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Joined:  26 Mar 2007
Total posts:  1904
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Country (Nationality):  Australia
Location:  Melbourne
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xploring's drama votes (13)
Algernon ni Hanataba o [アルジャーノンに花束を]
You know how, sometimes after watching a few minutes of a drama, it almost felt like I have watched a whole episode. That's how I felt when watching this drama. There were moments/passages where time almost seemed to stand still. This has only happened once before for me when watching jdoramas, as far as I can remember. Basically, from episode 6 on, this series floored me. I did not shed any tears though...
Ame to Yume no atoni [雨と夢の後に]
This series is so moving. Definitely one of the best family dramas I've watched. The themes it dealt with has been covered many times by other dramas, but somehow, I think this was the most convincing.
Boku to Kanojo to Kanojo no Ikiru Michi [僕と彼女と彼女の生きる道]
Churasan [ちゅらさん]
A wonderful series, despite feeling a bit too long. I don't think I can do justice to how good this series really is. It's definitely one of the funniest, best feel-good drama, but there's more...
Hitotsu yane no shita 1 [ひとつ屋根の下 1]
My favourite jdorama!!! I doubt that I will ever see a better one.
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [1リットルの涙]
Jyoou no Kyoushitsu [女王の教室]
Probably the best teacher-classroom drama I have seen, definitely with its direct, no-nonsense, realistic view of people and society. The writing hit home for me, it holds some very valuable lessons for those young/inexperienced in dealing with the challenges of life. The star of the show was not the teacher for me though, it's the student. If not for Kazumi (Shida Mirai), I doubt whether Maya-sensei's method would have an overall positive effects, definitely not for everyone I don't think. Shida Mirai really carried the show and was the heart of the series. I knew she was great with the serious stuff, but didn't realize how good she was with comedy too. Wish the writing has given more time to Hikaru, I felt her relationship and bond with Kazumi had a lot of potential. There were a few times in the middle when I felt things were a bit too good to be true, Kazumi's relationship with her friends could have been developed much more with time, and the final exchange between Maya and Kazumi was too short for me, but those points aside, this was a terrific drama. I knew before watching that the teacher was not as she seemed, so that made it easier for me to watch and enjoy the series.
Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ]
I was stunned by Masaki's courage in the first half
Medaka [めだか]
Probably the best feel-good drama I've seen. Mimura as Medaka totally won me over. ^___^
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース]
I'm re-watching Nobuta wo Produce again, just watched episode 3. I really like this episode. Sometimes I think that, if this wasn't one of my first jdoramas, I probably wouldn't like it as much. But every time I re-watched, I discovered something new, even if it's just bits and pieces. I was in a slump, this series has rekindled my interest in jdorama by a little bit again.
Odoru Daisousasen [踊る大捜査線]
Ohsama no resutoran [王樣のレストラン]
The best ensemble cast and most entertaining jdorama
Ruri no shima [瑠璃の島]

xploring's artiste votes (13)
Ikewaki Chizuru [池脇千鶴]
Kurashina Kana [倉科カナ]
Mitsushima Hikari [満島ひかり]
Nishiuchi Mariya [西内まりや]
Nounen Rena [能年玲奈]
Oda Yuji [織田裕二]
Impressive in Okane ga nai! and Odoru
Ono Machiko [尾野真千子]
Sakai Maki [坂井真紀]
The more I see her, the more I like her
Shida Mirai [志田未来]
Takeuchi Yuko [竹内結子]
Tokiwa Takako [常盤貴子]
Her smile. Her smile was so radiant in Beautiful Life. Wonderful acting too.
Ueto Aya [上戸彩]
Wakui Emi [和久井映見]

xploring's dramas (169)
29-sai no Kurisumasu [29歳のクリスマス]
(Bought)
3 nen B gumi Kinpachi Sensei 6 [3年B組金八先生]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
There were some very moving moments, but also quite a lot of scenes which I wanted to skip. The friendship that developed between Nao and other students are probably what I remembered most clearly about this drama.
Ai kotoba wa yuki [合い言葉は勇気]
Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu [愛なんていらねえよ、夏]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
This is definitely a high quality drama. Excellently written and acted, what impressed me most was how it was able to convey to the audience what were going through the minds of the characters, and how their feelings and thoughts changed. There is a lot to ponder and appreciate here, I felt I need to watch some parts again to try and understand what really happened. I actually watched the second half out of order, because I was dreading, the deceit and cruelty, but I need not to have worried. Almost every character had a story of their own, and even though the premise may seem cliche, it was engrossing once you get past the beginning. I rate this 8, but only because this is not the type of drama I would normally enjoy, and obviously spoiling myself meant that I was not as moved/affected as I could have been.
Ai no Uta [あいのうた]

There were lots of laughs and touching moments in the beginning. Kanno Miho was very good, and Wakui Emi was very likeable. I like the middle parts too, but shelf the last few episodes for fear of disappointment.
Ai wa Mieru [愛はみえる]
Ai wo kudasai [愛をください]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Kanno Miho was great in this. By the end of the series, I feel like I know intricately all kinds of things about what Ririka (Kanno Miho) is like as a person, and the pains and transformations she went through. I didn't realize what a star she is until now. As for the series itself... There was no especially powerful insights for me. Despite being a bit repetitive and slow, and Rirka dwelling on her loneliness and vengefulness for quite some time, the dialogue and people felt genuine and sincere, and there were also some touching moments. By the end, I felt it had some healing effects for me. I would recommend this for those who have trouble coming to terms with their misfortunes or loneliness, but it can be a chore for those who have no such problem. It can be quite depressing at times.
Aikurushii [あいくるしい]
Algernon ni Hanataba o [アルジャーノンに花束を]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
A slow start, but great story, adaptation and acting by Santamaria Yusuke. Heartwarming ending. Highly recommended!
Ame to Yume no atoni [雨と夢の後に]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Very moving. Definitely one of the best family dramas I've ever seen.
Anna-san no Omame [アンナさんのおまめ]
Ashita no Kita Yoshio [あしたの、喜多善男]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I thought it was just an ok drama. I like the relationship between Kita-san and Heita, and most of the acting performances were good, but it wasn't like how I wished for it to be. It felt really slow approaching the end, and there were parts which didn't work for me (or were they meant to be surprising and thought-provoking? I don't see it.) Perhaps I don't have the life experience yet to like this drama.
Atsu-Hime [篤姫]

