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Viewing profile :: Wynter
Avatar All about Wynter

Joined:  23 Jul 2006
Total posts:  19317
[2.13% of total / 6.28 posts per day]
Find all posts by Wynter
Country (Nationality):  Canada
Location:  Musa's Pocket
Website:  http://www.wyntersworld.com
Occupation:  Sensei
Interests: Anime, JDrama, reading, painting
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Wynter's drama votes (11)
Brother Beat [ブラザー☆ビート]
One of my favouite dramas! I love everything about it.
Churasan [ちゅらさん]
I've watched this drama three times and never tired of it! It's such a heartwarming show with memorable characters.
Densha Otoko [電車男]
The funniest drama I have ever seen! Yamada-san, I love you!
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [1リットルの涙]
You MUST see this drama. It's so powerful and will definitely have you thinking about it for years to come.
Ima Ai ni Yukimasu [いま会いにゆきます]
Definitely the most beautiful drama I have ever seen. A brilliant portrayal of a pure love story.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション]
Definitely one of the best, and most unconventional, love stories I've ever seen portrayed in a drama. The characters are fabulous in a powerful plot.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
A brilliant drama! With classical music, a stunning cast, and laughs throughout, how could I NOT vote for it?!
Pride [プライド]
The best love story I have ever seen in a Jdrama!
Sweet Home [スウィート・ホーム/甜蜜家庭]
One of the best comedies I've seen!
Virgin Road [バージンロード]
Great love story! Reminds me of "A Walk in the Clouds" but gets so much better and better!
Wedding Planner [ウエディングプランナー]
This was an AWESOME drama! Not only does the cast include Abe Hiroshi and Satoshi-kun, but the females (ALL OF THEM) were completely stunning! A very heartwarming and fun story.

Wynter's artiste votes (15)
Abe Hiroshi [阿部寛]
My ideal. 'Nuff said.
Ishihara Satomi [石原さとみ]
I became a fan after watching H2! She's become my favourite actress out there at the moment. It must be her uber cuteness. There's something innocent about her appearance, even when she's playing roles like her character in Kimi wa Petto. Great talent.
Karina [香里奈]
I deleted Matsushima Nanako from my list for Karina -- this is how important it was for me to vote for her. I've seen her in a lot of shows, but her role as Yuzu in Daisuki blew me away.
Kimura Takuya [木村拓哉]
He already has the most votes EVAH, but I DO enjoy him in a drama.
Miyazaki Aoi [宮崎あおい]
I've seen her movies moreso than dramas, but for each role she gives it her all. Rather than a talentless idol, she's a genuine actress and a great role model!
Nagase Tomoya [長瀬智也]
I'll watch anything this guy is in. He's the perfect gangster, and plays off both comedic and serious roles well.
Nakama Yukie [仲間由紀恵]
One of the best actresses out there! She has a grand range and throws herself 100% into her roles.
Shibasaki Kou [柴咲コウ]
Kou-chan is a very subtle talent that kind of creeps up on you. I think she's a fabulous actress and can pull off a variety of roles.
Shiraishi Miho [白石美帆]
I thought she was great in Orange Days and Swing Girls, but her performance in Densha Otoko really blew me away!
Sorimachi Takashi [反町隆史]
A VERY charismatic actor with a lot of range. AND he's a cutie. :D
Takenouchi Yutaka [竹野内豊]
Okay, so we all know this guy is drop-dead gorgeous, but he's also a wonderful actor who plays a wide range of roles... and pulls each character off flawlessly.
Takeuchi Yuko [竹内結子]
I became a fan of hers after watching Pride, but it wasn't until I saw Lunch Queen that I realized just how talented she really is! She's true to all her characters and can successfully play with both dramatic and comedic roles!
Toyokawa Etsushi [豊川悦司]
I've seen him in three shows now: Aoi Tori, Bengoshi no Kuzu, and now Aishiteiru to Ittekure. He's played a different character in each show, and was marvelous with each role. He's extremely talented, and extremely attractive and I'm glad he's on my fav list.
Tsumabuki Satoshi [妻夫木聡]
Excellent in Orange Days. Has the rare talent of being able to communicate with his eyes alone. >>gush<<
Ueno Juri [上野樹里]
Definitely the best actress in her age group. I can't believe someone this young can be so brilliant in her art.

Wynter's dramas (171)
101 Kaime no Puropozu [101回目のプロポーズ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
The plot is very redudant and I got bored with all the misunderstandings, but I really enjoyed the character of Tatsurou and Junpei. The ending was predictable, but in a way redeeming.
Ace wo Nerae! [エースをねらえ!]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
A really "blah" drama with a predictable plot. Not really my cup of tea...
Ai no Uta [あいのうた]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I found this drama corny, but fun. The first episode was nicely created, and although the drama loses that style quite quickly, the plot and acting keeps you watching. Kanno Miho does a great job in this.
Ai to iu nano moto ni [愛という名のもとに]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
Extremely boring with nothing really intriguing to peak my interest. I also found Suzuki Honami annoying to watch.
Aishiteiru to Ittekure [愛していると言ってくれ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A great show, and although I didn't quite enjoy the last two episodes, the ending left me feeling quite satisfied!
Akimahende! [あきまへんで!]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
My favourite family drama! So much fun to watch with really memorable characters.
Anego [アネゴ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A fun drama that I could really relate to! Also my first experience with Shinohara Ryoko, whom I absolutely adore now!
Anna-san no Omame [アンナさんのおまめ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A really funny, light comedy about a girl who's misunderstandings create a web around two people trying to be together.
Antique [アンティーク〜西洋骨董洋菓子店]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A nicely directed story about four men and... well... cake!
Aoi Tori [青い鳥]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
One of the most beautiful dramas I have ever seen, with solid acting and an ending that serves as a revelation.
Around 40 [アラウンド40]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Possibly my favourite drama of its kind (arafo women).
Atsu-Hime [篤姫]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A very beautiful Taiga about Atsu-Hime and how she influenced the government.
Attack No.1 [アタック No.1]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
This drama was so much like Ace wa Nerae that it was impossible for me to enjoy. I don't recommend it.
Attention Please [アテンションン プリース]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
One of the few dramas to make me laugh out loud. Seriously. Good fun!
Bara no nai Hanaya [薔薇のない花屋]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Another great performance by Takeuchi Yuko! The drama was grand and very touching.
Beach boys [ビーチボーイズ]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
The best set of characters and the best character development in a drama I have ever seen!
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
A beautiful, heartwarming drama. Highly recommanded to all who enjoy the perfect love story.
Bengoshi no Kuzu [弁護士のくず]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A hilarious drama that was quite amusing to watch! Lots of fun.
Bijo ka Yajuu [美女か野獣]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
This drama was a lot of fun. It made me vote for Matsushima Nanako and Fukuyama Masaharu. And of course, Miho was just icing on the cake!
Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon [美少女戦士セーラームーン]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
YAY! I LUFF Sailormoon, and the Live Action was grand! Recommend to old fans and new!
Boku dake no Madonna [僕だけのマドンナ]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
A really boring and forgettable drama. If it wasn't for Hasegawa Kyoko, I wouldn't have finished it.
Brother Beat [ブラザー☆ビート]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
One of my favourites! Tamayama Tetsuji and Kuninaka Ryoko are so cute together!
Bull Doctor [ブルドクター]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Great chemistry between my two fav girls, but everything else is just bull.
Bus stop [バスストップ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A blueprint drama, but it was still deliciously corny, romantic, and light to watch. A wonderful romance.
Byakuyakou [白夜行]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
The darkest drama I have ever seen, and although I will never watch it again, I respect it for being a great work of emotional hell.
CHANGE
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Loved Fukatsu Eri and Abe Hiroshi. KimuTaku was adorable as usual, but a change in acting style would have been nice. Considering the drama's called "Change".... ya know.
Cheap Love [チープラブ]
Rating: 4/10 (Watched)
I watched it because of its cast. BIG MISTAKE! What a terrible drama. Even the brilliant leads couldn't save this one. What a waste of time. You know the drama is bad when it stops a 145-dramas-in-row stream. Jeez.
Churasan [ちゅらさん]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
The best asadora I've seen to date! The storyline is quite predictable, but the characters/cast are AMAZING and definitely make this drama a "must-see".
Churasan 2 [ちゅらさん2]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
OMG! Such a grand sequel! The story continues, and I was very glad to see every character (actress/actor) returned!!
Churasan 3 [ちゅらさん3]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Sugoi! The sequels are just as grand as the original!
Churasan 4 [ちゅらさん4]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Another great sequel that focuses on Oba, Mariya, and Yoko!
Cupid no Itazura [クピドの悪戯]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
The horniest drama I've seen, but still had a solid love story.
Daisuki!! [だいすき!!]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I've finally watched it! It was as sad as I thought it would be and equally as heartwarming. I loved everything about it, especially Karina and her portrayal of Yuzu. Brilliant work.
Dare Yori mo Mama wo Aisu [誰よりもままを愛す]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This drama was okay. It was very typical for a family drama so nothing new was presented. This is one of those dramas where the side characters (Pinko-san, Yamashita, and especially Tsunami-san ) really carry the show and make it entertaining. I liked the drama overall because I'm a sucker for family dramas, and this one delivered as one.
Dekichatta Kekkon [できちゃった結婚]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I highly entertaining drama with the best looking male cast I've ever seen!
Densha Otoko [電車男]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This is the funniest drama, and perhaps the most addictive, I have ever seen. A good look into the mindset of a Otaku.
Doctor X ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko [ドクターX 〜外科医・大門未知子]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Yonekura was awesome, of course, and really played her role well. I was disappointed with the overall drama, however. It was just a regular medical-template drama with little originality.
Dr. Koto Shinryojo [Dr.コトー診療所]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This drama was very average with a blueprint storyline. However, I loved watching Yoshioka Hidetake on screen, and of course, Shibasaki Kou was fabulous.
Dragon Zakura [ドラゴン桜]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Another school drama that deals with the empowerment of learning.
Dream Again [ドリーム☆アゲイン]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Not a bad show, but nothing unforgettable either. I personally found it a little boring but the script only focused on a few obstacles so it went quickly.
Engine [エンジン]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A fun drama with a charming cast kawaii kids!
Enka no Joou [演歌の女王 (えんか の じょおう)]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A very fun drama with a somewhat satisfactory ending (kinda corny). This drama made me a huge fan of Amami Yuki and I can't wait to watch more stuff with her!
First Kiss [ファースト・キス]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Inoue was great in this, as I expected, but nothing really happens in this drama. It seems unresolved.
Friends [フレンズ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This drama made a good attempt, but it was too short and therefore greatly lacking in plot development.
Fukigen na Jiin [不機嫌なジーン]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
This drama started off strong, but lost it's speed really fast. By the end I felt it was a huge disappointment. >>sigh<<
Gal Cir [ギャルサ]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
A totally lame drama that caters to tween girls and fanboys.
Galileo [ガリレオ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Galileo is a lot like Trick, and just as fun. I had fun watching the mysteries unfold and the chemistry between Kou and Fukuyama was grand.
Gokusen [ごくせん]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
As a sensai myself, who really cares passionately for her students, I just HAVE to love this drama.
Golden Bowl [ゴールデンボウル]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
One of the best developed love stories I've seen... tho I thought the whole "bowling" concept unnecessary...
Good Luck !! [グッドラック!!]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
The cast and acting is amazing, but the storyline was a little lame.
GTO [麻辣教師]
Rating: 7/10
Although this drama and Gokusen are similar, GTO did not fail to emit its own charm. The casting was good and it was heartfelt.
H2~Kimi to itahibi [2〜君といた日々]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
I really enjoyed Ishihara Satomi in this drama. The story was good and the angst was just awesome! The ending was just like I wanted it to be, tho I had to watch it a second time to really understand what happened in the end.
Haikei, Chichiue-sama [拝啓、父上様]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
When the best written dramas I've seen. Although I didn't like the main character much, the supporting cast was brilliant!
Haken no Hinkaku [ハケンの品格]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I LUFF Ryoko-san! This drama was addictive because it was so much fun!
Hana Yori Dango [花より男子]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This was a really fun drama with a comedic romance and a storyline that can never get old.
Hana Yori Dango 2 [花より男子]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Not at all as good as the first one, but still decent enough. The last few episodes were grand.
Hanayome to Papa [花嫁とパパ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Satomi-chan as a bride - KAWAII! A fun drama about family values, work, and love.
Hanayome wa Yakudoshi! [花嫁は厄年ッ!]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
This drama was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the storyline. Shinohara rocks!
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e [花ざかりの君たちへ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A really fun and hilarious drama with great characters!
Haruka 17 [はるか 17]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A really funny drama that made me laugh out loud in nearly every episode! Somewhat predictable, but still fun to watch.
Hero
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This drama is completely overrated. I thought it was dull and boring, though the discourse between Kimura and Matsu was strong as ever.
Hito ni Yasashiku [人にやさしく / 3ピース]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This drama is an excellent look into the mindset and lives of men. A touching story that encompasses comedy, drama, action, and romance all into one.
Honmamon [ほんまもん]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
My fast Asadora. A beautiful story about a girl and her dreams...
Hotaru no Hikari [ホタルノヒカリ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
The drama started off a bit slow, but got better around the seventh episode.
Hotaru no Hikari 2 [ホタルノヒカリ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A great continuation of the first series. Great comedy and great acting!
Hotman [ホットマン]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Warm and fuzzy. A great watch.
Hotman 2 [ホットマン2]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Almost as good as the first series!
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [1リットルの涙]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
Definitely a tear-jerker. I've never felt so in awe of a drama before. It definitely makes you re-evaluate your life. Aya is an inspiration for all mankind.
Ikebukuro West Gate Park [池袋ウエストゲートパーク]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
The best gang-related drama I've seen. Tomoya-kun is great, and is complimented with a strong supporting cast!
Ima Ai ni Yukimasu [いま会いにゆきます]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Definitely the most beautiful drama I have ever seen.
Itazura na Kiss [イタズラなKiss]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This is one of those nonsense, light, and hilarious dramas that leave you with a huge smile after you've finished watching it.
JIN [JIN-仁-]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Although a little unbelievable in parts, I enjoyed this show. It reminded me how much I enjoy the Edo period!
JIN 2
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A little forgettable, but entertaining show. I really enjoyed Ayase as Saki and Uchino as Ryoma.
Juunen Saki mo Kimi ni Koishite [10年先も君に恋して]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A little boring and totally predictable. It was okay while it lasted (especially since it's short) but it's very forgettable.
Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
It grows on you. It's a little angsty at times and overly-dramatic, but Kaneshiro Takeshi totally makes up for that.
Kanojo to no Tadashii Asobikata [彼女との正しい遊び方]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Cute drama with some deep insights into what makes a relationship and how two friends shift from childhood to maturity.
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This was such a "feel good" drama. Definitely a good watch no matter what your mood!
Kiken na Aneki [危険なアネキ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Light, fluffy, and fun!
Kimi wa Petto [きみはペット]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
This was a surprisingly brilliant concept. Although there were a few awkward moments, it was overall fantastic. I loved the ending and the chemistry between master and pet.
Kirakira Kenshui [きらきら研修医]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
A totally forgettable drama. I just watched it because Manami was in it. Although it wasn't painful to watch, it just didn't fit my taste. I wouldn't watch it again.
Kita no Kuni Kara [北の国から]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A very endearing drama with an extremely talented cast and a subtle, but powerful, plot.
Koishite Shinitai [恋して死にたい]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Although I didn't like the plot, the cinematography, nor the characters, I still found the angst welcoming and the cliche, corny, and sometimes pathetic scenes enjoyable. The drama was satisfying... but I didn't like it.
Kou Kou Kyoushi 2003 [高校教師 2003]
Rating: 4/10 (Watched)
This drama is a waste of time and I DO NOT recommand it... unless you have nothing else to do. Then watch it only for Beniko's (played by Sonim) case.
Kuitan [喰いタン]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Another fun and awesome drama. I really love the food, and I really love Higashiyama Noriyuki!
Kuitan 2 [喰いタン 2]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
The second season is just as good as the first! Really enjoyable with more character development.
Kurosagi [クロサギ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I enjoy crime-related dramas and I found that this one definitely delivered. Besides, how can I ignore a sweet YamaP/Maki pairing??
Last Christmas [ラストクリスマス]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
A heart-warming love story revolving around the years most heart-warming season.
Last Friends [ラスト・フレンズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A very controversial drama. Aside from the really bad writing, the actors were great and I really felt for the characters and the issues they went through.
Long Love Letter [ロング・ラブレター〜漂流教室]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
This was a great Sci-Fi drama with a grand love story and really touching scenes about humanity.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
A grand love story with a handsome male lead and a very charismatic lead female.
Love and Eros [ラブとエロス]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
This drama was difficult to watch because it flipped around too much. The lead female character was annoying, although I could somewhat understand where she was coming from. I'm glad I watched this drama (for Tomoya), but I'll never watch it again.
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
One of the most Angst ridden dramas I've seen so far! We LUFFS it!
Love Revolution [ラブレボリューション]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A wonderful love story with the perfect amount of maturity and depth.
Love Shuffle [ラブシャッフル]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
The concept was new and creative, and the characters were fascinating to watch.
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A fun drama with an awesome cast and yummy food! What more could you ask for?
Mada Koi wa Hajimaranai [まだ恋は始まらない]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
An enjoyable drama, but I found the end a little weak.
Majo no jouken [魔女の条件]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
Nanako did an awesome job in an otherwise terrible drama.
Mayonaka no Ame [真夜中の雨]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A good medical drama that is a little on the dark side. There is mystery to unfold, but I found the plot points a little coincidental.
Medaka [めだか]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
After Gukusen, I have to say this drama is my favourite school drama. Mimura is great and I LOVE the supporting cast!
Minna Mukashi wa Kodomo Datta [みんな昔は子供だった]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
An average story, but otherwise a heartwarming drama with an amazing cast!
Mokuyoubi no Shokutaku [木曜日の食卓]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A good drama that catches the glimpse of a family's life.
Monster Parent [モンスターペアレント]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Ryoko-san is FAB in this show! Not only is her performance solid, but her wardrobe is AMAZING! I had fun watching her in this series.
Mop Girl [モップガール]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A very fun drama given the seriousness of the themes. Definitely a recommendation for all Keiko-chan fans. She was awesome in this.
Moto Kare [元カレ]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
This is a very "blah" drama. The only thing that kept me watching was the side story and the various shots of yum-num food.
Mukodono! [ムコ殿/女婿大人]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Tomoya AND Yuko-chan?! How can one go wrong?
Muri na Renai [無理な恋愛]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A really sweet drama with great performances by both Sakai Masaaki and Natsukawa Yui.
My Boss, My Hero [マイボスマイヒロ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A really funny drama about Yakuza and highschool. And of course, it stars Nagase Tomoya. YUM! >>gush<<
My Little Chef
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A very pleasant and feel-good drama.
Naguru Onna [殴る女]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This drama was cute and interesting, and shows a passionate side to boxing.
Narita Rikon [成田離婚]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
An entertaining drama with a lot of funny moments, but the last episode was a bit of a drag and I doubt I'll watch this show a second time.
Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku [夏の恋は虹色に輝く]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Takeuchi Yuko is wonderful as a struggling mother and MatsuJun is more than tolerable. Great Show.
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
This is my favourite drama so far because it was nicely written and I loved the ending. It was so... fitting.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
One of the best dramas I have ever seen! Brilliantly funny, brilliantly classic.
Ns' Aoi [Ns’ あおい ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Satomi-chan is brilliant in this drama! It's a good, refreshing show that shows you the inner workings of a workplace, and explores the kindness of a good heart among larger political evils!
Nyokei Kazoku [女系家族]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
An amazing drama! Has the most evil characters I have ever seen in ONE show. Nicely done.
Odoru Daisousasen [踊る大捜査線]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A cop drama with a great cast and great stories! Really gets you thinking about some of the cases. I had a lot of fun watching it. I want to be a detective too!
Ohsama no resutoran [王樣のレストラン]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
This drama is perfect in every respect. Excellently written and the host to incredible talent.
Oishii Kankei [おいしい關係]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A really entertaining drama with some great characters and delicious food.
Okusama wa Majo [奥さまは魔女]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Although I'm still waiting to see the last episode, I thought this drama was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good time!
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
One of the best dramas I have seen. As refreshing as an orange.
Otousan [おとうさん]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
This drama was far better than Oyaji and I really enjoyed the female characters.
Over Time [オーバー・タイム]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A wonderful drama that had a great ending, contrary to popular belief! The drama loves that a soulmate doesn't always have to be the one you end up with.
Oyaji~ [オヤジぃ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
And excellent family drama about a stubborn father and his three very different children.
Papa to Musume no Nanokakan [パパとムスメの7日間]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Not a memorable drama, but it was fun while it lasted!
Pretty Girls [プリティガール]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A Cinderella Story undercover.
PRICELESS ~Aru Wake Nedaro,n namon!~ [PRICELESS ~あるわけねぇだろ,んなもん!~]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
This was a great show. It was light, and well developed, and the chemistry between KimuTaku's, Karina's, and Nakai's characters were awesome.
Pride [プライド]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
The best love story I have ever seen in a Jdrama!
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I thought the end was great, as was the SP, but the series over all was quite boring and dull.
Puzzle [パズル]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Satomi-chan is great, though drama is a bit mediocre...
Rebound [リバウンド]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
There were some cute moments, but otherwise I found both main characters terribly annoying and the whole rebound premise rushed and unbelievable.
Rennai Kekkon no Hosoku [恋愛結婚の法則]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A thoroughly enjoyable show! It was really fun to see Yanagiba Toshiro in this type of role, and of course Kyon Kyon was simply marvelous!
Rich Man, Poor Woman [リッチマン、プアウーマン]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
I don't know if it's because I watched this drama after a long break from dramas, or because I really did enjoy it, but I've given it a 10. I loved the premise. I found it new and refreshing, and I absolutely loved Shun and Satomi as the leads. They had great chemistry, and together with a strong supporting cast, this drama held my attention through and through. I hope for a sequel!
Ruri no shima [瑠璃の島]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
One of the warmest dramas I've seen in a long time. Takenouchi Yutaka really stole the show for me. This is perhaps my favourite character of his.
Sapuri [サプリ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Not a bad drama, but didn't really have an substance.
Satorare [サトラレ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A unique romantic/comedy that has all the cute scenes and all the laughter of something very heartwarming.
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A wickedly funny drama with a deep, underlying message. Ryoko-san is grand in this show!
Sekai no chuushin de, ai wo sakebu [世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A truly touching story about the death of a 17 year old girl and the affects this death has on her loved ones... in particular, the life of Saku-chan.
Shinsengumi [新撰組]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
My first Taiga! I thoroughly enjoyed this drama, although it took me a really long time to complete...
Shomuni [ショムニ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I didn't quite enjoy the drama until about the sixth episode. The characters grow on you and the drama becomes fun and enjoyable.
Shomuni 2 [ショムニ 2]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Just as good as the first season, but with better story-lines and a lot more humour!
Shomuni Final [ショムニ ファイナル/庶務二課]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Shomuni continues to be successful in my books. This drama was a wonderful addition to the Shomuni saga!
Stand UP!!
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Four cute guys and a lot of wasted condoms. What else is there to say?
Star no Koi [スタアの恋]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A romantic drama about a normal guy and a mega super star! Lots of laughs, some good angst, and above all, a heartwarming story.
Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ]
Rating: 4/10 (Watched)
One of the worst dramas I have ever seen.
Summer snow
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Not only does this drama have the most effective ending, but it also has one of the best characters I have ever seen -- Nastuo! A very good drama for those who like love stories with bittersweet endings.
Sweet Home [スウィート・ホーム/甜蜜家庭]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
One of the best comedies I've seen. Tomoko-san does a brilliant job and the drama doesn't carry a single dull moment.
Taiyou no uta [タイヨのうた]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A good drama with a great cast!
Tentai Kanzoku [天体観測]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I love these types of stories, where individuals feel the transition in their life, and don't know how to make the change. A real, raw drama. Awesome.
Tiger & Dragon [タイガー&ドラゴン]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
One of the funniest dramas I have ever seen! Nagase was just delicious! >>swoon<<
Tokyo DOGS ~ Saiaku de Saiko no Partner [東京DOGS]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I was disappointed in this drama. It wasn't bad, but it was redundant and boring. I enjoyed the last two episodes, but the showdown between So and Jinno, which the entire storyline was leading up to, was kinda lame...
Tokyo Elevator Girl [東京エレベーターガール]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
I was annoyed by this drama. I didn't like the characters and often fell asleep while watching the show.
Tokyo Friends [東京フレンズ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Such a cliff-hanger ending! But it was really fun to watch. I want to be a Tokyo Friend...
Tokyo Love Story [東京ラブストーリー]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Akana Rika is one of the most memorable characters I've come across. Too bad the ending of this drama completely ruined it for me. >>sigh<<
Tokyo Tower ~Okan to Boku to, tokidoki, Oton [東京タワー2007]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A very touching story between a son and his mother.
Tokyo Wankei [東京湾景]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Although a bit melodramatic, it was overall a great love story.
Trick [トリック]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A drama about Magic Tricks! Really interesting to watch, and Abe and Nakama were grand together.
Trick 2 [トリック2]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
The second season is even better than the first!
Trick 3 [トリック3]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Satisfying ending made it all worth it!
