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New Dorama Reviews

SPRING SEASON April 2002 - July 2002 (under construction)

This is a personal 1/2 - 5 star-system reviews on the doramas that are being On Air in Japan right now. Please note that this is just my personal reviews which of course are colored by my taste and preference at a given time, so please do not depend too much on them nor take them too seriously. Also they are not complete synopsises and I will avoid any spoiler if I could. For further details on each dorama please check the Official HPs. For comments or questions about any of these doramas, please direct it on the Mailing List.

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Golden Bowl - 返信 -


Kaneshiro Takeshi, Kuroki Hitomi, Enomoto Kanako, Tanaka Ritsuko etc.

[29]Episode 1
Re: Golden Bowl

In this dorama Kaneshiro Takeshi plays as Akutagawa Tsuyoshi, a 32 year-old salaryman at a trading company. His love for bowling made him stop by a Bowling Center named Golden Bowl. There he met a 38 year-old housewife Sakura Hitomi (Kuroki Hitomi) who happened to be his neighbour and who has the same passion for bowling as he is. Her love for #13 reveals that 13 is her name (Hito = 1 and mi = 3). Akutagawa also loves #13 because his girlfriend, who had died in a traffic accident, was also called Hitomi.

Meanwhile, the owner of Golden Bowl announced that he was going to sign a contract to sell the place because it was hard for him to make ends meet as bowling is not that popular anymore and hardly any customers will come to play. The person who wanted to buy the place intend to change it into a love hotel. Knowing this, the workers, helped by Akutagawa and Hitomi, fought to retain the place and persuaded the owner not to sign the contract. To prove that Golden Bowl can do well and no need to be sold to anybody, they have to beat competitors in bowling.

I love the style of Kaneshiro and Hitomi when bowling, they look so cool and sexy, and their exchanges with each other are funny and witty. Though at that time Hitomi is married and is 6 years older than Akutagawa, it is clear that it is their destiny to fall in love with each other, just as the theme song is "You Are My Destiny".

Enomoto Kanako plays as a young mother working in a nite club so she has to take her small boy to Golden Bowl while she is at work. She is in love with the Manager of the Golden Bowl.

Official HP

[31]Episode 2
Re: Golden Bowl

under construction

[43]Episode 3
Re: Golden Bowl

under construction

Yume No California - 返信 -


Dohmoto Tsuyoshi, Shibasaki Kou, Kuninaka Ryoko, Tanabe Seichi etc.

Official HP

[12]Episode 1
Re:Yume No California

If you want to see a dorama from this season which has a REAL quality, then this is it: Yume No California. To give an accurate review, as I don't want to under-rate nor over-rate any dorama (at least by my own taste and standard), I watched this dorama twice and the more I watched it, the more I am impressed by the characterization of the characters in this dorama. The scriptwriter gave an in-depth characterization, an a very realistic one to each character namely the 3 protagonists Shu (Domoto Tsuyoshi), Keiko (Kuninaka Ryoko), and Kotomi (Shibasaki Kou).

Domoto Tsuyoshi as Shu plays practically a nobody, and when I said nobody, it is really a nobody. He is a boring person, nobody except 2 people even remembers that he ever exists when he went to a class reunion, his own mother keeps saying he is a boring person, just as everybody says how boring he is. He goes to a University that nobody ever knows even if he told them, nobody listens to him when he speaks, he is almost like the invisible man. This is really a very interesting character to begin with.

The two girls plays one who is bored to death with her own life and life in general and end up being rebellious, and another is not having self-confidence whatsoever despite being pretty and being a model that she is unable to smile at all. Both Kuninaka (of Chula-san) and Kou (of GO) are excellent in portraying these troubled characters.

These 3 people will interweave with each other and create a story and manage and handle life to the best they can....and surviving a shock of seeing a dear friend committed suicide right in front of them without their knowing why and this may haunt them the rest of their lives.

