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Archive for the ‘Japanese Dramas’ Category


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To Watch
Netflix

Cast:
Mirei Kiritani as Tokita Mayuko
Mao Daichi as Nanjo Mayumi
Mayuko Kawakita as Kouno Yuri
Ken Kaito as Saruhashi Jin
Wakana Sakai as Nishizawa Mizuki
Maiko
Masako Chiba
Dori Sakurada
Nicole Ishida

Genre:
Drama, Clothing, Coming of Age

Plot:
A young country girl Mayuko Tokita, obsessed with silk fibers, starts a new job at the custom-lingerie shop “Emotion.” There she meets her new boss Mayumi Nanjo as well as an odd assortment of employees. This drama follows the growth of Mayuko, both as a designer and as a person.

For many many years, Mayumi Nanjo has been defining the lingerie fashion of Japan and the very definition of what is “beautiful.” What happens when her world is challenged from every direction? Will her Emotion brand be able to survive the turbulent and ever-evolving fashion world?

As Mayuko quickly learns all aspects of lingerie design and the operations of the business, how will her own ideas and aspirations grow and play out?

Review:
It seems that I’ve been away from dramas for quite some time, or more accurately I haven’t been able to finish any dramas for quite some time. Either I lose interest quickly or there just isn’t something out there that I can watch completely.

Atelier brings back fond memories of binge watching a drama. I have to say, Netflix got it right. I’ve actually been quite impressed with Netflix originals: House of Cards, Daredevil, Chef’s Table, Marco Polo. The quality, the story, the acting; everything in Atelier comes together for an amazing production.

Mayuko Tokita, our leading character, puts on an amazing performance across from boss, Mayumi Nanjo, who also puts on an equally amazing show. Throughout the series, we grow to respect both of them and to cheer them on. They must succeed they must they must…we chant in our heads as obstacles pop out one after another. Mirei Kiritani is able to portray her transformation from a simple and idealistic country girl into a mature and ambitious woman. I’m now a new fan of hers! There are so many scenes where we feel her sadness and disappointment, and also scenes where we laugh at her hilarious antics and her thinking aloud. Though much older, Mao Daichi puts on a flawless performance of an eccentric designer boss. She’s able to capture the strong-willed yet compassionate nature of her character so well that we are able to learn so much about her through her actions and interactions with each of the other characters.

In addition to our leading ladies, the rest of the cast and crew really bring the Emotion to life. There is a wealth of character development that we don’t often find in dramas these days and the messages that each character conveys is perfectly done.

Probably what impressed me the most in Atelier is it’s depth of dialogue. The sheer amount of emotion portrayed by all of the actors and actresses complements the dialogue with a vivid sense of realism, showing us the true nature of our humanity. The story itself was pretty typical, but even predictable as it was, it nudges us with teary moments and also bursts of joy and hopeful smiles.

I’ve watched many Japanese dramas in all the years I’ve been a drama fan, but the quality of this production was probably one of the best I’ve seen. The camera work, the set design, the lighting, the casting are all superb.

Rating:
4.7/5.0

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Cast:
Takei Emi as Yoshino Nao
Matsuzaka Tori as Yokoyama Aruto
Kaku Kento as Tamaki Makoto
Nagayama Kento as Takeuchi Kazuya
Minami Keisuke as Wajima Go
Ishida Takuya as Hirose Satomi
Furukawa Yuki (古川雄輝) as Kishi Tetsuro
Kanai Yuta as Murai Hajime
Arai Yusuke (新井裕介) as Hirakawa Koji
Nishi Yosuke as Watanabe Shinichiro

Genre:
School, Romance, Drama

Plot:
In Japan, most students take a set of entrance exams in order to apply for High School. Yoshino Nao accidentally shifts the answers on her answer sheet and ends up failing the entrance exam. One of the few schools willing to accept her is almost completely all male students. Yoshino begins her studies at the school and finds everything so unbearable.

“Asuko” is a technical school where students learn a practical trade, in this case metal work and construction. Yoshino finds the work difficult and dangerous but she begins to see underneath the seemingly “messed up” school. Her dream had always been to attend a normal high school, to date freely, to prepare for college exams, and to also have normal girl friends.

