It’s the end of the month, and it’s time for tea once again. For this month, I invited Ameithyst from Treasure Box for some tea. She talks about a lot of Japanese live action movies and series over at her blog. Since she’s knowledgeable on the topic, I figured I’d ask for her favorite movie. I have zero experience with anything live action, so I think this tea time collab is a good place to start as well. Ameithyst chose Wood Job – The Easy Life in Kamusari for her pick. It’s a 2014 movie about forestry, for the most part. Let’s read on.
Her Top 5
TPAB: ako magsisimula (I’ll start)? hahaha. OK, um, how long have you been watching jdrama?
Mei: Ah, syempre mag-e-effort na ‘kong i-straight English since hassle magtranslate. XD (Of course, I’ll also put effort in doing straight English since translating can be a hassle)
I started watching Japanese drama series around October 2009, so that’d be… 8 years, turning 9 this year.
TPAB: 9 years of Jdrama, wow. So what made you pick Woodjob as your fave?
Mei: Well, I can’t really say it’s my top 1 favorite because it’s really difficult for me to rank my beloved shows/series, but I definitely love it because somehow, it hits home. I’ve already talked a bit about it on my post about the movie Little Forest, but I’ll just say it again — I’m a sucker for stories related to nature or agriculture. Wood Job! ~ The Easy Life in Kamusari ~ is one set in the forest and it presents an enjoyable story, so it’s one of my top favorite movies.
TPAB: Well, what would you consider your top one then? If not your top one, how about your top 5?? I have zero idea about jdrama, since most shows feels forced in terms of acting, and it turns me off immediately xD
Mei: Do you want the top 5 Jdrama series or just movies? Because those are definitely two different lists. Ah, you’re just not looking at the right ones, then. Their acting usually depends on the kind of show.
TPAB: Jdrama and Jmovies are different?! hahaha, see I didn’t know that. All I know is that they’re live action 😛
I think most shows I watch, live action wise, am kinda like Day Time Shooting Star. Awkward, forced and a bit stale, especially in the dialogue. But actually, what is your top five jdrama?
Mei: Ohh, so that’s why.
Well, at least for me, the drama series and movies have separate lists. You really should check out some others so you’ll have an idea what variety of shows the Japanese television (as far as drama series goes) has to offer. As I said before, it’s difficult for me to rank them all, but if I’ll really have to choose I’d go with this:
- Tenno no Ryoriban
- Orange Days
- Keizoku 2: SPEC
- Suzuki Sensei
- N no Tame ni
TPAB: For now, I have zero idea of anything, but I’m open to learn and love some live action stuff. And I guess I’ll start with your top 5!!!!
Mei: Ah, from that list, only one is based on a manga (Suzuki Sensei). Two are adaptations of novels (Tenno no Ryoriban and N no Tame ni) while the other two (Orange Days and SPEC) are original works. I’m excited to know your thoughts about them! Please share them to me. And I hope you’ll like at least one or two of them!
TPAB: Anyways, lol, can you give a quick summary –in your own words — about the movie?
Mei: Let’s see. I’d say the movie about a teenager becoming a forestry student for a stupid reason and experiencing various challenges which shapes his being.
Sometani Shota is Bae
TPAB: What aspect of the movie do you particularly like?
Mei: I love a lot of its aspects! One of them is the production design. I think a lot of Japanese shows excel in showing realistic sets. I also liked the color grading they did. It felt home-y and bright colors seemingly pop out. I’d also like to mention that the shots are so calmingly simple and refreshing.
TPAB: Wood Job is pretty great in hope it captures nature and most slice of life I actually learn to love in anime.
Mei: Also, forgive me, but I’ll never be able to sleep if I won’t mention Sometani Shota here, too. He’s the primary reason why I decided to watch this film. He’s one of the actors that I love seeing in different roles because of his acting!
TPAB: Ah lol, so you did like the actor. I think the main actor really sold this movie for me. He doesn’t come off as forced and his comedy is pretty good.
Mei: For me, Sometani Shota is one of the promising actors of their generation. He’s one of those who can capture your attention even if he’s just a supporting character. He’s one of the talented younger actors in Japan for me.
