Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Revised HamsapSukebe awards 2008-2009

Edit: Oops, completely forgot about Soratobu Taiya. Thanks to Jung for mentioning it.


1) Gonzo

Perfect police mystery dorama, except for the part where 500 police storm a house to capture on dude. Great acting, great writing, just superb.

2) Saito-san

Never has a suburban housewife dorama been so entertaining and sadly, I doubt the genre will ever reach the heights of Saito san.

3) Shika Otoko

 Best example of very slow 6 episodes and suddenly it all comes into place.  A simple story done very well.

4) The Quiz Show

New addition to the top 5. A great example of a low budget and great story dorama. Do not watch the stupid second season!

5) Muri na Renai

Natsukawa Yui is awesome and Sakai Masaaki is great as the former singer turned producer. Great dialogue by the writer of Saigo kara Nibanme no Koi.

Worth watching: OL Nippon (bumped for Quiz Show), Ashita no Kita Yoshio, Daisuki! (only for Fukuda Saki), Nanase Futatabi, Barai no nai Hanaya, Osen,  Akai Ito, Pandora, Taiyo to Umi no Kyoushitsu, Hachi one Diver, Gira Gira, Scandal.


1) Love Shuffle

Still on of the most fun doramas with smart dialogue by Nojima Shinji. Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi is turning out to be as good.

2) Jin

Such a great first season. Uchino Masaaki and Nakatani Miki have a lot to do with how good it is. Too bad they screwed up the second season.

3) Shiroi Haru

Slightly flawed but Abe Hiroshi is just transcendent in his acting. No one else could have made it work. I must have watched this at least 4 times.

4) Fumo Chitai
Its kind of cheating that Fumo Chitai stretched between 2009 and 2010. 

5) Soratobu Taiya

Soratobu Taiya is a very good Wowow dorama about a corporate cover up and the people involved in it. I like how it looks at the matter from different perspectives but never loses the pacing of the story. Looking back at my reviews, I had actually wanted to wait for the subbing to finish before doing the 2008 awards but the subbing took a long time. 

Honourable mention: Rinjo, Akai Ito, Majo Saiban, Jyoou Virgin, Futatsu no Spica, Ninkyo Helper, Saru Lock, Liar Game 2, Shinya Shokudo, Untouchable, Call Centre no Koibito. Shinya Shokudo was just that good enough to make top 5 and Untouchable is another late addition to the list.

Looking back, 2008 and 2009 were damn good years for jdoramas. A lot shows which can be considered for top 10 all time doramas and plenty of shows that can be argued should make the top 5. Caveat: I have yet to watch Natsukawa Yui's Top Sales although its been sitting on my shelf fora few years.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Revised HamsapSukebe jdorama awards for 2005-2007

Edit:  Thanks to JT for reminding me about Hagetaka. I knew there were some doramas that weren't in the fansub wiki that I forgot.

Doing the 2010 awards, I wrote about how I needed to wait for Gold to finish subbing because there was a chance it could have made it into my must watch list. Since I started this blog, there have been many jdoramas that were subbed after a show was completed or that I had missed or did not think would be interesting. So here I have the 2005-2007 revised list with 5 doramas per year and a notable dorama list below that.


1) Tiger and Dragon

Extremely smart writing and I didn't mind Nagase Tomoya's overacting  and Ito Misaki's impression of a wooden chair. The writer, Kudo Kankuro also wrote Manhattan Love Story, Ping Pong and Zebraman.

2) Dragon Zakura

Put any other actor besides Abe Hiroshi in this and it doesn't work.

3) Joou no Kyoushitsu

Great writing and great acting by kids on par with Suzuki sensei. The director Iwamoto Hitoshi went on to direct Galcir, Saito-san and OL Nippon.

4) H2

Awesome adaptation of the classic Adachi manga. Great casting and it captured the melancholic feel of the source material.

5) Densha Otoko

Truly a lightning in the bottle dorama where the two main actors who can't act were cast perfectly. I would say the great supporting actors. Shiraishi Miho and Sakurai-san really kept the show from being bogged down by Densha's constant whining and crying.

