JDorama review: Hito ni Yasashiku

Title: Hito ni Yasashiku Also known as: Be Nice to People Broadcast dates: 1/7/02 - 3/18/02 Number of episodes: 11 Genre: Drama Cast: Katori Shingo, Matsuoka Mitsuru, Kato Koji, Suga Kenta Plot: Three men with no "real" family live together. One day a boy appears on their doorstep with a note from his mother asking them to care for the boy. Maeda Zen (Katori) takes it upon himself to care for the boy until his family returns. What is good: The interaction between the men and Akira (Suga) What is bad: The storyline drags at the end. Letter rating: C

I am a fan of Katori Shingo and there were references to this show in an episode of SMAP X SMAP so I knew I had to watch it. As you should know by now, it took me a long time to get through this series, even though it's only 11 episodes. There just wasn't anything to make me want to watch it. Yes, I loved the playful teachings of Zen (Katori, Taro (Matsuoka), and Ken (Kato) but it wasn't enough. I'm glad I watched it. I think it would have been better if it was a little longer.

JDorama review: Kamisama, Mou Sukoshi Dake

Title: Kamisama, Mou Sukoshi Dake Also known as: God, Please Give Me More Time Broadcast dates: 7/7/98 - 9/22/98 Number of episodes: 12 Genre: Drama Cast: Kaneshiro Takeshi, Fukada Kyoko Plot: Kano Masako (Fukada) contracts HIV after prostituting herself in order to buy tickets for a concert featuring her favorite composer, Ishikawa Keigo (Kaneshiro). Keigo, who lost his previous lover to death, finds the will to live again when he meets the high school girl. What is good: Some parts of the story bring out a deep emotional response. What is bad: The writers couldn't really decide whose story this was. Letter rating: C

I don't normally watch depressing dramas. However, I am a big fan of Fukada Kyoko so I wanted to watch some of her older works.

To be honest, I'm not really sure where to begin this review. While the show did have some very emotionally moving pieces, there were so many wrong parts that didn't make the show, as a whole, worth watching. Masaki is 17 years old, which puts her in the 'selfish teenager' age group. Throughout the entire show, everything she does is nothing but selfish acts. Even when she claims she is thinking about someone else's well-being (mostly in the "I'm such a burden!" sense), that's not the truth. The worst part is that Kamisama isn't Masaki's story. It's Keigo's.

I'm sure that tons of people will protest that fact. But, if you have watched the show, think about it. Masaki rarely does anything in the entire series. Everything she does is a reaction to Keigo. Kamisama is the story of Keigo learning how to love again after the death of his previous lover. Masaki is just the path he takes to get there.

Taking that into account, it is a very good story. Unfortunately, the writers decided to focus on Masaki and her plight with HIV. I know that the story takes place in the late 90s and things have changed a ton since then. However, HIV was discovered in the early 80s. In the show, they treat the disease like it is a brand new illness. The writers also do an awful job at showing how much time has progressed in the series. While we know that Masaki was in high school in episode one and there is a THREE YEARS LATER in episode nine, there isn't anything in any of the other episodes to show us how much time has passed. Characters are always referencing how little time Masaki has left to live but there are few signs showing how long she lived.

At the end, I wouldn't recommend watching Kamisama. Maybe if you feel like watching something super sad, it might fill the void. Just keep in mind that the show has a very slow pace and there is a lot of crap to put up with before you get to the final episode, which is sadly the best part of the whole series.

TV Review: Sherlock

I can't believe I forgot to talk about this! Way back in the summer of 2010, the BBC aired a new series titled Sherlock. Created by Steven Moffat, the same guy that created the currently-airing version of Doctor Who, I heard great things about the series. It wasn't until I came upon the episodes on Netflix that I got a chance to sit down and watch them. Boy, am I glad that I did!

