|Buzzer Beat ~ Gakeppuchi no Hero [ブザー・ビート]|
Typical Romance, but still good [Rating: 9/10]
This was no doubt a very typical romance drama, and even a bit cliche. However, it was still good. Take the movie Love and Basketball, but add a little more plot development and much more likable characters and this is what you get. Yamapi was descent in this drama, and I liked his character, Naoki. However, this was the first time I watched Kitagawa Keiko and she was brilliant in this drama. I'm definitely going to watch more dramas and movies with her in the future. My only real complaint was that there wasn't as much basketball in it as I thought there would be. Only the first and last episodes do you really see them playing a basketball game, the rest is just practice and training.
Omoshiroi [Rating: 7/10]
Byakuyakou has quite an interesting plot that was written pretty well. It was interesting to see a couple fugitives in a more sympathetic viewpoint and had some good character development. However I can't say this was the best or the most enjoyable drama. While I felt Ayase Haruka did a good job acting here, her character, Yukiho, got on my nerves. I thought she was quite selfish, and it was hard for me to take her seriously after she had her friend sexually assaulted because of her own jealousy. Yamada's character, Ryouji, on the other hand I did like. He was just doing things he needed to in order to survive and to protect Yukiho. The other issue I had was with some disturbing scenes, like Ryouji having to screw a dead corpse. Thankfully that was never shown, but even implying it creeped me out.
|Code Blue 2 [コード・ブルー 2]|
Just as good as season 1. [Rating: 9/10]
This is how you make a sequal. Code Blue season 2 is just as good if not better than season 1. Like season 1, the characters are strong with plenty of development, and even more so in season 2. Season 2 goes deeper into their family backgrounds and everything from season 1 came full circle in season 2. I highly recommend checking out both seasons of Code Blue.
|Code Blue: Doctor Heli Kinkyu Kyumei [コード・ブルー]|
Great Medical Drama. [Rating: 8/10]
This is more like an 8.5. I'm usually not into medical shows but this one and season 2 had me hooked. Although it was a bit episodic and didn't do much in terms of story until the end, most of the medical cases were good with some being heart wrenching. All the characters and their development are really strong. The only issue I had with this drama was with the rather cheesy 2nd episode, not because of the bra man, but because one of the cases was really ridiculous with this lady asking her boyfriend to break her nose and then refusing treatment. Arrg get a grip!!! Other than that, I like both seasons of Code Blue.
|Dekichatta Kekkon [できちゃった結婚]|
Pretty Good [Rating: 8/10]
Dekichatta Kekkon is a well put together romantic comedy. The story is amusing yet heartwarming at the same time. However, the subplots are just as good as the main plot, particularly the plots involving Abe Hiroshi and Ishida Yuriko. I also liked the plot involving Tsumabuki and Katase.
The cast was good. Ryoko's character was kinda annoying the first three episodes, but from the moment her and Yutaka left together, Ryoko's character grew on me. Yutaka was good in his role as Ryuunosuke, a common guy who's talented in the commercial making industry, yet tries to deal with Chiyo's situation. I loved his interaction with all the cast. However, the supporting cast was just as good. My favorite was Sonny Chiba. He was quite funny as Chiyo's overprotective father.
|Dragon Zakura [ドラゴン桜]|
Too Over the Top and Absurd [Rating: 5/10]
This drama screams the word ridiculous. From annoying minor characters to ludacris teaching methods to the over the top "bad school."
To start with, I found Abe Hiroshi's character to be a preachy douchbag. He tried to install tough love and discipline into his students but his constant preaching and bickering to the students was way over the top. Instead, he comes off as an ego-driven character who thinks he's some big hot shot. The discipline factor here is not as well done as movies like Gridiron Gang or Coach Carter.
Furthermore I found most of the minor characters annoying, especially the teachers at the school (except for Hagesawa Kyoko's character), and the extremely whiney principal. Not to mention the extremely over the top teachers that Abe's character brung in, who came off as Gandalf the Math teacher, an Albert Einstein rip-off for a Physics teacher, and a break-dancing bar owner as an English teacher. I also felt that even the worst school to be "full of idiots" was also too over the top and unrealistic for my taste.
