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Viewing profile :: Hiro Toyo
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Joined:  01 Dec 2003
Total posts:  13
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Country (Nationality):  United States
Location:  Arcadia, CA
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Hiro Toyo's drama reviews (65)
Ace wo Nerae! [エースをねらえ!]
A great sports drama [Rating: 8/10]
I believe it has always been difficult to make a good drama or movie about sports, and tennis is one of the harder ones to make, so I was skeptical about this drama. However, to my surprise, they did a great job! I liked the pace of the drama, and I liked the action scenes during the tennis matches. Instead of focusing on just the point by point plays as one would usually do while watching a tennis match, the focus instead was turned to the player's emotions and the tension during the match. I was impressed that the drama took this direction and really succeeded as well. There were plenty of groundstroke, serve, and volley scenes to keep even tennis enthusiasts(like me) satisfied, and coupled with scenes where the focus was on the player's emotions during the match to make the drama well rounded and fun to watch. Then the off court story is of course, typical, but then this is a teenie bopper drama, so what did you expect?
Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu [愛なんていらねえよ、夏]
Hirosue's top performance [Rating: 9/10]
I really should give this drama a 10, because it's almost perfect in every way. The best part about the drama is the plot, which develops at a steady pace, with plenty of surprises, but the kind where you feel they did it just to keep you watching, but the kind that is totally reasonable given what's going on at the moment. Despite the poor ratings (one of the lowest by both leads), the screenplay writer won best screenplay (well deserved). Of course, great performances by everyone in the story, not just the leads, made this drama so much more entertaining to watch. So there you have it; great story, great acting, what a great drama. I was lent this drama by a friend, and haven't even heard of this drama before then. What a surprising discovery
Aisuru Tame ni Aisaretai [愛するために愛されたい]
Love and the Universe don't mix [Rating: 5/10]
From the very beginning, this drama had SLOW written all over it. The characters develop in a very strange way. I couldn't see how the two leads in this drama fell in love with each other, and couldn't see all the other subplots develop convincingly at all. The entire theme of the drama is the universe, and the word comes up a lot in the dialogue. However, I thought it was overkill for these characters to bring up the word so much because it wasn't convincing at all. In this drama, love and the universe just don't mix. I was hoping at least there would be some sort of climax at the end, but I was again disappointed. The main guy is dull, and the whole drama tries to steer in the "sophisticated direction" (with the girl dancing from time to time and the guy playing the cello at home), but none of this even comes close to living up to the name of the drama, and I just don't see how love was even a theme that tied this whole drama together.
Antique [アンティーク〜西洋骨董洋菓子店]
A Must See!!! [Rating: 10/10]
A creatively thought out story with lots of twists and humor. Definitely a light-hearted type of drama. The story is unique and each character is clearly developed. The story is smooth and like most dramas, convey a lot of messages about life. I really liked this drama because it is so original and the story just keep developing and the main characters, all male, have really nice chemistry.
Attack No.1 [アタック No.1]
A not too successful follow up to Ace [Rating: 6/10]
I liked Ace, and when Attack came out, I was excited. I was on both the volleyball and tennis team back in my school days, and I liked the CG on Ace, and how they made everything look so pretty and manga-like. But then this Attack was something different. I don't mind all the other characters involved, but they did NOT look like high school students. No offense, but they could do so much more with their looks than by simply making their hair look all young with piggy tails and stuff. Also, the plot is so daytime soap opera; first one person makes the team, then her nemisis makes it, then their friends, then somene dies, then some other person has this vendetta, and so on. I got tired of it by the middle and had to force myself to watch the rest. One more thing, Ueto Aya looked like she can play tennis, but she doesn't look like she can play volleyball. The height thing was just too obvious, not to mention her team mates, especially that one overweight team mate; she looked like she belongs more on the sumo team.
Attention Please [アテンションン プリース]
Better Than Expected! [Rating: 8/10]
Having watched the last two Ueto Aya dramas, I came into Attention Please expecting more of the same. Although they did adhere to the same formula that made the tennis and volleyball drama successful, there was more of an adult appeal to it. Sure, you can mature from competition in sports, but there's only so much you can learn on the court, but being a flight attendant (a real job in the real world), now that's something completely different. This time Aya isn't just someone that is supremely gifted in a sport and needed the guidance of her coaches and people around her to realize her full potential. This time it's about growing up and accepting the responsibities of being an adult. Kudos to the script writers for making flight attendants seem like such a respectable job, and not just waitresses in an airplane. Of course, all this just makes JAL look all the better. This is a lightbeat, funny, but educational drama, and again, character development really developed most of the characters, and everything tied in nicely. It was better than expected!
Beach boys [ビーチボーイズ]
A summer drama [Rating: 8/10]
I shunned away from this drama the first time beacuse I felt it was too slow; all the dramas I've seen at the time were pretty fast paced. But this time I buckled down and watched it and to to my surprise, it was a very well made drama, that is, if you allow yourself to get immersed in it. It is not face paced, and there's a lot of character development since it mainly focuses on the two guys, so that had a lot to work with. It's pretty much a friendship thing between two guys, and since there's isn't alot of conflict, hate, and all those other things found in dramas to spice up the plot, so it's easy to lose interest. The two leads are both big now, plus Hirosue Ryoko. So in retrospect, it's an all star cast, so it's a real treat to watch all three of them. Overall, a soft, easy going drama that leaves you feeling light hearted.
