Antique [アンティーク〜西洋骨董洋菓子店] This drama is by far the most hilarious one I've seen to date. I enjoyed all of the actors' performances, each had their little quirks and weird habits, but they were so funny. I highly recommend it.
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ] A sweet love story about a handicapped woman and a young hairdresser who can look beyond the woman's physical limitations. A realistic portrayal of love between the two through trials and tribuations.
Gokusen [ごくせん] This is clearly one of my favorite series of all time. Each episode has its special moments and I didn't find even one of them a bit boring! It was just so much fun to watch that by the time I got to episode 12, I was sad to see that it was all over.
Nakama Yukie, Sawada Shin, and the rest of Yankumi's 3D class pull off such memorable scenes. I found myself liking each and everyone of the characters in this series. (Even the head teacher), each had their own weaknesses but sought to better them in the end. It was absolutely great!
GTO [麻辣教師] One of the most inspiring dramas ever produced, GTO will surely touch you. The energetic and idealistic Onizuka Eikichi enters a school and is told to teach a class full of delinquent students. The students who believed that this teacher would be another push over find themselves in new territory when the teacher shows that he isn't afraid to raise a fist, speak his mind, etc. Not only are the students changed for the better, but so are the other teachers that work there.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション] One of the classic JDoramas starring Kimura Takuya. Senna, a pianist who has yet to make a hit in Tokyo has a chance meeting with Minami, a model whose age is threatening her to retire from the business. Through many ups and downs in both romance and occupation, the two of them become closer. A sweet love story about a younger man and an older woman relationship. Definitely very memorable.
If you liked this, you may want to try "Boku Dake no Madonna" which has a similar type of theme.
Summer snow This began as a simple story: a young man raising both his younger brother and sister who falls in love with a woman who works at a bank. As the series progresses, certain familial/relationship/health problems are raised and questioned. What makes this series one of the best is the emotion and sincerity on the actors and actresses' parts. By the end of the series, I found myself so engrossed with the people and their situations. Certainly, this drama produced one of the most memorable and lovable characters ever. Natsuo and Yuki.
Taiyo no Kisetsu [太陽の季節] If you're a fan of Takizawa Hideaki, you definitely should not miss this drama! Tackey plays a totally different type of character from his other dramas and pulls it off magnificently. The chemistry between Tatsuya and Eiko was great and definitely had me wanting more. It has a memorable and bittersweet storyline with end thoughts/monologues that were incredibly heartwarming/heartwrenching. I enjoyed it very much and finished most of the series in a day.
Tentai Kanzoku [天体観測] A story about dreams and expectations of the real life after college that are sometimes not fulfilled. Even though the theme of this show seemed depressing, the characters themselves were able to help each other during their tough times and emphasized the importance of friendship giving a sense of hope and accomplishment.
This was a really great drama that went above and beyond my initial expectations. The cast did a wonderful job portraying each of their characters and as the series progresses, the audience will more likely than not love each and every one of the members of "Sagittarius". All of them have their faults, but their good shines through. Really great and heartwarming theme. Must watch!
donna8157's artiste votes (9)
Dohmoto Tsuyoshi [堂本剛] A really talented actor that really steals the spotlight in whichever drama he partakes. His works in "To Heart", "Files of Young Kindaichi", "Moto Kare", and especially "Summer Snow" make most if not all his characters really memorable. His acting makes a lasting impression on his audience. Someone who is truly talented in the acting department.
Hirosue Ryoko [広末涼子] Truly a very talented actress. The audience has practically seen her grow up and mature through her many JDramas: "Beach Boys", "Shota no Sushi" to "Dekichatta Kekkon", "Seija no Koushin", "Moto Kare", "Oyaji", and "Summer Snow". There's no doubt why Hirosue Ryoko is so popular. She exudes charisma and likeability in each of her dramas and is able to portray her characters to the fullest extent.
Kimura Takuya [木村拓哉] Kimura Takuya has proven time and time again that he can pull off any role that is thrown to him. From being a laid back hairdresser in "Beautiful Life" to a dream driven co-pilot in "Good Luck!" to an angst ridden character in "Sleeping Forest", Kimura has pulled off each character convincingly and effectively.
I've thoroughly enjoyed each and every series that he has been in. Sigh. I love him. His teary scenes make me cry.
Konishi Manami [小西真奈美] She is often overlooked, but her characters are always very memorable and she portrays each character very convincingly. I first saw her in "Searchin' for my Polestar" and my first impression of her wasn't all that grand. But then I saw her in "Orange Days" and "Hotman" and the versatility of her characters surprised me. She was able to pull off her acting for each one with seemingly great ease. I hope to see her more often in newer dramas.
Koyuki [小雪] A great actress that really got noticed in the international scene after her movie with Tom Cruise "The Last Samurai". She's wonderful in each of the series that I've seen her in: "Antique", "Beautiful Life", "Searchin' for my Polestar", and "Kimi wa Petto".
Nakama Yukie [仲間由紀恵] A really memorable actress due to her work in both "Gokusen" and the "Trick" series. In each show, she is able to bring about a certain charisma onto the screen that gives her character so much vivacity. She has great chemistry with other actors/actresses on the set and I hope to see her in more TV Series.
Oguri Shun [小栗旬] A very versatile actor that has played so many different roles in popular dramas such as "GTO", "Summer Snow", and "Gokusen". It's amazing how he has gone from the shy school boy to the boy with hearing problems to the bad boy of the school and he pulls each role off convincingly. ^_^ I hope to see him in more doramas.
Suzuki Anne [鈴木杏] A talented young artist who grew up in the JDrama spotlight. She gives life and character to each of the roles that she's given. From "Akimahende!" to "Ganbatte Ikimasshoi" it's easy to see how much she has grown both physically and in acting ability. She is one of the JDrama actresses that we can expect to see a lot more from in the future.
Takizawa Hideaki [滝沢秀明] Both of his acting and singing skills have progressed magnificently since "Forbidden Love" and the beginning of the hit Jpop group, Tackey and Tsubasa. The roles of his characters have become much more diverse since his debut and he has proved time and time again that he can accomplish them successfully. His dramas are fun to watch especially because of the charisma and acting skills he has put into it. I think he's the next Takuya Kimura and I hope to see him more often in the Dorama scene. ^_^
donna8157's dramas (212)
1 Pound no Fukuin [１ポンドの福音] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) I'm not sure whether to give this series a 6 or a 7, but I ended up giving it a 6. The show is based off of a manga series about a lightweight boxer who is a glutton and falls in love with a beautiful nun named Sister Angela. Kamenashi Kazuya plays Hatanaka Kousaku, a boxer who loves food. In fact he loves it so much that he is able to eat tons of it, but because of that has to starve himself before the weigh-ins so that he can compete.
The situations in this story are outlandish, but so funny. It was a pleasure to watch Kousaku maintain composure while trying to lose weight and proclaim his love towards Sister Angela. The acting was over the top, but I felt that it was appropriate for the tone of the show. It's worth watching if you want to see something funny.
Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu [愛なんていらねえよ、夏] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a great drama that showcased some of Hirosue Ryoko's best acting - although I must admit that I've always enjoyed her acting in all of the other dramas that I've seen her in ("Summer Snow", "Oyaji", "Wasabi", "Dekichatta Kekkon", "Seija no Koushin" even "Moto Kare") The characters in this series were pretty complicated and their motives were not always easily seen.
Watabe Atsuro plays the part of Reiji, a man who pretends to be Hirosue Ryoko's (Ako) brother in order to con her out of her money. Because Ako is blind and hasn't seen or heard from her brother in a long time, she isn't able to tell the difference. Naru, played by Fujiwara Tatsuya, is Reiji's friend who also tags along.
The story progresses nicely and the plot unfolds very naturally. I think the biggest strength of this drama was the acting and depth of each of the characters. Because so much thought was put into each person - you will find that you end up caring for all of them - from Hirosue's strength and determination to become more independent even though she's blind and Watabe's slow change in his feelings towards her.
This was a wonderfully deep and moving drama. I highly recommend it, this one should not be overlooked!
Akimahende! [あきまへんで！] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) An enjoyable family series about an old woman who brings together a broken family. It's a cute and light-hearted series that's interesting to watch but the over-the-top acting sometimes makes it difficult to watch. Suzuki Anne, although young, makes a very memorable character and I ended up finding her character to be one of my favorites in this series. I watched "Stand Up!" before this series and it was funny to see Suzuki Anne and Ninomiya Kazunari as brother and sister roles. It was still very cute though. I recommend watching this if you want something light-hearted and something to watch off and on. The ending is also something to look forward to seeing.
Anego [アネゴ] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A modern day tale about a woman, nicknamed Anego (big sister), and her love story at the age of 30 with a young man who is ten years younger than her. It's cutesy tale with touches of comedy about the daily thoughts and duties of a working OL who is still looking for that special someone.
Shinohara Ryoko did a wonderful job portraying Noda Naoko, the lonely woman who has not yet found her love, but is helping all the other women in their love lives. Her train of thought and actions were all very enjoyable to watch. The chemistry that she had with Akinishi Jin was surprisingly good and at times very cute (more like friends). I would recommend this drama to anyone who would want to enjoy a nice romantic comedy with a lot of good-looking faces.
Antique [アンティーク〜西洋骨董洋菓子店] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A great, fun drama to watch with touching scenes between Takizawa Hideaki, Naohito, etc who become good friends while working at a cake store. I really enjoyed it. This quirky series has no structured plot, but it's simply a story about four men and cake. Some offbeat comments and acting really added to the comedic factor for this drama. I highly recommend it for light viewing purposes. For me, it's one of those dramas that I have fun watching and rewatching and the fact that there's no structured plot, but more of an episode by episode viewing, it's fun to skip around.
Bambino! [バンビーノ!] Rating: 4/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama was very disappointing. The characters were really overdone and not interesting. In fact, the melodrama in this series were 95% comedic. If you've seen "Hell's Kitchen", then this drama would remind you of that reality TV show except 80% more over the top.
Matsumoto Jun plays Ban Shogo, a person with a raw talent for cooking and who is cocky and proud about it in the beginning. However after working for the restaurant, he realizes how much he has to learn in the business and how inexperienced he really is. Every episode has a scene where he starts crying - and not just a few tears, but a waterfall. It's just painful to watch (not because you feel bad for him) but because it's so frustrating especially since you just saw him cry 10 minutes ago about breaking a plate or getting yelled at by a higher up.
It was mainly because of these "trials" that Ban had to go through that made this show very unpleasant to watch. I had no desire to see what would happen to him and the ending was not fulfilling either. I don't know if I'd recommend this drama to fans of Matsumoto Jun either, it was just that disappointing. The only high point of this drama for me was to see a lot of the dishes being made. They looked delicious.
Bara no nai Hanaya [薔薇のない花屋] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a good drama although it felt a little too much kdrama-ish. Katori Shingo plays a flower seller named Eiji who rears a young girl (his daughter) named Shizuku (name for a tear). The mother whom he had loved passed away while delivering the baby. The story starts when the girl is in primary school and Eiji meets a mysterious but beautiful blind girl in front of his flower shop.
The acting is very good in this series and it had so many touching moments although some seemed a little too contrived (ie Korean drama). My favorite aspect of the show was the father-daughter scenes. They were so beautifully crafted with the cinematography and lines, especially those of Shizuku. Although the actress was so young, she was able to execute those lines with such perfection.
Some of the plot elements seemed forced, but it didn't take away too much from the overall effect of this series. I highly recommend watching it.
Beautiful life [ビューティフルライフ] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) This is probably one of the most widely watched JDoramas ever next to "GTO" and "Long Vacation". In fact, I was introduced to this drama after watching "GTO" and this was when I fell in love with Kimura Takuya's acting. The story revolves around a hairstylist whose dream is to make people pretty so that they can be happy and a young, handicapped woman who is confined to a wheelchair for her entire life. Although they got into a few squabbles in the beginning, they soon became closer and fell in love with one another. The chemistry between Kimura Takuya and Tokiwa Takako was electric and it really added to the dramatics of the ending.
Highly recommended (don't forget tissues).
Big wing [ビッグウイング] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a pretty decent drama with a lot of overacting done on Uchida Yuki's part as she played the energetic and Big Wing loving Yoshikawa. There was not really any consistency as you went from episode to episode and the stories in each episode weren't that compelling to begin with.
Kashiwabara Takashi does a wonderful job playing the young head of the Customer Service division of Big Wing as does Uchida Yuki. However, sometimes I found that the overzealous scenes depicted by her were a little more annoying than touching or funny.
I would only recommend this drama to those that have free time on their hands. It's good to watch this and take a break, then come back to it.
Bijo ka Yajuu [美女か野獣] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A good series focusing mainly on the lifestyle of a newsroom. Matsushima Nanako and Fukuyama Masaharu did a convincing portrayal of JBC's producers and the trials that they had to go through in order to pull in higher ratings seemed very realistic. The series had a really turbulent ending (the last two episodes), but the conclusion seemed a little too rushed. Other than that, I really enjoyed it.
Blackjack ni Yoroshiku [ブラックジャックによろしく] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama that had a promising premise - a young, idealistic doctor who is ready to take on the challenges of working in a hospital, but finds that things just aren't as simple as helping people. Tsumabuki Satoshi, newcomer to the JDorama scene, plays a recent Med School graduate who begins his residency at a prestigious hospital.
Each episode focuses on a different patient or different situations that the young doctor has to face, sometimes the conclusions aren't all that happy. In fact, this drama overall is pretty dark. It shows the darker side of being a doctor and the entire hospital insurance system (or faults thereof). Tsumabuki pulls off a decent job, but I didn't find his character very endearing or memorable. It's certainly not one of his best works.
The story is also pretty slow, the episodes becoming monotonous after the first three or four. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to watch this series even if you're an avid fan of Tsumabuki Satoshi.
Boku dake no Madonna [僕だけのマドンナ] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) This is a drama that Takizawa Hideaki fans will adore. He plays a college student named Kyon who moves away from his bustling home to live in an apartment. However one day after his night shift at work, he finds a woman sleeping on his bed. Thinking that he's hallucinating, he quickly leaves the room and comes back a few minutes later only to find that the woman is gone. He dubs her his Madonna.
Later on in the series, the viewers find out the reason why Hasegawa Kyoko's character frequents Kyon's place. The story proceeds at a pretty decent pace, but can be slow to some. The chemistry between the two main leads was only so-so, but it was nice since it seemed to be more about friendship than love. Takizawa Hideaki plays a really adorable character who often finds himself to be Hasegawa Kyoko's lap dog.
There are many similarities between this and 'Long Vacation' although the latter has a much stronger plot. I would highly recommend this drama to Takky fans and people who want to watch a light romantic series with some comedy. It's cute.
Boku no Aruku Michi [僕の歩く道] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) I watched this drama with little expectation and I can come away saying that I'm glad I did watch it. Kusanagi Tsuyoshi plays a 30 something year old autistic man named Ootake Teruaki. He has trouble holding a job because of his disability and is a burden to his family, especially his mother who has to continuously worry and take care of him. He has a childhood friend named Miyako who he writes to everyday as a routine and Miyako is able to get him a job at the zoo as an animal caretaker. Things are rough for him in the beginning, but little by little the people that work with Teru start to understand him. Teru is a significant asset to their workplace and is appreciated. As the drama progresses, we see Teru's personality unfold and see him become a little more independent with wishes and desires of his own mature.