In a gripping story of love, camaraderie, and perseverance, not only does Yoshino change but so do the students around her in her homeroom class. When challenges arise in the lives of her classmates, she begins to understand more of the world at “Asuko.” Will Yoshino try to run away from this horrendous school or will she find new meaning in her life?

Review:
I was absolutely enthralled with this drama. It has been quite a long time since I have seen any Japanese drama that could catch my interest like “Asuko March!” did. The story was gripping. It had all the essential elements of a drama: humor, character development, a wide range of emotions, and also a great cast. As I got more into the drama I thought back to the drama Great Teacher Onizuka and felt that there were a few similarities.

The heroine Takei Emi brought out a wonderful performance as high schooler Yoshino Nao. She clearly creates a personality for herself and as the drama progresses we can see the dynamic changes to her character. She matures along her journey to discover her own place at Asuko and also along her journey in learning about her classmates. Her pure-hearted nature causes her to be the victim of bullying but also allows her to gain the trust and love of her classmates. I do admit that Takei Emi has one of the greatest smiles I have ever seen. It is very natural and clearly defines her emotions in particular scenes. We can tell when she is happy, forcibly having a smile, or even when she is embarrassed in front of the boy she loves.

All of the supporting cast were great. They helped to create the mood and pace of the whole drama and really pulled off a stunning performance. The main leads and classmates of Yoshino had really great chemistry with each other and also with the other supporting cast.

I am not a fan of comedy dramas, and at first I thought that this drama would head more in that direction, but boy was I wrong. There was a wide range of feeling to this drama. Scenes made me smile, brought tears to my eyes, or even a quick laugh. I felt sincerity from the drama and I felt that for the most part there was nothing too exaggerated or “cute” as we see in many Japanese dramas.

I highly recommend everyone to give this drama a chance. I learned a lot from watching the interaction between characters and I felt that the messages in this drama were very important in society. I believe that part of the purpose for this drama was to show the more accurate portrayal of the lives of students attending technical high schools.

Rating:
5.0/5.0

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pride1

Cast:
Kimura Takuya as Satonaka Halu
Takeuchi Yuko as Murase Aki
Sakaguchi Kenji as Hotta Yamato
Ichikawa Somegoro as Ikegawa Tomonori
Nakagoshi Noriko as Aizawa Yuri
Ishida Yuriko as Yoko
Sato Koichi as Hyodo Yuichiro
Mizukawa Asami (ep4)

Genre:
Sports, Romance, Drama

Plot:
Aki is a typical Japanese office worker who has been waiting for her boyfriend for two years now. He went overseas and has not contacted her yet, but they have a promise between them to meet again. Not breaking her promise, she has been waiting for him still, but inside she is already starting to give up, however she uses this as an excuse not to meet other guys.

One day her friends take her to a hockey game and also the celebration party afterwards at the bar. The star player of the team, Halu, creates an incident on purpose to try and get to her. It works. Because Halu never takes women seriously and Aki also has a boyfriend overseas, the two set the rules of their relationship as that of a game.

What happens when they learn more about each other and start to fall for each other? What is Halu so afraid of? What happens when Aki’s boyfriend finally returns home?

This is a drama about the hockey player members and their bond of friendship through thick and thin. This is also a story about true love and the struggles of regular people with insecurities and friendship.

Here is a picture of Takeuchi Yuko from around the time this drama was made.

yuko

Review:
First off, I’ve been off of drama for quite some time now, but I’ve finally found some time to watch a bit. I never would have imagined that I would watch this old drama.

I never even knew that this drama existed until recently. It’s funny because I actually watched Flash Forward first, at my brother’s recommendation, and the Japanese actress, Takeuchi Yuko, just struck out to me. Even though she only had a few scenes in one episode, I became interested and searched up if she had any other drama works.

I have to say that, although this isn’t the most interesting drama I’ve ever watched, it does touch many humanistic elements and also a more realistic look on the way people interact with each other and the dynamics of friendship. There is great character development, not just between the main characters, but all of the supporting cast as well. I really enjoyed Yuko’s performance. She has a very homely look and a very nice smile. Aki and Halu do have great chemistry on screen as well. I really loved the character she portrayed. She was not a weak person, but she is human, and her emotions were very clearly portrayed through her acting. She also has a selfless side and a caring personality which she pulled off very nicely with a little bit of humor and attitude.