This dorama bears the promise of an excellent seishun graffiti (youth graffiti) and it can get worse or get better I don't know. But if it can keep each episode like this, this will be a must-watch for any dorama fans. It also reallistically reflect japanese society (in this 1st episode) if you are curious to see the real thing. Very highly recommended.

Official HP

[20]Episode 2

I couldn't help crying and feeling so sad when I was watching this second episode, it was just too painful to see these three persons. What is so good about this dorama is that it is not trying to be melodramatic and self-pitying or even asking for sympathy. All the pains and feelings of being lost, confused, bewildered and hopeless were conveyed in a subtle and indirect manner, with a deep insight of psychology. It is just so heartbreaking....Like when both Keiko and Shu met each other standing in front of a University. This is the University which Keiko failed to be admitted and this failure had practically changed her and destroyed her hope in life. This is the University Shu would never even dare to dream of being admitted as he is not smart enough. But ironically this is also the University of the friend who committed suicide....When Shu saw the students there, he said that different from the students of his own University, they look very smart. Keiko also commented that the students there looked so young while she felt so old, and then dropped a tear.
Both of them secretly sat at a lecture though they didn't understand what the proffessor was saying, and then ate at the school canteen, and sat in the library until closing time. It was so painful to watch this. The sense of longing for something that they wanted but could never have.

Another heartbreaking scene, when Shu went for a job interview and was asked what his vision of life was, he couldn't reply.....so of course he failed in getting the job. The same thing happened with Kotomi who went for an audition. When she was asked to smile, she couldn't. When she forced herself to smile, a tear dropped from her eyes while smiling, it was such an ironic sight. I couldn't bear to see this....

I felt soooo sad seeing them. And they still had to deal with guilt feelings because before their friend comitted suicide, he asked them if there would be any good thing in the future and the three couldn't answer, so the friend just jumped to his death in front of their eyes.

Tanabe Seichi who plays as Shu's co-worker in his part-time job is excellent too. He really did a good job with his ever-smiling face and his cynical and down-to-earth attitude toward life. He is the perfect juxtaposition to Shu and when they are together, they really make an interesting pair with their contrast in almost everything.

I really hope that one day, for them California is not just a dream.....Ganbare Shu, Keiko and Kotomi!

[32]Episode 3
Re: Yume No california

under construction

[42]Episode 4
Re: Yume No California

Under cosntruction

Big Money - 返信 -


Nagase Tomoya, Harada Taizou, Ueki Hitoshi etc

Official HP

[8]Episode 1
Re:Big Money

Nagase Tomoya plays Shirato Norimichi, a young man who came to Tokyo and is looking for a white-collar job but fails to get one. After doing a kindness to an elderly man who got caught in a yakuza fight, his life changed. The elderly man, Kotsuka, turns out to be the famous "King of the stock market" who is backed up by his own horde of Yakuza syndicate. Now Norimichi is trained by Kotsuka in the business of stock market and had to read the stock news everyday and memorize figures.

Harada Taizo from Neptune plays Yamazaki, an elite from Matsuba Bank who is very ruthless and only has money in his mind, at all cost.

It is very interesting to see how Norimichi will fight the baddies with his strong seigi no mikata (sense of rightness). Behind him is Kotsuka, the powerful yakuza group, and his childhood friend Michiru, who is secretly in love with Norimichi.

Official HP

[18]Episode 2
Re:Big Money

In the second episode, Norimichi was cheated by a Lady into signing a contract that he would have to pay back whaever loss he may cause her from losing money from the stock market. Now owing her 5000.000 yen, Norimichi does not escape from his responsibility though he was cheated. He vowed to pay back to the Lady who told him that she desperately needed the money to finance her son in medical school though she is divorced from her husband and lives apart from her son.

