GTO [麻辣教師] definitely one of the best dramas to date. it'll make you laugh and cry and cheer. not to be missed
Hana Yori Dango [花より男子] kawaii! i cried more than i expected, because it is generally portrayed as a light-hearted drama. the chemistry between all the characters make it seem very real, though of course a lot of aspects are obviously exaggerated (the billions of limos for example). don't miss it!!
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [１リットルの涙] BEAUTIFULLY done. very moving. it's not the typical drama about a love story with the twist being that one partner has a disease. although there is romance, the focus is on the heroine, and her and her family's emotional struggles as she progressively gets worse. everything about this drama is amazing: the acting, the music, the storyline, everything.
Kou Kou Kyoushi 2003 [高校教師 2003] i expected it to be a mushy drama, but actually aside from the romance, there is a lot of cunning characters and plot twists, making it a really good watch. i watched it in 2 nights, i couldn't stop, it just pulled me in!!
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王] this drama was better than i thought it would be! funny, cute, touching and delicious!! i didn't expect it to be as touching as it was; i expected it to be just a silly comedy, but it's much more entertaining than that
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ] great change of pace from silly high school dramas, this drama focuses on not just romance but also finding yourself, job hunting, the position that many college students find themselves in when they are confused about where they fit in society and what society expects of them.
kou shibasaki does an AMAZING job as a deaf, sassy musician, and satoshi tsumabuki plays such a cool but warm guy that any girl would love to have as their lover. plus, for the both of them to learn and master all that sign language is not easy!
Dohmoto Tsuyoshi [堂本剛] he's such a great actor in Summer Snow and To Heart! he is not the most handsome man i have ever seen, but his charm just blows me away!
Kimura Takuya [木村拓哉] i was skeptical at first since he is overwhelmingly popular, but if you see him act in Long Vacation, Hero, Pride, and others, his acting and looks definitely speak for themselves! he really deserves the title of "drama king"
Matsumoto Jun [松本潤] he's beautiful with a unique face, but he is much more than a pretty face. he does a great job being a very stoic character in gokusen, an adorable young man in kimi wa petto, and as a spoiled but good-hearted teenager in Hana yori dango.
Narimiya Hiroki [成宮寛貴] Nari-kun is indeed one of the best young actors in japan right now! he is able to pull off all of his roles very well. he can be a playboy type (Orange Days), a perverted and HILARIOUS character (Stand Up!!), downright evil (Koukou Kyoushi 2003), or a timid, honest young father (Ima, ai ni yukimasu). even though much of his popularity is due to his good looks, that aside he is still a great actor
Oguri Shun [小栗旬] i was amazed at how far he's come! from being the little kid everyone picked on (GTO) to a partially-deaf boy (Summer Snow) to a rebellious punk (Gokusen) to a hopeless virgin (Stand Up!!) to a ladies man (Hana Yori Dango). he can play both serious roles and comedic roles very well. expect great things from him
Sawajiri Erika [沢尻エリカ] her performance in 1 litre no namida is AMAZING. she really convincingly played a girl with a disease that slowly and progressively gets worse. this is definitely not easy. not only that but to convincingly convey the emotional turmoil of knowing that she may die from the disease is also not easy. her performance in Taiyou no uta was not as convincing, but 1 litre's performance is hard to follow up. worth keeping an on for the future
Shibasaki Kou [柴咲コウ] she's really great in Orange Days as a deaf girl who is determined to be independent, and she is also a great singer
Takeuchi Yuko [竹内結子] a great actress in her roles in "ima, ai ni yukimasu" (movie), "pride", and other dramas. she is able to fulfill roles as both a cutesy girl and as a mature, elegant lady. her smile is very sweet and soft. awesome actress, definitely deserves a vote
Tamayama Tetsuji [玉山鉄二] he's GORGEOUS.... plus he did a good job on the piano in "tengoku no honya" and is very good in brother beat
megumi s.'s dramas (46)
Anego [アネゴ] Rating: 5/10 (Watched) cute, funny.... but there were things i really didn't like that brought my rating down from a 7-8 (what i give to decent/good dramas). first off it just caused more emotional stress and let-downs than i think was needed, and they really made the ideas of one-night stands and extra-marital affairs seem too acceptable. and while that might be the reality (i don't know), it still seemed like it was perfectly ok for someone to cheat on their spouse!! T_T
Big wing [ビッグウイング] Rating: 5/10 (Watched) it wasn't so horrible that i want the hours of my life that i watched it back, but it's not really one that i would recommend. maybe i would like it more now since i've watched many more dramas and know the style of comedies (big wing was my first jdrama)... on the upside, kurotani tomoka is very pretty in here! she is one of my favorite actresses now because i was entranced by her beauty watching this
Brother Beat [ブラザー☆ビート] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) 2 words: hot guys. it's a generally fairly lighthearted drama, and even if the guys weren't that hot i'd probably still like it.... but i mean, it has Tamayama Tetsuji and Hayami Mokomichi. it really helps when the actors are amongst the best-looking asian guys EVER
Gokusen [ごくせん] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) it's a nice drama to watch. it's not life-changing but still one that i enjoyed watching. very cute. nakama yukie is very cute and funny in this drama, and matsumoto jun looks really sexy.....