I don’t much about hockey but it did seem they did make an effort to have the actors actually practice hockey since the scenes did not look fake. The choice of filming locations was pretty limited, but at the same time there wasn’t much more they could have done, as the story line did not involve too many locations. The plot was pretty cliche and confining, but I still was able to finish the drama without getting angry at the writers.

I would recommend this drama to anyone who likes to watch dramas where the relationship develops slowly over time and also a lot of character depth in all the side characters as well.

Rating:
3.9/5.0

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Seiginomikata

Cast:
Shida Mirai as Nakata Yoko
Yamada Yu as Nakata Makiko
Mukai Osamu as Yoshikawa Naoki
Hongo Kanata as Okamoto Riku
Sano Shiro as Nakata Goro
Tanaka Yoshiko as Nakata Haruko
Tokui Yuu as Nogami Koichiro
Hiraizumi Sei as Yoshikawa Katsuo

Genre:
Romance, Comedy

Plot:
Nakata Yoko is the younger sister of Makiko, a beautiful and headstrong woman who never takes no for an answer. To the others around her, she is an idol to be worshiped and also the perfect role model in society. She is intelligent as well as efficient and she often amazes her co-workers at the government office. Yoko’s friends all think that she is quite lucky to have such an amazing sister, but nobody seems to understand that Yoko’s sister is actually a demonic slave driver with peculiar tastes.

One day Makiko meets a fellow government worker Naoki. Yoko is put to work to try and hook her up with Naoki.

Will Makiko ever get the man she wants? Will Yoko continue to put up with her sister’s evil ways? What will happen with Naoki and his family discover Makiko’s true nature?

Review:
At first, I wasn’t too interested by the plot of this drama. I did not see how they could make a drama interesting with such an idea, but it turned out to be a very rewarding drama. I feel that it really grasped the family dynamics of the Nakata family. Yoko and Makiko indeed have a weird relationship, but I could feel their chemistry. There were hints throughout and also in the last episode that were extremely touching.

To say that this was a comedy is being spot on. I found this drama extremely entertaining. Shida Mirai is a great young actress. Her scenes are all natural and cute and I feel that for the most part she pulled off this drama. The supporting family casts were all really great as well in their parts. All in all a very solid drama and production.

I had one thing that wasn’t exactly the greatest, and that was the ending concerning Yoko and Riku. Honestly I was a bit confused at how the ending depicted their relationship, but I guess its a deeper message that deals with the drama on a whole. In the end we learn a lot about both sisters and that what Yoko first believed to be evil turned out to be a weird type of sisterly love. I think anyone looking for a relaxing drama will really enjoy this one.

Rating:
4.8/5.0

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800px-Godhand-teru-banner

Cast:
Hiraoka Yuta as Mahigashi Teru
Mizukawa Asami as Shinomiya Kozue
Murakawa Eri as Sakura Ayano
Terawaki Yasufumi as Kosuke
Kaname Jun as Shinomiya Ren
Kobayashi Takashi as Kataoka Mitsugu
Bessho Tetsuya as Kitami Shuichi
Watabe Atsuro as Yasuda Junji

Genre:
Medical Drama

Plot:
Mahigashu Teru seems like a clumsy doctor from the outside, but his devotion and dedication to his patients is second to none. Many years ago, Teru’s father, a reknown surgeon known for his Godlike surgical operations, died after saving Teru in the aftermath of an airplane accident. It seemed that his father’s Godlike abilities were passed on to Teru during the accident. Whenever a patient around Teru is in critical condition, he is suddenly taken over by his Godhand and saves the patient, no matter how difficult the operation is.

When Teru first arrives at the hospital, the other doctors scorn his clumsiness and look down upon him, but over time, they come to acknowledge his Godlike skill and also his dedication as a doctor to every patient. One of these other doctors is Shinomiya Kozue, the daughter of the Shieikai group, an extremely powerful medical family. Her true goal was to find the perfect art form of surgery, but little does she know that Teru’s attitude toward his patients slowly rubs off on her.

