Dorama Encyclopaedia

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FZeroOne
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 1:42 pm

Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby FZeroOne » Sat Jan 24, 2004 9:34 pm

Jonathan Clements, who some of you may recall is a translator of a number of anime, author of such works as The Anime Encyclopedia, and "the most powerful sorcerer on this battleship" on the Sci-Fi Channels "Saiko: Exciting!" has written a new encyclopedia of interest to the Japan-o-phile.The Dorama Encyclopedia is a book covering Japanese live action drama shows. An interview with Jonathan can be found here:http://www.akadot.com/article/article-c ... 01.htmland the book is available from amazon.co.uk (Stone Bridge Press, ISBN 1880656817).So why should you care? Well, the author promises me that the book covers Star Fleet and a number of other Japanese puppet shows; I would suspect that sentai shows are covered as well for those of you with a thing for colour-coded skin-tight superheroes...   Will let you know more when my own copy arrives in a couple of weeks...
"The power of bakers, the power of artists; even the power of witches! It must be a power given by God... sometimes we suffer for it."- Ursula, Kikis Delivery Service.

Shane
Posts: 937
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2001 9:10 pm

Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby Shane » Sat Jan 24, 2004 10:49 pm

Cheers for the heads up, I might take a look at that.I've actually been getting into the Sentai kind of thing lately, must be all the late night Fox Kids Power Ranger reruns I've been bumping into after Ulysses 31. Wish they would actually show the whole run of Ulysses, rather than starting from the beginning again after getting about three quaters of the way through. Anyway the Sentai shows have started to intrigue me I particularly like some of the more older designs from the early eighties, very electro boogie. Shane.
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!

Zordon
Posts: 375
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 1:17 pm

Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby Zordon » Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:37 pm

Cool, guess that's another sentai fan on the board here.What ever you do don't watch Dekaranger (the latest Sentai in japan) It's not upto scratch. even the hardcore fans have slated it.If you watched the first ever season of PR the latest news is that Tommy the original Green ranger (who later became White ranger then Red zeo ranger then red turbo ranger) will be returning to the new series Power rangers Dino thunder which will be on-line in the next few weeks. Good news for old fans.If you need any info on Sentai I'm the guy to ask.
Look an Alien cruiser!!

Shane
Posts: 937
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2001 9:10 pm

Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby Shane » Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:18 pm

Yeah I've seen the Ranger and Mecha designs for Dekaranger, the costumes are very retro looking, nice to see a techbased mecha design too.I must say I'm facinated that a show which is basically the same thing every week which runs for 50+ episodes a year has managed to survive for nearly 30 years. Even the Western Ranger shows are going strong after over a decade, it's unprecidented really.Anyway I've got a 3 disc DVD set winging it's way to me featuring an episode or 2 from each of the Sentai incarnations all the way back to GoRanger. It should be a good history lesson.Shane.
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!

AndyThomas
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Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby AndyThomas » Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:40 pm

Having only relatively recently been exposed to the likes of Toonami and Fox Kids, I'm also gradually getting exposed to the various Rangers series, given how much they're repeated! The trick seems to be to have just enough distinction between the characters to have their weaknesses/strengths examined over the series, and have some new Zord weapon/type introduced every week (or alternatively an addition to the Rangers' armour/weaponry).I saw a very novel episode of, I think it was Power Rangers in Space, with of all things the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles guest starring! Quite entertaining as both teams start off by accusing one another of being fictional characters...!The other smart thing - and I may not know enough about the genre to say this - but although the basic concept is retained they don't seem to run a particular team for more than a series? I know some team members get carried over, but they're rarely quite the same shows from season to season? It's like having a Star Trek series set on a different ship each season with some common crew members. Probably what helps it to keep rolling along. That and the merchandising of course
Andy Thomas - SFXB Webmaster and Forum Moderator

FZeroOne
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 1:42 pm

Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby FZeroOne » Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:53 pm

You hit the nail on the head, Andy - merchandising. Also, I suspect changing the team roster on an annual basis allows them to recruit the very freshest young idols for the shows.It really is quite incredible just how quickly trends can live and die in Japan. The first time I went to Japan, it seemed everywhere we went there were these died-tan girls wearing ridiculously huge platform shoes.One year later, they were extinct, as if they had never existed...Edit: another point - in ever-changing Japan, it means that the series can stay very modern looking whilst at the same time not basically changing at all...!
"The power of bakers, the power of artists; even the power of witches! It must be a power given by God... sometimes we suffer for it."- Ursula, Kikis Delivery Service.

