Fansubber Highlights! - Irozuku Fansubs

Thursday, April 28, 2022


The world of Japanese entertainment would be so much smaller without the incredible work of fansubbers!

In this post, I'm highlighting Irozuku Subs

🌸 Website: Irozuku Subs

🌸 Twitter: @irozukusubs

Their work is timely despite a super busy work/life schedule, but they also respect when VIKI takes on a drama. They've actually stopped subbing dramas once VIKI has approved it (like Black Cinderella and Peanut Butter Sandwich), and I respect them for that choice since it shows a deeper appreciation of copyright laws and not wanting to overstep boundaries and also saving their energy for other projects. They even take on smaller, lesser-known, or publicized work which is AWESOME because these are usually the dramas that wouldn't get subbed otherwise.

They offer hardsub downloads for anyone visiting their site, and softsubs to be joined with raw video files to anyone monetarily supporting them on Patreon. Fans can also buy them individual "coffee" which is a really great way to support your favorite fansubbers even if you don't have the funds to support them every month with a Patreon commitment.

Their subbed list of Japanese dramas and movies is extensive and there will be something for everyone, but here are my personal favorites that they've subtitled and for which I am extremely grateful.

Hiru (2022) ONGOING

Hiru is one of the reasons that Irozuku Subs is my literal hero, this PAGE has the complete Season One and this PAGE will have Season Two once the subs are finished (as of this post, episodes 1 and 2 have been subbed).

This drama is about people who leech (the literal translation of hiru) off others by sneaking into their houses and using their belongings while the owners are at work/school/vacation, etc. is pure genius!

The first season follows a young man named Yuki (played by Eiji Akaso) comes home to find someone stabbed in his apartment only to have that person turn on him to the police and literally steal his identity with an official-looking ID and everything. On the run, swept into the world of leeches against his will, Yuki's journey was an interesting and deadly one.

Hiru has death, revenge, and secrets of scary people. It was dark and intriguing, but the first season is not as brilliant as it could have been. They give us a taste of a leech killer named Kara (played by Kentaro Sakaguchi), but the series focuses on Yuki and his problems instead of Kara. The second season stars Kara in the main role, which is already a step up. Not that I have anything against Eiji Akaso, but he doesn't have quite the right amount of mojo to be the lead in a drama like this. Plus, the second season also has Mizuki Itagaki in a secondary role and he's a bit of a newer favorite with me, so I'm excited even though I suspect he's going to be scary and a bit of an antagonist.

Consider yourself warned that we have death, rape, stabbings, hangings, and all sorts of violence in this first season, so definitely in R-rated territory. It's not obscenely graphic (so no nudity), but still, rather disturbing.

Each season has 6 short 25-minute episodes, but they each pack a punch. 


He Won't Kill, She Won't Die (2019)

Irozuku Subs PAGE with download links for He Won't Kill, She Won't Die.

You've essentially got two teenagers who are both disengaged from life. Nana is so miserable that she's always this close to ending her own life, except that she can't. And then you have Rei, a bitter and resentful young man who's always telling other people to "just go and die already." He imagines murder and she imagines wanting to die, so when he tells her that he'll kill her if she wants, it seems perfect and psychotic. 

Except that neither Rei nor Nana actually wants to kill or die. It's just something to say and to imagine to avoid the hurt and loneliness they both feel.

This movie is literally my heart and soul, and it does rip my heart out and crush it. If you never watch movies with sad endings then this one is not for you, but when you grew up with Shakespeare like I did you're used to tragic endings, and this one is tragic. But it is also an AMAZING story. Shotaro Mamiya is such an outstanding actor and so underappreciated. And Hinako Sakurai, I mean, wow, she's phenomenal! 

I will say that there are 2 other sets of characters in this film, and while they are somewhat valuable, they're not even remotely as engaging as Rei and Nana. It's just that they have to be in the story because of how everything intersects. BUT, He Won't Kill, She Won't Die is outstanding and should be watched by anyone who values stories about mental health, psychology, and melancholy. There will be triggers, so go in expecting them.

