Ikebukuro West Gate Park [池袋ウエストゲートパーク] Compared with other Jdramas, this is about as gritty as they get. A crime drama about gangs, not your usual drama but well done with some great performances, especially from Kubozuka Yousuke.
Kimura Takuya [木村拓哉] Very good actor, nice variety of dramas on his resume, would like to see him in more movies.
Kubozuka Yosuke [窪塚洋介] Like a chameleon, this guy can play any role. From the crazy gang leader in IWGP to the leading romantic role in Long Love Letter, I'm amazed at his acting range. He needs to get back to acting ASAP!
Matsu Takako [松たか子] Brilliant in Itsumo Futari de and Love Generation. One of the best Japanese actresses of today.
Maya Miki [真矢ミキ] Extremely talented actress. Wonderful in Attention Please as the hard nosed instructor, Boku Dake no Madonna as the bartender and also as the spurned wife in Shopping Hero.
Aoi Tori [青い鳥] Rating: 10/10 (Watched) An incredible ride of a love story. Epic. Actually, if you like the kind of thing on Lifetime or the Lifetime movie channel, this is like that, only better. The scenery is stunning and a wonderful part of the drama itself.
Koi wa Tatakai [恋は戦い！] Rating: 10/10 (Watched) Terribly UNDERRATED!!! This was a great drama with good acting, great chemistry all around. Great supporting characters. I loved that every episode had a focus on each character's romance and moved those stories along all the way up until the end. Funny, dramatic but not too dramatic, charming, very different from most Jdrtamas. Think Sex and The City in Tokyo, but better!
Kyousoukyoku [協奏曲] Rating: 10/10 (Watched) Slow, subtle, yet fantastic love triangle for adults. Wonderful acting by Tamura Masakazu.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) Perhaps a tad slow at times, this is a great companion to Love Generation. Wonderful acting all around, great chemistry between all the actors. Patient viewers are rewarded with a fantastic final episode. CLASSIC!
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) A fantastic love story, wonderful chemistry. Matsu Takako is absolutely amazing in this. CLASSIC!
Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi [空から降る一億の星] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a haunting drama with great and tragic twists. Wonderful acting by Kimura Takuya, you never really know whether he's good, he's bad, he's in between? WHO is he really? I thought the first episode was disjointed and didn't go with the rest of the episodes, but that's my only complaint. I was on the edge of my seat, at times my jaw dropping. What would happen next? How can this end? It can't end well. I find myself thinking about this drama months after watching it. Also fantastic are Eri Fukatsu, Kou Shibasaki and of course Akashiya Sanma. This is not one for the kiddies, with some sex and violence and overall darkness. But for adults, this is a truly great drama. I can't recommend it enough.
bettebogart's drama reviews (19)
Akimahende! [あきまへんで！] Starts out great, but lets you down as it goes alo [Rating: 6/10] After watching the first episode, I had big expectations for this family drama. The second and third episodes quickly lowered my expectations right back down. Great laughs at first, then it slows down and concentrates on the selfish and ridiculous kids with unrealistic and unsatisfying storylines. The woman who plays Katsura was wonderful, she has great comedic timing and a bubbly personality. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the rest of the cast. Especially annoying is the kid played by the kid from Arashi. Clearly, he was just starting to learn acting here and you can tell. He's pretty terrible and it's hard to get through his many scenes. The little girl is quite good, but she doesn't seem to ever get enough of a story to do anything with. I enjoyed the wacky May-December romance between Sam and Sumire, but ultimately that ends in disappointment as well. So much potential for this drama, with little potential realized. A bit of a disappointment.
Aoi Tori [青い鳥] Tragic, Forbidden, Epic Love Story [Rating: 10/10] An incredible ride of a love story. Actually, if you like the kind of thing on Lifetime or the Lifetime movie channel, this is like that, only better. The scenery is stunning and a wonderful part of the drama itself. Wonderful acting as well.
Beach boys [ビーチボーイズ] Highly Overrated Drama [Rating: 6/10] While I've enjoyed Yutaka Takenouchi and Sorimachi Takashi in many other dramas, this one was just fair. The story really goes nowhere. The only reason to enjoy this drama is the beach and the two eye candy actors, as the plot is so unbelievably thin.
