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Viewing profile :: dekatrain
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Joined:  27 Jun 2006
Total posts:  0
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Country (Nationality):  Australia
Location:  Australia
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dekatrain's drama votes (2)
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男]
Sekai no chuushin de, ai wo sakebu [世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ]
The best i've seen...ever

dekatrain's artiste votes (1)
Abe Hiroshi [阿部寛]
Seeing Hiroshi in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko is enough for me to vote for him - he owned that role!

dekatrain's dramas (104)
3 nen B gumi Kinpachi Sensei 8 [3年B組金八先生 8]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
69 sixty nine
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Although its been a while since I saw this movie, it was really promising to see a movie try to surpass the level of depth that are similarly found in japanese teen movies. Its a coming of age tale and one in which Tsumabaki shines.
Akihabara@DEEP [アキハバラ@DEEP]
Ashita no Kita Yoshio [あしたの、喜多善男]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Surprisingly good drama with decent performances.
Asuko March! [アスコーマーチ!]
Atami no Sousakan [熱海の捜査官]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
Attack No.1 [アタック No.1]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Apparently this one is a rip-off of ace wo narae, but i actually haven't seen that one so I can't draw comparisons. This drama's ok, although aya ueto's acting is pretty lame at times and then there's that over-used "never give up" cliche that I really got sick of by the end of it. And also the actual volleyball "action" was pretty bad - like aya is 5ft, so how the hell can she possibly get the ball over the net, let alone smash it over. Anyway, I did like how the story progressed, thus allowing a little unpredictability in how the end result would turn out.
Attention Please [アテンションン プリース]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
FINALLY...aya's starting to ACT! And I don't mean that she's becoming a great actor or anything, but I saw in this drama a little bit of progression in her acting abilities, especially in the second half of the drama. Sure, the whole rock chick that was pretty contrived, but it seemed to me that from about the middle of the series there was no longer much focus on her being a try-hard rock chick, and more about her overall personality. A strong back-up cast saved aya from carrying the whole load, and possibly saved it from slowly dying out half-way through. I enjoyed this drama, without REALLY loving it...probably 7 and 1/2 rather than 8.
Bambino! [バンビーノ!]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Not a bad drama, a little repetitive if anything. Matsumoto does a resonable job with a strong support cast, but what weighs down its respectability is that cliche that if you "believe in yourself, and you can do anything". If those types of dramas put you off, you may want to stay away from this one. But I enjoyed it, if a little weary of the fact that the plot is oh so familiar. Watch it if you're a Matsumoto Jun fan or just love food (like I do).
Beach boys [ビーチボーイズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I loved it. Perhaps aging ever so slightly but heaps of fun, Beach Boys has three young leads who have been genuine stars ever since. Sorimachi, Takenouchi, Hirouse, have all been prominent actors since. Lots of fun
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
BOSS
(Watched)
BOSS 2
Buzzer Beat ~ Gakeppuchi no Hero [ブザー・ビート]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Your typical love story drama. It is fine if you're in the right mood, but it is merely a drama fun of cliches and predominantly uninteresting, cardboard-cutout characters. Aibu Saki was decent as the bitchy girlfriend that doesn't let go of her man, but Yamashita and Kitagawa struggle through a lot of bad acting and not much going on plot-wise. Kitagawa is certainly eyecandy but than cannot make up for a lack of chemistry between her and yamaPi and her acting really is found out here. Not bad, but certainly expected more tension. Too artificial.
Byakuyakou [白夜行]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I wasn't sure how to rate this drama, because I find that the good parts and bad parts of it conflict with eachother...but i think its key element is the intrigue created by the story. Yes, it was overdone with all the slowmo's and crap, but the actors were brilliant - THIS IS ACTING. Ayase Haruka's part was just sooooo different from what she played in sekaachu, and i just hated what she would do to Yamada to save her own ass, but it was still awesome...And I must say that Kimpachi-sensei (don't know his real name) really added an extra dimension to the story telling and you could tell what he was thinking even though he wouldn't say anything...it's top grade acting. Worth watching...
Code Blue 2 [コード・ブルー 2]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Code Blue: Doctor Heli Kinkyu Kyumei [コード・ブルー]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Dandori [ダンドリ]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
Okay, firstly, as an 18 year old male myself, I find Nana Eikura one of the cutest girls I've ever seen. But as a drama, this is pretty lame. Obviously attempting to steal some of the "Waterboysish" spotlight of the past, this cheerleading drama (yes, you heard me right) throws up all sorts of mini-concoctions to make it last 10 or so episodes. But hey, who cares? It's got Nana and Rosa in it and that was good enough for me to watch it and besides, its cleverly directed at its intended audience being the teenage demographic.
Densha Otoko [電車男]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Itoh Misaki is strikingly beautiful in this one...obviously she gives hope to all the otaku's out there. Even so, I don't know how anyone could stand that guy's crying episodes one after another...
Dragon Zakura [ドラゴン桜]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Another school drama with a unique storyline about students wishing to excel in their last school year. I didn't really enjoy hiroshi abe as the teacher although his methods were intriguing and definitely adaptable into real-life situations. I loved masami in her role as yamapi's best friend and was relieved after being dissapointed in her portrayal of aki in "sekachuu" the movie. Stumbles in parts, but overall, worth a watch...
First Kiss [ファースト・キス]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Gachi Baka ! [ガチバカ !]
Rating: 4/10 (Watched)
Not that terrible...probably can be classified as one of those school dramas that try SO hard to mimic the better ones like Gokusen and GTO. Hardly any real storyline, lacks emotional intensity and nothing near as good as Gokusen, but I've got a soft spot for tomoka (kanachan)...
Gal Cir [ギャルサ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Stupid? Yes...But funny? Hell yes. Well, thats not completely true, as the girls' stories tended to bore the help out of me.It was like they left all the creativity in the hands of the whole "cowboy and indians" plot (whether a story about a japanese cowboy in the centre of tokyo is a sign of creativity or not is also worthy of debate). But this drama has its moments, and they lie solely with naohito's cowboy, geronimo the indian (don't know why he's called geronimo, probably best not to know), and ryuuta's police officer character. A lot of people were talking of the cute girls in this drama, and to an extent this true, but some of them look seriously unwell - almost anorexic, especially emi suzuki and erika toda. Anyway, the plot is ridiculous, but the drama satisfies, suprising i must admit, even just due to naohito's woeful attempts at english ("shitttt!.." and "whaat?"). Hahah...ahhh, good times.
Galileo [ガリレオ]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Ganbatte Ikimasshoi [がんばっていきまっしょい]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
This drama seems to be drained of emotion of something - it just seemed really boring, and anne suzuki is better than that as an actress. Of course uchi horoki's sudden departure would attribute to some of the conflicts apparent in the story's flow of events. What I mean is, it sort of skips time here and there and you sort of lose your way through the story. And then, every episode of the girls will run away crying for some reason, then anne suzuki would make an emotional speech saying how important every member is, followed by "let's work hard together" etc. and then suddenly everything is forgiven. Maybe I'm just being too cynical because I've seen too many of these types of dramas, but its just a bit dull...