The student characters themselves were ok, and somewhat redeemed the show for me. I was initially drawn in by Gakky, but I found her character somewhat problematic. At first she iritated me with her constant jealousy and her extreme reliance on Yamapi's character. However, she changed a bit over the course of the series so I didn't mind her as much towards the end. Yamapi's character I was a bit mixed on. He was the driving force of the students in the special class, but his acting in this drama just comes off as boring. He's pretty good in Code Blue but here he's just a flake. I did like Maki, Hideki, and Ichiro, and could sympathize with all of them due to their struggles. However, the one character I really did like was Nagasawa Masami's character, Naomi. With her struggles with her mom at first doubting her then later getting sick and becoming hospitalized. Plus she felt like the one legitimate character that wasn't over the top to begin with. I was really dissapointed when she fell short at the end and wasn't able to complete her exam.
Overall, there are some good things about this drama. I feel the storyline could have worked, but all the over the top ludacrisy really drags it down. I give it 5.5/10.
|Fighting Girl [ファイティングガール]|
Good Drama [Rating: 7/10]
A descent drama, but not Kyoko's best. It is refreshing though because she has a much different role than what she usually plays. Instead of playing the cute, sweet, and naive girl, Kyoko plays a rather tough character with a short temper. The Korean actress, Yoon Son Ha, speaks good Japanese. It's not the best but it is worth watching.
|Fire Boys [ファイアーボーイズ 〜め組の大吾〜]|
A Major Drag. [Rating: 6/10]
Although this drama had some good points, such as solid characters and some touchy moments, it is really draggy. While at times it can be good, the story was episodic. Episodic shows can be good once in a while when you have some added elements into it, but this one was a bit too slow pace and boring at times.
A must see. [Rating: 9/10]
Great drama. If you like Won Bin or Fukada Kyoko this is a must see. The characters have solid development and it's a heartwarming story about love that knows no boundaries. The dialog can be a bit clanky at times but it's understandable considering the language barrier between the two main actors. Still, Kyoko and Won Bin did a great job together and had good chemistry. The theme song is beautiful to.
|Fugoh Keiji [富豪刑事]|
Terrible Drama [Rating: 3/10]
There were a few interesting cases and some funny moments in this drama. However, overall it is rather awful. Lack of character development, cheesy sound effects, bad acting by much of the supporting cast (except Sainei Ryuji and Terajima Susumu), and the comedy half the time wasn't even funny. Kyoko's character was bland and boring, and had very little personality. To top it off her grandpa was annoying.
|Good Luck !! [グッドラック！！]|
Good, but a bit overrated. [Rating: 7/10]
This is more like a 7.5. The story is descent and I really did like the interaction between Shinkai and Ogawa. I also liked the constantly evolving relationship between Shinkai and Kouda. However, the plot is really slow moving, especially at the beginning, and the comic relief is a little bit cheesy. I originally watched it because of the high ratings and the fact it had Uchiyama Rina and Yoon Son Ha in it, two actresses I've enjoyed watching in the past. However, I found both of their character's annoying, although Rina's character does change, matures, and develops nicely in episode 5. I think this drama is a bit overrated and gets its high reviews because of the strong cast that includes Kimura Takuya and Shibasaki Kou. I also didn't like how they didn't devote any time to Shinkai's recovery from leg surgery. The writing is a bit spotty. Overall, I found the first 4 episodes to be rather boring but the last 6 episodes were good but not great.
|Ichi Ritoru no Namida [１リットルの涙]|
A sad, touching story [Rating: 9/10]
There's really a lot to like about this drama. You really have to appreciate the effort the producers put into this drama. The story, while already sad, is even even more sad because it's based off of a true story. You really have to like Aya, how she keeps a positive attitude and doesn't let her disease affect her. I also liked Haruto's character growth and how he stood by Aya. The music, while depressing, is beautiful. I only had two minor complaints. I wished they showed something on Aya between ages 21 to 25 when she dies. The other is that Jinnai Takanori, who played Aya's father, overacted quite a bit at times. Still, the great story and Aya's character are more than enough to make this a great drama. This drama is a must see.
|Ikebukuro West Gate Park [池袋ウエストゲートパーク]|
Interesting material, but overall a letdown. [Rating: 6/10]
This drama had some interesting and controversal material to work with, such as gangs, violence, and prostitution, but the writers were confused with what direction they wanted to take the show. The first two episodes were suppose to be about the murder of Makoto's friend, which leads you to believe that the main plot revolves around this storyline. Yet this plot is completely ignored until it's brung up again in the last episode. The writers also didn't do enough to explore the gang lifestyle. Along with poorly executed humor, this drama is boring most of the time.