Notable 2005 shows - Tadano Hitoshi 2, Aikurushii, Attack no.1, Koi ni Ochitara. Ganbatte Ikimashoi.


1) Kekkon Dekinai Otoko

One of the greatest jdoramas ever. Should be on everyone's top ten list.

2) Iryu

Who knew exaggerated surgery could be this much fun to watch? If I start watching an episode now, I'm never going to stop. Probably the greatest soundtrack ever.

3) Gal Circle

Who would have thought that a jdorama about a Japanese cowboy and gyarus dancing para para could be so funny? No idea why I never mentioned Galcir in my award post.

4) Boku no Aruku Michi

The only SMAP guy who can act and I remember the directing was very good.

5) Nodame

I only did a top three in my original post so Galcir and Nodame are my picks to make it five.Very well done shoujo manga adaptation.

Notable 2006 jdoramas: Bengoshi no Kuzu, Shimokita Sundays, Byakuyakou, Attention Please


1) Utahime

Actually can't remember much about Utahime except the ending lol. However it was no.1 on the original list.

2) Iryu 2

Even better than the first one. At its heart, Iryu is a gather a bunch of underdogs into a team dorama.

3) Konshu Tsuma ga Uwaki Shimasu

Really funny dorama on affairs that is unlike any other.


I have no idea how I left Life/Raifu off the list. Saki Fukuda was awesome as the evil bitch and Kitano Kie had so much potential. So unfortunately I had to bump Kare Naru and Liar Game out of the top 5.

5) Hagetaka

Awesome dorama about foreign funds buying up Japanese companies in trouble and then selling them for profit. Great acting, clever script with two protagonists on opposite sides who are good at their jobs. Check out my reviews here and here. Suffice to say, Hagetaka is very, very good.

Other must watch shows - Tadano Hitoshi 3, Karei Naru Ichizoku, Liar Game, Hataraki man, Sexy Voice & Robo, Watashitachi no Kyokasho. One can easily argue that the first four on the list deserve to be in the top 5.

 This post has gotten pretty long so I'll save 2008 and 2009 for later.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bunshin ep 1

What is better than Nagasawa Masami in a Wowow dorama? Two Masami's in one dorama! Bunshin is the story about Mariko (Masami) a student studying child care who as a child always wondered why she looked like neither of her parents. There was always a distance between Mariko and her mother, as if her mother didn't love her.

An unfortunate incident happened causing Mariko to live in with her uncle. One day on tv, a girl who looks exactly like Mariko appears and the mystery deepens. The lookalike not only alarms her father but a politician as well. Mariko finds some of her mother's belongings which raises more questions for her.

Way to early to rate Bunshin cause this is all about the final reveal. One would think the truth would be pretty obvious but the presence of the politician means that the truth may not be so simple. I'm not going to think too much about what is going to happen and hopefully Bunshin will surprise me. I'm writing this mostly to celebrate another Wowow show getting subbed.

Is that Asami from Suzuki sensei?

Big thanks to Vulcan 300 fansubs for picking up Bunshin. I like that Wowow doramas don't adhere to the usual 10-12 episodes rule. Doramas should be whatever episodes are necessary to tell the story and no more than that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hamsapsukebe jdorama awards 2010

I know its already 2012 but I just had to wait until the subbing of Gold was completed to do the 2010 awards and it has been a long wait. Kinda regretted I did the 2009 awards without watching Soratobu Taiya, Untouchable and of course Gaiji Keisatsu. Maybe I should go back and redo the awards. 2011 awards will be forthcoming after the subbing of Suzuki sensei is completed or my Japanese improves so drastically that I can understand most of the dialogue for the last 3 episodes. Problem is of course that its been a long time since I watched the 2010 doramas and my memory is a bit hazy. So without further ado, let get doing.


I can't believe they fucked up the sequel award: Tie between Iryuu 3 and Jin 2.

I can't believe its not been fansubbed award: Rinjo 2. See here.

I can't believe he/she can act award: Ijyuuin in Tetsu no Hone

Ijyuuin always plays the same boring nice polite guy in boring doramas until he finally got a well written role and showed us that he could actually act.

