Episode 2 Review: The Guidance Counselor/Tomorrow’s Promise – 明日の約束 [Japanese Drama]

In the initial episode of Ashita no Yakusoku, we see a young boy wearing a black hoodie takes spray paint and rope from a hardware store. This scene is interlaced with the figure of a young woman who observes on-going classes at Tsubakigaoka High School.

 

Later, we learned that the young boy Keigo (Endo Kenshin) is a student of the school, while the keen observer is the new guidance counselor, Aizawa Hinata (Inoue Mao). Keigo is skipping classes and it becomes a subject of discussion during a meeting. The counselor suggests a home visit and together with Keigo’s teacher Mr. Kirishima (Oikawa Mitsuhiro), they met the boy and his mother, Makiko (Nakama Yukie).

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Rikuoh – 陸王: First Impressions + Episode 1-2 Review [Japanese Drama]

Rikuoh – 陸王, based on Ikeido Jun’s novel of the same title, is at the forefront of a nationwide effort to promote sports. The 2020 Olympics also known as Tokyo 2020 is 33 months away, yet Japan is already anticipating the huge event by introducing sports-themed movies and drama.

Furuzawa Katsuo, known for his grandiose epic-scale drama such as Hanzawa Naoki, Roosevelt Game, and Shitamachi Rocket, is a TBS regular and is an obvious choice to direct Rikuoh. Is the storyline up to the director’s liking? I would think so…

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Catching up with ‘Juyo Sankounin Tantei’: Episode 2 Recap [Japanese Drama]

Tamamori Yuta’s detective-comedy series, Juyo Sankounin Tantei – 重要参考人探偵 – is getting to be a bit on the serious side. Among the younger generations of Johnny’s, it’s always Tamamori Yuta that I’m curious about. Maybe because I had some pretty good impressions of him as an actor, plus he is always cast with Shida Mirai (remember Nobunaga no Shiifu?).

Episode 2 of Juyo Sankounin Tantei is especially interesting since they have two guest stars which are, in fact, a double reunion: Shida and Tamamori’s co-star in Pin To Kona, Nakayama Yuma.

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Inoue Mao’s acting insights as drama lead in ‘Ashita no Yakusoku’ Japanese Drama Fall 2017 [Issue #2]

One of the leading drama stars on Japanese TV, Inoue Mao (30), remains a respected and most sought-after actress in an industry that values appearance, popularity, and connection. In a series of articles, she reflects on her acting career amidst personal challenges and the hype on ratings. This article partakes Inoue’s acting journey from such interviews and this author’s particular (and biased) interpretation.

Looking back, it was about 12 years ago when she plays the role of Makino Tsukushi in the Asian phenomenon known as Boys Over Flowers. Inoue has accomplished a few acting milestones right after: an asadora Ohisama (NHK / 2011), a taiga drama Hanamoyu (NHK / 2015), a Best Actress trophy for Rebirth – Youkame no Semi (2011), a Best Actress nom for The Snow White Murder Case (2014), and a venture into voice acting. 

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First Impressions on Japanese Drama Fall Season 2017 – ‘Ashi Girl’, ‘Saki ni Umareta Dake no Boku’, ‘Okusama wa, Tori Atsukai Chui’ & ‘Kuonodori – S2’ [Issue #1]

I think it’s about time to make a recap post on Fall 2017 Japanese drama season. Let’s cut to the chase and go straight to the reviews, shall we? This is part 1 of my recap, with plenty more coming up, including interviews (and analyzing them).

Japanese historical drama, in any form, is always a welcome news for me. In Ashi Girl, Kuroshima Yuina takes the role of an unsuspecting girl who can do time travel (she did the same in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). In her first time leap, she arrives in the Sengoku period and is destined to protect a young lord (Kentaro) in the battlefields.

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First Impressions + Ep1 Recap: The Guidance Counselor/Tomorrow’s Promise – 明日の約束 [Japanese Drama]

According to NoBully.Org, 30% of students around the world are bullied each year. In other words, that’s a third of the student population. In Japan, the figure is much higher and The Japan Times confirmed it:

The survey of all 38,846 schools across Japan, including elementary, junior high, high school and special needs schools, 22,272, or 57.3 percent, said they found bullying cases. []

I know I started my introduction quite strong, but then again, Inoue Mao’s latest drama has also come out intense with regards to bullying. But what makes Ashita no Yakusoku even more engaging as a school-mystery-drama is that it tackles another issue – the cases of the overprotective parents (particularly the Mom). Mixing these themes can be a potent combination and to cast Inoue against another Japanese actress who has reached an ‘iconic’ status through the years – Nakama Yukie is (close to) a stroke of genius.

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First Impressions + Ep1 Recap: Juyo Sankounin Tantei – 重要参考人探偵 [Japanese Drama]

It seems Tamamori Yuta is heavily investing his future by acting in doramas. His previous projects including the two-season historical-drama Nobunaga no Shiifu, kabuki-themed Pin to Kona, and thriller Reverse are well-received by drama fans. In Juyo Sankounin Tantei, he plays a fashion model cum amateur sleuth who investigates murder cases. 

 

The premise is that he is cursed with the bad luck of being on murder scenes for no apparent reason. Asian investigation/procedural dramas, in my opinion, remain a level below some canned US-based detective shows when it comes to ‘explaining’ criminal phenomenon.

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Detective Yugami – 刑事ゆがみ : Episode Two Review [Japanese Drama]

Episode Two of Detective Yugami 刑事ゆがみ is all about love and lies – in the most unexpected ways. It begins with Hanyu (Kamiki) teaching kids the value of telling the truth. As expected, Yugami (Asano) butts in arguing that lying is a practice one has to experience, and once a lie is told, there is a need for subsequent lies to propagate the manufactured ‘truth’. 

And since I’m watching the drama in Viu, what better way than to use their Episode 2 description to start my review:

Yugami and Hanyu investigate an attempted sexual assault case. Despite hospitalization, the victim refuses to press charges or cooperate with the investigation. The mystery deepens when the scene does not correspond to the victim’s testimony. [watch Detective Yugami

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Detective Yugami – 刑事ゆがみ : First Impressions + Ep1 Review [Japanese Drama]

Based on the manga series “Keiji Yugami” by Iura Hideo, Detective Yugami is the live-action TV series from Fuji TV starring Asano Tadanobu and Kamiki Ryunosuke as an oddball pair of detectives.

Asano is Yugami Yukimasa, a detective who ignores conventional investigative procedures in order to uncover the truth.

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