Tsubasa No Oreta Tenshitachi 1 [翼の折れた天使たち]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
A strong selection of stories about the struggles of women.
Tsubasa no Oreta Tenshitachi 2 [翼の折れた天使たち]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Again, another great set of episodes. Not as good as the first season, but the last episode makes up for it.
Ueno Juri to Itsutsu no Kaban [上野樹里と5つの鞄]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
It was okay. It was interesting to watch Ueno in five different stories, but neither really made an impact and therefore each episode is forgettable.
Unfair [アンフェア]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A very well done mystery drama with Shinohara Ryoko and Eita, both of whom I ADORE! Dark and creepy, this show really gets you at the edge of your seat.
Virgin Road [バージンロード]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A great romantic drama! The storyline is so cute and heartfelt! I loved the mix between romance and family. I recommend this show to anyone who loves a great, mushy, weepy, romantic story.
Waraeru Koi wa Shitakunai [笑える恋はしたくない]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
A REALLY short drama where nothing really happens...
Water Boys [ウォーターボーイズ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A fun drama about boys striving to succeed in the world of synchronized swimming...
Water Boys 2 [ウォーターボーイズ2]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Almost identical plot-points as the first season, but Waterboys 2 still manages to hold its own.
Wedding Planner [ウエディングプランナー]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This was an AWESOME drama! Not only does the cast include Abe Hiroshi and Satoshi-kun, but the females (ALL OF THEM) were completely stunning! A very heartwarming and fun story.
With love
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Takenouchi Yutaka is the epitome of hotness in this drama. He voice had me melting every time. The rest of the drama was decent. Probably won't watch this one again, though.
Yan Papa [やんパパ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A very mediocre drama. It took me a while to get through it.
Yasashii Jikan [優しい時間]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
This drama is perfect in every way. It was like drinking a freshly brewed coffee. I highly recommend it to all who appreciate true beauty.
Zettai Kareshi [絶対彼氏]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A funny, cute drama with an interesting concept and the best ideal boyfriend around!

Wynter's drama reviews (171)
101 Kaime no Puropozu [101回目のプロポーズ]
A Little too Redundant [Rating: 7/10]
When I watched the first episode I was instantly hooked. I liked the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ concept being introduced and I was instantly drawn to Hoshino Tatsurou (played by Takeda Tetsuya). He was so pitifully ordinary in his actions that I couldn’t help but want to take him home. Asano Atsuko plays the beautiful Kaoru and although I thought she was appropriately cast, the character of Kaoru is what gradually decreased my overall enjoyment of the show. Kaoru is so insufferably annoying in her selfish, undeceive nature. I wanted to slap her every time she was on screen. The plot was redundant. The misunderstandings were too repetitive, too short lived, and most were unnecessary. The saving grace for me was the supporting cast. For the first time since Lunch Queen I really enjoyed Eguchi Yosuke’s character. Even his hair was forgivable because he played such a wonderful character! Tanaka Ritsuko was delightful to watch and her character’s interaction with Yosuke’s was grand. By the end of the show I thought it was good, but it was a disappointment after my anticipation off the first episode.
Ace wo Nerae! [エースをねらえ!]
Such a Blah Drama... [Rating: 6/10]
After getting through the first episode I realized that it would take me a while to get into this drama. I was wrong. I didn’t get into this drama AT ALL. I’m not exactly sure why. It wasn’t completely terrible, but it was completely void of any “wow” factor. I found myself forcing my eyes and mind to focus when watching, and if it weren’t for my inability to quit a drama once I’ve started it, I would have stopped watching Ace no Nerae after the first episode. I did, however, make it to the end and yes I survived. I don’t regret wasting my time on it, and yes, by about the 6th episode I did feel like playing tennis and I did feel for some of the characters. The character development was satisfactory but the plot was really bland and, at times, boring. I found the story predictable and some scenes were a little too overdramatic. The last game with Reika and Hiromi really was exciting to watch, but it didn’t make up for the drama’s faults. I was disappointed in the fact that Ueto Aya’s character failed to convince me. At the tournament it seems she only got ahead because all her opponents suffered mentally, physically, or emotionally at some point and therefore either dropped out of the tournament or performed out of par with their usual skill. Even Aya’s natural charm could not save this drama in my eyes. I did enjoy Sakai Ayana’s character and I think I was rooting for Matsumoto Rio’s character moreso than Ueto’s. Ishigaki Yuma’s hair entertained me to no end, but again, overall, this drama was just blah.
Ai no Uta [あいのうた]
Corny, but Fun [Rating: 7/10]
The first episode was grand. The cinematography was unique, the narration was gripping, and storyline was interesting. I became excited for this drama but was somewhat disappointed by the end of the third episode. The show isn’t bad. In fact, I found it sweet, endearing, and altogether enjoyable. It was just corny. Considerably so. This is one of those dramas to watch when you’re feeling like everything should go right and you’re not in the mood for conflict. This drama has no conflict. Kanno Miho was so much fun to watch. This was my first experience with Tamaki Koji, and although his smile sometimes got on my nerves, I really liked him in this role. The children were adorable and the side cast (small) were grand. The big surprise for me was Wakui Emi! I wasn’t extremely impressed with her in the one drama I’ve seen her in (Naguru Onna), but she completely captivated me here. I would recommend this drama to anyone needing something easy to swallow while retaining a good storyline and solid talent.
Ai to iu nano moto ni [愛という名のもとに]
BORING! [Rating: 5/10]
I guess I'll be going against the grain here, but I found this drama extremely boring. I fell asleep a few times and found it hard to get into the story. Normally I LUFF these slice-of-life stories, where you stumble into the lives of these characters and they continue living long after you've stopped watching. I didn't feel intrigued with this one, though. None of the characters grasped my attention and Suzuki was REALLY annoying. Her lack of expressive eyes (sleepy-dog eyes, really) were frustrating to watch. Over all, the drama was watchable, but it's very forgettable and I will not be watching it again.
Aishiteiru to Ittekure [愛していると言ってくれ]
A Very Strong Experience [Rating: 8/10]
I hugely enjoyed this show, and I loved it throughout the first ten episodes. Toyokawa Etsushi completely blew me away. So much so, that I've voted for him as a fav on this site. Not only was he convincing as a hearing impaired individual (his use of sign language seemed so natural!), but he truly encompassed the persona of a true artist. His quiet disposition, what he wore, the way he walked, his gaze... everything about him was so attractive. I've enjoyed watching Tokiwa Takako in other dramas, but never really appreciated her as actress until now. Although her character faltered in the last two episodes, I found her riveting to watch. My only complaint about the show was Hiroko's betrayal. Although I can completely understand how it came about and what she was feeling when it happened, I still felt it was out of character. As a result the whole ordeal left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm so glad it ended the way it did, though. A shimmer of hope. I'm really glad that they allowed some time to pass before the final (but hopefully not the last) encounter they portrayed in the show. It gave room for both characters to mature and truly be ready to continue with each other.
Akimahende! [あきまへんで!]
Wonderful family drama! [Rating: 10/10]
I had high expectations for Akimahende, and it definitely delivered! I love family dramas, and this one managed to maintain that extra flare. To begin with, the intro to the show is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The comedy is perfectly timed and ACTUALLY funny. Each character holds its own, which makes it really hard to have a favourite. The casting was grand. I’ve seen Fujiwara Norika in Love Generation, and thought she was just okay, and quite dispensable. In Akimahende, however, she was simply marvelous. She was perfect as a struggling model with a determined head on her shoulders. She was one of the characters that made me laugh out loud in my seat. Then there was Uchida Yuki, who was paired with Nishimura Masahiko. Although physically the pairing looked quite awkward, both parties pulled it off so well! Sumire really looked like she cherished Sam, and Sam… let’s just say I’ll never EVER be able to forget that trench coat! I loved it when he popped onto the scene. His role was completely different than the one I’ve seen him play in Ns’Aoi, and I’ve convinced he’s an excellent actor. Ninomiya Kazunari was okay but Suzuki Anne was definitely the child-star in this drama. And of course, I can’t ignore the glue that held the drama together: Nakamura Tamao! Although I found her a little annoying at the beginning, she definitely grows on you. Not a lot of thought is required to watch this drama, but it was grand regardless. Excellent comedy with a heart-warming theme. Although it got repetitive at times, it wasn’t enough to bore me, nor irritate me. Which is always a good thing. ;)
Anego [アネゴ]
Awesome drama thanks to Ryoko [Rating: 8/10]
Anego was a fun drama to watch. I was really able to connect with Shinohara Ryoko’s character, possibly because I feel like I’m in her shoes. The supporting cast was brilliant, especially Tomosaka Rie and Toda Naho. Both were so convincing that I’m almost afraid to watch another of their dramas for fear that the characters will be lost on me. The one thorn in my side was Akanishi Jin. I understand the casting director wanted someone young in appearance and in age, handsome and lovable… but I would have thought “good actor” would also be a quality they would be looking for. Jin’s portrayal of Kurozawa was bland and tasteless. I’m sure the bangs covering the eyes were intentional to hide the fact that he held absolutely no emotion throughout the entire drama. He did seem to improve near the end but he was still painful to watch. Luckily Shinohara Ryoko, who absolutely blew me away, carried his performance. This was my first exposure to her and I’ve become an instant fan. She’s one of the most charismatic actresses I have ever come across! She and Jin had absolutely no chemistry, but she was still completely believable and her outstanding talent helped me to somewhat forgive Jin’s lack of it. The plot was good, and I particularly enjoyed the story involving Eriko and Sawaki-san. There were a lot of inconsistencies, like Naoko’s sudden proposal to Kurozawa without a proper “building up”, but it was still an enjoyable drama and I had a great time watching it. I watched the Special as well, since the drama is left open-ended, but 3/4 of it was pure flashback. It was tiring to watch and I ended up forwarding most of it because I’d just seen all the scenes while watching the drama. The last 15 minutes are all you need to watch. I liked how the end was again open-ended, but I was disappointed that there was no resolve. And I’m not talking resolve through marriage or whatever. I’m talking about consistency with the theme. Throughout the entire drama Naoko is struggling to find happiness simply with who she is, and this secures the reasoning behind why she ended up quitting her job and leaving her “old life” behind. However, at the end of the special, she appeared desperate and pathetic while trying to find out what the future holds for her. This completely erased any sense of growth she had experienced by the end of the drama. So, although I enjoyed the drama, I found the Special disappointing.
Anna-san no Omame [アンナさんのおまめ]
Good job, Becky! [Rating: 8/10]
Another drama I went in to with no expectations, and another drama I’ve completed feeling wholly satisfied. For her first role as the lead protagonist, Becky does an amazing job. She’s everything her character needed to be: irritating, frustrating, annoying, pathetic, and downright unnerving. At first it was hard to watch the episodes because her character made the experience so exasperating. Yet, the more I watched, the more I realized that the drama itself was getting frustrated with her as well. The other characters expressed what I, the viewer, felt, and it dawned upon me that this was the point. As a viewer, I was SUPPOSED to feel frustrated and annoyed, the narrator constantly reminds me that I should. This drama is a light comedy that makes fun of itself. The animation is really… well… animated, and some scenes are downright hilarious because of its lame antics (characters being replaced by dummies comes to mind). Kyoutaro (Kashiwabara Shuji) and Anna (Anzu Sayuri) make perfect secondary characters, and without either (especially Kyoutaro, for which Kasiwabara did an excellent and hilarious job in portraying), the drama simply wouldn’t exist. I tip my hat to the creators. The concept of this drama was really interesting and kept me hooked, Riri withstanding. ;)
Antique [アンティーク〜西洋骨董洋菓子店]
Sitting on the Fence [Rating: 7/10]
After watching this drama − and taking my time to do so − I still don’t know where I stand with it. To begin with, I had some trouble with the actual disks. The VCDs lagged and so the audio and images were severely distorted. I’m convinced that the problem wasn’t the CDs, but my own device through which I played them. Then I had a problem with the subs, which were TERRIBLE! I’m thankful that someone took the time to sub the drama, but they should also have taken the time to have them proof-read. The English was broken and at times it was difficult to figure out what the characters were saying… But regardless of these annoyances, I still decided to push through and finish the drama. I was deeply aggravated with the constant narrations that popped up on the screen (not the subs, but text part of the actual drama). It was like the director didn’t think we’d “get the message” through the facial expressions of the actors and therefore provided the information for us. This bars us from thinking on our own and I was slightly offended. Aside from this, the drama was enjoyable. The casting was great. I was once again reminded by Koyuki’s performance that she really is grand, and of course Abe Hiroshi was brilliant in his portrayal of his role, as usual. Fujiki Naohito convinced me that he’s really more than just a pretty face, and do I dare admit this: Tackey wasn’t THAT bad. The surprise for me, and a rather pleasant one, was Shiina Kippei. I have seen him in Seikei Bijin and thought that he was terrible, but I’ve completely changed my opinion. He was absolutely marvelous in this drama, and truly held the cast together. The plot definitely progressed through a manufactured pattern and most of the episodes were “fillers” between an otherwise interesting storyline, but the directing and atmosphere were amazing. I guess I sit on the fence with this drama.
Aoi Tori [青い鳥]
Creeps up on you... [Rating: 9/10]
At the end of the drama, quite suddenly, you realize that the love story wasn't between Yoshimori and Kahori at all... For the first six or so episodes I wasn't sure if I liked the drama. The scenery was marvelous, rivaled only by the amazing group of talent presented to us through intriguing characters. But I just couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that Kahori was faultless. I kept seeing her as a seductress (ruby red lips in a ruby red car) and this clashed with my morals. And then there was the opening song (one of the best video interpretations I have ever seen) where I couldn't help but feel that Kahori was being represented by the chains binding Yoshimori. But then, half way through the drama, Kahori dies... and everything turns upside down. The story comes together so flawlessly that you realize that Kahori really was a victim. She was "born to love and born to be loved". And her legacy would live on in the daughter she loved and the man who loved her. Shibata Yoshimori has to be one of my favourite characters of all time. I don't know how Toyokawa Etsushi did it, but I'm in love. Tall and gentle, but strong... and silent. He moved and walked in a quiet space and it was so peaceful to watch him. He had such powerful chemistry with Suzuki Anne, who was serious a child prodigy; the way she drew you in and made you forget you were watching an actress and not a real person... This was a beautiful drama and I'm so glad I watched until the end. I felt manipulated and tormented while watching the show, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Around 40 [アラウンド40]
Finally, a strong female role! [Rating: 9/10]
When I first started watching this drama I was thinking "oh no, another arafo drama", where the woman is older, single, and can't get married. I was therefore pleasantly surprised that the arafo female was a strong woman who could have gotten married, but wouldn't settle for just anyone. I'm really glad Amami Yuki got an award for her role as Ogata Satoko. She played the strong, independent female character perfectly. And I'm really glad that her counterpart was played by Fujiki Naohito. He's never really stood out for me in the many dramas I have seen him in, but he was favourite in this show. It really is true that the older you are, the better you get, because the supporting cast was amazing. Everything/one just clicked, and the flow of the story was very nice. I was very pleased with the ending, because the writers didn't "sell out". The character of Satako remained consistent and found this endearing. I definitely recommend this drama.
Atsu-Hime [篤姫]
Beautiful [Rating: 8/10]
So I fell asleep quite a bit while watching this drama. Although it was quite lovely to look at and although I absolutely adore Aoi-chan, the story dragged a bit during those middle episodes. That being said, I must say that I’m awfully glad I watched this drama. Firstly, it taught me so much about Court life and about Japanese history. It was amusing to realize just how much I had picked up from this drama when I visited the castles in Japan and was able to answer the questions posed by the tour guide. ^_^ Secondly, I was able to experience Matsuzaka Keiko. Where has she been all my life?! It was the strangest sensation feeling so devastated when her character, Ikushima, left Atsu-Hime’s service &#8211; and then feeling this flood of joy when she returned numerous episodes later. The bond that is formed between Atsu-Hime and the women in the Ooku is truly infectious and I felt camaraderie between them and myself. Thirdly, I love Taiga’s because of the various faces that cross the screen. It was so refreshing to see the different actors and actresses pop up without me expecting them. And finally, the drama was simply aesthetically pleasing. I was really affected by the plot and the character of Atsu-Hime &#8211; so much so that I tried to look her up in historical literature to learn more about her. All-in-all, although boring at times, I would still invest the billion hours to watch this show again.
Attack No.1 [アタック No.1]
Another bad sport drama [Rating: 6/10]
Attack no. 1 is almost exactly like Ace wo Nerae. The storyline is exactly the same, there are similar plot points, and both dramas share some of the actresses. It’s like watching Ace wo Nerae all over again except with a different sport. Because of this, I found it really hard to enjoy this drama. It was painful to watch because it was so predictable and completely forgettable. I’m beginning to re-evaluate my opinion of Ueto Aya. I mean, I like her and I think she’s adorable, but she’s been coming in a lot of bad dramas lately and I feel she needs to take some sort of responsibility, instead of her fans squealing about how it’s the drama, not her, that’s making the bad impression. After all, a really good actor/actress can make a really bad drama at least bearable to some degree. She failed to do so here. I found her character really annoying and frustrating to watch. I mean, Ueto has got to be the least athletic-looking actress out there, and yet this is her SECOND sport-related drama that I’ve seen. She was a little more believable as a tennis player, but a volleyball player is totally out of her league. Don’t get me wrong. She’s done great work in Attention Please and has already proven herself as a good actress. She just really needs to pick her roles carefully. The coach of the Fujimi team also really annoyed me. His character goes through a roller-coaster without any depth or reasoning. He was too random and really ruined the “coach” persona. Sakai Ayana was good, as was most of the supporting cast (in terms of Volleyball players), but I still found the drama hard to enjoy. It wasn’t so much that it was utterly, devastatingly horrible. It was more that there was nothing exciting about it and turned out to be a manufactured plot with no soul. Unless you’re an Aya-fan and just enjoying watching her move about the screen, I don’t recommend this drama at all.
Attention Please [アテンションン プリース]
Laughing out loud material! [Rating: 8/10]
This is a drama written according to the textbook. You have a rebellious youth who takes on an impossible task. The youth is faced with obstacles, especially in the form of people who are waiting for her to fail. There is always one ore two people cheering for her, but for the most part it’s an uphill climb. She overcomes the obstacles and wins the people over because she is charming and a genuinely kind person. She succeeds in obtaining the impossible task after a tragic scenario that either deals with her biggest weakness, or one that is set up as another’s. Then, there is always the side story of love, where she finds out she’s in love with the same guy her friend has liked through the whole series. Attention Please fits this textbook plot perfectly… but it works beautifully! Regardless of all the predictability, this is an extremely hilarious drama. Ueto Aya has demonstrated that she’s the perfect comedic actress, and although her voice gets a bit annoying, it’s SUPPOSED to be for her role. Her facial expressions are grand, and the physical comedy is done with good taste. There is a balance of good drama in here as well, with real character interaction. There is nothing astounding about this drama. It’s just good, wholesome fun that is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
Bara no nai Hanaya [薔薇のない花屋]
Who wants a rose, anyway? [Rating: 8/10]
The more I think about this drama, the more mixed my feelings get about it, so I’m just going to pump out what I think at this precise moment. I liked it. I loved it in the beginning, and I loved when all the twists and turns started happening in the plot. The screenwriter managed to surprise me a few times, which is good. I’m just not sure if I liked the direction all the twists and turns were going in. When the truth is revealed between Kiji and Mio, I found the preceding episodes awkward to watch. I felt uncomfortable with them…. Thinking about it I’m sure I was supposed to feel this way, because this is what the characters were feeling. This is good, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Takeuchi Yuko did an excellent job, of course. I always feel so refreshed after I’ve finished seeing her in action. Katori Shingo did a decent job as well, but the robot way he talked was really annoying. I guess I’m just used to seeing him act like he did in Hito ni Yasashiku. Yagi Yuuki was uber kawaii and I’m sure she’ll make it big when she grows up. The supporting cast was grand. I suppose I feel like I don’t like the drama as much as I should because of the ending. I liked everything about it (even tho it was one big clich&#233;) but I don’t like how Shizuku remains with her grandfather instead of returning to her father. Bleh. The drama was good.
Beach boys [ビーチボーイズ]
I LOVED IT!! [Rating: 10/10]
I’m not at all surprised that this drama won awards for Best Casting and Best Screenwriter, among others. The storyline is very simple. Two very different guys meet and embark on a journey to find their own dreams, while living and breathing the ocean during a fateful summer. The plot for each episode is sometimes not evident, and I’m not even sure if anything ever really happens… but what makes this drama so great is the way the characters develop. I was hooked with the very first episode. By the second, I was already breathing with the characters. Everything about this drama is so real and raw. The actors and actresses aren’t acting. They’re being. Sorimarchi Takashi was absolutely brilliant, and Takenouchi Yutaka was so honest and truthful. Hirosue Ryoko, whom I’ve only ever enjoyed in Summer Snow, has added another of her dramas to my list of favourites. And Inamori Izumi! My goodness. I’ve found her annoying in everything I’ve seen her in, but she’s definitely redeemed herself with this role. I’ve never felt so dearly for a character as I’ve felt for hers watching Beach Boys. The drama is not perfect, but I’ve given it a 10/10 because it was truly a pleasure watching such fine characters grow and breathe.
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
Beautiful Drama [Rating: 10/10]
It’s really hard for me to come up with enough things to say about this drama. I mean, when you watch such a brilliant work of art, the artists involved don’t leave the opportunity for you to grasp onto something and express its faults. Beautiful Life is just a grand, heartwarming drama that touches the soul. At has everything for the serious romantic: Romance, lust, angst, heartache, fluff, truth, etc. The storyline was written with incredible emotion and the plot was performed with a will of its own. The pairing of Kimura Takuya and Tokiwa Takako was perfect. I was really impressed with Takako, since this was my first time seeing her in a drama. I’ve seen Takuya in Pride, and although he plays a similar role in this drama, it was perfect for the character. Yet again he managed to capture his audience with the emotion he emits from his eyes − much in the same way Takako’s emotions blossomed from her incredible smile. The sub-plots were nicely woven into the main plot, but I almost wish that the drama had extended to include another episode. I found the last few episodes a bit rushed and I would have liked to see more of Shuji’s and Kyoko’s life while living together. This, of course, is merely a selfish whim of mine. This was altogether a beautiful drama, and I highly recommend it to all.
Bengoshi no Kuzu [弁護士のくず]
Hilarious! [Rating: 9/10]
The thing I love about watching dramas blind is that when the drama comes out great, you really feel like you have stumbled on something fantastic. Bengoshi no Kuzu is a hilarious drama that is made brilliant by all the small things. I love how the theme for the Host Club always changes; how there’s a random man in a dog suit who sporadically appears in the background of every episode; how the actors make a point to remind you to watch the next episode (yet are still in character!); and how the theme of the episode is already written outside the Shirai sensei’s office door. I especially enjoyed how at the end of episode 11, all the characters randomly showed up at the Host Club to discuss what may happen in the finale. Aside from the little things, each episode was solid (except perhaps for the last one, which was the weakest). With the exception of the continuous storyline between the characters, the storyline for each episode is different. The plots are intriguing and well written, and I find the cases fascinating and entertaining. In the beginning, and all the way to the end, the character Kuzu completely disgusted me. I was especially horrified that he kept grabbing his “package” in the presence of his daughter… but I ended up finding a way to completely ignore his nastiness and focus instead on his… well… other qualities, I suppose. I thoroughly enjoyed Takashima Reiko (of course) and I thought Ito Hideaki did a great job in a comedic role! If you’re looking for a lot of fun, this drama is definitely the key!
Bijo ka Yajuu [美女か野獣]
Excellent Show! [Rating: 10/10]
I have no complaints whatsoever. I went into the show with no expectations. After the first episode I still felt a little lukewarm, but very quickly the storyline and characters grabbed hold of me and that was that. I LOVED Matsushima Nanako. I always thought she was a bit overrated. I guess I just needed a role like this to make me see why people love her so much! And of course, I'm extremely attracted to Fukuyama Masaharu as an actor and I felt this role was great and fun. I liked the dynamic between the characters at JBC News. I wish I had a workplace like that. It was so warm. And the small bits of romance were sweet and not overdone. Everything worked so naturally well with everything else. It was a great watch. Woot!
Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon [美少女戦士セーラームーン]
Better than I Expected [Rating: 9/10]
What can I say about Sailor Moon? I grew up watching the anime, and when I heard there was a live action version, I wasted no time in getting it. The first few episodes were a little hard to swallow. I found it ridiculous, hokey, and lame. The actresses couldn’t act and the Youmas reminded me of grown people wearing silly costumes. However, the more I watched it, the more I started to enjoy it. Eventually I was addicted. The actresses improve throughout the series and by the end you can really notice their growth. Miyuu (Sailor Moon/Usagi) blossomed perhaps the most and really pulled off her character. Each character was defined and each actress stepped up to the plate. The story varies a bit from the anime near the middle and end, but it was solid with interesting plot variations. The effects were grand and brought back childhood memories of the anime. On the whole, the live action really delivered and I’m glad I stumbled upon it.
