Four Japanese Dramas That You May Not Know About (2017-2018)

Shorter Japanese Dramas from
Fall 2017 & Winter 2018

The joy of watching Japanese dramas is the fact that they tend to cover and explore subject matters that are not the typical; the norm. The Japanese writers are particularly good at this and it shows with the the dramas that I have a pleasure to watch. As a drama watcher who doesn’t usually gravitate to the rom-com genre, I’m particularly excited to talk about these four dramas that came out during the Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 season.


Chinmoku Hotei (2017)

Stars
Nagasaku Hiromi as Yamamoto Miki
chihara Hayato as Tasakamizawa Hiroshi
Ohkura Koji as Torikai Tatsuya
Usuda Asami as Nishimura Atsuko
Komoto Masahiro as Takai Yosuke
Kitamura Soichiro as Baba Kotaro
Episodes: 5
Aired: Sep 24, 2017 – Oct 22, 2017
Network: WOWOW
Duration: 45 min.

Synopsis
In Akabane, Tokyo, an old person, who lived alone, is found dead. The elderly person was strangled to death. Detectives from the Akabane Police Station investigate the case. According to the victim’s neighbors, a woman sometimes came in and out of the victim’s home. That woman is Miki Yamamoto (Hiromi Nagasaku). She does housework for her customers. The detectives from Akabane Police Station visit Miki Yamamoto’s house. At that time, other detectives from Saitama Prefecture also arrive at Miki Yamamoto’s house. Multiple suspicious death cases have taken place at her prior clients’ homes. The media begin covering the story as a serial killer case. Who is Miki Yamamoto? What is the truth behind the cases?
My Thoughts
This was definitely a drama of whodunit or did she really from beginning to end. The acting of Nagasaku Hiromi as Miki is worth watching this drama. The case and the evidence looks damning against Miki from the very beginning. The circumstances of what truly happened and why will definitely surprise you. The drama focuses on the crime and also the police force’s inability to truly investigate a crime thoroughly. A very good WOWOW drama indeed!
Rating: 9/10


Kataomoi (2017)

Stars
Nakatani Miki as Hiura Mitsuki
Kiritani Kenta as Nishiwaki Tetsuro
Kuninaka Ryoko as Nishiwaki Risako
Suzuki Kosuke as Nakao Kosuke
Otani Ryohei as Hayata Yukihiro
Wada Masato as Sugai Makoto
Episodes: 6
Aired: Oct 21, 2017 – Nov 25, 2017
Network: WOWOW
Duration: 55 min.

Synopsis
On the night of Tanabata, Hiura Mitsuki, the manager of the American football club in university days, suddenly shows up in front of ace ‘QB’ Nishiwaki Tetsuro and his buddies after the club reunion she missed. She makes a shocking confession: “I killed a person.” Mitsuki also confesses to having gender identity disorder, and that she now lives as a man. Tetsuro and their other comrades feel disturbed but scramble to protect their friend. How did the incident happen? As they try to get to the truth, distressing facts are gradually revealed. What decision will Mitsuki and the team members reach? (Source: jdramas.wordpress.com)
~~ Adapted from the 2001 novel by Higashino Keigo, One-sided Love.
My Thoughts
Once again WOWOW network brings us a drama that touches a subject matter that you won’t see too often on Japanese television or most Asian television; a drama that made me look into gender identity disorder more closely because I had never really explored it carefully before this drama. What will really surprise you is the interpretation of the character brought to the screen superbly by Nakatani Miki who plays Hiura Mitsuki. Miki shows us a character that even though she now identifies as male, she still maintains her crush on Nishiwaki Tetsuro played by Kiritani Kenta. The drama also shows you just how close a relationship that Mitsuki had with Tetsuro’s wife, Risako, played by Kuninaka Ryoko. This drama is in a class by itself and once again it is the WOWOW network that brings it to the big screen.
Rating: 9/10


Meishi Game (2017)

Stars
Tsutsumi Shinichi as Kanda Tatsuya
Okada Masaki as X
Otomo Karen as Kanda Mina [Kanda’s daughter]
Kawai Aoba as Makoto Oki
Ochiai Motoki as Rui Matsunaga
Watanabe Natsuna as Tsukasa Yamamoto
Episodes: 4
Aired: Dec 2, 2017 – Dec 23, 2017
Network: WOWOW
Duration: 45 min.

