What sets WOWOW dramas apart from the rest?

Just something that popped up in my mind so I thought of discussing the matter. I’m no expert about the channels in Japan so this is based on what I observed so far.

  1. They often tackle darker and grim plots.
  2. Overacting is almost non-existent. Everything is toned down when it comes to WOWOW, you won’t see characters acting out of the world, exaggerating or unrealistically (unless the character is required to but still rarely seen). The acting is often more subdued and restrained.
  3. WOWOW seems to be quite picky when it comes to their actors/actresses. People you don’t normally see in the prime time channels, you’ll most likely see them appear in WOWOW. For example those who have been playing supporting roles. You also rarely see idol-related people in them (the only exception from recent ones I’ve seen so far was Maeda Atsuko in Kageri Yuku Natsu and Nogizaka46 girls in Tenshi no Knife).
  4. Cinematography is just on a whole other level when compared to other channels. This is something I really like about WOWOW. The camera work and lighting are similar to movie style. The same goes with the quality background music. I’m not sure if they use different types of cameras or it’s really just the style of directing…I’m not an expert in movie cinematography so if anyone knows more, please share your opinions or thoughts below.
  5. The 5-episode and sometimes, 4-episode format works really brilliantly despite how short it is. Having cut the length into half of what is usually offered, it doesn’t feel draggy. Pacing is often faster and it’s convenient if you don’t have time to chase after 10-11 episodes of drama.
  6. Last but not least, it just gives a more adult ambience in my opinion. Probably due to the target audience. So if you’re into more serious and realistic stuffs, then try WOWOW dramas. For anything else, you can go for the other channels.

The only downside so far is how rarely they get subbed compared to other channels’ dramas. With this, I’m referring to English subs of course.

So what are the things you like or hate about WOWOW dramas?
Any favorite dramas?


For me personally, I really liked Kageri Yuku Natsu (subbed) and though MOZU (subbed) (WOWOW x TBS) was more well known and slightly overrated (it’s getting a spin-off and movie soon), it left me very disappointed by the end of second season. Great cast wasted in a poorly written plot. I hope the movie fares better and answer more questions, for example what exactly is Dharma?


For more recent offering, do try Shi no Zouki. I like the collaboration they had with Taiwan and getting to hear Mandarin is something fresh. The twist is also quite surprising and I like the whole ambiance. It can be slightly dark and heavy towards the end when they start questioning about organ trading/donation and the medical ethics. If you’re into black comedy, you have Enka: Gold Rush but beware that it might be slightly draggy.


I recently just finished Tenshi no Knife. You can read my review here. As for police suspense thriller, Ishi no Mayu (subbed) has taken off really well too so watch out for that.


I have yet to finish Zainin no Uso because the lawyer jargon is a bit too complicated for me to watch without proper subs. I’m a bit lazy to really rack my brain too but it’s saved up in my collection. I might give it a go in the future. I’ve watched Garasu no Ashi as well. Dark protagonist and basically quite depressing.

Next on my list to watch is Yami no Bansosha.



8 thoughts on “What sets WOWOW dramas apart from the rest?

  1. Their dramas are definitely impressive – they seem to be Japan’s equivalent of HBO. My only complaint is that they don’t offer closed captioning on their programming; there are a lot of interesting shows that go unsubbed because of this, unfortunately.

    • Yes, I think that’s really the only complaint we have about them, the lack of caption which leads to lack of interest for subbers to pick them up. I wonder why they never provide them though.

  2. I haven’t watched many WOWOW dramas, but it seems a bunch of them are on my drama backlog – stuff like Yami no Bansosha, Marks no Yama, Hitori Shizuka, Shokuzai and Kageri Yuku Natsu. The stuff I did watch were very good. Double Face had the wonderful Nishijima Hidetoshi-Kagawa Teruyuki pairing, while Fujiki Naohito did well in Shukumei (love the song he sang for it). And Soratobu Taiya was excellent, powerhouse stuff from Nakamura Toru, Tanabe Seiichi et al.

    My next hope is for Tamaki Hiroshi to do a WOWOW drama… he’s done plenty for other networks, but sadly nothing for WOWOW yet. Fingers crossed!

    • I forgot about Double Face! Yes, that’s a must watch (even though I loved the original Hong Kong version Internal Affairs more) but the Japanese remake is really good too.
      I’ve heard great things about Marks no Yama, I think I should really collect it and try one day.
      Thanks for the other titles, will look out for them. I’m currently watching Yami no Bansosha, I might consider subbing it in the future, just a consideration for now as I have Ishi no Mayu to finish first. But since it’s only 5 eps, I think it’s doable ^^

      Yeah, I wonder why Tamaki hasn’t acted in WOWOW yet…same like you, I hope he does soon!

      • I think Wabi-Sabi Subs are subbing Yami no Bansosha – at least it says so on the fansub map at D-addicts. If you’re interested as well, maybe give them a buzz?

        • Oh really? Ok, I’ll ask them soon ^^
          Nice to know someone’s already planning on it.
          EDIT: I just checked their livejournal, looks like they’re almost done ^^ I’m gonna wait for their subs before watching then hehe

  3. Totally agree! I’m impressed by the quality of WOWOW dramas. Good point about the shorter episode length, I didn’t think about that before. the short WOWOW dramas sometimes make me feel like I’m watching a movie.

  4. I like WOWOW drama too, but the not all WOWOW dramas have subs. The subber always said because WOWOW drama is hard to sub, the language is different than other drama, also the analogy is in an advance level. I hope someday people trying to sub WOWOW dramas more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s