Densha Otoko [電車男] Rating: 10/10. An absolutely terrific series and one of the best romantic comedies of all time. A classic for sure. Atsushi Itoh did an absolutely great and totally convincing job at being Densha. Kudos also to Miho Shiraishi as Jinkama-san. She rocks!
GTO [麻辣教師] The second drama I ever watched and it's still among my top five. Each episode was strong in its own right and very touching. Soremachi was perfect as Onizuka sensei. This one set the standard for all subsequent dramas.
Haken no Hinkaku [ハケンの品格] Another great jdorama addressing the issues of temporary workers in the Japanese work culture. Shinohara Ryoko as Haruko-san is perfectly cast masking her vulnerable side with a stainless steel humourless shell. Strong supporting cast including Koizumi Koutaro and Kato Ai (clumsy but so adorable). A very satisfying human drama that triumphs in the end. Two very solid thumbs up. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男] Best drama I've seen since Densha Otoko. Loved the fights between Kuwano-san and Hayasaka sensei, thought ken-chan was great, and kudos to a great cast and storyline. I loved the subtle subplots like the convenience store girl and the video store guy. Thoroughly enjoyable drama! Highly recommended.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション] 10/10 Excellent script and especially strong performances by Yamaguchi (Minami), Kimura (Sena), and Inamori-san (Momoko). Thought that Yamaguchi was just excellent!! And the soundtrack is terrific ... made the series that much more enjoyable. thoroughly enjoyed the series .. start to finish!!
My Little Chef One of these sleeper dramas that you don't discover until afterwards. Yada Akiko pulls off being the leading lady admirably. Very strong supporting cast including Abe Hiroshi and Ueto Aya. Each episode is a strong story that stands on its own. Very well done and a joy to watch for anybody who likes a good drama and appreciates great food. itadakimasu!
Tiger & Dragon [タイガー＆ドラゴン] A simply excellent, original drama! Great acting by Nagase Tomoya and Nishida Toshiyuki. Each story was a gem. A series you shouldn't miss.
Abe Hiroshi [阿部寛] He can play so many character types, the most recent being the somewhat obsessive, taciturn, unmarried 40-year old. He pulled that one off perfectly. He can do it all.
Inamori Izumi [稲森いずみ] Although you only saw her at those critical relationship moments in Long Vacation ... she did a great job! She played her part really well .. the ditzy but ultimately wise friend to minami-san. She really made me laugh! Also, did admirably well in Beach Boys.
Kato Ai [加藤あい] She was very cute as the klutzy kohai in Haken no Hinkaku. Really liked her role in this one.
Nakama Yukie [仲間由紀恵] Such a versatile, funny, and convincing actress. From Abe Hiroshi's sidekick through three series of Trick to 3-D gumi's homeroom teacher in Gokusen (Yankumi), she carried those series on her shoulders in her inimitable style.