Boku dake no Madonna [僕だけのマドンナ]
SO borning! [Rating: 5/10]
Thank god I made it through this drama! I went through a brief moment of weakness where I considered not finishing it, thus making it the first drama I wouldn’t complete. The narration, especially in the beginning of the drama, really annoyed me and turned me off right away. I mean, Kyon would start with “This is my girlfriend…” and we would see the girl, see her dump him, and then he would say “This was my girlfriend, another hurdle I had to pass” or whatever. This drama is beyond my comprehension. How does Surumi crawl through Kyon’s window when he’s on the third floor? Why does Honda-san’s girlfriend suddenly suspect him without warning? What is the purpose of episode 5-9 when everything could have been wrapped up within four epis or less? Even the comic relief (the two men living in the same apartment as Kyon) was pathetic. Takki is a terrible actor, and he makes it worse by playing stupid, pathetic characters that are always dragged around by the overbearing women in the drama. Hasegawa Kyoko CAN act, but her character was so flakey I couldn’t even appreciate the skill that went into producing such a character. Mind you, I found the women in the drama good and solid. Hasegawa Kyoko, Konishi Manami, and Maya Miki are grand actresses and even Shimatani Hitomi pulled through. But neither could save this drama in my eyes. It was too whimsy and BORING. So boring, that it was almost painful to watch at times. Initially I planned to give this drama a 4/10, but I think I’ll give it a 5/10 because the ending provided decent closure and wasn’t as bad as the rest of the drama. Other than Hasegawa’s wardrobe, which was awesome, this drama is completely forgettable.
Brother Beat [ブラザー☆ビート]
One of my Favourites! [Rating: 9/10]
There are a lot of discrepancies in this drama that would normally peeve me. Like how Ai, in episode 5, claims that Tatsuya is like a brother to her, even though in the previous episodes there doesn’t seem to be much of a bond… or how Chisato has a lunch for four ready at the Amusement Park in episode 4, but initially she was called there by surprise. And lets not forget how Riku re-opens the Laundromat without any experience or knowledge of the business and is successful. But regardless of all these inconsistencies, I LOVE this drama! So what if some things are really unrealistic. In the grand scheme of things, or in the frame of reference that is this show, it doesn’t matter! I’m a hopeless romantic and this drama did wonders in quenching my thirst. This drama deals with family and love issues; two themes I always appreciate in a drama. There is just the right amount of angst, and sweet scenes, and comedy, and emotional “lifts”. The cast is uber cute and each actor/actress fits the character they play perfectly. My favourites are Tanaka Misako, who plays the corky, funny, lazy mother, and Kuninaka Ryoko, who plays a shy, unconfident, sweet store manager named Chisato. And FINALLY, a drama that has eye-candy for female viewers! Tamayama Tetsuji is absolutely gorgeous, and his character is definitely the dream of every girl. Hayami Mokomichi is charming and pulls off his role nicely. This has become one of those rare dramas that I will watch repeatedly. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a sweet, comedic love story!
Bull Doctor [ブルドクター]
Bull Story, Great Cast [Rating: 7/10]
Two of my favourite gals are in this show and both delivered. Wonderfully. The story is lame, however, and the drama overall is quite boring. I would recommend that you watch this show for the chemistry between the two female leads, but skip it for everything else.
Bus stop [バスストップ]
Light, romantic and fun! [Rating: 9/10]
A scripted drama, to be sure, but it was just what the doctor prescribed. It was light, corny, and romantic. I love Iijima Naoko in any and all roles, and without a definite reason, I was strangely attracted to Uchimura Teruyoshi. Instantly. I was also not-at-all annoyed by Uchiyama Rina. Perhaps it was her young age that actually made her endearing. The one iff I have is that the end, although necessary, wasn't convincing. I still didn't truly believe Natsuo's affection. As well. Still a heart-warming drama that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
Byakuyakou [白夜行]
I hate this drama... but it was brilliant [Rating: 9/10]
This drama is a love story between two children forced to commit murders in order to protect each other. The drama follows the events that take place afterwards in their lives, each event more complicated, each event more terrible, for one simple goal: to walk together beneath the sun once more. This is the darkest drama I have ever seen. There isn’t a single ray of light in it and while watching I felt like I was drowning in the darkness. I wanted to stop watching, but I couldn’t. I didn’t like this show. But it is brilliant. Why are people bad? How do they become bad? Can you blame children for their actions? When do they become adults? This drama really makes you reevaluate rather dangerous morals. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster of emotions while watching. They were only children… and this must happen in life every day…. This is the second drama (Ichi Ritoru no Namida being the first) that has ever hit me emotionally and mentally this hard. Every single actor/actress in this drama was brilliant, especially Yamada and Ayase. Never have I felt for, nor hated, two characters more. This drama was sickening to watch at times and I felt dirty throughout most of it. I will never ever watch it again. I don’t recommend this drama at all. And yet I do.
CHANGE
Great Characters, Good Story [Rating: 8/10]
Another "you can always achieve the impossible" story-line that is endearing if not completely original. I loved Fukatsu Eri and Abe Hiroshi. KimuTaku was adorable as usual, but a change in acting style would have been nice. Although the story is forgettable, I'll always remember the dynamics of the characters in that big ol' house.
Cheap Love [チープラブ]
Garbage [Rating: 4/10]
I love Sorimachi and I love Tsuruta. And I’ll never, for the life of me, understand why they chose to do this ridiculous drama. It’s so ridiculous I’m not sure what else to say about it in this review. Except, the ending theme is great. Everything else is garbage. Literally (ref: last scene).
Churasan [ちゅらさん]
My Ultimate Fav! [Rating: 10/10]
I absolutely ADORED Churasan, and I’m so grateful that they released three sequels to fulfill the needs of devoted fans. Although Churasan has a somewhat predictable and almost unrealistic plot, it is still an excellent watch. Sometimes you just need a happy-go-lucky storyline where everything always works out and everyone is left with a smile on his or her face. Churasan is the type of drama that reminds you that there IS happiness and peace in the world and that leaving things to Fate and Time is not such a bad idea after all. What makes Churasan so wonderful and addictive is the group of memorable characters. My favourite above all is Mariya (Kanno Miho) − the dark, mean (but kind-hearted), realist author of fairytales. Her goofy grin when she receives delicious donuts from Oba, or her groan whenever people barge into her room, or the way she flings herself onto her couch when suffering from writers block, or the way she tries to hide in order to eavesdrop, and the way she is always caught in an embarrassing situation… all these thins contribute to her unique and memorable character. Following at a close second is Yuko-chan (Yo Kimiko), the outspoken, very kind and loving, motivated, aggressive, loyal, and hilarious woman who seems to connect all the characters together. And we mustn’t forget Eri, played by Kuninaka Ryoko. Ryoko-chan completely blew me away. Her performance is perfection itself and without her in this role this drama would not be as grand as it is. One will never tire of her big gorgeous smile and eyes that reveal more of the character than just mere actions could. Of course, there are so many characters in this drama, and each one is memorable. The writers did an excellent job concocting each character, and each actor/actress did a phenomenal job turning those characters into masterpieces. Watching Churasan is like being part of the family. You laugh with them, cry with them, and above all, you enjoy the time you spend being a part of them. This drama is HIGHLY recommended!
Churasan 2 [ちゅらさん2]
Awwwww Eri, how you've grown! [Rating: 8/10]
There was no real story for Churasan 2. It just seemed to be an extension of the first season. However, for Churasan fans (like myself), the sequel was very enjoyable. First off, I love the fact that right away the sequel delved into the family/relationship aspect of the characters. In the later Churasan episodes the dynamic between characters diminished slightly and focused only on Eri and Kazuya. With the sequel, however, they put an importance on each character’s relation to others, which I had greatly missed and really appreciated. Second, I was VERY pleased to see that EVERY actor/actress returned to play their roles. No character was replaced (even the smaller, less important characters returned!) and even the setting/locations remained consistent. Third, although there was no real story, the overall storyline/plot revolving Eri and her peers progressed. We got a taste of what Eri was up to and the new additions to her life. This was great. It really makes me feel like we’re watching her grow and mature further and further in life. The one bad point of the sequel is that it was too short (only 6 episodes!). But there is a third sequel, so I won’t fret too much. :D
Churasan 3 [ちゅらさん3]
Another sequel, and still going strong! [Rating: 9/10]
I was quite surprised when I started the third season of Churasan. I don’t know if there was a different director, but the feel of the show had changed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, Time has changed and the drama needs to appeal to current tastes. It was just different… Another change, and for the same reason mentioned above, was in the physical traits of the characters! I mean, of course this would be an obvious progression, especially since one cannot expect an actor to stay the same over the course of four years, but goodness! It was an all-at-once hit! Ryoko-chan (Eri) has gotten slimmer and more mature in her looks (did she dye her hair?!). Yoshiko-san (Eri’s mother) cut her hair REALLY short, Miho-chan (Mariya) grew her hair out long, and the most changed of all was Ayumi-chan (Shoko). She really has grown into a beautiful woman! The guys, for the most part, remained the same. Those who did change changed for the worst (Yamada chopped his hair!). Of course, this is nothing to gripe about. Whereas the second season depended too much on the first season, I did find that the third season was stronger and had a definite story. It was nice to see the plot revolve around a couple of new characters with which the old characters interacted in a natural, seamless way. This sequel was more enjoyable than the second, although a bit inconsistent. What happened to Haruka’s crush on Kaneshiro? Didn’t Oba get engaged at the end of the last sequel? Where was her husband-to-be? Didn’t Eri and Fumiya previously strive to create their own clinic in Kohama? What happened to that dream? I hope the fourth sequel will answer some of these questions! Despite these inconsistencies, I loved how yet again the same cast returned to play their trademark characters. I also loved the small jokes played (i.e. like when the head nurse drops into a scene. Eri asks “what are you doing here”, and the nurse replies: “I’m one of those characters who just drop in. Can’t have people forgetting I exist!”). So many pricesless moments! Lets hope the next sequel maintains our high expectations!
Churasan 4 [ちゅらさん4]
Is it Over?! :( [Rating: 8/10]
Yet another great sequel… though I have to admit, I’m a bit torn with this one. In other words, it gave me a few causes for complaint. To start with, not all the characters returned. The most obvious were Keitatsu and Haruka. They managed to explain Keitatsu’s absence in the storyline (and it was somewhat convincing), but they didn’t at all explain Haruka’s. Was she that dispensable? Also, some of the main characters reverted into unnecessary minor characters. A clear example of this was Shoko’s character. In the original series, and in the two sequels, her character held considerable important content and benefited the overall plot. In this sequel, she was nothing more than a prop. She only had a handful of lines and would not have been missed if she had not been cast into the story. This disappointed me, but I can understand how it happened. The original series was 156 episodes, and the sequels are 6 episodes and 5 episodes (respectively), so it was easier to focus on each character and provide a flow of development for each. With this fourth sequel only 2 episodes long, not every character could be expressed. I understand this. But still… Alrighty, now for the grand stuff (which, in my opinion, makes up for the negatives). Finally, a storyline that focuses on Mariya and Yoko! This sequel was perhaps the most heart-warming. The attention was taken off Eri a little bit and given to the two characters that have perhaps affected Eri’s life the most. This sequel was sad, but in a good way, and reminded me (the viewer) that although Life can be filled with positive things, it changes nonetheless. There was a hint of a suggestion at the end of the sequel that we haven’t seen the last of Churasan, so here’s hoping!
Cupid no Itazura [クピドの悪戯]
Solid Love story... but way too much sex... [Rating: 6/10]
If I’m completely honest with myself, I actually enjoyed Cupid no Itazura. Not because I was a fan of the cast, and not at all because it’s exceptionally written and produced. The first six or so episodes were hard to swallow because they were so bizarre. There is nothing at all enjoyable about watching a 21-year-old virgin masturbate in every single episode. But after the sixth episode, a solid love story begins to arise. I wasn’t too blown away with the main character’s performance, or with Akiyama Rina’s (in fact, I found her completely annoying). But I WAS impressed with Kitagawa Hiromi. Not only was she physically cute and lovable, but also she portrayed her character very well. I was surprised at how talented she is considering the type of drama I was watching, but she really did convince the viewers that she was, in fact, Aysumi-chan. So taking out all the hand-jobs and the concept of a disease called “Rainbow Balls”(bleh), I did find the love story intriguing and angst ridden… just the way I like it. The sub-plot concerning Aysumi-chan’s lover and his wife was also interesting. It made all the other discrepancies and randomocities (and there were A LOT) kinda forgivable. Would I watch this drama again? Probably not. But because of the love story, I enjoyed it while it lasted.
Daisuki!! [だいすき!!]
Karina is Amazing in this wonderful show [Rating: 9/10]
It's taken me a few years to gain the courage I knew I needed to watch this show. I wasn't sure I had it in me to watch something so emotionally charged. I'm glad I finally bit the bullet and watched it. After the first few episodes, and after crying through each one, I began to worry that this drama would continue to be a sobfest, but through cheap tricks the directors use to make their audience cry. It did continue to be a sobfest, but with a turn towards depth. I'm so glad the drama morphed into being more about the family and their connection with Yuzu, as opposed to a disabled person constantly being degraded by society. Although there were some inconsistencies and loose ends, Karina's portrayal of Yuzu was so heartwarming that these flaws do not matter. She was wonderful. Kishimoto Kayoko was endearing, and even ol' Hiraoka Yuta, who has annoyed me since the movie Nana, has gotten into my good graces. I may never watch this drama again, because I'm not sure I have the tears left, but it was beautiful while it lasted. I highly recommend it.
Dare Yori mo Mama wo Aisu [誰よりもままを愛す]
Typical Family Drama [Rating: 7/10]
This drama was okay. It was very typical for a family drama so nothing new was presented. This is one of those dramas where the side characters (Pinko-san, Yamashita, and especially Tsunami-san ) really carry the show and make it entertaining. I liked the drama overall because I'm a sucker for family dramas, and this one delivered as one.
Dekichatta Kekkon [できちゃった結婚]
BAM! [Rating: 9/10]
This was such a fun drama to watch! There were a lot of serious parts but an equal amount of comedic parts: an excellent balance, in my opinion. As a female viewer, I found that this drama covered all my female needs in terms of male actors. You have Abe Hiroshi, who plays the tall, chiseled, handsome loafer who lacks all ambition but tries so hard when it comes to the woman he loves; then you have Tsumabuki Satoshi, who plays the cute, adorable “sidekick” type character who is genuinely sweet and nice with strong morals that eventually backfire when he tries to be aggressive in his relationship; and lastly, there is Takenouchi Yutaka who, other than the fact that he is drop dead gorgeous (both cute AND rugged!) he also plays a very attractive character. He is shy and romantic, corky and cool, childish and sexy. The female actresses play the perfect compliments to the men, and vice versa. Because each character is so specific, it’s easy to find qualities in each that are appealing, and therefore make the characters − all of them − quite memorable. (Kinomi Nana’s character and Chiba-san’s character stand out particularly for me!) Although the storyline is simple enough − a one-night-stand that results in pregnancy − the plot was entertaining. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters and the events that take place in order to shift the characters onto different paths. The various situations (for example, the father’s reluctance to accept Ryu) were handled realistically and believingly. At the end I found the drama dragged a bit and got somewhat repetitive, but I still enjoyed those final episodes. If you're looking for something well written, tight, and deep, then I woundlt recommend this drama. I highly recommend it to all those who enjoy light humour and entertaining plot.
Densha Otoko [電車男]
Otaku's Rock! [Rating: 9/10]
I managed to complete this drama in two and a half sittings… it was THAT addictive. Although the story has become a clich&eacute; in western society, this is the first time I'm seeing something like this in a Japanese drama. As a computer junky myself, I found the concept to be really successful. I loved the way they gave a face to the different personalities on the internet, and how we could see the relationship growing between perfect strangers and Densha. I watched the drama on my laptop and at times I felt as if I, too, was one of the many people ranting at the forum. Itoh Atsushi as Densha Otoko is my new crush. Although I found his nervousness a bit tiresome at times, his kawai-ness totally made up for it. He played the role of an otaku so well that I can't imagine him in any other role. Itoh Misaki was also the result of perfect casting. She was convincing as the rich, beautiful, incredibly sweet lead female. And although the two main characters are the most unlikely to ever end up together, the chemistry between them was amazing. My only qualm with this drama was that the ending was so drawn out and redundant. The love confession took longer than was necessary, and the individual good-byes from Densha's internet pals was too repetitive. Other than that, the drama was amazing and highly recommended!
Doctor X ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko [ドクターX 〜外科医・大門未知子]
The Ending was a Disappointment [Rating: 6/10]
Yonekura was awesome, of course, and really played her role well. I was disappointed with the overall drama, however. It was just a regular medical-template drama with little originality. I was hoping something would come of Daimon's background story (her father and the closing of his clinic) but this didn't come to head. Maybe they're planning a sequel?
Dr. Koto Shinryojo [Dr.コトー診療所]
Very Very Average [Rating: 7/10]
This was a very average drama. The story was quite normal: a doctor makes a mistake (which wasn't his fault at all), and as a result he runs to a remote island to "start" over. On the island he has to win over the hearts of the locals by doing a surgery every episode through which he manages to save every secondary character. The plot was a bit fantastical. Most of the surgeries would have been impossible to do given the circumstances, and things went just a little too perfectly. Some events could have been heartwarming, but the incredulous quality of the event took away from the emotions. The reason I'm giving this drama a rating of 7 is because I love the ending Theme Song, and also because I was completely captivated by Yoshioka Hidetaka. I've watched him in Kita no Kuni Kura, where he was just a boy of ten, and without knowing he was the one playing Dr. Koto, I recognized him right away. I also love Shibasaki Kou, which may also explain my rating, but also because the drama wasn't BAD, just not great.
Dragon Zakura [ドラゴン桜]
Your Typical School Drama [Rating: 7/10]
Here we have another school drama that focuses on reforming “bad” kids, but unlike the more popular Gokusen and GTO series, this one deals with the reality that is life. In a very harsh, yet effective way, Sakuragi Kenji (played by Abe Hiroshi) reminds the six students of his special class that idiots are cheated every step of the way, and because they’re idiots there is nothing they can do about it. The storyline deals with the system of society in which the most educated, no matter socially impaired, are cherished, and the stupid, no matter how kind, are frowned upon. As a teacher myself, I found Sakuragi-sensei’s style of teaching really interesting… and at times absurd. It’s fun to watch the cause/effects in this drama. I was disappointed in the end. The two students who failed were the two I wanted most to pass. It seems that the powers that be wanted to stay away from the cliche´ ending where everyone succeeds and lives happily ever after, but I thought, after watching their suffering, that perhaps this cliche´ would suffice. Guess not.
Dream Again [ドリーム☆アゲイン]
Watch it for Sorimachi! [Rating: 7/10]
Not a bad show, but nothing unforgettable either. I personally found it a little boring but the script only focused on a few obstacles so it went quickly. Sorimachi was excellent, though his talents could have been challenged more. A good drama but a little less entertaining then some of Sorimachi's other dramas.
Engine [エンジン]
Fun to watch, but not twice. [Rating: 8/10]
Although I enjoyed watching Engine, I must admit that it is a forgettable drama. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline in regards to the Orphanage and the staff, but I was confused as to the importance of Race Car Driving. This career of Jiro’s (played by Kimura) didn’t mesh well with the Orphanage storyline. In fact, the Racing career could have been easily replaced with any other career. The purpose of having a career in the first place was to demonstrate Jiro’s personal growth as an individual. It didn’t have to be racing. It could have been anything. I didn’t find that it was incorporated well at all. Before watching the drama I read that many people didn’t enjoy the Kimura/Koyuki pairing. I had no problem with it. I think Koyuki has a difficult job appealing to the viewers. She doesn’t have the typical “kawaii” features and therefore doesn’t have the mass appeal… but she’s a fabulous actress. She was perfect in the role of Tomomi sensei. Her character type and Kimura’s character type really did go well together, even if they physically weren’t a match. The children at the orphanage were charming and, once again, Ueno Juri demonstrated her wide range of talent. The plot became problematic when it fell into a stringent routine of featuring a child every episode, but I didn’t mind it that much. In the end, I’m glad I watched this drama… but I probably won’t spend the 11 hours watching it again.
Enka no Joou [演歌の女王 (えんか の じょおう)]
Very funny, if a bit corny! [Rating: 7/10]
I heard a lot of mixed reviews regarding Enka no Joou, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started watching it. I was a bit indifferent after the first episode, but I was definitely hooked by the second. Amami Yuki is a force to be reckoned with! Not only is she an amazing enka singer, but she’s a fabulously believable actresses. She gripped my attention and kept it within her grasp throughout her entire performance. I also enjoyed the characters of the supporting cast, especially Harada Taizo, who surprised me. He’s not the stereotypical handsome lead male character, but he was charming and lovable in his own way. The plot was entertaining and I loved certain aspects of it. I loved how Himawari traveled through life making friendships and healing lives, although within her own soul she was battling loneliness. I was a little disappointed with the ending, or specifically, with the last two episodes. They seemed set apart from the rest of the drama and were a bit too corny. Now, I like corn, but not when it’s so strong and misplaced. This drama is a successful comedy, and despite the ending I found it enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who likes enka, fun, and the very talented Amami Yuki-san!
First Kiss [ファースト・キス]
Mediocre [Rating: 7/10]
Okay, here's the thing with First Kiss. I thought Inoue was great (though sometimes annoying, but still great), and of course Ito, who is extremely good-looking and exudes sex appeal - was as charismatic as ever. But nothing really happens in this show. The plot is slim and the focus is more on character development. It was fun to watch while it lasted... but there's no pleasant after taste. There's no bad after taste, either. It's just... there. I'm almost wondering if they're making a second season, because the first was left unresolved. Do I recommend it? Only if you have nothing else to watch.
Friends [フレンズ]
Good attempt, but not a complete success... [Rating: 7/10]
I liked the premise of this drama, but I really think they should have made it longer. Parts of it were too chopped up and there were parts that definitely needed fleshing out. For example, the two leads learned Korean/Japanese way too quickly. This needed to be fleshed out a bit more. Chi Ten spent two years in the army, but it only felt like a few months. When Chi Ten learned that Tomoko was working in Seoul, his feelings needed to be explored… instead of him running off to see her once again. I mean, the two hadn’t seen each other in two years, but their reunion seemed so commonplace… as if it had only been a week since they had last walked/talked with each other. Their transition from lovers, to friends, to lovers again was too fast. It’s hard to tell just how long they’re actually apart before they meet again, and I think this distance is important to emphasize in order to make the constant departures work. They weren’t emphasized at all. Although Fukada is a very pretty girl, I have never been a fan of her acting. My opinion didn’t change after watching this drama. She expressions for different emotions were all the same so it was hard to tell just what her character was feeling. It was really hard to watch her “pretend” she’s struggling with the Korean language. The male lead wasn’t any better. This was my first experience with Won Bin and I was immediately attracted to his good looks. However, the more I watched, the more I realized that he, too, isn’t a very good actor. Mind you, I haven’t seen any of his other works, but I was not at all impressed with his acting in this drama. In all, this drama wasn’t completely terrible and I really did like the concept. I think making it a full 10-12 episode series really would have helped the development of the plot.
Fukigen na Jiin [不機嫌なジーン]
Huge Disappointment [Rating: 6/10]
I was expecting a lot... given the cast. This drama started off strong, but lost it's speed really fast. By the end I felt it was a huge disappointment. It's really forgettable, there is little chemistry between the characters, and some of the plot is just ridiculous. I hope these actors make better choices in future!
Gal Cir [ギャルサ]
Seriously...? [Rating: 6/10]
This show was dumb. It didn’t really have a plot and it had a very weak storyline (the search for Imoko) that broke apart way too often. Each episode was exactly the same in structure to the previous episode, only starring a different Para-Para girl. Although the girls were believable, it was hard to sympathize with them. And why, someone please tell me, was Fujiki Naohito thinking?! There were a few funny moments, but overall this drama was just a waste of time. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find it amusing either. I think it caters to tween girls (I hope teens have more sense) and fanboys. If you don’t fit either category, drop this drama and move on.
Galileo [ガリレオ]
Way better than I thought [Rating: 8/10]
The first thing I thought when I first started watching this drama was, “O no, they’re trying to recreate Trick!” After watching a few more episodes, I decided this wasn’t such a bad thing because they were pulling it off very well. I found each of the mysteries quite fascinating and although some gimmicks were a little tiresome, on the whole I quite enjoyed the various plots. It was nice to see Kou-chan in such a refreshing role. I’ve been a big fan of hers for a while but she always seems to fly just below the radar. I think I’ll bite the bullet and finally vote for her. This was my first drama with Fukuyama Masaharu and I think I’m in love. I don’t know if it’s HIM or his character, but he was very attractive in this drama and played the perfect Galileo. From all the dramas I’ve seen, this one had the most elaborate, and the strongest, supporting cast. It was fun to see many familiar faces pop up and I found myself anxious to see who would appear in the next episode. Overall, the drama is somewhat forgettable in the sense that it didn’t quite reach the status of Trick, but it was enjoyable to watch and I had some fun with it.
Gokusen [ごくせん]
Inspirational [Rating: 9/10]
This is a perfect comedy with a well written story. Everyone wishes for a teacher like Yankumi and the students of 3-D are lucky to have her. This drama is great fun and really entertaining. The stories are good and the characters are awesome!