What will happen when an old doctor from the hospital director, Junji’s, past comes back and begin to destroy the hospital? What if Shinomiya Kozue’s brother was also involved? Will Kozue become a true doctor? Will Teru finally experience the first death of a patient in his time as a doctor intern?

Review:
Sorry everyone for the bad summary, but you do get the gist of the drama. I have to say I haven’t loved a medical drama so much since Surgeon Bong Dal Hee. The scenes of the doctors in surgery do have little variation, however, the director really knows how to create that operating room tension.

All the actors and actresses did a really great job in this drama. I can’t really rate their individual performances since they all seemed to meld together into one great production. I am really sad that they only decided to make this a six episode series. I would not have minded watching 5 more and seeing Shinomiya Kozue finally get together with Dr. Teru. I really like the idea behind the story. I have not read the manga but I really think that the drama would do well to end at the point where Teru no longer needs his Godhand but instead becomes the Godhand. I loved all the different cases that Teru experienced. Although the hospital buyout and all the stuff about doctors working for money only was a bit exaggerated, I think it really helped build the tension in the drama.

Shinomiya Kozue

I think Mizukawa Asami is a beautiful actress. Even though this drama didn’t really giver her a chance to really stretch any acting abilities, I think she did alright for her character. The actor playing Teru really fit the role. Great choice.

Rating:
4.9/5.0

Video Links Streaming:
Godhand Teru Episode 1 (ENG SUB)
Godhand Teru Episode 2 (ENG SUB)
Godhand Teru Episode 3 (ENG SUB)
Godhand Teru Episode 4 (ENG SUB)
Godhand Teru Episode 5 (ENG SUB)
Godhand Teru Episode 6 Final (ENG SUB)

Enjoy!

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Cast:
Sakaguchi Kenji as Asada Ryutaro
Uchida Yuki as Kataoka Kazumi
Koike Teppei as Ijyuuin Noboru
Otsuka Nene as Kodaka Nanami
Kitamura Kazuki as Kirishima Gunji
Abe Sadao as Arase Monji
Mizukawa Asami as Satohara Miki
Sasaki Kuranosuke as Fujiyoshi Keisuke
Natsuki Mari as Kito Shoko
Kishibe Ittoku as Noguchi Takeo
Ikeda Tetsuhiro as Kihara Takehiko
Sato Jiro as Matsudaira Kotaro
Shiga Kotaro as Zenda Hideki
Takahashi Issei as Toyama Seiji
Nakamura Yasuhi as Nomura Hirohito

Genre:
Medical Drama

Plot:
Picks up a little after where Iryu 1 ends during the previous season. On an expedition to become heart transplant approved, the Meishin University Medical Hospital brings back an old professor to help clean things up. In the process, Asada as well as the rest of Team Medical Dragon are invited back. Asada, having undergone heart transplant training overseas in the US, has pretty much the same personality. Knowing this, a few incidents cause Asada and a few others to be sent to a nearby hospital. This hospital is very special. All the cases that would otherwise destroy Meishin’s reputation are sent here. The doctor’s that are no longer useful to Meishin are also sent here while the capable ones are taken away. As all this is going on, a battle rages between these two hospitals on a surgical level as well as politically.

How will this power struggle end? Will Meishin destroy this other hospital where Asada has gone? To what lengths will the new manager of Meishin go in order to become a certified heart transplant facility?

Review:
To really be able to understand this season you need to first have seen Iryu, the first season. To be honest I was much more impressed with the first installment. Looking at Sakaguchi Kenji’s number of other works, I expected him to act better. In this season, he seemed very aloof and always had the same expression. The supporting cast was very nice as usual. I think that they really tried to make this season more dramatic and that didn’t really suit my tastes. I preferred the first season overall in this aspect.

The music and sound effects were very similar. The story twists got kind of repetitive as well, but hey, who can blame them. Every case that Asada picks up always has difficulty going into surgery, and then something worse has to happen during the surgery. I guess to this point, medical dramas like this can only have so many variations. Also, my friend and I joked about Asada saying “Ikizo (Let’s go)” so many times that we could predict every time he would say it. If watching a very stoic head surgeon and a band of mismatched doctors is to your enjoyment, then please have a good time with this drama. As for me, I can’t say I want to recommend it so:

3/5

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