Friday, October 07, 2022

Preview of "Inori no karute ~ Kenshui no nazotoki shinsatsu kiroku ~" - Autumn 2022


Title: Inori no karute ~ Kenshui no nazotoki shinsatsu kiroku ~ 祈りのカルテ ~ 研修医の謎解き診察記録 ~
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official TikTok: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 8 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Saturdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: NTV
Original novel by: Chinen Mikito
Theme Song: "Omoibana" by Kis-My-Ft2
Cast: Tamamori Yuuta, Ikeda Elaiza, Yamoto Yuuma, Hamatsu Takayuki, Hori Miona, YU, Toyoshima Hana, Harada Taizo, Matsuyuki Yasuko & Shiina Kippei

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Quick Review #16: Junai Dissonance (Summer 2022)


Title
: Junai Dissonance 純愛ディソナンス

Season: Summer 2022

Broadcast by: FujiTV

Rating: 2/10

Recommended for: NA

Liked:
- The first episode. If you had read my thoughts about that episode on Dorama World's Twitter and Facebook pages, you probably would remember how I praised it for being better than expected. If not for this episode, I would have given this drama a lower score.

Disliked: 
- The story is the biggest issue. The warning signs were there but I still pressed on till the end, with the hope that the story would turn things around especially how Ep 1 had shown so much promise. On hindsight, it was clear that the story was not prepared to go to the extent of showing true "dissonance" and the romance was so lacking that it hardly met what a "junai" love story should be - the love between the leads was hardly considered pure nor heart-wrenching. 
Often, the villains looked as if they would do something drastic and evil but all "pulled back or were pulled back" from going that final mile so every bad thing done just felt half-baked and the so-called "consequences" of the bad deeds hardly left an impact nor impression. To make it worse, there were times when there was no logical explanation on why someone behaved in a certain way or had a change of mind. 
If the drama had been like this from the start, I think I would have been less frustrated and annoyed at it - at least there's consistency. To start off high and go all the way down, that's also a feat, albeit in a not-so-good way.

- Due to the limitations posed by the story, I thought some of the characters were not developed to their full potential so it was such a pity that they ended as forgettable roles. And that's a pity considering the cast this time who could do more than this. I was so looking forward to see how things would develop between Higa Manami and Sato Ryuuta's characters.
For example, the cynical Nitta Masaki who disappeared after Ep 1 - I thought this would have given Nakajima Yuuto a great chance to showcase the gap between the goody-two-shoes surface and the jaded and untrusting inner self. Although I understood that Nitta's pride and self confidence took a serious beating in the 5 years after he left his teaching job, the monologue scenes about Nitta's true feelings about the people around him and the world he was in helped in making the character more comprehensive and easier to understand so it wasn't surprising that the Nitta I saw from Ep 4 onwards felt so flat and one-dimensional.
Likewise for Sae, the spunky teenager just evolved to become a wishy-washy adult who seriously lacked that elusive charm for viewers to believe that she would have 2 men going gaga over her. I get it, she went through a lot in the 5 years but still... It also didn't help that the wardrobe and image design in her adult years were not so flattering to look at.
Manami's change to become a love story writer also felt terribly forced. It was not mentioned specifically why she chose this path as by the time she got together with Nitta, she was still the unglam version back in the high school arc. And the weird vibes between her and her elder brother - that was also never addressed which could have given an idea as to why she was so antagonistic towards Kosaka or developed an interest in Nitta.
Last but not least, Michika's hatred for Manami's father disappeared so quickly but there had to be some more build-up to explain how he grew to fall for her and forget about the past. And there really wasn't much of an explanation of any emotional turmoil he had when it came to putting down his revenge and choosing love instead. It seemed that he was more hung up over whether Manami could forget Nitta. Same goes for Manami's side - I find it a bit difficult to reconcile how things happened between them when there were just some "touch-and-go" interactions that hardly featured prominently in the story.

