Anticipated j-dramas: Spring 2014

Drama News / Upcoming DramasJapanese DramasJapanese Dramas

Updates: 8/4/14: Added review links for the spring jdramas I reviewed.

By now it is probably no secret that I have been lagging behind in the winter 2014 jdrama season due to a severe drama slump!!  Despite my misgivings about the current winter 2014 season, I am REALLY looking forward to the spring selection of jdramas.  I know I say this every time I do a new anticipated jdramas post but….this time I think we’ll have plenty of keepers!

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For the story & cast… (but mainly the story)

ajdr-mz

MOZU Season 1 ~ Mozu no Sakebu Yoru

English title: Mozu Season 1 ~ Mozu’s Crying Night

Notable Cast:

Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kagawa Teruyuki, Maki Yoko, Ito Atsushi

Genre:

Thriller, mystery

Short Summary:

Nishijima Hidetoshi and Kagawa Teruyuki reunite yet again, this time playing the roles of two investigators who are investigating a bombing case.  Joining them is Maki Yoko, who also plays a key role in the case.  Together the three of them find out that there is something deeper beneath the bombing case…

Thoughts:

Nishijima Hidetoshi & Kagawa Teruyuki were so EPIC in their previous drama SP together, DOUBLE FACE.  Omg!!!  So of course I am really excited to see them reunited in MOZU.  And get this–Mozu is also a TBS x WOWOW collaboration just like Double Face was!  I am already looking forward to a really dark and gritty jdrama in Mozu.  The trailer already has some epic vibes going on, can’t wait!  And let’s not forget that Maki Yoko also looks awesome in the trailers!! *W*

Reviews – Completed

Preview:

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ajdr-re

Reverse Edge Okawabata Tanteisha

English Title: Reverse Edge Okawabata Detective Agency

Also known as: River’s Edge Okawabata Tanteisha

Notable Cast:

Odagiri Joe

Genre:

Slice-of-life

Short Summary:

This is the story of three detectives who run a small private detective agency, and of the clients that they get involved with…

Thoughts:

This drama is actually based on the original manga, Ribasu Ejji Ookawabata Tanteisha.  But  haven’t read the manga. >_<  I am mainly excited about the scriptwriter, who is none other than the same one that wrote Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi!!!!!!!!  YESSSSS!!!!!!!!  I totally loved Mahoro so I have high expectations for Reverse Edge.  Also the general story set up sounds similar to Mahoro, I mean…it’s basically the benri-ya replaced with a detective agency. 😛  I am also looking forward to seeing Odagiri Joe as I have not seen him in many dramas despite his popularity.

(There is some confusion (at least for me) over what the official title of the drama is.  Because it is either “Reverse” or “River’s” or “Rivers”.  For now though, I think it is supposed to be Reverse.  Don’t quote me on it though.)

Reviews – Completed

Preview:

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Gokuaku Ganbo

Notable Cast:

Ono Machiko, Miura Shohei

Genre:

??

Short Summary:

Based off of the original manga Gokuaku Ganbo.  Ono Machiko plays the heroine, who is a young woman who is in debt and struggling to make ends meet.  She becomes a member of a consultant agency that resolves conflicts.

Thoughts:

Erm ok, my short summary does not sound too exciting but the original synopsis on jdrama weblog makes it sound more thrilling?  The thing is that the consultant agency probably will not be the typical ‘consultant agency’ that we often see in jdramas…the synopsis makes it sound more like it will have a rougher edge?  Anyways I am really looking forward to seeing Ono Machiko because she is a wonderful actress.  *update* The preview has more of a humorous tone to it, looks like it’ll be an amusing watch!

Preview:

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For the cast…

ajdr-bb

Bitter Blood

Notable Cast:

Watabe Atsuro, Sato Takeru

Genre:

Detective/police

Short summary:

Watabe Atsuro & Sato Takeru play a father & son duo!  The two of them have a bad relationship and are like oil & water..but they end up becoming detective partners!

bb-wa-st

Thoughts:

Watabe Atsuro & Sato Takeru together in one drama!?!?  AS FATHER AND SON!?!?  I am already committed to this drama, HAHA!  Watabe Atsuro was epic in Gaiji Keisatsu and Sato Takeru was very memorable in Rurouni Kenshin.  Can’t wait to see how they will do together in Bitter Blood. *W*

Preview:

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Border ~ Keishichou Sousa Ikka Satsujinhan Sousa Dai 4-gakkari

Notable cast:

Oguri Shun

Genre:

Detective

Short Summary:

Oguri Shun plays the role of a detective who discovers that he has the ability to talk to the dead.  He uses this ability to help him solve his cases.

