There was a time I pretty much dropped all Korean dramas, American shows etc and was on steady diet of Japanese dramas. What attracted me to them was they were shorter and got to the point quicker. Well, not only that. There’s also a wide range of genres and some very well written, highly creative and addictive shows.
I enjoy the procedurals (particularly the medical ones with “god hands”) but I’m a sucker for the romantic dramas. Here’s a list of my favorites.
LONG VACATION. I think this is my favorite Japanese drama. Kimura Takuya is great and majority of his work is worth watching but I think what really struck me about his portrayal of Sena was that it was so real. After a while, I forgot that he and his costars were acting and got so immersed in the story. It’s actually a very simple story of a struggling 24 year old pianist and a struggling 31-year-old woman who meet after she’s been jilted at the altar. I found the first episode rather annoying because Minami was so over the top but once Sena played “Happy Birthday” on the piano, my heart was stolen.
ORANGE DAYS. About a deaf pianist and a psychology student. She’s haughty with a chip on her shoulder and he’s a sweet guy who just wants to help. Watching this drama piqued my interest in sign language. It’s a story about life, love and friendship. I found the first 8 episodes excellent and even though the last three were not as great, overall, it’s a good series.
CUPID NO ITAZURA. He’s a virgin with a rare disease that only allows him to have sex seven times in his lifetime. So it’s quite raunchy and full of masturbation and he’s sex obsessed and desperately wants to lose his virginity. The drama starts off weird but ends up a very nice love story. I laughed and cringed at a lot of the silliness but ended up really rooting for the couple in the end. Perhaps it’s not for everyone but it was definitely for me.
NODAME CANTABILE. Set in a music academy and is a life story between a man who plays music with his head and a woman who plays it entirely with her heart. I call it a life story because the romance was so subtle that it was almost nonexistent but this story is really about how these two people change each other as well as the other characters in the story. It’s adorable with a lot of heart.
NOBUTA WO PRODUCE. I was initially biased against this drama because there was so much hype surrounding it, especially from the teen crowd but what can I say? I also got sucked into it. Three high school students who ordinarily would have nothing to do with each other get together to turn a social outcast into a popular girl. It’s funny, sweet, not as predictable as you’d expect and makes you want to pick up your phone and call the high school friends you’ve lost touch with.
LOVE SHUFFLE. Four Men, four women and four weeks to shuffle around and choose who to be coupled with. Sounds weird? Sure does but somehow the writers made this romantic comedy work with almost no ickiness. Yay panda!
When it comes to romance, I have to say that I quite enjoy the older ones because they are often more romantic and passionate. Others I really liked include: Virgin Road, Change, Love and Fight, H2, Slow Dance, Anego, Tatta Hitotsu no Koi, Cat Street, Buzzer Beat, Star no Koi, Pride (overrated, though), Hotaru no Hikari, Nagareboshi and some others. For less romance-focused, I liked Galileo, Hero, Voice, Godhand Teru, Iryu Medical Team, Big Money!, Stand Up! and others.