I found Atsuhime very easy to watch, flew right through to episode 22 in just a few days. But if I had any expectation to begin with, I think I probably would have been disappointed. The story when Atsuhime was in Satsuma was very enjoyable. But after that, I don't really understand her motivation for giving up her family and going through all that... To me, the characterisation is lacking, I couldn't really put together her care-free/inquisitive side with her determined side. Perhaps because I am not Japanese? (or well-informed on Japanese history) The story, though slow, is watchable, but I felt there wasn't a lot of substance, or meaningful revelations. Like in the beginning with the character of Zusho(?, the old councillor who fixed Satsuma's finance). Restarted again after a long break, but it has quickly become frustrating. On the point of who to pick for the next shogun, there are no convincing reasons for either candidates. Moreover, it's difficult to see why people of different factions vehemently oppose the other candidates, when through their words, their top priority was to extend/secure the shogunate. The same thing just kept repeating without any convincing arguments. They actually explained this near the end of the debate, perhaps it is common knowledge for the target Japanese audience. It definitely has its moments despite the pace slowing right down. Handling for a lot of the emotional moments were very similar to that of many Korean dramas.
Attack No.1 [アタック No.1]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Attention Please [アテンションン プリース]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Bara no nai Hanaya [薔薇のない花屋]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
The last few episodes were not as tight-knit as the first half, both in terms of writing and direction. I think it lacked focus toward the last 3 to 4 episodes. But overall, quite a thought-provoking drama which gives hope.
Beach boys [ビーチボーイズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Relaxing and mellow drama like others have said. I felt a bit let-down by the ending but enjoyed the atmosphere and the sense of togetherness/friendship as they lived and worked together. Some plotlines I thought were too simplistic and not developed enough. All four lead roles were very well-acted though.
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Beginner [ビギナー]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
For those who haven't seen it, this series basically involves the 8 main characters sitting around and discussing legal case studies. Those are the best parts IMO. I really enjoyed the intellectual discussions, people from different backgrounds sharing different viewpoints. The camaraderie and rapport, the re-enactments, ... and sometimes I could understand what the people involved in those cases felt, and see the dynamic appeal of legal studies, like in episode 3, these are the highlights for me. Not much time was spent on the individual stories and backgrounds of the 8 main characters. The relationships between them were not developed very much either (no time), with the exception being Kitihara and Morino. While enjoyable, their friendship did not leave a particularly strong impression on me, and I did not wish for more time/explanation on these parts, other viewers may feel quite differently. Mimura, was quite good I thought. Her inexperience showed, but it suited her character. Matsuyuki Yasuko was probably the most convincing, though the Megumi's and the oldguys didn't have a lot to do. I would recommend it. But the Chinese subtitles for this series was probably one of the most difficult to understand in my experience, so I guess only those fluent in Japanese can fully understand and appreciate this series.
Besuto patona [べストパートナー]
Big Money! [ビッグマネー!〜浮世の沙汰は株しだい〜]
Rating: 6/10
Very average drama, slow and doesn't delve deeply into stockbroking. Not sure why I finished it. Nagase Tomoya looked cool but not much else. Harada Taizo was mildly interesting but ultimately unconvincing in the rogue trader role, and the girls only provided eye candy.
Big wing [ビッグウイング]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
It may be a bit cheesy or cliche at times, I love watching Big Wing. I found most of the human stories engaging and sometimes very moving. This is one series that I wish it hadn't ended so soon. It's been a long time since I felt like this. Uchida Yuki as Yoshikawa Kumiko is so likeable, and the rest of the cast were very good too, delivering complete characters even when there were not an awful lot for them to do. Highly recommended! :D
Bijo ka Yajuu [美女か野獣]
Boku no Aruku Michi [僕の歩く道]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Boku no Ikiru Michi [僕の生きる道]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Boku to Kanojo to Kanojo no Ikiru Michi [僕と彼女と彼女の生きる道]
Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched)
Brother Beat [ブラザー☆ビート]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Warm and entertaining family drama. It is not very deep or especially moving, but it continued to be enjoyable for much of the series. The story centers mainly around the 2 older brothers. I would have liked to see more of Tanaka Misako though, who despite her top billing, plays only a supporting role. My criticism for this series would be that, Tatsuya did not look particularly in love with Chisato at any point, and the story felt a little tired approaching the end.
Carnation [カーネーション]
Chance [チャンス]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Mikami Hiroshi and Nishida Hikaru both delivered good performances but the writing didn't give them all that much to work with. There were a fair amount of filler/cliche material but it was still fairly entertaining. The story ended for me when the lyrics of the song was written and after that I was only waiting for it to end. I like the song writing parts and when they sit at the bar or Yuji's apartment talking though.
Chiritotechin [ちりとてちん]
Churasan [ちゅらさん]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Churasan 2 [ちゅらさん2]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Perhaps not as funny as the original, but the feel-good factor is still there and everyone got their little bit of time in the limelight. It was short, so not very in-depth, but very enjoyable nonetheless. :) There were some really funny moments in the last couple of episodes.
Churasan 3 [ちゅらさん3]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I like it. There were some funny moments, but overall it felt quite solemn, and it took its time in storytelling even though it was shorter than Churasan 2. The plot was much more focused than 2, and I found it to be thought-provoking and in-depth at times...
Churasan 4 [ちゅらさん4]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Wonderful and enjoyable as always. Hopefully there will be another sequel. :)
Daisuki!! [だいすき!!]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
The 3 main actresses delivered very good performances, but I don't like this very much. I don't dislike it, but it just seemed too ... sentimental sometimes. It has its sincere moments too though.
Denchi ga kireru made [電池が切れるまで]
Densetsu no kyoshi [伝説の教師]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Entertaining series, very funny, deep and absorbing at times, but the second half felt a bit ordinary in comparison with the first half. It felt more real than GTO, and what Jiro said and acted made a lot more sense in real life, even though it lacks the feel-good factor in a way. I would have liked to see more of the transformations the 3 main characters went through though.
Dondo Bare [どんど晴れ]
Edison no Haha [エジソンの母]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Finally finished Edison no Haha. The last episode was very heartwarming. There were quite a few moments when I laughed heartily, or was nearly moved to tears. This drama reminded me of the joy of being inquisitive again. The characters were well-written and some terrific performances really made this a very enjoyable drama for me. Sakai Maki and the kids were a joy to watch, and the actresses playing the traditionalist teacher and the monster parent were very good too considering I never really wanted to look away during their lines. Even Itoh Misaki improved from (barely) tolerable to be quite good in a few scenes late on. There were some serious discussion about the education system and its prevailing heuristics(?). It was thought-provoking almost every episode, but also there were many moments which made me laugh or lifted my spirit. Some of the things kids say can be so funny/surprising/refreshing. The scene in front of the school at the end of episode 6 remained my favourite for its infectious optimism and spirit. I would recommend this to anyone who still is a bit of a kid at heart. :)
Engine [エンジン]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I enjoyed for the most parts watching this feel good drama, but there were a lot of places that irked me very much too. Some aspects of the foster home portrayed seemed very unrealistic (not well-researched?), and there were also dialogues and situations that felt plain contrived and very much lacking in credibility. Nevertheless, I liked the message it tried to send across when Jiro talked to the kids about life in the first half, as well as the scenes when the kids were all together. KimuTaku and Koyuki didn't have much chemistry, but the kids were quite good. There were probably too many characters. And I would have liked to learn more about the kids and see them together.
Furuhata Ninzaburo [古畑任三郎]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Overall, with the exception of 2 or 3 cases, I didn't find the deduction/crime solving especially interesting. What stood out more for me was the circumstances/psychological aspects during the murders and subsequent investigations. Episode 12 was extremely well thought-out, actually most of the episodes were very well-planned. The complexity in this drama is quite an achievement considering it is completely episodic.
Futatsu no Spica [ふたつのスピカ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
This seemed like a kids' series at first. The cast is unexpectedly young, some of the dialogue can sound a bit naive and I cannot fully understand why the characters want to go to space that much. But aside from these misgivings, there are a lot to like about this series. Many of the scenes resonated with me and I can certainly identify with some of the internal struggles and personal doubts in pursuit of the dream/goal. I found myself immersed in the story with the characters and they all feel very genuine with sincere feelings and convictions. The last two episodes felt a bit flat for me but good series overall.
Ganbatte Ikimasshoi [がんばっていきまっしょい]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Garasu no kamen 1 [ガラスの仮面]
Gokusen [ごくせん]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Golden Bowl [ゴールデンボウル]
Gonzo - Densetsu no Keiji [ゴンゾウ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Probably 7.5 for me. My main criticism would be the pacing of episode 2-6, too slow (and 2-5 could be skipped altogether without affecting audience's understanding) But episode 7 was great and how the case unfolded in the last few episodes was quite interesting and entertaining. I really like the cameo by Ikewaki Chizuru and Uchino Masaaki was very convincing. There is a realistic feel to the show for the most parts, and the characters feel like real people too.
Good Luck !! [グッドラック!!]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Great performances, but the storyline was nothing special. A good but not great drama.
GTO [麻辣教師]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
H2~Kimi to itahibi [2〜君といた日々]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Haikei, Chichiue-sama [拝啓、父上様]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I really like that the streets were beautifully shot and the interesting insights into aspect(s) of Japanese culture. However, I never felt with the characters, or the struggle/plight they were in. It was by no means bad, quite enjoyable with its lighter moments, but I failed to get a clear idea of what some of the characters are like, particularly the younger ones (perhaps they were too plain/simple for my liking). I was also disappointed with the lack of resolution. There were no particular moving/touching moments for me, perhaps I expected too much. Forgot to mention, the accompanying music, particularly the ending theme song, is great. The black and white stills at the end of each episode are beautifully shot too.
Hakusen nagashi [白線流し]