Golden Bowl [ゴールデンボウル]
Golden Ball, Golden Couple [Rating: 9/10]
Although there is a lot of plot action right in the first episode, I found Golden Bowl really hard to get into. It wasn’t until the third episode where things started to pick up for me, and finally by episode five I was an eager watcher. The whole “bowling” concept is really abstract. I like how the drama revolves around the characters that hang out at this bowling alley, but really the sport of bowling is just an excuse to play with the characters. The bowling alley could easily be replaced by a bar, or a park, or another sport, etc. Its link to the overall plot is weak and serves only as a location. The plot revolving around the characters, however, is very interesting and mysterious. You’re never quite given the whole picture for each character, and therefore you need to watch carefully in order to collect all the pieces. I like that about this drama, and it helped me look over the uselessness of the bowling element. The love story is one the best I’ve seen. It was slow in coming but very developed in its slowness. Hitomi and Takeshi were very convincing and I stopped watching the “actors” and actually believed the characters to be real. The casting for the supporting cast was well done and I was impressed with how naturally they all worked together.
Good Luck !! [グッドラック!!]
Good, but really cliche [Rating: 7/10]
I’m a little disappointed in this drama. Not because it was bad. In fact, this drama was very good. I think my expectations for it were just too high. I’ve heard so many grand reviews that my anticipation swelled to the point where I was expecting nothing but the best. To be fair, the cast truly delivered. Kimura was brilliant, as usual, and it was nice to see him portray a character in moments of weakness. Shibasaki Kou was charming and truly shined in that modest, humble way she has with her audience. I was truly shocked with Tsutsumi Shinichi and his portrayal of Koda Kazuki. I have only previously seen him in Lunch Queen and his character was completely different. I was very impressed with his performance. Uchiyama Rina was really annoying in the beginning. Her pathetic, pushy character was not at all appealing. However, after her starring episode, when she fell back into just being an “extra”, she became a silly, loud, colourful personality again and was easier to watch. Of course, to balance her painful role, there was Kuroki Hitomi. I could tell right away that she is a gifted actress with quite a bit of experience. I’m still in shock that she’s nearly fifty. She has far more star quality and talent than most actresses in the business today. It was the plot that let me down. The story was far too average. It was one big cliche´. We have the protagonist (Kimura) who is a young, handsome, upbeat individual who acts carefree but is really in love with his job and has a deep soul. Then we have the antagonist (Tsutsumi), who is perfect in all things the protagonist fails in, and causes much grief for the protagonist… in the beginning. The protagonist than realizes that the antagonist is in fact a nice guy and begins to respect him. In the end, the protagonist proves himself to the antagonist by some heroic act, and thereby makes himself equal to the antagonist, who in turn acknowledges and befriends/respects the protagonist. In the midst of all this, we have the female lead (Shibasaki) who is simply there as a vessel through which both the protagonist and antagonist can reveal their inner selves to the audience. Mix in some extras for comedy relief, and you have yourself a story. I was disappointed when Koda’s past experience was revealed. It seemed really anti-climatic. I was assuming that he was the survivor of a crash, but instead the incident was lame. I was also disturbed by Shinkai’s quick decision to go through a surgery that had less than 10% success rate. If he cared about flying as much as he claimed, why gamble so readily? And his recovery took all but 5 minutes of the show. Why all the drama if you’re not going to play up the part? Because the main plot is thin, each episode has an inciting incident specific to that one episode. If it hadn’t been for the amazing talent in this drama, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it. As it stands, this drama does have an amazing cast, and I enjoyed the drama… regardless of its blueprint plot.
GTO [麻辣教師]
Better than I thought [Rating: 7/10]
I watched Gokusen before I watched GTO, so half the charm had already worn off. I really enjoyed Matsushima Nanako's performance, as well as Kuroda Miki's. The end was great, and even made me a little emotional, being a teacher myself. I think this drama is good and teaches some good morals, even if it is a bit over the top. Don't expect anything too profound or artistic, and you'll like it just fine.
H2~Kimi to itahibi [2〜君といた日々]
A very good watch [Rating: 10/10]
H2 may seem to be about baseball, but the drama is so much richer than that. There is an underlying love story that isn't exactly about love, but about the affection that grows between childhood friends. H2 is about shifting through feelings that question what love is, and the different forms of love. Satomi-chan was brilliant, as usual, and Yamada Takayuki was very convincing. The plot moves slowly, but effectively, and the comedy perfectly balances out the drama. Well done!
Haikei, Chichiue-sama [拝啓、父上様]
Excellently written [Rating: 8/10]
When I watched the first episode of Haikei, Chichiue-sama I felt overwhelmed and confused. There was a lot of information being given about the various characters and the opening situation to the plot. The episode seemed to fly by and I only had a grasp of what was happening. The second episode clarified a few things for me… but only a few. I began wondering if this was going to be another one of those dramas that I have to force myself to complete. By the time I had finished episode 5, however, my opinion had changed. This is a very well written drama. The story has a lot of depth and breadth, and gradually brings about different elements that are applicable to the overall storyline. Each character, even the minor characters, are developed as much as their character needs and you therefore really get a sense of connectedness and unification. The varying relationships make sense. For example, the relationship between Ippei and his mother, Yukino-chan, is rather unconventional… and yet when you are exposed to their situation in depth and the character traits of each, their relationship makes perfect sense. I personally found the main character, Ippei, rather hard to like. He’s boring, corky, lame, and somewhat selfish. He’s SUPPOSED to be all these things… it just so happens that I get frustrated with these qualities in a man. Yumeko, around whom the characters gravitate, was cute and likable, though sometimes annoying. My favourite characters were Yukino-chan, Ritsuko-san, and Tokio. All three were perfectly cast and truly portrayed their characters in a believable, emotional success. Yukino-chan was incredibly believable, as is expected of Takashima Reiko. I’ve always enjoyed her in other dramas, but she’s not one of my favourites. There is no definite conclusion to the storyline, but that’s okay. The drama is meant to capture a time in Ippei’s life, and because life will always continue, the lack of ending didn’t effect the drama over all. This drama is made upon its characters, with a solid storyline to unify them.
Haken no Hinkaku [ハケンの品格]
SO MUCH FUN! [Rating: 9/10]
Haken no Hinkaku is terribly silly, and I enjoyed it VERY much. At first I wasn’t sure what to think. I adore Shinohara Ryoko and for the first time I was watching her in a role I had never seen her play before. Usually she plays the charismatic, sexy type. This time she was playing a sweater-clad, anti-social type. She was very fun to watch (like during her abrupt head swings, speaking in her cute announcer voice, and her morning exercises LOL!). I was also seeing Koizumi Koutaro and Kato Ai in roles I had never seen them play before and both did a fab job. The storyline has many faults, like how Matsukata Hiroki’s character shifts from good-guy to bad-guy, and then good-guy again. When he turned into the antagonist, his direction with Omae Haruko sort of got mixed and lost and there was a serious breach in the plot. However, this was quickly rectified and because the drama is so silly, the fault was quickly forgiven. I recommend this drama to anyone looking for something light and fluffy to watch. A MUST SEE for all Ryoko fans. :)
Hana Yori Dango [花より男子]
FunFun [Rating: 8/10]
HYD is a fun drama and a little refreshing given the number of sorrowful dramas out and about. It is a romantic comedy that doesn't overdo the comedic relief, nor overdo the romantic elements. The drama is a bit predictable, and there are no cliffhangers to make you itch for the next episode. It is full of cliches, but who ever said cliches were bad things? Inoue Mao was excellent. Her facial expressions and her "crying" was very good. She's pure and silly and funny -- the perfect actress for this role. MatsuJun was okay, as were the rest of the F4. Doumyouji Tsubaki was wonderful. I found the story a little rushed in the end and perhaps another episode or two would have added in making the character development a bit more successful. There was definitely a "Harry Potter" feel to the show (especially with the background music) and I found it terribly funny when Makino actually makes a reference to it. Fun stuff. All in all, not terribly brilliant and a bit regurgitated, but still good and pleasent.
Hana Yori Dango 2 [花より男子]
Highly Diappointed [Rating: 7/10]
I was disappointed with Hana Yori Dango 2, and not because I had high expectations. I actually didn’t have ANY expectations, considering that the second season is rarely as good as the first no matter the drama. The situations were too repetitive and over dramatic. Case in point: when Domyouji ran to the hospital after Makino fainted. The parents were in the room exclaiming to Rui just how much they appreciated his presence in Makino’s life. This scene came out of nowhere, and was far too random. Did her parents even know of his existence? There’s no evidence to support their expression. And of course, Domyouji over-hears and leaves, instead of doing anything about it. And lets now forget how Tama randomly pops up EVERYWHERE. The series could have been MUCH shorter. They filled the space with misunderstandings and miscommunications and the plot seemed to go in circles without any breakthroughs or resolutions. Most of the show is just a waste of time. Mind you, the series wasn’t completely unfortunate. For true Hana Yori Dango fans, this drama provided all the goodies. The characters were just as great, the soundtrack was awesome, and there a few good moments. The second half of the series improved so much so that it made up for the failure that is the first half. I’m glad they focused a bit more on the other two members of F4 (Shojiroh and Akira), and gave us viewers an insight to their individual lives. It was good character development, even if minimal. Rui, for the first time, started to annoy me a little bit. It was hard to read him and he seemed so “blah” about everything. I understand that this is probably a character trait of his, but I personally didn’t like it and found it frustrating to watch at times. Kato Natsuki was perfect as Shigeru − the unfortunate finance − but I think the writer(s) made a mistake in making her so grand. I started to like her best, and as a result, despised everyone else for using/hurting her… everyone else being the main characters of the show. I got all teary when they recapped her presence in their lives. She was terribly used and yet walked away with a smile on her face! It really made the other characters, like Domyouji and Makino, look cruel and selfish. Toda Erika (as Umi-chan) took the counter role. She was so nasty that you felt for Domyouji and Makino. Anyways, I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching this, but I do wish there was more to it then just a rehashing or re-writing of the first series.
Hanayome to Papa [花嫁とパパ]
Father of the Bride, eh? [Rating: 8/10]
I thoroughly enjoyed this drama, though I may be biased because I love both Satomi-chan and Miho-chan. The story line is light and the plot succeeded in keeping my interest throughout. When the relationship is established within the first episode, I thought “uh… so what are they gonna fill the other 11 episodes with?” But they DID fill the episodes, and my interest was maintained throughout. There were some unrealistic things that bothered me about the show. For example, Miura’s confession to Uzaki’s father that he wants to date her “with the intention of marriage” seemed to come out of nowhere. As a viewer, I felt cheated out of the first steps of their relationship because it was so rushed. Later the relationship between the two solidifies and becomes believable, but that initial confession was unrealistic. The small unnoticeable pieces of comedy were brilliant. For example, when Aiko nearly bumps into Makihara-san while carrying a tray of coffee caused a priceless reaction from the actress (Miho). The slapstick is sporadic throughout and really makes the series quite fun to watch. Somewhere along the middle of the show, however, the comedy fades and it becomes serious and dramatic. The transition is smooth and I didn’t realize the shift had taken place until the second last episode. Although in some dramas this would have been a major uncontinuity, it fit the theme of the drama perfectly. After all, the theme is growth. The male lead (Taguchi Junnosuke) was terrible, and I’ll be really surprised if he’s given more acting roles, but I didn’t mind him as much. Tokito Saburo (Uzaki Ken) was brilliant in this role. He annoyed the crap out of me in the first few episodes and I was afraid that if he continued that way, I wouldn’t be able to watch the rest of the series. But his character simmers down to someone more manageable, and by the end of the series he was one of my favourite characters. Ishihara Satomi is growing as an actress and as her fan I couldn’t be more proud. She still has a long way to go, but she’s levels above the other actresses in her age group. One thing is for sure, the girl can cry convincingly. And what can I say about Miho-chan?! She was absolutely perfect, as she is in all her roles. Overall, the drama was fun. It’s obvious that it was geared towards females in their 20s, and perhaps that’s why I could relate to it a little.
Hanayome wa Yakudoshi! [花嫁は厄年ッ!]
A Light and Enjoyable Drama [Rating: 8/10]
This drama was a lot of fun. Mind you, I usually enjoy anything Shinohara Ryoko is in, but this drama had its own merits that made it a fun comedy. I really enjoyed the different types of characters. They weren’t your stereotypical characters, but rather interesting and silly ones. A good example is Kaori, who was one of my favourites. She plays the antagonist, and yet she wasn’t evil. She was just mean, but her silliness made the meanness light. Iwashita Shima, who plays the head of the Azuchi family, was fabulous and her pairing with Shinohara was grand. The story was predictable and the plot was a no-brainer, but this is hardly a fault considering the lightness of the drama. It was just fun. That’s all there was to it.
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e [花ざかりの君たちへ]
I LOVE YOU NAKATSU!!! [Rating: 8/10]
I found this drama extremely entertaining and really fun all the way through. Although it’s rather ridiculous in more ways than one, it was still great. The concept isn’t original and at times I was like “WHAT?!” when something bizarre would happen (I mean really, how can you NOT NOTICE THAT SHE’S A GIRL?!). But regardless of all this the drama was still grand and had a lot of priceless moments. Horikita Maki managed to remain kawaii even with the lack of makeup, and although I didn’t find the guys in the drama as good-looking as the reputation of their school suggests, they were still quite fun and entertaining to watch. My favourite by far was Nakatsu (Ikuta Toma). I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed this drama as much without him in it. Oguri Shun was grand in this role but he was often outshone by either Nakatsu, or some of the other male characters such as Nanba-senpai (Mizushima Hiro), Kayashima (Yamamoto Yusuke), Masao (Kyou Nobuo), Tennouji (Ishigaki Yuma), and even Hibari (Iwasa Mayuko), who was the female equivalent and was absolutely hilarious. I really hope there is a second season. Although the storyline was average, the plot was great and there were a lot of grand moments throughout the drama.
Haruka 17 [はるか 17]
Funny, but Predictable [Rating: 7/10]
This was a very funny drama and I laughed out loud in every single episode. The scenes where Haruka would imagine herself reenacting TV shows was hilarious! The choices in cast were very good and Hirayama Aya is a very charming girl! I ‘m surprised she doesn’t have more fans. The plot was very predictable and I did get bored from time to time. I found the end anti-climatic. There was a lot of pre-tension in the story, and then… nothing! The end seemed rushed and just bleh. That being said, overall, I still enjoyed the series. Although it’s not memorable and will leave no lasting effect/impression on me, it was still fun to watch and gave me a good laugh. I look forward to seeing Hirayama in the future.
Hero
Overrated [Rating: 7/10]
This is another blueprint drama that is predictable and lacking variety. Although some of the cases (one case per episode, of course) were interesting, the show failed to hold my attention. It was boring and dull. That being said, the discourse between Kimura and Matsu was fun to watch. The presence of Abe Hiroshi, and later of Iijima Naoko and Ryo is probably what prompted me to give this drama a 7 and not a 6. I would recommend this drama to KimuTaku fans. Otherwise skip it. O, and is the Special worth mentioning in this review? Nah.
Hito ni Yasashiku [人にやさしく / 3ピース]
A Look into the Lives Of Men [Rating: 9/10]
I didn't know what to expect when I started this drama, and it ended up being awesome. It's about the lives of three young men who find themselves taking care of a six year old rich child. The story sees them teaching the boy, Akira, how to be a man, while Akira teaches his caretakers how to be responsible adults. Suga Kenta, who plays Akira, was marvelous. Not only is he extremely cute, but the boy has talent! His acting was touching and sweet, and I'm sure he'll make it big when he grows up. Katori Shingo, Matsuoka Mitsuru, and Kato Koji were perfectly cast, and each played his role unseamingly well. This drama has everything: comedy, romance, drama, and action all rolled into a touching story.
Honmamon [ほんまもん]
The reason why asadoras ROCK! [Rating: 9/10]
This is my first time watching an asadora, and I can now fully understand why some prefer this format to the 9-12 episode series. Honmamon spans 10 years, and through this time we see the growth of a young girl by the name of Konoha. Through hardship, sacrifice, and a will that can tear down mountains, Konoha matures into a woman who aims to make her dreams come true, no matter what the cost. There are so many wonderful things about this drama. To begin with, you really feel like you’re part of the story. You literally get to see every corner of the characters’ lives, and witness their growth through their daily routines. The casting for this drama is the best I have ever scene. Every actor/actress was perfect… except for perhaps Kaito Ken. Physically he fit the part beautifully, but his acting was really bad compared to the others. Mind you, I don’t know whether it was because you get used to his acting (or lack of), or because he really does improve, but by the end he didn’t bother me as much. Fubuki Jun completely blew me away. When I first saw her in Orange Days, she was forgettable and a little annoying. In Honmamon, however, she was one of the brighter stars. Her character, Senri, quickly became my favourite and you can truly see the talent it took to fully portray this character. Fubuki was brilliant. As was Asou Yumi. As was everyone! And then, of course, there is Ikewaki Chizuru. Someone give this girl an Oscar. I’m still completely stunned by her performance. She portrayed every face of Konoha so perfectly… one would think that you were actually witnessing the comings and goings of a real person. That scene when Konoha goes to the convent and cries out all her frustrations… so powerful! There were many moments when I couldn’t believe it was all make-believe… There were even times when I hated her for what she was doing to her family. When she told her mother-in-law that she would give up her family for her career, I couldn’t sleep that night! I couldn’t understand why she would abandon her daughter, Yukie, like that. Near the end, of course, we learn her thought process, but still it was a hard road to follow. There are some discrepancies along the way, such as Konoha’s pregnancy and how we don’t at all see how it affects the restaurant, even though it was foreshadowed to (like the “god of death” proclaiming that her taste would change). Also, once Konoha’s half-sister leaves for Italy, we never hear of her again. But these discrepancies are few and easily forgiven considering the length of the show. In the end, I’m really glad I donated all the hours it took to complete this show. I’m sad in the heart that it’s over and that I can no longer follow Konoha and her family through their lives. I guess the next best thing would be to start from the beginning again…
Hotaru no Hikari [ホタルノヒカリ]
Starts slow, but gets better [Rating: 8/10]
When I first started watching Hotaru no Hikari, I thought it was a bit dull. Nothing really sparked my interest and I felt, over all, indifferent to nearly everything that was happening with the plot. To be fair, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But nor is it a good thing. How does one categorize “mediocre”? By the seventh episode I finally started to enjoy the drama. I’m not sure what it was. Possibly the very subtle shift in emotions the characters began to feel/expose? By the ninth episode I believe the “mediocre” for me shifted to “good”. It helped that I was satisfied with the ending. Ayase was amusing to watch. I have a lot of respect for her as a result of watching some of her more powerful roles in other dramas. She wasn’t outstanding in this particular role, but I did think she was hilarious at times and her comedic timing was grand. However, I found the transition of her work self and her home self too drastic, but this can easily be the fault of the writer/director, and not necessarily her as the actress. Ryoko-chan was lovely as ever, but her character was severely downplayed. She almost faded half way into the drama and didn’t make a stand again until the last few episodes. For as much as she was on screen, though, I thought she was grand! She has a charismatic presence that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. The dude who played Makoto (notice the lack of effort on my part to find out his real name) was so blah! His acting was poor and he was really painful to watch. I also didn’t dig his selfish, useless, pathetic character. But goodness, Fujiki-san! I had a major crush on him when I first saw him in Ichi Ritoru no Namida, and maintained this crush for quite a while. It evaporated a bit after watching him in Antique, and completely disappeared after seeing him in Galcir. I think this role replenished it a bit. His character was grand and he really pulled it off. I was completely convinced by everything he said and did. I always enjoy a good man in a suit. Although the drama started off slow, it did redeem itself at the end. Was it a great drama? Nah. But it was good.
Hotaru no Hikari 2 [ホタルノヒカリ]
Great Continuation [Rating: 8/10]
SPOILER! It was just as enjoyable as Season 1. I did kind of wish that Hotaru and Seiichi had gotten married half way through the show so that we could see some post-wedding situations. Fujiki was his usual amazing self, and although I will always love Ayase, she was sometimes annoying and a little too over the top. I really enjoyed it when Itaya and Yasuda were on screen, especially together, and they quickly became my favourite couple in this series. Great comedy and overall good show.
Hotman [ホットマン]
Warm and Fuzzy [Rating: 8/10]
Hotman is one of those dramas that make you feel all warm and fizzy inside. It’s not a drama has considerable depth and philosophy, so if you’re looking for something profound than this wouldn’t be a good pick. On the contrary, it’s quite easy-flowing and simple, and this simplicity makes it a good watch. Yes, there are corny scenes. Yes, it is predictable. But sometimes you just need a drama that has these qualities! The casting in this drama was done brilliantly. There is so much chemistry between the family dynamic and between the family and supporting characters. Yamauchi Nana is a delight to watch and I’m sure she’ll grow up to be a talented young actress. There is a sequel to this drama so I won’t criticise the end. I would like to say that I’m glad Nanami’s mother was not revealed. Like Shima says in the drama, it’s not important whether we know who the mother is or not. It’s not about the mother at all. It’s about Enzo and Nanami. End of story.
Hotman 2 [ホットマン2]
Almost as good [Rating: 8/10]
Whenever there is a second, one always compares it to the first. I enjoyed this series, and although I missed Akiki and Manami, I think the second Hotman continued to please the audience as it did the first time. That being said, I do have a few qualms. I didn't like how they revamped Shima's character. The Shima in this series seemed so different from the first. And although Misaki did an excellent job, and although I don't prefer one role over the other, I wish they had kept it consistant. It also hugely bothered me that Misuzu wasn't in this series. Her relationship was Enzo was so established in the first series it just seems out-of-place for them to have broken up. I absolutely LOVE Miho as an actress, but her character in this drama seemed unnecessary. Especially since her love was one-sided and considered a big joke in the end. Totally unfair to an otherwise promising character. They should have had Miho play Misuzu in this series as well. If they could change the actresses for Shima's character, why not for Misuzu's as well? I still enjoyed the family dynamic and the message/values that were being protrayed. I liked that Enzo wasn't perfect and that he was often pointed out as a hypocrite. The ending was fine, but incomplete. It's as if they were thinking of making a third season. Still, it was a fab drama and I recommend it to all.
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [1リットルの涙]
Will change your view of life! [Rating: 10/10]
The fact that this plot is based on a true story only adds to an already amazing concept. Every episode is so powerful and heart-wrenching that I couldn't help but cry litres of tears during each one. Erika was absolutely amazing and I don't think the series would have been as powerful without her in the leading role. With such a sweet and innocent face, and such a keen acting ability, she truely depicted the hardships of such a disease. Ryou, not only good looking, is also and amazing actor. His character's feelings for Erika, coupled with the song that always played when they were together, have truely made their "romantic" scenes memorable for all viewers. Everyone is brilliant in this drama and it is truely a must-see. When you're done watching, you continue to thinkk back to it and reflect on your own placement in life. Aya is truely an inspiration to all mankind.
Ikebukuro West Gate Park [池袋ウエストゲートパーク]
All Hail the King! [Rating: 10/10]
I thought this drama was great. It was so layered and I had a lot of fun wading through it all. I’m a fan of dark humour done well, and of storylines that play with your mind, and of raw characters, and of controversial themes in general. Hopefully this helps explain why I like this drama so much, because I’m not quite sure I can justify it otherwise. Nagase Tomoya was really in his element in this drama, and I can see how, through the experience with this role, he was able to play Tora in Tiger & Dragon to perfection. I found that nearly all actors/actresses cast for the secondary characters were perfect &#8211; a rarity. My favourite character by far was Takeshi, played by Kubozuka Yosuke. He was brilliant and I was amazed at how flawlessly his could manipulate his character. Kato Ai really made me shiver, which reveals just how well she played the part of Hikaru. A pleasant surprise was the appearance of Koyuki. I’ve never seen her in such a role before and I thought she was great. Sakaguchi Kenji was brilliant (and really creepy), as was Watanabe Ken, who really made it hard for me to sympathize with his character. I love that. The drama was raw and I loved how the plot folded out smooth before me. The directing was interesting and appropriate. It seemed to be an extension of the theme and purpose of the show. That’s hard to do, and it was done well. I really felt for the characters and I found myself understanding how the minds of the characters worked. Even with the surprising deaths of certain character, I found myself accepting them and agreeing with the actions that were then inspired. On the whole, excellent drama and highly recommended.
Ima Ai ni Yukimasu [いま会いにゆきます]
The most Beautiful Drama EVAH! [Rating: 9/10]
I wasn’t sure what it to make of this drama when I first started watching it. The starting incident was definitely unrealistic and I wasn’t sure how to handle it. As the plot progressed, and I came to terms with the “miracle” aspect of the drama, I truly started to enjoy it. Although the ending is still questionable in my mind, I thought the drama was unique, beautiful, and altogether lovely. This was my first drama was Mimura. I found her lovely, sweet, and altogether a grand actress. She was very convincing both as a mother, and as a woman lost in herself. Her innocent face and chaste attire really worked well with the character type. Narimiya Hiroki was just… wow. Is there any role this guy can’t play?! I’ve never seen him in this type of role before but gosh, am I glad I have! He was brilliant and really portrayed the character to the best of his ability. Takei Akashi, and the rest of the supporting cast, were brilliantly cast and their connections with each other were convincing. The casting director was successful through and through. From all the dramas I have seen, this one was the most beautiful. Each scene was linked with nature and each element of nature was linked closely to the plot. There were moments when the camera would capture something so beautiful my heart would just stop. Never has rain appeared so sinfully precious in a drama before. This drama definitely gets my vote, and I can’t wait to watch the movie.
