Ryusei no Kizuna
Seems to be this season’s big shot with the likes of Ninomiya Kazunari, Nishikido Ryo and Toda Erika playing the lead roles of three syblings whose parents were murdered when the kids were out watching shooting stars one night. Soon after the incident the swear to kill the person who did this to them. For that purpose they hide from the police that they still meet today. The statue of limitations is running out and so they have little time to find the murderer.
This is a serious story with a very light way of telling it. A lot of comic relief, especially in the form of the character played by Nakashima Mika, who also sings the title song. The cast is wonderful with lots of familiar faces. And the in-series short movies about the swindling are a huge laugh. All in all highly enjoyable, although it’s nothing special. (7/10)
A fire killed their parents and now the brother is in jail while his sister is trying to cope with her daily routine being scrutinized everywhere she goes because of what happened to her family. She moves to a big city to enjoy the anonimity there but is exposed by her co-workers.
Horikita Maki plays the sister in this rather slow moving series. I haven’t had the time to watch this so far, but it has the feeling of those Doramas, where two characters unintentionally search for each other only to miss one another all the time by an inch. It looks promising and it also features Narimiya Hiroki in a supporting role. (6/10)
Celeb to Binbo Taro
This is your stereotype heartwarming fairy tale telling the story of a wealthy, rich and spoiled daughter who runs her own fashion company, and the always struggling and poor father of three who lost his wife to an illness and now is doing everything for his family. And although the outset of the story is somewhat boring the cast is what makes this enjoyable. Ueto Aya is Alice, the daugther of a wealthy entrepeneur, she has her own fashion company and cannot understand the poor lifestyle of Kamiji Yusuke, who plays the struggling Taro who lives in a run down house with his three children. He becomes Alice’s chauffeur and the two of them face lots of situations where their seperate lifestyles clash. What keeps me watching this is the supporting cast who play the friends of Taro in the shopping district, most notably Kuninaka Ryoko, who plays Taro’s childhood friend.
When you watch a lot of Dorama this storyline returns every two or three seasons, but if you like funny stories with some heartwarming moments every now and then this is your choice. (6,5/10)
Yet another Dorama starring Kamiji Yusuke. This time he plays an enthusiastic teacher who enters a school which is bound to be shut down by the end of the school year. The students have abandoned all hope feeling betrayed by their teachers who only care about themselves. Enter three transfer students (Yamada Ryosuke, Chinen Yuri, Arioka Daiki) who set out to change the school. Together with a classmate (Nakajima Yuto). Gradually one teacher after another is targeted by the group and the atmosphere at the school changes slowly.
So this is yet another school dorama in the vein of GTO, although this time the main character isn’t as falshy and cool but boring and dull. I am always surprised about the pool of young actors who fill up the cast for a series like this one. Some have talent, some don’t, but it’s a nice dorama you can watch when there’s nothing else at hand at the moment. (5,5/10)
Team Batista no Eiko
This is surely inspired by Iryu – Team Medical Dragon when you look at the title. At a hospital there is a highly successful team of doctors who are specialized in the complicated Batista surgery. However, their last four surgeries were failures with the patient dying in the operating room. Ito Atsushi, who is the patient’s consultant doctor, is ordered to investigate what might have caused the deaths of the patients. He teams up with Nakamura Toru, who is a government official who believes that the messed up surgeries might be a case of serial murder. Both of them run into a maze of strange relations between the Batista team’s members.
Another hospital dorama, this time with a crime story. It’s not as action packed as the Iryu series, it’s not as touching as this season’s Shoni Kyumei, it’s slightly different. Yet I somehow cannot open up to the story because it comes across way to serious. (5/10)
Speaking of hospital doramas, here’s the second one for this season. Konishi Manami is a pediatrician who sets up her own clinic for child care, giving up her job at a hospital. The daily work is tough as the clinic is overrun by patients and from time to time she has to rely on her old colleagues. Being an orphan she relates to the problems of the young patients, a feat which isn’t always appreciated by her staff.