Norimichi then went to borrow money from Matsuba Bank only to be insulted by Yamazaki (Harada Taizo). When refusing Norimichi, Yamazaki didn't even take a single look at Norimichi, but just looked at his resume. He said there was no need to look at the face, as the paper is what he all need to know. Yamazaki is treating people as if they are not made of flesh and blood.
I was so angry seeing how when Yamazaki went to close a man's shop because he couldn't pay back the loan, he did a very inhuman thing. The old man cut his own palm with a knife and bled, saying that he is human of flesh and blood, but Yamazaki calmly took the man's other finger and used the blood to sign the closing of the shop with a bloody fingerprint!! When I saw this, I really wish Norimichi will later able to fix this guy! Later Yamazaki received order from his Boss to give Norimichi the loan, after Kotsuka plays a role behind this.

In the end, Norimichi succeeded in getting the 5000.000 yen from winning the stock, and paid back his debt to Yamazaki. His way of paying the money back is very impressive, and to see the face of Yamazaki in awe of Norimichi now.

Being a gentle person, Norimichi even went to see the cheating Lady's son in medical school and found out that the Lady was lying about his son loving her and giving her her favorite flowers, as the son said he hated his mother for leaving the family and just runs after money, and refused the 5000.000 yen from his Mom. He also denied that he ever gave her any flowers.

It is very enlightening when later Kotsuka told Norimichi that there are many ways of expressing love, and that even money can express love so this Lady is in fact expressing her love to her son via money because she knows no other way to express love. It is Norimichi that then could convince the son about his Mom really loving him and made him agree to accept the money for financing his study. And the end of this episode is very heartwarming when finally the son realized that his Mom does love him and went to meet her at the flower shop to thank her and bought her her favorite flowers.

A heartwarming human dorama in which the baddies will sure have no chance to prevail! Just my kind of dorama. This is the first time Yamazaki knows that he cannot take Norimichi for granted.

[25]Episode 3
Re: Big Money

under construction

[41]Episode 4
RE: Big Money

under construction

Nemurenu Yoru Wo Daite - 返信 -


Zaizen Naomi, Nakamura Toru, Kakei Toshio, Tanabe Seichi etc.

Official HP

[22]Episode 1

The dorama opens with a scene 11 years ago in the Gold Coast, Australia where a robbery occured in a Japanese bank and a bank worker, a japanese girl named Oide Ruiko got shot and killed. Not long after, one person supposed to be one of the robbers got killed too in his own house. Nobody knew who the other robber/s who bagged a huge some of money from the bank and escaped.

Now is 2002, April. Nakagawa (Nakamura Toru), his wife Yuko (Zaizen Naomi) and their 9 years-old daughter Minna began a new life by moving to a beautiful resort village named Motosumi-shi. Nakagawa is the president of a small company dealing with real estates and homes. With his company's help, two other families also moved to the same village and they become neighbours. They are Shindo family (who have a small son) and Yamaji family (who also have a small son) and the wives and kids soon become good friends.

One night, Shindo's wife became hysterical and threw things out from the second floor's veranda, to Nakagawa's and Yuko's shock. The next day, Shindo's wife told Yuko and Yamaji's wife that she was upset because she found out the picture/s of the woman whom her husband could never forget in one of her husband's unopened box. She said that she had known all along that her husband had never really loved her because he loved another woman. She later told them that she had no chance of beating this woman because she was dead and thus eternally carved in her husband's mind.

Four days later, the Shindo family disappeared, all there of them, including their little boy Takuya. Everything in the house stayed as if they left by force....all the dirty dishes in the sink, the doll with the severed head....

Official HP

[23]Episode 2

The mysterious disappearance of one family had made big news on TV and the Police was informed and began investigation. Chief detective played by Osugi Ren (who had one wooden leg) began to prob into the matter by questioning both Nakagawa and Yuko. The Yamaji family was also being questioned. Yuko (Zaizen Naomi), who is the lead in this dorama could feel that the Detective was suspicious of them as newcomers to the village, especially suspicious of her own husband who was the developer of the resort homes Shindo (Tanabe Seichi) and Yamaji (Kakei Toshio) bought. Of course Yuko, who loved her husband very much, believed in her husband's innocence.

