Miyazawa Rie [宮沢りえ] Absolutely adored her in "Tokyo Elevator Girl"... She seems to have had a number of personal problems and she doesn't look the same: thin and pale. :(
Nakama Yukie [仲間由紀恵] Pretty Nakama Yukie was quite good in dual roles for "Musashi" as Sasaki Kojiro's lover, and even more so in the popular "Trick" series as the quirky magician who exposes fake mediums.
Natsukawa Yui [夏川結衣] Terrific in "Kekkon Dekinai Otoko." A beautiful, classy, and totally professional actress... One of my favorites.
Ueno Juri [上野樹里] Completely won me over in "Nodame Cantabile" and was the standout in the uneven drama "Last Friends." Incredibly versatile, dedicated, and talented actress... In her age group, she has very few peers.
Yonekura Ryoko [米倉涼子] She's absolutely perfect in the role of Otsu in "Musashi": innocent, vulnerable, and beautiful. And Ryoko-chan shows that she can do it all in "Seikei Bijin": she's funny, sexy, sad, and totally adorable. And she can sing too! I absolutely love her!
bmwracer's dramas (36)
Ashita no Kita Yoshio [あしたの、喜多善男] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) Sort of a retelling of the classic movie "It's A Wonderful Life," with Kohinata Fumiyo in the lead role... The interestingly complex and intricate story bogs down a bit in the middle, but finishes nicely, although rather abruptly. Namase Katsuhisa steals the show in this drama.
Engine [エンジン] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) The racing story is interesting, but the orphanage story is stereotypical and predictable, only improved somewhat by Ueno Juri's presence... Not much chemistry between Kimutaku and Koyuki...
Galileo [ガリレオ] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) Enjoyable and entertaining drama... I really liked the interaction between Fukuyama Masaharu and Shibasaki Kou, but there wasn't very much growth in either character and their relationship was almost too sterile... Let's see how the upcoming movie (Fall 2008) turns out. :)
Gokusen [ごくせん] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A good drama with an interesting plot twist, but the stories get redundant as drama progresses. Followed by several tired and unnecessary sequels, which really takes the luster off of the original.
Hatachi no kekkon [２０歳の結婚] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) Can the the lead character (played by Yuka) be any more annoying, argumentative, or whiny? I think not. On the plus side, it's one of Yonekura Ryoko's early roles and her presence brightens an otherwise dull drama.
JIN [JIN-仁-] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) 8.5/10... Good, solid drama with fine performances from the entire cast... There's quite a bit of crying in the drama, but none of it the pathetic kind, so it's okay.
Jodan Janai! [冗談じゃない！] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) Utterly predictable domestic drama with a different plot twist. A waste of Ueno Juri's acting talent. Rather disappointing, to say the least.
Joshi Deka! [ジョシデカ！] Rating: 3/10 (Watched) Disappointing and frustrating drama to watch... Even Nakama Yukie's performance was disappointing... The drama tries to be a serious and a comedy and fails on both counts... It's chauvinistic, abusive, and predictable... I only managed to finish the drama with the help of the fast-forward button... It's that bad.
Last Friends [ラスト・フレンズ] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) Disappointing... Fine performances by Ueno Juri and Eita are ruined by the DV-obsessed story and poorly developed characters. Don't bother watching the SP: it's mostly just a recap of the previous 11 episodes.
Love Shuffle [ラブシャッフル] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) Actually a 7.5/10... Pretty enjoyable drama and good performances from the four main characters, but the four main supporting characters were lacking and the final pairings were predictable... Also, the music choices were overused to the point of irritation.
Mop Girl [モップガール] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) Actually, 7.5/10. Momoko's whining and pratfalls were tiring over the course of the drama. Her character never ever really comes to terms with her gift: the writers dropped the ball here. Tanihara Shosuke's roguish character Otomo was much more enjoyable to watch and made the drama better for it.
