JPTV Winter 2009 Season
Amazingly, it has been a year since I last posted one of these. And of course, once again, it comes after the start of the season. That’s not to say I haven’t been keeping up with dramas from the rest of 2008, just that for one reason or another I didn’t post anything about it here. Of course, I’m certain you haven’t missed these either, since unlike most other posts on the subject, this only covers about-to-air dramas that personally interest me.
You may notice that only dramas are mentioned this time around – that’s because I haven’t seen a single anime series that interests me this season. Historical Fantasy, Sports, Harem, the requisite action that doesn’t have enough of a kick to appeal, and bringing back the yuri. Okay, I lie, there is one – Maria†Holic – but that has the enormous potential to go wrong, since I didn’t read the manga it was based on and as a medium, anime likes slapstick far more than drama, and slapstick is beginning to get worn out on me.
Either way, long blurb of text, coming your way! As always, all summaries from DramaWiki.
Hissatsu Shigotonin 2009: A violent fire one evening kills a husband and wife couple and burns their Kazusaya rice shop to ashes. Their daughter Sachi manages to make it out alive, but she claims the fire was set by henchmen from the rival Harimaya shop who abducted her sister. After policeman Watanabe Shogoro hears her story, he begins investigating the case, but desperate to avenge her parents’ deaths, Sachi later enlists the aid of a mysterious woman who offers to kill Harimaya for a price. Watanabe soon discovers that there is more to this case than meets the eye. [Summary from 2007 special]
The updated version of a drama that first aired back in… 1979. Hey, 20-year anniversary, why not? Okay, here’s what you need to know about the cast: Higashiyama Noriyuki. (Formerly featured on this blog as Kuitan.) What do you mean that’s not enough? Okay, so this is going to have another Kuitan 2 deal where the King, the sidekick, and the sidekick’s sidekick form a trio and sing the theme song. The sidekick (and his sidekick) just both also happen to be Johnny’s – Matsuoka Masahiro and Ohkura Tadayoshi. I’ve never been too fond of jidaigeki/period dramas, but it’s Higashi-kun. And his womanly hips.
Kami no Shizuku: The story revolves around a young man whose father, a world-famous wine critic, suddenly dies. In order to take over his father’s vast wine collection, he must face off against his adopted brother in a contest to find specific wines, even though he originally has no knowledge of wines.
*gasp* A KAT-TUN drama! The last time I tried to get interested in a KAT-TUN drama, it failed horribly. I got bored within the first episode. And I’d read the manga, too, so that didn’t bode too well. This, like the last time, features one Kamenashi Kazuya, has a KAT-TUN theme song, and is based off a manga. I do like anything involving food or drinks though, and I was rather interested in the manga. The K is also the only member of KAT-TUN I remotely like, and there is Masu Takeshi, who my sister and I always have a fond place in our hearts for. (You would too, if you’d watched Kimi Hannin Janai yo ne? He gets load of fun roles.) In particular, though, what I’m looking forward to is learning about wines. If I pick up even one thing from this series, then at least it wasn’t time wasted.
Kiina: Haruse Kiina is the capable chief of an investigation unit.
That… was informative. Then you scroll to the bottom of the DramaWiki page and see “One of the show’s selling points is that its mysteries are based on difficult real-life cases.” in the Notes. Oh, okay, that I can work with. In the picture above we have Kanno Miho reprising her brain-pushing pose and creepy smile from Hataraki Man, and… whoa. Wait. I see a Sawamura Ikki off in the corner. Koike Eiko looks like she’s going to be stuffed in another annoying role, though one that does not make use of her boobs, and I see Tsukaji Muga, easily my favorite of the comedic duo DRUNK DRAGON. (The other one’s the plain guy.) So, to reiterate – mystery drama, based off real cases (so these will be interesting to solve along), and the fat guy. THAT IS ALL.
Love Shuffle: Usami Kei is a manager at an IT company who breaks off his engagement to Mei, the president’s daughter. Later at his apartment, a power failure leaves him trapped in an elevator with three other residents: Ojiro, Airu and Masato. While waiting, their conversation hits upon the question of whether there is truly only one fated partner for everyone. As a result, they decide to run an experiment by “shuffling” their relationships with one another.
