Akimahende! [あきまへんで！] Just Funny. Seminal comedic performance by Nakamura Tamao. Nice to hear some Kansai-ben in a drama. Sibling characters grow from almost unwatchably petulant to adorably engaging. Nothing complex. Somewhat Disney-esque.
Koi ga shitai Koi ga shitai Koi ga shitai [恋がしたい恋がしたい] Suprisingly smart, philosophical exploration of love & existential issues...well written / well cast / great characters / great performances. This one snuck up on me out of nowhere and has vaulted to one of my all-time favorites.
Koibumi [恋文~私たちが愛した男] I love the interestingly fresh angles that this drama dares us to view the nature of relationships from... An excellent gut-check of our sensibilities and personal philosophies in the realm of what intimate relationships are based on. Atsuro Watabe is to be commended for his performance. He takes a character with an eccentric and controversial philosophy on life and love and makes him interesting, likeable and sympathetic. Miki Mizuno also puts in an excellent performance, making her character, who must come to terms with her eccentric husband, believable; and in doing so justifies for us--the viewer--her tried, but untiring empathy for her husband. An Inspired & superb drama.
Mayonaka no Ame [真夜中の雨] Terrific suspenseful thriller. Great exploration of revenge/retribution/atonement issues. Only downfall is, that I can never watch it again without knowing "who did it". But it was exciting the first time through. Seems somewhat influenced by E.R.
Oyaji~ [オヤジぃ] Tackles tough contemporary issues (Unwed motherhood, Homosexuality) with refreshing common sense approach. The scene where Tamura (Dad) defends Oikawa's character from his parents is exceptional.
Risou no joushi [理想の上司] A nice father-figure type boss must win over the loyalty and hearts of his employees. Formulaic, predictable, at times repetitive, yet endearing drama. Maybe it's because it's the first drama I watched all the way through, but I have a soft spot in my heart for this one. Still one of my favorites.
Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ] Such complex and somewhat outrageous themes and situations, yet so simple, sensitive and believable in its philosophies and approach. The script is smartly written. The conclusion is very satisfying and I found myself caring very much for the welfare of all the main characters by the end.
Toshishita No Otoko [年下之男] Starts as a philosophical look at aging through the eyes of a 30-something japanese woman but the plot quickly thickens. Loved it the first time through, but suffers the same downfall as all great thrillers: You can't watch it over again for the first time. The cast and their performance keeps me compelled though, despite my knowledge of the outcome.
tatsx's artiste votes (9)
Abe Hiroshi [阿部寛] Likeable Leading man. Plays both comedic and dramatic roles well (Midnight Rain, Trick 1&2). See Takahashi Katsunori.
Fukada Kyoko [深田恭子] Typecast in one-dimensional, yet still charming innocent girl roles (To Heart), but now getting a chance to play more serious multi-faceted characters (Otousan). Her fiestiness in "Fighting Girl" and "Strawberry on the Shortcake" shows her capable of playing more diverse personalities.
Inamori Izumi [稲森いずみ] Charming in all her roles, especially when playing vulnerable, introspective characters. (We Have Tomorrow, Younger Man)
Matsuyuki Yasuko [松雪泰子] Plays the "tough-girl-with-a-heart-hiding-some-secret-vulnerability" roles well (Ideal Boss, Nanisama, Midnight Rain).
Mizuno Miki [水野美紀] My favorite. Engaging performer. Adept at playing righteous roles (Oyaji, Koibumi), but at her best when creating "flawed" characters. (Koi Ga Shitai).
Nakama Yukie [仲間由紀恵] Great comedic chops for an actress who could be cast just for her attractive looks. (Trick 1,2&3, We Have Tomorrow)
Takahashi Katsunori [高橋克典] Likeable leading man. Plays both comedic and dramatic roles well (Salaryman Kintaro, Younger Man, Akimahende). Same thing I said about Abe Hiroshi I know, but they each have their own charming nitches.
Watabe Atsuro [渡部篤郎] Creates very unique likeable characters. Good everyman actor with great range and a slight eccentricity to all his performances. (Koi Ga Shitai, Koibumi, Best Partner, Nanisama)
See my "Koibumi" show vote for more commendations.
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tatsx's drama reviews (1)
Denchi ga kireru made [電池が切れるまで] Warning Semi-Spoiler!!! [Rating: 5/10] Not much more to add as far as reviews are concerned... Fairly pedestrian tear jerker series. Not bad, Not spectacular. Sadly, the most impressive part of the drama to me is the creative main title credit roll. I found the visuals inventive and matched the music nicely... Two questions:
1. Why isn't Hirakawachi 1 Chome's song, "Kimi No Bun Made" listed under the Theme Song section on this page? It's far more prevalent throughout the series than "Himawari"... A great song, interesting band. I'm listing it now in case someone else like me was wondering, can't read the japanese on the drama's main site and couldn't find the information. If you're curious and want to know more about the band here is an excellent (English language) fansite: http://junjou.net/h1c/
2. Warning! This is a semi-spoiler. Does anyone else wonder like me, why the Maiko (Teacher's assistant) & Mamiya-Sensei relationship was never really touched upon after Mamiya-Sensei ignored Maiko-chan's initial advances? Seemed like that was setting up another little side-story (it would have been a nice bit of relief from all the other intense, tragic subject matter), but the series ended without ever bringing up the subject again. The producers really dropped the ball with that one.