J-Drama Review Database

Japanese dramas are interesting creatures.  The most popular actors and actresses in Japan often appear in dramas, along with films.  The dramas themselves are usually 11-12 episodes long and rarely have more than one season, except in the case of extremely popular ones like Hana Yori Dango, which spawned a second season and a movie.  They vary greatly, though many are purely bad and can compare to the American daytime soap opera.  They should not be that way.  I attempt to separate the good from the bad, but occasionally a less than optimal one slips in.  I am mainly concerned with the mainstream, normal time dramas and I rarely venture into the late-night sector.

I began watching Japanese dramas when I first started learning the language.  It was a perfect input method, and by now I fully appreciate shows without watching them twice–once with and once without subtitles.  They became quite addicting, the good ones drawing me in with expansive and interesting plots.  For films, I often track my favorite directors; for dramas, I usually track my favorite actors.  By the way, 95% of these dramas are completely watchable and enjoyable by everyone.  I did my research before watching every one (for most, at least).  So take my grades with a grain of salt…they are basically how much I enjoyed the drama, with my Best list as a guiding factor on what a good drama is. My grading scale for dramas is more lenient than my grading scale for films.  Also, click the links alongside the ratings for my reviews, comments, or thoughts on individual dramas (more links will appear in the future).

Key:

★★★★★: The Best.

★★★★: Great.

★★★: Okay.

★★: Blah.

: Failure.

—–

What I’m Watching This Season (Summer ’10)

GOLD (DramaWiki) — Genre: Human drama

Unubore Deka (うぬぼれ刑事) — Genre: “Suspense love comedy”

Mioka (美丘) — Genre: Human drama/Romance

NatsuNiji (夏の恋は虹色に輝く) — Genre: Romantic comedy

Moteki (モテキ) — Comedy

Still Deciding…

Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo (日本人の知らない日本語) — Genre: Comedy? Education?

JOKER (ジョーカー 許されざる捜査官) — Genre: Crime

Atami no Sousakan (熱海の捜査官) — Genre: Crime

—–

The Best (Pretty much in order of favorites)

Orange Days (オレンジデイズ) — Spring ’04 — ★★★★★ (Review)

1 Litre of Tears (1リットルの涙) — Fall ’05 — ★★★★★ (Review)

Ikebukuro West Gate Park (池袋ウエストゲートパーク) — Spring ’00 — ★★★★★ (Review)

Stand Up!! (DramaWiki) — Summer ’03 — ★★★★★ (Review)

Proposal Daisakusen (プロポーズ大作戦) — Spring ’07 — ★★★★★ (Review)

Nodame Cantabile (のだめカンタービレ) — Fall ’06 — ★★★★★

Pride (プライド) — Winter ’04 — ★★★★★

My Boss, My Hero (マイ★ボス マイ★ヒーロー) — Summer ’06 — ★★★★★

CHANGE (DramaWiki) — Spring ’08 — ★★★★★

Nobuta wo Produce (野ブタ。をプロデュース) — Fall ’05 — ★★★★½

The Rest (In order of season/year aired)

Sunao ni Narenakute (素直になれなくて) — Spring ’10 — ★★★★

Troubleman (トラブルマン) — Spring ’10 — ★★

Tsuki no Koibito (月の恋人) — Spring ’10 —

Mr. Brain (ミスターブレイン) — Summer ’09 — ★★★

Buzzer Beat (ブザー・ビート) — Summer ’09 — ★★★

Shiroi Haru (白い春) — Spring ’09 — ★★★★ (Review)

Konkatsu! (婚カツ!) — Spring ’09 — ★★★½ (Review)

Love Shuffle (ラブシャッフル) — Winter ’09 — ★★★★ (Review)

Voice (ヴォイス) — Winter ’09 — ★★★

Ryusei no Kizuna (流星の絆) — Fall ’08 — ★★★

Innocent Love (イノセント・ラヴ) — Fall ’08 — ★★

Maou (魔王) — Summer ’08 — ★★

Last Friends (ラスト・フレンズ) — Spring ’08 — ★★★★½

Osen (おせん) — Spring ’08 — ★★★

Akai Ito (赤い糸) — Winter ’08 — ★★★★ (Review)

Bara no Nai Hanaya (薔薇のない花屋) — Winter ’08 — ★★★

Galileo (ガリレオ) — Fall ’07 — ★★

Papa to Musume no Nanokakan (パパとムスメの7日間) — Summer ’07 — ★★★★

Hana Kimi (花ざかりの君たちへ) — Summer ’07 — ★★★★

Yamada Taro Monogatari (山田太郎ものがたり) — Summer ’07 — ★★★

First Kiss (ファースト・キス) — Summer ’07 — ★★

Yasha (夜叉) — Spring ’07 —

Haikei, Chichiue Sama (拝啓、父上様) — Winter ’07 — ★★★★

Hana Yori Dango 2 (花より男子2) — Winter ’07 — ★★

Taiyo no Uta (タイヨウのうた) — Summer ’06 — ★★

Sapuri/Suppli (サプリ) — Summer ’06 —

Tsubasa no Oreta Tenshitachi 2nd (翼の折れた天使たち) — Winter ’06 —

Hana Yori Dango (花より男子) — Fall ’05 — ★★★½

Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu (いま、会いにゆきます) — Summer ’05 — ★★★★

SekaChu (世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ) — Summer ’04 — ★★

Itoshi Kimi e (愛し君へ) — Spring ’04 — ★★½

Sore wa Totsuzen (それは、突然、嵐のように…) — Winter ’04 —

Kimi wa Petto (きみはペット) — Fall ’03 — ★★

Good Luck!! (グッドラック!!) — Winter ’03 — ★★★★

Lunch Queen (ランチの女王) — Summer ’02 — ★★★

Long Love Letter (ロング・ラブレター) — Winter ’02 — ★★

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