Egao no Hosoku [笑顔の法則] OK Lighthearted Workplace Drama/Comedy [Rating: 7/10] This is a decent, but not great drama. Both Abe Hiroshi and Yuko Takeuchi are very good, as usual. However, the story is flimsy, there is just not much there. At times, it seems like they were going to make it a love story between the two main actors, but that goes nowhere. Enjoyable enough while you are watching it, but forgettable once it's over. A few laughs, but not really a comedy either. I think this was more about two people searching for what will make them happy, I guess?
GTO [麻辣教師] Formulaic But Good [Rating: 8/10] This is kind of the standard story of bad boy makes good, but it's done very well here. Sorimachi Takashi is very good as the main character. Kudos to Kubozuka Yousuke for a breakout performance, I thought he was the best of the supporting cast, as well as Matsushima Nanako. It's fun, funny, touching, heartwarming, sad, happy and defiant.
Kimi wa Petto [きみはペット] Excellent Acting Pulls Off The Crazy Story Perfect [Rating: 10/10] After reading the plot, I avoided watching this drama for fear of it being too far fetched or silly. However, I was wrong. The actors pull off what is really a crazy story perfectly, they make me believe it. What a beautiful, adorable love story. Totally unique. This is certainly one of my favorites. I want to watch it again.
Koi wa Tatakai [恋は戦い！] Wonderful Underrated Adult Romantic Comedy/Drama [Rating: 10/10] Terribly UNDERRATED!!! This was a great drama with good acting, great chemistry all around. Great supporting characters. I loved that every episode had a focus on each character's romance and moved those stories along all the way up until the end. Funny, dramatic but not too dramatic, charming, very different from most Jdramas. Think Sex and The City in Tokyo, but better!
Konna koi no hanashi [こんな恋のはなし] A Lesson of Life and Love and Friendship - Incredi [Rating: 10/10] A rich businessman has just learned he is dying, a poor man has just learned his condition is ok. Their chance meeting in a doctor's office changes the course of both their lives and the lives of their friends. This drama deals with life, death, love, pain, greed, ruthlessness, mercy, grace, trust, faith and the gamut in between, but most of all friendship. I can't recommend this drama any more highly. Wonderful acting, fantastic theme song, a great story, what more can you ask for? Also, it's handled in a way that isn't morbid or horribly sad. Tamaki Koji is amazing as well as the lead actor and all the supporting cast. Top notch drama!
Kyousoukyoku [協奏曲] Wonderful Adult Love Triangle [Rating: 10/10] A different twist on a love triangle. The two men competing for the same woman never fight with each other, instead their friendship only seems to grow more close, especially near the end. The guys care about each other, so much that they are willing to give up the woman they love so that the the other man and the woman can be happy together (or so they think). Such a subtle, slowly unfolding story that really makes you care about the characters. Tamura Masakazu is simply amazing in this. His facial expressions, his eyes and eyebrows, he says so much with just these things. He's truly one of the best Japanese actors that I have seen. Kimura Takuya is good, though with this character he plays it almost like a carbon copy of Teppei from Love Generation. This is one of his earliest dramas, so inexperience may have been a factor. Rie Misazawa was also good. But make no mistake, Tamura Masakazu is the heart of this drama. It's a tad slow at times and the very beginning where Ebisawa comes out of the water is not believable, but those are the only bad things I can say about it. Also, this is not a teen drama, or for strictly Kimura Takuya fans, they won't enjoy this too much. This is a serious, understated romantic drama for adults.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション] Simply A Classic [Rating: 10/10] Long Vacation is a modern classic in Japanese drama. A tad slow at times, but it's a love story that really pays off for the attentive viewer. Wonderful acting, great script, great supporting cast, great music and everything comes together beautifully.
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション] Great Love Story [Rating: 10/10] One of the best romances I have seen on television, no matter the country of origin. Kimura Takuya and Matsu Takako are both wonderful, especially Matsu Takako, the scene on the bridge, she's just phenomenal in that. The soundtrack also goes well with the scenes. The only thing I didn't care for was the glass apple being in so many scenes. That was a bit weird. Overall, this is one of the cream of the crop in Japanese dramas. You can't go wrong with this one.
Love Revolution [ラブレボリューション] Disappointing [Rating: 6/10] I had been expecting an epic love story, but was very disappointed. The story dragged and the chemistry between the two main characters wasn't there for me. I found the secondary love stories, between her friend and the cook to be far more interesting.