Winners of the 14th TAMA Movie Awards (2022)


Best Movie
LOVE LIFE
Haken Anime

Special Award
The cast and staff of "Metamorufooze no engawa"
The cast and staff of "Koi wa hikari"

Best Actor
Sato Jirou (Sagasu / truth ~ Sukashimashiki tomurai no hate ~ / Violence Action)
Matsuzaka Toori (Rurou no tsuki)

Best Actress
Baisho Chieko (PLAN 75)
Hirose Suzu (Rurou no tsuki)

Best New Director
Katayama Shinzo (Sagasu)
Morii Yuusuke (Kochira Amiko)

Best New Actor
Isomura Hayato (Believers / PLAN 75 / Idoujirei wa ongakutai! / Sakana no ko / Zenkamono / Kanojo ga suki na mono wa)
Yokohama Ryuusei (Rurou no tsuki / Akira to Akira / Usogui / Anata no ban desu Gekijouban / DIVOC-12)

Best New Actress
Kawai Yumi (PLAN 75 / Ai nanoni / Chotto omoidashita dake / Joshikousei ni korosaretai / Hyakka / Fuyusobi)
Ito Aoi (Sagasu / Koi wa hikari / MIRRORLIAR FILMS Season 4)

Preview of "Kodoku no gurume Season 10" - Autumn 2022


Title: Kodoku no gurume Season 10 孤独のグルメ Season 10 (The Solitary Gourmet Season 10)
Official website: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 7 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Fridays at 12.42am
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original manga by: Kusumi Masayuki & Taniguchi Jiro
Cast: Matsushige Yutaka

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Preview of "silent" - Autumn 2022


Title: silent サイレント
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 6 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Thursdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Theme Song: "Subtitle" by Official Higedandism
Cast: Kawaguchi Haruna, Meguro Ren, Suzuka Ouji, Sakurada Hiyori, Itagaki Rihito, Kaho, Kazama Shunsuke & Shinohara Ryoko

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Preview of "First Penguin!" - Autumn 2022


Title: First Penguin! ファーストペンギン!
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official LINE: here
Official TikTok: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 5 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Wednesdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: NTV
Theme song: "Michi wo yuke" by Ryokuoushoku Shakai
Cast: Nao, Suzuki Nobuyuki, Watanabe Daichi, Matsumoto Wakana, First Summer Uika, Tooyama Toshiya, Shida Mirai, Nakagoshi Noriko, Kajihara Zen, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Umezawa Tomio & Tsutsumi Shinichi

Monday, October 03, 2022

Preview of "Shinainaru boku e satsui wo komete" - Autumn 2022


Title: Shinainaru boku e satsui wo komete 親愛なる僕へ殺意をこめて
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 5 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Wednesdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Total number of episodes: 9
Original manga by: Inoryu Hajime & Ito Shota
Theme song: "Uraomote" by Hey! Say! JUMP
Cast: Yamada Ryosuke, Kawaei Rina, Kadowaki Mugi, Onoe Matsuya, Saotome Taichi, Takashima Masahiro, Sakurai Yuki, Sano Shiro & Endo Kenichi

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Preview of "Fuufu enman recipe ~ Koukan shinai? Hitoban dake ~" - Autumn 2022


Title: Fuufu enman recipe ~ Koukan shinai? Hitoban dake ~ 夫婦円満レシピ~交換しない?一晩だけ~
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 5 Oct 2022
Timeslot: 12.30am on Wednesdays
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original manga by: Koshikawa Tamae & Aoi Sei
Opening theme song: "Aquarium" by tricot
Ending theme song: "Rebirth Stage" by Kis-My-Ft2
Cast: Satsukawa Aimi, Senga Kento, Hashimoto Manami, Yanagi Yurina, Kikawada Masaya, Wada Masanari, Matsumoto Reo, Ishigaki Yuuma, Nonami Maho, Hiraoka Yudai & Itaya Yuka

Saturday, October 01, 2022

National winners of Asian Academy Creative Awards 2022 (Japan)

Here are the national winners of Asian Academy Creative Awards 2022 for Japan as announced on 30 Sep 2022. They will fight for the grand final winner titles with the national winners from other countries and the results will be announced on 7 & 8 Dec 2022 in Singapore.