Dried Flower: Our Room in July (2021)

Irozuku Subs PAGE with download links for Dried Flower: Our Room in July.

I'm surprised that I loved this one so much because it really is watching a vibrant and growing relationship slowly wither and decay. That's it in a nutshell. It's a story of two people who can't communicate and so he never really learns what she's really like because she doesn't feel free to tell him. He treats her as a cherished princess, but that behavior actually ends up limiting her goals and dreams as an English to Japanese translator. It's one big misunderstanding after another, and both are completely at fault. It's a cautionary tale, beautifully filmed and performed, and it moved me deeply.

The actors feel fresh and original, which is a nice change of pace. Both were unknown to me, and both gave outstanding performances, making the audience feel every little nuance of the experience. 

It's only 3 episodes long, so watching the entire series is like watching a rather short movie and it's completely worth it. Be prepared for melancholy and hopefully for some lessons learned.

I Will Not Work Overtime, Period! (2019)

also known as Watashi Teiji de Kaerimasu

Irozuku Subs PAGE with download links for Watashi Teiji de Kaerimasu.

This 10 full-length episode drama series' entire premise is about the toxic guilt-tripping that goes on in Japan (and other Asian countries) if someone does not want to work overtime. Asia is renowned for its inability to step back from work, let's just call a spade a spade. BUT, clearly, some folks in the entertainment industry recognize the trend as a toxic one, and actually made a drama series where the heroine refuses to work overtime. She gets her work done during her regular working hours and leaves on time, before anyone else in her department. She's a hero in my book, and she happens to be played by my favorite Japanese actress, Yuriko Yoshitaka (see my review for Your Eyes Tell where she acted with Ryusei Yokohama), so that's a bonus. We've also got Yuichi Nakamura of KAT-TUN fame playing a secondary character, my first time seeing him act, so that was neat.

Her work ethic AND her self-care end up making her both a target and an inspiration to the people in her department.

The only downside to the drama is the ridiculous love triangle that cropped up. I'm not a fan of that trope in general and it made no sense here. The drama would have been so much stronger without it.
Read More

Rewatching Mel Brooks' The Twelve Chairs in 2022

Monday, April 18, 2022


I rewatch Mel Brooks' The Twelve Chairs (1970) every year. I suspect it's one of Brooks' lesser known comedies, but it's the only one of his films that I religiously watch because it has the least amount of crude content. Go figure!

The setting is 1927 Russia, a decade after the revolution. It's a satirical look at Russia, featuring three lead male characters whose ultimate goal is tied to greed.

Brooks, Moody, and Langella in The Twelve Chairs (1970)

Ippolit Vorobyaninov (Ron Moody) is the main "protagonist." He is a member of the deposed Russian aristocracy, a man born into great wealth, a man awash with pride and arrogance in his youth now brought low after his family's wealth was taken from them. His greed is found in the little things. When his mother-in-law is on her deathbed, his first thought is, "that poor woman, that poor woman," followed by "who is going to take care of me?" Empathy coupled with selfishness.

Langella in The Twelve Chairs (1970)

Ostep Bender (Frank Langella) is the second "protagonist." He is a communist, but first and foremost, he is about himself. His own security, his own safety, his own wellbeing, is his first and only priority. He has been taking care of himself all his life, and so there is nothing he will not stoop to so that he can continue to live. When his and Vorobyaninov's roads cross on a hunt for a dining room suite that inside one chair hides a fortune in jewels, it is the joining together of two equally selfish men.

Deluise and Langella in The Twelve Chairs (1970)

Father Fyodor (Dom Deluise) is the "antagonist" if you could call Ostep and Vorobyaninov protagonists. He takes Vorobyaninov's mother-in-law's final confession, learns about the jewels hidden in that dining room suite, and starts out on his own journey to find those chairs. His hunger for wealth is greater than his holy calling and he casts aside his faith.