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi does a brilliant job of playing Teru. I have always thought that he was a good actor, but I feel as though his acting really came to bloom in this series. The episodes were touching and even though I thought it was slow when I first started, I can say that I enjoyed it more and more as it progressed. Great drama.
BOSS Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) I really enjoyed this series. The entire group of people in the Crime Unit work great together and have great on screen chemistry. They're funny and quirky and everything else. It's worth watching and I think it's one of the best detective drama series this year (and there have been a lot.)
BOSS 2 Rating: 9/10 (Watched) This is a great follow up to its predecessor. It's nice to see the whole gang back and there are new people who I think go well with the whole group. It's definitely worth checking out if you've seen the first series and if you haven't seen the first one - you don't need to, you can still enjoy it as it gives quite a bit of background in the first few episodes.
Brother Beat [ブラザー☆ビート] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A family drama. The series begins with a happy family: a father, a mother, and three young sons. Due to a tragic accident, the father passes away early in his life leaving the mother to take care of her three growing sons. Time passes quickly and you see the sons have grown up and are used to doing chores around the house. The oldest son is a salaryman [Tamayama Tetsuji], the middle son [Hayami Mokomichi] is a popular swim instructor (with his own fanbase), and the youngest son [Nakao Akiyoshi] is still going through schooling. It's mainly a drama about how these four get along and their daily obstacles in life such as meeting women, dealing with work, finding out what they want in life, etc. Of course this goes with a few fist fights and such thus the drama title, "Brother Beat", where beat is meant literally.
The only caveat I have with this drama is the mother - as sweet as she is and even though she is portrayed as raising all three sons by herself, her character is a little over the top. On the other hand, the other three young actors act very well. I would recommend this drama mainly if you like any of the actors mentioned above.
Busu no Hitomi Koishiteru [ブスの瞳恋してる] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A cute drama taking from the theme that personality is more important than a person's looks, personality helps shape a person's beauty. I thought that this drama was a bit similar to the idea in the Korean drama, "My Name is Kim Sam Soon". In both dramas, the protagonist is an average and not so good looking woman. The male in this drama is wealthy and a bit superficial in the beginning. But he soon learns that beauty is not always found on the outside.
In this particular story, Oomori Nao plays a hefty woman who dreams of becoming a serious actress. Her dreams led her to Tokyo, but she's always rejected because she's overweight and none of the casting crew can take her seriously. She meets a man who directs Variety Shows (played by Inagaki Goro). He sees her and instantly sees a hit with her if she were to act in comedy. Throughout the drama, he tries to persuade her to be in his show. The acting was a little over the top, but fun to watch. Oomori Nao does a good job of portraying the main character with her determination and sometimes frustration when encountering obstacles. Inagaki Goro however seemed a little insincere when executing his dialogues. Overall, it was a fun drama to watch and I would recommend it for people who are looking for a light romance.
Byakuyakou [白夜行] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama was a great disappointment. It seemed to just be a reason for Yamada Takayuki and Ayase Haruka to be on the screen as a main couple again. However, the kind of charisma and chemistry that they had on the screen in "Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu" cannot be found in "Byakuyakou" and that is mainly do to the outlandish plot and subpar dialogues. The story starts off quickly and is very dark. Of course any drama dealing with a pedophile is automatically a little too disturbing to watch. Anyway, the story hints at it being a fast-paced emotional rollercoaster but ends up being just a lame B story. I could not even take it seriously and thus quickly lost interest in viewing the entire series after a few episodes. I still forced myself to watch it, but I admit that I did not think any more highly of the series after that.
Hopefully in their collaborations together in the future, the directors will put more thought into the actual story rather than just rely on the actor and actress to carry the popularity of the show.
CHANGE Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a very inspiring and beautiful drama with lead Kimura Takuya. He does it again with superb acting and the story is great. I really loved it.
Control ~ Hanzai Shinri Sousa [ＣＯＮＴＲＯＬ〜犯罪心理捜査〜] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) This was a really great drama. Great lead characters and the plot line was interesting. The mysteries were a bit predictable, but less so than other jdramas. It's really worth checking out, it reminded me of the old-school jdramas from the 90s and early 2000s.
Dekichatta Kekkon [できちゃった結婚] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) It was a fun series to watch and both Takenouchi Yutaka and Hirosue Ryoko's characters were very endearing. I especially liked the chemistry between the two of them and how friendly they were with one another. Aside from that, the plot was a bit unrealistic. I wanted to see more of a development of romantic feelings between Takenouchi and Hirosue. Things turned out to be almost too perfect.
But it was a feel good drama and one that is definitely worth watching. Great acting. I got a little teary-eyed in the end.
Densha Otoko [電車男] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) A romantic comedy revolving around an otaku who falls in love with a woman that he saves on the train. The story is based off of a true story that had taken place on the Channel 2 Singles Forums which later turned into a popular book, movie, and manga series.
Many argue that the drama version of the story is the best. Itoh Atsushi creates a very believable Yamada, the epitome of otaku geekiness - one who loves anime and roams around Akihabara in search for more anime/manga. He meets Aoyama on the train and saves her from being harassed by a drunk. From then on, it's history.
The series was very comedic and fairy tale-like in nature and I found myself laughing at many of the scenes, especially when he was asking for advice from his internet friends. The side characters were important and crucial to the development and layering of the overall plot. It was a great and memorable series, one I'm sure that will be on many, many people's favorites.
Double score [ダブル スコア] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) It's a good series, but nothing more than that. Sorimachi Takeshi and Oshio Manabu do a good job of teaming up and working together for this series. I liked the different portrayals of each officer and their way of approaching problems. The crimes that they had to solve were rather shallow, but the acting made up for it. However, while watching this I couldn't help but think that this was GTO but as a police officer.
The stories in the series itself sometimes last around 2-3 episodes. Another good series to watch off and on and isn't too addicting.
Dream Again [ドリーム☆アゲイン] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) I'm not sure what my expectations were when watching this drama - Sorimachi Takeshi is an excellent actor and he was the first actor I've seen in a Jdrama (GTO). However, this series is the same old same old Sorimachi Takeshi - the inspirational, loud, and sometimes proves his point through aggressive means type Sorimachi Takeshi. Anyway, the premise of the series is definitely much more original than most of the dramas I've seen lately.
"Dream Again" has a strong cast and a great idea, but sadly that's all. The story begins to drag after a few episodes and the character, Ogi Shunsuke, seemed very unrealistic. The lines were very contrived and the other characters only seemed to detract from what little was positive about the show. Hopefully Sorimachi Takeshi will try a different role next time around.
Engine [エンジン] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) In the beginning, I was a bit disappointed with this drama because it was different from Kimura Takuya's other ones. Romance wasn't a big focus of the plot and neither was his career as a race car driver, it dealt with the children of "Kaze no Oka" home. But as the series continued, it started to really grow on me and I found that I really liked Kimura's character, Kanzaki Jiro. The subtle way that he expresses his kindness and his often hilarious ways of dealing with the children really make him a very touching and sweet character.
Koyuki also does a wonderful job portraying Tomomi-sensei, a teacher that goes by the book, but in the beginning didn't consider the students feelings as much. Her change is apparent through the series. Also, even though there was not much of a romantic plot in this series, I really felt that I enjoyed the short, but cute scenes between Kimura and Koyuki. I felt that it was appropriate for this drama and even glad that it wasn't a main part of the plot.
This drama was great and highly recommend watching it. It's not to be missed, especially by other Kimura Takuya fans.
Erai Tokoro ni Totsuide Shimatta! [エラいところに嫁いでしまった!] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) I'm still in the process of watching this series, but so far I'm unimpressed with the script. Nakama Yukie is her typical self in this drama about a woman who gets married and has to adapt to her husband's very traditional family. The plot is pretty predictable and the characterizations overly cliche. In fact, after watching a few episodes I found that all of the characters began to grate on my nerves a bit. The thing that I found most interesting about this drama is the Japanese traditions that are imposed onto Yukie's character by the mother versus her very modern self. In that aspect, I thought the drama succeeded.
Food fight [フードファイト] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) "My stomach is as large as the universe."
That single line is one of the funniest lines I have ever heard used in a drama or in any kind of show. The drama was surprising with an interesting storyline revolving around food eating competitions. Each episode features a new challenger for Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's character. One of the highlights of each episode was the fact that often the contestants were pretty well-known JDrama actresses or actors like Ishida Issei or Koyuki's boyfriend in Kimi wa Petto.
As the drama progresses, the challengers become harder and harder to beat, although this is so the ending is always predictable. I really enjoyed Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's acting - light-hearted, comedic, heartwarming, and a little perverted. Fukada Kyoko does a decent job as Manami who takes care of the little kids. But by far one of my favorite characters in this show was the crow (Kimura Takuya's voice). He was hilarious.
This series is entertaining to watch off and on, but sometimes the gorging of the food can be a little too much. Also the ending of the drama is just too abrupt and does not follow with the mood of the entire series. (Although this series did oddly have some really dark scenes in it) This series kind of reminded me of "Engine" since it revolved a lot around the kids.
Fukigen na Jiin [不機嫌なジーン] Rating: 5/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama, although it had a somewhat interesting and comical premise, did not have a strong plot or romantic story. Takeuchi Yuko, as great an actress as she is, annoyed me to some degree with her character. Also the use of comparing and contrasting humans to animals and insects was innovative at first but quickly became boring because it was overused and abused to say the least.
The worst thing about this drama is that there were many parts where the story seemed to just drag. It moved terribly slow and there is little to no motivation to continue watching it.
[email protected] Rating: 4/10 (Bought & Watched) You're not missing anything if you haven't seen this movie. In fact, it would be hard for me to even recommend this movie to fans of Fujiki Naohito and/or Nakama Yukie. Their characters were pretty boring and unmemorable, in fact I wasn't able to sympathize with either one of them. Even though the main leads were great in their acting, they couldn't save the plot of the movie which is the main reason for my giving it such a low score.
I only credit the storyline of the movie with the fact that it surprised me with the first twist, but after that it was so repetitive with more and more twists/backstabbing. In the end, I couldn't even appreciate whatever love there was between Satsuhama and Juri. The ending was really terrible, it should have just ended with the hotel scene but I guess the screenwriters thought that another "twist" could be added.
Galileo [ガリレオ] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A mystery drama whose main characters are a quirky scientist and a rookie female cop. The high points of this drama are the cameos made by famous Jdrama actors and actresses in each episode - ie in one episode Hirosue Ryoko plays a woman whose husband has gone missing, in another episode Fukada Kyoko plays a dedicated wife whose husband ends up having an affair and she divorces him soon after. The other high point of this drama is the interactions between Galileo and Kyoko. It's cute.
The stories in this series are pretty interesting, in fact some of them are downright chilling, especially episode 1. They can be very dark. Aside from that, the episode itself is formulaic and it's very predictable after you watch the first two episodes. Crime happens, rookie asks for Galileo's help against the wishes of the assistant professor, Galileo has many hypotheses, one small thing triggers him and he starts writing all these equations, etc.
Overall, this is a great show to watch if you enjoy mysteries and it is a lot better than most of the mysteries that Japan has been airing recently. I recommend it, however it still pales in comparison to "Keizoku".
Ganbatte Ikimasshoi [がんばっていきまっしょい] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A touching and heartfelt drama revolving around Shinomura Etsuko, a girl who had the passion and love for boating. In a time where not many people would put so much effort into anything, Etsuko represents the coming of the age with her hard work, sweat and tears through her boating. Because of her, the other teammates around her begin to also feel the same passion for boating - that they do boating because they love it and not because they feel that they have to.
Suzuki Anne does a wonderful job as Etsuko Shinomura - her emotions were always clearly displayed, sometimes even exaggerated in a comic-book manner though always very believable. The other teammates did a good job too - the bond of friendship between the five of them could easily be seen and more oftentimes felt. I thought that the female coach however had a very, very small part in the scheme of things almost as if she did not have much of a role in the series.
Nishikido Ryou did pretty well in his debut drama, but sometimes his nonchalant expressions and monotone-like voice throughout was a little tiresome. On the other hand, Junnosuke surprisingly pulled off a great job as Nakata Saburo. His friendliness and openness (even though he portrayed it differently from Uchi Hiroki's version from episodes 1-2) is well-liked and is a nice contrast from Ryou's character as Sekino.
Overall, this was a great drama - it had all the sports drama elements and had hints of love. It's a drama that many could appreciate.
Gokusen [ごくせん] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) One of the funniest and most entertaining live-action remakes yet. Instead of just basing it off of the manga and anime, the show really brought to life these characters (especially Yamaguchi-sensei and Sawada Shin). The acting and directing were superbly done and there was never a dull moment in the series. In fact, I found myself a little sad when the series was all over.
For anime fans, this series stands separate from the anime and the manga. There are some characters and scenarios that were never there in the anime, but are present in the drama. I most highly recommend it.
For fans of GTO Live Action, at first I thought that this was going to be another "clone" of the most popular inspiring school series, but it really wasn't. It's really become it's own type of drama because of the amount of comedy and light-heartedness in dealing with the students, teachers, and yakuza. A series you shouldn't miss.
Gokusen 2 [ごくせん２] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A good sequel to its predecessor, but sadly it fails to outshine the first due to lack of certain characters (ie. Sawada Shin, Uchiyama Haruhiko, etc), lack of character development in the teachers, and rehash of the same plot type. In fact, the episodes began to be a bit repetitive with Yankumi going into a situation and saving her students while beating some other person. Also, I didn't like the fact that what had happened in the last season seemed to be wholly ignored other than the fact that Kuma was her student once. The teachers in this season seemed to be one-dimensional and there only for comedic purposes. But Nakama Yukie still did a wonderful job portraying Yankumi and the main five kids did a good job also.
Golden Bowl [ゴールデンボウル] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) This being a sports drama was a lot of fun to watch. The bowling competitions were only so-so and the fact that the boss kept accepting the challenges from the landlord got to be pretty repetitive. The main highlight, sports-wise, in the drama were the different opponents that Hitomi and Akutagawa had to face up against. Other than that, the bowling competitions were pretty cheesy especially the ending scene when Akutagawa would (not surprisingly) knock down the last pin(s) with the golden bowling ball.
However, what kept me watching was the pretty complicated romance story and the fact that I really liked Takeshi Kaneshiro's character in this series. Hitomi is married and Akutagawa likes her, but the fact that he continuously encourages her to stay in the marriage even after she learns that her husband is having an affair is very sweet. It was definitely nice to see the end of this series. Plus, I found that the kiss between Hitomi and Akutagawa was definitely very sexy.
Overall, it's a fun sports series to watch, but what will keep you watching is not the bowling, but the love story in it.
Good Luck !! [グッドラック！！] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) This was another fun Kimura Takuya drama. As always, Kimura's dramas are usually better than the average JDorama. This time he takes the role of a co-pilot named Shinji who has dreams of flying his own plane. The series was good and I liked how it portrayed the daily crises that airline workers encounter on everyday flights. Things that we passengers don't ever worry about while we take the plane.
