A Look at 2011: Jdrama Edition

Drama ReviewsEnd of the Year Reviews

I kept on telling myself I wouldn’t do a end-of-the-year review, but I finally gave in and I just had to write one! These are the dramas that stood out the most (be it in a bad or a good way) to me from each season. Unfortunately this year was a rather boring one for jdramas. Thankfully there were a few great jdramas that went quietly unnoticed, but greatly appreciated by drama lovers.

Spring Season

Asuko March
Omg I loved this drama so much.  Asuko March is pure fluff full of youth, innocence, and aspirations.  The scenario is something you would find in a manga (oh wait, it’s based on a manga, HAHA) and is something only possible in dramaland:  A girl goes to a high school that’s virtually all guys.  And she doesn’t disguise herself as a guy, THANK GOODNESS.  The plot followed the usual formula:  girl converts all the guys around her into her loyal followers because she’s so unbelievably kind and good-natured.  But I LOVED IT, not because of Yoshino Nao (the lead girl), but because all the guys who act like they’re all tough, when in fact they’re really gruff dorks at heart.  I didn’t really get the hype over the character Yokoyama Aruto (played by Matsuzaka Tori).  Instead, Tamaki Makoto (Kaku Kento) was my favorite character!  Second was Hirose and Takeuchi.  Yes, I’m sure all the viewers of Asuko March envied Yoshino Nao.  Although the plot was predictable and the love triangle was frustrating, I loved every minute of it.

boss

BOSS 2
No…I’m not including BOSS 2 just because of Nodate………
…….
Unfortunately BOSS 2 fell short for me, probably because I had such high expectations for it.  The first season will always remain one of my favorites, so it’s hard to outdo it especially when one of our favorite characters, Kimoto (Toda Erika) was HARDLY IN IT!  BOSS 2 didn’t have the suspense factor for me, nor did it have a great plot.

boss

Here’s what BOSS 2 did right:  To make up for the loss of Kimoto, we got two new characters that are actually quite likable.  Plus they’re smart, educated female characters who are undoubtedly more important to the team than the guy detectives are.  I love all the girl power in BOSS.

And of course, if you love Nodate like I do, we get lots of fan service with Osawa x Nodate.

JIN 2

The first season of Jin was great, but like BOSS 2, I didn’t have an overwhelming need to watch every episode of JIN 2.  JIN still had great costumes, acting, and cinematography, but for me it fell a bit flat.  What JIN 2 really offers are answers to all the questions that were left unanswered in the first season.  Will he return to the present?  Why was he sent to the past?  Will he change the future? I was really satisfied by the final episode even though I didn’t watch all of the episodes in between.  The finale was excellent and made me feel a great affection and sense of hope for the characters. 

“In a world we take for granted, everyone fights and struggles with hardships, loses their lives, and wins.  It’s all braided together with countless miracles.  I won’t forget that.  And, I’ll bring a further light, this time, for my own future, with this hand.”

Summer/autumn

Hanawake no Yon Shimai
HEHEHE what can I even say about Hanawake?  I started out with raving reviews but then it ended up in tears.  Don’t even attempt watching it…In short, it was a waste of Mizuki Alisa and Kichise Michiko.  Mizuki Alisa’s character was amazing, and quite frankly the drama would’ve been better if they had just kept it as a fluffy drama with Takemi as the heroine.

Soredemo, Ikite Yuku
Soredemo is amazing, and is hands down the best written jdrama I’ve seen this year.  This is a drama with substance, conflicted characters, a great plot…everything I could want..it is not for the weak of heart, nor for those who want mindless fluff and shippy OTP’s.  The conflict in Soredemo is so raw and emotional that I could literally feel the tension and pressure while I was watching it.  It’s a shame that not many people went for Soredemo, because it’s a pleasure to watch and certainly better than the typical mindless fluff out there.

Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran is a drama full of fluff.  For an Ouran fan like me, it was a dream come true to get to watch a live action, even though it was incredibly corny with laughable CGI effects.  The casting is what really made the drama great because the main characters were right on the mark.  Unfortunately the one character that didn’t cut it for me was Tamaki himself.

For me Ouran didn’t go any further than being a fluffy live action.  The emotional attachment I felt for the characters was the nostalgia from remembering how much I loved them in the anime and manga.  If I hadn’t been such a big Ouran fan already, I doubt I would’ve enjoyed the live action very much. 

Winter Season

Doctors Saikyou no Meii
Although I haven’t even watched half of DOCTORS, just three episodes was enough for me to say that DOCTORS is one of the best jdramas of the year.  It’s like Iryu but better.  The writing is great, the protagonist is great, and there’s lots of humor as well.  I love it already.

Overall
DOCTORS and Soredemo are my two favorites of the year in terms of writing, characters, and plot.  The ending of JIN 2 was the most memorable ending for me.  In terms of fluff, Asuko March was great.  And of course, dorkiness is always in BOSS. 

Overall this was a disappointing year for me, and I actually found myself having nothing to watch recently, (BIG SURPRISE) but thankfully DOCTORS and Soredemo still showed that hey–jdramas are capable of being complex, deep, and high quality!  The sad thing is that these amazing dramas aren’t watched by many jdrama viewers.  How ironic. 

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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-There are plenty of upcoming period c-dramas to keep an eye out for. Check them out here. Includes Lost Time In Love, Win the World, Nirvana in Fire 2, and more.

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