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a couple

I was too lazy to format/copy/paste summaries of these series from DramaWiki.  I think I might start another blog to specifically host dorama reviews...because that's what I need, yet another blog ;_____;

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

Enjoyability: 4/5
Delivery: 3/5
“Feel good” factor: 4/5
Overall (average): 3.67

This drama…is sort of eccentric, while still appealing to the popular themes in jdrama. The plot doesn’t really hold up, in my opinion; the main character is basically depressed because he is “so good looking” that no one sees who he really is. That’s already reaching, for me, but I enjoyed this drama in spite of its weaknesses, of which there were many. The supporting cast is underdeveloped, though several subplots are devoted to them in each episode, but it reads like filler rather than a cohesive element in the drama. Nakahara Sunako’s voice is downright annoying, honestly, and I don’t feel like her character matures by the end of it–she comes off more as a plot device used for Kyohei to develop and realize his character. In fact, most of the cast seems to serve mirrors for the main character.

That being said, Kamenashi Kazuya is amazing in this drama. I’m not a huge fan of him (in fact I would go so far as to say I find him unattractive) but he was the sole reason I kept watching; he took this dubious character, who is self-conscious about his “overly good looks” and really brought him to life. When he was upset, I felt his pain. At the end, I think he HAD developed and changed, despite the unrealistic situation. He made me believe in him.

I do feel this drama is a little sexist in its treatment of Nakahara Sunako, trying to turn her into a “lady” and all. Mostly, she ends up cooking and cleaning for the boys, and no one says anything to change this. Her best moments were when she was deliberately out of character because it was written into the script; otherwise I think she is misused, both as an actress and as a character.

Overall, I enjoyed this drama despite its weaknesses. I think it delivers on entertainment value but misses the mark with some of its “lessons.” The characters lack that “relatability” factor that’s present in more successful dramas.



LIAR GAME (2 seasons + 1 movie)
Enjoyability: 5/5
Delivery: 5/5
“Feel good” factor: 5/5
Overall (average): 5

I think this is the most romantic drama I’ve ever watched; that sounds strange, since this is suspense crossed with a semi-psychological thriller, but more on that later.  There’s something about swindling and deception that I find intriguing, especially the idea of a “good swindler.”  Matsuda Shota totally delivers on this.  There’s both an edge and a sincerity about him that’s perfectly subtle but significant.  The script is written well, the “games” are cunning in their simplicity, and I never see the solution to each swindle coming.  The pacing of this series is excellent; it builds suspense, but not through cliffhangers; and just when you think the last swindle’s been won–well, you’re in for a surprise.  I will say this: the games aren’t always easy to follow the first time through, but I don’t think it takes away from the drama as a whole if you can’t understand all the intricacies.  In addition, there are explanations at the end of each swindle (which have a lecture-ish feel) that might annoy some people; but I think they are necessary, in the end, and I actually quite enjoyed the graphics.

A lot of people might be bothered by Toda Erika’s character, Kanzaki Nao.  I can understand that; she’s stupidly honest and often a complete moron when it comes to making decisions.  Her blind trust in others is always her downfall, but ultimately central to the plot, which brings me to another point: she gets better and better throughout each installment of the drama, right through to the “final stage” in the movie.  The “Liar Game” franchise takes its sweet time, fleshing out the main characters, showing their development.  In the end, I was rooting for Nao! So don’t let her gullibility in the first season turn you away from the resolution of this series–it’s worth the wait.

The romance–I have to mention this.  You can choose whether or not to see the romance, but I personally think it’s central to the underlying motives of the characters, makes the series more enjoyable overall, and emphasizes the theme of sacrifice.  It’s just this feeling I get that intensifies throughout, but it doesn’t take away from the plot if you choose not to acknowledge it.  The supporting cast are…well, they’re definitely characters–they serve their purpose but you don’t know much about their background, putting the spotlight on Akiyama and Nao.  The music is unique and helps to transition through each scene; the cinematography matches the mood perfectly, and I feel like I’ve waited all my life to hear Akiyama say in his sexyfine voice, “You lose”–in Japanese, of course.