Onli in da Pilipins

[Disclaimer muna: Don’t be misled by the title. This isn’t about some sort of political or economic or cultural (well, kinda cultural) whatever. Mababaw lang. But kind of related to something that’s a bit unique to the Philippines, kaya ‘yan ang title ng post. (Plus, you might not understand it if you’re not Filipino.) Anyways…]

Nakakapikon! I was looking for articles and reviews comparing the two versions (Taiwanese and Japanese) of the drama Hana Kimi, and it was just, wah! It was really upsetting! I’ve nothing against two TV stations running the two dramas at the same period. They’re competitors, so fine, let their shows compete. What upsets me though is that majority of the audience are formulating their opinions about the shows, based on which network they like better.

“Kapuso? Or kapamilya?” is always the question that’s asked when they compare the dramas. Gusto ko tuloy mag-comment sa lahat ng forums na may ganyan ng “UTANG NA LOOB! Neither network came up with the shows, they just imported them!” Of course, whichever one that gets the higher rating would probably show which network makes better decisions when choosing which international shows to import, but I have a feeling that because of the running rivalry between the stations, it’ll all still boil down to which network has more loyal fans.

Don’t you think it’s a bit unfair to judge a drama just because the network showing it is the network you don’t like? I mean, some people hadn’t even seen the other version yet and already they’d said that it was stupid. Hel-lo!? How can you say it’s stupid when you haven’t seen it?! And why can’t people stop complaining about the irrelevant things, like the fact that ABS-CBN changed the characters names? I would’ve thought the answer to that was obvious–Chinese names are difficult to remember (for us non-Chinese). I mean, didn’t anyone notice (during the Meteor Garden days in 2003) how hard it was explaining to people that “Dao” isn’t actually the first name of “Dao Ming Si”?! What more when the names given to the characters are even harder to pronounce than Dao Ming Si, like “Rui Xi” and “Quan”? If the Japanese characters had really difficult names, too, GMA probably would’ve thought of changing them as well. They’re just lucky because “Ashiya” and “Shun” are easier to remember than Rui Xi and Quan. Right? Besides, there’s really nothing wrong with changing the names. They changed all the other words to Filipino, didn’t they!?

And then there’s that thing about the Japanese version not being faithful to the manga. Argh! My argument here is the same as my argument to those people who just can’t accept that movies and books are completely different mediums. The drama is no longer a manga! It’s liveaction! Naturally, a lot of details will be changed. I read one comment that said “In the Japanese version, Sano gave Ashiya her shoes. The item he returned weren’t shoes! There was nothing about shoes in the manga!” WTF?! So what?! The point was that Sano returned an item that Ashiya forgot. If she happened to be carrying a jacket and he returned that, that would be fine, too. What item it is doesn’t change the plot anyway. [And no, this isn’t a chance for you to get smart and say “What if it was her cellphone? He would’ve read her messages and have known that she was a girl right away! That changes the plot.” Phooey! It wasn’t her cellphone that Sano returned.]

Anyway, I could go on and on (because OMG the comments on all the forums and articles I saw really did go on and on), but my point would be the same: It totally sucks (!) that there’s this “war” going on between the two networks in the Philippines, because people aren’t judging the dramas fairly. Nakakainis! At lalong nakakainis ‘yung mga nagsasabing “Nagsasabi lang naman kami ng totoo! Mas-maganda talaga ang Hana Kimi (insert either Taiwan or Japan here)!” Grrr!!! Hindi ba kasama sa curriculum ng lahat ng English courses sa grade school ang difference between Fact and Opinion?!! Bakit ang pagkaalala ko ako mula Grade 3 hanggang Grade 5 ‘eh pinag-aralan ko ‘yun? Laging may section sa test na ganun, ‘yung susulat mo kung ‘yung sentence ba ‘eh “Fact” or “Opinion”. Ano ba?!

