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Spring has passed ans Summer will soon end, and what 2014 has given us? It's not a bad year in the drama-land, we get to see some good dramas, and some not so good ones. Again, my criteria of watching drama is off course skewed to my preference, and to hell with the ratings, though I'm quite happy if the drama that I watch gained ratings too. As always, it's gotta have the ikemen requirement fulfilled, if not, the story is better to be damn good. Ha!

So, without further a do, let's get on with the long post XD

Spring 2014

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Alice no Toge ~ If I have to make a short description of this drama, it's basically the female version of Maou. It's all about revenge in medical field. Ueno Juri as the protagonist is full of vengeance to get even with the doctors who butchered her dad on the operation table 1 years ago, with the hospital wrongly accused her dad for the crime that he didn't do. The brilliant part of this drama is that as the plot is building up, we get to see that there's more behind the malpractice operation. There're schemes within schemes that the protagonist must uncover in order to get to the truth. And you'd never really expect the ending until about 1 episode left just because there's nobody else to pinpoint to. I love Ueno Juri's acting here, her character is so dark but unlike Ohno's character in Maou, here, Mizuno sensei's character shows dilemma & reluctance which I think we won't see if the character is a male, instead of female. This series gets me curious week after week as to what strategy that Mizuno is plotting against the hospital big shots, just like Maou made me sit on edges when I watched it. But fret not, the ending is not as gruesome as Maou.

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Bitter Blood ~ In the midst of so many gloomy & dark drama for Spring 2014, we have to have a light drama to negate all the negativity and this drama is perfect. If you're used to see the cool Sato Takeru, you will see a totally different Sato Takeru here in form of Sahara Natsuki, a rookie cop who ends up partnering with his estranged daddy. The hilarity comes with the set of a team of detectives who are actually quite useless, and only with sheer coincidence and chain of events that they manage to solve cases (sometimes daddy made good calls but that's about it out of the whole team XD). Totally an entertaining drama to lighten up your day and having Sato Takeru running around in suits is not a bad view, definitely, LOL!

BORDER ~ Basically the BEST drama in the season! Hands down! It's a dark drama, and it's quite short for a good drama with a good rating, which leads to a question, any season 2? SP? movie? on the pipeline? This drama nails lots of borderline matters between the good and the bad, and how Ishikawa tries to keep himself on the light side while solving the cases with the help of extra information from the dead. But how long can Ishikawa keep himself away from the dark side? Will he fall off the edge? Well, the ending is just... screams & feels here. Definitely recommend this drama to even non J-drama watcher because it's that good! This drama actually gives a new light for me on Shun Oguri's acting, so I'll be looking forward to his next projects, which is quite A LOT.

Mozu Season 1 ~ Another dark drama, but unlike Border, this drama requires lots of brain power even with the subs. There are lots of different plots and layers of conspiracy and you'll wonder how Shingai can be still alive after all those ordeals. I like this drama because even though it's heavy, the plot peaks my curiosity, will the trio get to the bottom of the truth or not, who'll get killed or who'll get nabbed, etc. You won't get any humor in this drama at all, but they have the good action scenes and no, it's not boring, it's just heavy. So just check it out if you have the brain capacity to digest all the information.

Shinigami-kun ~ To me, this would be just an obligatory watch. It's quite boring since the first episode until the Akuma shows up, but by then, it's a bit too late and we have repetitive mode of evil vs good and what I don't like here the most is Ohno's character, it's just too righteous that it's sickening. Overall, it's quite disappointing that Ohno get this drama because he deserves a much better drama with his acting skills. Here, he's just replicating what he's done for Kaibutsu-kun, and I like Kaibutsu-kun drama much better compare to this, though it's also not my favorite Ohno's drama.