Meanwhile, Yamaji's wife Kimie recognized that one of Nakagawa's worker (played by Arata) was an ex Self Defense Force who was involved in an incident 10 years ago. One of the soldiers training with him was found dead and he had to quit the Force but no other investigation was made because it was halted by the Self Defense Force itself. Yamaji's wife used to be the director of a TV network's news who was in charge to cover the incident so she recognized this man. But he pretended that she was mistaking him for someone else and avoided her questions.

They began to launch a search party consisting of the villagers and the police and volunteers. But Shindo, his wife Moe and the little boy Takuya were nowhere to be found. During this search, Kimie (Yamaji's wife) confided to Yuko that she had the feeling that her own husband knows the woman who had beed dead and whom Shindo could not forget. Yuko, who thought that Yamaji and Shindo knew nothing about each other before moving to the village, became very surprised.

A few days later, Yamaji family disappeared! Yamaji, his wife Kimie, and their small son Satoru, vanished into thin air just like the Shindo family.

Official HP

[39]Episode 3
Re: Nemurenu Yoru wo Daite

Under construction

[40]Episode 4
Re: Nemurenu Yoru wo Daite

Under construction

First Love - 返信 -


Watabe Atsuro, Fukada Kyoko, Wakui Emi, Takeuchi Hiroyuki etc.

Official HP

[17]Episode 1
Re:First Love

Fukada Kyoko plays Kasumi, a worker at a company which job giving wedding ceremonies and parties to couples. She has an elder sister played by Wakui Emi, who writes books on love and relationship that she is called Koi No Kamisama or God of Love. Flashbacks reveals that 6 years ago Kasumi was involved in a love relationship with her own homeroom teacher at High School. Watabe Atsuro plays Nao, the teacher and the first love of Kasumi.

But one day Nao disappeared without any explanation, and Kasumi cannot forget him. Five years later he appeared again, but already bethroted to Kasumi's own sister, who met him as he is now working as a Counselor and Kasumi's sister is his own client.

I just give this dorama a two and a half star because the editing is really messy with so many flashbacks and the lightings are really bad, some scenes were taken real dark that we cannot see the expression of the faces. Besides, I cannot see that there will be a good development in the story and I predict this will be a kind of dragging love story....maybe the sister gets jealous and gets neurotic or maybe can even turn dangerous, and Kasumi being swayed between her love for Nao and for her own ex-classmate played by Takeuchi Hiroyuki, and Nao swayed between his fiance or Kasumi....

Official HP

[24]Episode 2
Re: First Love

under construction

[38]Episode 3
Re: First Love

Under construction

Gokusen - 返信 -


Nakama Yukie, Matsumoto Jun, Ito Misaki, Nakazawa Yuko, Sawamura Ikki etc.

Official HP

[10]Episode 1

Gokusen is taken from a comic/manga "Gokusen" by Morimoto Shoko. The story is about a new and young home-room teacher Yamaguchi Kumiko (Nakama Yukie) at a boys-only High School. She was assigned to a class famous for difficult students, among whom are Sagawa (Matsumoto Jun) and Uchiyama (Oguri Shun). Nobody knows that she is in fact the granddaughter of the famous and scary yakuza Leader and that she can be as scary as her chimpiras that dote on her and call her "Ojou" (queen), among whom is Kaneko Ken as "Tetsu" who seems to be secretly in love with Kumiko.

Ito Misaki here plays as an English teacher and Nakazawa Yuko as the school's emergency-room attendant. Sawamura Ikki plays as a detective and the three women are all interested in him. Kumiko may not reveal about her background though, as the school will definitely fire her if they know that she comes from a yakuza family. She doesn't want her background known either as then she will stand no chance to win Sawamura.

The first episode deals with the accusation from the School's Kyoto Sensei towards one of Kumiko's students and Kumiko, who believes in all her students, tried hard to prove his innocence. The scenes are quite funny and it is fun to see how Kumiko showed that she can fight with her fists and kicks too! It is hilarious when she will use the yakuza language and shock everyone! Despite her background, she is the only one that still believes in the goodness of her difficult students and vows to guide them to graduate from the school successfully though they were regarded as useless delinquents by the other teachers.