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ]
Touching [Rating: 8/10]
This is really a simple story about a man and a woman, and the story that develops between them. What makes this drama so great is character development. This drama doesn't overdo the touchy emotional parts, but I was still touched because the characters started developing from the get go. Also, there are no real sub plots, or any other distractions that takes you away from what is happening between the two. By the end, you have grown so attached to the characters that you really want them to get together and wish for a happy ending. I believe this drama is so popular is because it is wonderfull in its simplicity. Props to Kimura Takuya, he really plays the part well.
Beginner [ビギナー]
Different Drama [Rating: 9/10]
It's so hard to really give a objective review for a drama like this anyway because there are so many types of them out there. This drama doesn't really fall into any particular genre because it has a bit of everything, except perhaps, a love story, although they do try to brew something between some of the characters. But even that, it was really successful because I kind of wanted to see what was going to happened to those people love wise. Yes, I know this drama is based on law and it covers a lot of law in here, but really, I got the feeling they were also trying to show friendship between 8 people from totally different backgrounds, and also the wonder of the human spirit and when working together. Another thing that is worth noting is how they did a nice job portraying how different people can have different opinions and views towards a certain situation, and yet they all have their valid points and still manage to arrive at a agreeable conclusion. That's what this drama delivered, it's great!
Big Money! [ビッグマネー!〜浮世の沙汰は株しだい〜]
It's got its premises [Rating: 8/10]
  The background to this drama is of course money, mostly in the form of stocks. But that is misleading because this drama is about revenge, justice, and getting even, and even goes a bit into the human psyche (but lots of J Dramas delve into that aspect anyway, it's just a matter of being blatant or not). It's entertaining in a way to see them talk about money in terms of billions of yen, as if money grew on trees. It's also interesting to see how they can try to bring down the antagonist and the bank as well. Again, don't watch this from a realist's position, but rather sit back and let this entertain you, and you just might enjoy it. It's got all the elements of an emotionally fast paced drama filled with cliffhangers each episode. There were misses of course, such as the irrelevent love story that sidetracked the plot, and worse, the seemingly impossibility of always going against the same bank every time. It's a typical root for the hero to win kind of drama.
Bijo ka Yajuu [美女か野獣]
Brillian show [Rating: 9/10]
This drama follows the pattern of the "case by case" or "story by story" method, where each episode focuses on a specific story or plot and the characters go through each episode trying to resolve something. It's quite common to see this type of pattern in J dramas these days. I liked this drama because they did such a good job of it, of connecting everything and making things run smooth and at a good pace. The story never got too fast or too slow, and each episode focused on an issue that's relative to today's world, and I can tell the writers did their homework on this one. I don't see why people actually complained about the love story in this. I watched it for the conflicts within the news station and the love story was just in the background, and was never the focus. I personally like this formula, for it thickens the drama and prevents the drama from being too one-sided.
Boku dake no Madonna [僕だけのマドンナ]
Not a bad love story [Rating: 8/10]
If you are a helpless romantic, this drama is for you. It follows along similar patterns of other love stories, but it is still a bit refreshing and updated. It's about a guy who likes a girl but goes through all sorts of events before he realizes he needs to show some backbone and go after her. I like the characters in this drama and how they are all different from each other. Each character seem to serve a purpose and that purpose stays clear throughout. I think Kyoko is great in here, and so is Takki. They wanted to portray a guy that's going through growing pains over love and they really did a good job showing it. The drama didn't make Takki seem immature and their love for each other without grounds. Plus, the show managed to stay away from excessive drama or overly dramatic scenes to bring the story more life without sacrificing plot and the interest of viewers, good job!
Dekichatta Kekkon [できちゃった結婚]
Funny and Touching! [Rating: 9/10]
I was a bit skeptical of this drama at first because I didn' t think Yutaka could pull off such a comedy. He's been riding on his cool looks all this time, and to go wacky would, in my mind, not work too well. But I was wrong, and he proved his range in this drama. Some still couldn't accept him in this one, but I give props for him going outside of his comfort zone, and now to me, he's an all around actor. Hirosue Ryoko is excellent in here, and they actually have quite a chemistry. What's surprising are the supporting characters, their stories are quite interesting in of themselves, and it just made this whole drama all the more complete and fun to watch.
Densha Otoko [電車男]
Perspective [Rating: 9/10]
A lot of viewers have issues with this drama. I would just like to remind people that this is all entertainment, and it should be viewed from an "entertainment" perspective. People tend to compare it to real life and that just takes away a lot of fun and all the creativity that goes into it is lost, be it music, movies, books, or any sort of "art". This isn't a documentary, so what if it's unrealistic here and there? Also, I have noticed a trend in these Japanese dramas to "overact". It's not only Densha Otoko that overacts; a lot of other dramas do it too, that's just how it is when they want to make that "kind" of comedy. There should be a sub-genre for these called "overacting" drama (j/k). Also, please keep in mind that these are "Japanese" dramas. That is, they are made in Japan for the Japanese. In other words, keep in mind the "culture" difference. People here on this site are mostly people of other countries and cultures, and it just wouldn't be fair to these dramas to judge them based on your own country's standards or cultural differences. It was a great drama, and I respect the producers immensly. I especially liked the music; it fits the drama so well. The lyrics to "Twilight" and "Mr. Roboto" totally relates to the situation of the typical "Otaku". It shows how much effort they put into these dramas. Finally, I had the pleasure to see the other finale, and it was great! They were really creative to do a pseudo alternative ending that ties everything together. It was fun to see how they weaved it together and it makes me wonder if they had this all planned from the beginning or not because if they didn't, it was genius how they came up with that alternative ending.