Note that I have only included winners for the dramas and movies categories. For the full list of winners from various countries, please visit this site.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Suda Masaki - Mystery to iu nakare (FujiTV)


Best Comedy Programme: Oi Handsome! (Tokai TV)


Best Direction: Gekidan Hitori - Asakusa Kid (Netflix)


Best Drama Series: Mystery to iu nakare (FujiTV)


Best Feature Film: Asakusa Kid (Netflix / Nikkatsu & Django Film)


Best Screenplay: Gekidan Hitori - Asakusa Kid (Netflix / Nikkatsu & Django Film)


Best Single Drama / Telemovie / Anthology Episode: Iede Musume (NHK)

Preview of "Takane no Hana-san 2" - Autumn 2022


Title: Takane no Hana-san 2 高嶺のハナさん  2
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 1 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Saturdays at 12am
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original manga by: Murata Kouji
Opening theme song: "simple" by Sakura Shimeji
Ending theme song: Bluestar" by Sakura Shimeji
Cast: Izumi Rika, Ogoe Yuuki, Kanon, Nakamura Riho, Koyanagi Yu & Izuka Kenta

Friday, September 30, 2022

Preview of "Saihate kara, toho 5 hun" - Autumn 2022


Title: Saihate kara, toho 5 hun 最果てから、徒歩5分 (5 minutes on foot from the farthest land)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 1 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Sundays at 9pm
Broadcast by: TV Tokyo
Original manga by: Itoi Nozo
Cast: Okada Yui, Yanagi Shuntaro, Takezai Terunosuke & Uchiyama Rina

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Quick Review #15: Mahou no rinobe (Summer 2022)


Title
: Mahou no rinobe 魔法のリノベ

Season: Summer 2022

Broadcast by: Kansai TV

Rating: 8.5/10

Recommended for: those who like to watch renovation shows and slice-of-life romantic comedies as well as fans of Haru & Mamiya Shotaro

Liked:
- The better-than-expected story: although the format of each episode is the same i.e. solving the problems faced by customers through renovation, the underlying story of Koume, Gennosuke and the people at Marufuku "renovating" their lives and solving the issues they had was presented in a very heartwarming manner that made these characters really endearing and easy to empathise with. I found myself rooting for Koume and Gennosuke in particular which is surprisingly rare for me of late because there were many love stories I watched where I couldn't care less whether the main couple got together or not.

- The acting from the cast especially Haru and Mamiya Shotaro - to be honest, I have not really taken to Haru's acting in love stories so far because I always had a nagging feeling that she hadn't fully immersed herself in these roles and it felt so much like forcing herself to "love" someone on screen. Maybe it has to do with her cool demeanour which can come off as icy at times and somewhat emotionless even though the stories may require her to show the excitement and dizziness of someone in love. However, her collaboration with Mamiya this time felt really natural and the interactions between them flowed so smoothly that it was easy to picture them as a couple in the drama. Mamiya also managed to show the adorable and somewhat pitiful sides of Gennosuke so well that it was hard not to like him despite his "not-so brilliant" track record in his love life.

- The amount of effort put in to showcase the before-and-after changes - usually for such shows, I wouldn't be surprised if the "after" scenes would be presented in drawings or 3D simulations. However, to see the proposed designs come to life and how the customers could improve their lives through renovation (sometimes, they were just minor tweaks only) was very interesting and made the ending credits a must-see in every episode. I wonder how much money they had to spend to make these for every episode?

Disliked: 
- The slight hiccup before the last episode where Koume had to leave Marufuku for a while in order to protect the people there - I felt that it wasn't that much of an issue in the first place and could have been ironed out by talking things through and dealing with the problem directly. Of course, in dramaland, such things don't happen since there must be a conflict to lead to a resolution and ultimately the climax.

- The so-called conflict between Kuranosuke and Arikawa was rather underwhelming. I was expecting something major but it turned out to be quite meh? I get it that Arikawa felt betrayed by Kuranosuke quitting from the company and leaving him to face the music when they screwed up but then, instead of wallowing in self pity and wasting energy on trying to snatch business from Marufuku, there could have been other things Arikawa could do. However, I guess the kind of atmosphere that this drama created didn't allow for overly dramatic or extreme developments so this would have to do given the constraints.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Quick Review #14: Kyousou no bannin (Summer 2022)


Title
: Kyousou no bannin 競争の番人

Season: Summer 2022

Broadcast by: FujiTV

Rating: 3/10

Recommended for: those who like David vs. Goliath stories where the underdog does not give up when faced with a more powerful enemy or want to know more about the Fair Trade Commission 