Enjoy this fun scene from the film, one of my favorites because it showcases Dom Deluise's brilliant comedic talent!

I make them sound nasty because they really are. These are not likable men. They're laugh-so-hard-until-you-cry hilarious, but they're not nice. And you don't want to be them! These 3 lead characters will do ANYTHING to get this wealth. For Vorobyaninov, it's because he wants to be rich AGAIN. For Ostep, it's because he's never been wealthy, and the temptation of possibly having ENOUGH is overwhelming. And for Fyodor, he's done playing the holy game, and wants an OUT. Selfish motives, one and all, and it can be funny to watch selfish people chase a pipe dream.

Langella and Moody in The Twelve Chairs (1970)

It can also be scary.

Because we're seeing this happen right now, with Russia shamelessly chasing something they used to own, but is no longer theirs. They're doing the same old thing. Does it mean I think all Russians are like the men in The Twelve Chairs? No, of course not, but it is ironic that a Russian satirical story published in 1928 that features greedy men chasing vain ambition should still be so relevant in 2022, almost 100 years later. Maybe some things don't change.

The Twelve Chairs is hilarious. It's got so many belly-laughs in it. Even my sister loves it now, which she didn't when I wrote my Frank Langella and Mel Brooks Unite in The Twelve Chairs (1970) post back in 2016. But it was hard to rewatch it this year, in this moment, at this time. Because the concept is funny when it's a satirical comedy of selfish men, but it's not so funny when the man is someone with what feels like infinite power and what he's chasing isn't jewels hidden in an old chair, but an entire sovereign nation.

Brooks and Langella in The Twelve Chairs (1970)

Kudos to Mel Brooks, that marvelous man of Jewish Polish and Ukrainian heritage who created this movie. He also has a bit part to play as Vorobyaninov's old servant, Tikon, a hilarious role for a hilarious man.

Watch The Twelve Chairs. It's pretty clean with just a smidgeon of vulgarity. Now is the time. 

Note: I didn't make the GIFS, some kind person on Tumblr did.

Slava Ukraini

Read More

Homemade Coconut Pecan Cupcakes

Monday, March 21, 2022

My sister had 2 baking tries tonight, one a super weird fail and then this one, a rousing success. She went with her old standby 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, changed up the flavorings,  and yum, delicious cupcakes with homemade vanilla frosting. My favorite thing about historic cupcake recipes is that the crumb has an amazing spring to it, which you can kind of see in the second photo. 

I wish I could invite you in for a cupcake. Blessings!


Read More

Woodworms, barking dogs, The Lord of the Rings, and more

Garfield and I have so much in common. 

It's a blustery day in Colorado so I'm praying that we don't have any trees blow over. That happened right before Christmas with a terrible windstorm. A neighbor of ours lost 3 of their gorgeous trees, part of their fence, and a bit off their roof, so it was some intense wind.

Just a couple more brief life updates.

1) Dad's surgery is going ahead as planned, so that's happening next Tuesday. I know it'll be a long road to recovery but he's pretty tough so I'm not too concerned. And he knows the Lord so whatever will be, will be. He has to have surgery. There is no chance of this healing on its own and he would just continue to decline without it.

2) I had woodworms in a ledge in my bedroom. The gentleman who flipped our house took out the wood paneling along that wall so he must have replaced the ledge as well, but I'm guessing he got a piece that somehow had woodworms. Anyway, that's finally been taken care of. I had to order woodworm killer all the way from England since the US doesn't carry it (at least not that I found). And then I spent about a month feeling guilty at the idea of killing them so my sister finally had to do it for me. Bless her.