Okay, sorry for the angsty post. I’m just really frustrated that I had such a difficult time finding reasonable and justified reviews. Actually, this goes for movies as well. Sa ClicktheCity, tignan n’yo minsan ‘yung mga reviews ng GMA films (e.g. My Best Friend’s Girlfriend) and Star Cinema (e.g. One More Chance). Ang daming comments na tipong “This movie sucks! ABS-CBN sucks!” or “This movie is the best movie ever dahil GMA ang gumawa nito!” I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being fans of a station, or being loyal to a certain station, pero naman, nacocompromise ang opinions (and taste) natin sa art! ‘Di ba nakakainis?

It’s Orange Range Again!

Fun! One of the reasons I don’t research too many JRock/JPop music on my own (aside from the fact that I’m too lazy to find really good sources for them), is because I really love how it feels when I stumble upon some great stuff accidentally.

Take Orange Range, for example. I first encountered this group (some years ago) as I was researching the HipHop (they’re hiphop, right?) group RIZE, because I heard that Takeshi Yasutoko liked them. Anyway, in the site where you can listen to RIZE songs, there were some Orange Range songs as well. So I listened to them, thought they were pretty good, but didn’t research any more on them, partly because I was preoccupied with RIZE, and also partly because I didn’t think I would find them in any other website.

So when my friend told me about this movie she saw which had “a really cool theme song”, I really wasn’t expecting anything other than the usual famous Japanese band (like L’Arc en Ciel). But then she said Orange Range, and my heart skipped a beat. “You mean, famous movies use their songs as their theme songs?” I’d asked. It was really great, having a friend telling me about a group I didn’t think I would hear (about) again.

At the time, the song was Hana, used as the ending theme of Ima, Ai Ni Yukimasu. I liked it a lot and even memorized it, despite not understanding the lyrics. I liked it so much even, that when I got the chance to go to a record store (HMV Singapore!) that I knew might be selling Japanese Artists CDs, I immediately looked for them. I nearly bought the album with Hana in it (MusiQ), but the saleslady working at the store convinced me to buy their then latest album, Natural. I hadn’t heard any songs from that album yet, but figured it was worth the risk since I haven’t been disappointed by any of the songs from them that I’ve heard so far.

As soon as I got home, I listened to it and immediately decided that the songs Asterisk and Natural Pop were my favorites. Again, I’d memorized their lyrics (without understanding them :P), so again, it was such a pleasant surprise when one day my brother brought home a DVD of the anime BLEACH and I recognized the opening theme. 😀 “They have songs that are soundtracks to anime, too?!?”

I was really happy because that meant the group was becoming more and more popular (and therefore more available). And I got even happier because I didn’t even have to look that hard for them, their songs eventually just fell into my lap. Just like now, a few weeks after I finished watching the J-Drama Hana Kimi, I found out that the opening theme to it is actually also an Orange Range song (Ikenai Taiyou!).

Now that I think about it, I guess I should’ve recognized their style since I’ve been listening to them for quite some time now, but I could also have just been preoccupied by looking at the cute boys in the series, and that’s why I didn’t get to pay too much attention to the music. Hehehe. Anyways, I’m just happy (I seem to be saying this every after paragraph! Hehe!) because now “They’re doing themes for J-Dramas, too!?”

Hooray for Orange Range!

****

Ikenai Taiyou
Orange Range
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e Opening Theme

Ikenai taiyou Na Na

Chotto de ii kara Misete kurenai ka
Omae no sekushii feromon de Ore Meromero

Ah furechaisou Demo Ikenai no!
Jojo ni takanaru kodou Tomerarenai wa

Kawasu kotoba no Kioku tooku Kuchimoto no ugoki ni yureugoku
Nureta kami wo nadeta Soshite Ah

ABC Tsuzukanai Sonnan ja Dame ja nai
Datte Kokoro no oku wa chigaun ja nai?
Ore no seishun Sonna mon ja nai Atsuku oku de hatetai yo
Kitto Kimi ja nakya Ya da yo Ore wa Ikenai taiyou Na Na

“Akai ito” nante esoragoto Demo shitagokoro de sae shinjitai no
Ore wa tadashii Kimi mo tadashii Tonikaku mou sayuu sarenai ze

Damashi damasare mune uzuku Heta na shibai ga Yori moriageru yoru
Iki ga mimi ni fureta futari Ah