Thoughts:

I only included this since Oguri Shun is in it.  😛  I am not a huge enough fan of his to watch every single one of his dramas, but I am curious to see how he will approach this role.  Personally I do not think the synopsis sounds very interesting..I guess because I just feel like the drama seasons have been so flooded with detective dramas lately…

Preview:

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Black President

Notable Cast:

Sawamura Ikki, Kuninaka Ryoko, Kuroki Meisa

Genre:

Office?

Short Summary:

Sawamura Ikki is the “Black President,” AKA a CEO that focuses on only increasing his profits while disregarding the welfare of his employees.  Eventually he gets “enlightened” from his dark ways after interacting with people who have different perspectives.

Thoughts:

I think this drama will probably be one of those feel good, inspirational dramas were the bad boss transforms into a good guy.  I don’t think it has much potential because it will probably just follow the formulaic bad guy-turns-good guy plot.  Then again, I think Sawamura Ikki is perfect for this character!  So I want to keep an open mind about the drama because I think Sawamura Ikki could make it work.  And is it just me that still sees him as Sagara from DOCTORS in the preview?  😛

Preview:

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Source: Jdramas Weblog

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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  • I think it’s always a “crime” to put Joe Odagiri in a supporting role. The guy is legendary, great to see he’s back on top. I don’t care who acts with him, I would definitely watch any movie or drama starring the fashionably weird but extremely talented actor!

    • I totally agree jed! Odagiri is gold standards, nuff said. But I also feel like he’s one of those (literally) artsy actor, who picks projects cos something about them pique his interest, leading role or not, so I’m hoping there’s more to this new one that we think!

      • I agree I think he likes taking guest roles or supporting roleif he find the drama/role interesting. I also think he might be a bit lazy when and doesn’t like taking lead roles for too many projects 😛 He said it himself he’s not that ambitious and isn’t aiming for something like going to hollywood so he’s more relaxed about the roles he does. He sure is talented though 😉

  • yay for yoko maki in mozu! definately gonna watch that now lol. its unfortunate that she only started getting popular + better acting when she hit her thirties since it limits the amount of roles and shows she can get because of her age. hard to get shows in japan as a main character if ur in your 30s unless you are really popular/famous like shinohara and yonekura or got a sugar daddy like mizuki alisa.

    i wonder if their going to make odagiris show weird like atami no soussakan. seems hes not as popular as he was in his younger years.
    glad atsuro is getting more work, i dont know why he was frozen out a while ago and was not getting much work. do you happen to know what happened?
    meh on takeru sato. hes not a good actor. didnt like him since den o and i dont understand the amount of fangirling over him.

    so far japan seems to be only able to make medical dramas and detective dramas cuz its cheaper to make plus its the tried and tested genre. its a mystery how japanese people havent gotten tired of these genres after years and years of the same thing.

    also the 2 shows that epitomizes this are the yearly aibou for the mystery genre and kasouken no onna for the medical drama. although im surprised that i havent found kasouken no onna subbed at all after so many seasons while aibou only has 1.5 seasons subbed.

    • Yeah that’s a good point about the medical and crime dramas; those two genres make up like a good 90% of JDrama these days it seems. It’s not like they can’t do something better. It’s probably like you say; cheaper and less risk. The semi-recent Ando Lloyd comes to mind actually. It wasn’t exactly the typical JDrama fare but I thought it was fairly enjoyable none the less (plus the cast was awesome; KimuTaku + Shibasaki Kou! Hellz yes!). Despite that, it didn’t seem to set the JDrama world on fire in any way, which is too bad.

      Ok, that being said, I am jacked up for Mozu. Have a feeling this is going to be one wicked crime drama. I’m quite surprised that Yoko Maki hasn’t seen more roles like this. Regardless of age she’s like a 9/10 smoke show…. ok make that 9.5/10. Combine that with some power character actors and bam; hit spring drama.

      The rest, well, I guess I can do without. The only one I *MIGHT* have hope for is black president, ONLY because of Sawamura Ikki. If he can’t carry it then I’ll be dropping that in a heartbeat.

      • well i think the reason ando lloyd didnt do too well is cuz the story was way kinda cheesy at parts, plus it starred mediocre/bad actor n actress even the supporting ones werent good. i like kou shibasaki but she aint a good actress lol. then you got the all idols who are bad at acting in there (idols are a blight on jdrama and kdramas). plus kimura takuyas star power has dimmed a lot since the past so ratings wouldnt be as high.

        ya mozu will probly be good since it stars real actors/actress plus considering most wowow dramas are good. will be watching it.
        is sawamurra ikki a good actor? i confess the only drama ive watch him in was doctors 1 n 2. and that doesnt rly showoff his acting skills. do u have any suggestions for a good drama of his?