Dr. Koto Shinryojo [Dr.コトー診療所]
One of the best!!! [Rating: 10/10]
I was recommended this drama and what a surprise it turned out to be. This was one of the highest rated dramas of 2003, and there's plenty of reason to support that. It's a touching drama about a doctor and the people on the island. It really touches on the subject of human nature, friendship, bonds, and trust.  At first I thought it was going to be a slow and dull drama, but after watching the first 10 minutes of it, I totally got into the whole set up of things. The characters are so powerful and the music is great. I love watching dramas that you can really get yourself into, and this is definitely one of those. I really like Dr. Koto in this drama, he does such a great job of portraying this role, and the story as well as how the director made each person and their stay on the island so full fo emotion.  It was easy to connect with the drama.
Egao no Hosoku [笑顔の法則]
Not too shabby, but no surprises though [Rating: 7/10]
This is just an average drama about some people in a vacation resort. The usual stuff happen: conflicts, challenges, obstacles, and so on. There's no spark between any of the characters, and the drama is a bit slow. I can however, feel that the writers were really trying to convey some life lessons in there, and convey them through events that happen and the people in there that resolve the issues. I felt this a lot more than the other dramas. They didn't have any big cliffhanger endings at the end of each episode, and there wasn't an ultimate showdown to anything, so don't expect things to get heavy in this drama.
Fire Boys [ファイアーボーイズ 〜め組の大吾〜]
Entertaining....truly entertaining [Rating: 9/10]
I first was hesitant about watching this because I thought it was going to one of those "teeniebopper" dramas since the title was "FireBOYS". But actually, only the main guy is a kid (ok, his friend too) and the rest are a bunch of grown ups. Also, the story doesn't surround over teen issues either. It deals with a person's struggle to fit in, to prove himself, to grow, etc. I do see this trend now among Japanese dramas; they go through the story in one episode, so you watch something new the next time. Yes, I do admit there are typical themes in this drama that can be viewed as corny or even predictable, but so what? It's a drama and it's entertainment. They tried and succeeded to make this stick along the lines of being realistic but at the same time adding plenty of elements that make this a great "drama".
Fire Boys [ファイアーボーイズ 〜め組の大吾〜]
Entertaining....truly entertaining [Rating: 9/10]
I first was hesitant about watching this because I thought it was going to one of those "teeniebopper" dramas since the title was "FireBOYS". But actually, only the main guy is a kid (ok, his friend too) and the rest are a bunch of grown ups. Also, the story doesn't surround over teen issues either. It deals with a person's struggle to fit in, to prove himself, to grow, etc. I do see this trend now among Japanese dramas; they go through the story in one episode, so you watch something new the next time. Yes, I do admit there are typical themes in this drama that can be viewed as corny or even predictable, but so what? It's a drama and it's entertainment. They tried and succeeded to make this stick along the lines of being realistic but at the same time adding plenty of elements that make this a great "drama".
Fugoh Keiji [富豪刑事]
A comedy from start to finish [Rating: 9/10]
Kyoko was excellent in this drama, she played the role so well. I was totally into her super rich kid character and her innocence despite being in a field where things are anything but innocent. It's a laugh to see her solve the crimes that her other (male) colleagues, several years her senior, couldn't. I liked how those guys totally put her down as just some rich girl that has absolutely no sense as a police officer while at the same time they were no better. The humor is concentrated on Kyoko's character; how someone like her could become a cop and her way of solving the crimes is just hilarious. Aside from superb acting from everyone, the story is quite interesting too. It's a whodunnit type of detective story that keeps you guessing but with a comedic twist throughout. This drama based its humor on Kyoko's character and never strayed from that. They didn't try to make it touching or deep; they focused on being humorous and it certainly was!
Fugoh Keiji 2 [富豪刑事2]
For those who couldn't get enough [Rating: 8/10]
This is pretty much a continuation of the first season. If you found the humor funny in the first one, then you'll get more of it in this one; they follow pretty much the same pattern. It's good to see all the other cops back for this one. There isn't really anything different here, Mihoko again solves all the crimes using money and that's what makes this drama so funny. Everything is more extravagent this time around, from the dinners at the beginning of the drama to the money used to solve the cases, hence the title "Deluxe", but that's what makes it funny, to see all that money used in a creative way. However, it does sometimes get redundant, so there's not a lot of change in the overall structure of things, but overall i enjoyed it just as much as the first one.
Fukigen na Jiin [不機嫌なジーン]
Scattered.... [Rating: 6/10]
This is a simple love story with insects as its main setting. I had a hard time seeing anything special with the plot and as the drama progressed, anything that was interesting from the beginning just fell apart. I couldn't see where the love story was going,and neither of the two guys(one in the beginning and one at the end) made any difference to the general development of the overall plot. This whole drama is tied loosely on the study of insects and although there are some interesting and rather creative cinematagraphic scenes, it didn't hold my attention at all. The main guy basically tries to win her back throughout the whole series, and the stories jumps from present to future to past, making it difficult to really relate to any of the moods the drama is trying to convey.
Golden Bowl [ゴールデンボウル]
It's a strike! [Rating: 9/10]
One of the best dramas ever. It's amazing how the writer can use bowling as a background to convery points about life. There's a message in every episode, and the whole story ties in very nicely. It was touching, funny, thought-provoking, and really well thought out. The characters were great and really fit the mood of the drama well. It's a must see!
Good Luck !! [グッドラック!!]
It was a good try..... [Rating: 7/10]
The writers tried their best to make a story out of a pilot. It's just not too realistic though. But then again, it's a drama, so things happen to these people every episode, but I sure wouldn't fly with them in real life. Kimura Takuya is his brilliant self, but he's beginning to become too predictable in his acting, almost as if he's playing the same character in each of his dramas. It's a relaxing drama; there aren't any big twists in plots or any pondering over after watching it. Good for overall entertainment, just don't take it too seriously.
