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Japanese Drama

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Synopsis:

Set in Nagano prefecture, “Ohisama” covers the life of Yoko Sudo (Mao Inoue) through World War II. Yoko Sudo with her smile is able to bring brightness to those other around her & she follows her mother’s motif to laugh through hard times. During the onset of WW II, Yoko Sudo is a high school student and “Ohisama” follows her as she eventually becomes a teacher and then gets married and has a child. Yoko Sudo then opens a soba restaurant with her student.

Excerpted from: Mydramalist

Words from Me:

Ohisama is the very first Asadora I’ve seen. It is also the kind of drama that doesn’t have an appealing factor at first glance, however as the story progresses the relatability of the story is what may capture the audience heart.

At first I was daunted at the fact of watching 156 episodes for a Japanese family drama. However when I found out that each episodes only consists of 15 minutes each, I realized that this is simply like watching 39 episodes of Korean drama without the redundant factors and draggy moments. This is what I love about JDramas, they go straight to the nitty and gritty details instead of mooning over things for at least 10-15 minutes in which the main lead stares and contemplates into the air and the background music only plays over. Heh. Setting that aside, what I enjoyed most about this drama is having my favorite actress Inoue Mao on screen while she starred alongside the good looking actor Kengo Kora. I’ve seen the guy in so many movies and several dramas and he never ceases to make smile as I simply stare at him. He’s such an eye catcher.

Since the setting is around World War II and Japan has been colonizing its neighboring countries, the people who lived in Japan during those times were also in turmoil despite being a powerful country back then. Mao who acted as Yoko, portrayed an average girl living during those days. Her character somehow showed how war can turn a bunch of ordinary people living mundane lives to suddenly struggling to survive during and after the war. The overall feel and transition of the storyline isn’t violent or brutal and it has this sense of hope all throughout the drama. It was light and consistent. Another factor that made this good is the supporting cast, starting with Yoko’s family, then her best friends, the Maruyama Family and finally to her students whom she was able to support and vice versa until she grew old.

The cinematography is fairly simple and was definitely shot in a studio but the fact that they created the place nicely gave it a warm feeling of familiarity. The background music was okay, although not that memorable but it really had a nice ring to it as the OST played softly in the background.

I would love to rewatch this again if I had the chance. For now, I’m recommending this for those looking for a family drama and looking forward to watching something light, heartwarming and inspiring all at the same time.

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Synopsis:

Kohei Kamishiro (Masaharu Fukuyama) worked as a musician in his past. He only had one hit song and his recording contract was eventually cancelled. He became devastated and left the field of music.

Twenty years later, Kohei Kamishiro keeps his distance from music, but his passion for music hasn’t faded away. He leads a boring life. Due to his past experience, he finds it difficult to have a relationship with women. One day, a woman appears in front of him. She has a complex and because of this leads a solitary life. The woman though has an amazing singing voice. By meeting her, Kohei begins to think he wants to make music again.

Excerpted from: Mydramalist

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Words From Me:

The drama started off with a female character whom I thought was mute, and so I asked myself… “Is this another Orange Days kind of drama?” However I was proven wrong as I watched the drama and got more involved with the characters.

What I would like to point out about this drama is not the story line, since THAT seems a bit of a cliché in all areas of the series. To make a short summary out of it though, the story is about a troubled young woman named Sano Sakura who falls in love with a middle aged guy named Kohei Kamishiro who was formerly a musician and producer but currently working as a doctor. Now insert the friends of both these main characters, the story starts to unfold and becomes more meaningful than the main plot.

Now off to where I want to focus, Sano Sakura. She is such a beautiful character, I love how lively she is despite being different from everyone else. I am debating with my inner self whether to indicate here what exactly her problem is, but I decided not to. Since this is supposed to be an element of surprise which the viewer needs some getting used to. Aside that, the people surrounding Sakura are her genuine best friends because they are the only people who were able to accept her as she is and this is what hit a special place in my heart. This kind of involvement with selected people can be related in actual life. It gave me this sense of realization and I got to question myself, “Do I really have people like this in my life?” because in this day and age of socialization, it is too hard to discern who is legitimate or not. Sakura on the other hand alienated herself from other people because she was afraid and embarrassed of her condition. Due to her troubles, she met Kohei Kamishiro by chance and because of this, her world expanded. Music was introduced to her and gave her a new reason for living, at the same time other people slowly became part of her small circle of friends which gave her more courage to live the way she wanted to. There’s also this line that Kamishiro told her, “It only takes seven seconds of courage. If you could get your courage up for those seven seconds then your world will change.” Those words left Sakura with such a huge impression.

