Since the season’s ending, I thought of summarizing Summer dramas impression. I didn’t watch every single drama (not enough time T_T) so I’ll only list those which I actually finished. I’ll keep it spoiler-free.
I don’t normally do this…but you know…just in case.
The reviews and impressions are based on what I think personally and people are free to disagree with them because we all have different preferences. I think this goes without saying but just to make sure anyone reading this won’t take it the wrong way because more often than not, negative reviews can annoy some readers and I understand that. Best case is to actually try the dramas yourselves first and treat these as second opinions or references.
They’re not listed in particular order/ranking. I will rate them at the end of each summary.
37.5°C no Namida (TBS)
I suppose I was influenced by Mother Game a lot last season that I have a thing for family and kids drama now. Of course, I understand this is nothing like Mother Game but I’m still slightly disappointed with the overall production and plot. It’s episodic and typical drama that tackles family issues involving children (so we get different characters and cases) while in the background we delve into these 3 main characters’ lives. Renbutsu Misako did fairly well for her role and no, I can never forget her infamous ‘weird smile’ now lol… However, it takes a bit long for her character to show growth. I blame it on the screenplay for this as the pacing should’ve been faster. Towards the middle of the show, it feels sort of draggy and like it’s just plodding along. Perhaps because it lacks substance you see, there’s really only so much you can show about kids having fevers and taking care of them. It’s still a heartwarming show and for what it’s worth, the mystery of Momoko’s mother hating on her so much did keep me engaged till the end because I’m curious of the reason so I made sure to finish it. The cast shows great chemistry and the kids are not only adorable but with actual acting talents, which I can’t really find fault with.
Can get rather repetitive after a while. It may suit you if family/kids and a tinge of human drama is your cup of tea.
Tantei no Tantei (Fuji TV)
The plot is interesting because we don’t often see Detectives going against Detectives themselves right? It’s like cops investigating other corrupt cops instead of catching criminals. There are a lot of clever tricks and tactics in this show I admit I even felt dumb when I couldn’t figure out why they did that and for what reason until they explained. However, at the same time, I couldn’t help but ask myself, how many of those tactics are proven to actually work in reality? Are they realistic? I guess it’s up to viewers to judge. The pacing is also slightly rushed in some episodes that the emotional impact isn’t conveyed properly. The show has its ups and downs but for the most part, I enjoyed the ride. Keiko Kitagawa may not be very convincing in the beginning but towards the end, she really gives some of her best especially the showdown with Shinigami. There are some very intense provoking exchanges there. Shinigami was great too but I won’t spoil the identity here. Also gotta give Keiko props for actually getting very physical in this drama.
If you’re into dark and depressing detective dramas with a heroine who fights in almost every single episode.
Ishi no Mayu (WOWOW)
Easily one of my favorites this season. There are flaws like the blunder in ep4 and predictable villain. If only the production crew actually paid more attention to details, which they did very well throughout the show but for some odd reason, missed this part. The good aspects still outweigh the bad. Not only is the plot actually engrossing but the directing is also one of the best I’ve seen for this season. I just love how this drama is filmed, period. There isn’t much action scenes but it compensates by delivering nail-biting moments where you never know the consequence with each move being made. The flashbacks and ongoing case are cleverly woven to piece the puzzles together. The fitting background music is also laudable from intense to creepy and bittersweet score. Overall great cast, especially Kimura Fumino’s performance here as the vulnerable rookie who gradually develops into a more poised cop.
If you like crime suspense and in for a thrilling ride, don’t miss this tightly wound 5-episode drama.
Shi no Zouki (WOWOW)
This medical suspense may not be very gripping but enough to make me finish it. A mysterious woman’s death in the middle of the forest initiated an investigation and soon digs a dark hole into the world of illegal organ trading. Pacing is alright for the most part but patience is needed for some. It is however very thought-provoking especially in the finale. I like the Taiwan scenes where Numazaki (Koizumi Kotaro) goes to probe further into the case. At least the international collaboration isn’t tacky but actually believable. His chemistry with Toyohara Kosuke is also pleasant as they worked together to solve the murder case.
Worth looking into if it gets subbed in the future.
