I’ve been in a total jdrama spree lately. I guess more down to earth stories than what the kdramas are currently offering is what I’ve been in need of. It’s odd how jdramas manage that certain slice-of-life feel even in dramas that are clearly fairy tales for adults. Somehow I’ve just been craving for that special brand of heartwarming and/or fun that is the staple of even half way decent jdramas.
Liquid ~ Oni no Sake, Kiseki no Kura~ (Ogre’s Sake, Miraculous Kura/sake brewery)
After watching the first episode I knew I was going to like this one but what I didn’t guess was how much. Who knew I’d be totally riveted by a simple story about making sake in a traditional way? I loved it! In fact I liked it so much I watched all three episodes twice, ha. The pace was leisurely, a bit like the sake making process. You can’t hurry with that. In fact, the whole thing was so soothing I totaly felt at peace with the world afterwards, LOL! Yet, I never felt like I would doze off, it was truly interesting to see the whole process. Intertwined with the sake story were glimpses of the characters and their lives. In just a few strokes the drama was able to make us see who/what kind of people they are. Something a lot of e.g longer kdramas often fail at. The cinematography was also lovely and none of my attempts at capturing the beauty in screencaps were succesful. A sake glossary for those interested.
Kageri Yuku Natsu
One of the better executed Japanese crime shows, about a kidnapping gone wrong. A former star reporter is sent to reinvestigate what really happened 20 years ago, when a newborn baby was kidnapped from the Yokosuka Keiyokai Hospital. The end result isn’t exactly what he barganed for. I guessed where the clues were leading to well ahead of the big reveal but I still found the journey quite interesting. Despite of the subject matter and the overall darker tone of the drama, it wasn’t all just gloom and doom, there were rays of hope for some of the characters.
This is such a silly drama. XD A grumpy, scary looking samurai with one of the cutest tv kitties around is not a combination you’d easily come up with. Somehow it still works. Show does not even try to take itself seriously or claim to be historically accurate. The episodes are short, just 30min long so it’s a breeze to watch the whole series. It’s full of odd and quirky characters. Kitamura Kazuki as Madarame Kyutaro, the tittled samurai, is a hoot. I just loved his inner musings. Guy doesn’t speak much but his expressions and body language are all one needs to know what he’s at. And he is totally under the kitty’s pretty white paw. Second season is airing right now. Still as silly. 🙂
I love caper stories and this is a rather fun one. A group of five art thieves who rob the crooks to help others. There’s also a season long mystery which involves a lady cop bent on catching these thieves. “Should we steel for Love?” ^^
Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi
The best part of jdramas is that they usually tell stories about commoners… as in ‘not a chaebol in sight’. This one is as far off from the world of the moneyed as can be. The mains are handymen who profess to do any odd job asked and the rest of the cast of characters consists of people from the shady side of the street or those just down on their luck. Quirky and slightly off kilter… yup, it’s a jdrama allright.
Priceless ~Aru Wake Nedaro,n namon!~ (There is no such thing!)
A 2012 KimuTaku drama that had been on my to-watch list so long I’d forgotten about it, ha. The role as an earnest salaryman, liked by everyone, who suddenly gets kicked out of his job is perhaps nothing new to Kimura. He can do this type of roles in his sleep but he always nails them. You can’t help but to root for the guy. It’s the same here. Priceless is a pretty typical Kimura drama but I really liked it. It’s genuinely funny, without being overly silly or OTT, poking goodnatured fun at the characters. There is no malice in the jokes, it’s the situations the characters find themselves in where the funnies mostly come from. It’s also a heartwarming story of people banding together, helping each others out. Even the baddies turn out to be not so bad after all. Forgiveness is the key. The drama has a very low-key romance that is rather cute but not really developed much, more’s the pity. Plenty of bromance and other type of bonding though, so I’m not complaining. 🙂 The simple message of this story is that some things truly are ‘priceless’ and no amount of money can buy them.
Talking about Kimura… I’m also watching his latest I’m Home and even if it’s pretty much more of the same, I do like it so far. A hotshot sales representative for a securities company gets hurt in an explosion and ends up in a 3-month long coma. He wakes up as a changed man with just hazy memories of the past 5 years and only seeing a mask in place of the faces of his wife and son. As he slowly starts to unlock the doors (quite literally too) to the past, he realizes he wasn’t a very nice person. There seems to be some sort of mystery lurking in the shadows as well.