GTO [麻辣教師]
One of the Best Ever [Rating: 10/10]
One of the first JDramas I've ever watched. It contained all of the right elements to make this one of the best dramas ever. The music, the story, the acting, and the chemistry between the people, are all superb. This is one drama that will make you laugh, will touch you, will enlighten you, and delight you all at the same time. I personally feel the key ingredient to the success of this drama is that Onizuka is played so well, his character on screen is brought out so much one can't help but connect with him and all the people around him. A must see!!
Hatsu Taiken [初体験]
The idea was good....but..... [Rating: 7/10]
The story is average, and the mood of the drama is very light hearted. There aren't any of that heavy stuff like a lot of conflicts between characters, or huge obstacles standing in each other's way. Most of it is just about the main character on a road to self-discovery towards her feelings for the guy that she likes. The storyline is really plain; you can't really feel the relationship building up between any of the people.
Hero
Excellent drama [Rating: 9/10]
This is one creative and original drama. The plot is excellent, the characters are strong, and the setting (the district attorney's office) is original, and the pace is fast. I liked the direction of this drama, it's serious, yet not dull, and they add a bit of humor at the right places, while at the same time there's a bit of romance, not too much, but just enough to keep you interested. I enjoyed the cases that Kimura Takuya had to solve and how each case gets progressively harder, and how his character comes out more and more, and changes the hearts of those around him. Although this has been used before in other dramas, it doesn't feel the same in this drama for some reason. A great drama to watch!
Ikebukuro West Gate Park [池袋ウエストゲートパーク]
Creatively entertaining [Rating: 9/10]
This drama is unlike the rest in it's storytelling format as well as its directing style. Definitely geared towards a younger audience. The direction of the story takes on turns as well. Creatively entertaining to watch. Although it appears to be headed in no particular direction, there is actually a well planned plot in all of this, and doesn't escape from the usual dramas of providing viewers with some form of morale issues and/or life lessons. Does a really good job of capturing today's youth in parts of Japan
Itoshi Kimie [愛し君へ]
Who Says Love is Blind? [Rating: 7/10]
There was nothing unique about this drama, perhaps "blindness" as the only special theme. But that could have easily been subsituted with a "guy has a few months to live" instead of "a few months left to see". Other than that, it's the classic formula: guy and girl meet, they go through a lot of pushing each other away, and finally after the girl nearly exhausts herself, the guy finally comes to his senses and goes after the girl (but that's also because all the side characters come in and save the day). It's still a good drama though; they did a great job with the cinematography, and they were excellent in developing the plot. It's just that this formula has been done so many times in the past and in so many recent dramas that I felt it was just plain. Again, for this kind of drama following this kind of storyline, it's as good as any.
Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ]
One of the best of all time [Rating: 9/10]
There is so much originality in the story and the acting is so intense you can really relate to the characters. It is definitely a tear jerker and if you really let yourself into the story, you will appreciate how carefully the story was written and how everything ties in nicely at the end. The only down side is it's a bit slow, but all dramas were pretty slow back then, almost six years ago. So for those who are used to watching the faster paced dramas of nowaday, be prepared.
Kao [顔]
Good plots, but the rest didn't hold up [Rating: 7/10]
I like the plot, there are plenty of them, and each episode deals with a specific case that the characters must solve. The leading lady, of course, uses her drawing skills, and more or less is a factor in cracking each case. The drama doesn't evolve just around that, but rather uses the sketches as a basis. There's really a lot more to the plot than just catching the bad guys. Odgiri Joe's character as well as Yukie's develop throughout the drama, but there's not really much depth, and I can't really feel for neither one of them, especially Yukie's. One thing that bothers me with this drama is how hardly anyone in the police force ever uses guns, that's just too unrealistic for me. I can't fathom the cops going around chasing the bad guys and having to subdue them with their bare hands. And when the gun is finally used, it's such a big deal. Also, they make all the guys at the police station seem like such chauvinists, don't know if they're trying to make a point or something, but I think it was too much, and didn't relate to the drama at all. (If it were so, it would be a drama about Yukie's attempt at establishing equality in the police station). In the beginning, you'd think she would fight her way through and get recognition by her male colleagues and make her point that women are just as capable, but that's not what happens, and at the end, you're left wondering, what's with all that emphasis on the male chauvinism anyway????
Kimi ga omoi de ni Naru Mae ni [君が想い出になる前に]
A little of everything, but not enough of anything [Rating: 6/10]
I am guessing this is one of those dramas that looked good on paper, that is, on script the idea sounded good enough, but unfortunately when produced, the result was quite different. The whole memory loss thing was just not convincing; perhaps it has been done to death by so many other dramas already. Also, every character in here seemed to do something that's totally out of their character. For example. Kato Ai isn't the type to sleep around, but does anyway. The lead girl seemed like the type with high integrity, but never for a second did she struggle with herself over the fact that she's falling for her brother in law. Everything is so superficial in this drama, and so no wonder I didn't feel a thing throughout and even the kid ploy didn't quite work out.
Koori no sekai [冰の世界]
A great mystery drama [Rating: 8/10]
There aren't that many mystery or suspense dramas in Japan, so when a good one like this comes along, it deserves a good rating. Although I am a Yutaka fan, I didn't like this drama because of him, but rather he really fit the role. ( I think they wrote this script with him in mind). Nanako displayed her range by playing a rather cool and serious character. The drama is dark, but not boring, or slow. The plot develops nicely, no lags or anything, and it gets more and more interesting with each episdoe, (like it is supposed to) and ends well. For those who are tired of love soaps, this is recommended!