Gokusen [ごくせん]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Very good, but story slows right down halfway through the series...and from then on its just a repeating storyline until the last episode. Nevertheless, it's seriously funny and I loved the assistant principal guy...
Gonzo - Densetsu no Keiji [ゴンゾウ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
GTO [麻辣教師]
Rating: 10/10
This show makes the likes of Gokusen and co. look pretty lame in comparison...Sorimachi steals the show convincingly as Onizuka and it was just amazing that he could portray such a wild, uneven character with such precision and grace...The ending is probably one of the greatest finales you'll see...and i think it sums up the quality of the show in general. Also, even though it is now 8 or so years on, the drama still relates very much to the present, and i think that it is one of the drama's greatest attributes...
H2~Kimi to itahibi [2〜君といた日々]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Suprisingly interesting drama...even though I've barely watched a baseball game I still enjoyed this series. Ishihara does extremely well in this one pretty much holding the cast together...but ending was a bit dodgy, and why did they skip heaps of the game all the time?
Hachimitsu to Kuroba [ハチミツとクローバー]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
I can see what the director and producers were thinking by bringing Narumi Riko (16) - a talented young actor - into the role of Hagumi. However, that lively youthfulness they were hoping to transfer onto screen in reality was contrastively replaced by a dull, lifeless perfomance. Anybody who has seen Aoi Yuu as Hagumi (probably in her best performance) in the movie version (worth a watch by the way) will know what I'm talking about. Imagine what the likes of Ueno Juri could've done with this role. She would've nailed it out of the park. Apart from that, the story is also incredibly slow, despite the lovely, laidback setting of artschool. Narimiya Hiroki is excellent as always and frustratingly so, because he is ALWAYS the standout in his dramas (stand up, kou kou no kyoshi etc.) and is somehow unable to get a proper gig as a main character in a drama. Overall, a bit disappointing and could've explored much greater territory as both a love story and a rite-of-passage drama.
Hana Yori Dango [花より男子]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I must admit that I loved this drama...very strong cast. Even Jun was good in it...some scenes were ridiculous but that's what I loved about it...
Hana Yori Dango 2 [花より男子]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A little disappointing but still full of somewhat calculated surprises, HYD2 ensures its audience is in for a few (or many) ups and downs as it begins with its stars in New York and generates a casual pace from there. The generic plot then develops giving Matsumoto many girls to sift through and Inoue...well, she just has her usual sulking to attend to. If only people would talk to each other? No really, if they did that in this drama, the show would be over after one episode.
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e [花ざかりの君たちへ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
HAPPY
Rating: 2/10 (Watched)
One word, boring...
Hero
Himitsu no Hanazono [ヒミツの花園]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
A cute little drama that is small on story, but big on emotional pull, or at least thats what it was trying to be. I thought the four brothers did an excellent job - neither of them tried to out-act each other or take the spotlight, and they all had different interesting personalities for Shaku to fend off (which is a rare-fete now days as J-dramas seem to be getting shallower and shallower). Watch out for the otaku-brother and the manager-brother - both of whom stood out, actually all the brothers did, even the younger one did a good job with his coming-of-age role. The main disappointment was Yumiko Shaku who I thought majorly struggled through her role - she just lacked expressions on her face. It seemed she had a happy/sad/confused face but could not combine or easily alter between those emotions on screen, which really showed i thought. She's cute, but in this drama, which relied heavily on emotional input, she was caught out through her inability to draw out her own character's personality. The characters still had me grinning all the way through and the whole manga-concept was excellent and well concieved.
Hotaru no Hikari [ホタルノヒカリ]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Houkago [下課後]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [1リットルの涙]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
As much as I tried I couldn't get into this drama...Ryou was very good in it, but I found it to be an absurdly dark drama. Some moments were touching, but I found it excessively depressing...
Ikebukuro West Gate Park [池袋ウエストゲートパーク]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Personally, I believe this drama should be up in the top 10 dramas list, because it is a hard, no-balls type of drama which profoundly exceeded my original expectations of it. It is an excellent drama that combines a strong plot, with an excellent, star-studded young cast including nagase, kubozuka, kato ai, sato ryuta (who is a seriously underrated actor) - all of which can be seen here during the early part of their careers. This drama is never boring, and although some of the middle episode may seem like fillers, the end of the story is satisfying and realistic.
Ima Ai ni Yukimasu [いま会いにゆきます]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Beautiful setting, unique plot and script...narimiya is good without being brilliant...story dulls down towards the end but it's still quite a satisfying drama if not taken too seriously
Iryu [医龍 Team Medical Dragon]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Iryu 2 [医龍 2]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Jikou Keisatsu [時効警察]
JIN [JIN-仁-]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
JIN 2
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
Abe Hiroshi's portrayal of Kuwano is brilliant; one of the best you'll see in any type of drama - western or from asia. It is the subtle qualities that he combines in his character that really make you egg for this guy - his slanting-over posture, anti-social skills (none at all!), his classic interactions with ken-chan, his mouth-twitcing, his attempts to smile early on (soo funny!), his glass of milk everynight with his classical music - the list goes on and its just hilarious! Of course some of the credit must go to director and screenwriter in particular to keep the story alive and well for 11 episodes - its never boring and the material is always fresh. But you should watch this for Hiroshi, it'll open you up to the OTHER side of japanese society!
Kimi wa Petto [きみはペット]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Lacked in storyline and was VERY predictable...however koyuki excels and saves it from being a real disaster. jun matsumoto forgets to ACT in his role as momo leaving the burden solely on koyuki. i just couldn't get around the whole concept of the human pet thing and the fact that a gracious, genuinely beautiful women like koyuki would want to do this drama. but i must admit that it has its moments
Kisarazu Cat's Eye [木更津キャッツアイ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Kou Kou Kyoushi 2003 [高校教師 2003]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This is an intriguing story; although the concept was centred around a teacher's love for a student and vise versa, for me it was the psychological aspect of the story that I became soon drawn too. Taken at face value as another "forbidden love"-type romance this will not satisfy you, as it is too dark in terms of its theme to allow you to enjoy it as that sort of drama. However, I think the unique twists that come about, although perhaps slightly incomprehendable, bring up strong questions about love as a virtue - is it based on need? Can it be overshadowed by guilt? Can those suffering a terrible past come to resolution? But perhaps one of the most interesting characters you'll see and the most brilliantly portrayed is Fujimura-sensei - a man with a terrible past, facing a life of guilt and covering his true persona with a "mask". You also see that his protection of Sonim's character brings dangerously closer to the horrids of his past, and it was this guy's character that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Kurosagi [クロサギ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
a tad better than your advantage drama, but nonetheless i was quite dissapointed with this one...it had so much promise that once i saw the ending it just frustrated the hell out of me...Very interesting characters, in particular the old man, the base of the story was also quite strong. However, i don't think yamapi fit the part - why does he always try to "act cool" rather than simply act? Anyway, some moments were done quite well and the dramatic intensity of the drama in general kept you on the edge of your seat...could of easily got 8+ stars.
