BORDER: Shoudou & Shokuzai

I wasn’t particularly thrilled when news came out that BORDER was getting a sequel of sorts, in the form of an SP that would expand on the cliffhanger that was the ending of the drama. Great dramas have been slayed by crap sequels or prequels, and I was happy to let sleeping dogs lie. There was also news of one of the characters, the coroner Higa Mika, getting a spin-off about her first case. By the time the SPs finally aired, I had more or less come to terms with the extra stuff and decided I’d give them a go. Continue reading

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Tenno no Ryoriban

Food + Sato Takeru = watch. Voila!

Akiyama Tokuzo (Sato Takeru) is a good-for-nothing young man who loses interest in things quickly and creates trouble for his family. He is married off to a merchant household in Sabae to teach him discipline, and he and his wife Toshiko (Kuroki Haru) get along well. However, Tokuzo soon realises cooking is his passion and leaves the family to master the craft in Tokyo. Despite the hardship and humiliation he suffers, Tokuzo is determined to become the best cook in Japan… Continue reading

Lady Joker

When even WOWOW outdoes itself, you know you’ve got a real gem on your hands.

Shiroyama Kyosuke (Shibata Kyohei), the company president of Hinode Beer, is kidnapped by a mysterious group that calls itself Lady Joker. Shiroyama is soon released in exchange for a secret payoff of ¥2 billion and the warning that 3.5 kilolitres of Hinode beer would be tampered with if he doesn’t do as the group demands. Elite detective Goda Yuichiro (Kamikawa Takaya) is put on the case and realises there is more to it than a simple kidnapping… Continue reading

Byakuyako

Life as a purist is hard.

A pawnshop owner is killed in 1973 in Osaka. Detective Sasagaki Junzo, who has been assigned to the case, begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are seemingly involved in the crime – the son of the victim, and the suspect’s daughter. Over the years, Sasagaki tracks the whereabouts of these two people as he tries to bring the case to a close… Continue reading

Asa ga Kita: Weeks 7-12

I’m back on the asadora trail! I am determined to finish Asa ga Kita, if only to do justice to Tamaki Hiroshi’s first asadora outing in years – and a successful one, I might add, as the drama did well in the ratings game. It wasn’t difficult getting back into the groove as each episode and week ended on a mini cliffhanger that just whetted the appetite. Also, it was nice hearing the upbeat theme song again. Continue reading

Murder she solved: Rakuen & Cold Case

I’m back in business! Well, on the drama-watching front that is, since I’ve finally got a new computer and can watch stuff properly again. Recently cleared two dramas featuring ladies whose characters flexed some crime-solving muscles, so it was nice to see women take charge when usually this is a male-dominated genre. Coincidentally, both are WOWOW dramas, so quality was definitely assured. Continue reading

BORDER

Where do people go when they die?

Ishikawa Ango (Oguri Shun) is an intelligent, ambitious detective with keen powers of observation. One day, a former police officer is killed and when Ishikawa goes to the scene of the crime, he unwittingly runs into the killer and is shot in the head. He survives with the bullet lodged in his brain, but realises that as a result, he can now communicate with dead people… Continue reading

Seirei no Moribito season 2

It’s hard enough waiting for weekly episodes of a currently airing drama, but it’s sheer torture having to go months without the sequel of a drama you liked. That was the case of Seirei no Moribito, whose first season was a solid and enjoyable watch, and it took almost a year for season 2 to air. So it was with pleasure that I sank my teeth into the drama as soon as I could get my grabby hands on it.

Balsa (Ayase Haruka) and her herbalist/shaman friend Tanda (Higashide Masahiro) rescue a brother and sister who are about to be sold off by human traffickers. They discover that the girl Asla (Suzuki Rio) possesses a strange power that can cause great destruction when unleashed. Balsa decides to become Asla’s bodyguard upon realising that a number of people are after Asla. Meanwhile, Chagum (Itagaki Mizuki) is on a mission to save New Yogo Country from the conquering ambitions of the Talsh Empire… Continue reading

Quartet

Sometimes when I’m iffy about a particular writer’s work, the strength of the cast is usually a decisive factor in my giving a drama a shot. Sakamoto Yuji’s dramas are hit or miss for me, but the opportunity to watch some of the best acting talents in the business share a screen for 10 weeks was not to be missed.