Kyumei Byoto 24 Ji 3 [救命病棟24時 3]
Another feel good drama [Rating: 7/10]
As i watch these Japanese dramas, I can't help but notice a recurring theme: life is precious, life is good, don't give up on life. Is there a suicide problem in Japan? I can trace this to just about every drama I've seen, however, nowhere is this more apparent than in this drama, and what better setting than a hospital with doctors whose very purpose is to save lives? The drama starts with a bang with the whole "doomsday" earthquake scenario and catches your attention with all the suffering that needed to be attended to from the super "natural disaster". It kind of goes on auto pilot from there since there are so many people hurt, this drama could have gone on for far longer than the 10 or so episodes. The drama is interesting and does not get all bland by going with a "save a patien" each episode formula, and instead focused more on the persona of each character, which is a plus.
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション]
Good Love Story [Rating: 8/10]
I backtracked and watched this drama after watching several other Takuya's works. I realized that his dramas are all pretty much the same, and it started either with this one or "Long Vacation". I guess this sort of role really fits him well, as seen in his later works, which pretty much have him playing almost the same type of person, personality wise. He's this kind of reserved person, but with lots of ideals and when pushed, is very expressive and shows a lot of emotion. But that takes a lot out of him, because most of the time, he's very indecisve about himself, and throughout the drama, you can see his inner self struggles. The drama is slow, but that's how there are back in the mid to late 90's. But it's smooth though, and with patience, one can surely appreciate the thought put into both the story and the directing.
M no Higeki [Mの悲劇]
Well written, well produced [Rating: 9/10]
The theme of this drama is about the human heart, its emotions and emotion driven deeds. Thumbs up to the writers who were able to convey this message, explore the subject of hate, jealousy, revenge, and anger, while at the same time weave all of this into a story that flows beautifully. This drama also goes into something deeper; it goes into how events are all interconnected, and how one action and lead to a series of chain events that really gives the saying "everything happens for a reason" its run for the money. Fast paced, yet deep, this drama has all the elements to keep you glued until the very end.
Manhattan Love Story [マンハッタン ラブストーリー]
If you can keep up [Rating: 8/10]
This drama should be called Manhattan Love Stories for its complex plot. As the drama moves on, there are actually 4 or 5 different love stories happening at the same time. I had a hard time keeping track of what's what and who's with who, and I had the drama on DVD. I can't imagine how anyone could keep track of that if they watched it as it aired once a week. However, my hats down to the writers of this drama for coming up with such a creative plot and elaborate plot twists (actually, they are more like love twists because characters seem to fall for so many different people here and there for no apparent reason). Still, if you don't get too critical about it, it's still fun to watch and if you love a good, complex/rich plot to keep you interested, this one is for you. The saving grace in all of this was the humor, it definitely had its moments!
Moto Kare [元カレ]
Another fine drama [Rating: 9/10]
These dramas are for entertainment purposes. We watch them for enjoyment, and that's exactly what this drama delivers. Although some may argue it strays way too much from reality, but I see it as entertainment, and just that. The writers have managed to turn a simple concept of a love triange and made it much more interesting and original than those of the same storyline in the past. There are no huge twists in plot, nor are there any extremely exaggerated scenes. I like the way the story plays itself out, and like even more how the characters develop so you know why each one did what they did and reacted how they reacted. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
Mukodono 2003 [ムコ殿2003]
The Original was Better [Rating: 7/10]
I was really looking forward to this "sequel", if you could call it that. This is not a continuation of the original, but rather a sort of "parallel universe" of the first. In another world, Ichiro falls in love and everything happens again, and the only other character that's the same as the original is the boss, other than that, everyone else is totally different. Also, he marries into another family, and his personality is the same. The writers tried their best to work the same magic of the first, but still come up with something original so we don't feel we are watching the same drama. I can only say they tried to tackle something that's way beyond their league, because they failed miserably. But without the high expectations coming off the first drama, I would say it wasn't a bad drama, especially for those that haven't watched the first one. But it would be impossible to those, myself included, to watch this one with the same mindset as those who have never seen the first, unless of course, we also find a way to cross into that paralle universe.
Mukodono! [ムコ殿/女婿大人]
Tugs at the heartstrings [Rating: 10/10]
Very few dramas can deliver such a thick plot and at the same time possess a lot of originality. This drama does both, and therefore it is not surprising so many people, including me, gave it such high remarks. The drama doesn't tread on just one single plot, but three or four, but doesn't confuse you by bringing them out all at once, but rather in single increments, and while one part of the story is taking place, another is developing in the background. Also, the drama doesn't leave anything unfinished, nor does it end it in a rush. I really like it when the drama ties everything in nicely and doesn't leave you wandering or questioning some of the plots. To top it off, it just has so many touching moments that it's hard not to like the drama nor the characters in there! A must see!
Ningen no Shoumei [人間の証明]
Scattered at first, then finishes strong [Rating: 7/10]
Frankly, I am a bit saturated with the kind of drama where fate plays such a big role and is essentially the connecting factor to otherwise separate and irrelevant matters, and this is exactly what this drama is. I had to convince myself that fate and coincidences of such frequencies are probable not only in love, but in crime solving in order to sit through this drama. Ok, once I got past that, I had to sit through another 8 episodes or so before things start picking up steam and the whole "case" starts to have a focal point. Otherwise it's a good detective story, and if it weren't for Yutaka, I wouldn't bother with this one.