Watched 4 episodes so far. This convey the sentiments of those leaving school but uncertain of the future very well, in a quiet, subtle way. The pacing is slow, and not much really happens, but somehow I was always interested. I think the direction has a lot to do with that.
Hana Yori Dango [花より男子]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Hanamura Daisuke [花村大介]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Lighthearted legal series that was really enjoyable and fun for the whole series. The cases were interesting and time flew by and I never thought about not finishing this series. Santamaria Yusuke was pretty much perfect, and even though the supporting cast didn't have much to do, they all put in good performances. About once every episode, the plot took a turn that seem too good to be true, but it did not detract much from its credibility. Entertaining feel-good drama. Definitely recommended. :)
Hanayome wa 16-sai! [花嫁は16才!]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Heartwarming story, good script, and gritty and moving performance from Tomosaka Rie makes this light-hearted drama a definite winner. The plot can seem rather predictable, but it was engaging throughout, and the messages it put across is encouraging and full of hope. I enjoyed it.
Haruka 17 [はるか 17]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Hirayama Aya is very pretty and really good in this, as are the supporting cast. In hindsight, I usually dislike this kind of drama, so it probably says a lot for the performances and the direction that I found it entertaining for most of its duration. The cast really worked well together, and even though some of the comic relief seemed over the top, it was enjoyable most of the time. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of development in terms of Haruka's acting career, she didn't really get a lot of chance to shine on stage/screen, but I enjoyed it when they weren't focusing on the sinister side of show business.
Hero
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Hikari to Tomo ni [光とともに]
Hitotsu yane no shita 1 [ひとつ屋根の下 1]
Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched)
My favourite jdorama!!! I doubt that I will ever see a better one.
Hitotsu yane no shita 2 [ひとつ屋根の下 2]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Home Drama [ホームドラマ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I was very excited about the premise and had very high expectations, but by episode 7, a bit disappointed at the lack of characters/relationships development, and the direction the drama seemed to be headed. I really like the atmosphere when everyone sat around and talked, and having breakfast together. But I was totally turned off by the gossiping storyline... After a break of more than a year, I finally finished Home Drama, skipping episode 8 (the one about the press and people with prejudice). Nothing special happened in the last 3 episodes but I really like the quiet feel of the show and the understanding, trust, and faith the family showed in each other, it was very heartwarming and full of hope. I am really glad I finished it. :)
Honmamon [ほんまもん]
Hoshi no kinka 1 [星の金貨]
(Watched)
Great performance from Noriko Sakai. This was compelling at the beginning when the story focussed on Aya, but after that ... I wanted to stop watching many times. The plot was ordinary, and I was not interested in the characters too (apart from Aya). Osawa Takao's role was particularly thankless. Stopped watching during episode 8, much of Aya's writing was not translated for this chinese-subbed version.
Hotman [ホットマン]
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [1リットルの涙]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
Ienaki ko 1 [家なき子]