Shane
Posts: 937
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2001 9:10 pm

Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby Shane » Sun Jan 25, 2004 9:49 pm

Yes toys toys toys, Japanese and Diecast, can't go wrong with Bandai! I suppose a slight variation on a basic concept is the key with these kind of shows.I must say I found Power Rangers in Space quite entertaining particularly the final episodes.Shane.
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!

FZeroOne
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 1:42 pm

Dorama Encyclopaedia

Postby FZeroOne » Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:34 pm

Okay, the Dorama Encyclopedia arrived yesterday, so I can now offer some comments!First, an apology to the Encyclopedias other author, Motoko Tamamuro, who I neglected to mention before. Sorry!The books cover immediately catches the eye - while minimalist in layout, the cover photo is of a young Japanese woman sitting at a mirror - with what appears to be a lizard-thing staring back at her! (from the show Daughter of Iguana, which is not even the strangest title in there...!)The book starts with a brisk but informative history of Japanese television broadcasting, followed by some notes on the books format. The bulk of the book is immediately familiar if you already have the Anime Encyclopedia, an alphabetical run-down of each title, with cast, crew and broadcast information followed by a plot synopsis.I would suggest that, like its predecessor, this is not a book to read through in one go. Asides from the fact that your eyeballs will probably explode if you did so, its much more fun to just find a comfy chair, open a page at random and then go where your whims take you. So excited was I at first, that I initially forgot that one reason I bought the book was to see what it had to say on Star Fleet, and it was several hours of enjoyable browsing later before I remembered to check out the entry!Those of you familiar with this site may be a little bit disappointed that little new information is revealed here, but for newcomers to the show it clears up a lot of questions they may have once had, and there may also be related information tid-bits hidden in other entires - one of the books great strengths is that many series have linked information not just with other dramas, but also with the Anime Encyclopedia as well.Asides from Star Fleet, I would still highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Japanese TV. Jonathan and Motoro have an engaging writing style, and aren't above expressing their own disbelief at some of the more way-out plots apparently readily accepted by Japanese audiences. The authors attention to detail is superb; it includes details of opening themes and they even go as far to include an appendix of foreign shows whose titles were altered in Japan - good luck guessing which popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon Burn! 011 actually is - and another appendix listing some of the drama titles Mandarin names. Sentai and monster fans will find much to like here; indeed, the "U" section would be over a third smaller without the exhaustive Ultraman entry, but all kinds of dramas are covered, and theres a surprising amount of historical education to be gleaned from the numerous samurai-era shows. Its also touching to find lists of the authors favourite shows and actors included; Jonathan perhaps revealing that he just as much a fan at heart as we all are with a high placing for Star Fleet...!There are a number of photos and also some illustrations provided by Steve Kyte, varying from serious to comic in style. One reason for these illustrations is that, as the authors wryly comment, Japanese production companies are extremely reluctant to provide publicity material even to domestic publications, and indeed, some photos have had had to be taken from US versions...! Its arguable that the book is worth it just for the shot from Cyber Girls Thelomea... ( er... I just need to go for a brisk run...! )  But the best praise I can give this book is that after a few minutes reading, you too will be wondering just where you can get hold of such gems as Purple Eyes in the Dark, Geisha Detective, Bayside Showdown, Big Wing, Leave It to the Nurses, and The Sniper. The book makes clear that there is a sizable market waiting to be tapped for some of the higher quality shows, if only foreign licensees can be persuaded to invest as much effort as they have done anime, and this book suceeds wonderfully in generating enthusism for its subject.
"The power of bakers, the power of artists; even the power of witches! It must be a power given by God... sometimes we suffer for it."- Ursula, Kikis Delivery Service.


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