        • Agree completely that Idols turning actors isn’t really a good call in general. There’s this idea in J/K/C/TW that if you can sing then you can also act, which is so VERY much not the a good rule to live by… but I am still a fan of KimuTaku. I’ve got a massive soft-spot for that guy. He’s been in so many important JDramas that his legacy is unquestionable. I think he’s got at least one good performance left in him before he should hang it up for good. It is clear that as the genre has evolved his acting style has remained the same but if he can bust out the stuff he showed in Pride, we’d be in for a treat. As for Shibasaki Kou, well, we’ll just agree to disagree; absolutely loved her in Galileo. Admittedly this may be MAJOR bias on my part on account of the fact that I am a sucker for beautiful Japanese girls but whatever; I remain completely unrepentant in that regard.

          As for Ikki, I’ve only seen him in Doctors 1 (never got around to the 2nd season) so I can only go by what I saw there but I thought he was alright none the less. I guess I just want to see if he can do something else besides the personality he showed for his char in that drama. This is something we’d probably be able to to tell after about 15 minutes of the first episode.

          The REAL question on EVERYONE’S mind though is….

          When the hell do we get Hanzawa Naoki Season 2?!!?!?!?

          • oh i liked her in galileo as well. and it was unfortunate that they got rid of her in galileo 2 so that they could have a younger female lead. it suxed that we only got her in the special. also its unfortunate but she doesnt seem to have the star power to headline her own shows. only as sidekick. ive seen the majority of her shows.

            hmm for me hanzawa was good, but near the end it was just getting to outrageous. im predicting though that season 2 wont be as good. hard to make a hit sequal.

          • Man I thought Hanzawa just got better and better. That finale had my heart pounding. When he FINALLY made his enemy kneel and grovel in the boardroom, I was literally standing and cheering at the screen. Personally I’m hoping that they keep on the same path that was laid down by the final betrayal (if it really was one) and keep going.

    • Sato Takeru was so good in Rurouni Kenshin though! The fangirling is totally justified!!!

      I hadn’t heard about Watabe Atsuro not getting much work..since he was in a few dramas in the past couple years..but I think lately his past dramas were not super good.

      • I can see where dgundam is coming from… I don’t think Takeru can’t act, but his range is quite limited and doesn’t seem to push himself much either. He’s riding on looks, big budget productions and films with built-in fans (manga adaptations). I’m convinced Kamiki (who, btw, has the same agency and a much, much more diverse filmgraphy) is going to outact him in the next Rurouni instalment.

        • Hmm well I haven’t seen many of Sato Takeru’s works so I guess I cannot really evaluate his acting abilities very fairly. I am totally biased. >_>””

          • I really enjoyed his very minor role in MR. BRAIN as a pianist with a memory disorder. I thought his acting kind of stood out there. But…I guess if you think about a lot of the roles he has done…they are rather similar. For whatever reason, he has a soft spot in my heart.

        • I’m totally with you, Sato Takeru is good in Kenshin, but saying that he is a good actor is too much. He is dull in Tonbi and is outacted by Uchino Masaaki( I don’t remember his new name) ‘s explosive screen presence a, his character’s personality and of course,acting.

  • I’m not too excited about most of these, though I’ll try River’s Edge (yay for the scriptwriter, yay for Odagiri!) and Border (it just sounds like it could be good), and probably also Machiko Ono’s drama (don’t mind the boring description – some of the most mundane dramas are the best ones).

    Kinda wishing for more though… and hoping for dramas from some other actors that I really like.

    • every year/season i always hope for more too. but am always let down 😛

      i always keep hoping that abe hiroshi has a drama for me to watch lol. but since he is 50 now, its going to be harder and harder for him to get shows 🙁

      • Kamiki Ryonusuke. Takenouchi Yutaka. I’ll take Matsuda Ryuhei (and Shota, if he picks a decent project), Kase Ryo, Sometani Shota, Tsumabuki Satoshi any day, but I’m fine if they stick with movies – even if I wished we’d get more actors who can act doing dramas. I’d check out any projects with Kora Kengo, Ayano Gou, Eita, Moriyama Mirai too.

        Female actors… most of the ones I like are pretty set in the film world or don’t have lead roles. I’d like a Hashimoto Ai dorama (season 2 of Hard Nut!), also Takeuchi Yuko, Mitsushima Hikari, Nikaido Fumi, Inoue Mao, Sakura Ando, Kimura Tae etc.

        Young People (Wakamono Tachi) is coming up in July though, that has Tsumabuki, Eita, Mitsushima, Emoto Tasuku, Yu Aoi and Hashimoto Ai… not bad at all!

        • Have you watched Nazo no Tenkousei yet? You better add Sakurai Minami to that young actor list! I swear that girl could be the saviour of the next generation of Japanese girls. She’s like the Anti-AKB48 and that country needs a massive injection of an antivirus to that poison. I’m probably going a bit over the top with this but I have hopes for Japan yet.

