|Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]|
Just like love in life itself [Rating: 8/10]
A wonderfully-crafted series, Beautiful Life seek to define the broad expanse of how love is like, both its happy and unhappy moments. Although at times, the unhappy moments in the show can be pretty painful to go through but in preservering you would understand why this show is so wonderful and also why love is so wonderful.
|Densha Otoko [電車男]|
ki-ta!! Densha Otoko! [Rating: 10/10]
Finally, after completing the last episode of Densha Otoko, I finally understand why so many people are talking about it. Honestly speaking, the first thought that came to mind when I heard about the premise of the story was how corny it was and most likely a fluffy comedy. Luckily for me, i took the time to go through his show.
Densha Otoko really shines because it is ultimately extremely entertainment, from moments of silly puppy romance to touching thank-you scenes to even outrageous comedic scenes (anyone remember the gushing swer pipe:P) the show managed to keep us entertain without ever once slowing down.
One of its more unique idea was the scenes of the other BBS participant chatting away with Densha-san. And as you watch how the entire community gives strength to Densha, you also realize they themselves drew strength from him. And before long i find myself seemingly like one of the BBS chatter (albeit unable to reply) rooting for him or cheering whenever he recounts one of his wonderful dates.
Itoh Masaki was luminously beautiful although her role didn't really give her much room to explore beyond that of a perfect lady but she was still perfect in her role as the OL Aoyama-san.Much of the great acting came from Atushi-san and the rest of the wacky gang of BBS chatters. It pretty fun to see the different character ham it up as cosuplay girl to army freak to even a cameo by a character from Slow Dance. Atushi was perfect as the gawky otaku whom despite his sometimes irritating habit of breaking down in tears every episode, you cant help but be touched by his sincerity and believe that he is truly the man for Aoyama-san. However there are moments, where i felt the directing or editing was awkward but I guess perhaps this might be due to the using of such a fresh idea in this case.
Nevertheless, Densha Otoko in my opinion has achieved the top seat for this summer's dramas, and maybe even the entire year. Hopefully fujitv will be able to come up with another equally fun and entertaining show in the future. Good luck to Densha-san and Hermes-san. Itekimasu!
|Fukigen na Jiin [不機嫌なジーン]|
Pleasant distraction [Rating: 7/10]
Definitely not one of Yuko-chan best work but if you can drop any pre-expectation that you have and just enjoy the show as it it, you would find yourself pleasantly entertained by it.
The story, set around biology (especially the study of insect), is essentially at its heart a love story. It talks about how Jinko (yuko-chan's character) goes through her life (5 years in all, 2000-2005) and falling in and out of love, much in the mould of tokyo love story, albeit more lighthearted.
Well it is enjoyable to see yuko-chan and uchino-san let go of themselves and be totally dramatic (as compared to the restrained actings of many today's series). Overall, it is a enjoyable outing as you follow Jinko-san through life's ups and downs. But don't expect any oscar-winning story tho:)
|Gakkou no sensei [ガッコの先生]|
Enjoyable! [Rating: 9/10]
Given the number of titles featuring this genre, it is inevitable that the storyline features plenty of cliches. But of course that does not mean the show isn't good. On the contrary, Gakkou No Sensei managed to string together the various storylines in a balanced and well-crafted fashion, that at the end of the show you can't help but feel sad that the show has ended.
The two leads Tsuyoshi & Yuko hams it up as a pair of loggerheads who are staying together under the same roof. But as time goes, one notice the bickering stems from their affection for each other, and thus it was really nice to see them reveal their feeling at the end.
Of course this is a show about primary school kids and the despite the selfish and very naughty antics of the Tsuyoshi's class, it was really heartwarming to see how they grew and matured under his care.
All in all, this is one of the more meaningful and touching "teaching" drama out there along side GTO:)
Class Dismissed!=) [Rating: 10/10]
From NTV comes another teacher genre show, Gokusen puts a new twist to the original Kinpachi-character, having Yukie Nakama playing the heiress to a powerful yakuza family whose life ambition is to become a teacher like her father.
Here we are treated to the comic talent of the beautiful Yukie Nakama as the goofy but dedicated first-time high school Yankumi (a nickname given by her student). Its inevitable in watching this show, you would start falling to the charms of the delectable Yankumi, as she goofs up trying to hide her sometimes overly fierce yakuza persona from the school or going all out to to save and understand her student. She is at the same time cute , funny, beautiful and caring. In the words of the school's principal: "she is someone who can really bring about some good to the school"
But what is such show without the students. The "problem" pack, lead by Matsumoto Jun, is a gang of misfits who has no interest in school and constantly gets into the trouble. They areof course not really rotten in a core just misguided and as the show proceed, you realize each of them are just simple boys hiding in their tough exteriors. The boys put in a good performance and handle their part well alongside Yukie Nakama.