Last Friends [ラスト・フレンズ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I remember watching the first episode and being like "wow, this is intense" - great selection of cast, excellent choice of theme song, original storyline - it seemed like it was going to be memorable. But it all ended up as one big melodramatic mess. My hat goes off to nishikido - he was genuinely terrifying and believable as the psychopathic lover (so different from ichi littoru), but im sick to death of nagasawa masami. She bores me and her acting is often cringeworthy, weighing down what is otherwise an excellent cast - juri, eita (excellent as usual) and mizukawa is a breath of fresh air.
Liar Game [ライアーゲーム]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Firstly, everything about Liar game is over the top, and perhaps appropriately so as the dialogue/acting is so miniscule you barely think that they're playing for ridiculous amounts of money. While I think Erika Toda did an OK job, I still merely see her as something pretty to look at and I believe she would progress better as an actress in a more serious role or a uni-type drama like orange days/honey clover where she can utilize her beauty, so to speak. Matsuda Shota mildly impressed me and I appreciate the fact that he's looking for different sorts of roles post-Hana Yori Dango (Oguri Shun, take note of this!) Overall though, a good drama that has entertaining moments that keep you guessing and confused.
LIAR GAME 2 [ライアーゲーム 2]
Rating: 7/10
LIFE [ライフ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
An excellent cast that includes upcoming talents Kii Kitano and the impressive Saki Fukuda lift this drama from just being a dark, unfulfilling school drama into one which highlights topics such as redemption, vengeance, and fear. Never before has bullying been displayed as violently and realistically before and Kitano and Fukuda as well as the relatively unexperienced support cast, all do excellent jobs at displaying the psychological manipulation that plays a part in the horrors of bullying.
Long Love Letter [ロング・ラブレター〜漂流教室]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
I have mixed feelings about this drama...on one hand, its different and nothing like any j-drama I've ever seen and for its exactly that reason, I thought it was a bit pedestrian in the possibilities the plot presented. It seemed a waste and simply depressing to have so little communication between the "now" and the "future" people because had there been a stronger link, it would've given more hope and comfort to both sides. Also, talent went unused - Kubosuka, usually an intimidating tough guy was given little room to really let go and barely did anything to really motivate his students - this coming from a guy who jumped from a building in real life! Tokiwa upstaged him easily.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション]
(Watched)
Love Shuffle [ラブシャッフル]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Slow, boring at times, but reasonable as it does bring to the surface a new concept for a drama - food. Yes, this show is all about food, which sounds interesting and it is mostly, but sometimes I just found myself struggling to watch yuko's nagging character - and why she didn't just pick one of the guys. By the way, wasn't it a bit unrealistic that they all fell for her? (especially considering how annoying her character was). But i think the two male leads satoshi and the older son did well to hold the plot together for most of the time...6.5/10
Manhattan Love Story [マンハッタン ラブストーリー]
Marks no Yama [マークスの山]
Moteki [モテキ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
What should've been a by-the-numbers J-drama turned out to be a very interesting portrayal of male/female relationships, due primarily to the quality of acting - Mirai Moriyama is perfectly cast as your average joe, with a sound supporting cast including Rinko Kikuchi (Oscar Winner from "Babel") and Hikari Mitsushima ("Love Exposure) among others such as Arai and Nonami. The other strong point is the music, which strays away from the usual J-POP fanfare, and turns towards indie classics.
My Boss, My Hero [マイボスマイヒロ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
First of all, this show's simply HILARIOUS. Forget the other crap, if you wanna laugh and not really have to think to much, this is the one to watch. I wasn't going to watch this, but after it got decent ratings at the start i thought there must be something about it so i started to watch and began to love it! I think it's secret relies in it's character's warm-hartedness and freshness of the script. Nagase Tomoya perfectly combines his "konoyarou" yakusa character with his stumbling high schooler, and ive fallen for yui after when she said "issho ni kaerou?" Must watch for instant laughs...
My Little Chef
(Watched)
Ningen no Shoumei [人間の証明]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
After seeing him in this drama, I must say, it's hard to see him not doing this when he's 80 years old. He's seems to just hold his own so well on camera, perhaps even more confidently than Kimura Takuya (although many fangirls may not like to agree and dramas like this one, aren't as glossed up like KimuTaku's). The drama's plot is quite complex and this is largely due to the excellent work done by the screenwriters. Admittedly, at times I thought the detectives spent whole episodes unravelling the simplest of discoveries and although this could get quite frustrating for the viewer, it did add the overall feel of the drama. The main problem I felt was the actual portrayal of the crime, as it just seemed so unnatural to me - when I saw it I thought I was watching a children's play, it was that bad. But the cast is excellent, the way in which the stories intertwine is also commendable, especially in a time where the trend is that drama producers go for style over substance.
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
Best school drama I've seen...much better and more realistic than Gokusen. Script was brilliant, the story was amazingly beautiful. One of the few dramas you can actually learn from...and I don't know how YamaP didn't win an award for his absurd yet brilliant character.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Very enjoyable drama, that is definitely one thing people can say about this drama. It's also good to see this drama stem away from the university love story type dramas and in that sense it creates its own genre. I really loved it - the leads were perfect, and they were backed with a very strong support headed by eita (who is getting better and better as an actor himself). I havent read the manga, but even so its obvious that this drama pays it respects to the manga very closely as the characters are portrayed as almost comic or cartoon-like. Very watchable and memorable!
Ns' Aoi [Ns’ あおい ]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Typical average J-dorama...relies on unrealistic plot turns and satomi saying "never give up" over and over...no doubt its cliched in that sense. However, it is touching in some parts and it was good to see some character developments especially eeto sensei and takagi sensei...and satomi is as cute as ever. Not a MUST watch but worth a watch if your looking for some light unexilarating entertainment...
OL Nippon [OLにっぽん]
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
A candid, in-depth perspective of the lives of five college students...shibasaki kou was very good as sae, and lead male kai excelled in his role aswell. I also enjoyed the side story between the other two and although I found the story to slightly struggle (like it would slow right down then they would skip a year etc.) at times particularly nearing the end, the ending was quite satisfying. Well worth watching...
Papa to Musume no Nanokakan [パパとムスメの7日間]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
An average, pretty routine story with a recycled plot. Aragaki fans will see plenty of her, but this drama is one you'll forget the day after you finish it (as i'm struggling to remember it now!). Its not all bad - i think the dad did a reasonable job playing a teenage girl. You're not missing much.