Four people cross paths unexpectedly in a karaoke place and decide to form a string quartet. The members – first violin Maki Maki (Matsu Takako), cellist Sebuki Suzume (Mitsushima Hikari), second violin Beppu Tsukasa (Matsuda Ryuhei) and violist Iemori Yutaka (Takahashi Issei) – retreat to Beppu’s family villa in Karuizawa during the winter and begin to take on gigs, performing as Quartet Doughnuts Hole. However, they have secrets they are hiding from one another… Continue reading

A LIFE

Greetings again! I apologise for the radio silence, real life came calling and my laptop decided to kaboom on me, so it’s the office computer until I can get a new machine. This also means my drama backlog keeps increasing so I only managed to finish A LIFE, which is Kimura Takuya’s first acting outing since the break-up of SMAP. The premise was nothing new, but it had a strong cast, and the eternal mystery of why Asano Tadanobu played second fiddle to Kimura is something my mind can’t compute at all so I had to watch to find out.

Rookie doctor Okita Kazuaki (Kimura Takuya) was sent overseas thanks to the machinations of his best friend Suzuki Masao (Asano Tadanobu). Leaving his girlfriend Danjo Mifuyu (Takeuchi Yuko) behind, he went to Seattle, where he became an excellent cardiothoracic surgeon. Ten years later, he returns to Danjo Hospital at the request of Mifuyu’s father, who is the hospital director, and is handed a difficult task by Masao, who has since married Mifuyu… Continue reading

Suna no Tou

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A story involving kids isn’t high on my drama-watching radar, but I felt I had to give Suna no Tou a go when I saw Kanno Miho and Matsushima Nanako on the cast list, more so when the latter was billed as the antagonist. While star power isn’t always a guarantee of quality, I was interested in what I thought would be an acting showdown between the ladies and hoped for the best.

Takano Aki (Kanno Miho) and her family move into a new high-rise condo, hoping that this would be the start of their dreams and a better life. However, she encounters the resident vainglorious housewives who ostracise her and make her life miserable, and only another neighbour, Sasaki Yumiko (Matsushima Nanako) seems to be a friend to Aki. As a series of abductions involving young children unsettles the neighbourhood, someone is also trying to tear Aki’s life and family apart… Continue reading

Career: Episodes 5-10

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The old saying that you should be careful what you wish for came true, but thankfully with a positive spin because the rest of the episodes of Career did become more engaging and I actually started liking a lot of the characters. The drama still pretty much followed the same formula of Kinshiro saving the day, but did manage to offer up a nice twist that gave the storyline a bit more meat and helped elevate the drama a notch. Continue reading

Cain and Abel: Episodes 1-4

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It’s been a while since I checked out a Getsu9 drama, and the last couple of years haven’t had particularly inspiring offerings. Gone are the days where a Getsu9 meant a ratings hit (Hero and Love Generation both hit over 30%, for example) or at least moderate success with average ratings in the late teens. The previous three seasons of Getsu9 dramas this year failed to break the 10% mark and Cain and Abel looks unlikely to turn the tide. Still, the premise seemed interesting, so I gave it a shot.

Since he was a child, Takada Yu (Yamada Ryosuke) has always lived in the shadow of his more capable elder brother Ryuichi (Kiritani Kenta). Yu longs for his father’s approval, but dad doesn’t really give him the time of day. Yu gets to know Yahagi Azusa (Kurashina Kana) by chance one day and begins to have feelings for her, but Azusa turns out to be Ryuichi’s girlfriend… Continue reading