Spring/Summer 2014 J-Dramas that I have Nothing But Love for….


Alice No Toge, Border, MOZU Spring/Summer Japanese Drama Season 2014

This was the season where my Japanese drama watching exceeded my Korean drama watching for the first time since I began watching dramas 2 years ago. If you know me, this is a major fete! I think I’ve been immersed more in the Korean daily dramas than the week to week ones this year. I’ve already posted about other very good dramas in separate posts (Ashita Mama ga Inai, Tenchu-Yami no Shiokinin) and may have mentioned on twitter or Facebook watching others like Mozu 2, Nezumi, Edo wo Hashiru, First Class, and Silent Poor. Yes, this is most JDrama watching I’ve EVER done! And this is just the 2014 ones!

Here are three more dramas I want to talk about that I thought were well put together. Sorry in advance, no romance!

Alice No Toge (2014)

Ueno Juri as Mizuno Asumi
Nakamura Aoi as Gendai Yuma
Odagiri Joe as Nishimon Yusuke
Tanaka Naoki as Chihara Junichi
Omi Toshinori as Hinata Makoto
Nakamura Baijaku as Mizuno Kazufumi
Fujiwara Norika as Date Risa
Musaka Naomasa as Ebisu Masahito
Running Time: 10 episodes, 45 min.

Mizuno Asumi is a doctor at the University Hospital. Her only objective in life is to avenge the death of her father, a death caused by immoral and negligent doctors. She wants to reveal to the world their mistakes and corrupt behaviors, with the hope of preventing them from furthering their practice as doctors.

My Thoughts
As a medical drama junkie, I was immediately drawn to the premise of this drama. Who can resist a combination medical/revenge drama? The possibilities of where the story line would go were endless. I was excited to see Ueno Juri ( I’m a BIG Nodame Cantabile fan) once again as well as Odagiri Joe in a drama for the first time.

What this drama did well was keeping you guessing and guessing who was the mastermind. The minute you thought you had it all figured out, they would twist the story in such a way to make the last bad guy look like a choir boy. This went on for 3 antagonists until we reached the final one. As expected, the real evil one was the hardest to conquer. I know this drama wouldn’t attract most people. There was no romance but where there was no romance, there was mystery and a great resolution.
MDL Rating: 9.0 because it kept me guessing

BORDER (2014)

Oguri Shun as Ishikawa Ango
Aoki Munetaka as Tachibana Yuma
Haru as Higa Mika
Endo Kenichi as Ichikura Takuji
Furuta Arata as Akai
Takito Kenichi as Suzuki
Nomaguchi Toru as Hacker Garfunkel
Running Time: 9 episodes, 54 min.

Ango Ishikawa is a detective with smarts and a keen sense of observation. He’s in a great physical shape and also highly ambitious. Ango also only focuses on his work and his personal life is pretty much non-existent. One day, a former police officer is killed by a gun shot. Ango goes to the scene of the crime, but is shot in the head by the killer who is lurking at the crime scene.

My Thoughts
This was definitely a classic “whodunit when” drama. I actually enjoyed it. It was dark and dreary; it kept you guessing from beginning to the end. This wasn’t a spectacular drama, not by any measure; however, as a fan of the genre, I enjoyed the guessing game of who did what when. One of the biggest problems with the drama was there was not enough time used to explain the ‘why”. But with only 9 episodes, Japanese dramas don’t always dwell on the details. I believe what I most liked about this drama was a chance to see Oguri Shun. As Detective Ishikawa Ango, his character is pretty one-dimensional but then this is a drama about supernatural ability, you can’t expect too much.
MDL Rating: 8, because I’m a big Oguri Shun fan

MOZU Season 1 – Mozu no Sakebu Yoru (2014)

Nishijima Hidetoshi as Kuraki Naotake
Kagawa Teruyuki as Osugi Ryota
Maki Yoko as Akeboshi Misa
Namase Katsuhisa as Muroi Gen
Yoshida Kotaro as Nakagawa Jin
Ito Atsushi as Narumiya Keisuke
Arimura Kasumi as Nakajima Ami
Ikematsu Sosuke as Shingai Kazuhiko
Running Time: 10 episodes, 54 minutes

Kuraki is a police superintendent. He lost his beloved wife in a bomb incident. Kuraki, Detective Osugi and Miki from the Secret Police discovers the existence of contract killer Mozu, a tragedy caused by a secret mission by public security and a scheme which shakes the nation. Miki also holds the key to solve bomb incident. ~~ Based on the novel “Mozu no Sakebu Yoru” by Go Osaka. (source: mydramalist)

My Thoughts
I found Mozu to be a fascinating story. There were so many secrets going around in this drama that the web was weaved so thick that it was necessary to have a second season to answer the questions left unanswered in this one. This was my second Nishijima Hidetoshi drama and he was solid in his role as Kuraki. This man was tortured by the mystery behind his wife’s death not long after the death of their daughter. Kuraki easily crossed the line during his investigations as you will see. His determination to understand his wife’s involvement in the bombing was his main concern. Unfortunately, the true mystery of this is not solved in this series but the next so don’t look for answers.

Now, the stand-out applause has to go to Ikematsu Sosuke as Shingai. As the cross-dressing assassin, he played crazy and sadistic brilliantly. His character portrayal was very scary to watch but the fact that he was insane came out clearly; you won’t forget him! I give him “hats off” because he played it well; my first Sosuke experience, I will remember his name.

This drama is pretty dark, so watchers be warned. When someone dies, they die; horribly in some cases. The one thing that irritated me was the constant smoking by the lead as well as other characters. It was so excessive, it was almost a joke. Other than that, I felt it was a great drama. As far as the second series, watch if you have time. It does answer a lot of questions left from this drama but truthfully, I didn’t feel it was as strong as the first. Overall, worth your time if you are into the crime genre. Very good drama for me who loves the genre!!
MDL Rating: 8, because I love the genre and boy was this bloody!!

2 thoughts on “Spring/Summer 2014 J-Dramas that I have Nothing But Love for….

  1. I would add three other dramas that I watched this spring that were fun or inventive..

    River Edge Okawabata Detective Agency was as much a mood piece as it was a detective show. What hooked me was the opening and closing music that introduced me to a great Japanese Jazz singer. Each episode was short but developed the guest character’s stories quickly and with a bit of fun. In many ways completing each story in 30 minutes forced tight writing and editing. The acting by the three leads also helped move this along nicely.

    Tenchuu-Yami no Shiokinin A time traveling female Ninja is a great premise. Pair it with a vigilante granny, played with a veteran actress and you get a fun weekly that is a bit campy and fun. ‘What made this drama work is as each episode progressed you started caring for each of the quirky characters and enjoyed watching many of them come out of their insular lives.

    Zero’s Truith – for some reason, Japanese television decided to do two shows about medical examiners at the same time. (The other was the Last Doctor.) Neither one was ground breaking but this one added a twist in the long story that tied it all together. I enjoy watching strong female characters and here we have two of them here. As in most medical examiner shows it plays homage to the Quincy M.E. from American TV and has the M.E. go out and do some of their own examination.

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