So while Team Batista no Eiko is the very serious dorama, Shoni Kyumei is a little bit more lighthearted and touching. Of course there’s lots of crying and funny situations. At times it can get a little bit too preachy, but all in all it’s one of those slightly above average doramas. (5,5/10)
Oh! My Girl!!
Highly unsuccessful cell phone novel author (Hayami Mokomichi) finds himself in a situation in which he has to take care of his half sister (Yoshida Riko) who has been abandoned by her mother. The only problem ist that she’s a spoiled actress who doesn’t seem to be able to cope with his rather average lifestyle. Eventually he moves into his mother’s appartment alongside with his sister and her manager (Kato Rosa), something he didn’t want to do right from the start, because he still holds a grudge against his mother for abandoning him as well while he was young.
It’s your usual storyline about two completely opposite personalities who are forced to adapt to one another’s lifestyle and find themselves slowly understanding what makes the other person tick. This might be a bit dull from the start, but the more you watch it, the more you feel attached to the characters as the actors really perform well. Not an instant classic, but good enough to give it a try. (6/10)
Telepathy, magical tricks and mystery. Nanase (Renbutsu Misako) has the special ability to read other people’s minds, something she only recognizes when her mother dies. As she’s not able to cope with the information overload she moves to Tokyo where she meets other people (Shioya Shun, Miyasaka Kenta) who are just like her. Together with them she tries to solve what her father (Kohinata Fumiyo) was up to at a laboratory while Nanase was still a young child.
Set up as an episodic dorama in which lots of different stories are dealt with and finished in one ore two seperate episodes, the overriding storyline is the search for answers for what Nanase’s father did in his experiments with the children and his mysterical disappearence a few year’s back. Although at some points slightly overdramatized this is an interesting suspense dorama which seems to be very popular with Japanese viewers as this series is already the 3rd sequel from the original dorama in 1979. (6/10)
Kaze no Garden
A successful doctor (Nakai Kiichi) at a famous hospital is diagnosed with cancer and realizes he has only a few months left. He is trying to get back together with his enstranged family who broke off any contact to him when his wife commited suicide because of his actions. His children, and aspiring dancer (Kuroki Meisa) and a mentally handicapped boy (Kamiki Ryunosuke), don’t want to meet him and his father (Ogata Ken) cut all family ties with him. However, the doctor returns to Hokkaidou to reunite with his children and make up with his father.
This might become more interesting as it evolves. There is a lot of potential in the story of the children and their father. What I really like are the wonderful shots of the Hokkaidou scenery as it is always a pleasure to watch a dorama which is not set in a huge city but in the countryside. The acting is very good as well, especially Kamiki portrays the disabled child in a very touching way. Unfortunately this dorama was Ogata’s last work, so we won’t see him again. I really liked his acting. (7/10)
When I started watching this it instantly reminded me of the series Yaoh from a few seasons back. The main character is a host and he is trying a completely different approach. This time we have Sasaki Kuranosuke as the man who doesn’t want to fool the ladies into just spending their money but instead provide them with a little relief from their daily lives. He returns to the world of hosts after being laid off by his company and has a hard time hiding his new job from his wife (Hara Sachie). When he married her he had to promise to her family that he would stop that line of work. While working for his old club he is confronted with lots of problems, not only for his customer’s but for his workplace as well.
This starts out okay-ish, but after a few episodes it gets a little boring. I guess when you have seen one of those doramas you get bored easily. Yaoh was good in a way, but Giragira somewhat doesn’t seem to get it done in the same way. Not that disappointing, but compared to the amount of good dorama which was shown this season, this one is on the downside. (4/10)
A midnight dorama about three wannabe girl idols (Kojima Haruna, Takahashi Minami, Minegishi Minami) who fail in all of their auditions. One day they witness a crime and have to flee After that are picked up by a strange promotion office director who promises to make them famous. All they have to do is – dress up as boys.