This is undoubtedly going to be one of the most watched (by overseas fans at least) dramas of the season. Let’s roll off the cast, shall we? Tamaki Hiroshi, Karina, Matsuda Shota (whose hair makes him look hotter than he has in a while), and Tanihara Shosuke. (He. Is. ALWAYS. There. Apparently he has replaced Fukakyon as the one who wheedles his way into every season I watch.) Their lovers, less well known but still easy on the eyes… Kanjiya Shihori, DAIGO, Kojima Hijiri, and Yoshitaka Yuriko. Take a good look, folks, there is no lack of eye candy in this drama. While I’m not (and have never been) a fan of romance, this is also apparently a comedic drama, and promises to be an interesting look in human relationships, however scripte- …okay, who am I kidding. Matsuda Shota is more than enough reason.
Mei-chan no Shitsuji: The story revolves around a young woman named Mei who finally finds the “butler of her dreams”, whom she has been searching for since a past encounter.
This was based off a shoujo manga. If that and the picture don’t immediately tell you something, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Highly likely that this was a reverse harem manga too, exactly the kind of thing my sister likes best. And speaking of which, she’s got 11 reasons to watch this, but I’ll only offer you two: Mukai Osamu in white hair, and Yamada Yu in a school uniform. I’m sure there are other reasons for some of you, like Mizushima Hiro or Sato Takeru (and I’m sure they’re reasons for many girls), but I’ve made my case so I’ll stick with it.
Mousou Shimai: The story centers around three sisters living together, though they have very different personalities, leading them to believe they have different mothers. One day, they each receive a letter from their dead father, with each indicating the title of an erotic novel. Believing that the letters are hints about their mothers, they begin reading the books, and before they know it, they start imagining themselves as the novels’ heroines.
Between its late air slot, and its apparently lewd subject, there is slim to no chance that this will be uploaded anywhere, much less subbed. But, uh, Kichise Michiko. One of the most sensual actresses currently working on Japanese TV. Probably only the third person I have developed a girlcrush on. (The first two were Shimatani Hitomi and Maya Miki.) Can you blame me?
Q.E.D.: A detective story that revolves around two high school students, Mizuhara Kana, a curious girl who can’t help looking after others, and her new classmate, Toma So, who graduated from an elite U.S. college at the age of 15. The two try to solve mysteries with a help of Kana’s father who is an investigator.
This is one that about a third of the iWota readers will probably be watching out for, because Mizuhara Kana is played by none other than one Takahashi Ai. Yeah, that Takahashi Ai. There’s really nothing all that new or interesting about this mystery drama – but, hey. It’s mystery.
RESCUE: Kitajima Daichi is a young firefighter aiming to become part of a special rescue team, inspired by an incident in which he was saved as a child.
Whoa, hey. What is this? Another KAT-TUN drama on my list? This one stars Nakamaru Yuichi, the end letter, and one Masuda Takahisa of NEWS. And actually, that’s the reason why this is getting downloaded – because my sister would never forgive me if Massu was in a recent drama and I let it slide past her nose. That’s not to say there is a lack of eye candy here, though – Yamamoto Yusuke, Ichikawa Yui, Fueki Yuko, Kaname Jun… Oh, and we have soft spots for Natsuyagi Isao, Yamashita Shinji, and Tanaka Yoji, too. I think this was once a manga, but y’know. I read too much of those.
TRIANGLE: The series starts with the murder of a 10-year-old girl in 1984. 15 years later, after the case goes unsolved and passes the statute of limitations, a doctor named Goda Ryoji suddenly quits from his hospital and eventually becomes a detective. In 2008, he meets Sachi, a traveling artist in Paris, and shortly after Goda’s return to Japan, he becomes involved in the expired murder case when another detective receives an anonymous phone call.
The first of two Inagaki Goro Mystery Machines this season. This is more about the expired case than it is about the pretty, so I think Eguchi Yosuke can pull it off. He’s got a pretty good cast to help him with it too, based on what I’ve seen of the acting of everyone else in the recurring cast. (And somewhat sadly, I have seen everyone in the main cast in one drama or another.) Since this is tagged as suspense, though, this has the hard job of living up to the suspense Bloody Monday managed to draw out last season.