The only problem I had with this drama is that I didn't like the female lead, the engineer. Both her and Kimura Takuya lacked chemistry together and she seemed to be "pissed" the entire time.
GTO [麻辣教師] Rating: 10/10 Definitely one of the best JDoramas ever produced, no exaggeration. I loved Onizuka's character and Sorimachi Takeshi just seemed to bring him to life. I was a bit skeptical at first whether or not an actor can pull off Onizuka's stunts and exaggerated, energetic personality on screen, but I was pleasantly surprised. Each episode, although the overall plot was a bit repetitive, was heartwarming and inspirational. Takeshi's off the wall stunts and gestures were really enjoyable to watch, especially because he was able to win over his students and regain their trust in teachers. Onizuka Eichi, age 22?, is definitely a teacher I would have liked to have while I was growing up.
Guilty Akuma to Keiyakushita Onna [ギルティ 悪魔と契約した女] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) I think I would give this drama a 7.5. It starts off kind of slow with episode by episode type feeling, but picks up the pace after the 5th or 6th episode. The story is intriguing and I like how the main character is portrayed. Kanno Miho does a good job portraying that "devil" and more human side from time to time throughout the series. It's worth watching.
H2~Kimi to itahibi [２〜君といた日々] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A great drama that has many cute moments. The story revolved as much around love as it did baseball. Yamada Takayuki once again does a wonderful job with his portrayal of the talented baseball pitcher, Kunimi Hiro. His interaction with Haruka was just adorable and funny. The only bit that I was disappointed in was towards the last third of the series where the plot seemed to lose some of its momentum when there was all the indecisiveness on both Hikari and Hiro's parts on who they love. It just didn't contribute to a very believable ending.
I recommend this drama especially to those who have enjoyed other sports-type dramas like "Waterboys". You can see many references to that series in this one - including many of the actors and actresses from "Waterboys 1 and 2"
Haken no Hinkaku [ハケンの品格] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) One of the most enjoyable over the top dramas I've seen lately. Shinohara Ryoko plays an OL who makes a good salary, but doesn't stay in one company for more than 3 months. She's a mystery to most of her coworkers because she's diligent and very quirky about certain things (like leaving the office at the exact time the shift ends).
Anyway, the charm of this drama is the acting from the cast and the interactions amongst the coworkers. They were often times very funny and each character was likeable in his or her own way. You wanted to see what would happen to them in the end and you wanted some sort of romance to happen between Omae Haruko and the curly perm or Satonaka. This drama is definitely worth watching.
Hana Yori Dango [花より男子] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) If you're a fan of "Hana Yori Dango" manga, anime and "Meteor Garden" TW drama, then you definitely should not miss this series. Great casting and great acting on the part of the three main characters - Inoue Mao, Matsumoto Jun, Oguri Shun and as a bonus Matsushima Nanako who appears in this drama as Doumyoji's sister.
The theme song by Ai Otsuka is very catchy, but mellow and contributes to the overall feel of this series. It's a little bit more serious than the manga was (much more serious than "Meteor Garden") but has kept all the characters derived from the manga intact.
Inoue Mao does a very, very convincing portrayal of Makino Tsukushi - the common person who dared to stand up against Doumyoji Tsukasa. I enjoy her performance much more than Barbie Hsu's version. The other two main actors although they bring a different flavor of the their respectful character are still able to pull off a great job. I highly recommend watching this series.
Hanayome to Papa [花嫁とパパ] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) Over the top characters and over the top acting with moderate storyline. The main thing that kept me watching was that after 5 episodes, you actually want to know what happens to them. Ishihara Satomi plays a young girl named Aiko who is beginning her new job. She wants to experience freedom and independence, but is watched over constantly by her over bearing father, Uzaki Kentaro. She had lost her mother when she was young so the father is very protective of her.
That nature of her father is often times ridiculous and a bit annoying in the beginning, but he thankfully mellows down a bit as the series progresses. I'm sure there had been some complaints about his character early on in the show. Anyway, his actions towards the end are seen as more endearing than anything else.
Acting is pretty good in this series despite the melodramatic scenes between father and daughter and the introduction of the new boyfriend, Miura Seiji. A lot of things seemed a bit illogical and out of character despite the early intentions of each character (ie Miura Seiji's response to the disagreement of marriage between him and Aiko)
It's a decent series overall for a light-hearted story.
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e [花ざかりの君たちへ] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) This is one of the very few high school setting dramas that I've found really enjoyable to watch. The casting for the part of Horikita Maki for Ashiya Mizuki was perfect for this series - she pulled off the part of being a guy very well from the way she walked to the way she sat. It was hilarious, but very well done. I really liked the other two characters, too. Sano (Oguri Shun) and Nakatsu (Ikuta Toma) worked well, I especially liked Nakatsu's character. I felt that Oguri Shun was acting the same way as he always does in all the dramas I've seen him in, aloof and the object of a girl's affection. In other dramas this type of character works well, but I think the character of Sano in the manga was a little more open and laid back.
The storyline centers around Mizuki who wants to help Sano do the long jump again since she was the one who caused his injury to the leg. There are a lot of hilarious scenarios especially between Mizuki and Nakatsu who is fighting his feelings for Mizuki since he doesn't know she's a she.
Overall this drama was highly entertaining and I highly recommend it. The ending was pretty cute and I felt satisfied with it.
Hanazakari no Kimitachi e 2011 [花ざかりの君たちへ 2011] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) This is almost a complete remake of the original Hanazakari no Kimitachi e with Horikita Maki, Oguri Shun, and Ikuta Toma. They even use the same campus room setup and similar dress style and even hairstyles for some of the main characters. What is even more hilarious is that they use the same style promotional picture.
But if you can get over comparing the old one to this one, it's not too bad. There are even some additons to the plot that were not in the previous drama such as the almost rape scene and Nakatsu confesses to Ashiya Mizuki earlier than the previous season. (Although the previous season was a real winner because of Ikuta Toma's portrayal of Nakatsu - I don't think anyone could ever top it.) If you really liked the series, it might not hurt to watch this one.
Hatachi no kekkon [２０歳の結婚] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a pretty good drama, the acting was decent however there were times when the plot seemed to drag on. Some of the characters seemed to be more of an extra if anything else. Oshio Manabu does a good portrayal of the worker that falls in love with Yuka's character though Yuka herself was a little annoying sometimes.
Hero Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) Kimura Takuya plays Kuryu, a public prosecutor who has just started and Matsu Takako plays Amamiya, a woman who strives to become a public prosecutor also, but at the moment she is assigned to work with Kuryu. The two don't get along very well in the beginning since Amamiya finds it hard to work with his rather outlandish antics, which to her makes no sense. However, later on she discovers that he solves a lot of cases by doing what he does - being meticulous and thinking beyond the situation.
It's a fun series, enjoyable sometimes, but surprisingly I felt that this drama just wasn't for me. I liked the bits of comedy, but I found that the way they approached Kimura Takuya's character was a little far-fetched and unrealistic. The story lacked a lot of continuity and in this case, it kind of bothered me. However, Kimura Takuya still pulls off a winning performance as Kuryu and I would highly recommend this to other Kimura Takuya fans. If nothing else, they will surely enjoy his acting in this one.
Himitsu no Hanazono [ヒミツの花園] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) I'm not sure how to score this drama. It has a rather simple plot - a girl who becomes editor of a popular girl manga series (forced into this role) and she finds out that the author of the series is a group of 4 males who hide their identity mainly because they feel that the consumers would not buy their manga if they knew it was written by a bunch of guys. I have a few gripes about this series. First of all, the main actress is overly submissive so much so that she almost looks pathetic in many of the scenes (in the majority of the drama). I'm not sure why this is - maybe to appeal to the male audience? She's the editor, but yet she cooks, shops, and cleans for them? She always has her head bowed low. I know this is standard for most Japanese dramas, but there's such a thing as overly using it. She's like that 90% of the drama. I can't help but feel that this is used to appeal to the anime/manga fanboys.
The plot for this drama is pretty dry. There's not that much to it other than her going over to Hanazono Yuriko's house and trying to persuade them to have the next chapter ready for publication. Sometimes they'll throw in some obstacles like this particular brother is upset about something trivial, etc. In spite of all this, I'm still continuing this drama. It's good background sound for me when I do other things or to watch right before drifting to bed. It helps me fall asleep.
Hitonatsu no Papa e [ひと夏のパパへ] Rating: 5/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama started off pretty slow and that didn't change much towards the end either. Aya Ueto plays Marimo, a girl who looks for her father who happens to be a detective after her mother passed away. Aya Ueto plays her regular self in this kind of drama and the other side characters just seem to be in the mix.
There's not much I can credit this drama with because the story was rather slow and the dialogue was both cliche and draggy. I felt as though I had to force myself to watch the rest of it. I think the only people that could enjoy this drama would be fans of Aya Ueto and even those people might find it a hard time sitting through this series.
Hoshi no kinka 1 [星の金貨] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) It's a fun/soap-opera style drama to watch. The main three actors and actresses did wonderfully portraying their characters and at times I found myself completely drawn into the story. There was so much emotion that I'm sure anyone who watches this will feel something for Aya played by Noriko Sakai or any of the other characters.
My favorite male lead was none other than Takenouchi Yutaka. His character change leading towards the end of the series was touching and believable. Some parts of this series may seem a little overbearing/far-fetched, but it was still a pleasure to sit through. I recommend this one if you're a fan of romance/angst series, such as "Autumn Tale" (KDrama).
Hoshi no kinka 2 / Zoku hoshi no kinka [續。星の金貨] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) Even after reading all the bad reviews, I still watched this out of curiosity because I really adore both Takenouchi Yutaka's character (Takumi) and Noriko Sakai's character (Aya). But just as the reviews have said time and time again, this drama was very poorly done plot-wise. I don't think it goes very well as a sequel because the conclusion of the first one loses meaning when watching this one.
I didn't enjoy most of the story elements that were put in for the characters to face. It just seemed overly driven to making this drama a massive tearjerker, however because the scenes were so contrived the story wasn't as touching. It made the drama seem unrealistic and at parts, laughable because of the sheer ridiculousness. The new doctor played by Sawamura Ikki just seemed to come from out of the blue. The antagonist that he played was just too extreme. But he does do a good job of it.
However, Takenouchi Yutaka really shines as he played the tormented Takumi. Even with all the bad plot elements, this drama is worth watching if you're a fan of his.
Hotaru no Hikari 2 [ホタルノヒカリ] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) The series was cute, but I don't think it was as great as the first season - few dramas ever are. Despite that, it was still fun to see the old cast and I liked the introduction of the new guy. It was a fun, but predictable complication to the main romance. If you liked the first series, then you'll still enjoy the second one. Ayase Haruka and Fujiki Naohito give great performances.
Hotman [ホットマン] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) An outstanding drama that exceeded my expectations. When I first read the description of this series, I thought it was going to be another one of those cookie-cutter family dramas, but surprisingly it was so much more than just that. Sorimachi Takashi shines in this role as Enzo and each of the other characters do a spectacular job. There was definitely a sense of family chemistry in this series that made each character even that much more endearing, especially Nanami. ^_^ The ending was very touching and sweet.
I highly recommend watching this drama. I don't like how others have called this GTO 2 because it's not GTO and I felt that Sorimachi's character in this series was different from that of the overzealous, over-righteous Onizuka. We saw the softer side of him in this series. Great work. A must watch!
Ichi Ritoru no Namida [１リットルの涙] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama that is based off of a true story of a girl suffering from a serious spinal condition. Some events of the drama go acccordingly to the actual life of the young woman, but some things such as the romance story between the main character and Nishikido Ryou did not happen in real life. In fact, the mother wanted to add the romantic story into the drama because she felt that was one thing that she would have liked her daughter to experience.
The drama has a few touching scenes with suprisingly good acting from the new actress. Although for some reason, I still prefer "Sekai no Chuushin de Ai wo Sakebu" over this. Still a great tearjerker though.
Itazura na Kiss [イタズラなKiss] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a really enjoyable drama even though I watched it in such low quailty. =) Irie-kun and Kotoko had great chemistry together on screen and although Kotoko was a little annoying at times with her constant "Irie-kun! Irie-kun!", you still rooted for her to be with him. Because after all, she was a likeable character no matter how whiny her voice was. The only downside to this drama is that I would have wanted to see more of a kind of "completed" feeling of the end. It seemed a little rushed, though still very very satisfying.
Also Kashiwabara Takashi did a very convincing portrayal of the cold, aloof Irie-kun and the female lead was very animated and was truly like one of those over-obsessive and at times over-bearing anime girls. =/
Itsumo futari de [いつもふたりで] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) It was a good drama revolving around two friends who live together and later finally realize that they're feelings for one another go much deeper than friendship. It was a fun and light-hearted drama to watch with great acting on Matsu Takako's and Sakageuchi Kenji's parts. The supporting cast did a wonderful job also. The only problem that I had with this drama is that:
1.) Kashiwabara Takashi left after the 2nd episode, disrupting whatever chemistry (and there was a lot of it) between his character and Takako's. In fact, I had felt that he would have been a better match for her. They were very adorable together.
2.) Ryoko's character seemed to just be written off in the end for the sake of the other two's relationship. At least Hachi should have sorted out of his feelings before going for her who had already been hurt by Fuwa-san.
One great point about this drama is the lesson that even if you don't reach your dream, there are other dreams out there that you actually may enjoy more. Matsu's character realized that. =)
Jikou Keisatsu [時効警察] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) From looking at the synopsis of the drama, I could tell right off the bat that this drama wasn't going to appreciated by everyone. I absolutely adore Japanese dramas revolving around detectives and the mysteries that they have to solve thanks to drama predecessors like "Keizoku" and "Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo". However, after watching just a few of the episodes from this series I quickly lost interest. The mysteries that Odagiri Joe's character has to solve are oftentimes not that interesting. In fact, after he solves it he can't even arrest the criminal.
The most enjoyable part of this series is the acting by Odagiri Joe. He does a good job at portraying a quirky and geeky looking worker who has an interest in solving crimes for fun. The supporting cast was rather weak and I didn't think the female lead who had hints of romantic interest in the other man was the least bit interesting. The drama is also episodic meaning that there is little to keep your interests in between watching each episode.
Joker Yurusarezaru Sosakan [ジョーカー 許されざる捜査官] Rating: 8/10 (Watched) This show reminded me a lot of "Dexter", but a little more forgiving. The stories were intriguing though very dark and the acting was good. The main lead does a very convincing job of keeping a "mask" to hide any emotion when dealing with his "victims". The only issue with the drama was the overarching story which seemed to be much less interesting than the morality of disposing criminals who had not been put to justice.
Kamisama mou sukoshi dake [神様、もう少しだけ] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) I would actually give this drama an 8.5/10.
The cast and acting was great. I've seen Fukada Kyoko in other roles such as "SOS" and "Minami-kun" which I very much disliked so it was surprising that I found her acting in this earlier series to be very good. She had great chemistry with Takeshi Kaneshiro, who as always, acted superbly. The emotions that they brought forth with one another when they were together were very heartwarming.