3) We had this one set of neighbors who were nice enough but did next to nothing to rein in their bored, barking dog. And they were right along our long fence so being outside was never a fun prospect because he would just bark at whoever was out there. Anyway, they moved! This last week. We weren't close to them so we didn't even know until one day they were there and the next they were gone. It's been blissfully quiet. Lots of houses on our street have dogs, but none of them are as ill-behaved as that one was. So I'm happy they're gone, but also hoping that their move was for positive reasons instead of negative ones. And now we're praying for our new neighbors, whoever they will be, that they're quiet, unassuming sort of people who own either strictly indoor cats or fish.

4) I purchased a new phone. My iPhone has been on its last legs for at least 7 months now, and I've just been forcing it along. I did switch to a Samsung though, and I'm a lot happier with it. The battery lasts so much longer, and I really like the design and format, although it did take some getting used to. One thing I'm not thrilled with is that the 30 or so Itunes that I purchased can't be played on my new phone. I knew Apple was proprietary but this is ridiculous. I won't make the mistake of purchasing anything from Apple again.

5) And finally, I've begun re-reading The Lord of the Rings. With everything happening in Europe, it seems the thing to do. You can read my post that compares Ukraine with the people of Rohan at Helm's Deep if you're interested. But the invasion of Ukraine aside, re-reading The Lord of the Rings is very like coming home. I love the movies and I always will, but the books are superior and The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite because we spend so much time with the hobbits in The Shire and I love that. There is something spectacular about Tolkien's work that can never be accurately translated to the silver screen. It's timeless in a way that only the best classics are, and with every director wanting to put their own spin on every classic story out there, I'm finding that it's just better to read the books if you want the true story.

And there you have it. Yes, I've been watching Asian dramas (including some Thai dramas so that's been fun), but I don't have the energy to review them right now. I even have some reviews written but haven't snagged screenshots for the reviews and that just seems like too much work. *sighs* I should at least post my review for Buzzer Beat. I need to have one Yamapi drama review on my blog or how can I call myself a fan? I've been watching his drama from 2006 called Kurosagi, which literally translated means The Black Swindler. He's a swindler who eats (or takes down) other swindlers, kind of like a Robin Hood character. And apart from the absurd love triangle thing that cropped up halfway through the series, it's really very, very good. And I can now say that I've seen Yamapi with facial hair (albeit fake) and I hope to never see that again. *internal shudder*

I hope all is well with all of you. May you be blessed this week. ♥


Read More

Work Changes, family update, and overall restlessness

Thursday, March 10, 2022

 


I don't know about all of you, but exhaustion seems to be the order of the day for me. Part of it is the continued reality of Covid and how it is has changed the emotional landscape of all our lives. Now, a large portion of it is the invasion of Ukraine. As you already know, yes, I am in support of Ukraine in this conflict. I can't be anything else. I have an issue with unprovoked invasion. In the words of Captain America, "I don't like bullies." So you'll find sunflowers in a lot of pictures in my new blog posts, just because we can't be allowed to forget what is going on. I also just made a post on Ukraine using Rohan from The Lord of the Rings as an example of what's going on, so you can read that if you want.

But, both the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic aside, a lot has happened in my personal life recently.

FIRST, my new supervisor of less than a year got a new job. I'm happy for her, but her new role came at a highly inconvenient time because of a software rollout we're undergoing. It just happened today, actually, the rollout, and so far, so good. But the last 10 days have been my team trying to ensure that all of the procedures, templates, knowledgebase articles, are all updated with this software change so the departments we serve are equipped. It's been one of the most tiring and stressful experiences I've had since I started this job.

Do I resent her job change? No, but I do resent the timing. 

Thankfully, we pulled through as a team and got everything done. I did work 10 hours yesterday, though, so that has compounded the exhaustion.

SECOND, my dad's having spine surgery at the end of March. It's actually a great thing because he's been having increasing weakness in his legs that are a result of pinched nerves and things in his lower spine. So they're going to go in and unpinch them. He's only 70 so he should have a good many years left in him, but he should have a good quality of life and he can't have that if he can barely walk due to this nerve issue.