As for the actors, Watanabe Ken's and Nagase Tomoya's talents aren't used to their full potential. Neither of them are bad in this drama, but both of them have put on much better performances in their careers. On top of that Kato Ai was annoying. Yamapi's character didn't require a lot of acting ability, and just relied on his "cuteness." Kubozuka put on the best performance in this drama, bringing his character to life and the only one who actually managed to be funny.
|Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ]|
Sugoi [Rating: 10/10]
Very sad but a great drama. Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake tackles some very sensitive and controversial issues such as AIDs and Prostitution. Everything about this drama is great from the sad and intense drama, to the acting, the music, and the strong character development that all the characters receive. Fukada Kyoko does a really good job with her character.
|Karei naru Spy [華麗なるスパイ]|
Fun Drama. [Rating: 8/10]
Although sometimes it feels like a cheesy James Bond rip-off and the weapons that are used are truely overwhelmingly over the top, I still liked this drama. It was refreshing to finally see an action drama. The story was a bit slow at first but the story really kicks in during the last half with plenty of interesting plot twists. The message it sent about forgiving others was a bit preachy but I felt it's a great message and was well executed. It was also refreshing to see such a message coming from a Japanese show since I hear at least once in every Japanese show the word "unforgivable." The solution to the heat wave was outright ridiculous but luckily it didn't ruin the ending. Nagase Tomoya was excellent in this drama and I really liked his character's story and development. It wasn't Fukada Kyoko's best but not her worst, she was ok in this drama. Though she looks a bit odd with short hair and blond streaks. It's more like a 7.5. The story and the character development is strong, but I would give it a higher rating if it weren't for how ridiculous this series can get at times.
|Koishite Shinitai [恋して死にたい]|
Solid Drama [Rating: 7/10]
I feel some of the criticism I've read about this drama, particularly on Fukada Kyoko's character, is a bit harsh. Sure, she's a bit irritable at times and she stalked the guy she loved and sneaked into his apartment once, but I feel it's blown out of proportion. This occured only during the first two episodes out of what, twelve? Kyoko was more of a dork than "annoying" as other have put it. I really felt sad for her when Yuji broke her heart in episode 9. Dohmoto Tsuyoshi's character, Tokieda Yuji was pretty solid in this drama as well. I've only seen Tsuyoshi in this and Moto Kare, and from what I've seen, his character in this drama fits him better. He's tougher, doesn't put up with other people's crap but yet is gentle and caring. I felt the really interesting part of the drama was the character Junko. At first I hated Junko for her antics of stealing other girl's boyfriends but after the accident I think she matures really nicely. The soundtrack is awesome with Des'ree's "Life" and the Kinki Kids "To Heart." The story was written to accomodate Kyoko and Tsuyoshi's abilities, and I felt suited both actors really well. It was definitely well written. The only real major mishaps of this drama is that the coreography of the boxing matches is really terrible and it looks like they're just going through the motions. The punches look more like love taps. The last plot twist also felt slightly forced. But other than that and once you get past the first two episodes, I think this is an all-around solid drama.
|Majo no jouken [魔女の条件]|
Interesting... [Rating: 8/10]
I felt the storyline of this drama made it very interesting. It was edgy, controversal, and kept me going to see what was going to happen next. The Hikaru Utada song "First Love" is absolutely beautiful, even if it is slightly overplayed in the drama. A lot of people complain about Takki's acting, but after seeing him in three dramas including this one I have yet to see it. It's not the best drama but still pretty good.
|Mop Girl [モップガール]|
Good but lacking [Rating: 8/10]
This was more like 7.5. Kitagawa Keiko was great in her role as a silly character. She put on a good performance that was funny, cute, and charming. She did well in her first lead role. Tanihara Shosuke was also good, but I found the running gag of him flirting with a bunch of foreign women to be cheesy at times.
The plot is generally episodic, but holds its own with some good cases each episode as well as some good comedy along the way. However, the writing falls apart a bit in the last episode. The story lacks a conclusion. Apparently they wanted to make a movie, a special, or a second season, but it didn't go through. The lack of conclusion might not have been so bad but the plot never fully tied the leads' common background story together. They did initially but then suddenly reset everything back to ground zero as if it never happened. This drama could have used another episode to complete its story. However, for what it was worth it was fun to watch and I won't mind rewatching it again.
|Moto Kare [元カレ]|
Just, so-so [Rating: 6/10]
I'm kinda mixed about Moto Kare. There are just so many good things and bad things about this drama.
To start off, I don't think the ending was as bad as some people said. Some of the remarks about the ending seem to be more out of jealousy and immaturity. However, I do think the end result of the love triangle was a little rushed and slapped together.