Very good but I wimped out after 3 episodes. I didn't find the supporting characters particularly interesting though, and it would have been easier to watch if it was more condensed.
Iguana no musume [イグアナの娘]
Ii hito [いいひと。]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Disappointing. I really like the first two episodes, they were a lot of fun and had me hanging on Yuji's every move. But after that, the series went a bit flat for me, and when they tried to be serious later on, it just didn't fit, I rather wished they didn't. I thought the support cast were quite good, but Kusanagi, who won an award for his performance, just didn't deliver a real character for me. The whole series only told the story of a single product launch, that was a disappointment as well. I would recommend Okane ga Nai! over this, that was so much better.
Ima Ai ni Yukimasu [いま会いにゆきます]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I really liked the first few episodes. This felt like my kind of drama with slight melancholy, slice of life feel, and a reuniting family. I felt like I could watch it forever at times. But the acting felt rather average with the characters being a bit 2 dimensional. The final revelation/explanation lacked build-up, so while it could have added depth to the characters, it was at the end and the audience (I) had no time to reflect deeply on the implications it had throughout the story. The back story between the couple during school years was interesting and had me coming back for more every episodes. ( I haven't read the book or seen the movie)
Imouto yo [妹よ]

Disappointing for me. Gave up after 4 episodes.
Itsuka mata aeru [いつかまた逢える]

It's not bad, but not great either. I rarely wanted to look away, there were clear characterisations and some engaging. Sakurai Sachiko was lovely to watch too, but in hindsight, I felt that it lacked depth and substance. Abandoned after 8 episodes.
JIN [JIN-仁-]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
The acting overall was of a high quality, especially Nakatani Miki's, but it felt slow and overly dramatic at times. I wasn't taken with some of the changes they made to the original manga either.
Jinbe [じんべえ]

Watchable through 3 episodes. I found Matsu Takako to be very cute and likeable here, probably more than any of her other dramas.
Jun to Ai [純と愛]
Juu nana sai
Juui Dolittle [獣医ドリトル]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I enjoyed it. It is probably quite standard and cliche at times, but most of the human stories were engaging. Inoue Mao was really good in this even though her character didn't have much story.
Jyoou no Kyoushitsu [女王の教室]
Rating: 9/10
Kabachitare! [カバチタレ!]
Kagayaku toki no naka de [輝く季節の中で]
Kaitakushatachi [開拓者たち]
Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ]
Rating: 9/10
Kanojo to no Tadashii Asobikata [彼女との正しい遊び方]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Nice story and good performances. I think something was lost in translation because I can't see why this won the prize for best script.
Keizoku [ケイゾク]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
The ending was unpredictable and kept me guessing, but slightly unbelievable for me. I think the acting performances elevated this above the material on offer, both the leads were excellent, the support cast were also very good. I enjoyed the deductions in the early cases more, even if some were rather predictable. I was actually not that emotionally attached to the characters as the series approached its climatic conclusions. But overall, a stylish and riveting detective series.
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
There seems to be nothing particularly attractive about the story, really not much happened at all, but somehow it's quite enjoyable to watch. Both the leads were very good but would have liked to see clearer transformations of the characters throughout the story. Overall, a light, amusing series if not particularly memorable.
Kimi ga oshietekureta koto [君が教えてくれたこと]
Kimi no Te ga Sasayaite Iru [君の手がささやいている]
Kimi to ita mirai no tame ni ~ airu bi bakku [君といた未来のために I'll be back]
Kisarazu Cat's Eye [木更津キャッツアイ]
Kita no Kuni Kara [北の国から]
Koi ga shitai Koi ga shitai Koi ga shitai [恋がしたい恋がしたい]