TPAB: Sometani Shota. I really like his performance. In both how he expresses emotion, do comedy and just move with the scene. He’s amazing.
Mei: I haven’t watched them yet, but if you want to check more of his works, you can watch the live action films of Parasyte since he’s also the lead actor there. OH AND HIMIZU! (He and Nikaido Fumi, one of my favorite Japanese actresses, are the leads in that. They won Best New Young Actor and Actress for it during the Venice Film Fest in 2011.)
TPAB: I’ll try your top 5 then I’ll check out Parasyte. xD I like him in Woodjob ,so I hope he’s awesome in the other movies. He didn’t feel like a “handsome actor acting” in the movie. It did feel a bit genuine, and I really like that.
Mei: Yep. He’s got a good grasp of the character. He’s /living/ the character. By the way, how about you? Did you like the film?
Live Action Slice of Life
TPAB: I love it! I love the cinematography of this movie as well. There are so many scenes where the focus is on the scenic shot with the characters, or cars, moving through it. The emphasis on nature is really amazing. Again, it reminded me of how anime does it, like in Non Non Biyori. It’s a really technical film, and I love how everything is executed so perfectly. You can tell a lot of effort is poured into the film.
Mei: Its mise-en-scene?
I don’t think they used much equipment aside from some dollies and cranes, but the shots, especially those with dolly-ins (forward movement of the camera) around the start of the film makes it feel like it’s sucking me to that place, too. So I guess from the start, my heart was already won over by it. BTW, I’m sad that I can’t really fully appreciate your comparison of it with Non Non Biyori because I haven’t watched it yet though it’s been on my PTW for sooo long now.
TPAB: I had to google mise-en-scene, but yeah, I like that aspect of the movie. The blocking and how the characters are spread out in a scene is so masterfully done, since a scene can be like a painting and the people are subjects in that painting.
Mei: But I also think that Shota being able to pull off that role has a great effect to the film. It shows his role’s developments in skills, knowledge, and character. Shota being able to deliver the acting well is a great contribution to the overall output.
TPAB: Since we’re talking about the visuals, is there particular scenery that you enjoyed? You have a screenshot of it?
Mei: This one
TPAB: I love that shot as well. It’s such a wonderful shot. This is my fave shot.
Mei: I love that shot, too! It’s just so overwhelming to see all those people during that significant moment!
TPAB: I also love that one scene where the guy driving the car calls the Shota’s boss, and he ran across the field to jump on the car making sure both the car and the guy are in the same frame. It’s amazing.
Mei: AH! I LOVE THAT SCENE! It’s really framed well. It’s a proof that the actor (Ito Hideaki) is truly the one who did that scene and it’s just so amazing.
Since we’re on to the technical aspect of the film, I’d like to ask: how did you find the music and sound?
Music and Its Effects
TPAB: I love the music. I personally can’t critique it because I suck at judging music, but it helped established the atmosphere, for me. The music is calm and laidback just like the scenery accompanying it. I think you can judge the music better.
Mei: I think I’m appreciative of music in general, so what I say can’t really amount to much. Hahaha! But I think the sound design is good. I liked the different instrumental music that played during certain scenes as well as the distant sounds of birds or crickets or streams. The sound of the car’s engine is evident in a quiet place such as their area. They’re sounds you can hear from such a place.
TPAB: Oh yeah, I do love the sound of the crickets and the birds. They did complete a scene for me. And I’m sure the music is highly effective, but I seriously just cannot give good critique on them since I’m more of a visual guy.
Mei: Ohh… I actually like taking note of OSTs of those shows I liked. But of course, it’ll come to people’s preference if they enjoy them or not.
The Lead Girl and Romance
TPAB: By the way, we both like the main character, but what did you think of the lead girl? Also, there was no kissing scene 😦
Mei: Nagasawa Masami? I think she’s all right. The character she’s portraying is amusing and I enjoyed watching her interact with him. Hahaha! You were waiting for one? I wasn’t. I expected for their relationship to somehow develop, but as the focus of the story is Yuki and his developing character, I figured the romance will get only a few attention and minimal development. (Btw, did you know she’s the one who voiced Miki, Taki’s senpai, in Kimi no Na wa.?)