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
My reaction to the ending: "Oh, thank god for that...so? Ok, slight pause, nothing wrong with that...a causual smile, ok yeh, so its finally gonna happen now! Cool...wait...huh?! You smarmy piece of..." 11 episodes and I get that? pfft... One more observation: Why does Ken have all the responsibility of confessing? There's to sides to the coin. I understand that he personally let his opportunity go past him but, the girl similarly had the same opportunity and let it go and yet somehow the guilt only rests with Ken. One more: I have never seen anyone, I mean ANYONE, have such trouble in saying that they like someone. Just say it Dude! Geez...
ROOKIES [ルーキーズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
At last! God has transcended and given the underrated Sato Ryuta a lead role. After years of hard work (see Ikebukuro WGP, Utahime, or Cats Eye to understand what I mean) it was great to find him in a spotlight with a role that suits him as the overtly dorky yet kind-hearted and inspiring teacher. YES, the idea of a teacher inspiring delinquent students is not new - in fact, it deserves a rest. But I think his character is more realistic than any before in that he is totally fallible - for example, he does not beat up 20 students in a warehouse every week and inexplicably get a way with it (Shame on you Gokusen!). My hat goes off to the very accomplished cast - Hayato at first struggled but I think there was obvious improvement as he progressed through the story.
Sapuri [サプリ]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
This drama's sort of lame...like it's not bad but I just can't see Itoh Misaki and the other guy as a couple. Plus, one minute they were like total strangers and the next minute he was confessing to her - the story just didn't have a logical progression. What I mean is, they sort of jumped from the part of "getting to know eachother" straight to loving eachother, and it was sort of crappy. Anyway, the best bits were the advertising slogans and sequences which were pretty cool, and i think Eita's much better actor than the others goin round...
Satorare [サトラレ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Good performance from Odagiri and also from the female lead aswell. It was good to see him in a lighter, milder role and this drama entertains doing justice to his acting capabilities but does not really stand out in any way.
Sekai no chuushin de, ai wo sakebu [世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ]
Rating: 10/10 (Watched)
This is a sentimental favourite of mine...I saw this on tv in japan in 2004 and fell in love with it, seriously. Ayase Haruka is a phenomenal talent, as is Yamada... Also seen the movie, and this is ten times better...I cried during this! It's one of those dramas that doesn't have to "manufacture" emotion and intense passion because it's already there. As a watcher you immediately become immersed in the story as if it was actually happening right then and there...BRILLIANT...
sekushii boisu ando robo [セクシーボイスアンドロボ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Thank god there's a few people out there that wish to stir the boat and stop modern day j-doromas from spiralling into the waters of cliche after cliche - that's what the people from Sexy Voice and Robo attempt to do and full credit to them. Despite the badly translated english title, an at-sometimes frustratingly simple and dull script, this drama survives via the undeniable quirkyness of its plot and the vivacity and spirit given by the two main actors (both of whom are quite excellent) to their characters.
Shiawase ni Narou yo
Shika Otoko Aoniyoshi [鹿男あをによし]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Unique story and also hard to comprehend at times. Even for the more advanced Japanese learner, watching this without subtitles is difficult as the concept of the story is quite odd. Enjoyable at times but never really interesting and Tamaki is quite emotionless through out the whole drama. Hats off to Ayase for her performance which is slightly low-key but does provide for a few laughs.
Shiroi Haru [白い春]
Slow Dance [スローダンス]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi [空から降る一億の星]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
This drama is 11 episodes of pure tragedy and heartache. The last episode is possibly the most heartbreaking hour I have ever seen in any tv series. It is impeccably written by Kitagawa, as it takes you through the lives of characters unsuspectingly intertwined with each other. Sanma-san is brilliant, and his confrontations with Kimura are some of the best scenes I've seen in JDramas. It's not so much hate for each other that divides them, its something much deeper than that, as we discover through their interactions and as the drama itself progresses. Without the old, cheesy music and some inconsistencies in plot, this could've easily been 10/10. This dark tale surpasses Kou Kou no Kyoushi in its dark eery, nature.
Stand UP!!
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
I think it's unfair for people to simply label this drama "the japanese american pie" because i think it is more genuine and deserving than that. Anne Suzuki was the highlight for me, because as chie, she just added enough oddity to her character, that just watching her was interesting in itself...i think she proves that you don't have to be absolutely "kawaii" or some sort of pop idol to make it in japanese tv. Enjoyable, if a little frustrating at times...
Summer snow
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This was an interesting love story...lead by two strong leads, it seems to work for the most part, but falls short towards the end. Dohmoto and ryoko were excellent together, as were the cast including shun and the sister. I especially enjoyed the parts where dohmoto would just blabber on about this and that, and I though it added genuity to the storyline, that, let's be honest, is getting pretty tired...overall a good watch without being that exciting
Sunao ni Narenakute [素直になれなくて]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Good actors (Eita, Ueno) held down by a disappointedly dull and aimless Kitagawa script. Watch Orange Days instead. Ten times better than this.
Taisetsu na Koto wa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta [大切なことはすべて君が教えてくれた]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
Taiyou no uta [タイヨのうた]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Will Yamada ever play a different role, apart from the "man-im-so-cool" good guy all the time? Yes, I did enjoy this drama and I prefer Erika in this one over 1 Liter of Tears because she just seems more nature here (and I though 1 Liter was just a bit over the top). The location is also a nice change from the city districts, as it gives it a bit of freshness that other dramas lack. But, like others have said, Yamada seems to be stuck in the same role ever since sekaachu (which i loved to bits although). I think it'll be better to see him as a villain for a change or something. But apart from its a decent drama...
Tatta Hitotsu no Koi [たったひとつの恋]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
Pretty conventional love story - man without money falls in love with girl who has money, its been done a thousands times before...so what's so good about this drama? Well, it not even that good, saying that though it has two up-and-coming talents in Ayase and Kamenashi who both do a reasonable job but fail to lift the drama from being ordinary. Personally, I think they lacked chemistry - which doesn't help when you've got Kame being all "im so poor so i'm allowed to be sad" all the time combined with Ayase's slightly "im a bimbo but its okay" sort of appearance, and its hard to produce a descent drama. Their were moments, however, where I could see Kame's acting improving gradually, especially from the middle-half of the series onwards. The drama itself probably needed one more episode to fully end on the right terms, but was rushed and things were solved way to easily in about the last 10 minutes of the drama. Overall, slightly disappointing...
Teru Teru Ashita [てるてるあした]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
This is a very coming-of-age type story that blends family drama with fantasy producing a combined concept that is quite unique in its own way. Although it is not for everyone and is not even that entertaining, I must admit that is it very well done within its own genre. I found myself wanting to watch more and more, and the story gradually unfolded as it progressed much to my delight. Thus, persistence is the key to enjoying this drama, and to admire the acting talents of the new-comer kurokawa - she seems to handle her main role with precision and emotional balance when sometimes she could easily go over-to-top like other teenage actors (eg. Dandori Drill). Anyway, I quite enjoyed it, and the town in which the drama was based within really appealled to me. A good story for casual viewing, on say, a saturday or sunday afternoon?
