considering getting a DF subscription down the road but clearly that’s not happening anymore. There were some shows DF held exclusive streaming rights to and the new content they added in recent months is why the sudden shutdown is so baffling. This leaves Rakuten Viki and Asian Crush as the two remaining streaming providers for Live Asian programming in North America.

The silver lining, of course is Asian programming is definitely here to stay. Kocowa, which had originally been a part of DF had been bought by Viki a few years back and took the licenses they had with them to Viki. Viki is the largest provider for live Asian programming and has been for some time. It is regarded to some as the Netflix of Asian programming. I was watching The King’s Woman on DF and fortunately Viki carries it also. I had watched two K-Dramas on DF but fortunately I finished them before the shutdown. Unlike DF, there’s no getting around the Ads on Viki even with an Ad Blocker but I’ve decided to put up with the 5-minute interruption per episode until I can get a paid subscription.

Unlike some folks I know, I refuse to use less legal means for Live Programming or Anime. If I don’t have the money, I’ll use the Free Version. I haven’t watched Crunchyroll since my subscription ended because I know when I do get a new subscription, I can just catch up on the 6 to 9 shows either still in progress or since ended. I don’t want to sit through the ads because unlike Dramas, Anime episodes are 25 minutes long on average. The Ad breaks are harder to not notice compared to live programming, which is 45 minutes on average. At the end of the day most viewers hate ads so…yeah.

Anyways in closing. I do worry the buyouts, takeovers and mergers will drive folks to use less legal means like many do for anime. DF (along with Viki and AsianCrush) provided a legal option for folks to get their fix on Asian programming. Big picture, DF was a drop in the bucket. Its loss will be felt for a while but as far as I can tell, Viki is not going anywhere anytime soon. I’m feeling pretty good about getting an anual subscription–hopefully sooner than later.

Viki and AsianCrush: A Pair of Free Streaming Services for Live Asian Programming

Image result for Viki DramaFever AsianCrushImage result for Viki DramaFever AsianCrush

 

I remember the first time I saw a live Asian program. I was 10 years old and it was on Cable TV back in 1994. I remember the period being the same year I had open heart surgery and I was channel surfing cable networks. I found a  kids drama that was set in modern-day China. I watched 4 episodes before I fell asleep. When I think about it, it was my first experience with Subs ever. And I liked it. 24 years later, I can now watch all the Live Action programs I want for free using one of the above streaming services.

Crunchyroll used to carry alot of Live Dramas but in recent years, they no longer carry new live-action programming. Crunchyroll still maintains their existing but small library of live programming and there are some must-watch shows including GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, Dr. Coto’s Clinic, I’m Mita, Your Housekeeper, No Dropping Out: Dropping in at age 35 and Time Taxi.

…If you want alot more Live Asian programming then you can’t go wrong with these three services. Like Crunchyroll, Free accounts have similar restrictions you’ll need to get a premium subscription to remove:

  • Intermittent 60-second ads that can’t be skipped
  • No HD Options
  • Have to wait longer for new episodes of shows currently in progress
  • Some shows region locked
  • No Multistreaming (Can’t stream for 2 or more devices at the same time)

I plan to start with series and movies that have already aired all of their episodes personally so that’s a non-issue for me. I have also noticed when you stream AsianCrush from a browser, there are no ads. I have the App for both on my iPad but will stream from a browser on my iPad to bypass the ads until I get a paid subscription. The ads can’t be skipped from the App and when watching a movie they’re pretty disruptive to say the least.

Don’t worry, I do plan to post reviews for Live Asian programming I’m watching too. There is more I’d like to say about the explosion of interest in Anime and Live Asian Programming in North America but I’ll save it for a separate post that will also be posted in my new Politics blog.

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