Intelligently written with unpredictable storyline, likeable characters. But I never really felt for or identified with any of the characters. I also thought that it lacked focus personally... Stopped watching around episode 8.
Koi no bakansu [恋のバカンス]
Koi no Chikara [恋ノチカラ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Even though there was no great surprise and the story was rather predictable, this was very enjoyable. It did not feel formulaic to me. There were substance and seriousness amidst the fun and games, and the performances were very good. Fukatsu Eri was particularly special, she was simply adorable, and totally brought her character to life. The character played by Yada Akiko was a bit one-dimensional/unecessary, and the final twist was a bit far-fetched, but still, a good choice for those looking for a light workplace romance.
Koi suru Top Lady [恋するトップレディ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Quite entertaining, the cast put in good performances, but the ending was rather underwhelming, and I was disappointed Chiharu (Nakatani Miki) never really grew or got serious with the work. Despite the title and description, there was not much romance, the lead pair didn't look like a couple anyway, though Nakatani Miki almost made it work. Okina Megumi was really good in the episode that focused on her, so much so that I wondered why they didn't make a series about her character.
Konna koi no hanashi [こんな恋のはなし]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I really like the first few episodes of this drama, particularly the relationship between Harashima and Kaori. Matsushima Nanako probably shone the brightest here from what I have seen. The rest of the series wasn't as good as the start, but still not bad.
Konshu Tsuma ga Uwaki Shimasu [今週,妻が浮気します]