Nisennen no koi [二千年の恋]
Unless you are a die hard Takeshi or Miho fan... [Rating: 5/10]
As much of a Takeshi fan as I am, I couldn't sit and watch through this whole thing at first. But I still managed to finish it though because I figured since I bought the drama, might as well. My views are biased because I came off such a high from watching "God, Give me more time" I was really looking forward to something good from him. They tried to do too much with this drama, drama, love, suspense, and somewhere in all of this is a spy story. It was just bad, and I personally don't think Takeshi should have done something like this. He should have stuck with more mainstream stuff that is more likely to win viewers. This was too deep or too dark for most fans to sit and watch. I am guessing this was one of those dramas that looked good on paper, but when they filmed it, it became a totally different story.
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース]
A new kind of school drama [Rating: 7/10]
A couple of key things make this drama different: a pretty original plot and different directing. This makes the drama unique and stand out from all the other school dramas which i feel has been overdone in recent years. This one is not too extreme like Stand Up, but not too traditional where it's always a teacher trying to inspire some gone-astray students. The plot isn't that one-dimensional and at times throws in a few surprises here and there. Also, the cinematography is great, and has a comic-book touch to it.
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ]
A very good drama for its kind [Rating: 9/10]
This is a good drama but only if it's compared with other dramas that also uses this "standard textbook" formula; a love story about a person with inner turmoil that meets another person who slowly changes him or her. The drama did a great job of playing out the nuances between the characters so they don't seem too dull and monotone. What I like the most is that they don't overdo anything, which is tempting for writers writing dramas of this sort. I say this because I've seen too many dramas of this type in the past that gave the audience too heavy a dose of everything, but not this drama. The misunderstandings didn't drag on too long, and the fights didn't result in anything exaggerated, etc, which gives this drama a softer tone to it, and hence, more real-life like. Again, the plot is nothing new, it stayed in the confines of this type of drama: a person with issue(s) but slowly changes because of another person's devotion and love.
Over Time [オーバー・タイム]
A simple love story [Rating: 8/10]
Everything about this drama is soft and slow. Yes, the drama is slow, but no, it's not boring. I can see the producers of this drama wanted the story to develop slowly. They wanted the chemistry of the characters to slowly develop, and they did. It doesn't have all these complicated twists or obstacles in each episode, nor are there any use of one main catch that rides the drama all the way to the end. It's just about people having feelings for each other, and how through time they begin to understand and have feelings. I like the drama for its simplicity and for its mellow tone. I am sure they intended it that way, and it came out that way, nice and soft.
Pride [プライド]
Don't know what all the fuss was about [Rating: 6/10]
I was skeptical before watching this drama, and after watching it, I can see why. I was already a bit disappointed with "Good Luck", and was hoping this drama would be different, but it wasn't; same acting, and almost the same story base. I am curious to know if Kimuya himself feels that his style of acting got him to the top of the rating scale, so he decided to stick to that style, or it was the executives/managers who realized it, and made him do dramas of the same style, or even maybe perhaps the drama is written to cater to his acting style. In just about every drama since Love Generation, Kimuya has played a guy who is cool, and doesn't really show he cares for the girl, until the last minute. He has that trademark smirk, and that "sometimes care, and sometimes doesn't" look. I liked the music though; it suited the Hockey theme quite nicely, and the end and beginning segments showing the credits were really creative. The plot felt like a daytime soap opera; way too melodramatic. It's way too predictable, dry, and I didn't care about any of the side characters. Maybe I am burnt out from too many of his previous dramas. Maybe if this was my first Kimuya drama, I would be praising it to no end, which I did with Hero and Beautiful Life.
Psycho Doctor [サイコドクター]
Very Serious Drama [Rating: 7/10]
After Shotgun Marriage, where we saw a comedic side to Yutaka, he takes on a more serious, gloomier role in this drama. This type of role is what we saw him in before; a serious guy, with serious or gloomy themes, like "With Love" and "Inanimate World". However, the theme in this drama is about psychotic disorders, and that's a bit disturbing to some if that's not what they were expecting. I do give credit to the writers for bringing out quite a few disorders and sticking as close to reality as possible on them. Yutaka tackles these patients and although I think there's always going to be a debate on touchy issues such as this, overall they did a good job on the subject, and I personally thought he suited the role.
Rikon Bengoshi [離婚弁護士]
Gets better and better [Rating: 8/10]
This drama takes a new direction from other more mainstream dramas. The pace is fast, but then it slows down at some key parts, and then picks up speed again. It was hard to accept at first, but by the 5th episode or so, I was hooked. I liked these cases that they had to go through, not to mention educational as well, with all the laws pertaining to marriage or relating to. The characters really builds on you, and there's a moral to every story, some obvious and some quite indirect. This drama takes you into the world of attornies and what they have to do for their clients and some of the things people go to court for. It made my eyes open and reminds me how easy it is to have disputes and that's why the laws are so complicated and why we have so many laws for so many things.
Satorare [サトラレ]
Great Concept [Rating: 9/10]
I think this drama is worth watching simply because they had a great concept to begin with, and they milked it for all its worth. They pretty much exhausted every possibly regarding the topic of his thoughts being heard by everyone. Nevermind it being unrealistic, I enjoyed it just because it is supposed to be entertaining, and that's exactly what it did: entertained the idea of a person whose thoughts can be heard by people around him. There is of course a message to be conveyed, and positive human traits are expressed here. The characters are great in here, and best of all, the story is smooth, but I have come to expect that out of these dramas anyway. There's hardly a slow moment and the plot progresses evenly, so it makes this a fun show to watch!