How the characters were written just didn't sit too well with me. Particularly Hirosue Ryoko's character, Manoko. With her smart mouth and the way she tries to force her way through between Toji and Nao I didn't really care for her. I can sympathize for her emotions because of how she was treated at work and Ryoko's good acting, but the character herself I didn't really care much about. I felt this was Dohmoto Tsuyoshi's worst performance. The role with such a flaky character didn't really suit him at all and at times he seemed bored with his role. His character I thought was alright, but his flaky character isn't as well done Takki's character on SOS or Yamapi's on Buzzer Beat. Uchiyama Rina was wonderful in this drama. Superb acting, and she played one of the more likable characters in this drama.
I liked some of the side characters. I liked Sonim's character. The subplot involving her was alright. It wasn't that great but it kept me going.
The real saving grace for me along with Uchiyama Rina was the soundtrack. Hakky Candy I feel is the Kinki Kids' best song, and I also liked a couple of the other songs in this series such as "Tekko's theme." Overall, I think this drama is just ok. Not my favorite and I probably wouldn't care much for watching it again, but not the worst.
Good Family Drama [Rating: 8/10]
Despite the cheesy intro and Tamura Masakazu's haminess being annoying for the first handful of episodes, this is otherwise an excellent drama. Tamura's acting improves after you get past the first few episodes. This drama was both funny and heartwarming. All of the daughters as well as Tamura's character all matured real nicely by the end of the drama. This was a good drama about an initially immature father ignoring his own daughters' needs and their own immaturity, which eventually leads to all of them maturing really well. This series had an excellent cast of actors and actresses such as Iijima Naoko, Hirosue Ryoko, Fukada Kyoko, and Tsukamoto Takashi. Many times I've been dissapointed in a drama that has a great cast such as Good Luck!! but failed due to bland story writing, but not this one. This one was really well written and used its cast to its maximum potential.
|Papa to Musume no Nanokakan [パパとムスメの７日間]|
Fun Comedy [Rating: 9/10]
This is really a delightful comedy. I couldn't stop laughing. The story was good as well. Kudos to Gaki and Tachi Hiroshi, they really played their parts well. The only complaint I had was that being only 7 episodes long it felt a little too short.
Comedy + Mystery = Lots of Fun [Rating: 9/10]
This is a very interesting and fun drama. It starts out as a rather light hearted comedy cop drama and later becomes a little dark near the end. Fukada Kyoko plays the role of Kurumi, a ditzy cop who usually is only assigned to give out parking tickets. Domoto Koichi plays the role of Detective Himuro, a genius yet shut-in detective who has a troubled past and never leaves his basement. Ayaki is assigned to be Himuro's assistant, and does most of the work at the crime scenes. The two make a very interesting team that has plenty of good humor and drama. I highly recommend this drama.
Dissapointing [Rating: 5/10]
Rookie lacks spice and creativity to make it a good drama. It has some good actors like Domoto Koichi, Uchiyama Rina, and Kuroki Hitomi. All of them were good in their roles, especially Kuroki. However, the plot is just bland, boring, and episodic. Sure most cop shows are episodic by nature, but the good cop dramas like Remote for example, manage to have good stories for every case. This drama had nothing interesting in the storyline, and the only time I felt it was good were the last 3 episodes. The first 9 were pretty boring. This drama was a big disappointment, especially because I had high hopes with Uchiyama Rina in it and Domoto Koichi who was great in another cop sow, Remote.
|Seito Shokun! [生徒諸君!]|
A hidden masterpeice [Rating: 9/10]
When I first saw the synopsis and the first 5-10 minutes of it, I thought it was going to be more of a comedy oriented drama. To my complete surprise it was very serious and rather dark. Unlike many other dramas that start out slow, the story was rather fast pace and got straight to the point by the second episode. Yet it never slows down and the plot keeps evolving. The ending is also rather touching and kinda sad. After watching Uchiyama Rina play such a magnificent roll in S.O.S., I was a bit disappointed with her role in Good Luck. However, in Seito Shokun, Rina really shines in a rare leading roll for her as a dedicated and caring teacher of a troublesome class. She also showed some pretty good basketball skills to. There's a few minor mishaps. Some of the background music doesn't really fit the dark tone of the drama, although the outro song "My Generation" is awesome. The Julia-Kohei relationship wasn't utilized to its full potential and it was a bit dissapointing that they didn't advance it further than they did. Also a couple of the students overacted at times, but it's understandable when you have to cast over 50 students. It's also redeemable since all of the main characters acted out their parts really well. Overall, I think the story and the characters are all really great. I have to say this is the kind of drama I've been waiting for.