ABC Tsuzukanai Sonnan ja Dame ja nai
Datte Kokoro no oku wa chigaun ja nai?
Atashi no seishun Sonna mon ja nai Atsuku oku de hatetai yo
Kitto Kimi ja nakya Ya da yo Atashi Ikenai taiyou

Kawasu kotoba no Kioku tooku Kuchimoto no ugoki ni yureugoku
Nureta kami wo nadeta Soshite Ah

ABC (ABC) Tsuzukanai Sonnan ja Dame ja nai
Datte Kokoro no oku wa chigaun ja nai?
Ore no seishun Sonna mon ja nai Atsuku oku de hatetai yo
Kitto Kimi ja nakya Ya da yo Ore wa Ikenai taiyou
Karamiau ito wa Kimi to ore wo musubu akai ito
Na Na

You can view the video* here: http://www.jpopasia.com/play/3567/orange-range/ikenai-taiyo.html

*I actually felt a bit nostalgic when I saw this video because it includes clips from their previous music videos. It reminds me that they’ve really come a long way (which means that I’ve been their fangirl for a long time, too. Hehe!).

I’m Biased and I’m Procrastinating

Because I have a tendency to do everything else except study, whenever I absolutely need to study for a test, today, I decided to see the first episode of the Taiwan version of Hana Kimi. And right after it, I saw the first episode of the Japanese version again. And perhaps it could be because I saw the Japanese version first, or because of my bias towards Japanese versions of things, but after having compared the two so closely, I realized something: I’d rather see the Japanese version again and again, than see another episode of the Taiwanese version.

Yes, I’m very very biased. And just to make myself seem more evil, I’m going to be honest and tell you that I think the reason Japan makes liveaction dramas of the mangas that other countries have already dramatized (like Meteor Garden : Taiwan, Hana Yori Dango: Japan), is because the Japanese want to show the others how dramatization of a manga is properly done. You know what I mean, right? It’s like that saying; “When you want something done right, do it yourself.”

And so, after seeing the others butcher their stories, they come up with their own dramatizations, and vastly improve it.

Okay, I’m aware that the Japanese version of Hana Kimi isn’t consistent with the original story, but let’s face it, even the original materials (like manga, or novels) aren’t perfect, so there’s no harm in changing a thing or two every now and then, especially when you’re translating it into a different medium.

Here’s how I found the Taiwanese version of Hana Kimi (at least the first episode, I haven’t seen the rest (and am no longer planning to)): It was boring. I mean, when you compare all the scenes leading up to the point where the lead girl character finally meets the lead guy–Rui Xi (the girl) , talking to her friend/cousin while she cuts her hair and tells her of her plans to go to an all-boys school, and then showing up a bit late to the school and running into Quan (the guy) without knowing yet that it was him, showing up in class, and then somehow running into him again because she dropped her bag on their first encounter and he was the one who returned it to her, and then she makes this weird shocked expression… I guess her expression is more comedic compared to Horikita Maki’s in the Japanese version, and since it’s supposed to be a comedy then that should be fine, but it was just too weird/unbelievable to the point of silly.

Okay, I guess the atmospheres are completely different, so it’s really not fair to complain, but the sequences where Rui Xi meets the people in the dorm, and they all explain to her the way things work in the school are just so slow, that you get bored watching them. Whereas in the Japanese version, there’s already so much exposition in the first five minutes: You know right away that Ashiya (the girl) is in an all-boys school where girls go wild over the guys, and that they have a sister school where some annoying girls go to, and that the school doctor right away knows that there’s something fishy about the new student, and when she and Sano (the guy) finally meet, because she left her shoes in his shoe locker and he hands it to her (instead of a bag they used shoes), and she stares at him in awe, while thinking “I’ve finally met him!” well, they just made it seem more believable.

And because all these scenes happened in a very short time, with lively music in the background, it’s not boring at all, and you’re already entertained as soon as the first character appears on screen.

So maybe people will say I’m being too unfair, but I just can’t help it. I’m so in love with the Japanese version of Hana Kimi, that it kind of disappoints me that the other versions of the story isn’t as good.