In the beginning, I was a bit turned off by the ridiculousness of her character - prostituting herself to buy tickets and her extreme fanaticism with Keigo Ishikawa. But towards the end, I really warmed up to her character. The ending of this series was pretty good although a litle cliche, while the series as a whole was pretty far-fetched. But it's a good and touching series to watch, some of the scenes in the last episode made me tear up. (But as a whole, the drama wasn't as much of a tearjerker as I initially thought it would be.)
Karei naru Ichizoku [華麗なる一族] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) I don't know what it is, but I can always trust that whatever Kimura Takuya is in, it'll be a hit. It's partially because he's such a great actor and I love seeing him on screen doing what he does best, but also because he just picks the best scripts in the Jdrama market. I guess if you're as big as Kimura Takuya, you'd have first pick in what you want to act in and I'm glad that he chooses such difficult roles to play.
In "Karei Naru Ichizoku" Kimura Takuya plays the son of a wealthy banker post World War II when Japan is suffering from the reorganization of the financial leaders. Small businesses are literally being "eaten up" by the larger corporations. Even in the midst of this, Manpyo Teppei has a dream and that dream is in the steel industry. He wants it to become large and something to contribute to Japan's growing economy. However, he stumbles across many roadblocks (most of them put up thanks to his father).
The story is very grabbing and told in such a perspective that is completely new to most audiences. It was interesting to hear the "battle plans" amongst the bankers, it was just as intense as a real war. Teppei's character was inspiring and his story is both intense and beautiful. The ending was particularly heartbreaking. I'd have to admit that this was one of Kimura Takuya's best works. I loved it.
Keizoku [ケイゾク] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) It's an interesting story, one of the best aspects of this drama is the cast - Watabe Atsuro and Nakatani Miki make a great duo. Nakatani Miki's character who is daughter of the famous detective in Tokyo solves cases that had been unsolved for ages, Watabe Atsuro in the meantime helps her along the way, backing her up and giving more evidence when needed, even she overlooks a few things.
The cases themselves aren't incredibly grabbing - in fact, after the first episode it became a little predictable who the villains were. But I guess that's not the only reason people watch crime dramas, it was always fun seeing how the woman is able to solve the case and what clues she found while doing so. What is done well is the darker story of Watabe Atsuro's character that is woven in little by little with each passing episode which builds up immensely towards the end. I highly recommend this series if you enjoy "Trick" or "Kindaichi" series.
Keizoku 2: SPEC [ケイゾク 2: SPEC] Rating: 5/10 (Watched) This show reminded me a lot of "Heroes", but post 2nd or 3rd season. As much as I liked the original Keizoku, this series really failed to live up to the previous one. In fact, I found it insulting that it would even be given the same name. The mysteries are somewhat dark, but when every other person in the series is a "spec", the outcomes are just not that interesting. To top it off, the scenes of the main actress putting pieces together by writing on paper, then tearing it up, then throwing it up in the air became stale after the first 2 episodes.
Kekkon Dekinai Otoko [結婚できない男] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama revolves around the life of a single male architect named Kuwano (40) who is renown for his ability to design houses that are suited well for his clients. Even though he is able to do that, he lacks major skills in social situations. Because of this and because of his fervent hatred of being in atmospheres where he has to interact with people, he has decided to live a life as a single man. One day at home he collapses from abdominal pains and his neighbor, Michiru-chan takes him to the hospital. At the hospital, he meets an almost 40 year old female doctor who trumps all of his sarcastic remarks. This drama is about how these two end up together even though they each are career driven and have different characteristics.
The main highlight of this drama was not plot for it mainly went back and forth between the doctor and Kuwano-san. But the main reason I watched was for Kuwano. Abe Hiroshi does a spectacular job playing a quirky and sarcastic man. He dislikes people and almost anything involved with them, however he somehow manages to make the most beauitful houses. Throughout the drama it's great and often very comedic when seeing how he interacts with different groups of people or when he's put into different situations. One of my favorite interactions was with him and the dog, Ken. The way the cameraman was able to capture the dog's many adorable expressions are priceless. Overall, I enjoyed this drama very, very much and each episode had a lot to offer. This is definitely one of Abe Hiroshi's best performances.
Kiken na Aneki [危険なアネキ] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama about a young woman, Hiroko, who moves in with her younger brother who is currently studyng medicine at a prestigious school while doing residency. In order to help with the bills and such, Hiroko finds work at a night club where she has to accompany men. This drama has a few touching moments, but mainly revolves around the fact that Itoh Misaki is beautiful. Throughout the drama there are at least five or six men gawking at her including the old doctor who thinks he even has a chance with her.
The plotline is not that great and Hiroko's character is more of a ditzy, free-spirited, and kind woman almost similar to Itoh Misaki's character from "Tiger and Dragon". It's a cute drama though so far it hasn't impressed me too much. I would recommend this series for fans of Itoh Misaki.
Kimi wa Petto [きみはペット] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) One of the cutest and most heart-warming dramas to ever grace Japanese television. Momo's character was so sweet and I absolutely loved the relationship between him and Koyuki. Matsumoto Jun really did a wonderful job portraying the Koyuki's "pet" and their moments together were really sweet and funny. This is definitely a drama that you can watch more than once. Highly recommended. However, I must warn that this drama isn't for everyone. The story is very unrealistic (after all it is based on a manga).
If I could rate this drama properly, I would give the first half of it a 9/10, but the ending of this drama was very poorly written and left it open-ended and made me even wonder what the point of this drama was in the first place. I would give the ending a 6/10. But overall the drama was very likeable.
Kindaichi Shonen no Jikembo 3 [金田一少年の事件簿 3] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A great series with lots of variety in both suspense, mystery, and thriller with light touches of romance and humor. (Hard to find the romance, but it's there). Matsumoto Jun does a rather convincing portrayal of the young detective, Kindaichi, and it was a lot of fun to watch him solve each case. At times though, the cases seemed to be more on the creepy/horror side of things.
His female counterpart, who does not have much of a large role, Miyuki played by Suzuki Anne also does a wonderful job. Towards the end though I was really rooting for some romance between them. ^_^
I highly recommend this series for anyone to watch. For those who are easily scared, maybe it would be better for you to watch this in the daytime. Hehe. There were some parts that reminded me of X-Files because of the supernatural-like beginnings and murders.
Kindaichi shonen no Jikenbo (2005) [金田一少年の事件簿] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) The story played out in typical Kindaichi-narration style with an odd horror-like beginning and an interesting way in which Kindaichi was able to figure out "whodunnit". This special takes place before the other Kindaichi series and shows his insecurity in solving cases. It was different in that sort of manner, but not any less than the other series.
Kamenashi did a surprisingly great job as the young sleuth. I liked how he was able to bring back Dohmoto Tsuyoshi's more fun-loving and antic-creating Kindaichi rather than Matsumoto Jun's more series and cool version. Overall, this special was well done and I would highly recommend watching it.
Kindaichi shonen no jikenbo 2 [金田一少年の事件簿 2] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) What can I say? A delightful sequel to the highly rated Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo based off of the manga. Dohmoto Tsuyoshi shines as Kindaichi, the grandson of the famous detective. Because of his reputation, police officers and other detectives oftentimes look for him for help. I really enjoyed the fact that even though this was a drama, you could tell that it was based off of a manga and I really liked how faithfully Tsuyoshi tried to portray Kindaichi's personality as best as he could.
Each of the series of stories was interesting and how Kindaichi is able to reveal the murderer or what had actually taken place is always surprising, though sometimes very twisted. Some of the scenarios were even pretty scary. Out of all the mystery dramas that I've seen thus far, Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo definitely has to be one of the best.
Kisarazu Cat's Eye [木更津キャッツアイ] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A fresh drama with a cast of popular actors from the Japanese pop scene. Again, the directing and editing in this drama is excellent and exciting. Not too mention creative. It's one of the high points of this show. The acting is a bit overdramatic, but that's what contributes to the comedic factor of the show. Even with such a depressing topic such as cancer and the Bussan (the main character) knowing that he only has 6 months to live, the story was entertaining and very enjoyable.
Each episode of this drama has a particular method of editing. It's separated by innings (ie 9 episodes and 9 innings in baseball). In each episode, the Kisarazu gang decide to steal something or make money somehow and they always manage to have it work out in one way or another. How it works out is often shown when the tape rewinds itself and repeats it from a different point of view. I thought this was one of the most interesting aspects of the show aside from the quirky characters. Each member was special and enjoyable to watch and one of my favorites was the teacher who liked to play tricks on her students in the beginning of the series.
I highly recommend especially to fans of the director's work such as "Tiger and Dragon" and "Ikebukuro West Gate Park".
Koibito yo [恋人よ] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) What can I say? I love Suzuki Honami, once again she shines as her role as Manae, a woman who finds love in the most unexpected of places and at the most unexpected times. She once again was able to capture the feelings of and emotions of Manae s well that the audience cannot help but rise and fall with her.
Her male opposite played by Kishitani Goro (Kohei) does an excellent job, the two of them have great on-screen chemistry and some of the dialogue was just unforgettable. The other two were also good at the characters that they portrayed. The wavering feelings between the four of them was apparent and realistic (for this type of situation). Also, Celine Dion's "To Love You More" really seemed to be the perfect theme song for the overall tone of the story.
The only quirk that I have with this drama is the ending, the plot was very tight until then (even though sometimes a bit contrived), but I still recommend watching it for some angst and if you're a fan of Suzuki Honami.
Koishite Shinitai [恋して死にたい] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama was fun to watch (well, the first few episodes) but later the romantic plot began to drag and Kyoko Fukada's character, Toko, started to become pretty annoying. Her obsessive love with the boxer, Yuji (Dohmoto Tsuyoshi), was at times stalker-ish and ridiculous. She was too one-minded about him and revolved her life around his, definitely not the type of drama for feminists out there. Heh.
Other than that, it was good to see Dohmoto Tsuyoshi in a light-hearted drama such as this one. His acting is great as always.
Kudo Shinichi e no Chousenjou [工藤新一への挑戦状] Rating: 7/10 (Watched) Cute Conan miniseries. Each episode is about 30 minutes and the little mysteries of fun to watch as you see Conan solve each one. I was skeptical of the main actor as Conan, but he does a great job although I still prefer Oguri Shun and Matsumoto Jun's depiction of Conan better. Unlike the other jdrama series, this one has a really obvious display that Conan likes his high school friend Ran.
Kuitan [喰いタン] Rating: 4/10 (Bought & Watched) This was one of the most pointless dramas I've ever seen. In fact, it bordered on being agonizingly slow. The story revolves around a detective agency called the Holmes Detective Agency. The main character is Kuitan - a detective who loves food and craves it almost every second of the day. There are three other people who work there who also help him solve cases. Usually the cases that come in to his company, are ones where food is involved. Kuitan solves these mysteries by (guess how?) eating more and more food.
This drama was really episodic and there wasn't anything to persuade me to continue watching after episode 6. I actually would have stopped earlier if not for the slight possibility that this show could improve. The actors and actresses in this drama were subpar, in fact even terrible especially the main lead. The only highlight that I found was the food in the drama. It looked so good, actually that could have been another negative - it's not a good drama to watch on an empty stomach. The cases in this series were overly simplistic and uninteresting. Anyway, I don't think I'd recommend this drama to anyone.
Kurosagi [クロサギ] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama based off of the popular manga, "Kurosagi". It's about a swindler who takes from the rich and gives back to the poor. It has somewhat of a Robin Hood feel to it although it's not as good. Yamashita Tomohisa plays the part of Kurosagi, a young boy and landlord who is the only survivor in his family after his father went crazy and killed everyone after being swindled. Because of this, Kurosagi decides to take revenge by swindling from other swindlers. To find out information about swindlers, he is employed by an old man. He meets a young girl named Tsurara (he helped her father). She is the complete opposite of him. She wants to become a prosecutor and give justice the proper way. Throughout the episodes, Tsurara is his moral side - a side of him that hurts himself to see.
This drama was rather episodic - each show could have stood by itself. Each revolved around a different character and how they were swindled - then Yamashita Tomohisa dresses up in a disguise to swindle that money plus more back. There was very little character development and I thought that the personalities of each character was very one-dimensional. There was hardly much emotional or romantic development between the two leads. Aside from all that, it was still rather enjoyable to watch and it was good to take a break from it every now and then without missing too much.
Last Christmas [ラストクリスマス] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a great drama with an outstanding cast. I really enjoyed Yada Akiko and Oda Yuji's performance. They had great chemistry with one another and the dialogue between was both witty and cute. The other characters also faired pretty well although some of them were a little bit annoying at times and their problems just seemed to pop out from nowhere (not the man who played the boss though, I thought he was hilarious even when he made some pretty crude comments). The song put me in a somewhat Christmas-y mood even though it's the middle of June right now. =) I recommend watching it, it's a light-hearted romance and goes at an easy pace.
Liar Game [ライアーゲーム] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) I really had no expectations when coming in to watch this drama series. At first I thought it was some odd knock-off of the Hollywood movie "Saw". The antagonist in the series is dressed in a mask reminding me of Jigsaw and is on a tape that gives instructions to each player. The whole concept is overdone especially because it's a blatant rip off of the movie.
The acting and characters in this series are average at best. Toda Erika's character, Kanzaki Nao, is naive and innocent to the point of absurdity. The whole point of the game is lying and using the other person in order for your own gains, but she no matter what still ends up falling for their tricks. Luckily through the help of Akiya Shinichi (Matsuda Shota) a brilliant trickster, she's able to go through the tests and not acquire a 50 million debt.
The only redeeming part of the show that made it worthwhile was the actual logic puzzles. It was interesting how Akiyama Shinichi was able to solve all of them and play upon the other players' weaknesses. This leads to the other part of the show which touches upon the human complex - greed, trust, etc. That part is interesting, but it's nothing new.
Overall, it's an average drama in my opinion. The very last episode seemed like a waste to me though even though it was a 3 hour special. Most of it was flashbacks.
Long vacation [ロングバケーション] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) A classic drama that shouldn't be missed. Kimura Takuya again shines in "Long Vacation" where he plays the memorable character, Sena who falls in love with an older woman, an ex-model who happens to show up at his door one fine morning. The chemistry between the two characters was great and I loved how it portrayed the struggles that each of them had to go through in their respective careers. Ie. Sena having trouble "making it" in the piano world while Minami was having trouble finding modeling jobs since she was getting old. However, the two of them somehow make it through together. Highly recommended.
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) Definitely a cute romance drama that is worthwhile to watch. Kimura Takuya plays a great Teppei. In the beginning, I didn't like him as much, but as the show progresses you see how he changes and how much his character opens up. Matsu Takako was cute as Riko, though at times I thought she was rather nonsensical especially towards the end situation.
Love Revolution [ラブレボリューション] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) The romance drama for all romance drama lovers. Esumi Makiko plays the strong, independent, and highly intelligent Asaoka Kyoko, an internal medicine surgeon for a major hospital. However, because of how demanding her job is, she rarely has time to look for love. The sad thing is she has already over thirty! But as things start to look bad for her and when she has finally given up on marriage entirely, two men begin to pop into her life. Suga Eiichiro and Yabuki Mamoru.
A great drama with lots of twists and turns in the romance factor. Esumi Makiko does a wonderful job portraying Kyoko-san, the elegant and smart surgeon. Her little analogies between love and things that happen in daily life are very memorable and was a great way to start off an episode.