Pretty much everyone knows who Sherlock Holmes is so I won't go into too much detail. For those of you that don't (shame on you), here is the nitty gritty: Sherlock Holmes is a strange man who reaches grand conclusions with only the smallest of details. Since he is not much of a "people person," he requires someone to not only help him out in day-to-day activities (such as shopping) but also someone he can bounce thoughts off of. This person is John Watson, a former military doctor who longs for more action in his life. Together, they help Scotland Yard solve the toughest cases.

First, I want to talk about the bad points of the show. There really is just one. The entire first season is a mere three episodes long. Just as we're starting to love Sherlock and his insane ways, they unlovingly dump us on the floor. There is a second season, which is also only three episodes, but it didn't start until this month! I haven't watched it yet so I'm hoping it's as good as the first.

Now. Let's talk about the good points. Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely amazing as Sherlock. He is able to bring forth the smugness and frustration that is Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock knows he is smarter than everyone else in the room and it frustrates him when people miss things he considers obvious. Also, Martin Freeman is an ideal match as Watson. Watson isn't there to be brilliant or awesome. He is just there to continually keep Sherlock grounded in the real world. I couldn't imagine anyone else in these roles. The show would fall apart of these two weren't so good.

I also love the cinematography of the show. In the first episode, as Sherlock notices things, random words appear on the screen. It isn't until Sherlock pieces everything together for us that we realize what the words mean to him. For once, we get to see a bit of the inner workings in Sherlock's brain. No wonder the world is so frustrating for him.

For you old-school Sherlock fans, there are some minor changes but not a lot. He no longer smokes pipes (not even cigar specials). Instead, he uses nicotine patches. He claims the nicotine helps him think but it isn't convenient to smoke in London nowadays. We do get to see him playing the violin a little. Though, I fully admit that it isn't very good violin playing. Perhaps we'll get something better in the next season.

Sherlock is an awesome piece of television. If you get a chance to see it, be it on PBS or on Netflix, do it. You definitely will not regret it. And, if we're lucky, we'll get to see the second season sooner. I'd hate to have a wait another year and a half to see what happens!

JDorama review: Tomorrow

Title: Tomorrow Broadcast dates: 7/6/08 - 9/7/08 Number of episodes: 10 Genre: Medical Drama Cast: Takenouchi Yutaka, Kanno Miho, Ogawa Tamaki Plot: Moriyama Kohei (Takenouchi) quit his job as a doctor 8 years ago. Suddenly, he finds himself thrust back into the medical world to help save a dying hospital. What is good: The main actors were very good. What is bad: Sometimes the storyline drags. Letter rating: B+

While I'm normally not an overly emotional person, I found myself brought to tears a few times during this show. The passion and dedication that Tanaka Aiko (Kanno) has for her job and her patients is awesome. I think it was that character that made me cry more than anyone.

I don't want to say too much about the show because, really, everyone should watch it. There is no romance so don't expect hearts in anyone's eyes. For those of you that are squeamish, there is a little bit of blood but nothing overly gorey. It's just good drama.

JDorama review: Juui Dolittle

Title: Juui Dolittle Also known as: Veterinarian Dolittle Broadcast dates: 10/17/10 - 12/19/10 Number of episodes: 9 Genre: Drama Cast: Oguri Shun, Inoue Mao, Narimiya Hiroki, Kunimura Jun, Ishizaka Koji Plot: Tottori Kenichi (Shun) is a extremely talented veterinarian, which has earned him the nickname "Dolittle." Unfortunately, he is quite rude to the humans that accompany his animal patients. His friend, Hanabishi Masaru (Narimiya), is a famous "Charisma Vet" who is afraid of operating on animals. Together, with nurse Tajima Asuka (Inoue), they try to save as many animals as they can. What is good: Oguri tackles another new character type! Yay! What is bad: It can be difficult to like the characters. Letter rating: C+

I was definitely excited when I heard that Shun, Mao, and Hiroki were doing a drama together. They are so awesome. Considering it had the "Dolittle" title, I expected some sort of animal talking thing. There wasn't any. It's simply a nickname because Tottori is good with animals and his name kinda sounds like Dolittle. Ah, well. Onto the review:

I have to admit that, for the most part, I enjoyed the series. It took me a long time to warm up to Tottori but, if you pay close attention, you can see that he's an ass because he cares for the animals so much. He thinks that their human caretakers are idiots and, most of the time, he's right. In one episode, a girl allowed her ferret to run free in the house. The ferret chewed on her slippers, swallowed some rubber and almost died. Yet the girl refused to take responsibility for it and when the ferret was well enough to go home.....yup, she let him run free again and the ferret got sick again. It wasn't until the ferret almost died a second time that she realized her selfishness. So, yeah, I felt that he had every right to be an ass to her.