Synopsis
Kanda (Shinichi Tsutsumi) is a producer of a popular quiz program. When he wakes up, he finds himself wearing a mysterious necklace and there a lot of business cards scattered on the floor. His daughter (Karen Otomo) is there and wearing the same necklace. Kanda and his daughter are locked up in a secret room. Mysterious man X (Masaki Okada) appears in front of Kanda. X suggests to him the “MeishiGame” (“Business Card Game”) with a 2 hour time limit. The rule of the game is for Kanda to find the business cards he received and return them to the owner of the business, but, if Kanda makes a mistake, his daughter will blow up. Kanda accepts the challenge to save his daughter and there is also a hidden secret.
My Thoughts
I cannot begin to talk about this drama and how twisted it was! Meishi Game is one serious roller-coaster ride as first sympathize with Kanda played brilliantly by Tsutsumi Shinichi and later hate him as you see what his character really is like from the constantly flashbacks that add substance to the drama as well as the story. While you watch the game to save his daughter played out, it is easy to feel sympathy with everyone; victims and players. But, once again as this is a WOWOW drama, things aren’t what they seem and this becomes more apparent with every episode you watch. With this being a short 4-episode drama, the story is fast-paced and by the end, you almost want more. Story is complete for sure! Once again, WOWOW=twisted!
Rating: 8/10


Joshi teki Seikatsu , Life As a Girl (2018)

Stars
Machida Keita as Goto Tadaomi
Shison Jun as Ogawa Miki
Koshiba Fuka as Yui
Shiori Tamai as Kaori
Suzuki Hiroki as Toshio [Miki’s brother]
Episodes: 4
Aired: Jan 5, 2018 – Jan 26, 2018
Network: NHK
Duration: 48 min.

Synopsis
Miki Ogawa yearned to live the life of a lovely girl and moved to the city from the countryside because of this. She holds a job at a fashion mail order company. Miki Ogawa also has a secret. She is transgender. Although she has a pretty woman’s appearance, her sex is male. One day, Tadaomi Goto appears in front of Miki Ogawa. They graduated from the same school. Tadaomi Goto is flusteredby Miki’s different appearance, but they happen to live together.
~~Based on the novel “Joshi teki Seikatsu” by Tsukasa Sakaki (published August, 2016 by Shinchosha)
My Thoughts
Surprised!? A drama that WASN’T from WOWOW that managed to WOW ME! This drama explored another pretty controversial subject matter here in the US; transgender. And what a convincing performance we received from Shison Jun as Miki. From the beginning to the end, I was convinced of his character. He had the mannerisms, walk, talk and just about anything you could associate with a woman down to a tee. I love that he was accepting of himself and made sure that everyone around him was comfortable. His fashion sense was well appreciated on his job by his boss and peers who accepted him totally. When Goto Tadaomi (Machida Keita) arrives on the scene as the unsuspecting classmate who needs a place to live, what you see is not a romance bloom but the continuation of a great friendship!! Overall, this was a well-done and too short drama. By the end, you just wanted some more!
Rating: 8.5/10

What do you think? Want to give these a try?

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Japanese Winter Drama Season Review (2017)

Rakuen (2017)
Tokyo Tarareba Musume (2017)
Quartet (2017)
Seirei no Moribito II: Kanashiki Hakaishin (2017)

Sadly, I’m STILL watching Winter season dramas. Talk about biting off more than you can chew! I think I started a total of 20 dramas from this season and finished around 12 so far. Of the 12, I can safely say these four easily bubble to the top of my list. Let’s get started. Continue reading “Japanese Winter Drama Season Review (2017)”

Never Forget The Dailies – Korean Daily Watch for 2016

Tomorrow's Victory (2016) Heaven's Promise (2016) Working Mom, Parenting Dad (2016)
Tomorrow’s Victory (2016)
Heaven’s Promise (2016)
Working Mom, Parenting Dad (2016)

Ha! You really thought my love for the daily dramas had waned? Au contraire! As I had said before, my life for 2016 was the pits! I hardly had the time or patience to write but I did make time for my dailies and other dramas to take me away from reality. It worked sometimes and sometimes not. Continue reading “Never Forget The Dailies – Korean Daily Watch for 2016”

Japanese Fall Season 2016 – A Banner Watch Season For Me!