Itazura na Kiss [イタズラなKiss]
Sato is Hilarious in this! [Rating: 7/10]
Itazura na Kiss is an absolutely hilarious drama. It’s one of the few that actually had me laughing out loud. Sato Aiko needs to take all the credit for this. Her facial comedy was brilliant. Her character got a bit annoying at times, but she had the power to make us laugh that annoyance away. Kashiwabara Takashi played the perfect Naoki, but his character was a little flat and dull. I was hoping throughout the entire drama that Kototo would up with Kin-chan, instead of Naoki. The storyline is really lame, and there is barely any plot throughout the episodes. But I had a lot of fun watching the drama. I felt the ending was unrealistic, as Naoki’s confession in the end seemed abrupt and forced. I mean, he had spent 8.5 episodes telling her how annoying and stupid she was. There wasn’t the slightest hint that he had any feelings for her. Then suddenly he confesses. It was a little forced and badly done. Still, the drama has its merits. It was light and fluffy and very funny.
JIN [JIN-仁-]
Not so Bad! [Rating: 7/10]
I found it difficult to get into this drama right away, because the science fiction was not convincing in the least. Over time, slowly, the characters started to win me over and by the end I was enjoying the whole JIN experience. I didn't mind the ridiculous operations and invention of Penicillin and rubber, since the characters were so thoroughly convincing ain each of their roles. I have to say, Ayase as Saki and Uchino as Ryoma really stuck out.
JIN 2
Just as Good as the First One [Rating: 7/10]
Instead of writing a review on the characters and plot again, since little aspired since the first season, I will say that I found the explanation of the time travel a good one. They used the globally accepted theory seen in western culture as well in the science fiction world, and even though it was explained in a rushed and unsatisfactory manner in the end of the drama, the logic itself was sound. The part about Ryoma and Jin being "one", however, didn't make any sense and there was little in the drama in clarify this situation. Either way, good end to a 2-series show.
Juunen Saki mo Kimi ni Koishite [10年先も君に恋して]
Meh [Rating: 7/10]
I went into this drama with no expectations whatsoever. I figured I'd watch it because I haven't seen Aya in a drama in a long time. This particular show was boring. The leads did a good job with the script they were given, but otherwise it was predictable with never little depth and even less potential for grown. At first I found that the two leads didn't have any chemistry together... but I'm not sure if I would still say this having finished the drama. Either way, it's an okay watch because it's only 6 episodes. Watch it if you're an Aya fan, otherwise I'm sure there's loads better out there.
Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ]
Grows on You [Rating: 7/10]
It took me a few episodes to actually get into the drama. The first four or five episodes were not gripping at all, but I was surprised to see that this changed. Kaneshiro Takeshi did an excellent job. He was really convincing in his role. Fukada Kyoko was good, although at times it looked as if she were trying too hard. I found her character a little problematic. It was hard to sympathize with her at first, because her character was so stupid and self-serving. But then I realized in later episodes that teenagers really are stupid and self-serving, and that the drama was actually being realistic. It’s rare for me to change my opinion of a drama, but this one succeeded in doing so. Nakama Yukie did an excellent job, even though her character was extremely annoying. The drama is full of angst, but pulls together in the final episodes. I was a little peeved by the scene of Fukada’s character’s death. I felt it was overly dramatic and overly done. But in all, it was a good drama and worth at least a glance.
Kanojo to no Tadashii Asobikata [彼女との正しい遊び方]
Cute and Insightful [Rating: 8/10]
I saw this One Shot a while ago, and I remember really enjoying it. Both protagonists have a strong relationship, and both effectively portray the mentality their characters are in. Although the plot barely varies, I thought this was a wonderful story written by a new writer.
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男]
Such a "feel good" drama! [Rating: 9/10]
It’s rare when you come along a drama that is so grand, you just can’t think up anything criticize… and if you do, these minor flaws don’t matter or are forgivable because the overall drama is just so great. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across two in the last month − Kuitan, and this drama. This drama was really light, with a lot of memorable moments. There was a subtle deepness that affects you after you have seen the entire drama. It’s taken me a week to start this review because it’s taken me that long to fully admire the skill that went into making and portraying Abe Hiroshi’s character, making and portraying Natsukawa Yui’s character, and developing all the side characters. Takashima Reiko blew me away in Matriarchal Family, and she continued to impress me in this drama. The same goes for Tsukamoto Takashi, of whom I was exposed to in Tiger & Dragon, where he played one of my favourite characters in that drama. This was my first experience with Kuninaka Ryoko and I was completely charmed. With such amazing sub-actors, it’s no surprise that Abe and Natsukawa performed brilliantly. I keep hearing rave reviews about Abe’s acting and how convincingly he played his role. And he did. To perfection. But I think Natsukawa played her role equally as well. I loved her facial expressions and how she communicated just what she was thinking through her eyes and the slightest turn of her mouth. She was the perfect pick to play opposite Abe and I believe the two accented each other beautifully. Over all, this was a real “feel good” drama that left me happy and content when it was done.
Kiken na Aneki [危険なアネキ]
Light and fun! [Rating: 7/10]
What a delightful drama! Of course, the plot is a little ridiculous, and many actions/reactions made by the characters are far too unrealistic, but these are all forgivable! This drama is light, fluffy, and fun to watch. Itoh Misaki is annoying and unreal, but funny and lovable − exactly what her character should be! Moriyama Mirai is a depressing little… well, you know… and he’s exactly what his character should be as well. The casting is perfect (if nothing else is) for every single character. I wouldn’t call this a memorable drama, and I may never watch it again, but I had a blast while watching it. It’s not bad and serves as a great break from all the other dramatic shows out there. I recommend it to anyone who’s feeling a lull in their drama-watching experience and needs something to watch that isn’t heavy on the brain.
Kimi wa Petto [きみはペット]
Surprisingly Brilliant [Rating: 8/10]
Although there were a few awkward moments, the entire show was really very interesting. The chemistry between Iwaya and Momo was excellent and you could really feel Iwaya's suffering and pain. I was surprised by the ending and really pleased. I wasn't sure if I would like it but its won me over. Grand concept!
Kirakira Kenshui [きらきら研修医]
Ridiculous [Rating: 6/10]
I watched the whole thing... and I still don't understand why the backdrop is a hospital and the medical career. Everything in relation to the hospital was absolutely ridiculous. They could have created the same story with a different backdrop profession and the drama would have been exactly the same. This is poor writing. The first episode left a really bad taste in my mouth, but as the episodes progressed and as Manami's character calmed down and became more "real", it wasn't so bad. Completely forgettable, but not painful to watch. The actors were great, even if their roles were poor. That's about it. I don't think I would recommend this drama, unless you're a hardcore fan of Manami's. She was uber kawaii in this one.
Kita no Kuni Kara [北の国から]
Nearly Perfect! [Rating: 9/10]
Because of the random plot twists (i.e. Ryoko sensei and the UFOs, random deaths, lack of closure, etc.) I can't dub this drama as being perfect. But then, what drama is? I found this drama the type that sucks you right in through characters that seem like real people. I was completely blown away by Yoshioka Hidetaka and Nakajima Tomoko, who were both children in this series. They were amazing. Their acting was flawless and they really were just being kids on screen. Their interactions were so real I'm almost starting to wonder how much of the lines were actually scripted. I must applaud Tanaka Kunie and Taeshita Keiko as well, along with the writer(s). Not one character, except Hotaru, was completely likable. Each character had undesirable flaws that really put me off, but regardless, I loved the drama. Even the flaws were welcome. Only a good writer can achieve such a dynamic for the viewer. I highly recommend this drama. WATCH IT!
Koishite Shinitai [恋して死にたい]
I disliked this drama... but it was enjoyable [Rating: 6/10]
So this was one of THOSE dramas. As an admirer of film production, I found this a TERRIBLE drama. The cinematography was inconsistent with limited variation in framing. The dialogue was mediocre, the storyline was weak, the plot was lame, and the actors/actresses were not at all passionate about their roles. Everything seemed so forced and fake. However, I found the drama enjoyable to watch. Fukada Kyoko did not disappoint me. She was annoying and transparent, just as I expected. And yet for some reason, she convinced me that she WAS Toko. Something about the way the character was written and the way Fukada acted really clicked. Like Eve said, I really feel like this role was Fukada’s best… and it’s not surprising to find that the role was written with her in mind. I guess the writers were looking for an easy way out. Dohmoto, who is usually good, seemed to be in pain the entire time. I hated his character, and he seemed to hate it, too. Other than a few (rare) boxing scenes, he seemed disconnected and uninterested. I wasn’t once convinced that his character was in love with Toko. But I liked the angst. I liked the pathetic obstacles and the misunderstandings. When Toko was hurt by the selfish Yuji, I really felt for her. The drama for me is like one of those trashy romance novels. We all hate them, but when we pick up one to read, we enjoy it through the duration in which it lasts.
Kou Kou Kyoushi 2003 [高校教師 2003]
Waste of Time [Rating: 4/10]
This drama is really dark and although I enjoy dark-themed plots, this one failed to actually “work” as a good story. The actual premise of the show is good: a man is dying and alone, and wants someone in the world to share in his pain. However, the premise cannot erase all the issues this drama has. The sensei, who happens to be the main character, is too annoying to be a lead character. His very character turns me off. He’s selfish and frustrating and it’s really hard to sympathize with him. Even in the last few episodes, when the show FINALLY starts to get a little bit good, it’s hard to feel anything for the sensei at all. He’s so… argh! The only character in the entire show who was even a bit convincing is Beniko (played by Sonim). She was great and you actually felt for her. Watching this show is a waste of time, but if you do, watch it for Sonim’s character.
Kuitan [喰いタン]
YUM! [Rating: 9/10]
Ahhhhh another fun drama! Kuitan has everything you could ask for: comedy, romance, adventure, suspense, action (even kung-fu fighting!), etc. and lots and lots of food! There was so much food in this drama it was almost hard to watch! By the end of every episode I was ready to devour a buffet. Each episode is treated individual, with the chemistry between the characters serving as the constant element. That casting was solid. Not only did the actors/actresses work well together, so did the characters! Each character is different and unique, and each is fun to watch. Although there is very little character development, and although there are some minor discrepancies (like how in episode 8 they’re all ready to sell each other, and then in episode 9 they’re all weeping over a lost friend, and how Kuitan loses and gains his memory back all within the span of 10 minutes, and without a grain of reality, etc.) because the drama is so fun, it can get away with it. You don’t notice the flaws because, well, there’s so much food everywhere! So grand.
Kuitan 2 [喰いタン 2]
Yum-num again! [Rating: 8/10]
As expected of Kuitan! Another great season of good food and the very delicious Higashiyama Noriyuki. This season follows the same formula as the last season, with only slight differences. There is more of each character this time around. Ryousuke-kun is more comedic and lovable, Kyoko-chan is more charming, Igarashi is even more goofy, Momo-chan is much louder, and Kuitan is far more hungry. The stories are more varied, and there are more sentimental scenes to better balance the comedy. There were some lame instances but these are easily overlooked because the drama holds strong as a nicely written comedy with good, solid characters. I liked how they brought back characters from the Special as well. It created a unified and logical time-span between the first season, the special, and the second season. It would have been nice to have had a background story that tied all the episodes together, but the lack of such a story doesn’t harm the enjoy-ability factor that this drama has mastered. If you enjoyed the first season, don’t hesitate watching the second. It’s equally as good.
Kurosagi [クロサギ]
Not too Shabby [Rating: 8/10]
If you enjoyed YamaP and Maki in "Nobuta wo Produce", then you will absolutely LOVE them in this drama. In each episode we have Kurosaki (YamaP) dealing with different swindling scenarios. Sometimes it gets a bit boring because each episode can stand on its own and the underlying plot (Kurosaki seeking revenge for the death of his family) doesn't exactly do a good job in unifying everything together. The drama is a bit of a rip of the old Robinhood story, only not as good. YamaP's performance is good, but a little disappointing after his role as Akira in Nobuta wo Produce. Maki, who is a great actress for someone so young, wasn't able to completely harness her character. However, the two together make an excellent pair and perhaps there will be a little more focus on character development in the supposed sequel.
Last Christmas [ラストクリスマス]
Gushingly Good [Rating: 10/10]
I love this drama purely because it appeals to every nature of my being. Not only are the actors incredibly talented, but we have a plot that revolves around a Christmas Theme. This isn't just another story about a girl getting sick and finding comfort in a surprise lover. It's about creating a dream and fighting to keep that dream alive. There isn't one thing I would change about this show. The end scene with all the various couples was a bit corny, but it was so corny that I thought it completely appropriate. Oda Yuji and Yada Akiko have such brilliant chemistry that it's impossible not to love them both by the end of this show. All the supporting characters were grand, and I must single out Ihara Tsuyoshi. This guy was SO funny! He was the perfect comic relief. All in all, excellent drama and highly recommended to all!
Last Friends [ラスト・フレンズ]
Not great, but not a complete loss [Rating: 8/10]
I should have known this would be a depressing drama with such a foreboding title. Nevertheless, I didn’t find it a complete loss. To be sure, I really enjoyed the beginning of the drama, and the very end (more specifically, the last episode). Everything in-between was a complete mess. The writers did a terrible job. The concept of the drama, in terms of the social issues being covered, was good. There was gender-confusion/homosexuality, child abuse, molestation, and DV. There were even subtle, substantial issues as well, such as neglect, empowerment, abandonment, etc. There was so much meat here that the writers could work with, but quickly the storyline began to cater to the shock value of these issues, and not the essence or importance of bringing about awareness. The characters were not developed, the history of the characters were not fleshed out, and in the last few episodes I found that everything was just rushed and justified in a very weak manner. The overkill of DV &#8211; and here I mean showing the actual abuse, not the actual mention of the act &#8211; was frustrating to watch, as was the constant repetition of the characters’ actions. What saved this show for me were the actors/actresses. I have to give them props for playing successfully only one-sided characters. All the actors and actresses did a fine job, considering what they had to work with. I really felt for Ruka, I was madly in love with Takeru, I freaked out when Sosuke was around, Eri brought a smile to my face, and Michiru successfully made me want to smack her around (no pun intended). I’ll probably never watch this drama again, but I’m not upset that I watched it this first time. Regardless of all the middle mess, overall the drama really made me feel for the characters and the issues being brought forth. I was also glad that they didn’t overplay the homosexuality, and that in the end it was about humans loving humans, and not letting gender disturb the beauty that is love.
Long Love Letter [ロング・ラブレター〜漂流教室]
Wow, WAY better than I thought! [Rating: 8/10]
Contrary to the theme of the drama, I wish I had been transported to the future so that this review would already be written. I have no idea how to begin. I guess I can start with the easiest first, which is the cast. I absolutely adore Kubozuka Yosuke, who won me over with his role as the King in IWGP. Although his hair was completely whack in this drama, he did a fine job. I’m not a huge fan of Tokiwa Takao, having seen her in only one drama, but she really sucked me in. I loved her portrayal of the character and she was definitely the thread that wove the plot with the characters. The people who were playing the students were okay. I mean, you have teenagers playing teenagers without a whole lot of substance. How hard can it be? Still, Tsumabuki Satoshi and Yamada Takayuki were quite believable, where poor YamaPi was a huge disappointment. The genre of this drama is definitely Sci-Fi, so if you’re not into that sorta thing, you may want to steer thing. I really enjoyed the drama. Besides the fact that the girls maintained their make-up, that the kids survived on barely nothing, that some plot elements were a little too “out there”, I thought the story was handled very well and the writers definitely got their point across. The drama was very gripping in the beginning. Granted, the 2.5 episodes revolving around Asami’s life-death situation was kinda lame (a little too unrealistic) and boring. I was really disappointed when Misaki got killed. I even cried. I’m not quite sure if I liked the ending. I know that Asami CALLING Misaki started the domino affect that would change everything, but really, it kind of belittled what the students had gone through. I’m a little uncertain about the end. Doesn’t matter tho, because overall I enjoyed the drama, and regardless of all the bad reviews, I’d definitely recommend it to people tiring of the regular, standard, blue-printed drama.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション]
A Brilliant Love Story [Rating: 10/10]
I don’t know how to start this review, so let me highlight some of my favourite moments: The very last scene of Episode 8 when Sena watches Minami walk away after saying goodbye… gosh! This one scene alone establishes the love he feels for her, and how lonely life will be like without her. It’s no longer about their age difference, or their current situations. It’s about the lack, yet need, of and for each other. It’s the small things like this that make this drama a cut above the others. For example, although you never hear Sena play the piano completely (until you get near the end of the drama), you are totally convinced that he loves it. Or the look he gets in Episode 9 when Minami plays a song for him on the piano, and his tears start to fall… you just don’t need the words to convince you. The answers are all in the eyes of the characters. The script in this show was AMAZING! Very good writing. I mean, the conversation Minami and Sena have about their relationship a day or two after they make love seemed so real and unscripted. It was painful to watch because it seemed so raw. I was completely convinced that I was playing the voyeur in a very intimate scene − that’s how real it was. There are parts, like in the middle of the series, when the pacing gets a bit too slow and an episode or two passes without anything really happening. But it’s not until the end when you realize just how important these empty episodes are, because although there is very little action, they represent the passing of time… time in which feelings start to blossom. I’ve always been a fan to Kimura’s, but I’ve now become a hardcore of fan of Yamaguchi Tomoko as well. So much so, that I’ve started downloading another drama just because she’s in it! I’ve also fallen in love with Yutaka. I’ve seen Inamori Izumi in Pretty Girls, and she plays a similar role in this drama, but she was the perfect “wise” comic relief. Her answering machine messages made me laugh until my stomach hurt. All-in-all, this was an amazing drama and highly recommended.
Love and Eros [ラブとエロス]
Argh! [Rating: 6/10]
I’ve finally completed Love & Eros and I must say that the cast was absolutely amazing. There wasn’t one weak link in the entire thing and I feel very fortunate to have seen Asano Atsuko on the small screen. This was my first experience with her and I was highly impressed. Tomoya Nagase was wonderful, as usual, and although I still prefer him in the silly gangster role, it was nice to see him pull off a harder, more emotional character. Fujii Fumiya was adorable and although he doesn’t stand out (how can he with Asano and Tomoya flanking him on both sides) he has this subtle quality that creeps up on you. That being said, I’ll never ever watch this drama again. This drama made me feel ridiculous. At first I found the storyline stupid and the plot insufferable. The character of Kasumi was so annoying I felt like slapping her every time she was on screen. Jiro was also a pain in the butt and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t attracted to my Tomoya. Slowly (around episode 6), the writers complicated the characters by changing character traits. Suddenly the things I admired in Ruiychi were transferred to Jiro and vice versa, so that I was now attracted to Jiro’s character. Then of course the End of the drama came along and everything just splattered against the wall, leaving behind a mess of nothingness. I don’t know how I feel about the ending. In one respect I thought it was brilliant. In another I felt it was overdone, predictable, and stupid. Regardless, I’ll never ever watch this drama again.
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション]
So much lovely angst! [Rating: 9/10]
For the first few episodes, I was really mad that it was going so slow. Then I was mad because I couldn’t understand the random glass apple that popped up everywhere. Then I was mad because Kimura’s character, Teppei, was such a “lecher”, and that Takako’s character, Riko, was so flakey. And I was upset near the middle of the series because I was not at all convinced that Teppei loved Riko, no matter how many times he said he was. And then suddenly − and I can’t seem to pinpoint the exact spot in the drama − I came to the realization that this was the point. I was not supposed to be convinced, because Riko wasn’t convinced either. Suddenly everything fell into place, and I began to appreciate the raw emotions battled within each character, and how characters like Sanae were necessary to enhance the taste of the love story. Kimura did a grand job as always, and Takako was a big surprise! She was so different from her role in Long Vacation − the only other drama I have seen her in. I was totally blown away with the way she portrayed Riko’s character. The supporting cast was also brilliant, and I’m glad the sub-plot was just as good as the main. There was so much angst in this drama, and one misunderstanding after another. But for a hopeless romantic like myself, all the angst and all the misunderstandings were welcome! The drama, and the characters, captured my heart and I ended the series quite satisfied. If there is one thing I’d like to change, it would be the last scene. After all the heartache of being apart, I really wanted to see Teppei embrace Riko in a tight grasp to imply that he’d never let her go, or vice versa. Other than this one selfish complaint, the drama was grand and I highly recommend it to all the romantics out there.
Love Revolution [ラブレボリューション]
A Mature Love Story [Rating: 9/10]
This is one of the few dramas that got me hooked right from the first episode. I remember finishing the first episode and thinking “wow, this one is gonna be good”. And it was! I started watching Love Revolution because Yonekura Ryoko was in it, and continued to watch it because of Esumi Makiko. What a beautiful, talented actress! I’m surprised I haven’t been exposed to her before, and I’ve quickly become a fan! Although the love story is “typical”, the plot is not. It was handled with a lot of maturity befitting the situation of the main characters. The interaction between the characters was very real and their reactions to each other were raw and true. I was glad to come upon a drama where the main conflict for the female character was between career and marriage. The main female character was strong and stubborn and willful, and I was glad that she didn’t have to sacrifice herself for happiness. This is the type of message that should be portrayed to young female viewers… not the trash that seems to make up some dramas. I was a little unsettled by Suga (played by Fujiki Naohito) but it wasn’t until the end that I realized that the viewer IS supposed to feel unsettled. Everything was cleared up at the end. Esumi Makiko was perfect in the role of Dr. Asaoka, and Yonekura Ryoko, as always, was brilliant as the charming, silly, but deep Endo Mariko. With such a gorgeous cast, it’s hard NOT to like this show. The end was a little too perfect, but I was glad that it was. It balanced all the angst throughout the drama. If you’re a mature viewer looking for something you can relate to on a personal level, this is the perfect drama! I loved it, and highly recommend it to all.
Love Shuffle [ラブシャッフル]
New Concept, Very Interesting [Rating: 9/10]
Like with all dramas that are recommended to me specifically, I go in hoping I really enjoy it. And I really enjoyed Love Shuffle. I’m already a huge fan of Karina’s, and to a smaller degree of Tamaki Hiroshi’s, so the casting was really easy getting into. The chemistry between the four main characters is what makes the show hold for me. I fell in love with Ojiro, I got carried away with Kiku-rin, I wanted to be Ai-Ai, and I wanted to bully Usa-kun. Among the outer circle, I have to admit that Kojima Hijiri’s character, Reiko, is my favourite, with Kairi being the most endearing. The storyline is very interesting, but the plot is very normal. When you get over the initial shock of the “Love Shuffle” concept, the drama falls back on character development. I find the success of the drama, for me, comes from this fallback. To be sure, there was one nagging element that really bothered me throughout this drama, and that was Shihori-chan’s character, Mei. Why couldn’t someone have killed her off?! I have never experienced such a fake, stupid, manipulative, oblvious character in my life. She’s the reason I rated the drama a 8/10 and not a 9/10 or 10/10. Other than her, I found the show good. I’ve seen it three times already, so I think it’s safe to say that I highly recommend it. ^_^
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王]
Very Funny, very Yummy! [Rating: 8/10]
The drama had a great start, and even though random incidents occurred, the randomness could still be forgiven since the drama was light and funny and very entertaining. Well… to an extent. I found that around episode 7 or 8, the drama began to wear thin. Ideally, the story should have come to a close after the run-in with Shuuji, since he managed to bring out the story of Natsumi’s past. However, the plot kept going and therefore got out of hand. For example, the Miss Nihonbashi Queen contest.. What was the purpose of it? It was just filling space. The drama got stretched out too thin, and although it was still fun and grand, it could have ended earlier than it did, and thereby making it more of a success in my eyes. I did like how they managed to close off all the loose ends (i.e. Natsumi’s relationship with Shuuji, Yujiro’s relationship/situation with Hidemi, Tomo-chan’s outgrowing of Jun-kun, etc.). However, they left the actual ending wide open. Perhaps they’re planning on a second season, or a special. In any case, it would have been nice to see who she’d end up with, but I found the end nonetheless appropriate. I also enjoyed the cast quite a bit. I fully understand Natsumi’s confusion with all those gorgeous boys around. I don’t know whom I’d have picked either! Mind you, the acting was even better than the eye candy. The actors matched the personality types perfectly, which added to the success of the drama. This was my first time seeing Eguchi Yosuke in action, and although I spent the majority of the show drooling over Tsumabuki Satoshi, in the end I was cheering for Eguchi-san. Both Tsumabuki and Yamada Takayuki were brilliant, which I expected of them since I consider both awesome actors. Even Yamapi, who was the weakest of all the actors in this drama, pulled through and managed to portray his character well. And lets not forget Takeuchi Yuko. She was the powerhouse of this drama with her charisma and loveable smile. No matter the criticism, this drama is worth watching just for her. This was an all around fun drama. Regardless of the rather laboured last few episodes, it was still good and a delicious watch.
Mada Koi wa Hajimaranai [まだ恋は始まらない]
A lot of waiting, little reward [Rating: 7/10]
I really enjoyed the drama... up until perhaps the end. Although the outcome is predictable, I didn't find it satisfying. The two main characters get together literally in the last scene or so, and so the 10 episodes of waiting seemed... such a waste. That being said, the plot was great, but it was the cast that made the drama work for me. I LUFF Kyon Kyon, and although I've seen Tokiwa, Takenouchi, and Kusanagi in various dramas before, the rest of the cast was new for me. I liked the idea of the Red Thread of Fate, and also how one can denounce it and continue to live one's life. The mix of personalities was good. I don't know if I would recommend this drama. Although the bulk of it was enjoyable, I still felt it was a bit of a waste because I wanted more outcome in the end. But that's a personal peeve, so...