After watching the first 4 episodes, I am probably going to stop. I'm impressed at how they were able to make light of a seriously grim/depressing subject. But its failure to get to the point, combined with the male chauvinism predominant in the Japanese society, turned me off. There were good bits, the advice from pudding, the overall feel of the drama is pretty fun, and the main character is actually a good guy, when he is not preoccupied with his pride.
Kuitan [喰いタン]
Last Christmas [ラストクリスマス]
Legal High [リーガル・ハイ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Pretty entertaining, but there's not a lot to it. The transition of main characters weren't very clear.
LIFE [ライフ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I thought the first 4 episodes were terrific. It really delves into human nature/minds and shows the emotions of those involved. But after that, even though it was satisfying to see Ayumu fighting back and getting stronger, I thought the rest of the series didn't add a lot of insights, apart from the nature of bullying... There were unrealistic parts, and I thought the most difficult stage was quickly covered, but overall, this was quite a serious and realistic look into bullying, I would imagine. It was worth watching. Kitano Kie was great. She really showed Ayumu's inner strength and insecurities with her eyes. I thought Fukuda Saki showed a lot of talent from other dramas, and here, she was not as good as I expected(given that she won her sole award so far in LIFE). She was still very good, perhaps her role was a bit limited.
Lipstick [リップスティック]
(Watched)
It was disturbing and a bit implausible in parts (I skipped quite a lot), but overall quite moving. I was particularly impressed by how they were able to portray the connection between the 2 main characters through dialogues only. The direction and music were very good too.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Takeuchi Yuko really shines. She was very natural and her expression when Natsumi enjoys her lunch is really something. ^^ Unfortunately, the quality of the script doesn't match the quality of the cast, and apart from Natsumi, I felt that none of the other characters were very distinct or interesting. For the majority of the drama, I thought the little bit of footage at the end of each episodes were perhaps more interesting than the drama itself. They could have taken it to many different directions like Natsumi learning to cook, or tour with her in her search for more great lunches. Wasted possibilities. The first 3 episodes or so were quite good though.
Mada Koi wa Hajimaranai [まだ恋は始まらない]
Mahiru no tsuki [真晝の月]
Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched)
I had high expectations and it was different to how I expected it to be. This drama focuses on the aftermath of rape victim, the strain of on the victim and her friends and family as she and others tries to deal with the trauma, wounds and baggages. Pacing is slow and changes subtle, but meaningful, though there were moments in the early episodes that I found slightly unbelieveable. The love story aspect actually is quite secondary. All the main characters were very good. I found it difficult though to know other aspects of Tokiwa Takako's character though, as she was almost completely affected by her trauma. Iljima Naoko's character was particularly likeable and I half-wished she would be together with Naoki. A very serious and important drama, but because of the distance I felt with Mae, I was never completely immersed in the story. It was also not particularly moving for me personally, I kind of wish that the story would place more emphasis/impact on the courage involved as well.
Majo no jouken [魔女の条件]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Manatsu no Merry Christmas [真夏のメリークリスマス]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Like the first few episodes a lot but story was ordinary for the rest of the series. Nakatani Miki stole the show and I also like Kato Ai a lot in this.
Marumo no Okite [マルモのおきて]
Medaka [めだか]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This feel-good drama has become one of my favourite (better than GTO and Gokusen), which I did not expect any drama to do so after trying out over a hundred jdoramas. Mimura and the character of Medaka has totally won me over, I never really had a favourite character before in jdoramas but Medaka could possibly take that place. Some of the episodes left me smiling/elated for the whole day afterwards. Basically, I agree pretty much with everyone who liked this series. Good supporting cast, genuine situations and sincerity helped make this one of the most enjoyable series. I highly recommend it!
Meguri ai [めぐり逢い]
(Watched)
Quite engrossing at the start but I found it unbelieveable toward the end. Didn't finish.
Minna Mukashi wa Kodomo Datta [みんな昔は子供だった]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
It is charming, heartwarming, with simple but meaningful writing and storyline. Although the characters may be too nice to be real, I find them endearing and sincere. Cinematography and background music were both excellent too. There is nothing very original about it I guess, but I enjoyed it very much.
Mokuyoubi no Shokutaku [木曜日の食卓]
Moto Kare [元カレ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
There was nothing special about it in hindsight, except the acting performances of the two leads, but while I was watching, I had a hard time to stop watching. Probably would have finished it in two days if I had time. Hirosue Ryoko was really good in this I thought, but the story was fairly flat and both Domoto Tsuyoshi's and Uchiyama Rina's characters were rather weak and uninspiring. Glad it was a happy ending though (for me anyway). I enjoyed it.
Muri na Renai [無理な恋愛]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Even though I never really saw Chappy and Kaede as a couple, there were a lot of highlights which made this one of the most enjoyable series in recent memory. Almost all the characters were interesting and memorable in some ways, and the excellent acting from almost everyone really elevated this drama to another level. I felt at times there was a sense of freedom with the acting rarely seen in other dramas. I especially enjoyed the interactions and friendship between Kaede and her actress friend, and the wise and optimistic outlook on life from Chappy and his ex-wife. Sakai Masaaki's confession in episode 7 was one of the best, I thought. It does have a slow start but definitely recommended. Very uplifting last episode.
Naguru Onna [殴る女]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I enjoyed this very much. Even though there was no really dramatic development, I really like watching the two leads living and training and facing their various challenges together. Wakui Emi was very cute without overacting, and all the characters were all likeable. Amami Yuki was really good too even though her supporting role was rather minor. The boxing scenes look authentic and the boxer (the male lead) was great for his role. Wakui Emi and he (forgot his name) had a great rapport and understanding together, their scenes look so natural and fun to watch.
Nanisama! [なにさまっ!]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Probably 7.5 for me. Light-hearted, enjoyable time-filler. I like the first half of this series quite a lot, particularly the connections between the characters. The second half, felt a bit strung out, and the work aspect wasn't done very well. I didn't find the character of Futaro (played by Kishitani Goro) particularly likeable, but I like Akira (Watabe Atsuro). Matsuyuki Yasuko as the career woman/single mother was very good I thought, and I also like Takeuchi Yuko and Uchiyama Rina in their small roles. This is quite an enjoyable series overall.
Narita Rikon [成田離婚]
Natsuko no sake
News no onna [ニュースの女]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Although this is not groundbreaking by any means, it was a lot of fun, I think they made the most of the material on offer. Suzuki Honami shone, I was particularly impressed with the light-hearted side of her performance. The focus of the drama is more on inter-personal relationships rather than news reporting. It was very good at putting across all aspects of the story, and pretty much the whole support cast delivered very good performances. This is honestly a series that I enjoyed from start to finish. Very much recommended. :thumbsup:
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Ns' Aoi [Ns’ あおい ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Odoru Daisousasen [踊る大捜査線]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Terrific police drama that doesn't rely on the complexity of plot but still very engaging. Great cast with interesting characters that I wish I could learn more about, and absolutely hilarious at times. :D Oda Yuji is the best of all leading men I have seen.
Ohsama no resutoran [王樣のレストラン]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
One of the best and most entertaining series around. Great scripts with outstanding acting performances all round. When the staff get together with a common goal, it was just so much fun to watch. The last 3-4 episodes were significantly more serious. They were still very good but I personally found the last two a bit of let-down. Still, overall an excellent series, some of the best fun I had watching jdoramas.
Okane ga nai! [お金がない!]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Entertaining drama. They managed to make it a fun and rollercoaster ride, with great storytelling bringing friendship, kinship, romance and work relationships and subplots all clearly to life. Excellent acting performances and good direction make it interesting viewing all the way through. I think it really speaks for the 90's jdramas that a high quality drama such as this won only 2 acting awards (best actor and supporting actor). I would have rated it higher, but it didn't move me deeply, focusing making it fun and entertaining.
Ooku [大奥]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I really like the first 4 episodes with Kanno Miho as Atsuhime and it was great to see more of Ikewaki Chizuru throughout the series. I actually like it better than the more recent Taiga version, although the main characters were very limited in what they could do to improve their situations, like in Atsuhime.
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Finished re-watching Orange Days (3? years after the first time)... It was really good all the way through, much better than I remembered, but I also understand why I only gave it an 8. It didn't evoke a very deep intellectual or emotional connection with me. The point in the last episode, when Sae wrote that she didn't believe because she was weak, hit close to home and made me think. The cast, though very good, there were fleeting moments when I felt they didn't accentuate all the nuances in the writing, which was thought-provoking at times. Perhaps the director had different interpretation/didn't see them, I don't know. Of course, I didn't understand all of it too, what they were trying to say, the writer, actors, director... I have been trying to satisfy myself with mediocre/okay dramas for awhile now because I am tired of being disappointed with almost everything. This reminded me of what a high quality drama is like again.
Otoko no Kosodate [オトコの子育て]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This was quite amusing. Not very deep at all, just a light-hearted family drama at a relaxing pace sprinkled with little bits of social commentary or wisdoms. The characters were likeable and the cast did a good job. Enjoyable if not taken too seriously, I liked it.
Oyaji~ [オヤジぃ]