          • I have watched the first three episodes, but no subs for the rest ㅠ_ㅠ.

            I watch a lot of J movies, especially independent, non-blockbuster ones so I have plenty of hope. It’s the drama world especially that gets bogged down with half-baked scripts and terrible acting, so that many have lowered their expectations too much. Watching Arifureta Kiseki recently reminded me of how there’s too much tolerance towards bad, cliché riddled scripts and awful acting.

            Need to see more of Minami before I can put her on any of my lists (whether the ‘avoid’ or the ‘must watch’ one).

          • LoL, Heisui, it’s so true. Just something about her gives me faith in Japan as a nation. You hear that Minami!? No pressure or anything though.

          • Yup, this kid has a lot of potential. She reminds me of younger Kitano Kie, cute yet able to stand on her own.

            I see no one keep an eye on Gin Nikan (NHK), it has another wonderkid everyone overlooks namely Matsuoka Mayu. Her CV is impressive and she has played in awesome shows like Amachan, Aku no Kyoten, Kirishima Bukatsu Yameteruyo, Saito san 2 (yes, the show reeks but she shines on ep.7) that showcases how diverse her range is. As if 3 or even 4 actresses in a same person, she easily outrange the likes of Ai Hashimoto. Don’t get me wrong, I also fond of Hashimoto and she is an enormous talent but I think she isn’t as super good as everyone thinks of.

  • glad that ono machiko is getting dramas. seems to me she getting acknowledged by japanese viewers for her good acting. her nose is huge lol, but seems that viewers accept her for her acting rather than her looks which is good. plus shes already in her 30s to boot. shes probly gonna be like shinohara ryoko acting career wise except for that whole singer start wise that shinohara did.

    oh and forgot to add…hmm oguri’s show sounds just like that korean kdrama that just started airing recently starring oh ji ho.
    also for oguri, for me hes not that great of an actor (see binbo danshi or odoru daisousen) or even an ikemen (look at his nose lol).
    but what he did/does great is play the cool/nicely dressed characters plus cherry picking certain dramas that maintain and cultivate his aura and image. you wont see him do very dramatic roles.
    hes an ikemen by atmosphere. a true ikemen would be osamu mukai (but hes a bad actor lol).
    seems like oguri got a TON of fans created from starring in HYD. which was further improved by starring in romance dramas such as rich man poor woman and the like.

    • dgundam what is it with you and noses? 😛 Well I think Ono Machiko is very pretty. She has more of an understated & down-to-earth feel to her. Oguri Shun, I think he has good screen presence.

    • I wouldn’t watch a project just for Oguri Shun, but if between Smile and The Woodsman and the Rain I’d say his acting is pretty solid. Not at a, say, Kase Ryo or Sometani Shota level, but he’s capable of more than just cool/nicely dressed characters – even if he opts to do more those roles.

    • I have faith for Ono Machiko san, though. Don’t forget the queen Shihonara Ryoko acts in supporting roles in years before becoming the female lead when she ‘s reaching 30 and nothing, even her marriage and kids stop her stardom.
      I think reaching late fame is good for Ono san. She has really good profile of movies which nurtured her talent for years and now she has got both fame and talent:)
      About Oguri, I am not sure he is a good actor or not. He has charisma, sexy voice and has quite fair share of mainstream and indie ones. He playes supporting roles in many serious movie .too.

  • Sato Takeru! Squeeeeee! He was also great in Mei-chan no Shitsuji, for which my love is as deep as it is random. I should probably finish Bloody Monday, too, at some point. I like the sound of the Ono Machiko one, too, since it sounds more comedic. Damn, though, that’s a LOT of detective dramas! Were there other ones that you just aren’t looking forward to as much?

    • I’m not sure if Ono Machiko’s drama will be a comedy. To me it sounded like it would be a serious drama. I think I’ll have to wait for a preview to check though. >__< I know, I can't believe how many detective dramas there are these recent seasons. I only listed the dramas that I am looking forward to; you can see the full list of upcoming dramas here.

  • Thank you for your nice blog! I’m planning on starting watching Japanese drama to start learning some Japanese. (I can read some kanji, etc.) I’m planning on re-visiting Kyoto in 2 yrs. Can anyone recommend any non-depressing drama that shows street/outside sceneries of Kyoto or Nara? (I’ve already been to Tokyo. I’m not a big-city person). Many thanks in advance! (Movie recommendations are good too)

    • Thanks! 😀 Hmmm well I’m not sure about any specific dramas in Kyoto or Nara. Your best bet might be to watch a taiga that might have a setting in Kyoto?

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