Uta no Onii-san: The story revolves around an unconventional children’s show called “Minna de Utao!” Kenta is a young musician whose band breaks up and who gets dumped by his girlfriend. To top it off, his own family labels him as useless. Unexpectedly, he becomes an “uta no oniisan,” a singing character on the children’s show.
Just ’cause it’s got Ohno Satoshi starring in it. (I’ll be looking for another scandal to pop up during this show’s run, too, if only to judge how successful it is. But c’mon, those images were funny.) If you are a Johnny’s fan, Kanjani8 also sends in their Maruyama Ryuhei; if you like the ladies, Katase Nana shows up, along with a bunch of other girls. The most amusing bit for me so far is Ohno’s character’s relationships to others based on the correlation chart – lots of discontent there, but can stoner face Ohno pull it off?
VOICE: The story revolves around a group of five medical students enrolled in a seminar on forensic pathology. Kaji Daiki, noted for his keen perception and strong intuition, along with the other students work on uncovering the mysteries of the corpses they examine.
Contender number 2 for most watched by not-in-Japan drama addicts is a medical mystery drama. Wait, didn’t we get one of these just last season? Apparently this time they just study the deaths, not cause them. (While we’re on that subject, I wish Japan would turn The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service into a drama. Okay, fine, not entirely related, I know.) The main cast of 5 contains young stars like Eita, Ikuta Toma, Ishihara Satomi, and guys like Endou Yuuya and Sato Tomohito who have endeared themselves to me. In the end, it’s mystery and that’s why I’m going after it, but I really hope they make the whole dead body thing work.
Zeni GEBA: Gamagori Futaro is an unattractive young man who loses his sick mother as a child due to poverty. He subsequently becomes obsessed with money and is willing to do anything for it. While working for a millionaire he shows his knack for business and in a plot to acquire his company he marries his daughter. After their marriage he kills his father-in-law and takes over his business empire. With his new-found status he makes victims out of everyone around him.
Can I point out something? They got the unattractive part right. Matsuyama Kenichi stars (and I still don’t see how anyone thinks he’s hot, as was proclaimed all over the internets when he played L in the Death Note movies), but we know me and my unorthodox tastes – Miyagawa Daisuke makes this an “interested”, and Saito Ryusei (who I have fallen dangerously into adoration of) makes this a “screw everything else, this gets priority!” If you like the female side of the spectrum, though, there’s no shortage of pretty girls and women, and if you like sadistic narratives, this one has only a slim chance of disappointing.
Along with renzoku (serial) dramas are of course, the tanpatsu (specials). People care less about these unless they have big name stars or go along with a way-too-popular series, but me? I’ll take whatever takes up less space on my laptop. (And think about it – 9+ episodes of 300-700 MB files, or a single 1.5-2.2GB (depending on quality) video file… the math is simple, please don’t make me do it for you.) And really, some of them are pretty interesting.
Akuma no Temari Uta: The fifth chapter in a series starring Inagaki Goro as the prodigal crime solver Kindaichi Kosuke.
Ever the fan of Kindaichi Hajime, I figure I ought to check out the grandpa he’s always swearing by too. Even if the two were created by different people. The other Goro Mystery Machine, this could get terribly drawn out and long and work its supernatural mystery thing to death. But it’s the 5th one in the series, so how bad could it be?
Anmitsu-hime: At age 16, a tomboy princess, Princess Anmitsu, has no love interest in her life and worries her parents. Despite their concern, Anmitsu runs away from the castle to venture into the commoners’ life. During her daring adventure, she befriends a group of children who make a living by pick-pocketing. At the same time, she finally meets her prince charming Senbe, the leader of the group. However, she soon finds herself in an awkward position when she learns of the children’s new plot: they are planning to steal the treasures from her own castle. Will she be able to put a stop to it without revealing her true identity? [Summary from 2008 SP]
The first special was adorable. Characters’ names all being something related to sweets? Izumiya Shigeru being comedic relief? Inoue Mao’s cute face and spunky typecast role? Sure, it’s a bit too sugary-sweet in its family-friendliness, but what more would you expect? I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.
Anything you’re interested in that I didn’t cover, and think I may be interested in too? Let me know!