[Review] 10 Favorite Japanese Drama of 2014


It’s kinda late to talk about 2014 Japanese drama. But—I guess—it’s not too late to share good dramas.

What makes Japanese drama shows different, likeable, more interesting, compared to other Asian drama productions? Perhaps one of the best features of J-dramas is the duration—most are produced to deliver 8-10 episodes, compared to its Korean counterparts which usually run double. I really have to say, having an average of 10 episodes is more than enough to cover most stories/plots, provide adequate character development and maintain audience interest.

Statistically, there were 135 J-dramas were shown during the year which were divided into four seasons. Seventeen shows aired during winter, a whopping 41 dramas during spring, another 41 productions in summer and 36 shows during the fall.

Naming your favorite drama shows remain subjective. If you happen to love crime-dramas, then you will prefer shows covering this genre. The ultimate success of rom-coms, family drama, school and coming of age, medical, police and detective, horror, comedy, sci-fi and many other genres depend on a number of factors—storyline, lead actors, topnotch technical features that further highlight the show, even theme song. I like watching almost all genre. But personally, I prefer what so-called detective-sci-fi-mystery-action genre (sorry to those who have different ‘taste’ with me).

For your information, I didn’t watch all the 2014 drama. So, I’m sorry if I missed one or two dramas. This is my 5 favorite dramas anyway.

So let’s begin!

10. Boku no Ita Jikan

ggfgfgI’ll open my 10 favourite J-drama with Boku no Ita Jikan.  It’s a slice-of-life drama portraying Miura Haruma as Sawada Takuto who has shown such promise yet is about to die. A tragic story I’d say and Miura just able to deliver Takuto fears and struggles well. A little advice; prepare a box of tissue, please because you will cry a lot. And that’s the reason why I put it on the 10th rank—I hate crying.

9. Summer Nude

summer nude poster A typical rom-com drama. But it has Yamashita Tomohisa as its main lead! The conflict was quite light, easy to consume. However, it was not taste plain. Worth to watch for those who love rom-com. But then, why I put this drama on the 9th position. Simply because it couldn’t draw my interest.

8. Alice no Toge

Alice's_Thorn-p1Another Ueno Juri ’s drama after Sunao ni Narenakute. I had big expectation on this, watching Ueno playing a dark role. However, I’m a bit disappointed on this. At some point, the storyline became plain predictable and simply ‘boring’ to follow with full attention. It’s a pity because the idea of medical revenge clicked so well in the background of the plot, but it wasn’t well-handled for the most part. It’s also a shame that Odagiri Joe  and Ueno Juri were effectively wasted on this.

7. Nobunaga Concerto

posterI don’t really understand Japan history, especially Oda Nobunaga. I put this drama on my watch list simply because Oguri Shun. No doubt, Oguri played the role of Oda Nobunaga and Saburo well. Even though it felt a bit odd to see Oguri as a senior high student, I’d say Oguri Shun and Shibasaki Kou look great together in this drama.

6. MOZU (Season 1&2)

Mozu_Season_1_-_Mozu_no_Sakebu_Yoru-p1 (1)

It’s a political thriller drama. Unfortunately, the thriller-action-packed show didn’t make it to the masterpiece podium. Co-produced by TBS and WOWOW, led by a ground-breaking main cast and starting with an utterly promising conflict, the drama held the signs of an outstanding drama but alas! Winds do not blow as the vessels wish. The second season wasn’t any better. However, the drama isn’t all that bad. It could be nerve-wracking at times, but that doesn’t deny its great potentials and some of its amazing characters.

5. Border

20140411-00010005-nkcyzo-000-1-view It’s Oguri Shun, ladies and gentlemen! What could be any better? Here, he plays a detective role who got shot in the head while in an investigation. He barely survived but could see dead people—ghost in exact—afterward. The plot was a bit predictable but wait until the last episode. You’ll be surprised by it.

4. Bitter Blood

Bitter_Blood-p1I am a big fan of Sato Takeru. Amazed by his acting in Rurouni Kenshin, I decided to continue watching all his dramas and movies. Plus, this drama is a police drama, a-must-to-watch-drama. Actually Bitter Blood is another typical investigation J-drama. All the cliché cases of the detective genre were blunt clear in the plot, but it still managed to stand out due to the strong bromance—between a father-and-son partner—and great sense of humour. The best part was the bad blood between the father and son; they don’t get along, and they’re as different as night and day. In my opinion, that’s what made Bitter Blood catch my attention; the path they took to become good partners or the funny situations both of them were put into.

3. Nazo no Tenkousei

Nazo_no_Tenkosei-tp After two action-thriller dramas, finally it’s a different genre. It’s a mix of sci-fi and mystery. And another good point is that set of young actors! Yay to that. You know, watching dramas with a set of young talented and handsome actors may a little bit ’refresh our eyes’. However, Nazo no Tenkosei was not all about that. It had cool opening and ending theme song. I just love how Hongo Kanata played the role of a humanoid alien who pretended as a weird and a little bit stupid transfer student. And, oh, I also love Asuka’s character here. Sugisaki Hana succeeded in bringing out cheerful yet mysterious side of Asuka.

2. N no Tame Ni

N_tame I should admit that at first, I didn’t put it on my watch list. Simply because I don’t really know the actors/actresses. But I watched it anyway and surprised for the unpredictable plot—and ending. It may appear to be cruel or biased even, but you will savour each and every episode with both dread and gusto—and a bit sympathy maybe. N no Tame ni is a mixture of drama, mystery and murder. Both featured Japan’s most accomplished young talents—the kinds who can elevate drama with unconscious effort.

1. Wakamonotachi

Wakamonotachi_zpsb0236ebf Wakamonotachi and N no Tame Ni share the same fate. I mean, I didn’t really consider them as excellent dramas at first—my bad. If it’s not for Eita in the set of actors, I wouldn’t put it on watch list. Wakamonotachi is a heart-warming family drama that deals with the problems of their members. It’s evident that Japanese are professional at keeping situations realistic and moving. It’s also important to note that the wonderful actors weren’t the drama’s only strong point, the scriptwiter knew how to handle a star-studded cast by giving each of them credit in a well-written piece.

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