On the other side, you have Hanabishi. He is very popular and works well with people. Yet he can't overcome a past trauma, stopping him from being able to operate. He does get along with Tottori so I'm not sure why the two of them didn't form a partnership. Hanabishi could diagnose the problem and deal with the customer, while Tottori operated and cared for the animals. I think that if they joined forces, they could have been way more successful than they would be separately. Instead, Hanabishi keeps shipping animals off secretly to Tottori's clinic to be operated on. The whole thing kinda makes me want to bang my head on the table.

Tajima is right in the middle of this. In the first episode, Tottori heals her prized horse. She can't afford his fee so, after failing to get hired for any of the jobs she applied for, she goes to work for him to pay off the debt. During her tenure at the clinic, she finds her purpose in life. Of all of the characters, she is the one that grows the most throughout the series. To be honest, without her, the show wouldn't have been nearly as good. There is a hint of romance between her and Tottori but not enough to overwhelm the series. At the end, I was glad that she realized that she wanted to go to school to become an animal nurse.

As a whole, the show is a little slow. There are a variety of animal patients so it was nice to see them work on more than just dogs and cats. However, there is a ton of politicking going on. That part annoyed me. Everyone was all "Let's help the animals!" but then would stop something because it was against an agenda. Granted, that is how things can be in real life. But this is a television show. It's not supposed to be too real!

Anyway, if you can look past Tottori's arrogance and Hanabishi's want to please everyone, it's a decent series. It's more about conservation and helping animals than it is about the humans. The best part is that it's different from most of the other shows I've watched lately. It was refreshing.

Jdorama review: Good Luck!!

Title: Good Luck!! Broadcast dates: 1/19/03 - 3/23/03 Number of episodes: 10 Genre: Drama Cast: Kimura Takuya, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Shibasaki Kou, Uchiyama Rina, Kuroki Hitomi Plot: Shinkai (Kimura) is a co-pilot for All Nippon Airways (ANA). As he strives to become captain, he comes across a variety of people, including the strict Captain Koda (Tsutsumi) and mechanic Ayumi (Shibasaki), that help him achieve his dream. What is good: The actual piloting parts were interesting. What is bad: The entire middle section of the series. Letter rating: D

Yes, I watched another KimuTaku show. Sometimes I think these will kill me.

Once again, parts of the series are awesome. The final two episodes had me hanging on the edge of my seat. (Even though I really knew deep down that Takuya wouldn't lose.) Unfortunately, out of 10 episodes, at least 6 of them are completely unnecessary. The information has already been given to us but the story takes forever to relay it to the important characters. I would have liked the show better if they took the final two episodes and made those the focus of the show. Instead, we get way too many scenes of Shinkai wandering around the hangars' metal buildings. I get that Ayumi works there and he wants to see her. But you don't go wandering around those places!

ARGH. I need a break from KimuTaku for awhile. Hopefully, Oguri Shun will help ease my pain.

JDorama review: Tsuki no Koibito

Title: Tsuki no Koibito Broadcast dates: 5/10/10 - 7/5/10 Number of episodes: 8 Genre: Romantic Drama Cast: Kimura Takuya, Shinohara Ryoko, Lin Chi Ling, Kitagawa Keiko, Matsuda Shota Plot: Hazuke Rensuke (Kimura) is the president of an up-and-coming furniture company. His life changes dramatically when three women compete for his love. What is good: I liked the ending. What is bad: It took so very long to get there. Letter rating: C

This show made me absolutely hate KimuTaku for the first 5 or 6 episodes. Since this is only an 8-episode series, that's an awful lot of time hating the main character. He does redeem himself, of course. It just would have been nice to see that change start around episode 4 or 5.

