So, I recently went on a J-drama rampage. Totally cramped them all one after another on hot summer days. Now, I’m prepared to review em all. May contain spoilers!!
I’ve done a first impression of this drama recently here. Towards episode 5 and above, it did become clearer who would end up with who except for Kanjiya-Daigo pairing. It felt a bit like they needed to just get all the couples tied up in a bowstring. Even the doctor gets his happy ending (not going to spoil what it is). I liked this drama because it was humourous and it delved into our characters enough to allow us to understand their choices. Being a drama, it strived to show the good in everyone and how everyone deserves their happy ending. The strongest chemistry I felt here was still the Tamaki-Karina pairing. They were good together as friends and I believe sparks fly high when they acknowledge their feelings together. Yoshitaka Yuriko’s character could be a little more intense but given it’s a rom-com, they mellowed down a little.
Overall, I did enjoy watching it and if you liked any of these actors here, it’s a good reason to watch. I’ve watched most of their ‘future’ works and it’s refreshing to see their younger selves here. Yay, panda! (I have to love all their panda crack jokes. Especially if you understand basic Japanese; it makes sense).
This sports/youth themed romance drama is what I would consider as anything close to a Korean drama. Hero and heroine with dreams to pursue and failures to hurdle over, check. A totally hot, reliable second lead guy complete with abs, check. An antagonistic ex-girlfriend who wants her boyfriend back after she cheated on him with his rival, check. Back hug and kisses, check. Separation ark, check. It’s really a good drama in terms of youth romance, capturing the essence of their never ending chase towards their goals. The story is decent and although development is okay for a J drama, it might seem a bit lacking for a K drama viewer. And it’s not fair I tell you, not fair to let hot second lead disappear for nearly half of the drama and expect that he might be competition for getting the girl. I would have a hard time choosing Yamapi or Hideaki if I were Kitagawa Keiko but Keiko decided hot blooded youth suited her better. Oh well. Then all the better Hideaki for me!
This is my first sports drama as I often choose to steer away from them (due to my lack of sports interest). I tend to skip away a lot of the basketball scenes but I can tell that they are decent. And that guys get half-naked a lot. So watch it if you want to see em. It’s also my recommendation for those new to J-dramas. Although it isn’t the best, it’s a good starter for those new to J rom genre.
Horikita Maki looks like she hasn’t aged. But similarly, her performance hasn’t improved from her Hana Kimi days, or even Kurosagi days. She plays the optimistic heroine who strives to achieve being a pilot although she barely got accepted. I think Aibu Saki’s character was more interesting and her performance really saved the day. I only thought about picking up Miss Pilot from where I left off after seeing the hot mess Saito Takumi is in Hirugao but couldn’t bring myself to finish up the SP. However, his character here didn’t seem interesting and the fact that he was encouraging Aibu’s crush on him but secretly in love with Horikita was a bit off for me. I’m sorry to say that the rest of the cast wasn’t interesting to me as well.
Recommendations? Don’t watch this unless you dream of being a female pilot somehow or you are a diehard fan of Horikita Maki.
Alice no Toge
Ueno Juri plays Mizuno Asami, a doctor back for revenge after learning that her father’s operation was purposely screwed up which caused his death. The drama is a darker take on Alice in the Wonderland, as Alice/Asami digs into the past and serves justice to each and every accomplice that had a hand in her father’s death. Joe Odagiri plays her childhood friend(now a reporter) who aids her on her revenge spree after learning that her father died unjust. There is decent amount of suspense going on and the focus is more on her revenge although it is in a medical setting. I think it’s great that Ueno Juri is doing this role as it helps her expands horizon but I can’t say I like her character here. The only redemption for her was that she had a conscience. There were many times she was about to do crazy things in this ‘Wonderland’- like hospital but she held back in the nick of time. Joe Odagiri became her best advisor and ally, often keeping her thoughts in check and making sure she doesn’t go overboard. Acting is great but I can’t find myself looking forward to each episode excitedly. The suspense wasn’t enough to hold my interest I think. I do think the ending twist was quite good however, it still felt like I was sludging through each episode.
Watch if you want to see Ueno Juri and Joe Odagiri in a drama together. But bear in mind that there is nearly zero OTP spark here. I’m not pulled in by their chemistry and neither do they make me feel like shipping them together. So, expect no romance but pure revenge glory here.