Fujiki Naohito definitely gave an alluring appeal to the newsreporter, Suga-san. His cool and direct approaches to situations were done very well. Oshio Manabu also portrays a very convincing actor/bartender who secretly has a crush on the doctor.
It was a great drama all around and I would highly recommend it.
Majo no jouken [魔女の条件] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) What can I say that hasn't been said over a hundred times before in all of these reviews? It was great. I liked how they portrayed the start of the teacher/student relationship. The chemistry between Matsushima Nanako and Takizawa Hideaki was great. It was definitely there even with the apparent age gap. ^_~
Anyway, it really brought to light a different side of the teacher-student relationship for me. I'm surprised that they were able to pull it off without any awkward feelings coming from the audience side. I know that I cheered for the both of them throughout the viewing. The ending was also pretty realistic in how Nanako's character believed that breaking up with Hikaru would be the best for him and it was even sweeter when Hikaru finally decided on becoming a doctor.
Manatsu no Merry Christmas [真夏のメリークリスマス] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) As much as I like the cast of characters, I just could not get into this story. There were some pretty far-fetched plotlines and although the drama strives to be heartwarming and touching, it just ends up being pretty cheesy.
But I did like how Takenouchi Yutaka's character works hard to change in order to please Nakatani Miki's character. As someone mentioned in the above review, it was definitely their emotional intimacy that drove me to watch and complete this drama. It was pretty cute and was the only thing that made this series even remotely memorable.
Minamikun no koibito [南くんの恋人] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama started off at an interesting pace with Kyoko and Ninomiya's character secretly dating. Ninomiya plays Minami, a student who has had a crush on Chiyomi ever since that day he met her on the roof a year ago. Since then, he confesses his feelings to her and she accepts. Things happen and then all of a sudden Chiyomi just shrunk. It's pretty ridiculous, but it was still a bit interesting to watch.
Minami's antics in order to hide Chiyomi from prying eyes was always enjoyable to watch, especially when he tries to disguise the fact that she said something by saying something in a higher-pitched voice. But as the drama progresses, the plot quickly becomes old and the ending was terrible enough to make the rating go down a notch.
However, I would recommend this to avid Fukada Kyoko fans and Ninomiya acted wonderfully though he doesn't act much differently than the character in "Stand Up!".
Moto Kare [元カレ] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) I wouldn't recommend this drama to people who expect to see some of the same kind of chemistry between Dohmoto Tsuyoshi and Hirosue Ryoko in "Summer Snow". In this series, the chemistry was definitely there and it was nice to see the two of them in a drama together again, but because of the back and forth manners in how they dealt with their feelings towards one another, a lot of the anticipation seemed to just go away by the end.
However, besides the slow pace at which the drama proceeded Dohmoto Tsuyoshi and Hirosue Ryoko should still be commended for their acting skills and how they were able to subtley portray some of the regrets and longings that they have towards one another in their past relationship. Aside from the main story, I also found that the side romance was very interesting, maybe at times even more interesting than the romance between Touji, Makoto, and Nao.
I would still give this drama a watch just because we see Dohmoto Tsuyoshi and Hirosue Ryoko united once again. Also Uchiyama Rina does an excellent job.
Mukodono! [ムコ殿/女婿大人] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) Great series with comedy, drama, and romance intertwined together in a most fantastic plot. Just as the synopsis implies, it deals with a man who deals with two identities: his famous self, Sakuraba Yuichiro, and his family side, Arai Yuichiro. The drama parts were magnificently done and some situations made more realistic and touching than other dramas that I have seen. I absolutely loved this show and the last episode brought me to tears. It's a must watch!
My Boss, My Hero [マイボスマイヒロ] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) I have to admit, I was not all that impressed with the show when I saw the first episode. The storyline was somewhat attention grabbing because it dealt with a yakuza leader who has to go back to high school to get his diploma. However, as I continued the series I thought it was quite enjoyable and fun to watch off and on. The episodes move in a progressive manner and happen to focus on different aspects of high school life from exams to sports days and even matters of love.
Nagase Tomoya is able to pull off the part of a commanding and fearsome leader in a yakuza group by night and still look like a fumbling and somewhat timid high school student in the daytime. I found this factor to be one of the highlights of the series. In school, Makio (Nagase) makes friends with another boy who he saves from being bullied and a girl named Hikari. Through their help and the teacher's confidence in him, he's able to overcome many of the obstacles he has to face day to day. This was an entertaining drama although some parts seemed to drag on a little too long. The weakest point in this drama for me was the romance. I thought it was odd for a 27 year old yakuza guy to fall head over heels for a high school student. That's just me I think. I'd recommend this drama to fans of Nagase Tomoya.
My Little Chef Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) A decently written series with some quirky scenes. It was interesting in the beginning, but it began to become incredibly monotonous after the 3rd episode or so. I found the main chef to become extremely tiresome: ie talk to the customers to find out about them, create a dish for them, and then the customers are so moved that the meal changes their life. It's a predictable drama and I would only recommend it to those who have seen a lot of other dramas and wouldn't mind wasting some time watching this one.
Narita Rikon [成田離婚] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) The commentary about marriage and divorce at the beginning of the drama was informative and well done. There was plenty, plenty, plenty of bickering throughout the series. In the beginning, it was pretty humorous (ie. "Why do you have to wash your underwear? Can't you do it after the honeymoon? I hate men who wash their underwear!) Lol. The two of them fought a lot and it was usually over nothing. But then again, marriage is like that sometimes.
I thought that Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's character was incredibly endearing - especially when he saw his wife get upset over nonsense for the first time. His bewildered look is priceless. Anyway, it's a fun series, but only watch it when you have the time to do so. The ending is kind of sweet too with the fairy-tale like touch.
News no onna [ニュースの女] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) After watching "Tokyo Love Story", I really wanted to see other dramas that Suzuki Honami had been in, since I really enjoyed her performance in that series and I could not say any less for this one. Rather, she exceeded my expectations yet again, her character as the anchorwoman, Tamaki Aso, was very much career-oriented and serious versus the fun-loving and energetic, Akana Rika.
The chemistry between the characters was also wonderfully created. Tamaki Aso and Ryu (the fifteen year old son of her late husband) grew together throughout the series and they became close. It was touching and very well done. I couldn't help but wish that Suzuki Honami's character and Takizawa Hideaki's character would get together somehow (although that would be a terrible sin) and make another Forbidden Love type series. The chemistry was definitely there. The news aspect of the dorama was also very well done and kept it really interesting. I highly recommend watching this drama!
Nobuta wo Produce [野ブタ。をプロデュース] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) A great drama thus far revolving around three high school students. Kamenashi Kazuya plays Shuji, a smart and popular boy in school who has the affection of many of his classmates including the most popular girl in school, but he's unhappy with his situation. Yamashita Tomohisa (Kusano Akira) is the rich and wealthy kid who feels that he has nothing to do and annoys the other students. Lastly, the new girl Kotani Nobuko played by Horikita Maki - the depressed and lonely female who just doesn't fit in with anyone. Shuji decides that he wants to give Nobuka (aka Nobuta) a makeover along with the help of Akira. Together they plan to produce Nobuta into becoming the most popular girl in school.
Thus far this drama has been very entertaining even though it is off the high school genre dramas. The filming and acting is very unique compared to others and the characters' personas are definitely out there. I would recommend watching this drama very much. It's one of my favorites for Fall 2005.
Nodame Cantabile [のだめ カンタビ−レ] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) One of the most entertaining series of 2006. Ueno Juri plays the role of Noda Megumi, a carefree brilliant pianist who has a love for an anime series and eating. One day she meets the most coveted boy in their music school and instantly falls head over heels for him. He can't say the same about her, but is impressed with her piano playing. Tamaki Hiroshi plays the part of Chiaki Shinishi, Megumi's love interest and one of the wealthiest and most talented people in school. His dream is to become a conductor and to do so he must study abroad, however he has a fear of planes and boats seeing as he had traumatic experiences with both as a child.
Those two meet and their lives change and intertwine with one another. With the help of Streseman who enrolls into the school as a conductor, the musical careers and outlooks of the students there change for the better. The students reach for goals higher than they could have imagined before because their fellow teachers and friends continue to push them to do better than what they initially thought they could accomplish. It was very touching and optimistic, yet down to earth.
This drama was so much fun to watch and I loved the two main characters who had great chemistry with one another. This is one of the most adorable and most memorable coupling in a drama in awhile. The music was beautiful, too. I really hope that they decide to continue with a second season.
Ns' Aoi [Ns’ あおい ] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) Nurse Aoi is based off a somewhat popular manga in Japan. The main character is Misora Aoi played by Ishihara Satomi. She was most likely casted for this drama after her performance in "H2". In this drama she plays a nurse who just starts her training and work at a local hospital. However, it's a surprise to her to find out what really goes on at work - she has to deal with perverted doctors and patients. However, even through all of those troubles she's able to find the willpower to continue to help and heal those around her, not just the sick.
This drama although touching at some points, was extremely slow and downright boring in a few episodes and scenes. The perverted nature of doctors especially the one who worked right above her was a tad bit annoying to say the least. There were a few notable scenes that are worth seeing, but I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they are die-hard Ishihara Satomi fans.
Oniyome Nikki [鬼嫁日記] Rating: 4/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama revolving around the life of a man who is married to his wife and has a young daughter. I had first been attracted to this drama because I thought that there would be more interaction between the online community and the husband, somewhat similar to "Densha Otoko", but I was completely off base. This drama portrays the daily life of Nagai Masaru who is often bullied by his wife, Mizuki Arisa. The comedy is at times stale and instead of laughing at the poor man's plight, I only felt sorry for him. Not to mention his absolute horrid hairstyle.
Anyway, this series is set up very much like an American sitcom though without all the laughs. The only thing that I found amusing was the fact that the men in this series are all pretty much ruled by their women and have to cook/clean/sew. Lol. Recommended for a feminist.
Orange Days [オレンジデイズ] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A great series with a lot of heart. College students can especially relate to some of the issues discussed in this drama - what they're doing after college, whether or not they want to pursue a career in their choice of major, why they chose to do a certain major in the first place, etc etc.
Tsumabuki Satoshi gives a winning performance with his heartwarming and touching scenes between Shibasaki Kou. Some of his hand signals that he directed to her were just so powerful like, "I will save you from the darkness." That scene alone evoked so much emotion.
This was a superb series and goes at a nice pace - reminiscent of the pacing in "Summer Snow". The other actors and actresses also pulled off memorable performances. With such a good cast, nice soundtrack, and moving dialogue, "Orange Days" is one series that I highly recommend.
Orthros no Inu [オルトロスの犬] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) I'm not sure what I was expecting out of this series. I mainly watched it because of Takizawa Hideaki - it had been awhile since he had been in a drama series. Unfortunately, it was really disappointing. The characters didn't have enough depth and the story was too contrived and predictable. What were they thinking? I think they must have taken some of the ideas from the movie "Unbreakable" directed by M. Night Shymalan.
Over Time [オーバー・タイム] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) I would actually like to give this drama 8.5/10 for its strong plot from beginning to end and the magnificent set of actors and actresses that were involved in it. I think the best part of this drama was the depth of character in each person - from Natsuki's insecurities to Soichiro's sensitivity and love.
The interaction and chemistry between Esumi Makiko and Sorimachi Takeshi was amazing. The friendship between her and Soichiro seemed very real and very sweet. I especially loved the scene where Soichiro tells Natsumi that he'll give her the scene of Tokyo Tower. As cheesy as it would sound, it was really touching.
Out of all the dramas that I've seen with Esumi Makiko, I think she shines the most in this one. Her feelings and expressions seemed natural and sometimes brought out a tear or two. The supporting actors and actresses also did a wonderful job. I especially liked Shiina Kippei's character as Dr. Kuga, Nat-chan's other love interest. I highly recommend watching this drama for both the excellent cast and story! After watching it, I'm sure the theme song will be replaying in your head.
Proposal Daisakusen [プロポーズ大作戦] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) I really liked the idea behind the drama - being able to travel back through time through pictures seen at a wedding so you can possibly (even if it's a small possibility) change the future and end up with the person you love. Iwase Ken (Yamashita Tomohisa) is the best man at his best friend, Yoshida Rei's (Nagasawa Masami) wedding although not by choice. He has known her since they were in primary school and has loved her ever since, but she doesn't know. She's marrying someone else.
Anyway, each episode is designed so that Ken travels back in time after each picture is shown at the wedding. Rei always looks weird in some way or another in the picture (sad, shocked, upset, etc) and Ken tries to make her happy. It's a cute idea and it's nice to see how the story unfolds. The only problem I found with the show was that it was a little too slow and I started to lose interest in the characters towards the end. However, I'd recommend this drama for all people who like the idea of a second chance and who are fans of Yamashita Tomohisa.
Ring: Saishusho [リング 最終章] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) The series to the popular movie, "The Ring". It's similar in format to the movie, but it's not as scary. There were some parts where I found myself holding my breath (ie. the scene where they were decoding the video) but the majority of it was boring. It went at too slow of a pace for a horror series and it was hard to enjoy it when I had already seen the movie. The ending was also done poorly.
Ruri no shima [瑠璃の島] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A touching story focusing on a young girl who is adopted by an older man and brings her to live on a small island (population 15 or so and most of the people on the island are over 60). Narumi Riko plays Ruri, a girl from Tokyo who is not all too innocent. She is brought to the island so she can attend the elementary school there so that way the school won't be forced to close.
On the island she meets new people and ends up having a family (not only the couple that adopted her, but also the rest of the people on the island). The story really shines as we see the quiet transformation of Ruri or rather her return to the innocence of a child. I highly recommend this drama, it was a pleasant surprise. Although Takenouchi Yutaka is shown as the main character - he's really just a side character - but an important one and he does a great job of it. I just wish that there were more scenes of Takenouchi with Konishi Manami (Sanae sensei).
Saiyuuki [西遊記 ] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) When I first had heard that the studio had a live action "Xi Yu Ji" (Saiyuuki) in production, I wasn't that enthusiastic about it. I had watched the original Mainland Chinese drama back when I was a little kid and had loved the series, since then I have not yet found one that could be considered its equal.
From watching the first three episodes of this high production value series, all I can say is that my initial feelings were true, this series is just not as good as the Chinese one made back in the 1980s. What's wrong with it? Nothing too blatant, just my own quirks about how they portrayed each of the characters - Su Wu Kung, Zhu Ba Jie, and San Shi Di. They're very different from how they are portrayed in the book - louder and maybe even dumber, especially Su Wu Kung (named Son Goku in the drama).
One good note is that Fukatsu Eri does a pretty good job as Houshi, not great, but pretty good. I know I sound very strict in critiquing this series thus far, but it's hard for this one to equal up to the "Xi Yu Ji" of China.
Sapuri [サプリ] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama about office love. It starts out with a woman who is taking the train to work. All of a sudden the phone next to her starts ringing. Apparently someone had lost it. She picks it up and a male voice is found on the other end. Itoh Misaki plays a powerful and high position businesswoman who works for a creative ad campaign. The other male lead actor is Kamenashi Kazuya who plays the part-timer who feels very little about his work and would rather be outside enjoying the sunshine. These two opposites somehow meet by fate and are working within the same office.