I can't believe I finished watching this crap dorama award: Hammer Session

Hammer Session is a horrible show but omfg whoever the wardrobe designer is who created such tight and short uniforms is a genius. See pictures here and here.


Yabe Kenzo - Plenty of laughs

Gold - Nojima Shinji can makes the contrived entertaining. Too bad the kids were miscast. I couldn't buy into the Saotome family stuff but the banter and Amami Yuki's lines were awesome.

Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo - Concept is better than execution but still fun to watch.

Magerarenai Onna - I remember it was fun but fizzled out at the end.

Atami no Sousakan - Weird dorama with inconclusive ending.

Juui Dolittle - I was expecting it to suck and it turned out decent.

Tetsu no Hone - Interesting concept about bid rigging and worth it to see Ijyuuin act.

Shukumei 1969-2010 - Please make a sequel.

Keizoku 2: Spec - Good show until the final boss.

Moteki - Got a bit slow and repetitive at the end but still very entertaining.

Pandora 2: Better than the first one but not that good. Someone please sub 3!

Chase - Could have been so good if not for last episode.Hhmm, seems to be a running theme.



The first three episodes are the most incredible mystery/thriller episodes you'll ever see. Slows down a lot during the last two but that's because the pacing for the first 3 was so good. Overall still an incredible must watch show.


Another excellent dorama with great acting that sort of faded a bit at the end. Great acting though and featured Ashida Mana before she began appearing everywhere in Japanese media.


Get the HK Engrish subbed dvds cause this is police procedure dorama done right. Can't wait for the Rinjo movie coming out this year!


Truly epic dorama with great cast except for Koyuki. Can't believe it averaged only 11% ratings. Doramas like this don't come along every year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Risou no Musuko eps 1+2


- Its a Nojima Shinji dorama so expect great dialogue regardless of how contrived things may seem.

- Suzuki Kyoka. I would watch almost anything with her in it.

- The concept of the story is interesting. A mom who pins all her hopes and dreams on her son with a  mother complex as they both try to manipulate each other. Watching this, I just thing Mita would have been better if Nojima Shinji had written it.


- This is basically a idoru pushing dorama. It got really obvious when the son transferred to the bad school and you get a lot of bishounen trying to act tough. cough. Gokusen cough.

- A lot of fujoshi fanservice. If you like that kind of thing, this is the show for you.

- I just realised that I must have deleted Risou no Musuko straight after watching.


- The son who wears more makeup than the mom.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shokuzai eps 4 + 5

 Lots of spoilers ahead.....

Shokuzai is the jdorama with Korean style dark comedy that I have been waiting for, without the usual visual violence against women and gore. The comedy is less pronounced but its there. Ep 4 is a sister vs sister story with Ikewaki Chizuru and Ito Ayumi and it was very fun to watch. Much better than eps 2 and 3. Kinda wished they could have turned it into a two hour movie cause it is interesting enough as a stand alone story.

The older sister played by Ayumi who grew up sick and always had their mother's attention and Chizuru playing the younger sister who always resented the sister and has a policeman fetish. Great stuff about complex relationship and its got a perfect dark comedy ending. Still don't understand the punch ending of ep 2 and it would be better if it was obvious at the end of ep 3 that it was all in Akiko's head.

Shokuzai is about 3 girls who destroy themselves to atone for Emiri's death and the desire to see them atone is what drives Asako (Koizumi Kyoko). The killer is unknown so there is no one for her to turn her anger towards and the three girls are so scarred by the incident like Asako that they let it dictate their lives.

Really weird police station under renovation and is that a car in the background?

The comedy is that, the 4 girls had nothing to atone for. That the real cause of it was Asako's past. That it was not the act of a pedophile but an act of vengeance against her past misdeeds.Brilliant concept. The final episode is on par with the first one in terms of acting and directing. I would say eps 1 and 5 are excellent, 4 is pretty good while 2 and 3 are decent. The important thing is episode 5 brings everything full circle and really justifies the name of the dorama.

