Poll time: Spring 2014 edition

Okay, it’s been a while since I did one of these.

This season, I am looking forward to:


Whoa, Japan. You have really got to learn how to pace yourself. In case you didn’t know, there are 12 months in a year. There’s no need to lump all your potential hit shows together in the same season. Can you please look into having a more even distribution of dramas so that we don’t end up with a craptacular drought like what we just experienced this past winter? Just a thought.

Anyways, there are plenty of big names coming out of hibernation this season, starting with

Alice no Toge:

alicenotoge

Expectations: So-so

Ueno Juri is back after a three-year hiatus and the question is: Can she regain her spot in the pecking order and will this be the drama to help her do so?

For many, she’ll always be synonymous with the character she played in Nodame Cantabile but word on the street is that she’s out to shatter this image completely. We know Juri can do serious roles, as evinced by her performance as Ruka in Last Friends, but apparently, this is gearing up to be an even darker drama. Piquing my interest even further is the fact that she’ll be joined by Odagiri Joe and Kuriyama Chiaki, though having said that, what’s making me rein in my enthusiasm is the fact that this drama is written by the same person who gave us such gems as Hammer Session, Ikemen Desu Ne, Itsuka Hi no Ataru Basho de and Pin to Kona. Well, let’s hope that the cast will be able to rise above the material they’re given.

Mozu Season 1

mozu

Expectations: Middling

Asian cop dramas are generally not my favourite genre. However, as it is with everything, there are exceptions to the rule. This one is on my radar because it’s by the same team (with the exception of the writer) behind Double Face, aka the Japanese remake of Infernal Affairs, which I actually liked a lot more than the movie. Another bonus: apart from reuniting Nishijima Hidetoshi and Kagawa Teruyuki, it is also throwing Hasegawa Hiroki (Shonosuke to Yae no Sakura fans) into the mix. Is this an oji-san dream team or what?

Umoreru

Uzumoreru

Expectations: I am watching this for Kenta.

Asianwiki tells me that the screenplay for this drama won the 6th WOWOW Scenario Grand Prix, which we can reasonably infer to mean that it was written by someone with a brain. This is WOWOW that we’re talking about, not TBS or Fuji TV. At any rate, I am cautiously optimistic about this special. I have always believed that Kenta is capable of being more than just the funny sidekick. Hopefully, after this outing, his stock will rise and he’ll stop playing second fiddle to all these Johnny actors. You have no idea how much it pains me that someone like Nakamaru Yuichi is given more opportunities.

Long Goodbye

Expectations: ???

This one’s set in 1950s Tokyo and based on Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name, which I have never read before but to be honest, I am intrigued by the cast more than the story itself. Apart from Tadanobu Asano, they’ve also managed to rope in supermodel Tominaga Ai. If nothing else, at least you know this is going to be one very good looking drama.

First Class

erika

Expectations: 0

I never paid much attention to Sawajiri Erika during her 1 Litre of Tears days but her recent attempts at rebuilding her career in the aftermath of that infamous “betsuni” incident have made me regard her in a new light. She came under a hailstorm of criticism after that PR disaster and for a while, it looked like she was reduced to slumming it out on the D-list as tabloid fodder.

I’m not going to condone or defend what she did at the press conference but I think she has shouldered the consequences of that fallout rather well. Many people in her position would have cracked under the backlash but she made her choices and stood by them. It’ll be interesting to see where she goes from here. Will she be able to pull a Miyazawa Rie and stage a turnaround in her career? Only time will tell.

Depending on the execution and Sawajiri’s performance, this drama could turn out to be a very watchable character study. To be honest, I have more faith in First Class‘s director-writer combo than the one behind Juri’s drama. The only thing is I don’t care for the rest of the cast. Nakamura Yuichi cannot act. Nozomi Sasaki is marginally better, but she plays a model in this one so hopefully her role won’t require her to do much except look pretty and vacant.

Korean dramas

Not going to lie: I’m currently all out of love with K-dramas. Anything involving the words “first”, “love” and “triangle” gets an automatic “no, thanks” from me. I guess this essentially rules out 98.9% of the dramas out there. The only show I am remotely interested in is Gap Dong but I’ll be scanning the recaps and reviews first before deciding whether to jump in.

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6 comments

  1. Aaah man!
    1) Mozu! Mozu! Mozu! I’m frothing at mouth in spaztic anticipation for this! <— grammar structure be damned bishes!
    Haha @ ojisan harem — Shonosoke as welll…. Ahhhh~
    2) OJoe as detective in what is ultimately Mahoro Ekimae remake! Dayummm!
    3) Watashi to Iu Unmei ni Tsuite — it's WOWOW and premise is highly intriguing – wanna check it out.
    4) and Wakamono Tachi — for Eita-san and Hikari-chan reunion. It's written by a pretty dubiously talented writer and given Fuji TV's faily repertoire of late… but hey, dat cast.

    By the looks of it, this will be a J-dorama year for me too. I am almost DONE with kdramas.
    I mean, PDs Yoo In-shik and Choi Moon-seok are my two favest PDs in the whole world ever (no exaggerating) but PD Choi teams up with BOF writer and gets Goo Hye-sun in the mix, too. F**k that!
    And then PD Yoo goes and gets Lee Seung-gi as his leading man and I honestly give up. I know the latter has a big following but I personally don't dig the guy so I'm out. Meh.

      1. I just knew, even without asking, that Mozu and River’s Edge would be at the top of your to-watch list.

        Re: oji-san harem. I saw Hasegawa Hiroki in Suzuki Sensei and while I enjoyed it a lot, I didn’t find him hot or anything. But he had me at ‘my wife is an oddball’ in Yae no Sakura. Total heartbreaker!

        Lady, you are one season too early for Wakamono Tachi — it’s a summer drama. But it’s worth checking out for the cast alone, I’ll grant you that. Eita, Mitsushima Hikari, Aoi Yuu, Hashimoto Ai — it’s like a Who’s Who of Japan’s most promising young talents.

  2. Kiritani Kenta and Kitamura Kazuki ‘s dramas and the Mozu one bec of the Double Face actors.Kdrama, I’ve been wasting my precious time last season except for 3 days. So will wait till the recaps are out to decide.
    Bummer that japanese doramas are not subbed fast enough.
    BTW I ‘ve been binge watching taiwanese and chinese dramas and movies and my to watch list is longer than some model’s leg.
    Ciao chingu!

    1. I would have thought Nino’s drama would be on your list. High school shenanigans are always fun to watch and if there’s one thing Japan does really well, it’s the HS zero-to-hero story. Let’s hope that this turns out to be better than Rookies and that Nino doesn’t go on and on about dreams like a broken tape recorder.

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