I thought that this drama was poorly done. It's a pity. It had such a huge cast of great actors and actresses (side characters) that did wonderfully, but the main actors just could not pull it off very well. Itoh Misaki's acting was not very convincing. She looks great in a business suit, but does she have that confidence and power that businesswomen of that position have? No. Another problem that I had with this drama was that she was insecure about relationships and her looks. I just could not take that part seriously.
The pairing for this drama was also terrible. Maybe it was the age difference or whatnot (though I doubt it), but Itoh Misaki and Kamenashi Kazuya do not go well together at all. Their relationship in the drama was more of that like siblings rather than lovers. The kiss scene that they had in the latter episode was awkward to say the least. Overall, I would not recommend this drama for people who are looking for plot or romance.
Sasaki Fusai no Jingi Naki Tatakai [佐々木夫妻の仁義なき戦い] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) Again I had trouble deciding whether to give this a 6 or 7, but I ended up going with 6 even though I'm a huge fan of Koyuki. I was excited to see that she was going to be in another series, however it ended up being a disappointment. The premise was interesting and the dialogue was funny - however it was painful to watch two people fight and fight and fight throughout 3/4 of the show. Some of the things that the female did were so ridiculous that it was really hard to even sit through, despite that I still wanted to continue to see what would happen in the end.
The series could have been much shorter, but the writers had to add some reason for a fight at the end of each episode. Hopefully Koyuki will be in another drama sometime - one with less bickering.
Satomi Hakenden [里見八犬伝] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A good series to start off the new year. It had high production values with an all-star cast: Takizawa Hideaki, Watabe Atsuro, Nakama Yukie, Kanno Miho, Ayase Haruka too name a few. The story itself was a fairy-tale epic about a princess who wishes to save her land.
The special was only 2 episodes long so the action progressed fairly quickly. Acting was done well, although the fighting scenes were a little odd for a few parts. I found that the fight on the roof in particular between Oshio Manabu (ninja) and Takizawa Hideaki (samurai) was a little Crouching-Tiger-ish minus the good sword fighting, but you can't blame them.
All in all, it's a fun watch since it's not too long and there's a great cast.
Seija no koushin [聖者の行進] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A truly superb series with great acting and an involving storyline. It's atypical of the normal JDrama because of its dark and mature themes, however don't let this deter you from watching this show. Each of the characters will touch you through what they say and how they act, especially Towa-kun. His simple-mindedness and ideals remind us of an innocent child.
This drama made me feel some very intense emotions ranging from anger, frustration, admiration, sadness, etc. I don't think any other drama has been able to evoke so many different feelings before. You should definitely give this drama a watch.
One series that you definitely will not forget. Highly recommended!
Seikei Bijin [整形美人。] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A light-hearted romantic comedy that tends to highly exaggerate the importance of physical beauty. The episodes each begin with a little short animated sequence depicting a modern day fairy tale of a girl who marries a prince. I thought that this was pretty innovative and emphasized even more the fact that this was just a comedy, not one that should be taken the least bit seriously.
Yonekura Ryoko portrayed the main character wonderfully - how she took advantage of the fact that she had plastic surgery and used it, but it was nice to see that she oftentimes worried about whether the person liked her for herself or just for her looks. Shiina Kippei also does a great job.
Overall, this drama was fun to watch off and on especially because of Yonekura Ryoko's sometimes exaggerated expressions and reactions to certain situations, though it may not be for everyone because she does seem to emphasize a lot on physical beauty in the beginning.
Sekai no chuushin de, ai wo sakebu [世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ] Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) A enticing story combined with some beautiful scenery and great acting. There's no wonder why this drama won so many awards. But I think that the best part of the entire series was the touching script, some of the dialogue between Aki and Saku just evoked so much emotion. For instance in the scene where Saku finally saw Aki again after a long stay in the hospital during the summer, he thought to himself,
"If Aki wanted to cry, I would hold back all my tears."
Or the instance where he made a wish at the small island. Aki asked him what he wished for, he said,
"I asked God to give you my quota of good luck. You have so many grand dreams and I want them all to come true."
Yamada Takayuki and Ayase Haruka simply shine as the main characters. Combined with a touching soundtrack, this is one series that you'll never forget. It's a must watch. It surely, surely will bring a tear to your eyes.
Sensei shiranaino? [先生知らないの？] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) Another school series with a delinquent teacher trying to teach some middle school/elementary school students. Kusanagi Tsuyoshi does a good job in portraying the likeable teacher who is righteous and believes in individuality, however because of the lack of continuity in the storyline and the fact that the students in his class were a little annoying at times (no offense), I just couldn't really get into the series.
Each episode is disjointed and loosely tied only by the fact that the same teacher is in the classroom, in other words, the transitioning was very poorly done. Also the romance part of the story has a vague ending to it. All in all, it is a cute series, but not cute enough for me to recommend it highly (although I'm sure Kusanagi Tsuyoshi fans would love his character in it).
Shin Hoshi no kinka [新・星の金貨] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A surprisingly good series with a fast-moving plotline and some cute and memorable characters. At first I thought that this was going to be terrible. Another Heaven's Coins? After the second one, I was truly afraid to see what this one would turn out. It was good though and I enjoyed the characters and their motives. It was nice to see that each character had their flaws, but they were able to overcome it or were able to deal with it so that the audience could feel sympathy for them in the end. They really kind of grew on you.
However, in accordance with the first one, this one is also pretty melodramatic, a soap opera of sorts. If you enjoyed the first one, you should check out this series. The cliffhangers at the end of each episode will definitely keep you wanting more.
Shinzanmono [新参者] Rating: 6/10 (Watched) The story isn't very outstanding nor are the episode by episode mysteries, but Abe Hiroshi's acting and character makes up for it. His acting alone carries the whole show and the eccentricities of his character make it enjoyable. It's a good choice for fans of Abe Hiroshi.
Shomuni [ショムニ] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A fun drama centering around the life of six office women. Although they may just be OLs, the impact that they create on the entire company is great. Each of them, especially the lead, has a feeling of importance in self and doesn't let what others say about them bring them down. A real feminist type of drama.
"A woman's worth is defined by how many men she can conquer."
Shomuni 2 [ショムニ 2] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) The continuation of the first Shomuni Series. If you enjoyed the first one, you'll definitely enjoy the second one. It involves the same cast and a few new characters, mainly Kamiya played by Sawamura Ikki, who found his calling to be a security guard in the first episode.
The same kind of antics abound with the girls of Shomuni, however there seemed to be less of a focus on the development of Ukyo/Tsukuhara and Ukyo/Chinatsu. All in all, I really enjoyed the second installment to this series and found the comedy to be refreshing.
Shomuni Final [ショムニ ファイナル/庶務二課] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) Again, the third and final installment to Shomuni. It's still in the same style as its predecessors but fails to give any conclusion to the Shomuni Series. I rated this lower than the other ones because it didn't seem to further the series much if any.
Shota no sushi [将太の寿司] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A story about making sushi? A boy who wants to become the best sushi chef in Japan? Ha. Actually, this drama turned out to be a lot better than I expected it to be. And wow, it was a lot of fun learning about the intricacies of the art of sushi making and the training that Shota had to go through to become one.
The first few episodes were a little boring once the gist of it was: learn a new element in sushi making, ie Shota discovers something new. But as it progressed, the storyline became much more interesting and the supporting characters only added to the enjoyment of the series.
I definitely recommend it. A lot of fun to watch. It made me want to make my own sushi. Heheh.
Slow Dance [スローダンス] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama focusing on two main characters: Serizawa Riich and Makino Isaki. The former a film grad from college working as a driver instructor and the latter a manager at a small boutique who falls into and out of relationships. Someone who "runs to men when things aren't going well in her job and runs to her job when things are going well with the men."
These two characters meet unexpectedly one day in a coffee shop and things begin to grow from there. The other two characters played by Fujiki Naohito and Hirosue Ryoko are their friends (one being Riichi's successful older brother who quits his job and the other being Fukatsu Eri's coworker who has many relationships with men). The cast of these four work very smoothly and quite well with the overall storyline. The pace was pretty slow hence the title, but it was more in the style of the older jdramas.
I recommend watching this show mainly for the great cast in it. Wonderful comeback for Hirosue Ryoko.
Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi [空から降る一億の星] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) A pretty good drama, but not one of my favorite Kimura Takuya dramas out there. The plot was dark and mysterious making you wonder what will happen next, however there were some scenes/dialogues that can get a little confusing.
I thought the main person that shone in this drama was Shibasaki Kou. She portrayed wonderfully a deranged/psychopathic/child-like female who was obsessively in love with Kimura Takuya's character. The detective did a good job, too. However, I thought that the plot was too planned out and rather ridiculous since everything was soo coincidental ad nauseam. The female lead in this series (that most people found to be wonderful) was okay, but I didn't like her character at all. She seemed a little too desperate.
Sore wa, Totsuzen, Arashi no you ni... [それは、突然、嵐のように…] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama should be avoided. With a forbidden love type of plot revolving around a married woman and a younger man you'd think there would be more chemistry between the two since that's the most important aspect of a romance-based drama. But it's very much the complete opposite. The moments between Esumi Makiko and Yamashita Tomohisa were awkward to say the least.
I also found problems with the fact that Esumi Makiko was married and she acted as if she was still single. It was confusing and also took away from whatever little chemistry there could have been between Ogawa Kozue and the dance instructor Fukuzawa Takuma.
When reading the premise of the series off of jdorama, I thought the story would be good. But it definitely wasn't. It's not worth watching.
Stand UP!! Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A good light-hearted series that is mainly about friendship rather than sex as it is advertised as. In the beginning, when I had read the description for this series, I had thought that this was the Japanese version of "American Pie", but I was luckily mistaken. I actually would not have taken the time to watch this until I heard that it was a good series.
True, these are hormone-active teenage boys who want to enter "manhood", but as the series develops you see that they mature. I especially liked Ken-Ken, he was my favorite. ^_^ Anyway, I would recommend this series for anyone to watch, it's a good one for laughs. The four main boys did a great job in this collaboration.
Star no Koi [スタアの恋] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) This series really surprised me, it was actually very, very good. I had read reviews that said it was good and the "female" version of Mukodono! however I didn't enjoy "Mukodono!" as much as this series. It had a much more detailed plot and much better acting. The female lead really surprised me with her acting in this series and as always Tsuyoshi acted just as well. Fujiwara Norika really was like a mega superstar and looked the part, too. Very gorgeous and elegant. (Loved the costuming for her - although I rarely notice these types of things in dramas)
I really liked how the series developed, there were times when I wasn't sure where the story was going. There was a review on this series that I read here that said something about how this drama is like some story she would have liked to write. I couldn't help but think the same thing for myself. A cute love story with great characters. A must see!
Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ] Rating: 5/10 (Bought & Watched) This is definitely not the typical JDorama. The storyline is a bit cliche with the stepbrother falling in love with his stepsister, but these producers definitely found some nouveux ways of editing it. There were some cut scenes set against a black screen which would show what was going on in different places (different shots). It was quite interesting.
As for the story, I didn't quite enjoy it. It was definitely weird at times and I didn't like all the alluding to sex and anything that had to do with sex. The characters themselves weren't all that likeable either. I'm sure there are a lot of reviewers out there who loved Kyoko Fukada's character, but for me I found her to be rather childish and too simple-minded to the point of naivete. Takizawa Hideaki did a pretty good job, but I thought that the two supporting characters did the best. K.Y and Uchiyama Rina shone.
Suekko chounan ane san nin [末っ子長男姉三人] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama started off on a cute note - the meeting of Fukatsu Eri and Okada Junichi at her birthday part, she lies about her age to him even though she is 5 years older than him. Because the both of them drink, they end up going to a hotel and falling asleep in the same room. Nothing happens though, but Okada Junichi's character quickly falls in love with her.
After several months of dating, he proposes to her - but there is one condition, they have to live in his mother's house. She doesn't readily agree, but they marry anyway. Somehow Okada's three older sisters also end up living with them. This causes a lot of controversy between the newlyweds and the family. It was this latter part that the drama seemed to lose its "touch". The dialogue seemed to get pretty typical and the bickering just became a little annoying, even Fukatsu Eri's character. Also, even though romance was a large part of the story - I felt that the two main leads had very little chemistry and sometimes their interactions even were a little awkward.
Koyuki and Okada Junichi's characters, though, were definitely the highlight of this drama. I would recommend this if you were a fan of the main leads and/or Koyuki.
Summer snow Rating: 10/10 (Bought & Watched) One of the most touching series ever. With Dohmoto Tsuyoshi and Ryoko Hirosue as inspiring leads and a great side cast consisting of Isumi Chizuru, Oguri Shun, and Imai Tsubasa, "Summer Snow" comes out with a few of the most memorable characters ever in a JDorama. I found myself liking all of them so much. The plotline is incredibly heartwarming and moved at a comfortable pace. The theme music "Summer Snow" becomes even haunting at times. It was absolutely beautiful, especially how they filmed the ending. One of those series that I wouldn't mind watching over again (along with my box of tissues handy).
Taiho shichauzo [逮捕しちゃうぞ] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) An episodic series without much heart. The characters themselves were a little amusing to begin with, but after the first two episodes, their static reactions to situations began to become pretty predictable and made the series seem draggy and boring. Although a lot of this series is emphasized in the comedy department, I found that most of the jokes were rather corny and played out. None of the characters were that memorable and the plot was even less so.
I know that this series is based off of a popular manga and anime series, however I've seen other live action-type dramas that are able to pull it off very well. I would recommend watching another live action series if you're wanting to see some drama based off of a manga like "GTO" or "Gokusen".
Taisetsu na Koto wa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta [大切なことはすべて君が教えてくれた] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) I would have originally given this series a 6, but I really liked Emi's character in this series - although a newcomer, she shone compared to the other castmembers. The story was a bit wishy washy. The main protagonist was very indecisive and there was no "action" from his side. Any and all things that happened were things that happened because of his fiance or his student.
The story progressed a bit slowly and very predictably. In the end, there wasn't really a character I could say that I really liked except for Saeki played by Emi.
Taiyo no Kisetsu [太陽の季節] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) Great drama with a wonderful, angst-filled storyline. Takizawa Hideaki did a great job portraying the cold and manipulative Tsugawa Tatsuya while his female counterpart, Izumi Chizuru did beautifully as Eiko. The both of them had great chemistry in the show and their moments together were really touching. I highly recommend this series. The main drawback this series is Tatsuya's sometimes erratic train of thought and the loosening of the plot after episode 6, especially towards hte latter parts of the drama where things just seemed to come out of nowhere.
Other than that, I really enjoy the end song "Ki.Se.Ki". Overall, it's an interesting series and there are just enough cliffhangers to make you want to continue watching.
Tantei Gakuen Q [探偵学園Q] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) It's a fun mystery drama about a group of kids who each have their own special abilities that they can use to solve crimes. Because of their abilities, they are recruited into a young detective agency called Tantei Gakuen Q hence the name of the show. (The special that airs before this series shows the process of recruiting) It's a must watch if you plan on watching this series.
