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Kekkon Shiyouyo

Kekkon Shiyouyo
Starring:
Eguchi Yosuke
Ishida Hikari
Matsukata Hiroki
Aso Yumi
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi
Mabuchi Erika
Theme Song: “Travelling Boy” by Eguchi Yosuke

Kekkon Shiyouyo is the tale of Eguchi Yosuke as Tonoyama Keitaro, a single father who is in danger of losing his son to his ex-wife unless he can get married and prove to the courts that he can provide a stable environment for him. Ishida Hikari’s character Yuikawa Miwa is a young entrepreneur who needs a place to stay because her apartment has fallen into disrepair. Together they form an agreement that will benefit them both: Miwa will marry Keitaro in a sham marraige in exchange for lodging in his cozy condominium. Will their ruse work? Will everyone’s plans come to fruition? And most importantly, will the two realize they are made for each other and actually fall in love with each other?

Ah, I loved this drama so MUCH!!! From its wonderful opening song and credits, to the fine acting cast, this one had me captivated all the way to the end! Funny, though I didn’t much care for the ending at the time, upon recent re-viewing, I’ve come to realize what a nice ending it actually was! And I have to say, I had SUCH a MAD CRUSH on Hikari Ishida in this one, you don’t even KNOW!

Z’s Rating: 9/10

Risky Game

Risky Game
Starring:
Matsushita Yuki
Ishida Yuriko
Mizuno Maki
Toyohara Kosuke
Theme Song: “Koi Wa Mune ni Saki Midare” by Kobayashi Megumi

When I finally broke down and subscribed to NGN (I loved Long Vacation soooo much I just HAD to enroll!) I was excited at the prospect of having so many new shows to watch. Unfortunately, not all of them were as good as Long Vacation, and one of the very first NGN shows I watched was this exteremely weird show called RISKY GAME.

It starts off straightforward enough- three young professional women making their way in the big city until they all somehow get drawn into this web of secrets and mystery. SO i’m watching this show thinking at first what good looking ladies these are (yes, I even though Yuki Matsushita was hot back then) and suddenly I began to think, ‘”huh, this is getting strange.”

As the women probe further into this strange company and its building facilities, instead of getting more excited, I bagan to get more and more lost! I kept waiting for things to start making sense, but upon reflection, I think I stayed confused throughout the entire series! AHAHAHAHA

Ahhhn~ I remember after this show losing some of the initial excitement I had for Japanese dramas, and the next drama after this didn’t help either as it was the equally wacky  Yuki Uchida TSUBASA WO KUDASAI.

PS: I remember marvelling at how much actress Mizuno Maki reminded me of CoCo idol princess Miura Rieko, though none of my friends agreed with me! In fact, it’s only been recently that people are admitting that they can see what I was seeing  so long ago!

Long Vacation

Long Vacation

Long Vacation
Starring:
Kimura Takuya
Yamaguchi Tomoko
Takenouchi Yutaka
Ryo
Matsu Takako
Theme Song: La La La Love Song by Kubota Toshinobu with Naomi Campbell
Oh boy, did I love this drama! I’d watched a few dramas before, but this was the one that made me subscribe to NGN and made drama watching a top priority in my life! A friend had given me a VHS tape with Episodes 1 through 3  on it, and I remember that after watching that tpape, the show was SOOOO good, I immediately called him up and said “OK, Where’s the REST of the series?!” But that was it- the rest of the show hadn’t AIRED yet!! Argh, waiting was too harsh! He assured me that when NGN ran the next episode, he’d tape it, and get it to me the following weekend. Following Weekend?! I couldn’t  WAIT that long! So I ended up subscribing to NGN myself, so that I could at least see it as soon as it aired!
But NGN pulled some sneaky trick on all us viewers during the last episode… Just as the show reached its happy climax, it abruptly cut off, and went straight to the “This drama is fiction” disclaimer. I just couldn’t believe that was ALL there was to the show, so I went to a video rental store and rented a copy of the JAPANESE broadcast of the last episode and… SURE ENOUGH, there was more…a LOT more, and HELL, it was the ENDING, fer chrisssakes, how can you cut that out?!!
Luckily, years later, the same friend who gave me that VHS tape years ago got me DVDs with hardsubs of this wonderful show, clear and WITH THE ENDING INTACT!!! Ahahahaha!
Z’s RATING: 10/10
Z’s RANKING: #2