Liked:
- The cast although it was such a waste that they didn't get to perform to their full potential

Disliked: 
- David vs. Goliath stories are interesting to watch only if the underdog manages to overcome the odds to topple the giant. However, the biggest limitation of FTC is that they do not have the right to arrest anyone and any form of judicial action taken on a case they have investigated has to be conducted by the police and prosecutors. As such, the drama was already "handicapped" in the first place because the members of Dairoku cannot exact justice on their own and always had to let others take credit for their work. In addition, those being investigated actually can refuse to have their premises searched which further cripples Dairoku's power to seize evidence for their investigations. Without such a "climax scene" in this drama, you can imagine that there was effectively no "climax" for viewers to look forward to in each episode.
Despite these limitations, the drama didn't try very hard to show a way out of this dire situation and simply kept emphasizing that Dairoku was powerless and so weak that they could be bullied, belittled and ostracized. Compared to "Ishiko to Haneo" which tried to offer alternatives and got creative in seeking justice for the weak who suffered injustices, I thought that the way how the drama portrayed the FTC was extremely unflattering and it was really difficult to root for them as "heroes" to take out those who engage in anti-competition behaviour.
 
- As I've not read the original novel, I cannot ascertain if the bland developments/cases in this drama were due to the novel or the script. However, considering that they took 3 episodes to work on 1 case and everything else after that was rather standard and predictable (even the one against the big baddie), it felt as if not much effort was put into the story. That last episode was truly redundant too and could have been a standalone SP instead.
Seriously, it can't be a coincidence that FujiTV "messed" up 2 novels from the same author in 2 consecutive seasons (the other being "Motokare no yuigonjou" in spring) so I can't help but wonder what happened this time. Is it because the novels concerned are not so suited to be dramatised or is it that the method to dramatise these novels was somewhat lacking? 

- Due to the inherent problems with the story, the cast were severely handicapped in developing their characters. Other than Koshobu (Sakaguchi Kentaro) and Shirokuma (An) who had slightly more airtime showcasing their lives outside of Dairoku, not much is know about the others. As such, the key members felt rather flat and one-dimensional and it was difficult to relate to them or feel for them. It was such a great pity though because these actors definitely could deliver more than this.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Quick Review #13: Subarashiki Sekai (movie)


Title: Subarashiki Sekai すばらしき世界 (Under the open sky)

Currently available for viewing on: Netflix (subject to geographical location)

Rating: 5 /10

Recommended for
- Those who are interested in stories about former inmates who face challenges in starting a new life after their release from prison
- Fans of Yakusho Koji

Liked:
- The acting of Yakusho Koji. If not for his acting, I think I might not have finished watching this film. Yakusho balanced the contrasting aspects of his character i.e. the hot-tempered and rash personality when he was still a gangster vs. the toned-down and comparatively mellow side after his long stint in prison and switched between both seamlessly. 

- Nakano Taiga & Nagasawa Masami - Nakano's acting as a director who progressed from someone who didn't think too well of former inmates to one who truly supported the lead character's journey to start a new life was memorable. Nagasawa Masami may not have appeared much but she left a strong impression as a feisty go-getter who didn't mince her words.

Disliked: 
The story being the biggest issue here - frankly speaking, the theme of former inmates' struggles to be accepted by society again is not new. As such, the developments were predictable and left very little to imagination. If only there was a different way of presenting this theme or if there was a different perspective to the issue, it would have made the movie more engaging and interesting. And since the movie was pretty long, I found the pace to be really draggy at some points and couldn't wait for the film to end.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Preview of "Hitotsubashi Kiriko no hanzai nikki" - Autumn 2022


Title: Hitotsubashi Kiriko no hanzai nikki 一橋桐子の犯罪日記 (The criminal diary of Hitotsubashi Kiriko)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 8 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Saturdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 5
Original novel by: Harada Hika
Cast: Matsuzaka Keiko, Iwata Takanori, Nagasawa Itsuki, Katagiri Hairi, Uzaki Ryudo, Kimura Tae, Yuki Saori & Kusakari Masao