The other sub characters in the drama are all vital because without them, Sakura and Kamishiro will not be able to move forward and grow out of their own shells. I would like to specifically mention Mami, Sakura’s best friend. This girl who used to be a bar hostess had all the spunk a woman can have. She’s brave, smart, loving and she is the perfect fit for Sakura as a friend. To complete the circle there is also Soraichi, the troubled guy best friend who in my opinion is such a loud ass. Sorry for the choice of word, but he is really loud in this drama. However, despite that, he is loyal and he would do everything for the people he love. Thus this would have completed Sakura’s life even if music did not come around.

Acting wise, everyone was great and they were able to portray their characters so well that I cried a lot on specific scenes when my heart was too moved to even smile. Another noteworthy thing in this drama is the voice of Fujiwara Sakura, I find it amusing that they also used her real name as her character’s name. It’s unbelievable that this is her debut drama since her acting and voice is so legitimate and amazing. The songs for the drama were so beautiful that it really fit the whole theme of the series.

I’m definitely recommending this to people who are looking for a drama with a different perspective about life, love and music.

Synopsis:

Like the original series, “SPEC” will revolve around a pair of police detectives as part of a special division solving difficult cases (Mishou). Touma Saya is a woman with an IQ of 201 and an inability to “read the atmosphere” in social situations. Due to a previous case, her left arm is in a sling. Her partner Sebumi Takeru used to be the star performer of the Metropolitan Police. After some incident however, he was transferred to Mishou. Those two track down offenders with special abilities(SPEC) who managed to get away with their crimes.

Words From Me:

I haven’t seen the 1990’s version of Keizoku Spec where this latest drama was based on, but I sure did love the latest one.

Toda Erika as Toma Saya was perfect. It was like the character was made for her. She usually had cutesy or prim-proper roles but here, it was like an overhaul of every drama she did. As for her co-actor Kase Ryo (who speaks perfect English with a US accent), I haven’t seen him in a starring role and am not too familiar with the guy but his acting here as Sebumi Takeru was in perfect sync with Erika’s. The chemistry between the actors was so smooth there were no dull moments even in silence. There character had this specific peculiarities and that’s what made them really interesting. Like in Toma’s case, she has an IQ of 201 which doesn’t really define her – because in actuality she is already eccentric in the first place. She has this great feature of annoying people because of her mannerism and certain habits that are out of place to any normal person, but this does not make her insane, it only makes her different. As for Sebumi, he is the usual honor police with really good fighting skills and a really uptight person. This type of character is what would seem normal and boring, but what makes his role peculiar? It’s the way he handles situations and most of all that specific thing he always carries with him; a brown paper bag which consists of his things – gun, wallet, etc. It kind of makes me wonder why that paper bag never rips and spills all his stuff. LOL.

The story line was continuous, it reveals enough on every episode to make you seat at the edge of your chair to continue on watching and ask yourself, “What’s going to happen next?” or just plainly say “WTF?!?”, yes this is how this show was for me. There were wtf moments, but those are the times which made the show much more fun.

Another boost for this drama is the fact that the soundtrack was also nice. It was kind of funky-pop-ish-rock themed sang by the band The Ricecookers. For those who are into the jrock genre, the theme song would not disappoint. As for the whole OST – it was very much appropriate for every scene.

If you are into sci-fi and mind boggling suspense things with a twist of weird wackiness on the side-lines, this may suit you as it did to me.

Rating this 8/10 – because though I really loved the characters and storyline, there are still limits on this drama, like the fact that there are times when the characters go overboard. I know that’s part of all the drill to make this drama more interesting but still, there’s that point in which how much of that silliness you can take in.