Japanese 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.

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