Japanese Fall Season 2016
Japanese Fall Season 2016

This had to be the best season to watch Japanese dramas! This was the first time that my watched list exceeded my wish list by leaps and bounds! The Fall season started in late September and now that we approach January, 2017, I’ve seen all but one of the dramas to completion. That is a total of 11 dramas! 11!! That is some kind of record for me! I loved that the season covered every genre: from thriller to crime, to romance and comedy. A little of something for everyone! Continue reading “Japanese Fall Season 2016 – A Banner Watch Season For Me!”

Year in Review – My Best Dramas for 2016

Best 2016 Dramas I Watched!
Best 2016 Dramas I Watched!

I always enjoy doing these end of the year posts. Why? My list never looks the same as everyone else. As I watch so many different genres and dramas from all the Asian countries, my list never looks the same. Another thing I notice is that I rarely like the popular ones. I think at my age, I get bored very easily with some of the drama tropes and romances. It’s a rarity that they even make it to my list! This year, for the first time ever, I watched more than double the number of Japanese dramas than Korean, I hardly watched any Thai lakorns and the Chinese dramas this year (that I’ve watched), didn’t bubble to the top! Continue reading “Year in Review – My Best Dramas for 2016”

Drama Review – Mind Game (2015)

Mind Game (2015)
Mind Game (2015)

Once in awhile, I encounter a Singaporean drama worth discussing as well as one that is subbed. Actually, I started watching Mind Game in the early spring but after 14 episodes, the subber(s) either took a vacation or a long break and disappeared! I’m not sure which one but it wasn’t until late fall that the rest of this drama turned up. Happy I was! Continue reading “Drama Review – Mind Game (2015)”

Marathon Worthy – Decoded (2016)

Decoded (2016)
解密 / Jie Mi

This Chinese drama was definitely not on anyone’s radar. I happened to see it pop up while on the Viki website and after reading the synopsis, I had to watch it. The period in which the drama takes place is one of the times which not a lot of information has been told to us here in the U.S. Yes, before you say it, it probably has been sanitized and cleared through proper channels; but life for the Chinese people during the 30-50s is really an unknown period which is why it is so fascinating to watch for me. Continue reading “Marathon Worthy – Decoded (2016)”

Year In Review – Best 2015 Thai Dramas I Watched

2015 Dramas

I’ve been remiss in writing this year review for 2015 for one reason alone: It is getting harder and longer to watch quality video and English subbed Thai Lakorn dramas. There has been so many sweeps on my various resources that most of us use or the time that it has taken for the subs to be completed is taking longer and longer. However, until most of us learn the language….so we wait! Continue reading “Year In Review – Best 2015 Thai Dramas I Watched”

Final Thought on Eve’s Love (2014) – Still Happy Folks!

Eve’s Love (2014)

I know most of you that follow me are used to me watching daily dramas. Next to saguek and crime dramas, they are truly my first love! I admit, so many have disappointed me once I’ve gotten past the 60th episodes. It’s like the writer loses their mind and focus; changes the direction of the drama or simply forgets that they are writing to please their audience (are you listening, Hwang Sun Yeong, newly banned writer of Great First Wives). So, as I started this post around episode 60; continued to edit it into the 80s and then realized before we knew it that we’d finished the drama! We started this drama in December and before the 2nd week of January was complete, so were we! Amazing, huh? No, a testament to the fact that this was a really decent drama! Read on… Continue reading “Final Thought on Eve’s Love (2014) – Still Happy Folks!”

My End of the Year Japanese Drama Picks for 2015 (Part Deux)

My Top 10 Japanese Drama Picks for 2015 Continues
My Top 10 Japanese Drama Picks for 2015 Continues

Yes, I had to take a rest. It took a couple of days to let my mind simmer and relax. I had no idea that I would be so long winded. Blame it on the fact that most of these dramas, I never wrote a review for even though I had the best intentions to do so. So, let’s continue with the rest of my picks. Again, I don’t necessarily expect agreement but as most of this lists are opinion posts, here we go again! (Check out Nelly’s blog, she might have rated dramas with **) Continue reading “My End of the Year Japanese Drama Picks for 2015 (Part Deux)”