The Quiz Show [ザ・クイズショウ]
Rating: 7/10
Tiger & Dragon [タイガー&ドラゴン]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
Tokyo Friends [東京フレンズ]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Not a bad acting debut by ai ootsuka, but i think eita steals the show. Arguably one of the most underatted young actors, eita is able to hold the cast and ai's slightly exaggerated acting together and they seem to have a unique type of chemistry with each other. it does bore a bit at times, but all of the main girls' stories we see do progress enough to prove that it is a decent drama. This drama will probably be better protrayed in the new movie...
Trick [トリック]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
What can one say about Trick that hasn't been said before? An intelligent, quick-witted (and low-brow when it wants to be) comedy about two completely different people who find themselves digging around to expose hoaxes behind proclaimed magical phenomena. Sound a bit tedious? It is, but the acting is phenomenal in itself.
Trick 2 [トリック2]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
I wish they made more dramas like this now days rather than just plain old slapstick and silly teen dramas. While taking the same plot structure and template from the first series, Trick 2 sees the maturation and a slightly more free-flowing atitude taken by Hiroshi and Yukie in their roles.Namase Katsuhisa needs his own show, or two, or three - he is a genius, nailing every nuance and improvisation he takes on. I now have higher respect for Nakama, whom I thought fluked her way through Trick 1. Abe Hiroshi is, well...Hiroshi - the best j-actor I've seen. The plot, which in many dramas would act as the centerpiece of the story, merely serves as a stage through which Abe Hiroshi and Nakama Yukie are able to romp around like 10 year olds, and what a glorious acting romp it is.
Trick 3 [トリック3]
Rating: 8/10
Unubore Deka [うぬぼれ刑事]
Rating: 9/10 (Watched)
While not quite as consistently funny as the likes of Tiger and Dragon, or as emotionally gripping as IWPG or Cats Eye, Unubore still proves why Kudo Kankuro is loved by audiences worldwide.
Ushi ni Negai wo: Love & Farm [牛に願いを - Love & Farm]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
A drama set in the farming country of Hokkaido that explores the lives of many different university students - some with an unrelenting passion for farming, and some who would rather be at home or at the mall. Reasonably good cast, but they are held back by the lack of available story lines and a cop-out script that seems to have been conjured up over night. I'm sick of cliched stories - the ending could be seen a mile away.
Utahime [歌姫]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
Water Boys [ウォーターボーイズ]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Having breifly watched waterboys 2, and before that the movie, I was pretty skeptical about this drama, but i think that this one might be the best out of all of them. the reason for this is the strong cast led by yamada and mirai, as well as eita, whom i personally think deserves a stronger reputation for his onscreen work. There were a few cheesy bits and a few hiccups in the script (I kept telling myself "how come all these guys can just enter the syncro club about a week before the festival? Was was the point of the last 8 weeks then? Like why was Kankuro's friend suddenly able to practise syncro when he seemed so devoted to study?") Apart from these questions, I really enjoyed it...
Water Boys 2 [ウォーターボーイズ2]
Rating: 7/10 (Watched)
To me, waterboys 2 is a much more polished sequel to its predecessor, if a bit superficial in its actual characters. The music updated with strings and piano, there's breathtaking scenery, two promising leads in hayato and satomi - but the supporting cast just didn't match up against that of series one. Nevertheless, it keeps you thoroughly entertained, even when you sense a bit of deja vu. In general, I do think it's a worthy secessor of the previous series, even though its obviously been revamped and possibly lost a bit of its original image.
Yamada Taro Monogatari [山田太郎ものがたり]
Rating: 8/10 (Watched)
Yamikin Ushijima-kun [闇金ウシジマくん]
Yasashii Jikan [優しい時間]
Rating: 6/10 (Watched)
A VERY slow drama about a son who has been emotionally distanced from his father, although actually living physically right beside him since their falling out. To be honest, I was a little disappointed and annoyed with this drama - while the ending was predictable and satisfying, I wasn't moved by it in the way I originally thought I was going to be.
Yuuki [ユウキ]
Rating: 5/10 (Watched)
Hmm...it was ok, resonably well acted with a good cast, and I know its supposedly based on a true story, but I guess to me it just seemed like another "cute boy/girl dies of incurable disease" drama. Just for once, just once, I wish they made a drama where the girl/girl actually survived because the disease was curable or at least manageable.Ahhh...one day perhaps

dekatrain's drama reviews (30)
Bambino! [バンビーノ!]
A Familiar Taste [Rating: 6/10]
Not a bad drama, a little repetitive if anything. Matsumoto does a resonable job with a strong support cast, but what weighs down its respectability is that cliche that if you "believe in yourself, and you can do anything". If those types of dramas put you off, you may want to stay away from this one. But I enjoyed it, if a little weary of the fact that the plot is oh so familiar. Watch it if you're a Matsumoto Jun fan or just love food (like I do).
Buzzer Beat ~ Gakeppuchi no Hero [ブザー・ビート]
Your Average Romance Drama [Rating: 6/10]
Your typical love story drama. It is fine if you're in the right mood, but it is merely a drama fun of cliches and predominantly uninteresting, cardboard-cutout characters. Aibu Saki was decent as the bitchy girlfriend that doesn't let go of her man, but Yamashita and Kitagawa struggle through a lot of bad acting and not much going on plot-wise. Kitagawa is certainly eyecandy but than cannot make up for a lack of chemistry between her and yamaPi and her acting really is found out here. Not bad, but certainly expected more tension. Too artificial.
Dandori [ダンドリ]
Cute Cast + Bad Acting = Another Waterboys Clone [Rating: 5/10]
Okay, firstly, as an 18 year old male myself, I find Nana Eikura one of the cutest girls I've ever seen. But as a drama, this is pretty lame. Obviously attempting to steal some of the "Waterboysish" spotlight of the past, this cheerleading drama (yes, you heard me right) throws up all sorts of mini-concoctions to make it last 10 or so episodes. But hey, who cares? It's got Nana and Rosa in it and that was good enough for me to watch it and besides, its cleverly directed at its intended audience being the teenage demographic.
Gal Cir [ギャルサ]
How does one review this show? [Rating: 7/10]
Stupid? Yes...But funny? Hell yes. Well, thats not completely true, as the girls' stories tended to bore the help out of me.It was like they left all the creativity in the hands of the whole "cowboy and indians" plot (whether a story about a japanese cowboy in the centre of tokyo is a sign of creativity or not is also worthy of debate). But this drama has its moments, and they lie solely with naohito's cowboy, geronimo the indian (don't know why he's called geronimo, probably best not to know), and ryuuta's police officer character. A lot of people were talking of the cute girls in this drama, and to an extent this true, but some of them look seriously unwell - almost anorexic, especially emi suzuki and erika toda. Anyway, the plot is ridiculous, but the drama satisfies, suprising i must admit, even just due to naohito's woeful attempts at english ("shitttt!.." and "whaat?"). Hahah...ahhh, good times.