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。]
A bit empty but still worth watching [Rating: 7/10]
This drama still employs a lot of the successful traits of most japanese dramas. It touches on the most obvious issue, which is having your appearance altered. There are so many things to go on with after that, such as "would the other person like them if they knew how they looked originally?", or "do things really change after the surgery?", and so on. This drama also tries to raise some moral issues, and explores other human traits, like most Japanese dramas. However, it's a bit empty throughout; you just don't feel for what the characters are saying or how they are feeling. They tried to make it touching but at the same time humorous, and the result was just a bit of both. But it's creative with the use of the fable as a background and other objects that they use throughout the story, such as flowers and the moon. I have to give them credit for that!
Sekai no chuushin de, ai wo sakebu [世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ]
One of the best tearjerkers [Rating: 9/10]
After watching the movie, I was curious to how the tv series would turn out. The movie was sad enough, and sure enough, the tv series was even sadder. Of course, they had much more time to play out the sequence of events. It's painful to watch the girl slowly face her end and even more painful to watch the guy struggle with that reality. I am not a big fan of depressing tearjerkers, but this one was worth it for me. It wasn't just sad, but it had a sort of love in it that usually isn't found in other sad dramas. I think the successful element is the time factor; the drama switches from present to past throughout and that provides the audience a deeper relation to the feelings of the guy. This drama is sad from start to finish and if you let yourself get into it, it will move you every episode.
Shiroi Kyoto [白い巨塔]
Two Shallow Characters ruin the drama [Rating: 6/10]
The first half of the series was superb. Watching ZenZai work his way up to the top by playing mind games and fighting with his superior was really enjoyable. At the same time, you are educated on some of the inner going ons of the hospital field, and realize that there is just as much politics and beauracracy as any other field. It's a power struggle and it's subtle, the way the Japanese would go about it. But then the second part comes in, and supposedly the second part of the power struggle series continues, this time with Satomi. I didn't like his character to begin with and now in the second part, he becomes unbearable. His "I cannot tell a lie" goody two shoe personality is so outdated and so stiff that it practically ruins the whole show for me. The the daughter of the former head of the hospital goes against the whole hospital establishment herself, creating a conflict that rests solely on coincidences and fate (a theme way overdone in these dramas). This makes two unbearable characters and lessens the otherwise profound effect the drama has after the first eleven episodes. Zaizen isn't even a bad guy, and his personality is way more in touch to reality than those other two goofballs I mentioned.
Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi [空から降る一億の星]
Not Your Usual Drama [Rating: 8/10]
This is not what you would expect from a typical Kimura Takuya drama from the past. This is a non-orthodox (compared with other pop J Dramas) drama with deeply rooted philosophical issues. There is a lot of irony and satire. There are a lot of questions posed in this drama, questions that delve into the human psyche. This is also a suspence/mystery, so the story keeps you guessing from the very beginning. Lots of twists and turns, so for those who likes dramas of that sort, this one is for you!
Summer snow
A great drama! [Rating: 9/10]
This is one love story that deserves two thumbs up. The main characters portrayed their roles very well, and I truly enjoyed watching their relationship develop. One of those dramas where you can really get into the story and feel the characters. A simple love story, but with much delight.
Suna No Utsuwa [砂の器]
A Mystery? A love story? A tragedy? [Rating: 7/10]
A story about a an extremely talented musician who battles his past and the demons inside him. The drama portrays his struggles through a lot of music and scenes, and not a lot of dialogue. It is beautifully directed and the mood of the drama was apparent. However, after watching this drama, I realized that this drama is actually a police story. The other half of the story shows the cop trying to crack the case, while at the same the main guy sort of has a fling with another girl. That story with the girl never took off and ended up nowhere, so at the end i never got the feeling that this was a love story i was watching. There also wasn't really any suspense in this; the guy never really did anything to thwart the efforts of the police in any way. The guy did play that same song over and over again, and it became apparent later that the guy just wanted to finish his final piece and accept his fate. One thing that bugged me the whole time was how he didn't get rid of the evidence simply by doing it himself; that was hard for me to accept and threw off my rhythm for the rest of the drama.
Tengoku ni ichiban chikai otoko [天国に一番近い男]
Great Idea [Rating: 7/10]
I liked the idea, but I think they tried too hard to make it funny, and sometimes I found the support cast a bit irritating, especially the colleagues at the office. I am not sure if that's how they like it in Japan, but to me, it's overacting. Sometimes I feel even the main characters overact a bit. But I like the missions for each episode and they are creative with them. There is definitely a message being conveyed in this drama, and they do a great job bringing the message to light. Like most dramas, this show tries to teach the importance of being a decent person, and there are morals throughout.
Tengoku ni ichiban chikai otoko 2 [天国に一番近い男 - 教師編]
The first was better [Rating: 7/10]
This is another sequel in which they used the "parallel universe" idea. The two main characters are the same, but with completely new characteristics and personalities from their original counterpart. The basic plot is the same; a mission is sent from above and the person must finish it within a set amount of time. I think they ran a bit dry on the sequel though because they had great ideas for part 1, but on this one, it was just not as thick, the message that they are trying to convey. But overall, the drama is still trying to bring to light the virtues of being a good person.
Toubousha [逃亡者]
The Fugitive- Japanese Version [Rating: 8/10]
I couldn’t help comparing this drama to the movie. It was so similar, even down to the guy with the synthetic arm. But if you can get past that, it's actually a well produced drama. I kept reminding myself that this is a Japanese drama made for Japanese and i can’t use my subjective point of view to judge this show. Some of the things in there wouldn't have worked in America but then again, it's a different country with different cultures. But overall, it succeeded in keeping me in suspense and the pace was fast throughtout.