I like the story with Sayuri and Tadashi, the middle few episodes were absorbing/engaging than I expected, and Hirosue Ryoko was great as the cheerful, rebellious middle daughter. I thought Mizuno Miki could have made a lot more of her role. She seemed much the same as in Beautiful Life and Koi ga shitai x3. But overall, in hindsight, it wasn't that great.
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
raiaa geemu [ライアーゲーム]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Skip watched, felt slow having read the manga, but otherwise quite a good adaptation, except for the ending.
Rennai Kekkon no Hosoku [恋愛結婚の法則]
Rich Man, Poor Woman [リッチマン、プアウーマン]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Promising start but disappointing for most of the series. Enjoyed the romantic passages at the end but not the work aspects. Can't understand why Satomi's character was written like that, and I thought more would have been made of the past between the two leads. Aibu Saki surprised me though with her mature role even though she didn't have much to do, this image seems to fit her very well.
Risou no kekkon [理想の結婚]
Ruri no shima [瑠璃の島]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Saito-san [斉藤さん]
Saka no Ue no Kumo [坂の上の雲]
Rating: 8/10
Excellent production and acting performances. There are major leaps in plot development at times, but the pacing I felt was just about right, and the story and characters were engaging. If there is a drawback, it's that almost all the Japanese characters seemed so upright and courageous, but it didn't fail to show the cruelty of war and compassion for the fallen.
Satorare [サトラレ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Finally finished this series more than a year after I watched the first 7 epsiodes. I liked the first episode a lot, but afterwards, it was much sillier than I wished, hence the 1 year pause. The ending, even though not original, was well handled and made me think and smile. Overall an enjoyable series. The cast worked well together to create a very likeable drama. Probably 7.5 for me.
Second chance
Seigi wa katsu [正義は必勝つ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。]
Seikimatsu no uta [世紀末の詩]
(Watched)
This is probably the most thought-provoking drama I have watched. A lot of it was very meaningful and insightful, but also a lot toward the end left me confused. It also moved too much away from storytelling and the principal characters for my liking, so I wasn't particularly attached, although I imagine others could find some of the stories and the ending deeply moving. Yamazaki was stellar throughout the whole series. Every episode was original. It was actually quite a hopeful ending... I really don't know what to say about this drama...
Sekai de ichiban papa ga suki [世界で一番パパが好き]

I watched the first 4 episodes for Hirosue Ryoko. She was very good in this I thought, but felt that Akashiya Sanma was too boisterous. The legal cases were not that interesting and the supporting cast, with the exception of Tsugawa Masahiko, didn't add a lot to the series.
sekushii boisu ando robo [セクシーボイスアンドロボ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Probably 7.5. I really enjoyed the first few and last 2 episodes, and episode 7. Apart from those, the others were a bit ordinary, parts of which I felt I endured rather than enjoyed. I really liked the original plot and topics, how it was able to mix light-hearted and serious content seamlessly. Both the leads were very good too. But one of its problems I think is that it got a bit too complicated/confused sometimes in trying to deliver its messages, and there was a lack of focus for a long time in the middle of the series (both in terms of character and ...) I would have liked to see more of Niko, even though the story of Robo's growth was quite well told. The messages sometimes were a bit confusing, not sure if it's due to the quality of translation. I like most of the messages that I understood, though I have to say most of them were not that memorable, except for the first episode.
Shimokita Sundays [下北サンデーズ]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
The storytelling wasn't that great, but Aya was convincing and kawaii.
Shiroi Haru [白い春]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Excellent acting performances from the entire cast was the best thing about this drama for me. Abe Hiroshi delivered his best performance from what I have seen. Konno Mahiru, Shiraishi Miho and Yoshitaka Yuriko all shone at times, but there were very little focus on their characters, I wish they were developed a lot more and had subplots of their own. The first half was really good, and although the second half felt a bit ordinary for me, I would think this is still one of the best dramas this year. Nice, simple story, but well-told.
Shokatsu
Shokojo Seira [小公女セイラ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
The first 3 episodes were hard to watch, but it gets better after that. Shida Mirai and Higuchi Kanako are both terrific here and the supporting performances are all good too. The series has its moments, I particularly like the backstories and some of the points it makes, but because the story mainly revolves around people being mean and abusive to Sara, sometimes for little reason, this was not such a great series for me. Must watch for any Shida Mirai fan though.
Shoushimin kane [小市民ケーン]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This is lighthearted series about a timid, ordinary teacher and how he changed after meeting a young girl. I like the beginning and the end, but the writing for some of passages in the middle was disappointing and hard to sit through. The acting performances were good all round. The lead character was well acted, Enomoto Kanako was pretty and likeable, and Sawamura Ikki impressed me as the suave, successful doctor who had everything going for him. The pacing and style of this series is similar to "The Way I Live", both written by the same writer.
Soredemo, Ikite Yuku [それでも、生きてゆく]
Rating: 9/10
I finished watching Soredemo, Ikite Yuku yesterday. It's definitely high quality, one of the best in the last few years, but I have mixed feelings about it. For the first half, I was tempted to use words such as stunning/incredible to describe it, I got the feeling it's going to be great after the first 15 minutes. The theme song makes a lasting/haunting impression. Mitushima Hikari was great, as was Ohtake Shinobu, and most of the cast. But I didn't like the direction the series took in the second half, didn't understand how some of the main characters (and their thoughts) changed, and didn't like how the writer treated some of the characters, esp. Fumiya. I really wish it could have ended on a more hopeful note. Probably it has something to do with me watching the last 5 episodes in a row, but I finished watching feeling rather down and a bit confused. Could say a lot more with more time and spoilers, but that's enough for now. Even with the above reservation, there were parts I want to rewatch again and possibly again, it was really good at times. 8/10 Edit: I have been thinking about this series on and off the last few days since I have last written, even when I was watching other dramas. What I have written isn't accurate, the ending is hopeful, just not for everyone. I couldn't get over/accept how Fumiya turned out, that's my main problem. The series itself is thoroughly engrossing and it has influenced me to re-evaluate how I should live my life in the future.
SP [エスピー]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Excellent production and good acting all round, I found it lacking in characterizaton and insights into the profession, the mind and life of SP. It's almost all setup, events unfold and resolution. It was enthralling and gripping at all the crisis situations, and the backstory of the main character was well-told. I particularly like the performance by the actor who played the last assassin.
Star no Koi [スタアの恋]
Rating: 7/10
Got up to episode 8, not really drawn to any of the characters. Enjoyable light, romantic comedy to pass the time, but not recommended. The writing is pretty standard and a bit too silly sometimes. I found Hasegawa Kyoko to be much prettier.
Style! [スタイル!]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I thought after the first couple of episodes that the stories could be made up of cliches, but it actually turned out to be quite original and the writing was quite thoughtful at times. Motoki Masahiro was great, and good support performances too. It felt a little tired/repetitive midway, but overall not a bad series.
Sugao no mama de [素顏のままで]
Suika [すいか]
Summer snow
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Tengoku no kiss
Teru Teru Ashita [てるてるあした]
Tiger & Dragon [タイガー&ドラゴン]
Tokyo Friends [東京フレンズ]
TONBI [とんび]
Toubousha [逃亡者]