Ganbatte Ikimasshoi [がんばっていきまっしょい]
Anne Suzuki is better than this suggests... [Rating: 5/10]
This drama seems to be drained of emotion of something - it just seemed really boring, and anne suzuki is better than that as an actress. Of course uchi horoki's sudden departure would attribute to some of the conflicts apparent in the story's flow of events. What I mean is, it sort of skips time here and there and you sort of lose your way through the story. And then, every episode of the girls will run away crying for some reason, then anne suzuki would make an emotional speech saying how important every member is, followed by "let's work hard together" etc. and then suddenly everything is forgiven. Maybe I'm just being too cynical because I've seen too many of these types of dramas, but its just a bit dull...If you want a decent anne suzuki drama see "Stand up".
Hachimitsu to Kuroba [ハチミツとクローバー]
Narumi Riko badly miscasted [Rating: 6/10]
I can see what the director and producers were thinking by bringing Narumi Riko (16) - a talented young actor - into the role of Hagumi. However, that lively youthfulness they were hoping to transfer onto screen in reality was contrastively replaced by a dull, lifeless perfomance. Anybody who has seen Aoi Yuu as Hagumi (probably in her best performance) in the movie version (worth a watch by the way) will know what I'm talking about. Imagine what the likes of Ueno Juri could've done with this role. She would've nailed it out of the park. Apart from that, the story is also incredibly slow, despite the lovely, laidback setting of artschool. Narimiya Hiroki is excellent as always and frustratingly so, because he is ALWAYS the standout in his dramas (stand up, kou kou no kyoshi etc.) and is somehow unable to get a proper gig as a main character in a drama. Overall, a bit disappointing and could've explored much greater territory as both a love story and a rite-of-passage drama.
Hana Yori Dango 2 [花より男子]
When it doubt, try communicating [Rating: 7/10]
A little disappointing but still full of somewhat calculated surprises, HYD2 ensures its audience is in for a few (or many) ups and downs as it begins with its stars in New York and generates a casual pace from there. The generic plot then develops giving Matsumoto many girls to sift through and Inoue...well, she just has her usual sulking to attend to. If only people would talk to each other? No really, if they did that in this drama, the show would be over after one episode.
Himitsu no Hanazono [ヒミツの花園]
Interesting concept but Shaku needs acting lessons [Rating: 7/10]
A cute little drama that is small on story, but big on emotional pull, or at least thats what it was trying to be. I thought the four brothers did an excellent job - neither of them tried to out-act each other or take the spotlight, and they all had different interesting personalities for Shaku to fend off (which is a rare-fete now days as J-dramas seem to be getting shallower and shallower). Watch out for the otaku-brother and the manager-brother - both of whom stood out, actually all the brothers did, even the younger one did a good job with his coming-of-age role. The main disappointment was Yumiko Shaku who I thought majorly struggled through her role - she just lacked expressions on her face. It seemed she had a happy/sad/confused face but could not combine or easily alter between those emotions on screen, which really showed i thought. She's cute, but in this drama, which relied heavily on emotional input, she was caught out through her inability to draw out her own character's personality. The characters still had me grinning all the way through and the whole manga-concept was excellent and well concieved.
Ikebukuro West Gate Park [池袋ウエストゲートパーク]
Seriously Underrated Drama [Rating: 9/10]
Personally, I believe this drama should be up in the top 10 dramas list, because it is a hard, no-balls type of drama which profoundly exceeded my original expectations of it. It is an excellent drama that combines a strong plot, with an excellent, star-studded young cast including nagase, kubozuka, kato ai, sato ryuta (who is a seriously underrated actor) - all of which can be seen here during the early part of their careers. This drama is never boring, and although some of the middle episode may seem like fillers, the end of the story is satisfying and realistic.
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男]
Abe Hiroshi...superb! [Rating: 10/10]
Abe Hiroshi's portrayal of Kuwano is brilliant; one of the best you'll see in any type of drama - western or from asia. It is the subtle qualities that he combines in his character that really make you egg for this guy - his slanting-over posture, anti-social skills (none at all!), his classic interactions with ken-chan, his mouth-twitcing, his attempts to smile early on (soo funny!), his glass of milk everynight with his classical music - the list goes on and its just hilarious! Of course some of the credit must go to director and screenwriter in particular to keep the story alive and well for 11 episodes - its never boring and the material is always fresh. But you should watch this for Hiroshi, it'll open you up to the OTHER side of japanese society!
Kou Kou Kyoushi 2003 [高校教師 2003]
A Psychological Romance [Rating: 9/10]
This is an intriguing story; although the concept was centred around a teacher's love for a student and vise versa, for me it was the psychological aspect of the story that I became soon drawn too. Taken at face value as another "forbidden love"-type romance this will not satisfy you, as it is too dark in terms of its theme to allow you to enjoy it as that sort of drama. However, I think the unique twists that come about, although perhaps slightly incomprehendable, bring up strong questions about love as a virtue - is it based on need? Can it be overshadowed by guilt? Can those suffering a terrible past come to resolution? But perhaps one of the most interesting characters you'll see and the most brilliantly portrayed is Fujimura-sensei - a man with a terrible past, facing a life of guilt and covering his true persona with a "mask". You also see that his protection of Sonim's character brings dangerously closer to the horrids of his past, and it was this guy's character that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Last Friends [ラスト・フレンズ]
Superb cast wasted by over-the-top melodrama [Rating: 7/10]
I remember watching the first episode and being like "wow, this is intense" - great selection of cast, excellent choice of theme song, original storyline - it seemed like it was going to be memorable. But it all ended up as one big melodramatic mess. My hat goes off to nishikido - he was genuinely terrifying and believable as the psychopathic lover (so different from ichi littoru), but im sick to death of nagasawa masami. She bores me and her acting is often cringeworthy, weighing down what is otherwise an excellent cast - juri, eita (excellent as usual) and mizukawa is a breath of fresh air. I've decided after watching her other shows that seka chuu was somewhat of a fluke (although ayase haruka was better) because she just seems lost on screen and her expressions are limited and predictable. Maybe she needs to make a few more movies and stop the j-dramas cos shes just so mediocre. But its not all her fault - the dialogue gets very predictable, and we never really get to explore the inner depths of mizukawa or eita, which was disappointing. So quite disappointing.
Liar Game [ライアーゲーム]
As Ridiculous as it is Fun [Rating: 7/10]
Firstly, everything about Liar game is over the top, and perhaps appropriately so as the dialogue/acting is so miniscule you barely think that they're playing for ridiculous amounts of money. While I think Erika Toda did an OK job, I still merely see her as something pretty to look at and I believe she would progress better as an actress in a more serious role or a uni-type drama like orange days/honey clover where she can utilize her beauty, so to speak. Matsuda Shota mildly impressed me and I appreciate the fact that he's looking for different sorts of roles post-Hana Yori Dango (Oguri Shun, take note of this!) Overall though, a good drama that has entertaining moments that keep you guessing and confused.