Trick [トリック]
For those who like suspense... [Rating: 8/10]
I found this drama very entertaining because it was like reading a mystery "whodunnit" kind of book. Yeah, I know a lot of people compare this to X-files, but I don't think they are very similar;Trick is more comedic not as serious. I like the way the mystery is finally explained, and the plot gets you hooked easily. It is considered a bit scary, you can tell they made it that way on purpose. The director adds his own twist to this and makes it even weirder, but not too much that it's out of this world or anything like that. It's a great J drama for those that want something different. I would give it a higer rating except they the drama didn't come through for me at the end.......too bad.
Trick 2 [トリック2]
A Continuation of Trick 1 [Rating: 9/10]
If you liked Trick, you'll like Trick 2. How much more or less is relative, but you'll like it. I say this because this show is the same show as Trick, and they just extended it and made more mysteries for them to solve. The characters are the same, the settings, and the mysteries are all just about the same. It is true that this series focuses most of its attention on murders, but it follows the same plot pattern that made the first Trick so enjoyable. There were a lot of could have done this or should have done that, but they took the same idea, the same characters, and threw them in for another set of new mysteries, and what do you get? A new season of Trick.
Trick 3 [トリック3]
Losing a bit of steam [Rating: 8/10]
I still enjoyed this third installment. It was a bit better then part two, where they focused a little too much on village cults, and the stories took up too many episodes. Part three moved a bit faster, and while they still couldn't move away from these village cults, they didn't drag on as long. I was hoping they didn't go back to that whole "I have supernatural powers from this island" thing from part one, but they didn't. That last episode in part one was really confusing, and I was in no hurry to see that storyline again. But I guess the writers decided since it was going to be last installment, they had to go back to her roots or something. Maybe it's just my imagination, but i felt Ueda lost some steam in this last one. He didn't seem as charged as he did the first two. Maybe the script called for that, or maybe he got tired of the role and it showed in miniscule ways. Overall it's still fun to watch, and I give them credit for making a third one without making the stories seem too far-fetched, or too rediculously easy to solve.
With love
Yutaka looks good, but the story...... [Rating: 4/10]
The only reason why it even got a 4 is because of Yutaka. If it weren't for him, I can't imagine watching 10 minutes of it. If you are a fan, you might like it, if not, don't waste your time. The story is pretty dull, and they keep going around and around. Also, you can totally feel that the director was trying really hard to make Yutaka look really good, giving him all these different angle shots. This is a drama made exclusively with the purpose of making Yutaka as handsome as possible, in my opinion.
Wonderful Life [ワンダフルライフ]
Better than Expected [Rating: 8/10]
This is a typical dream come true type of drama. Kinishima, the main character, sets out on a journey towards discovery, whch leads to inner change, and he becomes a new self and changes the lives of the people around him in one way or another. It's fun and entertaining to watch, and I like the way the writers took this simple and fun concept and made the entire drama that way. There were issues and obstacles to conquer, but they never got tied down to it or let things drag. Kinishima is the typical male lead, with the girl liking him but he never lets it get to him or maybe he never noticed it, until the end, that is. I think everyone did a great job here. I can see why viewers would make comparisons of previous dramas they've seen with these actors. But these are actors portraying these roles, and most of the time they're different roles, so it's unfair to compare them to past dramas. It's a totally different case, different directing, different settings, storylines, everything. Sometimes a role is a hit, sometimes it's a miss. Either way, it's the story and the roles that they play and weather they can play that role well or not that is important. I admit however, there were times where I felt like Kinishima was Onizuka in GTO, although I am not sure if that was intentional or not! Also, the drama got better and better towards the end, which made this drama better than expected.
Yamato Nadeshiko [やまとなでしこ【大和撫子】]
Nanako at her best [Rating: 9/10]
Nanako really fit the role to a T on this one. I can think of no better person to portray the character other than her. The drama needed a strong character to keep it interesting, because the story is at best average, and she did such a great job of bringing out all the traits a gold digger would possess. There are also plenty of touching scenes, but I really think it's the acting that really made this drama shine. Plus the soundtrack really suits the drama as well. It's just a great drama, watch it!
Yan Papa [やんパパ]
No Chemistry this time between Tomoya and Ai [Rating: 6/10]
I decided to watch this drama because I liked the the combination of Tomoya and Katou Ai when they first paired up in IWGP. I was a bit disappointed with this drama because I thought they could have done a lot more with them two because they were so successful in IWGP for their chemistry. In other words, they didn't need to pair Katou Ai with Tomoya in this drama because there just wasn't really a love story or any real chemistry that made it so enjoyable in IWGP. I guess I thought they would use the same formula again (IWGP) but in another drama, like riding off the same successful formula. As for the drama, it's predictable, and not very creative. But, they didn't make it extremely cheesy and the standard for a drama was still there. But still, it's one of those dramas that gets you thinking how there are so many other things they could have done with it.
Yankee Bokou ni Kaeru [ヤンキー母校に帰る]
Entertaining...but not realistic [Rating: 7/10]
This drama confuses me a bit because it goes into great detail in the introduction about the problems of students these days, but once I was through with the drama, I couldn't really find the connection between what the drama was attempting to convey and what the drama actually delivered. I sat through the drama thinking it was going to be serious and they were going to address some serious issues. But all I got was a little bit of that; each problem that the students go through were totally watered down and easily resolved in an episdoe (with the exception of the last episode). I think they tried to tackle this subject but it wasn't successful if you took it from a serious perspective. But if you watch it without expecting anything real from it, then it's quite entertaining to see these kids go through these problems. It's a drama with a bunch of idol actors/actresses but with a serious plot that really doesn't get developed enough for it to become convincing

   

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