TPAB: Oh wow. I haven’t seen Kimi no Na wa. xD but that’s incredible. Glad to see her lending her awesome voice to anime. For me, I guess since it’s a coming of age story, I kind of wanted the romance to be more pronounced. At best, it felt like they just had a mutual thing for each other, which isn’t that bad. I just hoped the whole “attending forestry college to see the girl in the poster” plot point had more pay off. But I guess that’s just me and my weird expectations.
Mei: Whoooaaaa. Really? That’s surprising you haven’t seen Kimi no Na wa! Yep. She’s quite popular in Japan as her name comes up in various drama series.
Ahh… I, on the other hand, just wanted to see how his outlook and attitude would change as he lived in that place. I was satisfied with how it all turned out in the end, how he had a different reason for choosing what he chose. But, yes, I also think it was a mutual feeling for them, and with that I’m content already. Or I guess it’s just me and my love for subtle romance. Hahaha!
TPAB: I don’t really follow VA or actors, so I’m not really well versed on popular Japanese people. Maybe it’ll change when I dive head first in jdrama and all that. Give me some time ><
I guess subtle romance is OK, since the laidback atmosphere does dominate the movie. I feel like it certainly could’ve improved the movie, since it came to a point where the guy not only loved the place but also the girl. But again, that’s just the hopeless romantic in me, I guess. xD
Mei: Ohh… I, on the other hand, tend to follow actors (may they be seiyuu or stage or film/drama actors) whenever they catch my attention. I just started taking notice of those just a few years ago; the sounds when I took a film class and the voice actors when I realized that I’m familiar with a lot of voices yet I found it a shame I don’t know who they are.
Ahh… we’re kind of different in perceiving that. Hahaha! I still can’t believe I think you’re more of a hopeless romantic than me. Haha! But not that it’s bad or anything.
The Climax of the Movie
TPAB: What did you think of the log scene, the climax?
Mei: The log scene was enjoyable to watch. To me, it shows how he is able to successfully be ‘one’ with the community as well as how he’s able to face that kind of situation head on even with fear. It’s amazing how one is able to not run away even with all the anxiety or fear he is feeling, you know. (Btw, I re-watched that scene and I’m taking back what I said before about thinking Shota did that scene himself. The long shots aren’t really clear if it’s him or not, so that might’ve been a double.)
How about you? How did you find the climax? Or which scene did you like best out of all?
TPAB: yeah, the log scene is amazing. It was also the community welcoming him warmly, since his classmates kinda stood to the side. Meanwhile, he takes part in the ritual of taking down the tree and even rode it down the mountain. It was a big gesture from the village, and I really love that.
I guess another scene I love is the one where the mountain spirit (or god?) helped the main character find the lost boy. They talk of being spirited away, and I actually laughed when it happened to him. But then it was revealed, the spirit was actually helping him and it even hinted that the spirit really appreciated the rice ball he left at the shrine.
Mei: Yep. Though they were already welcoming to him initially, I think that’s them declaring their acceptance of him as part of them.
Ahh! I love that, too! Though I actually love the part when he gave the rice ball better because it shows his development.
So, did you learn anything from the film? Or did you reflect about anything as a result of watching the film?
TPAB: Well, after watching Woodjob, I learned that I might like more Japanese live action stuff. :3
Mei: Mei: Hahaha! Yaaaay! Pero like everywhere else, di po lahat maganda yung film (not all films are that great), ah. 😀
TPAB: I think we’re almost done. I just need a link to your favorite post in your blog.
Mei: Okay po! Feeling ko lumayo masyado sa topic yung convo (I feel like the conversation strayed away a bit) hahaha
Anyway, I have some more posts that I prefer, but for now, I guess I’ll go with my post about Little Forest. It’s a live action adaptation of a manga series. I haven’t read it, though I enjoyed the movies. I have an attachment to that post since it has the most number of GIFs that I created myself. For now at least. (I’ve been too lazy to create some these days.)
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I would like to thank Ameithyst for joining this collaboration, and I would also like to thank everyone that supports the series so far. This collaboration has been a wonderful venture for me, and I can’t wait to feature the rest of the guests I have for tea time.
What do you think of live action movies? Have you seen Wood Job? Let’s keep the tea party going and comment below.