Long Love Letter [ロング・ラブレター〜漂流教室]
Apocalyptic future? Possibilities not discussed [Rating: 7/10]
I have mixed feelings about this drama...on one hand, its different and nothing like any j-drama I've ever seen and for its exactly that reason, I thought it was a bit pedestrian in the possibilities the plot presented. With such important themes such as how we use resources, the inability of man to live beside each other, conservation etc, it seemed a waste to not extend these themes. Also, it was simply depressing to have so little communication between the "now" and the "future" people because had there been a stronger link, it would've given more hope and comfort to both sides. Also, talent went unused - Kubosuka, usually an intimidating tough guy was given little room to really let go and barely did anything to really motivate his students - this coming from a guy who jumped from a building in real life! Tokiwa upstaged him easily. I'd choose Battle Royale over this survival-of-the-fittest drama any day.
Moteki [モテキ]
Basic Premise, Excellent Acting/Music [Rating: 8/10]
What should've been a by-the-numbers J-drama turned out to be a very interesting portrayal of male/female relationships, due primarily to the quality of acting - Mirai Moriyama is perfectly cast as your average joe, with a sound supporting cast including Rinko Kikuchi (Oscar Winner from "Babel") and Hikari Mitsushima ("Love Exposure) among others such as Arai and Nonami. The other strong point is the music, which strays away from the usual J-POP fanfare, and turns towards indie classics. While music doesn't usually make a great drama, many of these songs are particularly effective in accompanying the drama at given times, and they also change every episode so you don't get that one boring theme song over and over. The only real drawbacks I found from Moteki, were the shortness of episodes (28mins) and a rather vague conclusion, which, while satisfactory, could've been stronger. I would've really liked to know more about the characters and their motives etc., especially the four women and the best friend, but this was understandably restricted due to the time limitations. Unfortunate for such a promising series as this.
Ningen no Shoumei [人間の証明]
Takenouchi Yutaka is a class actor [Rating: 8/10]
After seeing him in this drama, I must say, it's hard to see him not doing this when he's 80 years old. He's seems to just hold his own so well on camera, perhaps even more confidently than Kimura Takuya (although many fangirls may not like to agree and dramas like this one, aren't as glossed up like KimuTaku's). The drama's plot is quite complex and this is largely due to the excellent work done by the screenwriters. Admittedly, at times I thought the detectives spent whole episodes unravelling the simplest of discoveries and although this could get quite frustrating for the viewer, it did add the overall feel of the drama. The main problem I felt was the actual portrayal of the crime, as it just seemed so unnatural to me - when I saw it I thought I was watching a children's play, it was that bad. But the cast is excellent, the way in which the stories intertwine is also commendable, especially in a time where the trend is that drama producers go for style over substance. A must watch for a drama lover with a keen eye for crime mysteries.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ]
The fun never stops [Rating: 9/10]
Very enjoyable drama, that is definitely one thing people can say about this drama. It's also good to see this drama stem away from the university love story type dramas and in that sense it creates its own genre. I really loved it - the leads were perfect, and they were backed with a very strong support headed by eita (who is getting better and better as an actor himself). I havent read the manga, but even so its obvious that this drama pays it respects to the manga very closely as the characters are portrayed as almost comic or cartoon-like. Very watchable and memorable!
Papa to Musume no Nanokakan [パパとムスメの7日間]
Pretty Average [Rating: 5/10]
An average, pretty routine story with a recycled plot. Aragaki fans will see plenty of her, but this drama is one you'll forget the day after you finish it (as i'm struggling to remember it now!). Its not all bad - i think the dad did a reasonable job playing a teenage girl. You're not missing much.
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦]
My thoughts on being cheated [Rating: 6/10]
My reaction to the ending: "Oh, thank god for that...so? Ok, slight pause, nothing wrong with that...a causual smile, ok yeh, so its finally gonna happen now! Cool...wait...huh?! You smarmy piece of..." 11 episodes and I get that? pfft... One more observation: Why does Ken have all the responsibility of confessing? There's to sides to the coin. I understand that he personally let his opportunity go past him but, the girl similarly had the same opportunity and let it go and yet somehow the guilt only rests with Ken. One more: I have never seen anyone, I mean ANYONE, have such trouble in saying that they like someone. Just say it Dude! Geez...
ROOKIES [ルーキーズ]
GTO meets H2 [Rating: 8/10]
At last! God has transcended and given the underrated Sato Ryuta a lead role. After years of hard work (see Ikebukuro WGP, Utahime, or Cats Eye to understand what I mean) it was great to find him in a spotlight with a role that suits him as the overtly dorky yet kind-hearted and inspiring teacher. YES, the idea of a teacher inspiring delinquent students is not new - in fact, it deserves a rest. But I think his character is more realistic than any before in that he is totally fallible - for example, he does not beat up 20 students in a warehouse every week and inexplicably get a way with it (Shame on you Gokusen!). My hat goes off to the very accomplished cast - Hayato at first struggled but I think there was obvious improvement as he progressed through the story. Other standouts were Kiritani Kenta (see him in Crows Zero) who provided some well-needed comic relief and Koide Keisuke who is also much improved. Let-downs included the overuse of flashbacks and that annoying background music (and I hate it when the have to show individual head-shots of everyone everytime Kawato says something, anyone else hate that?! Such a time filler!), and a script which struggled at times. But most of all, it was incredibly frustrating to have the drama delayed for weeks at a time (and for volleyball at that!), meaning important plots points would dissolve once I returned. But a good, promising drama.
sekushii boisu ando robo [セクシーボイスアンドロボ]
Dares to be different [Rating: 7/10]
Thank god there's a few people out there that wish to stir the boat and stop modern day j-doromas from spiralling into the waters of cliche after cliche - that's what the people from Sexy Voice and Robo attempt to do and full credit to them. Despite the badly translated english title, an at-sometimes frustratingly simple and dull script, this drama survives via the undeniable quirkyness of its plot and the vivacity and spirit given by the two main actors (both of whom are quite excellent) to their characters. People will be frustrated by this drama because it lacks any real plot development, and on the surface the characters each seem restricted as a result. But if you attempt to read between the lines, you'll find a terrified young girl fighting against her parents, friends - basically everyone she knows, and yet somehow she finds peace with an odd, otaku boy who has no special gifts, but somehow is able to understand her. Their relationship is amazingly pure and as deep as any one you'll see in a j-dorama, period. Matsuyama is a star
Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi [空から降る一億の星]
The darkest drama I have seen to date. Sanma is br [Rating: 9/10]
This drama is 11 episodes of pure tragedy and heartache. The last episode is possibly the most heartbreaking hour I have ever seen in any tv series. It is impeccably written by Kitagawa, as it takes you through the lives of characters unsuspectingly intertwined with each other. Sanma-san is brilliant, and his confrontations with Kimura are some of the best scenes I've seen in JDramas. It's not so much hate for each other that divides them, its something much deeper than that, as we discover through their interactions and as the drama itself progresses. Without the old, cheesy music and some inconsistencies in plot, this could've easily been 10/10. This dark tale surpasses Kou Kou no Kyoushi in its dark eery, nature.