Muri na Renai [無理な恋愛] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) Thoroughly enjoyable drama and two wonderful performances from the lead characters, particularly the endearing Natsukawa Yui.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) Excellent drama with some great classical music. You have to watch this drama with a good stereo/surround system or else you're cheating yourself from the emotional impact of the music... Ueno Juri and Tamaki Hiroshi are cast perfectly as the likable, quirky leads, with fine performance from the supporting cast... And this drama doesn't lose anything from repeated multiple viewings... It's that good. Highly, highly recommended viewing. :)
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) Okay, I'm a bit biased, but Yonekura Ryoko is terrific! She plays the ugly duckling who becomes a beautiful swan (with rough edges) perfectly. Ryoko-chan is just absolutely adorable... Lots of romance, comedy, drama, and interesting little plot twists. The other characters are very good as is the music, which is good without being overpowering, and it supports the story very well. Enjoyable from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
Shiroi Haru [白い春] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) Excellent, award-winning performance by Abe Hiroshi. Be prepared to be emotionally moved by this heartwarming story.
Tokyo Elevator Girl [東京エレベーターガール] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) This series most likely put Miyazawa Rie on the map to stardom. She plays the lead character of Sawaki Tsukasa perfectly: young, cute, and vulnerable. The story might seem predictable, but it's always enjoyable and somewhat sad. Highly recommended.
Top Sales [トップセールス] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) Really liked this drama: I liked the historical aspects regarding Japan's economic growth and especially Natsukawa Yui's performance: Feisty, determined, yet vulnerable... I'd buy a car from her in a minute. :)
Kuitan 2 [喰いタン 2] Kuitan Returns! [Rating: 9/10] As good if not better than the first series in many ways... Some of the action, particularly the gunplay, is comically lame... Not sure if it's intentional or not, but it's lame nevertheless... The first and last episodes got a little too long and drawn out with the sentimentality, but overall, the entire series is fun, funny, and makes you VERY hungry... The performances from the main characters are very good: they're so familiar--like family. :)
Last Friends [ラスト・フレンズ] Very Disappointing [Rating: 6/10] Fine performances by Ueno Juri and Eita (or else it would've scored much lower) are ruined by the DV-obsessed story and poorly developed characters. The writer(s) blew an opportunity to make this drama really special. Also, the DV-related violence was excessive and gratuitous. Don't bother watching the SP: it's mostly just a recap of the previous 11 episodes... What a joke.
Love Revolution [ラブレボリューション] Somewhat Disappointing [Rating: 7/10] Sorry to disagree with everybody, but the soundtrack was mediocre at best, and the opening track bugged the hell out of me... Bleah.
The performances were okay, but the flashbacks distracted from the story... I expected a lot more, particularly after reading the other reviews and comments...
I plan to watch it again in the near future... Maybe I'll feel differently about it...
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ] Entertaining and Fun [Rating: 10/10] The most slapstick, entertaining, and fun drama I've ever seen with great, great music and a star-making performance by Ueno Juri as the sloppy, ditzy, and adorable Nodame. Equally as good is the travel-phobic musical genius Chiaki, played by Tamaki Hiroshi. There are very few missteps and they're completely overshadowed by the spirited and energetic performances of the entire cast. Few dramas can endure repeated viewings, but this is one of them. Highly and enthusiastically recommended. :D
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。] Nothing "Artificial" about this Beauty [Rating: 10/10] Without any doubt, this romantic comedy (I don't care what people say, this ain't a drama) is a showcase for Yonekura Ryoko. She carries the entire series from beginning to end on her beautiful shoulders, and does it marvelously. Her character, Saotome Honami, evolves from the shallow, beauty-at-all-costs, spoiled girl to a thoughtful, considerate woman, all in part to her love for a stoic, respected ikebana master. Ryoko deftly demonstrates her wonderful flair for comedy throughout the series, but also a convincing sadness in the various dramatic scenes. And is Ryoko adorable, charasmatic, and beautiful? A big "YES" on all counts. A thoroughly and totally enjoyable romantic comedy.