Clicking on would give the drama's casts, a preview of the story, the cliche and what to see, which is helpful to those interested in choosing what JE drama to watch.
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1) 『Ando Lloyd』 ～A.I. knows LOVE？～
Starring: Kimura Takuya (SMAP), Shibasaki Kou, Oshima Yuko, Jesse (Johnny’s Jr.) Kiritani Kenta, Honda Tsubasa, Yamaguchi Sayaka, Yamamoto Mizuki, Hiraoka Yuta, Natori Yuko, and Endo Kenichi.
Story: Kimura plays two roles, a genius physicist in the present (2013)and an android in the future (2113). In order to protect his fiance, played by Shibasaki, from the same killer who have taken his life, he sent “Ando Lloyd” through a time cable to protect her. A love story that grows between a human and an android.
The cliche: The story is nothing original as we have seen something similar in “Zettai Kareshi” and there’s “Saber Marionette” in anime.
What to see: If the story does not interest you that much, the comeback team-up of KimuTaku and Kou is a must-see! “Good luck!” is the first japanese drama that I’ve ever seen and their chemistry is explosive enough to keep you interested. Moreover, we all know that KimuTaku is a topnotch actor and watching his dramas is always worth the time. Lastly, “Ando LLoyd” will be replacing the highly successful “Hanzawa Naoki” so it’s also a must-see if TBS can reign supreme in Golden Time ratings game. “Ando LLoyd”‘s biggest competitor would be “Doctor X 2″, since the drama’s 1st season was able to rate higher than Kimura’s “Priceless” last year.
2.) Tokyo Bandwagon ~ Shitamachi Daikazoku Monogatari
Starring: Kamenashi Kazuya (KAT-TUN), Tabe Mikako, Tamaki Koji, Hiraizumi Sei, Kaga Mariko, Mimura, Kageko Nobuaki, Taira Airi, Kimino Yuma, Ozawa Runa, Mitsuishi Ken, Katagiri Hairi, Bengal, and Inohara Yoshihiko (V6).
Story: Set in downtown Tokyo, the Hotta’s is known for running a secondhand bookshop and a cafe. However, the family is most known for being huge in numbers and for having knack in solving mysterious cases for their customers.
The cliche: See Kame acting like Kindaichi again, only with a huge family backing him up. One of the dramas this season that is adapted from a novel.
What to see: With Oomori Mika (“My Boss My Hero” and “Buzzer Beat”) as the screenwriter, expect this to be hilarious with lots of foolishness; however, also expect some drama because drama always seems to be involved within families. Since there will also be cases involved, I hope that those cases won’t be boring. Moreover, I’m hoping for some nice onscreen chemistry between Kame and Tabe. Rumor has it that Kame is like a “lucky charm” to his leading ladies as most of his leading ladies careers have skyrocketed after being paired to him.
Starring: Tomoya Nagase (TOKIO), Gouriki Ayame, Kashii Yu, Riju Go, Koichi Mantaro, Daichi Yasuo, Kazama Morio, and Watabe Atsuro.
Story: Following the largest heist in Japanese history where a sum of 300 million Yen was stolen, Tomoya plays a corrupt detective whose willing to use illegal practices, such as extortion and blackmail, in order to get to truth.
The cliche: Another deka drama for Tomoya after “Unubore Deka!” but with much more angst since he’s supposed to be a corrupt official so this is like “My Boss My Hero” meets “Unubore Deka!”.
What to see: Tomoya’s playing a lead role as well as the lead villain. I love seeing a tough-looking Tomoya, it suits him well.
What not to see: Gouriki Ayame, nuff said.
4.) Dokushin Kizoku
Starring: Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (SMAP), Kitagawa Keiko, and Hideaki Ito
Story: Tsuyoshi plays a “Noble Bachelor” who is satisfied with being single in contrast to his brother (Hideaki) aka “Divorce Warrior”, who was kicked-out by his ex-wife, and relentlessly dates women while working under his brother. The brothers’ life will be slowly change with the entrance of Kitagawa aka “Marriage Refugee”, who will work as part-time house worker, and hates mens view in marriage.
The cliche: jdramas take into love stories isn’t as sappy and cheesy as it was during the 90s and early 2000s. Nowadays, kdramas handles the love stories well, since that’s the only thing they do anyway.
What to see and what not to see: As much as I love the plot, I would rather see the “Noble Bachelor” being played by someone else (sorry Tsuyopon!). This type of character is something more fitting for KimuTaku or Okada Junichi or non-JE talents, like: Fujiki Naohito, Tamaki Hiroshi, Tamayama Tetsuji, and Shun Oguri. Nevertheless, I haven’t seen Keiko and Tsuyopon together so I’m not sure how this will turn out. But, this drama will be directed by Hideki Takeuchi, the man behind TV and movie hits like “Thermae Romae”, “Nodame Cantabile”, and “Densha Otoko” among others so, yes, I’m expecting a lot.
5.) Yorozu Uranaidokoro Onmyoya e Yokoso
Starring: Nishikido Ryo (Kanjani8), Chinen Yuri (Hey!Say!JUMP), Kurashina Kana, Suruga Taro, Miyagawa Ichirota, Hamada Mari, Fuse Eri, Minamino Yoko, and Kashiwagi Yuki (AKB48).