Majo no jouken [魔女の条件]
Disgusting subject matter, great actress [Rating: 5/10]
I try not to have any biases when I start a drama, but after I read a synopsis for this one I knew I wouldn’t like it. Reasons? For starters, this drama stars Takizawa Hideaki. I’ve seen two of his dramas and I’m convinced that he’s one of the most terrible actors I’ve come across. Watching his acting is like watching a dead fish pretend to be alive. Regardless, I figured that because the drama also stars Matsushima Nanako, then there could be a chance of survival. This leads to the second reason. I read the plot summary. As a teacher, I have no respect for stories where the sexual relationship between a teacher and student is glorified. It’s disgusting and inappropriate and should NOT be made light of. With these two factors already affecting my opinion before even beginning the show, I knew it wouldn’t have a chance. To make matters worse, the first episode really upset me. It’s clear that the writers/producers are aware that this topic is inappropriate, and so decided to manipulate the characters, and thereby the audience. They made the teacher appear really young (she’s 26 years old), and immature. She lives at home with her parents, who pamper and “baby” her, and she has no responsibilities. This poor ickle teacher only got a full-time position because her father works in the field. The student (who is 17) bursts onto the scene on a motorcycle, which an average high school student couldn’t possibly own. He comes off being really “mature” for his age and responsible as an individual. Therefore the relationship can work, right? I mean, the child is really mature for his age, and there’s only a 9-year gap… not something outrageous like a 10-year gap. O come on, now! I’m a 25-year-old teacher with a 7-year gap between my 18-year-old students and myself. When I started teaching, I was 23 with only a 5-year gap. I have never once been attracted to any of my students for the simple reason that I just don’t see them as possible mates. I see them, really, as children that I must nurture and aid in their growth as human beings. I’m utterly disgusted and disappointed that in this show, they try to make the relationship “work” by suggesting that, really, they’re equals. This is morally wrong, and illegal. Completely disgusting. As the show progressed, however, I began to sympathize with Hirose-sensei. Matsushima Nanako did an excellent job with the character and truly brought her to life. I could see the connection the sensei had with her student, and how age never matters when it comes to the bonding of souls. But why the SEXUAL relationship? The premise of the story, when you look at the message and meaning alone, is so strong that I think the story would have worked without the sex. This same story could have been portrayed through a FRIENDSHIP and would have worked equally as well. The writing was good and the acting by Nanako was grand, I just wish the situations were altered. There is a 9-year gap between the two. Ten years down the road this would have been fine. This choice was not made, and as a result, I couldn’t appreciate this drama at all.
Mayonaka no Ame [真夜中の雨]
Good, but not memorable [Rating: 7/10]
Will I remember Midnight Rain a few months from now? Probably not, but it was good while it lasted. This is one of those dramas where the actors/actresses involved carry the show above anything else. Oda Yuji, Abe Hiroshi, and Ishiguro Ken are all actors I've admired in other dramas, and it was great to see all three of them play such different roles. This was my first drama with Matsuyuki Yasuko and I thought she was wonderful. She was so believable in her emotions and position that I felt only Nagatsuka Kyozo could match her episode after episode. The story line is interesting, but I found the plot points a little too coincidental. Everything fit so flawlessly that this flawlessness became a loop hole. Overall, good show, but I probably won't watch it again. It's great for those who like medical dramas, politics, and a little mystery.
Medaka [めだか]
One of my Fav school dramas! [Rating: 9/10]
What a surprisingly grand drama! I think I’ve seen many of the top hitter school dramas, and after watching even two of them, one quickly gets tired of the theme. The story is always the same. Teacher enters classroom. Classroom contains difficult students. Teacher goes above and beyond his/her job to “care” for the students. Students heal and become wonderful human beings. Teacher and students cry at departure in the last scene of the last episode. Of course, this drama follows that exact same story structure… but it’s still grand! Older students enrolled in night school replace the “regular” band of high school students. I truly believe this made all the difference for me. The issues and situations the students face are on a level I can understand. They deal with the basic needs of survival in a realistic world. Mimura surprised me in this drama. Before I had only seen her in Ima ai ni Yukimasu and I thought she was brilliant. In Medaka she plays a completely different role, but I thought she did a great job. She was convincing and although I thought her smile was annoying at times, this same smile made ME smile numerous times throughout the show. Harada Taizo, whom I’ve had a crush on since Bewitched, was good, but my attention flew constantly towards Eita. All the supporting cast (especially Shigeru-san and perhaps not Meisa-chan so much) were great and appropriately cast. This is a feel-good drama and I’m glad I watched it. It inspired me to be a little more helpful in my own classroom.
Minna Mukashi wa Kodomo Datta [みんな昔は子供だった]
Heartwarming drama with a killer cast [Rating: 9/10]
I started watching this drama for two reasons: recommendations and Kuninaka Ryoko. How was I to know that I would find Eita AND Shiraishi Miho?! The already amazing cast then came together with a story I can relate to. After all, I’m a teacher, and I love kids, and I’m constantly in a battle trying to prove myself. What wasn’t there in this drama for me to relate to? To be sure, the plot/storyline is very average. It’s been done a trillion times. But the casting for this show is what makes it memorable. I highly recommend this drama to anyone looking for a soft, heartwarming experience.
Mokuyoubi no Shokutaku [木曜日の食卓]
A good Drama to Pass the Time [Rating: 7/10]
On the likeness scale of bearability, I would say this drama is mediocre. The acting from the mother and father - Tomita and Furuya - was stellar and kept me entertained. However, because the drama catches a glimpse into a family's life, I felt disjointed from it. I couldn't really connect and I felt more like a voyeur than anything else. It was good, but it was always forgettable and I'll probably never watch it again.
Monster Parent [モンスターペアレント]
Watch for Ryoko-san [Rating: 7/10]
Yonekura Ryoko is so lovely in this drama! I watched it mainly it see what outfits she would wear. In the first episode alone she wore 12+ different things! I lost count about half an hour into the episode lol. The storyline is interesting, but could have been moreso had the writers pulled through. A lot of the episodes were left unresolved, which was frustrating since the incidents with the monster parents is always the focus of the episode. The subplot (with Miura-san) was good, and it was great to see recognizable guest stars drop in. Overall the drama was fun for me, but mainly because I love Ryoko-san. Would I recommend it to someone who doesn't care much for Ryoko? Prolly not.
Mop Girl [モップガール]
Keiko-chan was Grand! [Rating: 8/10]
I wanted to watch this drama because I'm a Keiko-chan fan. I wasn't expecting much, considering that she's been a mediocre actress in everything of hers I've seen. I'm so glad that I wasn't disappointed with this drama. The story-line is rather blue-printed. We've seen it in the Trick series, and more recently in Galileo. But neither of these dramas had Keiko in it and therefore neither had the certain charm that this drama has. Keiko was grand in this comedic role. Her comedic timing was good and her facial expressions were quite amusing. I was surprised to see Tanihara Shosuke in such a role and I thought the chemistry between the two was grand. The supporting staff was good and I found the plots for the episodes to be intriguing. I never got tired of the repetitive formula. There's nothing ground-breaking about this drama, and you're not missing much if you decide not to watch it, but I had fun with it and I believe that Keiko-chan has proven that she can succeed as a leading lady. On a side note, the ending was left quite open, which I'm not sure I liked... but I'm guessing this means there may be a second season. Yatta!
Moto Kare [元カレ]
Blah Drama [Rating: 6/10]
This is such a blah drama. I thought I would enjoy it more than I actually did because the two leads, Dohmoto Tsuyoshi and Hirosue Ryoko, were the two leads in Summer Snow, which is an amazing drama. Because of their chemistry in Summer Snow, I thought it would easy to cheer them on in Moto Kare, but this didn’t happen. Instead, I ended up despising Ryokoi-chan’s character and getting frustrated with Tsuyoshi-kun’s. Of course, this is all based on my own preferences. I found it really hard to sympathize with Makoto (Ryoko’s character). She was vindictive in the way she wedged herself between Touji (Tsuyoshi) and Nao (Uchiyama Rina). Nao was an unsuspecting victim through and through. If she had had the slightest flaw, than perhaps it would have been easier to find Makoto agreeable. Instead, Nao was very sweet, very trusting, had a sob story as her history, and was played by Uchiyama Rina, who is incredibly cute. With such a sweet person as Touji’s girlfriend, I found it really hard to respect Makoto, or to sympathize with Touji’s feelings for her. Touji frustrated me to no end. I found him really selfish and a coward. Of course, near the end of the drama, Makoto is wronged by her work people, but by this time it was too late. It was impossible for me to change my views on the character. Even though I can understand where the two lovers were coming from, and even though I love dramas where the characters follow their hearts, I think this drama was lame and failed at succeeding in this respect. Mind you, Tsuyoshi and Ryoko ACTED very well, it was just their characters that sucked. Sonim’s (Hiroe’s) side story with Amano Hiroyuki was much better than the actual main plot. This side story, combined with all the lovely shots of food in this drama, were the only things that kept me watching.
Mukodono! [ムコ殿/女婿大人]
Good, but Overrated [Rating: 8/10]
This drama is overrated. If I weren’t such a fangirl, I would have given this drama a 7/10, which for me means “mediocre”. I liked the concept and the storyline wasn’t bad, but I found the plot to be drawn out. Especially in the last few episodes. I mean, regardless of the fact that Tomoya-kun AND Yuko-chan were both on screen, I sometimes got bored. Don’t get me wrong. I LIKED the drama. But it could have been two episodes shorter. The cast was superb. If anything, it was the talent that held my attention. Yuko-chan is, of course, my favourite actress. Period. Tomoya-kun is my ultimate wet-panty-causer. Aside from these two, you have Akiyoshi Kumiko, who plays my favourite character (Kaede); Shinohara Ryoko, who is the most charismatic actress I’ve come across; Utsui Ken, ‘nuff said; and even Kamiki Ryunosuke, who is the cutest lil’ boy EVAH. There were a lot of great moments between the Arai family members and each character was strong and willful. I can understand the high ratings of this show, but I blame these very ratings for causing the writers to draw out an otherwise entertaining drama. >>sigh<<
Muri na Renai [無理な恋愛]
Sakai Masaaki was Amazing! [Rating: 8/10]
I started watching this drama because of Natsukawa Yui (and I love her to pieces), but I kept watching the show because of Sakai Masaaki. What a great performance he gave! I went into the drama with high expectations, but I had very little for him because he's so heavily associated with the role he had in Churasan. However, he completely broke the mold for me and I really had fun watching him in this drama. Both the leads were great, with an okay chemistry between them. Tokui Yoshimi was great as the good-for-nothing boyfriend, and although his character was downright annoying, the acting was grand. I was a little disappointed with the ending. It was too rushed for my taste, but the overall story was great. Although this drama is a romance, the comedic moments were fantastic. My favourite scenes were the ones between Natsukawa Yui's and Suzuki Sawa's characters. I'd watch the entire drama again just to see the two interact. I definitely recommend this drama... especially if you're a Yui fan.
My Boss, My Hero [マイボスマイヒロ]
Hilariously Funny [Rating: 8/10]
First of all, I want it known that I absolutely LOVE Nagase Tomoya, and therefore this entire review may be a bit biased when it comes to my continuous praise of his acting ability. This drama was simplistic in its storyline and this aided in its effectiveness. Because the plot was simple, more effort was available to pour into the comic elements of the drama. This show was incredibly funny. Unlike Tiger & Dragon (Nagase's previous comedic drama), which has an adult humour undertone, My Boss My Hero was very slapstick in its blunt, in-your-face humour. Nagase's facial expressions in this drama were brilliant, and scored huge points in making me literally laugh out loud. If you like comedy, Yakuza, and Nagase, this would be the perfect drama for you. I was disappointed with the ending of the drama, and the "romance" between Makio and his 17-year-old schoolmate was annoying, but the show was still good. It was fun to watch and it served as a healthy break from all the overly-dramatic plots that have been released as dramas in recent years.
My Little Chef
Very Pleasent [Rating: 8/10]
Although the plot becomes redundant and the storyline becomes repetetive, I still thoroughly enjoyed this show. It's a food show, but the emphasis is moreso on the characters. I enjoyed every single character/actor, especially Akiko's role and Abe's role.
Naguru Onna [殴る女]
Not Awesome, but still Good [Rating: 7/10]
Naguru Onna was an Ok drama. Although I’m sure Wakui Emi is a solid actress, she didn’t quite pull me in. I thought she was convincing and definitely fit her character, but she didn’t interest me. Fukihoshi Mitsuru on the other hand…! What a presence! I was completely convinced that he was a boxer and I felt his hardships through his actions! Although the plot was liner and seemed predictable, the outcome of these predictions was never quite accurate, which I really liked. The love that blossomed between the two main characters was subtle and so, when it finally happened, it was believable. This drama is enjoyable to watch, even if you don’t like boxing. However, in the forum of sport-related dramas… well, it’s no Pride.
Narita Rikon [成田離婚]
Great... Until the Last Episode [Rating: 7/10]
I'm not a huge Kusanagi Tsuyoshi fan. I find him awkward to watch and he rarely has chemistry with his leading ladies. So I was a little hesitant when I started this drama. It ended up being quite fun to watch! I'm still not a Kusanagi Tsuyoshi fan, but he was bearable through his interactions with Seto Asaka, who's performance was passable. I found the supporting cast much stronger than the two leads. Abe Hiroshi and Fukatsu Eri were great, as they usually are, and it was nice to see Morimoto Leo's pleasant face again. The storyline and plot were interesting and entertaining, but I found that the last drama really lagged. It was boring and stretched unbearably so. By the time the drama ended, I was annoyed.
Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku [夏の恋は虹色に輝く]
Better Than I Thought [Rating: 8/10]
I was a little nervous about this one because MatsuJun was it, but I had faith in Takeuchi Yuko and therefore had some hope. I was not disappointed. Takeuchi Yuko played a great character really well and I loved seeing her in the role of a struggling mother. MatsuJun was sorta just there for the first half of the show, but he eventually grows on you and then things aren't so bad. Good show overall.
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース]
STORY ROCKS! [Rating: 10/10]
This is by far the best drama I have ever seen. The story is amazing and the characters are so good. You'll never see these three main characters in any other drama. They're so true to real life and the whole drama keeps you on your toes.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
Brilliantly funny, brilliantly classic [Rating: 9/10]
Before I begin my praises, let me state the two, and only two, problems I had with this drama. First, I find the title a little misleading. It gives the impression that this drama is going to be about Noda Megumi, but as I watched it, it became clear that the emphasis is hugely on Chiaki-kun. This isn’t a problem, per say, but I would have liked to have seen more development in Nodame’s character. She develops musically, but her inner depth remains the same. And second, I disliked Stresemann. It wasn’t so much the actor, Naoto Takenaka, who I think is grand. It was more the physical appearance… and personality… and… I dunno. He just annoyed me. I cringed whenever he appeared in an episode. There is something so dirty about him. Whenever he opened his mouth, I felt sticky and disgusted. And he wasn’t at all convincing as a conductor, which I suppose is a flaw in Naoto. He was way off beat and didn’t follow the measure conducting that way it’s supposed to be. But anyways, aside from these two points, the drama was perfect. People may consider the comedy in this drama to be a bit “slapstick” but I thought it was artistically done. The physical scenes were well choreographed and the animated acting was refreshing. Ueno Juri was brilliant, as usual, but Hiroshi Tamaki pleasantly surprised me. He was surprisingly good in this comedic role, and much of the drama’s success needs to go to him. I haven’t read the manga so I don’t know how closely the plot was followed, but the storyline was very good. It grew slowly in a delightfully liquid way. I was emotionally upset when the drama came to an abrupt end after the final performance. Ah, the performances. There are few words I can use to convey just how divine the music was in this drama. I’ve always been a fan of classical music, so perhaps the “overwhelming” factor was downplayed on me a bit. But it’s not just the music. It’s the musical artists and their interaction with the audience. It’s the members of the orchestra and their interaction with each other. It’s the players and their interaction with their instruments. When Nodame sits in the audience and weeps, I weep as well. The music is powerful, yes, but it is made even more beautiful by the characters and the actors who play such characters. During that last performance… when the violins lifted, I swear I had shivers dancing on my spine. This is a drama you can watch repeatedly without getting bored. Writing this review is making me want to watch it again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Ns' Aoi [Ns’ あおい ]
Surprisingly Good! [Rating: 8/10]
Nurse Aoi follows the same concept as Gokusen and GTO in that it's about a newcomer venturing into a hostile environment, where the newcomer has to face conflicts with his/her colleagues and also with those he/she is in charge of. The difference is that in Nurse Aoi, it's not a teacher, but a nurse. Satomi-chan is brilliant in this drama, and definitely shows a level of maturity. This girl can definitely act and the drama benefits not only from her skills, but also by the other actors. The casting was very good. The drama itself gets boring some times, but I still believe it's a good watch. It's not overly dramatic (although perhaps unrealistic at times), and only a scant few episodes are tear-jerkers. It's just a good view of the workplace, and anyone with a job or career will sympathize with the plot and Satomi-chan's character. The comedic elements are delicious, the dramatic elements are realistic, and the quality of the drama overall is rich. Well done!
Nyokei Kazoku [女系家族]
AWESOME! [Rating: 10/10]
So I watched the first episode, and the first thing I thought was “man, this one is gonna be slow”. Then I started the second episode. I don’t know what happened exactly, but suddenly I couldn’t sit still until I had soaked up the entire series! The plot really surprised me. It surprised me because never before have I seen such a group of vindictive characters! I mean, nearly every character introduced had evil ulterior motives. No one was honest. No one begged the viewers of this drama to love them, or sympathize with them. Nor did any of these characters force us through emotional torment. The plot was really gripping as well. There are so many schemes being revealed, and so many truths being unearthed among the lies that it was hard to pull away from the screen. Each episode ended in a moment of anxious. It was hard not to keep going with each episode. The characters, and the actors who played them, were AMAZING. Yonekura Ryoko was fabulous. This is the first time I’ve seen her in this type of role and she was perfect. Regardless of the fact that she’s “the mistress”, and that, really, she should be condoned for her sinful actions (according to the evil sisters), you can’t help feeling for her. I mean, regardless of her status, she was actually in love. At the same time, however, Reiko Takashima played her role so majestically that you almost sympathize with HER. From all the awesome actresses/actors in this drama, Reiko-san impressed me the most. The way she would tilt her head, just so, and give you that nasty look… >>shudders<< All the wickedness aside, this is a completely believable storyline. I’m thoroughly impressed, And, as the icing on the cake, the conclusion fits the plot nicely. I also love the little twist in the last scene with Fumino’s (Ryoko’s) final glance at the audience. Mwahahaha.
Odoru Daisousasen [踊る大捜査線]
Cop dramas rock! [Rating: 9/10]
With the exceeding number of romantic dramas being produced, I always forget that I actually enjoy cop dramas. I don’t know what it is about them. And yes, it’s MORE than just the uniforms. ;) I like the mystery and suspense involved. I like how they show the power of the mind and heart to solve the cases. Watching Odoru Daisousasen reminded me once more that I’ve been missing this genre. The storylines in this series are solid. Each one is carefully planned and written and so each mystery was interesting to watch. I was fascinated with each case and was rarely disappointed in the handling of it. The cases were varied enough to keep one’s attention, which is hard to do successfully. What made this show was the cast, of course. Oda did a great job portraying the reckless rookie detective. Yanagiba was perfect as the stressed out elite (I’m surprised the vein in his forehead didn’t burst). Fukatsu was hilarious as the sole female detective in the branch. Her character was like a breath of fresh air and I hope more female characters like her arise in other dramas. Ikariya, one of my favs, was fabulous as the old, soon-to-retire detective. He was hilarious AND powerful and I really enjoyed his performance. Mizuno was grand, as always, and I’m glad her role didn’t fade away into a random story. I liked the fact that she stuck around. This show had the perfect balance of comedy and drama. When the scene called for seriousness, they delivered effectively. When the stress of the situation needed to be lifted, they successfully incorporated memorable comedic moments. The actors and crew were flawless in providing such seamless transitions. It was satisfying to watch in its realistic, natural quality. This drama stands strong in proving that dramas like this one are no longer being written. Such a shame. I look forward to the movies!
Ohsama no resutoran [王樣のレストラン]
Perfect [Rating: 10/10]
Ohsama no Restaurant is a perfect drama. That’s all there is to it. The writing was brilliant &#8211; there wasn’t a single inconsistent element nor any loose ends left hanging &#8211; and the actors were so convincing and real that I’m almost convinced they wrote their own roles for themselves. The drama is about a French Restaurant in need of a makeover. The people working at the restaurant go through a transition when a young man takes over the ownership of the restaurant and hires the legendary garcon. Matsumoto Koshiro was brilliant. I fell in love with him through and through &#8211; for his portrayal of his character, for his physical character, for the sound of his voice, for his talent, for his penetrating eyes… This is my first time seeing him in a drama and I can now see where his children get their talent. Yamaguchi Tomoko… really, what can I say? She’s never disappointed me (though my experience with her is limited) and she really was the best character in this entire drama. Nishimura Masahiko… the more I see of him, the more I like him as an actor. He really plays the sleaze-ball characters well. All members of the supporting cast were tight and really made their presence known. With the way each episode is written and the way the characters are embedded within each plot line, it becomes difficult to determine whether or not the characters are supporting, or equal across the spectrum. That’s how good this drama is.
Oishii Kankei [おいしい關係]
Delicious Food, Delicious Relationships [Rating: 8/10]
This is one of those dramas that you have to grow into. The warm atmosphere of La Petit Lapin and the convincing way Nakayama Miho portrayed her character's love for food, made this drama an easy sell. I'm not quite sure I'm satisfied with the ending, but overall this show was a pleasure to watch.
Okusama wa Majo [奥さまは魔女]
Magic + Ryoko = FUN! [Rating: 8/10]
I’m going to ignore for the moment that this drama is based on the American TV show “Bewitched”. Comparing it to the original series wouldn’t be fair and I’d have to change the tone of this review. On it’s own, I found this drama highly entertaining. I have yet to see the last episode, but I believe my views would go unchanged. I thought the way the magic element was handled was awesome. Sometimes it was a bit hokey, but that only added to the overall charm of the show. No pun intended. lol Yonekura Ryoko was fabulous. Although she was annoying at times, she made up for it in the moments that mattered most. She’s a strong actress, gorgeous, and has great style. She also pulled off the role of the witch beautifully. Harada Taizo was the perfect George! He’s so average! And so wonderful. I was instantly attracted to him and I could totally see what Arisa saw in him. Harada was really fun to wish and I thought his pairing with Ryoko-san was gold. My favourite character, of course, was Arisa’s mother, played by Natsuki Mari. Mari-san seemed to have a lot of fun playing the role, and it was a lot of fun to watch her when she was on screen. The storyline was a bit awkward, since a lot of the plot elements were rushed. There was a common thread through each episode, but the story itself was rather empty and didn’t hole a lot of substance. Personally I didn’t find that this mattered. The purpose of the show was to have fun and enjoy the ride, and I did! Not every drama has to masterfully written in order to be enjoyed!
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED [Rating: 10/10]
I don't exactly know what to write, for there is very little for me to criticize. Orange Days is about a group of friends stuck in the transition between adolescense and adulthood. As they try to define themselves and set up paths for their futures, they come to realize that defining oneself is harder than one may think. The glue that makes the plot stick is Sae, a deaf, talented female who is bent on shutting everything out in order to protect herself from what she preceives as a harsh world. Her light in the darkness becomes Kai, and the Orange Society. Although Sae's character seems to be in the centre of all things, it's not really about her or her own issues. It's about all five characters and their passage into a new, and alien, world. The storyline is very refreshing and true to real life, and the limited amount of characters makes it easier for the viewer to truely understand each one and feel as if the viewer is also part of the Orange Society. This intimacy is helped along by Shibasaki Kou, who was surprisingly brilliant, and Tsumabuki Satoshi, who has the gift of communicating volumes with his eyes. Great chemistry between the two! All-in-all, an excellent watch and highly recommended to all who enjoy a refreshing orange. ^.^
Otousan [おとうさん]
Better Than I Thought [Rating: 8/10]
I was turned off by this drama right away for numerous reasons. 1) It stars Tamura Masakazu, who I find annoying given my limited experience with him, 2) the show seemed almost identical to Oyaji, and 3) the plot was very boring in the first few episodes. I didn’t find it terrible. It just seemed really dull. Near the middle of the drama my opinion changed. There are two huge factors that differentiate this drama from Oyaji. One is the amazing set of characters that make up the father’s daughters, and the other are the actresses who play them. Tamura aside, the casting was great. I love Iijima Naoko and her character ended up being my favourite. Although I found Nakatani Miki’s character a little boring, as an actress I was really impressed and look forward to watching more of her dramas. I’ve only ever enjoyed Hirosue Ryoko in Summer Snow, but I can now add this drama to her list. Fukada Kyoko maintained her pouty, talentless disposition, but she was the perfect spoiled brat and so I think she was appropriately class. If anything, she’s kawaii and can play the piano beautifully. The plot was very cookie-cutter, but this doesn’t matter. It was just fun to watch the characters be who they are and observe them interacting with each other. I can only imagine what it was like on set with such charismatic female talents.