Acting is so-so and the plot for this show is episodic linked only by this mysterious character who seems to be behind everything using some kind of mind control. There are a lot of better mystery dramas aside from this one, but this one is lighthearted and it's a good way to pass the time.
Tantei Gakuen Q (Special) [探偵学園Q] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) A prelude to the Tantei Gakuen Q series of 2007. This special focuses on how the team is formed (each being picked for their abilities and teamwork with one another). Worth watching if you plan on watching the series are just want to watch a mystery drama that is lighthearted.
Tentai Kanzoku [天体観測] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) Really loved this drama for its overall theme of friendship and strength that you have because of your friend's support. Each episode had its beauty and inspiring moments that amongst the viewers' tears and angst, he/she can smile happily.
I really thought that the actors and actresses portrayed in this series did a wonderful job. They really brought the characters to life and even more than that, they were able to give them dimension and depth. While watching this series, I couldn't help but feel admiration for each and every member of Sagittarius. Odagiri Joe, Ito Hideaki, Sakageuchi Ken, Koyuki, Ida, Satoshi, and the fishmonger (hehe) did such great jobs and their acting skills really shone through.
I can't recommend enough for others to watch this. A positive theme is apparent even though characters go through situations such as trouble in the workplace or not being where you want to be in life at the moment. Great work. (Theme: Don't give up on your dreams. You can achieve them!)
Teppan Shoujo Akane [鉄板少女アカネ] Rating: 4/10 (Bought & Watched) The only person I liked in this drama was the glasses guy played by Tsukamoto Takashi. Akane's character seemed a little over the top and her acting didn't seem to suit it very well especially in those parts of the episode where Akane was fired up when cooking. She seemed to hold back a lot whereas other actors/actresses who have played anime-like characters do it pretty well.
The story was very episodic and quite slow-paced. I found myself nodding off to sleep while watching it. The food battles at the end were predictable and weren't even that interesting to watch. (ie Shota no Sushi was predictable, but it was highly entertaining). The cutest part of the drama was the romance factor, but even that didn't have as much chemistry as I would have liked to see. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this drama for anyone unless they're die hard fans of either the main actor or actress.
Tiger & Dragon [タイガー＆ドラゴン] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama continues off from where the special that aired early this year, 2005, ended. It's about a yakuza member, Toraji who has to collect payments from a man whose son used the money to open an eclectic clothing store. However, Toraji discovers rakugo through the man who later teaches him the art. The situations between the characters were hilarious and the comedy was very refreshing. I really enjoyed how the director was able to create a seamless transitioning between the rakugo story-telling - the re-enactment of thestory itself - and then the current drama happenings. It was very innovative and impressive to say the least. Each episode focuses on a different rakugo story and it was surprising that because of this factor, the series still didn't seem episodic, but still proceeded at a nice pace.
The main characters, Toraji played by Nagase Tomoya and Ryu played by Okada Junichi are both memorable and funny. They each had a specific character type and firmly stuck to it throughout the drama. The other actors also did a wonderful job. The dialogue in this drama was refreshing and witty. Overall, a great drama!
Tokyo Love Story [東京ラブストーリー] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) I watched this with the pretense that it was a happy romantic series. Boy, was I wrong. The ending scene made me tear up.
As for the rest of the series, it was pretty good. Rena Asaka's character stands out amongst the others even in comparison to other jdoramas for her sincerity and thoughtfulness whenever it came to Nagao. She took the character and script and brought it to a another degree. However, this also was a bit of a disadvantage for the other actors and actresses because their acting just didn't seem as effective.
The story was written very well, different from the stereotypical love story. It's really touching (at least Rena Asaka's story is) though there are some draggy parts. There were some things that happened in the drama that I felt were rather abrupt, but that didn't ruin the mood of the story completely.
Tokyo Wankei [東京湾景] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) I think the Japanese tried to make a Korean-type melodrama when directing this series. The acting, although good, did not seem very sincere to me. However, it was good to see Nakama Yukie play a serious role for a change, she has a lot of potential to grow in this area. It was too bad that the plot of the series did not allow her to do as much or to show off as much of her talents.
The storyline was a bit dragging and had a much too obvious twist. The relationship between Koreans and Japanese might have been accurately portrayed, but at times I felt that it was overdramatic. The person that I felt that shone in this drama was Mika's good friend who works with her. Truly, his light-hearted personality and "love" for Mika made me continue to watch this show.
Trick [トリック] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) This was a fun drama to watch involving the cases of a young female magician and a renown physicist. Nakama Yukie and Abe Hiroshi do a magnificent job portraying each scenario and I thought that the two of them had great chemistry together. Although before watching this series, I hadn't thought it would be possible.
Each case that the two of them solve - proving that there are no such thing as spiritualists - was really interesting. There were some parts that I thought were rather creepy. Death also seems to come easy to the side characters in this series.
SPOILER - I thought that the creepiest case was with the woman who believed that she could kill people with just using her mind.
Tsuhan-Man Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama about shopping and the promotion of shopping. It's as if there are less shoppers than usual. The drama was interesting to say the least for the first two episodes, but then after that it just became monotonous and lame. Already, the main character, Makoto, played by Nakamura Shunsuke was done well because he already had a certain aura of geekiness about him. His actions were pretty funny and entertaining, but again this was only true for the first two or three episodes.
The other side characters didn't contribute much if any to the overall plot and some rather than making the series more enjoyable, made it seem slower and more annoying. This drama is okay for light comedic viewing, but only watch it if you have nothing else to do. There are many better comedies to spend your time on.
Unfair [アンフェア] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) Another detective drama with Shinohara Ryoko as the female lead. She's a tough and able-bodied detective who teams up with a partner played by Eita. As a detective, she doesn't always play by the rules nor does she follow the standards that other people go by. She's demanding and she's not intimidated by the criminals that come her way, at least that what she seems like on the outside.
Shinohara Ryoko does a good job as playing a detective, her confidence and command definitely helps on screen. Her overpowering character kind of overshadows everyone else in the end though. Aside from that, the storyline was somewhat interesting, a little cliche but that's to be expected from most detective dramas. A few episodes were slow, but speeded up towards the end. Overall, it was an enjoyable drama to watch, but not one of my favorites. I also thought that Shinohara Ryoko had a better performance in "Anego".
Unubore Deka [うぬぼれ刑事] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) It's light-hearted and a fun drama. I think the best part of the series was seeing the many various popular actress cameos. One of my favorite episodes was the one with Koyuki.
It's not very detective-centric if you're looking for a drama like Detective Conan or Jikou Keisatsu. It's more of an offbeat romantic comedy and it's pretty enjoyable although the proposal scenes get a little repetitive.
Utahime [歌姫] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) I wasn't very impressed with the first half of this series. A cute lighthearted feel to the drama, nice characters, loose storyline, overall very relaxed. I felt it became much more interesting towards the end in the last 3 episodes.
Tomoya Nagase plays a young man named Yuichi or Taro (name throughout most of the drama) who has lost his memory and ends up on the beach. A girl named Suzu discovers him and her family takes him in and treats him as one of their own. Suzu falls in love with him in the very beginning and Taro slowly starts to fall in love with her also. This is great and all but I felt it was a little awkward for a guy to fall in love with someone he saw grow up like a little sister. That's beside the point.
Anyway, I only found the drama to start getting interesting when Yuichi's wife came into the picture. I felt that she was the best character in the whole series. She was in such a tough position - seeing her husband after 10 years and finding out that he doesn't remember her at all and is in love with another woman. I don't see her on the list of actors, but I feel that Koike Eiko did an outstanding and convincing job as Miwako. Midway through, I would have actually liked to see more of her on screen rather than Suzu and Taro.
Anyway, I liked how the drama dealt with the town's feelings about the situation and it just shows how selfish people can be. The ending was well done, it helped tie up all the loose endings. It's not something that can be said for most of the dramas they have on today.
Overall, this drama is worth watching. I was going to give it a 7, but because of the ending - I gave it one extra point.
Warui Yatsura [わるいやつら] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) I have mixed feelings about this drama and I think that's what the director of this series wanted from the audience. Yonekura Ryoko plays a nurse named Terajima Toyomi, a woman driven by her occupation. She falls in love with the director of the hospital, a womanizer Kamizawa Sakuo, who always manipulates women to get what he wants.
The drama started off pretty slowly by developing the romance between the two. It only started to pick up after episode 5. Luckily the series is only 8 episodes. It's a mix of drama, romance (although twisted), and crime. I like how the series was able to conjure a dark and very creepy feeling in the viewers - the doctor, the female accomplices, and even Toyomi. I'd recommend this series if you wanted to watch something dark - murder, unrequited love, obsessive love, etc. Great acting by Yonekura Ryoko.
In one review, someone mentioned that they would have given it a higher score if not for the ending. From what I've interpreted from the series, the ending completely made sense and I think it was a bit more twisted than what I had originally thought. Pretty intricate story.
Water Boys [ウォーターボーイズ] Rating: 9/10 (Bought & Watched) A fun series with a few off the wall antics, jokes, and jabs but all around heartwarming show about the importance and strength of friendship. The end scene was so well done that I, along with the other members of the synchronized swimming team and audience felt so proud after their performance. Great show and I hope the sequel can be just as good.
Great group of actors (especially the main 5 boys).
Water Boys 2 [ウォーターボーイズ2] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) Again, a good series if you absolutely loved "Water Boys", but I didn't find this storyline as grabbing as its predecessor. The actors were great, but I preferred the previous team over this one mainly because the others seemed more sincere for some reason. Also, the ending was pretty predictable with the same kind of synchro performance. Don't expect too much of a difference in the plot either.
Wedding Planner [ウエディングプランナー] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) I'd give this series an 8.5. The characters are very endearing and the cast is just wonderful. I didn't expect much when I first started this series since I related the title of the drama to JLo's movie. Bleh. Luckily, this was nothing like that.
This series is a lot about marriage - both the beautiful things about it and the uglier things, such as divorce and the difficult topic of children who are in situations where the parents are divorced. Each episode focuses on a certain marriage, but the transitions are done so wonderfully and seamlessly that the series doesn't become episodic. One of the big pluses to this drama is the dose of comedy that it has, especially between the two leads.
Another great thing about this drama is the cast of great actors and actresses involved including Iijima Naoko, Yusuke Santamaria, Kimura Yoshino, Tsumabuki Satoshi, Abe Hiroshi, and even Uchida Yuki. I really enjoyed this drama and would highly recommend it both for the touching wedding scenes, the strengthening relations between the group of wedding planners, and the hilarious therapy sessions amongst middle-aged men. Haha.
With love Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) A romance drama about two people who meet one another via chance email. You could practically smell the ending of this drama from a mile away, the series was just that predictable. Takenouchi Yutaka pulls off a pretty good performance in his earlier acting years with his cool and laid-back character, someone who has a lot of heart. His female counterpart also did a pretty decent job of being a rather dorky person at work, etc.
The main problem with the series is the fact that the story and dialogue was just very typical. There was nothing new about the series itself and even less so the story. This kind of show had been done before and were done better. After watching this series, I couldn't help but think that I had wasted some time on it. However, I would recommend this drama to Takenouchi Yutaka fans just because he does such a splendid job portraying him.
Yama Onna Kabe Onna [山おんな壁おんな] Rating: 5/10 (Bought & Watched) I'm not sure what to think about this drama. It stars two of the most popular Jdrama actresses currently - Itoh Misaki from "Densha Otoko" and Fukada Kyoko from "S.O.S". Itoh Misaki plays a self-conscious handbag saleswoman in an upper class department store who is getting older and wants to get married. Although beautiful, she feels conscious of her chest size. One day a new employee comes to work for the company, Mariya (Fukada Kyoko) who has a really large chest size.
The whole emphasis of this show is on the relationships between Mariya and Aoyagi. That part of the show is bearable, but the comparisons of chest sizes can be really embarrassing and downright inappropriate. I sometimes even wonder why these actresses took these roles.
Despite all of this, I still finished up the drama mainly because I wanted to find out who Aoyagi would end up with in the end. Sadly, the ending was a bit messy and like the rest of the series, very illogical.
Yamada Taro Monogatari [山田太郎ものがたり] Rating: 7/10 (Bought & Watched) This is a cute rendition of the ever popular "Prince and the Pauper" however in this case, they don't switch places and one of them doesn't even pretend to be rich however because of his looks, intelligence, and the way he carries himself, the entire school thinks that he's royalty. The characters in this drama are pretty typical, but I really liked Yamada Taro's character. Ninomiya Kazunari was perfectly cast for this role and played the character very well.
Although the storyline wasn't that great and some of the character were a little annoying in the beginning (ie the Takako who fell in love with Yamada on the premise of him being rich), you develop a fondness for them and that is mainly because of Kazunari's role in their lives. The little kids in this series are just so adorable (Yamada's little brother and sisters), the acting can be very melodramatic but it's not too bad.
I recommend this drama for people who want a cute, fairy-tale like drama.
Yamato Nadeshiko [やまとなでしこ【大和撫子】] Rating: 8/10 (Bought & Watched) A good show that exaggerates to some degree the stereotypical beautiful woman who wants to marry into the rich. It started off interesting, but as it moved along, Jinno Sakurako's character and her superficiality began to grate on my nerves. There was no denying however that Matsushima Nanako did a wonderful job portraying this character, it seemed very natural and not forced. Tsutumi Shinichi also did a good job of playing Osuke, the kind-hearted but penniless fish salesman. I've only seen him in "Good Luck!" so it was quite a nice change to actually see some emotion in his face.
I thought that the drama really picked up towards the end when you could see a change in Sakurako's character. It really changed your outlook on her. Anyway, this was a fun and entertaining drama to watch and I would recommend it to everyone, especially Matsushima Nanako's fans. She really shines in this series.
Yan Papa [やんパパ] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) This drama started off a bit awkward for me, especially after just watching "Mukodono". The love interest in the first episode was a bit too eccentric and too childlike (even though she was old) for me to sympathize with her ordeal and the fact that Nagase Tomoya's character was in love with her.
The drama later picked up and delved into Nagase Tomoya's father role. It was sweet and the way that the drama intertwined both the cartoon scenes and the real-life scenes made it even more heartwarming. Overall, this was a decent drama and it was different to see the Tomoya's softer side versus both his more animated side (in Mukodono) and his tough side (Ikebukuro West Gate Park and Tiger & Dragon). I would recommend this drama to Tomoya Nagase fans, but don't expect it to be similar to his other more popular dramas.
Yaoh [夜王〜YAOH〜] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) A drama revolving around a particular host club in Tokyo. The main character, Ryosuke, played by Matsuoka Masahiro is an ex-gangster who is introduced by a rich woman into becoming a host for the most popular host club in the district. He has two close friends played by Kaname Jun and Ishigaki Yuma who like him are not the top hosts. Ryosuke aspires be the number one host in Tokyo and by doing that, he would "rule the night".