Kagayaku Toki No Naka De

Kagayaku Toki No Naka De
Starring:
Ishida Hikari
Hosaka Naoki
Nakai Masahiro
Shinohara Ryoko
Imori Miyuki
Izumi Inamori
Nagatsuka Kyozo
Theme Song: “Kimi Ga Itakara” by FIELD OF VIEW

My friend at work knew how much I loved the song “Kimi Ga Itakara” by Field Of View, and when he noticed I was getting into dramas in a big way, he lent me his VHS copies of the drama the song was from, Kagayaku Toki No Naka De (A Time To Shine), a story of five medical student hopefuls attempting to get accepted into a major hospital.

The lovely Hikari Ishida is the “main” character, the regular girl in the mix of oddities and eccentricities: Hosaka Naoki as the conceited golden boy, Shinohara Ryoko as the “ha-cha-cha” babe, Imori Yuki as the pregnant Mother to be, as well as fine performances by Izumi Inamori as the “bitch” and Nakai Masahiro as the “*sshole” HAHAHAHA

Oh man I kid you not, Nakai’s character was such a weaselly worm, it actually took awhile before I could even like Nakai anywhere!

Z’s Rating: 7/10

Tatakau Oyomesama

Tatakau Oyomesama
Starring:
Matsumoto Akiko
Hosaka Naoki
Hashizume Isao
Theme Song: “Rondo” by Matsutoya Yumi

In the days before the internet, you had to rely on whatever the local Japanese programmer would decide to pick up, and if you didn’t even have NGN, the choices were even less than that! In the days when I only had KIKU to watch, I grabbed whatever I could, and that’s how I came to watch Tatakau Oyomesama, or THE BRIDE TO BE, that zany show starring Matsumoto Akiko and Hosaka Naoki!

This was an alright drama, though I must admit that at this point I don’t remember too much about it, besides the usual shenanigans with the Bride and Groom battling with the crotchety father. And of course, the theme song “Rondo” was the very first song I ever heard from Yumi Matsutoya! This show was just about the first show I began taping from the first episode (the others like Chef and Say You Love Me, I came in later) so maybe that’s why I’ve always felt a connection to this one.

It’s funny how Matsumoto Akiko and Hosaka Naoki appeared in so many shows around this time,  I haven’t seen any of them in quite awhile. In fact, the last thing I saw Matsumoto in was as co-host of the yoru Mo Hit Parade show, and the last for Hosaka in was that crazy MPD Psycho drama!

Z’s Rating: 5/10

 

Kagayake! Rintaro

Kagayake! Rintaro

Karasawa Toshiaki
Nagatsuka Kyozo
Tsumiki Miho
Terawaki Yasufumi
Esumi Makiko
Chii Takeo
Kiki Kirin
Nishimura Masahiko

HAHAHAHA! Just one look at that picture from the cover of Kagayake Rintaro reminds me at once how much FUN this drama was! Besides introducing me to the awesome acting skills of both Karasawa Toshiaki AND Esumi Makiko, this was among the first dramas that I watched “all on my own”, without someone having suggested it to me…yep, I was finally getting “Into” japanese dramas, and what a wonderful way to start!!

 

Z’s RATING: 10/10
Z’s RANKING: #12

Hideyoshi

The NHK 35th Taiga Drama: Hideyoshi
Starring:

Takenaka Naoto
Sawaguchi Yasuko
Takashima Masanobu
Matsu Takako
Zaitsu Ichiro
Fukaura Kanako
Hosokawa Naomi
Kawakami Maiko
Okamoto Kenichi
Sanada Hiroyuki
Nishimura Masahiko
Nakadai Tatsuya
Watari Tetsuya

The first Taiga Drama I ever saw, this one really blew me away and has remained the Taiga Drama that ALL OTHER Taiga Dramas must compare, and I have to say that in my opinion, they’ve never even come CLOSE to how fricking great this drama is. I mean, Watari Tetsuya as Oda Nobunaga? HELL YEAH! NOBODY’s done it better! And then there’s Takenaka’s maniacal portrayal of Hideyoshi, Yorichika Mitsuko’s  beautiful take on Lady Oichi and effin’ Sanada Hiroyuki as Ishida Mitsunari! ‘Nuff Said!
Z’s RATING:10/10
Z’S RANKING: #3