Kisarazu Cat's Eye [木更津キャッツアイ] It took the second time around (of watching the first episode) to get me hooked... but I'm glad I gave it a second chance. It's definately different... and you have to stick with it all the way through an episode to truly start appreciating it. Now it's one of my favorites. =)
Water Boys [ウォーターボーイズ] So far, this is my absolute favorite j-dorama. It's a lot of fun to watch, and it appeals to all ages. In the end, it made me reminisce about my own high school days and the hopes and dreams I strove for-- big and small-- together with my friends.
Ishigaki Yuma [石垣佑磨] I'm voting for him because he's the first guy I've regularly seen in a j-drama who is capable of having bigger biceps than mine. Hahaha. Normally, that wouldn't be hard to find in America, but a lot of the mainstream Japanese actors are really scrawny. It's an added bonus that not only is he pretty, but also a very convincing actor. Thus, he rocks!
Sato Ryuta [佐藤隆太] I like him... he always plays a goofy but likeable character and manages to make me smile whenever I see him... and it's very hard to miss him if he's in a drama. He doesn't get much credit in most shows for how adorable he looks.
Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ] Bittersweet... and unintentionally interesting [Rating: 7/10] I went into this dorama only being familiar with one of the actors: Kubozuka Yosuke (from GTO). Thus, I didn't really have any preconcieved notions about what to expect from the other actors or actresses.
I say this dorama was unintentionally interesting because I didn't really care much for the main characters, who not only bored me, but annoyed me to the point that I almost stopped watching the Dorama. I understand that Manato (Takizawa) was playing the part of someone who was more or less an emotional coward.. so I don't blame Manato's overwhelming dullness on the actor.. But for some reason, I'm convinced that I was supposed to see Yui (Fukada) as an innocent and cute angel... but she came across to me like an annoying, spoiled brat.
What I found more interesting, instead, was how the personalities and relationships of two of the supporting characters, Haruka (Uchiyama) and Saeki (Kubozuka), developed as a result of their involvement in the lives of the main characters... Sawamura Haruka being the most interesting because she seems to be the one who actually changes and develops as a character the most throughout the show (and quite possibly the only one who really matures as a character).
The pace was slow... but it made sense. The series lasted only 10 episodes, but it ends well-- somewhat open-ended, but with a fair amount of closure. Actually, what I found out in the real end-- the one that came after the credits on episode 10, specifically about the fates of Haruka and Saeki-- actually was what gave the series a satisfying amount of closure to me.
Thus, MAKE SURE YOU WATCH AFTER THE CREDITS ON THE LAST EPISODE!!!!
Water Boys [ウォーターボーイズ] The Best! [Rating: 10/10] This is my #1 most favorite j-dorama so far... and I'd go as far as saying that it's my favorite television show ever. Water Boys has a timeless appeal that reaches out to people of all ages... and it manages to be entertaining practically the whole way through. While it has a few similarities to the movie, it still managed to surprise me again and again. =)