Official HP

[36]Episode 3
Re: Gokusen

under construction

Seikei Bijin - 返信 -


Yonekura Ryoko, Shiina Kippei, Kato Haruhiko etc.

Official HP

[15]Episode 2
Re:Seikei Bijin

In the second episode, Honami starts to launch her "attack" on Fujishima, despite protests from her own little brother played by Kato Haruhiko, and despite the fact that Fujishima already has a fiance. She will find ways to bump into him and pretends that it was just coincidence and will try hard to cater to whatever he says. Arghhh I just can't stand this.....and to see Fujishima with his lecture on this and on that....though he has quite a sound mind and very interesting philosophy on women and life and flowers....he is getting on my nerves!! ^_^ Can't see why Honami is so smitten by such an arrogant man!

The episode ends with Honami asking to be kissed again (as she did at the end of episode 1) and this time Fujishima did kiss her! Eeeek!! Dame da kore wa!

Official HP

[26]Episode 3
Re: Seikei Bijin

As I expected, Fujishima dumped Honami! After kissing her and giving her false hopes! And said it is Honami's own fault that she harbored hopes just after one kiss and said that she is a bother to him and to get lost!
Maybe I should give this episode a two an a half just for the few seconds at the end of this episode when Honami ran after Fujishima's car, took off one of her shoes, and threw it on Fujishima's car while shouting BAGEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Hahahaha...that serves him right! But Honami is definitely at fault too for being so "cheap"!
I don't know why but this dorama made me iraira suru....(gets on my nerves). I just wish Honami can respect herself more!

[35]Episode 4
Re: Seikei Bijin

I'll stop watching this dorama.....Not interested. Now Honami wanted to do yet another plastic surgery as she thinks she is not beautiful enough to attract Fujishima!! Arghhhh!!

Haru Ranman - 返信 -


Fuji TV Tuesdays 10:00 PM- 10:54 PM

Oshio Manabu, Tomosaka Rie, Henmi Emiri, Kitamura Kazuki etc.

Official HP

[6]Episode 1
Re:Haru Ranman


Official HP

[7]Episode 2
Re:Haru Ranman

This second episode is just completely hilarious! ^o^ I couldn't stop laughing from almost the beginning to the end. The scene opened with Akane (Tomosaka Rie) and Shouta (Oshio Manabu) bickering over the seat of the toilet, that Shouta should put the seat back down each time he uses the toilet but he refuses. It turns out later that his Section Chief is also having trouble with his wife over the seat of the toilet in the house. It is so funny that such a small thing can be made into such a theme. This dorama is a comedy yes, so if you want to have a good laugh, this is it! Tomosaka herself is very comical, and I didn't know that Oshio can act so funny as usually he acts as a cool guy. It is also hilarious how the two girls in the office are trying to win him.

The episode develops over Jouji (Kitamura Kazuki) who secretly brought a girl to Akane's apartment but suddenly his girlfriend came and caused panick and a lot of funny things happened when Shouta tried to cover up by going to bed with that girl instead, ending up with the girl leaving Jouji and I can guess she will start stalking or harassing Shouta in episode 3.
So funny!

When later quarelling with Jouji, Shouta twinged Akane's heart when he said that any girl becoming his girfriend will be the happiest girl in the world because he would never take a look at any other girl.

So far this is the dorama that I really enjoy (having a good time) watching the most.

Official HP

[30]Episode 3
Re: Haru ranman

under construction

[34]Episode 4
Re: Haru Ranman

Under construction

Sora Kara Furu Ichi Oku no Hoshi - 返信 -


Kimura Takuya, Fukatsu Eri, Akashiya Sanma, Igawa Haruka, Shibasaki Kou etc.

Official HP

[27]Episode 2
Re: Sora Kara Furu Ichi Oku No Hoshi

Under construction

[33]Episode 3
Re: Sora Kara Furu Ichi Oku No Hoshi

under construction

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