The ending is that Asako, the on person driving the other girls to seek atonement is unable to atone for her own crimes. She is denied or rather subconsciously denies herself the act because she is partly responsible for the death of her daughter. My only complain about episode 5 is the scene where she gives the big hint during the car crash. Better to save it for the scene with her husband and it would have been much more powerful.

Hats off to Wowow for making Shokuzai and getting Kurosawa Kiyoshi to do it. Its pretty good but its not the classic that I had hoped it would be after ep 1. I already talked about the endings to eps 2 and 3 but I think showing the 4 characters more from Asako's perspective would have been better. To show that her obsessively mad desire for the girls to atone has not died and that it is the only thing keeping her alive. It would have made the first twist funnier in a sense.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Suzuki sensei ep 7

Got back from work and guess what? Suzuki sensei ep 7 sub is out! This dorama is too bloody good to be true. In the Japanese dorama industry filled with idoru doramas trying to push the next singer with no acting talent, finding such a well written and acted dorama is like finding water in the desert.

I just love how Suzuki sensei keeps surprising me with what he says. When we last left our characters in ep 6, they were interrupted by Ashiko sensei. I was shouting at Suzuki to tell her to get the fuck out of there until she said some interesting things. I like that she's more than just a busybody teacher. Best part was the students indirectly telling her to piss off.

What follows is one of the most riveting, cool and funny discussions about sex, virginity, expectations and selfishness. I cannot think of a dorama that manages to speak to the audience, entertain and at the same time provide a lot of laughs. The students arrive at some sort of understanding but unlike your generic doramas like Kare, Otoko, Tomodachi there is a strong build up, there is danger and there are very well written thought provoking lines with the acknowledgment that it is merely a small step.

Poor Kana and her oujisama no yume.

Not since Jyoou no Kyoushitsu have we seen such a collection of great acting talent. The best thing about Hasegawa Hiroki's acting is that I believe Suzuki sensei absolutely believes what he is saying, unlike his acting in Mita. The same can be said for Ono Karin who plays Kawabe. Kawabe is real. Some hack overpushed hack like Horikita Maki doesn't even have half of her acting talent.

It was an awesome speech but I was just laughing at the double meaning.

Here's some more thought provoking stuff from episode 7: if you deal with students by the book and problems arise, you won't get in trouble. Suzuki's is afraid that his methods will make him an easy scapegoat when things go awry. Its true of any job. Do it by the book so you can always explain your actions and you won't get into trouble. Put filenotes on the system or clear it with your team leader. However, is there a be all and end all book about dealing with students?

Most of episode 7 deals with Suzuki sensei's origin story. What made him create this plan about model students, why Ogawa is so important to him and what the fuck his plan actually is. This part of the story is on par with episode 1 of Shozukai. I'm talking really heavy, great movie quality scenes. Its such a sad story and I wanted to look away because I knew the outcome yet I am enthralled because I can almost feel Maruyama Yasuko's pain because I can see it in her eyes.

Its just bloody beautiful. The scene where Maruyama is carrying the bucket, she looks out towards Hiroka who's skipping her duty and the two share a look of something. The scene is repeated three times and the third time Suzuki finally puts words into the look and the moment. Ok it was actually shown twice but it was part of the cleaning scene which is shown three times with three different voice overs. Its just an absolute triumph of writing and directing; show a situation three times while giving the audience a different take each time.

Another example is the above two pictures. Same scene but featuring different narrators. The first with Maruyama resigning herself to her fate. The second Suzuki sensei not realising that in encouraging her, he made Maruyama think there was no other way for her act except to fulfill other people's expectations and not live for herself.

Its just beautiful stuff. And the scene where Asami finally tells Maruyama's soul? in Suzuki's place that she could go home. Clearly Asami has powers but it has yet to be explained. Do I care? Not as long as this series keeps giving me godlike episodes like this. And the end where Suzuki tells Takechi he understands his feelings is so funny because its true. Whatever happens in the next three episodes, this is on of the best episodes ever, on par with Soredemo Ikite Yuku's episode 8. Just too perfect to be true. If you know anyone who watches this stuff, pimp Suzuki sensei like its the greatest thing on Japanese tv.