Throughout the episode he encounters plenty of difficulties - bantering from the other male hosts who think of him as an eyesore, the burden of trying to beat the number one host in the club - played by Kitamura Kazuki, getting enough females to sponsor him or ask for him, etc etc. Overall, it's a pretty interesting series since it's a twist from the usual hostess thing. The only problem is that I don't think the main character Ryosuke is that great looking, but I guess it's the personality that counts more. Hehe. Probably the most entertaining thing about this series is seeing how easily women fall into their hands. =(
Yuukan kurabu [有閑倶楽部] Rating: 6/10 (Bought & Watched) This is your average teenage mystery drama. The mysteries are simple to solve and the characters are only superficial at best. You're given an introduction to the characters in the beginning of each episode and their personalities do not even waver one bit throughout the series. None of the characters are that great, but they do live up to the idea of being the coolest kids in a rich and fancy private school. Sadly, these types of dramas are being way overdone.
I'd recommend this drama to people who like KK and any of the other pretty boys and pretty girls in this drama. They get a lot of screen time. I also felt that KK's acting was striving to be similar to Kimura Takuya's. However, it's not very compelling and seems unrealistic and at times laughable (especially in the finale of the series). Overall, this drama is a good time kill if you're into these types of dramas.
Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu [愛なんていらねえよ、夏] Don't Miss It [Rating: 9/10] A wonderfully dark and moving series with an interesting premise. Hirosue Ryoko once again works her magic and pulls off a very convincing part as Ako, a blind girl whose father recently died. Because of her situation, a man named Reiji (Watabe Atsuro) takes advantage of the fact that she is rich and blind and pretends to be her brother whose name also happens to be Reiji.
As the series progresses, you see the two of them grow closer to one another and how much Reiji changes from his once cold-hearted and money loving self to a more considerate and caring person. The change just seemed very natural and well acted out.
One of the best features of this drama is the talented acting displayed by both the leads and the supporting cast. Their characters were complicated and were full of depth, they just seemed very real and you couldn't help but sympathize with their current situations. This is definitely one drama that shouldn't be missed.
Densha Otoko [電車男] Modern Day Cinderella Tale [Rating: 10/10] A story of a lonely and misunderstood (but kind-hearted) anime otaku who falls in love with a rich and beautiful office lady that he meets on the train, except this time there is no fairy godmother. The man has to receive advice from his gang of internet friends in order to find ways to court the woman.
Itoh Atsushi portrays the very geeky, Yamada who has known only one love in his life - anime, mainly Mina the anime heroine with carrots propelling from her buttocks. He falls in love with Itoh Misaki's character, Aoyama - who is very far, far from his league. Through hard work and a lot of changing, Yamada breaks away from some of his otaku-ness with help from his friends in order to court the woman of his dreams.
A very funny, but touching romantic drama.
Engine [エンジン] A New Dimension to Kimura Takuya [Rating: 10/10] 'The story of a race car driver who meets a woman that changes his life', this was what I thought this drama was going to be about since Kimura Takuya's other dramas have always had romance making up a large part of the plot. However, this drama was not like that. Instead, the major focus of the story was the kids of Kaze no Oka. Each episode focuses on a different child.
We see a different part of Kimura Takuya in this drama and I'm really loving it. He does so well in portraying the laid-back, at times immature, but thoughtful and caring Kanzaki Jiro. He brings a different point of view for the children and his way with dealing with their problems was sweet. Koyuki, on the other hand, plays Tomomi-sensei, a very uptight teacher that cares very much for the kids, but doesn't really understand them as Jiro could. As the drama progresses, we see changes in the way that Tomomi-sensei deals with the children. Even though romance wasn't a significant part of the story, I felt that I enjoyed the short, but sweet and oftentimes funny interaction between Kimura and Koyuki.
Excellent drama. The cast acted wonderfully, especially the children, and some parts of the story will surely bring a tear or two to your eyes.
Ganbatte Ikimasshoi [がんばっていきまっしょい] Give It Your All [Rating: 9/10] I think of this drama as a spoof of "Waterboys". Suzuki Anne plays Etsuko Shinomura, a girl who wants to start a girl's crew team at her school. However, in order to do so she needs to find at least 4 other members. She is met with many challenges during each episode - ie. finding enough members, bearing the weight of being captain, going through training, and experiencing some setbacks. However, she and the rest of her team are still able to overcome them through hope, hardwork, and perseverence.
Along with the sports theme, the drama also has a few romance scenes. Nishikido Ryou plays Sekino, a boy who has grown up with Etsuko and has secretly been in love with her for the entire time, but Etsuko has no idea about it. The other character, Saburo is played by Junnosuke who in the beginning is Etsuko's love interest. (Side Note: Uchi Hiroki stops appearing in this drama as Saburo after Episode 2 due to some unfortunate events. That being said, Junno still pulls off a pretty good job during the transition between episodes 2 and 4).
In the series the main character faces many challenges - in sports, in friendship, and in love. It had a sweet and touching ending. I highly recommend it to others especially fans of Suzuki Anne and/or sports dramas.
Gokusen [ごくせん] Subarashii!! [Rating: 10/10] After having to wait over a few months just to only watch up to episode 5 of Gokusen subbed in English, I finally found the entire version in Chinese. And after completing it (I was in a two-day marathon), I found myself absolutely loving it!!!! It's one of the best series and one of my all time favorites! It's one series that I consistently find myself watching over and over again (without getting bored of it). Nakama Yukie does such an impressive job as Yamaguchi Kumiko, very similar to the character in the anime series. And I found myself falling in love with Matsumoto Jun (Sawada Shin). The rest of the class is just as memorable and likeable.
Even though there are more exaggerated scenes in comparison to a regular JDorama, I found myself laughing so much. Each episode was just so much fun to watch. I didn't want this series to end. Luckily, there is a "Gokusen 2" now.
Gokusen 2 [ごくせん２] A Surprisingly Decent Sequel that Lives Up to the [Rating: 8/10] "Gokusen 2" was a good sequel to its predecessor, however it pretty much stands alone from the first since you can watch the second without having seen the first. The structure of the plot is similar to the first and towards the end seemed rather monotonous and boring.
Besides that the acting was great and Nakama Yukie once again does a wonderful job portraying the energetic and powerful, Yamaguchi Kumiko. The main problem with the story was that it was just a copy of the previous one and the lack of mention of Yankumi's previous students was one of the small drawbacks. Also the fact that the story didn't pay much attention to the teachers of the school, but used them as comedic relief.
All in all, the people who have enjoyed "Gokusen" are sure to enjoy this one also. It's a fun and light-hearted series to watch at anytime.
Hotman [ホットマン] A Superb Family Drama [Rating: 10/10] This drama series exceeded all expectations that I had for it. Sorimachi Takashi shines in this series in his portrayal of the protective and loving, Enzo. At first I thought that this was going to be a typical family drama, but it wasn't. It was much more than just that.
Each of the family members did a wonderful job in portraying their characters and I definitely felt that family chemistry between all of them. At times it seemed to be unbelievable that they weren't related in real life. Each character was memorable and endearing, especially Nanami-chan.
I highly recommend watching this drama. Very rarely do I give dramas a rating of 10/10 these days (since I've watched so many), but this drama really shines and I really think you'd be missing out if you didn't watch this series, especially if you're a fan of Sorimachi Takashi. His acting is so convincing in this series and his character would touch you.
Kimi wa Petto [きみはペット] I want a Momo, too [Rating: 8/10] One of funniest dramas I have seen yet along with one of the most outlandish plots. A woman owning a young man for a pet? Sounds kind of kinky! Anyway, this drama was definitely one of the most enjoyable I've seen in a long time and the storyline kept the audience wanting more. I thought that the ending wasn't as strong as the rest of the episodes, in fact it left the audience hanging. But overall the drama was still great. Koyuki and Matsumoto Jun pulled it off successfully. Momo is so adorable. ^_^ I'm sure all women want one, too.
Love generation [ラブジェネレーション] A Pretty Good Series Though Draggy [Rating: 8/10] This was a fun series at the time that I was watching it, however right after I finished it and reflected .. I found myself thinking that the series was pretty plain and stereotypical of other romances. The characters' "love game" with one another was at times quite tedious and annoying.
All in all, Kimura Takuya still pulls off a great job! ^_^ (as usual)
Majo no jouken [魔女の条件] Tastefully Done [Rating: 9/10] A story about a teacher who runs off with her student. Sounds sketchy? At first the taboo topic of a teacher-student relationship really turned me away from wanting to watch this, however surprisingly the show was able to pull this off quite tastefully. And I found myself even rooting for the main leads to stay together. Matsushima Nanako and Takizawa Hideaki did a great job and had great chemistry despite the age gap.
However, more than anything else . .this series has a great ending! I absolutely loved it and I think the ending is one of the reasons why this series is so memorable for me.
Minamikun no koibito [南くんの恋人] Okay series [Rating: 6/10] This series was definitely different from the average JDorama. The scenario was too farfetched and almost sounded a bit like a synopsis from an anime series called "Midori no Hibi". I found that Ninomiya's character as Minami-kun was pretty endearing since he went through a lot of trouble in order to hide Fukada Kyoko's character from other's eyes. Sometimes his actions were just hilarious.
The series started off pretty well, though the explanation for her shrinking is a bit .. eh. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend going too much out of your way to watch this unless you're a big Kyoko Fukada fan or Ninomiya fan.
News no onna [ニュースの女] Honami Does It Again [Rating: 9/10] Suzuki Honami triumphs again, this time playing the independent and goal-driven Aso-san, the anchor of Channel 2 News. The series starts off with a bang, the tragic death of her husband and his ex-wife the day after their marriage and all of a sudden she has to deal with taking care of her husband's fifteen year old son, Ryu, played by Takizawa Hideaki.
The feelings and emotions portrayed by Suzuki Honami were sincere and more realistic, being a single person and being such a career-oriented woman, she didn't want to take the boy in and was rather vociferous about it, too. Takizawa Hideaki in the meantime was a bit of a loner and often grated on Aso's nerves. However, as the series progresses, their relationship blossoms and the audience can really sense a change between them. It just seemed very natural and not forced like some other dramas that I've seen. Like some other reviewer, I also felt that Ryu had some sort of feelings for Aso. They just had great chemistry together! (Maybe that's one of the reasons why Takky was later cast in "Majo no Jouken")
The side characters really helped contribute to the overall plot and feeling of the drama. The lawyer (the perfect man) often added comic relief to the serious moments. The scheming Fujiwara Norika made a great antagonist and it was understandable since she also wanted to become an anchor. Konno's character was also wonderfully executed, it was hard to make out the man's feelings and motives with his one expression face.
I've only seen one another news drama, "Bijo ka Yajuu", and I thought that this one surpassed that one by far. I definitely recommend watching this for both fans of Suzuki Honami and Takizawa Hideaki. The ending was also exceptional.
Seija no koushin [聖者の行進] Great Drama [Rating: 9/10] This is one of the best dramas that I've watched up to date. The storyline is grabbing, yet dark. The actors' portrayals of the mentally retarded teenagers were done excellently and realistically. But even more so, the characters were portrayed in such a manner that the viewer will really feel touched by them especially Towa, played by Ishida Issei.
There were some parts of this series that were very difficult to watch because of the angst involved, but nonetheless I highly recommend this series.
I'm not sure why others above have given it such poor reviews because definitely .. the storyline and acting were top-notch. This series is not for those who don't like dark dramas and some themes in this are rather mature. It's one of those series that you won't forget.
Sore wa, Totsuzen, Arashi no you ni... [それは、突然、嵐のように…] A Would Have Been Great Drama if not for the Story [Rating: 6/10] The typical older woman/younger man drama that tries to portray the love in which age doesn't matter. However, the problem with it was that the older woman in this drama was married. It was hard to sympathize with Esumi Makiko's character, Kozue-san when she was married with a man who loves her very much. And there was not much grounds for the love between her and Takuya (Yamashita Tomohisa) for there to have been a plausible love where the audience could root for them. Simply put, there was no chemistry.
This drama fails in one of the most important aspects of Romance storylines - you simply just don't care about the characters. And if that was not enough, the ending is very, very weak.
Stand UP!! Fun, Lighthearted Drama [Rating: 8/10] This was a fun series to watch though in the beginning I thought that it was quite boring and dull, it almost seemed like a Japanese re-make of "American Pie". Luckily though I was wrong, as the episodes progressed the characters had more depth to them and the storyline became much more interesting (ie not only about four boys wanting sex).
Anyway, instead of what I initially thought it would be about, it became more about friendship and love. ^_^ I wanted to watch this drama because I've enjoyed Oguri Shun in his other dramas so much, but instead I found that Yamashita Tomohisa as Ken-Ken was extremely adorable. I would recommend this drama for people who want something comical and cute to watch.
Strawberry on the shortcake [ストロベリー・オンザ・ショートケーキ] Disappointing [Rating: 5/10] To think that this drama would be on the top 50 JDorama is disappointing to say the least. The main characters in this drama are annoying and some of the situations were incredibly trifling. There were only two good things about this drama: 1.) the innovative editing of the film and 2.) Uchiyama Rina and Kobuzuke Yosuke.
Even though I am a fan of Takizawa Hideaki, his character in this drama just didn't appeal to me and the fact that there was this incredibly odd relationship between him and Fukada Kyoko's character made it even less appealing. The insincere relationships that revolved around them made this drama seem draggy and just outright boring.
All in all, there was no strawberry on this shortcake.
Taiyo no Kisetsu [太陽の季節] Great Drama [Rating: 8/10] This drama had a good storyline with a lot of dark elements and angst added to the main character, Tsugawa Tatsuya, played by Takizawa Hideaki. He ends up meeting a timid, optimistic pianist named Eiko through many chance meetings on the street and little by little their relationship develops. The love story between them was very sweet, yet painful at times. The audience really feels for Eiko and towards the end can harbor anger towards Tatsuya. However, even through all of this there was still a beautiful, yet sad ending. I highly recommend it, I found it to be a bit different from the other JDoramas I've watched (much darker).
Takizawa Hideaki does a wonderful job portraying the manipulative, cold-hearted Tsugawa Tatsuya and his few signs of kindness/warmth displayed towards Eiko is really touching. I really enjoyed it. The only problem I had with it is with the ending .. it was less dramatic because Takizawa didn't portray it as convincingly as it could've been. It would've been a serious tearjerker if he had.
Tentai Kanzoku [天体観測] Great Drama [Rating: 9/10] This really was a great drama, one of the few really, really meaningful dramas that I've seen thus far. I loved how the series developed each character and there was not one person out of the Sagittarius group that I disliked. In fact, I could almost say that I admired each one of them to a certain extent.
The theme of friendship is really strong in this series and the fact that they were able to pull through so many of life's struggles because they helped each other was really touching. I also liked how it dealt with the idea of achieving your dreams, no matter what they are, no matter what position you are in. The positive note overlies the fact that there were so many downs in each person's life. I really loved this series.
I believe each actor and actress did a superb job. ^_^
Tiger & Dragon [タイガー＆ドラゴン] Innovative and Engaging [Rating: 9/10] I usually don't review dramas when I'm in the midst of watching it, but this series is absolutely wonderful. The director does a great job of intertwining both the rakugo scenes with modern day life. This drama itself is able to bring back a classic Japanese art and make it both fun and interesting to watch even in our TV-driven lifestyle.
The characters themselves act with such sincerity and are funny when need be. Their situations, especially Toraji's deal with his shishou to pay back his debt, are hilarious to watch even amidst the fact that he is part of the yakuza. The dialogue throughout each episode is witty and highly entertaining.
This is one series that shouldn't be overlooked. ^_^