So yeah, that's going to happen. I think it'll probably hit me that he's going in for major surgery as the date gets closer. I've been praying for him for weeks, now, as the symptoms worsened, and now it helps to have a solution to what's happening. His surgeon has a stellar reputation, so that's a bonus. But it's definitely been added anxiety.

THIRD, I'm kinda falling out of love with Colorado. That might seem like a minor thing, but it's really not. I'll have been here for 24 years this upcoming October. So it's pretty huge to not love the state where I live. I still love the location because it's beautiful. But, my biggest issue seems to be the people. Now, I don't know if that's more of a "me" issue, but I do know there's been a demographic shift in the last several years, an increase in crime to the point where my sister and I hate going out at night, and there's also street-racing. We had one come down our residential street several months ago, and we live 5 streets away from a main thoroughfare so that should not have happened.

We have to stay at least 5 years so my sister gets fully vested in her pension at her current workplace. But neither she nor I really want to stay here long-term anymore. What does that look like? No clue, but we'll see what happens. Fortunately, our new house is already accruing in value since it is Colorado so I suspect that when we go to sell, unless there's a huge downturn, we'll make a nice amount off it, enough to let us begin again in a less expensive place.

My job can go with me since I can work remotely. Or, maybe I'll find something new to do. Something with books again. Because I miss that.

Who knows, maybe this is just me hitting midlife crisis early. Do women even experience a midlife crisis? It's always seemed like more of a thing that men go through vs. women. All I know is that this restlessness I'm feeling doesn't seem to be going away. I look out the window at my job, right at the Rocky Mountains, and I wish I was on the other side of it. A different view, if that makes sense. The only problem with that mindset is that I'll always be taking "me" with me, so if the issue really is that I just need to deal with restlessness then moving somewhere else won't fix that. The restlessness will just follow me until I figure out why I've got it and deal with it.

So, yeah, there are just a few things going on and a lot in my head and in the world right now.

Read More

Ukraine: How did it come to this?

Monday, March 7, 2022




Does this sound familiar to anyone? Never before has Theoden been more relevant than he is today. 

This is where Ukraine stands right now. A tiny kingdom in Europe with its people fighting back invaders.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Theoden King in our modern age. 


Some things never change. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings as a reflection of the wars in Europe that he miraculously lived through. His experiences, his fears, his anger, everything is reflected in this story. It is not an allegory, but a brutal truth.  

I never thought I would live to see this day come, that another war would threaten Europe. Freedom is at risk. The safety of all free countries is it risk. Sanctions. What good will sanctions do against a nation-eating monster? Do we, at the end of the day, let Ukraine stand alone (I'm talking about sending aid in the form of military might) even though they continue to call for aid and their people continue to die?


If it seems that I'm sensitive to this, I am. 

My ancestors fled from Russia, or rather, the Russian-held duchy that finally won its liberty and became the modern nation of Finland. I visited Finland with my family in 2017 on the 100 year anniversary of their becoming a sovereign nation on December 6th, 1917. I love my native homeland and I know they are next.

What is happening today is a real threat. There is reason to be afraid. And I am afraid. I have family in Finland. I know people with family in Ukraine, Romania, and Poland. I don't want Ukraine to fall. I want it to remain the beautiful, sovereign nation that it has been for decades. I want President Zelenskyy and his family to live. 



The people of Ukraine are brave, have been brave, and will continue to be brave. But it took physical aid in the shape of warriors to beat back the forces of Isengard in The Two Towers, and today is no different.

I get my invasion/war-related news from the UK news outlet Sky News. Which shows how little faith I have in my own media to present the news in a nonpartisan fashion. At the end of the day, the only people that the Russian government is fooling are its own.

Here are some ways to fund aid to Ukraine during this time: 

Project C.U.R.E. (much needed medical supplies and equipment)

Samaritan's Purse (to fund their disaster response team that is already on the ground in Lviv, Ukraine)

And, of course, pray. That's all I've been doing since February 24th. May God have mercy on Ukraine.
Read More

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 14, 2022


 

Read More