Japanese Soap Operas
Review By: Ross

One rainy day, bored out of my mind, I decided to list all the channels on Dalnet. I was surprised to find #japan-drama high up on the list with such prestigious channels as #xxxpasscracks and #smallville-episodes (Gringo was probably in there). I knew that Japanese 'dramas' (a euphemism for shitty daytime soap operas) existed; I was just unaware that anyone was stupid enough to like them. Upon entering, it was apparent that these were the true social rejects - the lowest form of Japanophilia. So low on the ladder were they that the anime fans didn't even want them, and believe me, that takes effort.

If you've never downloaded something from an fserve on IRC, then you wouldn't appreciate how annoying it is to get shit from them. I had to trade with shady characters to get many of these episodes - the only problem being I had nothing to trade. Quite a few of the shows I got by sending 350mb text files of "hahahaha" renamed to .avi. Underhanded and assholish I know, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

Strawberry on the Shortcake

The first series I managed to get from the never-ending queue hell, Strawberry on the Shortcake (or SOS because I'm a lazy typist) is an exceedingly predictable show. It follows the life of high school senior Manato Irie, who is crazy in the head. Throughout the course of the first episode, he swipes his teacher's bra, almost stabs a classmate, and tries to steal a math book. A math book. If I were going to steal something like that, it'd be porno. Nevertheless, I must say I didn't entirely loathe watching this. It at least attempts humor, which is usually not funny but it gets points for trying (see above picture) Also, one of the main characters is an English teacher - resulting in reoccurring bad English which is always funny. Her boyfriend always makes fun of the fact that she sucks at it, so he uses English phrases in everyday speech. A few samples:

Thisu isu a pen-na!
I'm kidding right!

Manato meets a mysterious and hot young girl a few times, and falls in love with her. At the end of the episode, his dad remarries... and his step-mom's child is the girl! GASP. Oh well Manato, it looks like you have to stop loving her. Oh but wait, he doesn't. Incest is socially acceptable! I don't know what happens next, because I'm not going to download any more of this tripe.

Long Vacation

I could only get episode six, so I didn't really understand what was happening. This was aided by the fact that I watched only five minutes of it. Some people were in a car, I think.

Antique Cake Store

I don't know how they make a profit selling antique cakes; most go bad after a few months. Ho ho ho. This was thoroughly less enjoyable than SOS, because it wasn't ever funny (intentionally or otherwise). Well, some boxer guy was crying his eyes out while stuffing his mouth full of pastries, but that's hardly enough to redeem the show. It contained one thing I never thought I'd have the privilege of seeing, however - subtitles in Engrish (go here if you don't get it). Things such as "Fighting guy -> The guy who love cake" were hilarious for a while, but soon enough I didn't understand what the fuck was going on. And unlike SOS, there weren't multitudes of nubile Japanese schoolgirls running around in short skirts. It was off my harddrive within 15 minutes of being downloaded.

Brand

Somewhere in entertainment value between Nickelodeon Guts and Full House. ZERO. Some middle-aged woman is a fashion designer, and she meets a guy. She throws some shit at some monkeys, talks about the meaning of life, and works some more. No hot schoolgirls here either. THE SEARCH CONTINUES.

Great Teacher Onizuka

Now THIS is great television. It's about a lowlife karate master who becomes a teacher at a high-class school. He beats up, threatens, and has sex with his students... everything kids wish their teacher would do. In the beginning of the show he's trying to get a job at this school, but the head teacher (a step below vice principal, I think) calls him garbage. As he's walking out, two kids with bats go looking for the same head teacher. A lunch lady tells him that if he gets rid of those two, he can get the job no matter what - so he goes upstairs to do just that, and the teacher calls them both garbage. Onizuka gets mad, turns around to the head teacher... and gives him a spinning kick to the head! Apparently, in Japan things like incest and kicking random people in the face are perfectly okay.

Somehow or another he becomes a teacher, and is assigned to the worst class in the school. After two students try to blackmail him with some photos, he gets his biker friends to beat the shit out of them with chains. Then one of his pupils tells him about how her mother and father don't sleep in the same room anymore; so he walks into their house with a sledgehammer and beats the wall in. And are there hot schoolgirls? You bet! A WINNER. This is the only series out of any I got that I would actually consider getting more of for my own entertainment, if it weren't for the fact that I'd have to sit in a queue for a week.


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