An interesting storyline with lots of hilarious situations for the three girls, the only thing that’s lacking quite a bit is acting skill. On the other hand this is so over-the-top stuff that it’s actually fun to watch. Of course most of the gags are well know, e.g. when the girls enter a host bar with a TV producer. But because the dorama doesn’t take itself too seriously those situations don’t end up as awkward as I would have expected them to be. (6/10)
Another midnaight dorama and this one looks highly interesting. Set up as some sort of two-person play Yoshitaka Yuriko and Nukumizu Youichi play author and publisher who together are trying to overcome the author’s writer’s block. Most of the story takes place in the author’s apartment. Both engage in long conversations about what could be done to get rid off this problem and get Yoshitaka‘s career back on track.
I like both actors a lot. Nukumizu is one of the classic supporting actors who always acts slightly clumsy and provides the comic relief in a serious story. You might have seen him in lots of doramas before as his slightly flawed pronounciation is very easy to remember. Still I consider him to be a great actor as he is able to portray lots of different characters with ease.
Yoshitaka on the other hand is rather new to the scene, but all the doramas I have seen her starr in have been great. She’s just hilarious in Konno-san to Asobo, a series which is more like a silent movie and depicts the strange daily life of a high school student. She was great as the spoiled, yet lonely idol in Ashita no Kita Yoshio and in Taiyo to Umi no Kyoshitsu she gave a wonderful performance as a high school student which really stood out amongst the rest of the cast, although her time on screen was rather limited.
The title of the dorama stems from Nukumizu‘s strange haircut which resembles a traditional European style monk. This is great stuff, as it is not your usual story. I like this a lot. (8/10)
By far the most expensive looking dorama this season. Miura Haruma is a computer hacker whose father works for a special government security department set up for preventing terrorist attacks. After a poison attack on a village in Russia that department wants Miura to cooperate with them and help them to catch the terrorists. Things get out of hand when his father, who he and his sister don’t really get along with well, is suspected of being linked to the terrorist group and persecuted by his colleagues. Miura has to set out on his own to prevent one of the most dangerous terrorist threats to Japan.
At points this dorama seems to be too overpacked, but then again, a lot of the sidestories make sense. The relationship between Miura and his father, the conspiracies in the special department, the terrorist threat, all the mysteries are related to one another, it seems. The cast is put together with lots of familiar faces you will recognize at once. This is an action-packed suspense dorama which really is fun to watch. (7,5/10)
Room Of King
What happens when you put five people in one apartment and have them compete for the title of a “king” who will win the whole apartment for himself. That’s what a bunch of mysterious real estate agents tries to figure out in this series. A stylist (Watabe Atsuro), a freeter (Mizushima Hiro), an OL (Suzuki Anne), a cook (Itao Itsuji) and a gynecologist (Igawa Haruka) start to live together in a luxurious mansion in Tokyo and try to fight it out to become the “king”.
I can’t really see the direction in which this dorama is heading. The outset of the story seems interesting though, as you have five completely different people trying to get along with one another. The role of the real estate agents seems to be rather mysterious at the moment as well. But it’s worth checking out, I think. (6,5/10)
Four married women, who have no relationship towards one another whatsoever, meet at the wedding of a friend of their’s and are invited to join her after the celebration for a drink at a bar. The bride suggests to play a game in which each of the women has to pick up a man by the end of a given time and whoever doesn’t bring along one loses and has to pay the tab for the night. What starts out as a game becomes serious when the bride goes missing. Since the four women were the last persons to see her the police has to question them. After this the four of them set out to solve the riddle by themselves. Suzuki Kyoka, Hasegawa Kyoko, Fukiishi Kazue and Momoi Kaori lead completely different lives, still they have to team up to rescue their friend who has gone missing.
This story is intruiging and so is the cast. The chemistry between the female actors is wonderful and they way the storyline is able to depict all their daily lives seperately is great. I don’t have the feeling any character is left out. The supporting cast is brilliant as well. And the overall story with the disappearing friend only adds to this highly enjoyable dorama. This is a good one. (7,5/10)