The fine performance and good scripting means that this show will definitely tugged your heartstrings as the show winds down to the grand finale. Really makes one wish for a good teacher in the like of Yankumi. yosh!
|Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王]|
A different side of Yuko-chan [Rating: 9/10]
Am really glad that I managed to get my hands on this show. Was beginning to suspect that my dear yuko-chan can only act out cutesy or homely role (I want to believe that she is so much more that that:P) but she shows that, yupe , she can definitely break out of her usual casting stereotypes.
Here she plays a spunky ex-gang member, Mugita Natsumi who has gone "straight" for 5 years and is living a life of aimless wandering. But there is one thing in her life that fire her up, that is the thought of "oiishi" dishes, especially lunch.
The show goes on with her putting up with the Nabeshima family (bunch of good looking talented chefs:P) through a series of funny and unfortunate event:P.
One thing I really like about the show its how it talks about the simple pleasure in life (eating) and how it can make someone day. A recurring theme in the show talks about how good taste will never fade or go away especially with people like the Nabeshima family safeguarding "tradition". All this adds up to how no matter what background, troubles one has, there certain things in life (food here) that can help to energise and be a reasurring "blanket"
Lol, only thing that might have put me off was the romance subplot that never really conclude with a satisfying ending. But thinking back I guess this is good enough as this is more a show about life than love. Good job yuko-chan and gang!
Romance at its best. [Rating: 10/10]
So we find that often the best shows around are those with simple themes but yet managed to convey its message to the viewers and leave a deep impression. Pride reminds me of those great romance drama in the past that dominate the discussion for the year, like Beautiful Life, Summer Snow, Long Vacation.
Kimutaku plays a ice hockey team captain (Halu Satonaka) this time (iceman), a arrogant and closed individual who meets the beautiful and innocent Aki Murase (played by Takeuchi Yuko). Barring the subplot (good ones tho), the show revolves around their "love game" as Halu plays the role of a substitute boyfriend as Aki awaits the return of her boyfriend who has broken contact for 2 years.
This seems like the perfect recipe for heart-wrenching romance, and it is. We are brought along for the ride as we witness the development of something akin to true love between the two leads, feeling and rooting for them. Of course when things go bad, all of us brought up boxes of tissues as we struggle through the episodes.
All in all, Pride has all the right ingredients, love , sacrifice, honor, and it really left a touching impression in many of us. I'm pretty sure this would be one of the dramas people would be talking for a long time.
|Slow Dance [スローダンス]|
Waltzing through Life [Rating: 10/10]
So I find myself entranced by this deceptively simple series, with the sort of anticipation that one reserved for sunsets and snowfall, and at the end coming out of it touched.
Much comparison has been made about it with Long Vacation - the development of love between a older woman and a younger man. Personally I felt that Slow Dance is a better show, perhaps it's because of the overall feel of the show, much like its title a slow dance through the lives of show's protagonists. This set the entire mood of the show as the story take its time to develope and build on till it is inevitable that you feel for the people in it.
The acting here is mostly top-notch even with the supporting cast. Eri Fukatsu was spot on as the vulnerable but optimistic lady who seek to goes through life her own way. Her chemistry with the young and talented Satoshi was really good and you can't help but wish fervently they are together at the end of the show. Of course it helps that they and the rest of the cast are so beautiful:)
Many of the show's scene is set at the driving school where Satoshi is working at, and revolves around Fukatsu' character (Isaki) trying to get her driving license. There seems to be a metaphor hidden her as a Satoshi is always emphazing to his student o be careful and press the brakes often while Isaki-san always tend to forget to brake and drive headlong ahead. Seems like a pretty accurate reflection of their attitude towards life. Lol i really like shows that have such hidden details in it
Note. I really like the underlying theme that tied the show together, about chasing ones dreams and that life is one big meandering road, and it might take a while before you found what you want. Of course for those who can't stand slow-paced drama, this might not be the one for you tho
For Love, Honor & Glory [Rating: 10/10]
Its not often that a drama series managed to achieve the type of production value in movies but Umizaru Evolution has managed to do it and even surpassed the original movie. The show (based on a popular comic series) is about Senzaki Daisuki (Ito Hideaki), a navy rescue diver and the various characters working at the ship, Nagare, he is posted to.
Many has pointed out that the show seems to appeal to guys more with its mainly guy-related topic like sacrifice, buddies etc. But the show is more than that, i feel, that the show is about being human and the choices that we made. From Daisuke's point of view, we go through momentous events in his life, from his budding love with Kanna (Ai Kato) to the death of his buddy to the decommissioning of Nagare. It is so enjoyable to have a character so fleshed out and allow one to follow him through his life.
I particularly enjoyed the romance between Senzaki and Kanna, as they overcome the awkward situation created from their parting in the movie ending, to her overcoming her fear of his job and how they come to understand each other.
One thing I pointed out earlier was the high production values, this is because in watching the show you might feel that each episodes is like a mini-movie with its high budget action scenes and strong themes in each episode. Credit should be given to the strong supporting cast like Tokito Saburo, Nakamura Toru whose own side stories was touching enough and managed to build on the overall feel of the show
This show along with Densha Otoko and Slow Dance has managed to provide for the summer audience everything they looked for in tv entertainment.