I don't know about you but I tend to like competitions where the contenders can really fight it out rather than have an overwhelmingly strong winner to take everything right from the start. When the latter happens, I feel that the competition becomes boring. Again, the eventual No.1 in this category swept through the voting exercise thanks to the strong support he received just like how Yonekura Ryoko and Kishibe Ittoku won their respective categories. And I have to say, doctors seem to be very favoured for some reason or should I say, it's medical dramas which are popular with my blog's readers?
Fujiwara got his spot in the top 5 with a razor-thin margin of just 1 point over the 6th-placed actor. As I pointed out above, the eventual winner literally swept up most of the points to the extent that the total score for the rest of the finalists was still lower than the No.1's score.
I have watching Fujiwara for a long time since he was a teenager but there have been times when I felt that he seemed not so suited for TV dramas especially after he spent a lot of time working on movies and stage plays. Particularly in the case of stage plays where you need to be more expressive and speak louder so as to project your voice to the audience, his body language seemed rather exaggerated and I thought he sounded really loud at times on TV. However, his performance in Reverse totally changed my mind because he managed to show a much subdued style of acting when playing Fukase who was kind of nerdy, quiet and not confident about himself which is very much unlike Fujiwara's usual cool and suave image. It's a pity that he didn't go higher in this ranking.
I have to say, I was quite surprised by Yakusho's ranking. The only plausible reason which I can think of is that the voting exercise was conducted soon after Rikuou concluded its run so it could be that many people have not watched this yet. Otherwise, I can't think of any reason why his performance in this drama could be overlooked.
Frankly speaking, the Sunday dramas from TBS can get rather dramatic and exaggerated at times but I can't deny that they are rather engaging as well. With regard to Rikuou, there were some parts when I felt were too far-fetched such as the ideal notion that things always work out due to hard work or perserverance. However, in real life, that may not always be the case. Despite these issues I had with the story, Yakusho's charisma as a leader and the passion he showed really came across through his acting and he looked convincing as the company president who could lead his ailing company to success.
Being relatively new in the industry when compared to the rest of the finalists, Nakayama's entry in the top 5 was somewhat surprising to me. I haven't watched this drama so I can't assess whether he did well. Comparatively, the private network dramas tend to get more attention and have a wider reach so it somehow works out to more votes for them here as well. Of course, things may change by the time we get to the 2018 voting because many Internet platforms, cable TV and streaming services are giving these private networks a run for their money. Considering that Hokuto is a WOWOW drama and Nakayama is probably not as well-known as the other finalists, that's why I said that his No.3 spot was even more commendable. For those who had voted for Nakayama, perhaps you can share with us why you think he did well in this drama?
Nowadays, I tend to see ratings as a reverse indicator of a drama's quality. Somehow, the hit dramas don't really impress me while those which got single digit ratings tend to be the gems I like. Of course, this doesn't mean that my theory always holds true but I think we should no longer hold the notion that ratings are everything in this time and age.
In Keiji Yugami's case, it wasn't expected to do well initially. And true enough, the ratings were not that high. However, as the season progressed, there was an increasing amount of positive feedback about this drama's story and the acting so it was somewhat like a surprise which bucked the initial expectations. I haven't had the time to check this out yet but I'm convinced that Asano should have done well in this drama to warrant all that praise.
Looking at the score which was triple of Asano's, it's clear that nobody stood a chance to fight against Kimura right from the start. Despite all the bad press plaguing him after the SMAP saga and how the media kept labelling him as a star who had gone out of fashion, it's times like this when you see that he still has a strong following.
Sorry to the Kimura fans but I have to admit, I didn't like A LIFE at all. I hated it for making a joke out of strong actors like Matsuyama Kenichi and Asano. I disliked it for its illogical story such as making Kimura's role as a specialist in all fields which was so unrealistic. Isn't a specialist supposed to be an expert in one field only? As such, when the results came in, I actually wondered if I was seeing things.
I have rather mixed feelings about Kimura. Back when he was still not the almighty KimuTaku, his performance in Asunaro Hakusho was eye-catching, in fact more than the male lead. Then when he started becoming the ratings king, I watched his dramas more for his star-studded cast line-ups rather than for him or the stories. Although the media has been rather unforgiving about this part of his career saying that he always acted in the same way and his personal traits always came through in his acting, I sometimes think that this was not entirely his fault. He had to keep up appearances as the unreachable megastar of SMAP who was the national idol group in its heyday so his characters in dramas couldn't afford to be uncool or flawed.
It was only when the ratings king label was gradually being stripped off him that he became a more "down-to-earth" actor who you could relate to. His effort in "I'm Home" was the first time in recent years that I thought that he had come down from his pedestal and played a more "human-like" person with faults. Then again, when "A LIFE" came about, it felt like he was back as the superstar or hero who could do no wrong. I don't think he should be relying on his past success formula if he is to stay in the industry as a credible actor but judging from "BG", I think he's still trying various possibilities to see what works for him going forward. And I can't help but wonder, is it the people around him who are trying to stop him from becoming more "earthly" or is he the one who is still hung up over being the star?
In case you are wondering, besides Fujiwara and Yakusho, the only other person I voted for was Hasegawa Hiroki in Chiisana Kyojin. Too bad he was just slightly short of making the top 5.