Monday, September 19, 2022

Preview of "Maiagare!" - NHK 2022 morning drama


Title: Maiagare! 舞いあがれ!
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 3 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Mondays to Saturdays at 8am
Broadcast by: NHK
Theme Song: "I love you" by back number
Narrator: Sada Masashi
Cast: Fukuhara Haruka, Yokoyama Yu, Takahashi Katsunori, Nagasaku Hiromi, Akaso Eiji, Yamashita Mizuki, Kuwabata Rie, Yamaguchi Tomomitsu, Matsuo Satoru, Matayoshi Naoki, Takuma Seiko, Furutachi Kanji, Aikawa Sho, Takahata Atsuko, Suzuki Kosuke & Nagahama Neru etc.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Quick Review #12: Ishiko to Haneo - Sonna koto de utaemasu? - (Summer 2022)


Title
: Ishiko to Haneo - Sonna koto de utaemasu? - 石子と羽男―そんなコトで訴えます?―

Season: Summer 2022

Broadcast by: TBS

Rating: 8/10

Recommended for: those who are interested in legal/investigative stories and/or those where the weak fight against the rich & those with power

Liked:
- The chemistry between Arimura Kasumi & Nakamura Tomoya as their characters progressed from bickering foes to soulmates who could support each other in all areas except for the romantic aspect. Although I thought it would be nice to have them end up as a couple, this current state of being soulmates actually turned out to be better than expected. It was good that Haneo managed to stand up against his father by proving his abilities instead of arguing. I also liked the final scene when Haneo gave Ishiko a gentle nudge in the back and "offered an umbrella" to her so as to get over her emotional trauma. However, rather than having Haneo supporting her throughout, it was great that Ishiko could walk the final leg of her journey to become a lawyer on her own. 

- The legal topics covered in each episode not only provided lots of useful information in an easy-to-understand manner but also offered food for thought on what may be true justice. I also liked it that the story didn't try to push through with just one or the standard perspective but rather showed that the truth or what's considered justice can be viewed differently depending on your position in the issue.

- The scenes where Ishiko and Haneo were eating mega-sized dishes together - those always made me hungry after watching!

Disliked: 
- The romance between Ishiko and Oba was just too awkward to watch and I didn't get any romantic vibes from them at all. Moreover, I was rooting for Ishiko and Haneo to become an item so it was very disappointing to see her end up with Oba. Nothing against Oba though.

- Dangling potential twists but to find that they amounted to nothing. For example, the explanation of how Oba was the president of a company despite supposedly being of a modest background and having difficulty in finding a permanent job - I struggle to believe how gullible and dumb he might have been. This was really unfathomable especially after he went through so much in his previous job. I would have assumed that he would become more street-smart after that unpleasant experience but clearly, he hadn't. And how he chose to keep quiet in order to protect his younger brother in the arson case - I just cannot understand why he had to do that. I would have thought his stint at the law firm could have given him a bit of legal knowledge but apparently not. Likewise, the part hinting that Wataro had something to do with Mikogami - it also ended up with nothing much to add value to the story. As such, these anti-climatic developments in the last few episodes turned out to be so bland that it contrasted greatly with how the drama began with a bang initially.

- The way how Mikogami's case concluded - this is where it can be viewed differently. The fact that his involvement in the fraud scheme wasn't proven meant that Ishiko and Haneo had to take an alternative route to get him punished in another way for a different crime. I could accept that because in real life, there are times when it's impossible to have things go your way all the time and that there are people who can exploit loopholes in the law to get away with things. On the other hand, the crime that he was held accountable for may seem comparatively trivial compared to fraud so it leaves a lingering sense of regret and dissatisfaction that Mikogami didn't really get what he deserved. I would be OK with this way of ending the case if it wasn't the finale. To end the drama with a big baddie being treated in this way just felt as if everything fizzled out without a trace.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Preview of "Shylock no kodomotachi" - Autumn 2022


Title: Shylock no kodomotachi シャイロックの子供たち (Shylock's Children)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 9 Oct 2022 
Timeslot: Sundays 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 5 + episode 0
Original novel by: Ikeido Jun
Cast: Inohara Yoshihiko, Tamayama Tetsuji, Nishino Nanase, Kato Shigeaki, Hagiwara Masato, Miura Takahiro, Maekawa Yasuyuki, Hashimoto Jun, Mizuhashi Kenji, Hayami Akari, Yano Masato, Morinaga Yuuki, Mizuta Shinji, Miyakawa Ichirota, Emi Kurara & Kubozuka Shunsuke

