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.
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
Aired: Sep 24, 2017 – Oct 22, 2017
Duration: 45 min.
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?
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!
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
Aired: Oct 21, 2017 – Nov 25, 2017
Duration: 55 min.
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.
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.
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
Aired: Dec 2, 2017 – Dec 23, 2017
Duration: 45 min.
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.
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!
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]
Aired: Jan 5, 2018 – Jan 26, 2018
Duration: 48 min.
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)
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!
What do you think? Want to give these a try?