Tatta Hitotsu no Koi [たったひとつの恋]
I've seen it done before [Rating: 6/10]
Pretty conventional love story - man without money falls in love with girl who has money, its been done a thousands times before...so what's so good about this drama? Well, it not even that good, saying that though it has two up-and-coming talents in Ayase and Kamenashi who both do a reasonable job but fail to lift the drama from being ordinary. Personally, I think they lacked chemistry - which doesn't help when you've got Kame being all "im so poor so i'm allowed to be sad" all the time combined with Ayase's slightly "im a bimbo but its okay" sort of appearance, and its hard to produce a descent drama. Their were moments, however, where I could see Kame's acting improving gradually, especially from the middle-half of the series onwards. The drama itself probably needed one more episode to fully end on the right terms (and a better screenwriter), but instead it was rushed and things were solved way to easily in about the last 10 minutes of the drama. Overall, slightly disappointing...
Teru Teru Ashita [てるてるあした]
Very Underrated Mystery Fantasy [Rating: 7/10]
This is a very coming-of-age type story that blends family drama with fantasy producing a combined concept that is quite unique in its own way. Although it is not for everyone and is not even that entertaining, I must admit that is it very well done within its own genre. I found myself wanting to watch more and more, and the story gradually unfolded as it progressed much to my delight. Thus, persistence is the key to enjoying this drama, and to admire the acting talents of the new-comer kurokawa - she seems to handle her main role with precision and emotional balance when sometimes she could easily go over-to-top like other teenage actors (eg. Dandori Drill). Anyway, I quite enjoyed it, and the town in which the drama was based within really appealled to me. A good story for casual viewing, on say, a saturday or sunday afternoon?
Trick [トリック]
Abe Hiroshi is Mr J-dorama [Rating: 8/10]
What can one say about Trick that hasn't been said before? An intelligent, quick-witted (and low-brow when it wants to be) comedy about two completely different people who find themselves digging around to expose hoaxes behind proclaimed magical phenomena. Sound a bit tedious? It is, but the acting is phenomenal in itself. Having found Nakama playing annoying and overwrought characters in the past (Gokusen and the horrible sequel that followed) she finally (even though Trick began before it) really nails her character. As always, Mr. reliable and in my opinion Mr J-dorama himself, Abe Hiroshi is brilliant, bringing his comedic A-game to this somewhat plot-deprived yet unique show. The drama hits a perplexing situation at its end, but all in all, an excellent beginning to a drama franchise that excels in leaps and comedic bounds.
Trick 2 [トリック2]
The Same Tricks But Better Chemistry [Rating: 9/10]
I wish they made more dramas like this now days rather than just plain old slapstick and silly teen dramas. While taking the same plot structure and template from the first series, Trick 2 sees the maturation and a slightly more free-flowing atitude taken by Hiroshi and Yukie in their roles. Ueda, now with his own tv show and popular book, loves the attention he is now getting and even has his own hilarious motto. Yamada, on the hand, the more talented of the two, still struggles to find a regular job and even food to eat. The police detectives are more hilarious than ever...just a joy to watch. Namase Katsuhisa needs his own show, or two, or three - he is a genius, nailing every nuance and improvisation he takes on. I now have higher respect for Nakama, whom I thought fluked her way through Trick 1. Abe Hiroshi is, well...Hiroshi - the best j-actor I've seen. The plot, which in many dramas would act as the centerpiece of the story, merely serves as a stage through which Abe Hiroshi and Nakama Yukie are able to romp around like 10 year olds, and what a glorious acting romp it is.
Unubore Deka [うぬぼれ刑事]
Not quite IWPG/Tiger & Dragon, but still KudoK [Rating: 8/10]
Given the ridiculousness and seemingly one-dimensional nature of the synopsis, there is no wonder why this drama may be dismissed on paper as another silly jdrama filled with cliche after cliche. That is, however, until you realize Kudo Kankuro is both director and writer for the series. Fans of Kankuro's previous work will no doubt recognize many faces, almost as if they never left our screens, from titles like Tiger & Dragon and IWPG. Nagase is his usual comic best, with help from Ikuta Toma and Mika Nakashima, whom both surprised me with their valuable contributions. But really, Nishida Toshiyuki is the scene stealer, constantly upping Nagase, especially in the episodes that fall flat. Improving on their screen-time together in Tiger and Dragon, Nagase and Nishida's onscreen relationship really makes this drama for me. It is a joy to watch. While not quite as consistently funny as the likes of Tiger and Dragon, or as emotionally gripping as IWPG or Cats Eye, Unubore still proves why Kudo Kankuro is loved by audiences worldwide.
Water Boys [ウォーターボーイズ]
Yamada leads strong support cast [Rating: 8/10]
Having breifly watched waterboys 2, and before that the movie, I was pretty skeptical about this drama, but i think that this one might be the best out of all of them. the reason for this is the strong cast led by yamada and mirai, as well as eita, whom i personally think deserves a stronger reputation for his onscreen work. There were a few cheesy bits and a few hiccups in the script (I kept telling myself "how come all these guys can just enter the syncro club about a week before the festival? Was was the point of the last 8 weeks then? Like why was Kankuro's friend suddenly able to practise syncro when he seemed so devoted to study?") Apart from these questions, I really enjoyed it...
Water Boys 2 [ウォーターボーイズ2]
New Version of the Old [Rating: 7/10]
To me, waterboys 2 is a much more polished sequel to its predecessor, if a bit superficial in its actual characters. The music updated with strings and piano, there's breathtaking scenery, two promising leads in hayato and satomi - but the supporting cast just didn't match up against that of series one. Nevertheless, it keeps you thoroughly entertained, even when you sense a bit of deja vu. In general, I do think it's a worthy secessor of the previous series, even though its obviously been revamped and possibly lost a bit of its original image.
Yasashii Jikan [優しい時間]
I'm sorry, but I couldn't forgive this one [Rating: 6/10]
A VERY slow drama about a son who has been emotionally distanced from his father, although actually living physically right beside him since their falling out. To be honest, I was a little disappointed and annoyed with this drama - while the ending was predictable and satisfying, I wasn't moved by it in the way I originally thought I was going to be. And now thinking about it, there really wasn't much of a plot involved but rather a gradual revealing of the son and father's past. It was quite frustratingly slow, and although I usually have the tendency to forgive such slow paced dramas if they finish well, I don't believe the end of the drama justifies the sometimes painful process it took to get there. I felt Nagasawa's performance was incredibly strained and she didn't seem very comfortable portraying her role. While Ninomiya did a competent job, he seems a bit lacking not only in his own input into the character, but the character itself which lacked charm and warmness. The exquisite scenery and the father's acting presence saved the drama from falling into a melodramatic mess. 6.5/10

   

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