Awesome Drama [Rating: 10/10]
This drama is really awesome. I love dramas that deal with social issues and problems. This one was daring, and took the issue of racism and prejudice head on. While the racism issue is beaten to death by American filmakers, it's rarely touched upon in Japanese society. It presented a realistic picture of how ethnic minorities are sometimes treated in Japan. I also loved the many references to Martin Luther King.
The characters were all solid. Matsumoto Jun really gave a great performance as Vito. Vito is half-Filipino and half-Japanese, he is more or less a victim of being half-Filipino in Japanese society. Besides Vito, the race issue is also touched upon with his lawyer, Kazuma-San, who's half Korean. The one who really caught my eye was Aragaki Yui. Her performance in this drama was outstanding and as a mute she was so adorable with all her facial expressions. I really like her in this drama.
Besides the main characters, I was pleased that it didn't have too many one dimensional characters. Ojuri Shun played the bad guy of the drama, Hayashi Seiji. Even though he truely was a bad guy, during Vito's trial we do get to see moments where he was much deeper than just another evil face.
The only issue I had with the drama was that the last episode was a little too over-dramatic, but it was still good. Overall, this is really a great drama and I highly recommend it. It's a must see especially for fans of Jun, Gakki, and Ojuri.
|Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ]|
Great Drama [Rating: 10/10]
I really don't understand the negative reviews that this series gets. SOS is a great drama, with a great storyline and the cute as usual Kyoko Fukada. Though as much as I love Kyoko it's Takizawa who really shines in this drama. I loved his character Manato and I can really relate to him growing up. I love how he narrates the story in the past tense and his line "dakara kimi no koto ga wasurenai yo," which means "that's why I'll never forget you." Rina's and Yosuke's characters are solid as well. The love triangle is complex and leaves you curious to see what happens next. I also love the dramatic ending, especially since it's a happy ending when the story 99% of the way through leads you to expect a sad one. I also love the ABBA music in this drama, it fits the drama perfectly. This drama is better than any American romance movie and the acting in this series is better than it's given credit for.
Very Good. [Rating: 8/10]
This drama is very good and in some ways reminds me of Otousan, such as Natsuo having to deal with his younger sibling's issues and being helped along the way by Yuki. Also like Otousan, this drama is both very funny and very heartwarming, though it's also bittersweet. What I really like about this drama is that none of the subplots drag on for any longer than they need to, like Jun wanting to become a teacher and the fight for Chika to keep her baby. The romance between Natsuo and Yuki was sweet, charming, and heartbreaking.
I like all the characters. Natsuo is a solid character, very mature and learns how to be a father to his younger siblings even though he was really a bit too young to really be a father. However, I will say that Natsuo was at times annoying when he acted like a loud chatter box. For Tsuyoshi, this is a better role than he got in Moto Kare but I still like his character better in To Heart. Ryoko's character was cute, sweet, and really unselfish. I'm really starting to like Ryoko more and more after watching her in this drama and in the French movie, Wasabi. I was really impressed with Oguri Shun's acting in this drama as Natsuo's hearing-impaired younger brother, especially after watching him play a much different roll as a ruthless gangster in Smile. He really pulled off two rolls that couldn't be anymore different.
On the downside, I found a couple of the characters to be annoying, especially Chika and Seiji in episode 9. The ending was also a little bit too bittersweet, and I felt that this drama deserved a much better soundtrack. Moto Kare, another drama with Domoto Tsuyoshi and Hirosue Ryoko, had a much better soundtrack despite its bland story. If only Summer Snow had Moto Kare's soundtrack I would have liked this drama much more.
Still, despite some of the flaws I really liked this drama. I give it a solid 8.5/10 and recommend it to any jdrama fan.
Not a terrible drama but... [Rating: 5/10]
TEIOH has a descent plot but not a good one. It kinda frustrated me that Tsukamoto was the only constant character and all the other main characters like Nagasawa Nao's character were gone after the first 5th episode. It's not entirely bad but this drama tends to get rather boring and slow. It also doesn't have the intense drama or humor that most other dramas have.
|Uramiya Honpo [怨み屋本舗]|
Good Drama [Rating: 8/10]
Descent drama. Ayumi Kinoshita is hot and plays a badass who enacts revenge for pay. The only issue I have with it is that it doesn't have English subs.
|Yama Onna Kabe Onna [山おんな壁おんな]|
Cheesy, but watchable. [Rating: 6/10]
A rather cheesy drama that feels like a giant chick flick. But, it's not entirely that bad. There are some funny moments, and Yama Onna Kabe Onna does have a good cast. Overall, I think it's an ok drama. I've seen better but I've also seen worse.