Good Luck !! [グッドラック！！] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) interesting idea about having it be about a plane pilot and a crew mechanic. kou shibasaki + kimura takuya, what a funny couple. i liked it when kimura's character Shinkai referred to kou's character ayumi as "the girl with the evil look".
worth watching, but nothing ground-breaking
GTO [麻辣教師] Rating: 10/10 i laughed, i cried... it was great
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [１リットルの涙] Rating: 10/10 (Watched) needless to say, you'll cry a LOT. and since it's based on a true story, you KNOW the ending won't be happy and fun
Ima Ai ni Yukimasu [いま会いにゆきます] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) it's not like THE best drama i have seen, but i think it is a very sweet drama and it's still pleasant to watch. i recommend watching the Movie version first, however. hiroki narimiya does a good job as a timid young father, a role very different from his past. the little boy's character is more developed than in the movie, probably because he is a little older when the series came out (they use the same actor for the little boy Yuji).
Koishite Shinitai [恋して死にたい] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) it's ok, but too hyped up. it's not as good as people say. the 1st half moves painfully slow at times, but the last half was pretty good. but since i'm scoring on overall, i'm keeping the score somewhat low since the first part was so slow-moving
Kou Kou Kyoushi 2003 [高校教師 2003] Rating: 10/10 (Watched) i couldn't stop watching! it's gripping with so many twists and turns.... all the actors/actresses did an amazing, convincing job
Long vacation [ロングバケーション] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) started out slow but picked up pace and became pretty entertaining, i slowly started to love it more and more with each episode. kimutaku was so young back then! =)
Lunch no Joou [ランチの女王] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) i just finished! this drama is a LOT better than i expected!! lots of fun but not overly-stupid/silly too. the ending is a bit ambiguous but not horrible, i don't really have any complaints about it but other people might. recommended!! don't miss this drama!!!
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) I usually don't give dramas a score above a 7 or 8 unless it was really addicting. although at first it seems like a typical slap-stick comedy, it was really good and touching. couldn't stop watching. i especially loved how i could relate, as i played piano and violin in orchestra. recommended!
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ] Rating: 10/10 (Watched) a good change of pace from sillier high-school dramas, but still light-hearted at times so as not to be overly-serious. though mostly focusing on romance between Hagio Sae (Shibasaki Kou) and Yuuki Kai (Tsumabuki Satoshi), this drama also touches on subjects like college and the uncertainties of jobs and careers and where our lives will go from after graduation when we are released into the "real world". highly recommended! i don't give out 9's or 10's to dramas unless i REALLY love them, so i gave it a 10, so you better watch it!!
Pride [プライド] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) perhaps focuses a bit too much on masculinity, but it's really nice to watch the chemistry between kimura takuya and takeuchi yuko. recommended
Stand UP!! Rating: 7/10 (Bought) it's not the most riveting drama, but it's a comedy! and i think a good one at that. some of it is outrageous, but the characters are all so funny in their own way, especially Narimiya Hiroki and Oguri Shun's characters. i gave it a high rating not because it's the best i have ever seen, but because if you approach watching it knowing not to take it seriously and just enjoy yourself, you'll really really like it. however be warned: it drags a bit.
Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) decent, though i can't figure out why i liked it. there was nothing special about this drama, and yet i found it rather entertaining. i was never bored with it and i never had to force myself to finish it like with some other dramas. not bad.