Over Time [オーバー・タイム]
Yes, I LOVED the Ending! [Rating: 9/10]
Over Time was a great drama, and very well written (as is expected from Kitagawa Eriko). I wasn’t sure at first how strong the chemistry between Sorimachi Takashi and Esumi Makiko would be. I’ve seen a lot of dramas for each and wasn’t convinced that it would be great. It WAS great, and I’m glad. The supporting cast was awesome, especially Ishida Yuriko who always plays these type of roles with perfection. I was a little disappointed with Kimura Toshino’s character. The acting was superb, as always from this actress, but her character was terribly annoying. I had no sympathy for her whatsoever, and therefore didn’t like Sorimachi’s character when he was with her. They’re pairing seemed forced and unbelievable. What I did like about this drama was the way they pulled off the ending. Normally, in a romance, if the lead male and female don’t end up together, then the ending sucks. But in this case it seemed appropriate. Personally, I have always believed that one’s soulmate doesn’t have to be the one they love/marry. I think this was the premise of the show. Soichiro and Natsuki were soulmates. The path they choose to follow in the end may not be ideal, but I can see why it had to be. I think Natsuki made the right choice. The end of this drama was very powerful and I commend Kitagawa Eriko for writing something this great.
Oyaji~ [オヤジぃ]
O Oyaji! [Rating: 9/10]
I’ve always been completely indifferent to family dramas. I almost always enjoy them, but never get excited or overly anxious to watch one. They are always just… there. After having finished Oyaji, however, I need to admit that I absolutely adore family dramas. I adore them because they’re corny, because they’re heartwarming, and because everyone who has ever lived in a family can relate to them. Oyaji is a great drama about a stubborn father who does little more than lecture his family and the family members of others, who keeps a firm hand and tends to overly control those living beneath his roof. He is set in his ways and yells at anyone who will disagree with him. Tamura Masakazu plays the role perfectly. This is my first experience with him and I cannot imagine him in any other role. He was really fun to hate and although I failed to sympathize with him even at the end of the show, I’m convinced that was his intention. Complimenting him beautifully was Kuroki Hitomi. There is little I can say that will communicate just how much of a fan I’ve become of hers. She plays the perfect housewife in every respect, and because she’s so sweet and kind you tend to hate anyone who hurts her in this drama. Hirosue Ryoko did a fab job as always, but her character was perhaps my least favourite. Okada Junichi and Ishida Yuriko provide the perfect balance (Ishida is such a diverse actress!). The breakout star (in MY frame of reference) was definitely Mizuno Miki. Why haven’t I seen any of her dramas before? Not only could I relate to her as the eldest daughter of a strict family, but she ends up following the path I wish for myself. I recommend this drama to anyone who enjoys a good family drama that is both heartwarming and real.
Papa to Musume no Nanokakan [パパとムスメの7日間]
A Light, Fun Drama [Rating: 7/10]
Will you remember this drama the day after you see it? Probably not. But it was fun while it lasted. This drama has an interesting plot, but it was rushed and wasn't set up properly. The first episode is almost a joke in the way everything is slapped together. However, the events that take place throughout the drama are very entertaining and I even found myself laughing out loud at some very hilarious parts. Because the drama is short, and because the content is light (and somewhat heart-warming), the drama carries enough substance to stimulate you while watching. Tachi Hiroshi does a great job acting like a teenaged girl, and Aragaki Yui really surprised me with her acting ability. They were both convincing in their roles and made the drama a delight.
Pretty Girls [プリティガール]
Cinderella Story [Rating: 7/10]
This is the first time I have seen a drama and felt completely neutral/indifferent about it. Perhaps this has something to do with the lead character, Inamori Izumi, and how she didn’t fully convince me in her role. I found her character to be a bit too much on all accounts, and although the character is meant to be inspirational, I didn’t care enough about her to be inspired. Of course, this has more to do with the character than the actual actress. I think Inamori Izumi is a fine actress, but the role she was given was terribly lacking. The supporting cast is perhaps the reason I finished the drama. Ryoko’s character is supposed to be dull and boring. And she is. Ryoko successfully captured the role and made the character not only interesting to watch, but also more real and more likable than the lead character. Her character has depth − she feels things, and expresses things, and has faults. Nana was superbly hilarious, and for me she was the winning star from the three women. Nearly every scene with Nana made me laugh, and her facial expressions and pitches in tone were perfect. The plot itself was “okay”. The base story was interesting, and plot twists were well done, but there were certain scenes (like the whole standing on the head for three hours scene) that were just ridiculous and unnecessary. The love the director falls into with Ryoko’s character was a bit unreal as well, but since I was rooting for her, I can’t really complain here. ^_- On the whole, I don’t feel as though I wasted my time on this drama, but I don’t think I’d rewatch it anytime soon. O, and on a random note, I have NO IDEA why the drama is called “Pretty Girls”. The title has nothing to do with the story whatsoever… if should have had something to do with the fairy godmother quality of the plot. After all, Hana (Inamori Izumi) really was Cinderella's fairy godmother.
PRICELESS ~Aru Wake Nedaro,n namon!~ [PRICELESS ~あるわけねぇだろ,んなもん!~]
What You'd Expect [Rating: 8/10]
This was a great show. It was light, and well developed, and the chemistry between KimuTaku's, Karina's, and Nakai's characters were awesome. I also really liked seeing Fujiki in this type of role. The supporting cast were awesome (especially Natsuki Mari) and overall the breakdown of the story kept me entertained.
Pride [プライド]
Excellent Drama [Rating: 9/10]
This drama is about an athlete. But if you stop there, you would be lying to yourself and to all the ignorant people out there who have yet to be enlightened by this drama. Pride is perhaps the best love story I have ever seen. The relationship is like a flower. We see it in the form of a bud, and then slowly, and effectively, it begins to blossom. Nothing is rushed in this drama. Everything moves according to time, which is what makes the love story so precious. This is also the first drama I saw where the actors are eye-candy for all the FEMALE viewers! YAY! Kimura Takuya was brilliant. I had some initial reservations because he seemd more popular than gifted. But after watching him here, I can truly admit that he has a lot of talent. His subtle facial expressions are grand. Takeuchi Yuko is very sweet and her slow speech/drawl in this drama is effective. Kawaii! I found the ending only slightly disappointing. I didn't like the fact that Aki was made to wait yet again for a man, but no worries. It takes nothing away from the love story as a whole. The plot revolving around Halu and his insecurities is perhaps what makes this drama a work of art. To see him struggle with himself emotionally is simply marvelous. Well done!
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦]
Wow, this was a boring drama... [Rating: 7/10]
Okay, so here’s the thing. When I started watching Proposal Daisakusen, I got bored right away. Every episode copies the same format, and the format got really tiring. I found the actors/actresses disconnected and it seemed they were just doing the roles because they were being paid for it. There was no heart. Then, about episode 7 (yes, it took a LONG time) I finally started to enjoy some of the characters. I thought Fujiki Naohito was great, but then, he always is. I also really enjoyed the connection between the two side characters: Eri (Eikura) and Tsuru (Hamada). YamaPi’s character, Ken, really started to grow on me as well, and although I found the character’s actions really frustrating and annoying, I thought YamaPi’s portrayal was positive. I really began to buy into his dilemma. Masami, as always, remained annoying until the last episode, where her character finally gains some sense. The end of the drama was VERY satisfying, and this made up for all the boredom I suffered through. The SP was great to, and I was left feeling nice and happy. Would I recommend this drama? Probably not. Even though I enjoyed it by the end, the drama over all is still boring.
Puzzle [パズル]
Because I'm Loyal [Rating: 7/10]
Okay, so here's the thing. Contrary to my better judgement, I enjoyed this show because I adore Ishihara Satomi. If she wasn't in this one, I might have been bored out of my mind. That being said, although this was a poor rip-off of Trick, there were still some good moments. If you love Satomi-chan, then watch it. If not, pass by without a glance.
Rebound [リバウンド]
Rebound Galore [Rating: 6/10]
The drama is light and has some cute/nice moments, but overall it was the most annoying show I’ve seen in a long time. I’m sure I remember enjoying Aibu Saki in her previous dramas, so I’ll blame this completely on the character: Oba Nobuko was terribly annoying. I couldn’t stand her. She was fine in the first few episodes, or perhaps I just hadn’t realized yet how annoying she really was. Eventually I began to cringe whenever she opened her mouth. It’s a good thing Aibu Saki is adorable. If I were watching her for the first time, I’d think her talentless and overly exaggerated as an actress. Even Moko was annoying. What was the director thinking making them act like this? I didn’t find either endearing. The other problem I had with this show was Buuko’s constant rebounding. She would rebound &#8211; and we’re talking like 80 pounds here &#8211; in less than a week, and then lose it in that much time. Give me a break. I’m not sure I would recommend this drama. If you like the leads, then watch for their sake, otherwise skip it.
Rennai Kekkon no Hosoku [恋愛結婚の法則]
I love Grand Love Stories! [Rating: 9/10]
Rennai Kekkon no Housoku was a refreshing drama to watch, which seems contradictory considering it’s an older drama. The plot is your average love triangle, where one is cheering for the average, goofy, not-so-handsome, genuine guy instead of the hardcore handsome younger guy. Koizumi Kyoko has proven yet again that she’s not just a singer, but also a solid actress. She has an onscreen presence that pulls you right in, and although a lot of her character’s actions were selfish, I still felt sympathetic towards her character’s situation. However, the outstanding performance award should go to Yanagiba Toshiro! I have never seen him act as this type of character and he completely blew me away with his good-natured charm. I think this is the first time I’ve actually see him SMILE in a drama…. It’s really rare when a main character can act as the comic-relief as well, and Tanagiba made it happen flawlessly. All the secondary characters deserve shout-outs as well, as the casting director did a brilliant job, but I need to single out Kobayashi Satomi. She’s just found a new fan in me. She was probably my favourite character in this drama. Although the ending of the drama is given away in the intro song (let’s hope intentionally), the ending pushed the drama from an 8/10 to 9/10. If you want to know why, you’ll just have to watch the show.
Rich Man, Poor Woman [リッチマン、プアウーマン]
Loved It [Rating: 10/10]
I don't know if it's because I watched this drama after a long break from dramas, or because I really did enjoy it, but I've given it a 10. I loved the premise. I found it new and refreshing, and I absolutely loved Shun and Satomi as the leads. They had great chemistry, and together with a strong supporting cast, this drama held my attention through and through. I hope for a sequel!
Ruri no shima [瑠璃の島]
Very Warm Drama [Rating: 9/10]
Like Ruri's Island, this drama had a very warm feel to. Who would have thought that such a simple concept (troubled girl adopted and raised with morals and love) could turn into such a beautiful show. Narumi Riko is such a talented young star. She has a unique beauty and a unique look in her eyes. They couldn't have chosen a more perfect girl to play this role. Takenouchi Yutaka was absolutely wonderful. I think this is his favourite role for me. He was really able to test his skills in this drama and of course he delivered one hundred percent. I highly recommend this drama to anyone looking for some wholesome, good story-watching.
Sapuri [サプリ]
Not bad, but no real substance [Rating: 7/10]
I wasn't too impressed with this drama. There wasn't any depth and I wasn't at all convinced that Fuji was in love with Ishida. Although the drama wasn't painful to watch, and I will admit that it wasn't bad in some instances (like the side story with Miho's character), there was nothing gripping about it. I wasn't hooked and completely indifferent to the end. Kame did alright. I WAS convinced that he loved Misaki's character. Misaki played her role well, but there wasn't a lot of chemistry between the two. They looked awkward together. And because the story was about their love, it just didn't work. The drama IS successful in the sense that you get a peak into the advertising world, and for the most part it was relatively accurate. However, this wasn't enough to push this drama forward.
Satorare [サトラレ]
Very Addictive! [Rating: 8/10]
Satorare, for me, was one of those dramas that I became instantly addicted to. So much so, that I watched the entire thing in one night. The qualities that attracted me were the interesting and unique plot, and the cast. The storyline is rather silly, but because it was different it was highly entertaining. I liked the concept and how it made me wonder what I would do if I was a Satorare. I also liked how it opened up a lot of comedic opportunities and also a lot of cute interactions between those around the Satorare. There were a lot of glitches in the plot and at the end I found the last two episodes a bit repetitive and over the top (i.e. the entire situation with the mother). However, the corny ending aside, I still enjoyed the drama emensly. There’s not much I can say about Odagiri Joe except that he’s absolutely brilliant. He really gives himself 100% to all his roles and this one was no exception. This was my first drama with Tsuruta Mayu and she really left an impression on me. She isn’t, in my opinion, a strong beauty. But she was great in this role and she has a quality about her that really draws you in. If you’re looking for a light, romantic-ish drama that will make you laugh out loud, than I would recommend Satorare.
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。]
Ryoko-san makes it work! [Rating: 8/10]
This drama is grand for so many reasons. First, we have this naturally gorgeous lead female (Ryoko-san) who plays a character in full abandonment of her physical appearance. Her character is silly, loud, obnoxious, and... dedicated. I love the use of flowers as a metaphor and how they sporadically tie the plot together. The lead male reminds me of a slice of liver, but I am basing this observation solely on this role. He wasn't convincing enough and he was lucky to work opposite Ryoko-san, who managed to make up for all the things he lacked. In most of the scenes I truly felt like she was acting for two. You go girl! I was a little disappointed that Honami (Ryoko) didn't go back to her normal self, but I do think they justified her remaining the way she was very nicely. Other than the lame-o lead character, the only other thing I didn't like was that Honami's twin sister also wanted to have plastic surgery done after seeing Honami's success story. I mean, this isn't exactly sending out a grand message. Regardless, a fun drama was a wicked lead female and a verra cunning antagonist (Manami).
Sekai no chuushin de, ai wo sakebu [世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ]
Deeply Touching [Rating: 9/10]
I didn't find it at all sad for the first 8 or so episodes. By the time it hit the 10th, I was balling my eyes out. It wasn't so much that Aki was dying, but just the way humans deal with death. I found it very touching... and yet really sad that Saku chose to suffer for 17 years because he was afraid. Afraid of forgetting. The acting was superb. Ayase Haruka blew me away, although this was an observation I made after I finished watching the show. She was wonderfully convincing and truly accomplished an honest portrayal of a person in her position. Yamada Takayuki reminded me once again why I became a fan of his after watching H2. There is an honesty in his acting that worked perfectly for this role. You could really feel his raw emotion eminating from the screen. A pleasent surprise for me was Tanaka Koutaro's acting. He really does have good scope in terms of his portrayal of different characters. Over all, I found the drama a little indifferent in the beginning -- it took me a while to befriend the characters -- but came together beautifully in the end. This isn't a show meant only to portray an early death of a teenage girl. It's about the footprints left behind when a loved one passes away.
Shinsengumi [新撰組]
Liked it more than I thought I would! [Rating: 8/10]
I have to admit that I knew nothing of the Shinsengumi when I first started watching this Taiga. I read bits of information online and in two particular books, and asked a bucket full of questions directed at me peers on this site (thanks for the help, boys!). Whether the drama was accurate to historical fact I don’t know, so I won’t touch upon that topic. I really enjoyed Shinsengumi. It was long. Very long. But the characters kept me captivated. I have seen most of the actors in the drama in various other shows, but after Shinsengumi I think I will always know them for the roles they played here. Particular stand-out performances for me are those of Yamamoto Taro, who really convinced me that he carried around a terrible smell, and yet warmed my heart in all the right places; Nakamura Kantaro, who’s character (Heisuke) I rooted for in his rivalry with Okita; Tabata Tomoko, who’s portrayal of Tsune was good and honest; and Eguchi Yosuke, who, with his hair pulled back out of his face, truly shined. I can’t say much for the plot, since it’s a historical drama, but I will say that I found its portrayal a little confusing. The Shinsengumi seemed a happy bunch of farmers bent on making a difference and protecting their country, but as the story progressed, a nastier side to them surfaced. The viewpoint/bias of the portrayal seemed to flip about, and so for me, coming with no knowledge of the historical time period, I found myself at times lost and confused. Was I seeing what I was supposed to be seeing? I was cheering for the right side? Was I experiencing an uncalled for hatred towards an otherwise uplifting character? I don’t know. But no matter. I enjoyed the format of a Taiga and look forward to watching more. I can also now admit that I do enjoy historical dramas and hope to encourage this preference.
Shomuni [ショムニ]
Grows on You [Rating: 9/10]
I have to admit, I didn’t quite enjoy Shomuni until about the 6th episode. Each episode has its own plot, and other than the characters, which I didn’t find attractive in the beginning, there is little connection. However, it took me 6 episodes to realize that the connection is to be found IN the characters. It’s a slow progression, but over time the characters swallow you up. As the episodes passed, one by one, I began looking forward to the walk the GA 2 girls and the Secretariat took before facing off; Rie’s predictions; Chinatsu lifting that obscene latter over her shoulder; and Terasaki’s and Nonomura’s antics. Although the characters, especially the GA 2 girls, are a bit bizarre and extreme, they’re quite enjoyable and very entertaining. I was also seeing, for the first time, actors and actresses that I was familiar with play totally different roles that I was accostumed to (i.e. Kyono Kotomi, Hosho Mai, Toda Keiko, Morimoto Leo, Toda Naho, and of course Esumi Makiko). It was quite refreshing. The Storyline is non-existent, but each plot is entertaining and well written. It’s the characters that make the show.
Shomuni 2 [ショムニ 2]
Better With Age [Rating: 9/10]
I always have reservations starting the second season of any drama, especially when the first season was so grand. But I had nothing to worry about here. Like with wine, the characters have gotten better with age. Now that we have gotten the initial introductions out of the way, it was fun to see the characters, especially the GA girls, be true to themselves in these new situations. The story-lines were more varied in this season and far more hilarious. I was actually laughing out loud during some of the episodes. Everything is just a little more silly and I loved it. I hope the third is just as good...
Shomuni Final [ショムニ ファイナル/庶務二課]
Well Played! [Rating: 8/10]
You would think that a sequel would be dangerous after such a successful first season... but what about a third?! I found this last season to be just as worthy of praise. Everything I said in my last two reviews for the last two seasons applies here. I am docking one point, though. I mean, c'mon. Chinatsu actually wore pants in this season!
Stand UP!!
Turned out Better than I thought it would [Rating: 7/10]
Before even watching the drama, I was told that it was very much like the movie American Pie, where you have a group of boys with one common goal: getting laid before the end of the year. I figured it would be a good filler drama that would be at least entertaining, if nothing else. I found it really hard to get into the drama, but by the time the six episode rolled by, I began to notice a slight shift in the attitudes of the characters. The drama became less and less like American Pie, and more like a morally sound drama. I began to enjoy the dynamic between the DB4 and the town’s people. I felt compassion for the boys and their views on love and “purity”. By the end, I found the drama enjoyable, silly, and altogether sensible in its theme. This drama is slowly helping me get over my dislike for Nino. His “EHHHHHH?!”’s are memorable and, in my opinion, he’s tied for first place as the best actor out of the four. He’s tied with Narimiya Hiroki, who is a very versatile and convincing performer. Oguri Shun and Yamapi weren’t exactly brilliant, but they passed for the roles required of them. Suzuki Anne was brilliant, as always, and I loved the random actors and actresses (Matsumoto Rio, Becky, Tsukamoto Takeshi, etc) who sprinkled random scenes with randomosity. I would definitely recommend this drama if you’re looking for senseless… and yet sensible… fun.
Star no Koi [スタアの恋]
Some Good Ol' Romantic Sap [Rating: 8/10]
This was a girly drama through and through, which is probably why I thoroughly enjoyed it even though it was predictable and lacked consistency. The drama is about a normal Salaryman who randomly meets a mega super star. Through a series of events they get to know each other, and eventually fall in love. Their love is tainted, however, by the fact that they live in two completely different worlds. Before either can even confess to the other, they overthink their situation, at which point enters some healthy angst. I was pretty indifferent to Kusanagi Tsuyoshi in this drama (though I must admit, I was quite fascinated with his unproportionate body). The supporting cast held some of my usual favourites, such as Toda Keiko and Morimoto Leo, which was dandy. But it was Fujiwara Norika who completely stunned me. I’ve only ever seen her in Akimahende, and wasn’t complete partial to her acting. But she totally convinced me in this drama. I even felt for her in the last few episodes. She successfully made me believe in her emotions, I found her smiling face heartwarming. Will I run out and get all her dramas? Probably not, but I thought she was great in this show. I would recommend this drama to anyone needing some romantic sap to gobble up.
Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ]
Watch only if you're a Masochist [Rating: 4/10]
Before I go into the many things disastrous about this drama, let me start off by saying that the actual storyline was not completely helpless. The idea of questioning who one can fall in love with is a great concept, and ideally we would have seen this explored through the relationship between female teacher and male student, and two people brought together under the titlehood of "siblings", but otherwise being unattached by blood. This alone should have been enough to make a hit… but somehow the creators of Strawberry on the Shortcake lost all direction and all intelligence. To start with, the casting was terribly done. The only actors who held any talent were Kubozuka Yosuke and Uchiyama Rina, but their characters were so lame that even their acting ability couldn’t save the dismalness of their roles. This was my first drama with Takizawa Hideaki and I can truly band together with all the other haters now in proclaiming that watching him act is far less amusing than watching a dog lick his own butt. He may be nice to look at, but his acting leaves much to be desired. This was my second time seeing Fukada Kyoko in a drama and although she, too, is nice to look at, her acting was nothing spectacular. So, bad actors, plus bad characters, makes for a bad combination. The characters − every single one of them − were the most selfish and annoying I have ever witnessed in a drama. I understand that the creators wanted to portray the angst, fear, and ignorance of youth, but instead they created selfish, whinny, annoying, and fearfully demented characters. I had no sympathies for either of them (tho I did feel for Rina-chan’s character in the first few episodes). In all, the drama could have been a masterpiece, but poor planning and poor direction totally destroyed any attempts at making this a success. I would not recommend this drama, watch at your own risk.
Summer snow
A Touching Love Story [Rating: 9/10]
Not only does this drama have the most effective ending, but it also has one of the best characters I have ever seen -- Nastuo! Dohmoto Tsuyoshi was incredibly brilliant. He has portrayed the best character I have ever come across in a JDrama. If you don't like tragic, or even romantic dramas, then watch this one JUST to see him act! Hirosue Ryoko was sweet as ever, and the other characters were perfectly cast. A very good drama for those who like love stories with bittersweet endings.
Sweet Home [スウィート・ホーム/甜蜜家庭]
Absolutely Brilliant [Rating: 10/10]
Absolutely brilliant. For someone who is easily entertained, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a drama THIS good. I love it through and through. I had some reservations when I first started watching it. Although many people claimed that they thought it was great, I thought the synopsis was a bit boring. A drama about parents competing to get their children into the best schools? Not exactly exhilarating. When I saw that Yamaguchi Tomoko was in the starring role, I decided to give it a try. I have loved Tomoko-san in everything I’ve seen her in, and this has become one of those dramas. Yes, this drama is about parents competing to get their kids into the best school, and because the drama is about this, it delves into the family home. It was very fun to watch the different families function. This is one of those rare dramas where I wasn’t remotely bored at any time during any episode. I had a ball with every single one. The casting was perfect. I thought Fukaura Kanako’s character was hilarious and Takagi Saya’s character was very likable. The little boy who plays Tomoko’s son was adorable and I was very attracted to Fuse Hiroshi. Nogiwa Yoko, who I adore, is absolutely magic, and although I still believe that her role in Honmamon is perhaps her best, this oen comes in at a close second. And of course, Tomoko-san proved yet again why she is the best actress of her time. I love this drama and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a serious comedy.
Taiyou no uta [タイヨのうた]
Holds its Own [Rating: 8/10]
Although I found the storyline, especially in the first few episodes, quite a bit like Ichi Ritoru no Namida, this drama was able to hold it’s own. I haven’t seen the movie so I have nothing to compare it to, and I think this gave me an advantage while watching it. The drama is memorable, but not necessarily because of the tragic story. The show focused more on life itself and friendship. I found this a nice change from all the other dramas in which the disease is the main character and everything else takes a second seat. Sawajiri Erika was grand in portraying her role. She was really convincing and REAL. Yamada Takayuki is one of the finest young actors out there and he didn’t disappoint. The casting for all characters was nicely done. The songs featured in the drama were also lovely and added a nice touch. I did find that the plot moved rather quickly. Everything happens so fast that it’s almost overwhelming. And I did get peeved that Karou died before she could even perform one last time. Her whole disease just seemed to be an excuse to have a tragic ending. It wasn’t played out smoothly at all. Other than this, it was a good drama to watch. It’s not up to par with other “tear-jerkers” but it still holds it own and therefore deserves a watching.
Tentai Kanzoku [天体観測]
A real, raw drama [Rating: 9/10]
When I first started watching this drama I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The first episode was really dense and dark and I felt a little tense. It was completely unlike the last drama I had recently finished. No matter what the feeling, if a drama can make you feel something this intense, it’s doing something right. This was a grand drama. It’s about that transition in your life when all your dreams and aspirations about the future battle against the reality that exists before you. The drama was real and raw. So raw. You actually feel like a voyeur when you’re watching the characters rebel against the plot. All of the characters were absolutely brilliant in their roles. I was quite taken with Satomi’s (Tabata Tomoko) story, but it was Konishi Manami’s acting as Ida Yuri that impressed me most by the end of the series. I’ve seen her in a number of dramas playing a number of characters, but it wasn’t until this specific role that I appreciated her acting ability. She was marvelous. Watching the drama made me feel nervous because it felt so real, and the end was so uplifting that I feel inspired to find the hidden courage within myself. Well done.