Yowakutemo Kattemasu ~ This season is just not the season for Arashi drama. But if I were to choose between Shinigami-kun and Yowakutemo, it'll be Yowakutemo. Why? Because the story is more compelling to me, though it's slow. When I mean slow, it's really SLOW. They could have done better job with the plot, but oh well, it's done, and with the result, expecting Nino to pull in the rating from Arashi side is just not fair, in my opinion. A lot of side story can be developed better (eg. the students triangle love story), but alas, it just ends up like a lazy drama for me. The one redeeming character deserves a highlight is Kanata Hongo's and it's because Kanata Hongo is the one playing it. The poor but obnoxious and spotlight loving kid is just hilarious at times but also heart breaking when he hast to quit school due to the family's financial problem. So, is it worth the watch? Well, yes if you're a hardcore Nino fan, but this drama is not a priority.

And we have the SPs:

Jiken Kyuumeii ~ IMAT no Kiseki 2 ~ Tamaki Hiroshi & Tanaka Kei returns for being the IMAT doctor and the SIT in another terror case. This time, it started with the bus hijacking. But what's the motive of that bus hijack? To me, this is just the regular IMAT and police drama, with bonus of Tamaki XD. There's an unexpected twist at the end, which leaves quite a sad feeling for the ending, but overall, good drama to watch (I mean, for those who like police & medical drama).

Jishaku Otoko ~ I made the long summary here for this because I just love this SP. It's funny while hit on some reality to it but off course the drama itself is quite far from reality, which where the funny comes from. XD, you'll love this if you love 1. Mukai and 2. Rom com. Plus, watch out for the random western songs used in this drama for the hilarity!

Satsujin Hensachi 70 ~ This one is another dark drama with lots of angst and despair. You'll see good acting chops from Miura Haruma & Shirota Yu and you won't disappoint. Both have grown in acting department and I just love to see it XD. Made a few caps here because while it's depressing, there're bits of reality for us to ponder upon. To what extent we have to meet people's expectation? Can we just live according to our expectation, going against the society?

Shi no Hassou ~ Mukai is damn productive! Another SP and it's a little gloomy, Mukai is a reporter working to solve the case and uncover some fund embezzlement. A bit slow but the last portion is quite OK as the plot progress quicker. A decent drama, and to be honest, Mukai is the only reason I watch this drama, so... yeah...

Summer 2014

Summer has not ended yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll stick with this list and what's left will be the SPs. As usual, with the exception of 2013, summer has the least amount of drama in my watch list.

HERO 2014 ~ Kimutaku is back as Kuryu, the eccentric prosecutor who loves TV shopping. The franchise is back with the new cast, and some old cast. Nobody can replace Matsu Takako, but so far Kitagawa Keiko blends in quite good and the chemistry with Kuryu is different from the one with Matsu Takako, so all is well and I guess there won't be a riot from fans.
The franchise is still faithful to the original episodes pattern so I look forward to the big case toward the end of the series.

Hirugao ~ This is one of the drama that I like for this season. It's messy from the first episode with boring housewives who have too much time to spare in the afternoon. One is sexually frustrated (all the blame go to the husband, how dare he don't touch his wife but fool around in the office) and another one is just a naughty wife live with a control freak, possessive but rich husband. So when these 2 meets under not so fortunate circumstances and other characters involve, then it becomes even messier. This is similar to Glass no Ie, and what do you know, Saito Takumi was in it as well. His character is less passionate in here, but the result is still the same LOL. I'm curious on how this drama will end XD.

Mozu Season 2 ~ If you think Season 1 is heavy and confusing, Season 2 is worse. This is the first time I saw so many translation notes included in the sub just so that we don't get confused. So, I'd imagine how confusing it can be when you watch it real time and without subs. But nevertheless, I still watch this because I want to know what actually happened to Kuraki's wife.

ST ~ This is a funny police drama with a team of eccentric people (scientist, profiler, physician, etc) solving cases. Interesting yet, I cannot comment much because I still watch the beginning of this drama.

Kinkyori Renai ~ Season Zero ~ The Junior drama this season. It's the prequel for Yamapi's new movie. I haven't gotten the later episodes but the first 3 episodes were good! Made some caps here.
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