Summer snow Rating: 9/10 (Watched) one of the first dramas i watched. i cried so much, but in the end it was still a drama that made me smile just because of how pure their love was. i want to find a guy like Natsuo (Tsuyoshi Domoto's character)
Taiyou no uta [タイヨのうた] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) it lacks a little in certain places, seems a bit too silly in some places, and while it's nothing extraordinary, this drama is still decent
Tatta Hitotsu no Koi [たったひとつの恋] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) nothing original about the plot, but it has some good points. there were some cute parts, and while i like ayase haruka, she and kamenashi don't really match. they just don't look right together. still, i liked this drama.
Tokyo Friends [東京フレンズ] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) unexpectedly good! i thought it would be just another poor excuse to give Otsuka Ai more exposure at the height of her popularity. instead, this drama is more fresh and entertaining than i anticipated, and doesn't just focus on Otsuka Ai's character.
Tokyo Wankei [東京湾景] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) It was pretty decent, and I liked the music a lot. It's a fairly typical melodrama, but I still really enjoyed it.
Anego [アネゴ] cute and funny, BUT... [Rating: 6/10] ute, funny.... but there were things i really didn't like that brought my rating down from a 7-8 (what i give to decent/good dramas). first off it just caused more emotional stress and let-downs than i think was needed, and they really made the ideas of one-night stands and extra-marital affairs seem too acceptable. and while that might be the reality (i don't know), it still seemed like it was perfectly ok for someone to cheat on their spouse!! T_T
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [１リットルの涙] amazing [Rating: 10/10] The acting, mainly on the part of Ikeuchi Aya's character (played by Sawajiri Erika) was AMAZING. This story is more than a romance with the twist being that the girl is ill; the story focuses mostly on the girl's bravery and setbacks as she faces her horrible illness. There is romance but it is not the main point like it is in other dramas, which I personally think is good. The real girl it is based on must have been unspeakably strong.
a MUST see.
Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ] Despite all odds.. [Rating: 9/10] Despite all odds, the main girl Kano Masaki really strived to make the most out of her life. The main complaints people have about this drama is that it's "unrealistic". I personally don't think so. They say it's unrealistic for a teenage girl to prostitute herself? No. They say it's unrealistic for a famous musician to fall for a high school girl? Not really; it's UNLIKELY, but not unrealistic. The emotions that both Kano Masaki and Ishikawa Keigo and everyone around them - friends, coworkers, family- is understandable and totally realistic. My only complaints is that it can be melodramatic (running in the rain, "i can't live without you", etc.) and often goes in circles (well, are they gonna finally be together or not?!), but overall i don't feel those problems are that bad.
The matters of loss, of broken families, of frustrations with career paths, searching for meaning in life, the cruelty of those who don't understand how you feel... this drama is more than just a mushy romance. Highly recommended.
Kou Kou Kyoushi 2003 [高校教師 2003] all depends on your taste [Rating: 10/10] i loved it, but i understand totally why it got a lot of low ratings. it's really hard to stomach. all the characters except for Aya Ueto and Sonim's characters are really demented. it's not meant to be logical, which one should keep in mind if they decide to take this drama on. it was meant to be dark and twisted, exploring how deceitful humans can be in the face of desperation... and cynicism. however for me, i couldn't stop watching! it's gripping with so many twists and turns.... all the actors/actresses did an amazing, convincing job. i expected it to be mostly a mushy, romantic drama but in fact it had a lot more than that.
Sapuri [サプリ] surprisingly good [Rating: 9/10] I've watched quite a few dramas (mostly japanese, but a few chinese), so I've seen amongst the "best", so I had pretty low expectations for this drama. I thought that they would rely too much on their all-star cast. Plus it's not an original idea to pair an older, career-driven woman with a younger and more naive male (for example, "kimi wa petto" and "anego").
I was surprised that I liked it this much. It surprised me since at first I thought that Kamenashi and Itoh Misaki were an odd pair, but I liked the setting (in an advertising company), which really made it interesting to see how ads are really made and the ideas the characters come up with. Plus I'm glad that it was much much better than the previous year's "Anego", which lacked a lot of things (read my review on that).
Stand UP!! funny but slow-moving sometimes [Rating: 7/10] it's not the most riveting drama, but it's a comedy! and i think a good one at that. some of it is outrageous, but the characters are all so funny in their own way, especially Narimiya Hiroki and Oguri Shun's characters. i gave it a high rating not because it's the best i have ever seen, but because if you approach watching it knowing not to take it seriously and just enjoy yourself, you'll really really like it. however be warned: it drags a bit.