Enka: Gold Rush (WOWOW)
The plot itself is not really appealing and kinda draggy. Would’ve worked better in 3-4 ep format instead of 5. However, the one true redeeming part is the chemistry of both Mirai Moriyama and Mitsuki Takahata. I really enjoyed their interaction (though I did find that kiss in the finale a bit cheesy and could very well do without). This black comedy may not be everyone’s cup of tea and even I held it off for a while before actually finding the right mood to finish it.
There are better WOWOW dramas out there. Watch this if you’re a fan of the cast or black comedy is your cup of tea.
Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu (TBS)
I do like this show. It’s enjoyable and good music accompanying it (try listen to the OST, it’s nice). There are also lots of different characters to keep you absorbed. Be warned though, there are very cliché scenes for example the school bullying and irritating management that wants to destroy the choir, like they have nothing better to do and lots of cheesy scenes. The show tackles family issues, friendship, trust and sexuality (although just scratching on the surface). Kyoko Yoshine who plays the lead, is fairly new to me but I think she’s great here and gives a very refreshing vibe. Other honorable mentions to Arata Horii, Aoi Morikawa and Jun Shison. Initially I thought Yu Shirota might annoy me (based on impression from previous roles) but surprisingly he does a good job as the scruffy carefree advisor. It’s basically a very easygoing drama to breeze through during your free time with some heartwarming scenes.
For those who like to watch feel-good musical dramas set in high school.
Napoleon no Mura (TBS)
This is similar to Genkai Shuraku Kabushiki Kaisha which was shown earlier this year (Takashi Sorimachi, Mayu Matsuoka, Shosuke Tanihara) as well as Osozaki no Himawari (Ikuta Toma) back in 2012. In order to revive villages in the suburbs, Eiji Asai (Toshiaki Karasawa) needs to come up with various ideas to attract more city people into the outskirts. The first few episodes are fun and funny but it later succumbs into the most common plague that is too repetitive. The ideas are present but not engaging enough so I end up slightly bored towards the end. Some of the characters are too animated and be prepared for over-acting. This drama only has 7 episodes (one of the latest drama to kick off this season so it’s understandable), on hindsight, I’m glad it ends earlier because you can see it isn’t really going anywhere. The screenwriter probably ran out of ideas too. It’s a show which is meant to inspire, gives hope, Napoleon quotes inserted in between, the lead telling you ‘Nothing is impossible, it’s going to be alright!’ kind of pep talk, can come off bit preachy especially when they’re sort of pushing it in your face. It’s not all bad really, there are some nice shots of the village and you get to peek into the lives of these people, their job, their survival which can be quite interesting if you’re tired of the cities. I just wish there is more substance to it. Toshiaki Karasawa is wonderful as Eiji Asai but the character isn’t properly developed and by the end of it, I don’t really know who this guy is besides his strong motivation to revive villages and spouting Napoleon quotes.
Kicks off pretty solidly but falters towards the end. If you like village revival genre, give it a try.
One of the recent food dramas that I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s something unique about this show. It may not be very realistic because the restaurant which only serves a meal per day can re-create the exact same menu their customer requests, no matter how far back it was. Push that aside, you get a very well-produced drama with delicious looking food (because we never know how well they actually taste lol) and very good acting from the main cast. Recommended episodes are ep1 and 3. They also include a short footage at the end of each episode as guide on how to prepare certain menu.
If you’re into food drama, try this. Only 4 episodes (each one about 20 mins) so it won’t take much your time at all.
Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (Fuji TV)
Ah…ramen otaku girl. Sounds interesting already. And it sure is. A bizarre but fascinating peek into the world of ramen through our equally odd lead character Koizumi-san. As with any other food dramas, do not watch with an empty tummy. It won’t take long before you yearn for that hot smoking ramen on your screen. I like the concept of this show, it doesn’t have a thick plot, the main focus afterall is the ramen and we sure get tons of that. I appreciate all the detailed explanation of the various types of ramen and their recipe, basically very informational. They even show you the address of each ramen shop featured in the episodes. It’s more like a documentary than a drama with some light comedy.
Like Shimeshi, it’s a short 4-episode drama (20 mins) so I don’t see why you shouldn’t give this a try, at least the first episode.