Tiger & Dragon [タイガー&ドラゴン]
Funniest Evah! [Rating: 9/10]
Now that I've finally completed Tiger & Dragon (it took me three weeks due to my own lack of time management skills) I'm going through a withdrawl! I mean, I finished it last night and already I'm missing it! There is so much to this drama I don't know where to start. I mean, the cast was BRILLIANT! Seperately the actors/actresses are awesome, but together it's like a whole new realm of creative dynamics has opened up before us! Hands down, Nagase Tomoya and Okada Junichi were the BEST! They're the perfect duo as "Tiger" and "Dragon". Tsukamoto Takashi played the character that made me laugh the most. The way this guy walked down the street made me roll on the floor until it hurt. Nishida Toshiyuki was absolutely brilliant. BRILLIANT! But jeez, he makes the ugliest woman. lol The story was totally different than what I've seen before. The comedy is sutble and nicely incorporated into an otherwise heavy plot. The flashbacks were excellent and the mix between the Rakuga and gang world was nicely done. Although the basis of the story is simple and perhaps cliche, the way it was handled is practically an artform in and of itself. This drama has everything for everybody. No matter what genre you like, there's something in this drama that will get you hooked. For me, it was Tora's tongue. ;)
Tokyo DOGS ~ Saiaku de Saiko no Partner [東京DOGS]
Overrated [Rating: 7/10]
This show wasn't bad, but I was quite disappointed. With all the hype I was really looking forward to it, but instead found that it had a very weak story-line that wasted 8 episodes worth of time. Aside from the final showdown between So and Jinno, I enjoyed the last two episodes. I thought Oguri Shun was great. It was nice to see him in a different role. Mizushima Hiro was damn annoying and Yoshitaka Yuriko... well, she's lucky I was a fan of hers BEFORE this drama. The show is redundant and boring and I was hoping for more. It's okay to watch one time through, but it's forgettable. Shame.
Tokyo Elevator Girl [東京エレベーターガール]
Ugh [Rating: 6/10]
I'm not quite sure why I don't like this drama. At first I thought my dislike was based in my morals, but on further thought I realized that this is not the case. I mean, I'm the one who is 100% on Angelina Jolie's side in the whole Brad-Jen-Angie triangle. So why do I have such a problem with this drama? ALL the actors/actresses did an amazing job, and the plot is intriguing. Even the cinematography had its "wow" moments. The only thing I can say is that I feel I've been lied to by the main characters. Tsukasa was portrayed as a naive, kind, caring female who you wish you could be like. Yoshimoto was sensitive, gentle, and comfortable. You wished he wasn't married so that he could save Tsukasa from her miserable relationship with Shima. But he was married. And becaue they fall in love with each other, they end up losing the qualities I liked about them. I was misled, and instead of getting some closure or resolve, I was left with an ending that betrayed the movements of the storyline. Not cool.
Tokyo Friends [東京フレンズ]
I want to be a Tokyo Friend! [Rating: 9/10]
I don’t usually enjoy short drama series, because I always find the storyline rushed. With limited time, things like character development and plot growth are usually sacrificed. When I finished the first episode of Tokyo Friends, I felt the same way. Everything seemed so rushed (especially the relationship between Rei and Ryuuji ). And how, pray tell, was Rei able to sing in sync with the band when they hadn’t even practiced together? Otsuka Ai may be a decent singer, but I didn’t find her appealing as an actress. Her acting ability was abysmal in the first episode, but she does seem to improve later on. Otsuka was fortunate enough to have three other good actresses by her side to pull her through. This was my first experience with Maki Yoko (who plays Ryoko) and I was instantly drawn into her. Although her character had a lot of negative characteristics, I couldn’t help but feel for her. Yoko played Ryoko in such a brilliant manner that in the end all of Ryoko’s flaws disappear and you’re left with a lovable character. Kobayashi Mao (who plays Maki) was perhaps my second favourite. I have seen Mao in Taiyou no Uta, but her role was so minor in that drama that it can barely be considered “exposure”. In Tokyo Friends Mao actually had a chance to shine. And shine she did. Her character was mysterious and charming and pure, and Maki was perfect in such a role. Although I wasn’t blown away by Matsumoto Rio’s performance in Ace wo Nerae, I was stunned to find her play a completely different role in Tokyo Friends. And she was great. Some more exposure would have been nice, but she successfully carried through with the flakey, ditzy, silly character of Hirono. The plot was really basic: four friends in Tokyo trying to find themselves by getting lost in a large city. And although the plot is basic, its simplicity is what makes it so great! The plot provided a lot of room for character growth, and although I found the first episode to be a little rushed, the others were nicely paced. Once you come to the realization that time passes between each episode, everything falls into place. Was the drama brilliant? Not at all, and it doesn’t hold up to some of the brilliant dramas I have seen. However, it was really fun to watch and I would probably watch it again. And again. I want to be a Tokyo Friend.
Tokyo Love Story [東京ラブストーリー]
So Good, until the End. Bleh. [Rating: 7/10]
Ugh. I usually pride myself in the fact that I have an open mind and I can usually understand why directors/writers make the choices they do when dealing with characters, plot, and storyline. I must have been really close-minded when watching this drama. It started off great. I normally enjoy Oda Yuji, and after I got over the initial shock of watching a drama older than I’m used to, I started to enjoy the performances by the other artistes &#8211; especially that of Suzuki Honami. She’s managed to portray one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across in my drama-watching career. She instantly drew me in and her character’s relationship with Oda’s really sparked my interest. This drama had a great balance between romance, comedy, and angst. I like how it dealt with mature feelings and circumstances. Up until perhaps the eighth episode everything was going smoothly, until I slowly began to realize that Oda was slowly turning into a jerk and that the emotional rise given by the story was false and cruel. The way the drama ended completely shattered my perfect ending. To be fair, it wasn’t necessarily a horrendous ending. But it wasn’t the ending that I wanted and for some reason I can’t get over this. Tokyo Love Story is a great drama until the end, which completely ruins it for all Akana-fans. Bah. O, and Arimori Narimi was a great peeve of mine. As was Eguchi’s hair. But Arimori moreso. There.
Tokyo Tower ~Okan to Boku to, tokidoki, Oton [東京タワー2007]
Didn't like it in the beginning, LOVED it by the e [Rating: 8/10]
I really did not like Tokyo Tower for a good 4-5 episodes. I found Ma-kun to be selfish, stubborn, and heartless and I could find nothing in him to sympathsize with. But slowly, subtly, the story began to touch me. Okan (Baisho Mitsuko) gained more of a presence and I was instantly drawn to her. I could see a true, real mother in her eyes, and her affection for her son was infectious. I was able to forgive Ma-kun his behaviour because his Okan could. I should also give a shoutout to Kashii Yu, who plays Ma-kun’s girlfriend Manami. She did a fantastic job and I really believe she’s an underrated young talent. I sobbed in the last two episodes, and it had nothing to do with a son losing his mother. It had everything to do with the world losing Okan. This drama was great.
Tokyo Wankei [東京湾景]
Better than I thought [Rating: 7/10]
Okay, I realize there are a lot of stupid issues with this drama. To begin with, it really annoyed me how Mika’s mother’s story began in the EXACT same way as hers. I mean, the boyfriends even had the same lines, with the EXACT words. I know they were trying to show how Mika’s chance meeting with Ryosuke was similar to her mother’s tragic love (who happens to be Ryosuke’s own father), but to make it that exact just ruined the reality of the coincidence (or fate) of the situation. Also, the fact that Mika and Ryosuke fell in love at the end of the second episode, far too quickly after they met, was also unrealistic. It felt really rushed and there wasn’t enough ground for their relationship. It felt like Mika was forcing herself to fall in love simply because she wanted to feel what her mother had felt, and Ryosuke was conveniently available. It was also annoying how the Diary entries revealed throughout the duration of the show served only to shadow the incidents in the main love story. For example, Ryosuke is asked to go to Korea, and asks Mika to go with him. She pulls out her mother’s diary and TA DAA! There’s an entry where her mother and boyfriend went to Korea. This happens a lot and it’s dumb. It takes away from the actual power of the Diary itself. And lets not forget the melodrama. I mean, they go off to Korea, and the same day Ryosuke’s mother randomly goes mental, and Inoue is randomly stabbed in the back. After episode 7, things just went downhill at an abrupt pace… from being siblings, to introducing a third lover, to getting amnesia, Kamiya’s book being published out of thin air, Ryosuke learning Korean over night, even Mika’s seeming indifference to the fact that she has an estranged father and a brother she’s never met… So… I KNOW and can see the many issues this drama has… and yet I still can’t dislike it. I mean, I don’t necessarily love it, but I don’t dislike it. And I can’t dislike it because I find Mika’s situation so much like my own. Her problem about not really knowing who she is, because of her culture clashing with her birthplace… clashing with everything she knows… when all she wants is to marry a man who will love her for who she is, just as she as, and not because of where she’s from or where she lives. This is me exactly. Because of this, no matter its faults, I find that I liked Tokyo Wankei’s story. I could relate to the plot, and to Mika. Regardless.
Trick [トリック]
Abe and Nakama do the Trick [Rating: 7/10]
Abe Hiroshi and Nakama Yukie are great together. Their chemistry within the context of the plot was really fun to watch and truly made this drama a success. There isn’t an overall story, but instead a collection of stories. Each story (2-3 episodes in length) can stand on its own with no connection to the next one. The only consistency is the relationship between Abe and Nakama, the police officers, and Nakama’s mother. Usually I get tired while watching a drama where there is no common thread between each episode, but because Hiroshi and Nakama were so great, I forgave Trick this once annoyance. I like mysteries. I enjoy dramas where I can play around with figuring out the answers, and because there’s a “trick” in each episode, I really enjoyed trying to find what they were. I’m a little surprised that this drama was popular enough to have two more seasons (plus a special). Although it was interesting and fun to watch, it did get a bit redundant. There wasn’t an actual conclusion to the drama, which irked me, so perhaps I’ll find more closure in the next two seasons… I absolutely LOVED the constant “flat-chest” and “big penis” jokes, especially when they were symbolized through the drama (fried eggs and sausage LOL!). Let’s hope they reappear as well.
Trick 2 [トリック2]
Keeps getting better! [Rating: 8/10]
What I loved about Trick season 2 was that it continued from season 1, but elaborated or expanded on all the GOOD points. The relationship between Ueda and Yamada didn’t continue to be flirtatious, sly, and innocent like in the first season. Instead there was growth and understanding between the two. It was more mature and showed some depth. The humour in the second season was also more refined and sharp. I laughed more than I did in the first season and this is probably because the characters seemed to mesh better this season. I found the stories to be more mysterious and suspenseful this season, and less based on magic. I haven’t decided if this is a good thing or a bad, but either way I felt that this season was a good and seamless extension of the last. Let’s hope the third season follows to par.
Trick 3 [トリック3]
Trickiest [Rating: 8/10]
While watching the third season of Trick, I was wondering what I would write about for its review. Having already written a review for both the first season and second season, I was finding myself running out of things to say. I noticed that the scenarios for each episode drifted further away from actual magic tricks and became more the “murder mystery” types. Which was fine. The mysteries were even more complicated in this season, which was welcome, except I found the last episode quite rushed and not at all mind-blowing. At this point I was already feeling quite indifferent to this season and didn’t care to write it out in a review. Until the very end. The benefit of watching all three seasons was in seeing the growth of Naoko and Jiro. In the first season there was an awkward, sexual tension between them that created amazing chemistry. In the second season, after having grown with each other in the first season, the tension between them was more mature, relaxed, and there was a sense of understanding between them. By this season (the third), they were already comfortable enough to sleep in the same room, to joke with each other, and there was also a small element of jealousy. By the last episode, and having seen nothing in suggestion of further growth in their relationship, I gave up hoping they would fall in love and live happily ever after. After all, Trick isn’t a romance drama, and Jiro and Naoko would probably kill each other before confessing any hidden feeling. You can imagine my surprise then at their parting scene. SO ROMANTIC! And so sweet! The last scene was absolutely perfect, especially in the way the “walking by the beach with the one you love” scene was brilliantly mocked by the exceptional character combination Abe and Nakama make. After three seasons I was finally satisfied, and I am well aware I would not have been if I had not watched from the very beginning.
Tsubasa No Oreta Tenshitachi 1 [翼の折れた天使たち]
Strong, powerful, and fabulous! [Rating: 10/10]
Wow… I had no expectations for this drama. I actually dove right into it after finishing another drama. What attracted me to it was the list of actresses involved. All other knowledge of the basis of the show was limited. I have never before seen a drama focused on the struggle of women. What a depressing… yet uniquely inspirational selection of stories! With just four episodes, each one stands alone. Each one features a female struggling through life. There is a moral in each story, and at the end something is resolved. I thoroughly enjoyed the second episode, starring Horikita Maki, but it was Ueno Juri’s final episode that really gripped my heart. I was in tears, and even now, after having finished it, I can sense her loneliness and yearning. She is definitely a strong, solid actress − and worthy of all our votes! All four actresses (Ueto Aya, Horikta Maki, Yamada Yu, and Ueno Juri) were superb, and managed to take each powerful plot and make it their own story. A fabulous drama. I can’t wait to start part two!
Tsubasa no Oreta Tenshitachi 2 [翼の折れた天使たち]
Good, but not as good as first season [Rating: 8/10]
After having seen the first season, I was a little disappointed with some of the episodes in this drama. The first episode was fine, if a bit heavy. It was interesting to see Ishihara Satomi in a serious, angst-ridden role. I thought she pulled it off nicely, although her innocent face belied the harshness of her character. The second and third episodes were not as good. I found them rushed and filled with too much plot. The actresses weren’t the problem; it was moreso the actual storyline and female characters for both episodes. In this second season I noticed that there was more of an element of surprise, where the stories would twist to reveal new and interesting information. In the second and third episodes, this surprise was lost in all the events the writer was trying to pack in. Both episodes quickly lost their appeal, not helped by the annoying, selfish female characters. The one saving grace for this season was the last episode. It reminded me vaguely of a more dark, serious version of the drama Seikei Bijin. This was my first time seeing Karina and I was thoroughly impressed. The moral behind the story was solid and appropriate, and the talent was perfect. The plot played itself out beautifully and I truly felt for the female character. This episode alone excuses the disaster that was episode two and three. Although I wasn’t impressed with this season as much as I was with the first, it did have two episodes worth watching again.
Ueno Juri to Itsutsu no Kaban [上野樹里と5つの鞄]
Good Vehicle for Ueno Juri [Rating: 7/10]
I liked it. It was a good vehicle for Ueno to show off her acting ability, but even moreso for the writers/directors to really fashion something creative and compelling. As for my favourite, I liked Chapter Three. I’m not sure if it’s because there was more to it than just Ueno, therefore more characters to get attached to (or at least have the option to) or because it seemed to be more layered than the others. I found the episodes too short to make an impact, and therefore all five episodes are pretty forgettable. I wish they had given Juri-chan a bit more variety in the characters. She seemed to act the same for all roles. Glitch: In Chapter Two (HOPE), Miyuki enters the elevator and plays with her wallet. When she’s finally able to leave the elevator, the wallet is filmed on the ground &#8211; left behind by her. When she returns later, and inevitably decides to use the stairs instead, the same elevator door opens. There is no wallet within.
Unfair [アンフェア]
I KNEW IT! [Rating: 8/10]
When I first started watching this drama, I was under the impression that there was a different story (case) for each episode, and so I didn’t really pay attention in the beginning. Man, was I surprised when the entire drama seemed to revolve around one massive case! This show is dark and at times quite creepy, and I loved nearly every second of it. I’m not going to say anything regarding Ryoko-san, because everyone already knows I’m a huge fan of hers. Nor will I go on and on about how amazing Eita was. What I will say is that I was totally blown away by Hamada Mari and completely creeped out by Terajima Susumu (who, btw, is smoking even at this age). The storyline/plot/mystery case was amazing. There were ever so many twists and unexpected surprises. There are some parts, even now after some reflection, that I think were a bit farfetched. I’m not sure the three components actually make sense as ONE case the way the end came out. [spoiler]OMG! By the seventh or eighth episode I knew Ando was the murderer, but even until the very end was like “please don’t let it be him, please don’t let it be him”. I’m still disturbed by the outcome![/spoiler] Cinematography was excellent, the acting was solid, and the mystery was gripping. What more do you want in a mystery show except a tub of popcorn with which to watch it?
Virgin Road [バージンロード]
The Perfect Love Story [Rating: 9/10]
Okay, I'm a sucker for these types of romances. The girl is pregnant and alone after going through a bad relationship (the end result, anyway) and has to face her family. In comes a dashing young man willing to play the part of her fiance. Of course, her father is absolutely against everything, and the young man must help the girl seek her father's approval. Throughout this process, they fall in love but are constantly bombarded with obstacles. >>contented sigh<< The storyline was great and I enjoyed the plot (although it was quite fast-paced and JAM PACKED with drama). What I liked best was the touching scenes between father and daughter, and how the writers portrayed the situation. Everything was so... endearing. In terms of the cast, I think Wakui Emi has finally won me over. This is the third drama I'm seeing her in and, what's that saying? The third time's the charm. Of course I LUFF Sorimachi Takashi, so I won't waste time drooling over him. The surprise for me was Takeda Tetsuya. For some reason I'd made up my mind that I wasn't going to like him as an actor, although I haven't seen him in much of anything. I thought he was great in this drama. His performance was very touching. And then of course, the icing on the cake for me was Yo Kimiko, whom I adore and love. I definitely recommend this drama to all romantics. It's a great one.
Waraeru Koi wa Shitakunai [笑える恋はしたくない]
Huh? [Rating: 6/10]
I don’t really get the purpose of this drama. There’s no resolve and no direction… there’s no real ending. It’s as if I dropped down into someone else’s life, got bored, and left before anything interesting could happen. To be fair, it had its cute moments and “Mama” is hilarious. But I really wanted Shizu-chan to find love. So what if she’s tall and heavy for a Japanese female? It would have been endearing. Instead her heart is broken in all three episodes and in the end, she simply sucks it up because, really, she’ll be rejected 99 times before guy 100 falls in love with her. I guess there’s no hope for us “less attractive” women. O! I did really like the Christmas-y fell, though. That was nice.
Water Boys [ウォーターボーイズ]
Boys in Speedos? What else is there to say... [Rating: 7/10]
I haven’t decided yet whether Waterboys is a work of genius, or utter rubbish. I mean, on the surface it’s just a bunch of boys in teeny tiny speedos prancing around, slapping each other on the back, and rising above the criticisms of the general public to do what they love to do best − synchronize swimming. After watching the skinny, sun-burnt pubescent boys shake their severely lacking money-makers, I wouldn’t be surprised if viewers find it hard to continue watching the series after the first episode. But I continued watching. I continued watching because I found the idea amusing. If you look at the events as satires, it makes sense. I mean, women are always trying to do what men can do. If men can do it, women can, too. Here we have an example of men trying to do something that is predominantly feminine. When they perform, or throughout their dance sequences, when they’re moving their skinny bodies in less than flattering ways, it made me feel like there was an undertone of mirth, as if the writers/actors are making fun. And it’s definitely funny when watching. Men are doing what women do best, and it’s hilarious. The idea of synchronized swimming in general is so random hat I’m sure a group of creators spent hours coming up with the idea to begin with. Mix this with a story about friendship and hardship, school spirit and personal satisfaction, and you end up with an okay drama. I’m glad I watched the movie first (like you’re supposed to) because it helped me place the plot better. Would I watch this drama again? God no. But I will admit that I had a lot of fun watching while it lasted.
Water Boys 2 [ウォーターボーイズ2]
Skinny boys all over again... [Rating: 7/10]
A lot of the same elements used in Waterboys was used in Waterboys 2. You still have the small group of synchro swimmers struggling to find a way to keep their club alive, and struggling to find a place to practice/perform. You have the same problem with members, who join when the club is popular, and leave when the club is slandered against. You have the teachers who are opposed to the club for their own biased reasons. You have the female lead that is in love with the male lead, but hides her feelings because her friend likes the same guy. You have one of the boys getting physically injured and hospitalized as a result. You even have the aquarium where the synchro boys go to work. However, regardless of the fact that you have the same basic structure in both dramas, the second season still manages to hold its own. The situations were varied and interesting, and although plot points are near-identical, the characters manage to grasp your attention. The five “chosen” main synchro boys were delightful to watch, as was Asami Reina is the overbearing student president. Kaneko Takatoshi was brilliant as Saotome-sensei. I’m really glad he wasn’t overdone and annoying to watch. And of course, Ishihara Satomi was wonderful and lovely and balanced the male lead, Ichihara Hayato quite well. Although I’m not at all attracted to him, he was adorable and paired with Satomi-chan, helped the “kawai-meter” blow a fuse. I think I’ve become immune to skinny Japanese boys in speedos. I suppose Nakao Akiyoshi had a hand in it. Although he’s not terribly good-looking, he has a nice, ripped body (compared to the others…), and so he at least I could admire as a female viewer.
Wedding Planner [ウエディングプランナー]
One of m Favourites! [Rating: 9/10]
I loved watching this drama. I can’t exactly pinpoint how much I loved it, nor can I find any fault with it that is worth mentioning. This is the only drama I’ve seen that had me shedding tears and laughing out load. My heart pulsed when the characters were feeling extreme emotions, and it flew when they were having a good time. The line-up for this drama is great. Yusuke Santamaria was HILARIOUS. Although he was clearly outshone by the ladies in the drama (considering he was the main character), it seemed almost intentional. After all, giving his character too much of the lime-light would have ruined his appeal. This was my first drama with Iijima Naoko and she’s left me completely stunned. Not only is she incredibly beautiful (if only I had hair like hers!) but she was great in both the comedic moments AND the dramatic. Her feelings towards her son and his well-being were very convincing and it was easy to forget that she was just acting. Kimura Yoshino played my favourite character. She was perfectly cast as the classy, mature, seemingly-perfect, yet soft and vulnerable Misaki. She had brilliant chemistry with Abe Hiroshi, with whom I’m madly in love and therefore words are not enough to express how much I enjoyed his performance. I did not enjoy Tsumabuki Satoshi’s character, which means his acting was superb (how can anyone not enjoy his yumminess?). The storyline and plot for this drama were both solid. The relationships between varying characters were subtle and handled with care. Each major character got equal exposure and were brilliantly developed. The only negative aspect of this drama was that it was too short. :(
With love
The Longest Lasting Drama EVAH [Rating: 8/10]
Okay, so this drama seemed to drag on forever, but who cares! The longer the show, the more screen time for Takenouchi Yutaka. I think this drama was the epitome of hotness for him. I mean, he looks great now, but dang. That voice of his made me melt everything time I turned the DVD player on. The rest of the drama was decent. It was a love story, and had its merits. I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the end and will never watch this drama again because of it, but it was still enjoyable while it lasted.
Yan Papa [やんパパ]
Mediocre [Rating: 7/10]
Okay, I absolutely adore Nagase Tomoya, but this drama was just a drag. It took me SO LONG to get through it! The storyline was weak and therefore the plot simple slumped along. The entire story could have been communicated through half the amount of episodes the drama took. The cast was okay. No one really stood out and no one did a particularly bad job. Everything was just mediocre. Near the end the plot got interesting (with the introduction of the real father), but there wasn’t much of a finale and by the end of it all, it was confirmed that, really, I had just wasted 10 hours of my life.
Yasashii Jikan [優しい時間]
Perfect in Every Way [Rating: 10/10]
Yasashii Jikan is one of those dramas that take you for a slow, peaceful drive down a lane bridged with sweet smelling cherry blossoms with soft light filtering through on the wings of birds. The story is riddled in a tragedy that unfolds like the tongue of a flame. At first the heat is gentle, and then slowly it begins to warm… then burn. A tale of father and son, I was instantly intrigued by the notion of learning about each character even tho the two never meet until much later. There are various characters that sweep in and out of the storyline and each one is nicely written and incorporated. I don’t think there was a single situation that made me feel a character was being misused/overused or simply unnecessary. It’s rare when a drama is so able to knead importance into each character mold. Terao Akira instantly captivated me and I’ll be sure to pick up some of his other dramas. Nino managed not to annoy the crap out of me, and I’m convinced now that he is one of the very rare talented Johnny-boy actors. Nagasawa Masami was okay, but I was very grateful for Yo Kimiko, whom I adore. I give this drama a 10/10. The theme song is beautiful, the filming is beautiful, the actors are beautiful, and the story is beautiful. What more could you ask for?
Zettai Kareshi [絶対彼氏]
Night Kawaii! [Rating: 8/10]
This was a great drama. It was light, silly, fun, and an enjoyment to watch. The storyline was hugely flawed and totally unbelievable, but because the characters were so much fun, and because I’m sure the writers never once wanted to convince us that this was supposed to be a serious, realistic drama, the flaws are totally forgivable. Near the end of the drama you do start to unearth more philosophical issues, and question what love is and what it means to be “human”. The end was touching and sad, and if I hadn’t been watching it with my sis (who cried), I would have cried as well. I was pleasantly surprised by Aibu Saki. I think I’ve only seen her in Attention Please, where she’s not the lead. She did a great job. Hayami also rocked. If I hadn’t seen him already in other dramas, I would have been less impressed. I mean, it’s not hard for teen heart-throbs to act robotic… but he really WAS acting and he did a great drop as the ideal boyfriend. I would definitely recommend this drama to anyone looking for something light and fluffy to watch as a break from all the other hardcore dramas that are out there. :)

   

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