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース] Touching [Rating: 9/10] Loved it, I only give it a 9 since the ending seemed less than satisfying. It was really funny at times. The acting was good. The supporting cast of the high school classmates and the staff were all good as well. I think the staff deserves extra mention since they were some of the most colorful characters, especially the principal and teachers. Add in the great theme song and a nice animation sequence and you have a highly entertaining Jdrama. Definitely one of the better ones I've seen so far. I want to see more YAMAPI, I hope he does more dramas.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ] Fun, but quite overrated. [Rating: 7/10] This was a mostly enjoyable show, however, it's quite overrated. The best thing about it by far is the music. The musical segments are wonderful. You can really tell the cast put a lot of time into learning their instruments. Tamaki Hiroshi is ok as Chiaki, but Ueno Juri really overplays her part. I know this is adapted from a manga, so I expect a certain amount of overacting, but the Nodame character was too much. They should have toned it down just a bit, as well as the gay character, he was also overplayed. I also never believed the love story for a second, whether it was the actors, directing or script, I just didn't. Still, it was fun to watch and the music certainly made it worthwhile overall.
Oyaji~ [オヤジぃ] Heartwarming, Funny and Original Family Drama [Rating: 9/10] This was a very good family drama with interesting twists. Each family member goes through their own problems, often keeping their problems to themselves. This is a drama that shows the strength of a family, how you can love and support family members even though you don't agree with their decisions. Tameru Masakazu steals the show with his acting, he's great as the meddling, overbearing and loud Dad. He's a nightmare, but it's only because he loves his kids so much. Also, Okada Junichi and Ryoko Hirosue are very good as well. There's some serious moments, but these are contrasted nicely with a healthy helping of comedy. Very entertaining and as such highly recommended.
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦] OK Love Story [Rating: 6/10] While watching this drama, I couldn't help but try to imagine what a better actor would have done with the part. Yamapi is borderline terrible in this part. He doesn't fit at all. For a love story, he shows so little emotion. When he's happy, sad, angry, or whatever, his face is always the same. An actor like Yamada Takayuki or Satoshi Tsumabuki would have been far better in this part. Yamapi is ok in parts that don't require a range of emotion, like Kurosagi or Nobuta, but this drama required he show *something* to us, other than the same look on his face. It was still an OK love story, though it had an abrupt ending which wasn't really satisfying. It was also quite boring at times. I still liked it overall, but wouldn't watch again.
Ruri no shima [瑠璃の島] Unloved Child Finds A Home and Family [Rating: 9/10] A touching story about the people of an island who must try to get school age children to come live on their island in order to save it from going extinct. So, Ken Ogata, goes to Tokyo and finds a girl who needs a foster home. He brings her back to the island and the story begins. This drama is about the love of a family as well as life on the island. The acting is fantastic, the setting is gorgeous, the story well written. Highly recommended.
Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi [空から降る一億の星] Haunting and Mesmerizing Thriller [Rating: 10/10] This was a haunting drama with great and tragic twists. Wonderful acting by Kimura Takuya, you never really know whether he's good, he's bad, he's in between? WHO is he really? I thought the first episode was disjointed and didn't go with the rest of the episodes, but that's my only complaint. I was on the edge of my seat, at times my jaw dropping. What would happen next? How can this end? It can't end well. I find myself thinking about this drama months after watching it. Also fantastic are Eri Fukatsu, Kou Shibasaki and of course Akashiya Sanma. This is not one for the kiddies, with some sex and violence and overall darkness. But for adults, this is a truly great drama. I can't recommend it enough.
Tentai Kanzoku [天体観測] Solid, Enjoyable Friendship Drama [Rating: 8/10] A solid drama about true friendship, a bunch of kids who have graduated from college a few years ago but have grown apart. The story gets a bit overblown and melodramatic at times but it's held together by the all-star cast. It's more of a soap opera, like a Japanese version of an American twentysomething TV drama. I had recently seen Sakaguchi Kenji in something else and he was excellent in it, but I thought he overacted quite a bit in this. However, Koyuki, Kou Shibasaki, Ito Hideaki and Joe Odagiri are all excellent and I think Joe actually rises above the material. Not one of the truly great dramas, but highly enjoyable if you enjoy friendship dramas or any of the actors. The music is excellent as well.