Story: Nishikido runs a “fortune-teller” shop where he is the “fortune-teller”. However, he doesn’t really have any psychic powers and only uses his past experience as a host and his good conversational skills to dig deeper to client’s woes. He will be helped by Chinen, a part-timer with excellent hearing and smelling, and Kurashina will play Nishikido’s nemesis as she does not believe with anything with no scientific basis.
The cliche: Another drama adapted from a novel. Well, Nishikido has been playing so-so roles lately that lacks depth and hasn’t been able to draw-out his dramatic prowess, I just hope that this won’t be as disappointing as “Papadol!”. With Chinen, curse his height and youthful appearance that he might be forever be given “student-type” roles forever.
What to see: Nishikido tries some comedic act as the onmyouji and Chinen as somewhat of a fox. Moreover, some senpai-kouhai interaction.
Starring: Sato Shori (Sexy Zone), Yamamoto Maika, Nomura Masumi, Konno Mahiru, Kyan Yutaka (Golden Bomber), and Johnny’s Jrs. Jinguji Yuta , Yasui Kentaro , Teranishi Takuto, Morita Myuto, Ryuya Shimikake, Takahashi Fu, Abe Aran, and Amu Hanuida.
Story: Sato (Kagami Dan) plays a underachiever at school and sports that he prefers to spend his time at home. One day, his deceased father decided to enter Kagami’s body to help him excel with academics and sports.
The cliche: The plot is interesting enough but with a newbie like Sato playing a 49 year-old man, don’t expect much.
What to see: bunch of Johnny’s juniors.
7.) Kamisama no Beret boy ~ Tezuka Osamu no Black Jack Sousaku Hiwa ~ SP
Starring: Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (SMAP), Sato Koichi, Oshima Yuko (AKB48), Tanaka Kei, Okada Yoshinori, Mashima Hidekazu, Magi, Asari Yosuke, Nakamura Yasuhi, Otake Koichi, Matsuo Satoru, Matayoshi Naoki, Asou Yumi, and Kohinata Fumiyo.
Story: Based on the life of popular manga artist- Tezuka Osamu- on how he created his hit series “Black Jack” before his death.
The cliche: The biography of one of the greatest manga artist can be good or a yawner.
What to see: Tsuyoshi’s portrayal of the popular mangaka and some Tsuyoshi and Yuko’s interaction since this tandem spurred one of those “marriage” rumors.
8.) The Partner ～itoshiki hyaku nen no tomo e ～ SP
Starring: Higashiyama Noriyuki, Takei Emi, Mana Ashida, Nakamaru Yuichi (KAT-TUN), Huynh Dong, and Lan Phuong.
Story: A commemorative work between two countries (Japan and Vietnam) that will tell the story about the special friendship between Pan Boi Chau and Japanese doctor Asaba Sakitaro, which began 100 years ago when Chau went to Japan to seek support for Vietnam’s national independence movement. Higashiyama will be playing two roles as Asaba in the Meiji era and a salaryman in the current era.
The cliche: Another biography drama SP with foreign actors also in cast.
What to see: Higashiyama’s dual portrayal and Nakamaru in Vietnamese garments. XD. Expect this to be quite heavy and emotional with lots of patriotic sentiments from both countries represented in this SP.
8.) Tengoku no Koi
Starring: Tokoshima Yoshiko, Uchi Hiroki, and Johnny’s Jr Takada Sho
Story: A forbidden love story between a 40 year-old woman and two 20-something man.
The cliche: As far as daytime series goes, the story is cliche enough.
What to see: Steamy hot scenes featuring Uchi and Takada that will surely paved way to cougar movement among older ladies.
9.) Henshin Interviewer no Yuuutsu
Starring: Nakamaru Yuichi (KAT-TUN), Fumino Kimura, Fuse Eri, Matsuo Suzuki, Mashima Hidekazu, Nakamura Yuko, Shoji Yusuke, Machida Mari, Mitsuishi Ken, Iwamatsu Ryo, and Matsushige Yutaka
Story: Nakamaru plays two roles, one is the gifted trick writer with long hair and unkempt look while the other is the refreshing and handsome man to make people talk and gather information.
The cliche: As this drama was written and directed by Satoshi Miki, expect some “Ore Ore”-ish moments since Nakamaru will be doing two character portrayals.
What to see: Nakamaru’s dual portrayal mixed with some comedic moments.
10.) Hajimari no Uta
Starring: Matsumoto Jun (Arashi), Eikura Nana, Toda Naho, Kunimura Jun, Onoue Hiroyuki, Ishida Takuya, Tokunaga Eri, and Yuki Saori
Story: Based from Arashi’s “Furosato“, which they sang during NHK’s “Kouhaku Uta Gassen” last 2010, tells the story of a travel photographer who returns to his hometown for a project. However, upon his return to his hometown, he found himself relieving his dream of being a teacher by helping a group of preschool students prepare for a choir competition.
The cliche: Everyone who have seen KUG last 2010 and any Arashi fan would know that while this song is inspiring, it also spells a major drama.
What to see: MatsuJun’s return to drama scene and his return in NHK since 1998′s “Hitsuyo no nai hito”. I’ve been missing Matsujun doing drama than those pretty-boy/idol type of roles. While his role as THE Domyouji Tsukasa will always be remembered, his roles in “Smile”, “Myu no Anyo Papa ni Ageru”, and “Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku” are the best for me.
credits to MIKU via Jnewseng for the compilation of all dramas, and personal impressions/ rants. More at her site