Shinohara Ryoko is awesome as designer Maemi. She made me feel so bad for her character, even though she didn't want anyone to feel sorry for her. I think she totally made up for the crapfest that KimuTaku was.

Poor Kitagawa Keiko got robbed though. Onuki Yuzuki is completely a throw away character. She has no real importance to the show. Even when she tries to make big reveals, the information has already been given by another character. She's convenient but unnecessary.

Now onto Lin Chi Ling, who, in my opinion, takes up way too much time. I'm pretty sure her role was to show what a hardass Hazuke is with everyone, even those he claims to love. But all she really did was take away from the awesomeness that is Maemi. However, the interaction between the two women was nice. I guess that is one redeeming value.

This show absolutely depended on the actors and their characters. There wasn't a big plot to reign the characters in. If the characters failed, the show would fail as well. For the most part, the characters are annoying. It isn't until the last few episodes that anyone shows any redeeming values. I didn't think the show was horrible. It was just meh.

Jdorama review: Rookies

Title: Rookies Broadcast dates: 4/19/08 - 7/26/08 Number of episodes: 11 Genre: Sports, drama Cast: Sato Ryuta, Ichihara Hayato, Koide Keisuke Plot: The baseball team of Futakotamagawa high school has been banned from playing for six months after fighting on the field. Rookie teacher Kawato Koichi arrives with promises to help them achieve their dreams. Together, the group fights to get to the Koshien baseball tournament. What is good: Sato Ryuta is a very good actor. What is bad: Aniya (Ichihara Hayato) is a bit of an annoying character. Letter rating: C+ Overall: I was hesitant to list this as a 'sports' drama because, really, the baseball takes a backseat to the personal dramas of each of the characters. Granted, the main plotline is to get the team to Koshien but it's still not the core of the story. As such, I found myself getting a lot more enjoyment out of the show. I'm not a huge sports fan so usually things like this are lost on me. However, by making the characters the meat of the story, it makes the show more interesting for people like me. I'm actually looking forward to watching both the special and the movie to see where this goes.

JDorama review: RH Plus

Title: RH Plus Broadcast dates: 1/2/08 - 3/26/08 Number of episodes: 13 Genre: Supernatural drama Cast: Miura Yuu, Tochihara Rakuto, Ojima Naoya, Takano Hassei Plot: Four vampires, living together as a family, secretly help the police with unsolved cases. What is good: The change in eye color when they "vamp out" is pretty awesome. What is bad: The plot gets annoying after the first few episodes. Letter rating: C- Overall: I really wanted to like this drama. After all, vampires are awesome. Unfortunately, RH Plus is very heavy on the 'drama' aspect and not in a good way. Makoto (Yuu) was abandoned as a child, which the writing wants to beat you with every single episode. We get it. He had a crappy childhood. It didn't really need 12 episodes to attempt to overcome it. On top of that, the acting is cheesy at best. As much as I wanted it to get better, it just didn't.

JDorama review: L: Change the WorLd

L-change Title: L: Change the WorLd Release date: 2/9/08 Genre: Supernatural, Detective Cast: Matsuyama Kenichi, Fukuda Narushi, Fukuda Mayuko, Kudoh Youki Plot: During the final 23 days of his life, L takes the time to solve one more case. This one involves a bio-terrorist group intent on killing most of the Earth's population with a virus. What is good: Matsuyama is as good as ever! What is bad: Well...I fell asleep...that can't be a good thing, right? Letter rating: C Overall: I really wanted to like this sort-of sequel to Death Note. Like many others, L is one of my favorite characters. Unfortunately, this case seems to be a pretty big waste of his talents. The only reason L seems to be involved in this case is because people just randomly send things (and people) to him. As much as I wanted to watch the movie, I did fall asleep because it was so dull. L deserved a better ending than this.