Takenouchi Yutaka [竹野内豊] While many dismiss Yutaka as a model attempting to be an actor, he's more than that... he's especially good at playing anti-hero, rough, and ragged characters. Terrific as the troubled Junsei in Calmi Cuori Appasionati.
Antique [アンティーク〜西洋骨董洋菓子店] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) A very entertaining and lighthearted dorama, lots of eye candy for the ladies (Takizawa Hideaki, Shiina Kippei, Fujiki Naohito, Abe Hiroshi). The desserts look absolutely fabulous. The subtitles on my copy were terrible, translated from Japanese --> Chinese --> English. Somewhat murky ending, but well worth watching.
Big wing [ビッグウイング] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) Uchida Yuki's the star of this story, sort of like a dorama version of the French film "Amelie". She's up there with Matsu Takako in terms of being off-the-chart kawaii. Kashiwabara Takashi is charming as the section chief. Nogiwa Yoko kicks ass as the GM of Haneda's Big Wing. As usual, Kurotani Tomoka is hot enough to require an asbestos DVD player.
Golden Bowl [ゴールデンボウル] (Watched) Watched 2 episodes, so far it's funky and funny and very original in an old school sort of way.
Good Luck !! [グッドラック！！] Rating: 10/10 (Watched) What a great show. Terrific performances from Tsutsumi Shinichi, Takuya Kimura, Shibasaki Kou, and Kuroki Hitomi. Funny, touching, wild, and crazy. Kou is so beautiful when she's angry. Yoon Son Ha is so funny as Kimura's wacky neighbor. Uchiyama Rina is sassy as ever.
GTO [麻辣教師] Rating: 10/10 Surgeon General's Warning: GTO may be too over-the-top for you to handle. How funky is your chicken!
Hotman [ホットマン] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) A sweet family dorama, once again Takeshi plays a teacher like in GTO. Konishi Manami is so sweet as his sister, Shima, and is also the narrator. Yada Akiko is Misuzu, a nurse at the school that falls for Enzo (Takeshi's character). Kurotani Tomoka is so darn hot... phew.
Itsumo futari de [いつもふたりで] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) Kashiwabara Takashi dropped out after Episode 2, which sucks as he brought quite a bit of electricity to the dorama. Hasegawa Kyoko (also in Sutaa no Koi) is serious eye-candy and once again a bridesmaid. Matsu Takako plays Mizuho nearly identical to her role as Riko in Love Generation; Mizuho and Sakaguchi Kenji's Hatchi/Kenta character make a cute couple. Fuwa-san and Yamazaki-san were great supporting characters.
Meguri ai [めぐり逢い] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) Shuji's an idiot in this dorama. I'd have never let someone like Eri go, have married her by the end of the 1st episode. Of course, then you'd only have a 1 episode dorama!
My Little Chef Rating: 10/10 (Watched) A dorama that people will love or be completely indifferent to, depending upon if they enjoy food-related stories: Eat Drink Man Woman, Like Water For Chocolate, A Walk In The Clouds, The Chinese Feast, et cetera. Good acting, interesting story and use of flashbacks, terrific recipes. Yada Akiko is nothing short of magical! Nice theme song by Ayumi too.
Otousan [おとうさん] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) Wow, talk about 4 beautiful daughters (Iijima Naoko, Nakatani Miki, Hirosue Ryoko, Fukada Kyoko)! I'd give Otousan an 8.5/10 if possible. Good family drama, brings up a lot of issues relating to choosing one's path in life and following your dreams and making sacrifices. Lunch at Miyuki Soba sounds good, ne?
Over Time [オーバー・タイム] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) Really good soundtrack and entertaining story... Natsuki and Soichiro were so funny together. While it's from the same folks that brought us Long Vacation, the tale of Over Time is completely different, it revolves around love and sacrifice. Esumi Makiko, Ishida Yuriko, Kimura Yoshino, and Tanaka Rena provide some serious eye-candy in this dorama.
Oyaji~ [オヤジぃ] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) The first 6 episodes are painful to watch, but necessary, as they provide the foundation. Sumika steals the show!
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) Would be a 9 if not for the frequent attempted manipulations by Honami and the numerous ploys and tricks she does for attention, like a spoiled brat. Shiina Kippei gives an excellent understated performance as the ikebana master.
Star no Koi [スタアの恋] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) Japanese version of Notting Hill, with a little Four Wedings And A Funeral. Fujiwara Norika is drop dead gorgeous. Kusanagi-san does a great job of carrying both the drama and comedy.
With love Rating: 8/10 (Watched) A nihonjin version of You've Got Mail, but even better. Excellent soundtrack. Would have given it a 10, but episodes 11 and 12 were weak.
Yamato Nadeshiko [やまとなでしこ【大和撫子】] Rating: 9/10 (Watched) Osuke (Tsutsumi Shinichi) is an idiot to be caught up in Sakurako (Matsushima Nanako), when Wakaba (Yada Akiko) is chasing him as well... Wakaba has a way better personality and heart. Jinno Sakurako is the kind of juicy role that actresses dream about. Is there a more beautiful woman in Japan than Matsushima Nanako? Highly recommended dorama.
Bus stop [バスストップ] Cinderella + Musashi = Bus Stop [Rating: 7/10] Iijima Naoko is beautiful beyond belief in this dorama, which is a modern interpretation of a crossing between the Cinderalla fairy tale and Miyamoto Musashi story.
Itsumo futari de [いつもふたりで] Light, Predictable, but Worth Watching [Rating: 7/10] Kashiwabara Takashi dropped out after Episode 2, which sucks as he brought quite a bit of electricity to the dorama. Hasegawa Kyoko (also in Sutaa no Koi) is serious eye-candy and once again a bridesmaid. Matsu Takako plays Mizuho nearly identical to her role as Riko in Love Generation; Mizuho and Sakaguchi Kenji's Hatchi/Kenta character make a cute couple. Fuwa-san and Yamazaki-san were great supporting characters.
Manatsu no Merry Christmas [真夏のメリークリスマス] 3 Episodes Watched... [Rating: 8/10] Keeps getting better, through the first three episodes.
Solid work by by Nakatani Miki, considering the limited dialogue she was given through the first three episodes -- hence, requires a lot of emoting.
As for many of the negative reviews earlier, I think it may be partially due to relying on subtitles, people are missing out on key portions by not understanding nihongo and are unsatisied accordingly. There's a lot of subtlety in this dorama.
Looking forward to the remaining episodes.
Meguri ai [めぐり逢い] Get a Clue [Rating: 9/10] Meguri Ai takes the form of a romantic song with a sad refrain... the characters Eri and Shuji are in love with each other, but have difficulty in realizing and expressing their true feelings. Because of this misunderstanding, and various career and personal opportunities that arise for each of them, Eri and Shuji keep forcing themselves apart. Despite all this, by some twise of fate, they still keep running into each other...