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Preview of "DORONJO" - Autumn 2022


Title: DORONJO ドロンジョ
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 7 Oct 2022
Timeslot: Fridays at 11pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 11
Cast: Ikeda Elaiza, Yamazaki Hirona, Yamoto Yuuma, Kaneko Daichi, Ichinose Wataru, Tanaka Shunsuke, Hirayama Yusuke, Kirishima Reika, Kondo Yoshimasa, Takahashi Kazuya & Furuta Arata

Friday, September 09, 2022

Preview of "Zoku Harukanaru yama no yobigoe" (Drama SP)


Title: Zoku Harukanaru yama no yobigoe 続遙かなる山の呼び声
Official website: here
O.A. Date: 17 Sep 2022 at 9pm
Broadcast by: NHK BS Premium / BS4K
Cast: Abe Hiroshi, Tokiwa Takako, Fujii Takashi, Matobu Sei, Sato Yutaro, Takahata Atsuko & Kakei Toshio

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Quick Review #11: Unicorn ni notte (Summer 2022)


Title
: Unicorn ni notte (ユニコーンに乗って)

Season: Summer 2022

Broadcast by: TBS

Rating: 5 / 10

Recommended for: fans of the cast or those who want to have a basic understanding of IT start-ups

Liked:
- Kotorin & President Haneda i.e. Nishijima Hidetoshi & Hirosue Ryoko. It was just a pity though that their subplot wasn't explored in greater detail but the ending suggested that they have the potential to become an item.

- Hirosue Ryoko's weekly show - except for one outfit which I thought looked quite odd for a CEO, the others were very nice to look at. She certainly looked the part as a charismatic CEO but her airtime was really limited.

Disliked: 
- A story which doesn't really fit the title. To begin with, there wasn't a lot of emphasis nor indication that Dream Pony was to become a unicorn company or was actually working towards this goal. Coupled with the fact that its status at the end of the drama was a subsidiary of a listed/major company, that sort of deviated from the title's essence. However, if the title was meant to show that people with nothing to their name due to their backgrounds and lack of resources are very unlikely to achieve success like how elusive the unicorn is, Sana's state at the end of the drama would mean that she had defied the odds to become successful in both her career and love life.

- The lacklustre romance. Although it was implied that there might be a love triangle, it didn't really happen except for a brief period when Sana wondered if she liked Kotori romantically. And Kotori certainly didn't see Sana in the romantic sense other than being kind towards her. On the other hand, things between Sana and Kou were so bland and hardly engaging for viewers unlike some of the more successful love stories shown in this particular timeslot. A love story that doesn't make the viewers excited nor squeal in delight or wish for the couple to be together certainly cannot be considered as one which qualifies as a good romance story. I must say, I couldn't care less for what happened between Sana and Kou but I certainly was rooting for something to happen between Kotori and Haneda.

- In the early stages of watching this drama, I felt that it was quite similar to the Korean drama "Start Up" in terms of its vibe (youngsters trying to realise their dream against the odds with romance on the sidelines) but somehow, the passion and enthusiasm about starting one's business and working hard to make it in the industry was lost on me in this drama. And it certainly didn't help that the story sort of simplified many things in business and adopted a touch-and-go approach when it came to depicting challenges faced by Dream Pony. It was as if, a problem cropped up, they were troubled about it for a brief moment and someone came to save them like a fairy godmother without them actually doing much to save themselves. For example, the patent filing by a rival company was settled so easily through external help that it seemed nothing more like a slight dent to Dream Pony's journey. However, that certainly could have become a major issue which could cripple the company and I felt that Dream Pony didn't really learn from that episode. Likewise, until Kotori joined the company, it felt as if the company operated on a system of "do-it-as-you-like" to foster creativity and promote freedom etc. but basic business decorum (sending Oseibo and Ochuugen gifts to your associates and clients) and dressing appropriately for a business meeting (tattered jeans and a T-shirt, seriously?) were clearly not on their minds. Makes me wonder how the company could survive in the Japanese corporate world for 3 years? I know people tend to be a bit more lenient towards start-ups but they aren't in the creative field to begin with.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Quick Review #10: Old Rookie (Summer 2022)


Title
: Old Rookie (オールドルーキー)

