Hands down it’s got to be Nodame Cantabile. It’s pretty much perfect, from the cast to the music, right down to the manga-esque humour. Ueno Juri and Tamaki Hiroshi were fantastic as Nodame and Chiaki, and had such amazing chemistry that many people still ship them together till this day. No other actor could have brought Nodame and Chiaki to life the way Ueno and Tamaki did. The acting was solid throughout and you could feel the camaraderie of the cast shining through in the drama and behind-the-scenes videos. For an 11-episode drama, character development was rich and logical, and every scene meant something in the bigger scheme of things. The music selection was spot-on and delightful, and added much to both plot and characterisation. You don’t have to know your Beethovens or Mozarts to appreciate the drama, but it might just make a classical music fan out of you!
I do have to give a shout-out to Love Revolution, which before Nodame Cantabile was probably my favourite drama, and still ranks very highly on my must-watch list. Japan doesn’t really do rom-coms like these anymore, where adults behaved like adults and weren’t afraid to get intimate with the people they liked. This was an all-round eye-candy cast, with plenty of kisses done right to go round, and the added bonus of these people being able to act (can’t say the same for the supposed eye-candy these days). Esumi Makiko and Fujiki Naohito were so winning in this drama, and their chemistry so pitch-perfect, that I’d shipped them for many years and still hope that they, like Ueno and Tamaki, would reunite on screen for just one more time. Dear Japan, time to give us some proper rom-com goodness!