The acting is not bad, and there are many surprising twists and turns not in the original movie... The thing that kept me watching was the plot, but they kept throwing in new things, this combined with the slow pace, meant that I stopped watching after 8 episodes.
Umechan Sensei [梅ちゃん先生]
Utsukushii hito [美しい人]
Virgin Road [バージンロード]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Great performances. Even though the situations are not original and are sometimes almost cliche, the characters' emotions, conversations and relationships all felt real and absorbing. They don't make dramas like this anymore... Wakui Emi is such a good actress.
Wedding Planner [ウエディングプランナー]
Yamato Nadeshiko [やまとなでしこ【大和撫子】]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Yan Papa [やんパパ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
With no expectations, after a slow start in the first episode, I really enjoyed episode 1-4. Unfortunately, those were the best parts for me and watching the remaining episodes felt like a chore at times. It wasn't bad, but the story/situations seem a bit contrived at times. Goto Maki stole the show for me, I found myself watching the show for her scenes, wish there were more of them. Most of the other performances were all quite good actually.
Yoomigaeri [黄泉がえり]
Zettai Reido [絶対零度]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
What impresses me most about this series is how the stories of the victims, the criminals and families/friends involved are all poignantly told. Some of the cases are a bit predictable and the characterization of most of the regular characters felt severely lacking, but I thought Ueto Aya did a good job protraying her character, even though she seemed to be doing the same things every episode. I probably wouldn't have finished it if I didn't have all the episodes downloaded, but the series didn't feel long and I didn't want to skip any of it while watching.

xploring's drama reviews (3)
Beginner [ビギナー]
I never thought legal studies could be so interest [Rating: 8/10]
For those who haven't seen it, this series basically involves the 8 main characters sitting around and discussing legal case studies. Those are the best parts IMO. I really enjoyed the intellectual discussions, people from different backgrounds sharing different viewpoints. The camaraderie and rapport, the re-enactments, ... and sometimes I could understand what the people involved in those cases felt, and see the dynamic appeal of legal studies, like in episode 3, these are the highlights for me. Not much time was spent on the individual stories and backgrounds of the 8 main characters. The relationships between them were not developed very much either (no time), with the exception being Kitihara and Morino. While enjoyable, their friendship did not leave a particularly strong impression on me, and I did not wish for more time/explanation on these parts, other viewers may feel quite differently. Mimura, was quite good I thought. Her inexperience showed, but it suited her character. Matsuyuki Yasuko was probably the most convincing, though the Megumi's and the oldguys didn't have a lot to do. I would recommend it. But the Chinese subtitles for this series was probably one of the most difficult to understand in my experience, so I guess only those fluent in Japanese can fully understand and appreciate this series.
Majo no jouken [魔女の条件]
Great series. Needs to be rewatched to be fully ap [Rating: 9/10]
For me, I like the first 2 episodes quite a lot, especially when it tackles society's expectations and the pressure Michi (or anyone of us) is under. Then, after Michi's courage rose to declare her love for Hikaru and they ran away together, I was a bit disappointed. Some of the minor characters' choices and actions just seemed too unbelieveable, the story seemed to meander without much focus, perhaps much like the characters themselves, and I couldn't really tell what they were thinking/going through. The best part of the story for me is at the end, where it rose above even the love story and really took some surprising directions to say things about how to live and carry on, and reasons to live. With this in mind, in hindsight, I think I missed quite a few things conveyed by the story and characters' transformation. I actually thought that Nanako's acting in some of early and middle parts was not that good, but now I think perhaps I really didn't understand what Michi was going through. Michi's transformation/growth throughout was really quite inspiring. I really like this jdorama a lot. I am going to rewatch this, probably another 2 or 3 times, to understand more about what the story and characters tries to convey. For me: 9/10. at the moment, possibly more after rewatch P.S. It didn't occur to me at all that the ending is up to intepretation. LOL I thought Michi had really woken up. Still do actually.
Sugao no mama de [素顏のままで]
Looks like full series can be watched here: [Rating: ?/10]
http://www.youtube.com/user/1991Miyakobito

   

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