Season: Summer 2022

Broadcast by: TBS

Rating: 7.5 / 10

Recommended for: sports fans who know a lot of Japanese athletes, those who are interested to find out more about sports management and keen on stories about people moving on to second careers

Liked:
- Some of the TBS Sunday 9pm dramas can be a bit overboard in terms of acting and story especially if there is an emphasis of how passion, enthusiasm and perseverance can overcome almost all the obstacles in life. This drama was fairly toned-down in terms of its messaging so it didn't come across as hard-sell and was comparatively easier to watch. Coupled with the heartwarming interpersonal relationships among the characters, there were quite a number of touching parts which made me smile and cry along with them.

- The acting of the cast was pretty good on the whole and most of the characters were presented in a multi-dimensional manner which made them easier to relate to and like. Ayano Go stood out for his subtle emotional acting and I have to admit, his portrayal of Shinmachi was much better than I expected initially. I also liked the fact that the scriptwriter chose to make Kanako somewhat different from the other wives in the Sunday 9pm dramas to date. Usually, the wives play a supporting role to the husbands and hardly have much airtime in the dramas. However, Kanako was hardly someone who stayed in the background and was definitely not passive at all. She could take charge of the situation, give her husband a good shake-up when he was in denial and self-doubting himself, offer him comfort and support at the right time and not wait around for solutions but took the initiative to solve problems. As such, I really like the relationship dynamics between this couple which came across as both cool and very heartwarming. Likewise, I also thought that Umeyashiki and Fukazawa were quite a cute couple although it was too late for them to develop their relationship further in the drama.

- The sports management aspect of the story was interesting at times. Prior to watching this drama, I thought that it was just about managing the athlete's career, both in the sporting arena and outside e.g. CM and sponsorship deals, TV appearances, media engagements. However, there was more to that because the manager has to take care of things such as arranging for training venues, training partners, resources, equipment, negotiate for transfers to other teams, medical care, physiotherapy, mental care. As such, the parts when Shinmachi was still trying to learn the ropes were an eye-opener because a lot of time was spent on explaining the workflow. It would have been good if this continued in the second arc but I guess building up to the conflict of ideals vs. reality demanded more airtime so it couldn't be helped.

Disliked: 
- Compared to the first arc which took great pains to illustrate the internal turmoil that Shinmachi was experiencing after his professional career as a soccer player was ended prematurely, the second arc of the drama seemed to be wrapped up in a great hurry. Just when the conflict between Takayanagi and Shinmachi in the second last episode marked a climax which could be explored a bit longer and in depth, the resolution felt like a rollercoaster ride heading downwards. I thought that was a bit wasted so the pacing of the story could be improved in this aspect.

- For sports fans familiar with Japanese sports stars, this drama would probably make them quite excited to see these athletes make guest appearances. However, for the viewers who don't know them well, the excitement would be lost on them. I have to admit, I could only recognise a handful of them. This is more of a personal problem but for the benefit of viewers like me, it might be good to have a line or two to "introduce" these stars as seen in a couple of episodes when the athletes' names were mentioned.

- The part about how Igaki managed to overcome his nerves and deliver a stellar performance on the pitch was a tad too unrealistic. In fact, this was a common issue as seen in some of the featured athletes' stories which were wrapped up in a similar fashion. While the overall storyline was largely believable and realistic, the same level of detail and attention probably wasn't extended evenly to these subplots.

Monday, September 05, 2022

The 112nd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2022) - Best Drama


Overall Ranking Top 3
1) My Family
2) Nanba MG5
3) Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo
2) Nanba MG5
3) My Family
4) Shoujiki Fudousan
5) Uketsuke no Jou

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) My Family
2) Shoujiki Fudousan
3) Yangotonaki Ichizoku
4) Ashita, watashi wa dare ka no kanojo
5) Nanba MG5

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) My Family
2) Nanba MG5
3) Mirai e no 10 count
4) 17-sai no Teikoku
5) Waru ~ Hataraku no ga kakkowarui nante dare ga itta? ~

Source: The Television

Sunday, September 04, 2022

The 112nd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2022) - Best Leading Actor


Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Ninomiya Kazunari - My Family
2) Mamiya Shotaro - Nanba MG5
3) Michieda Shunsuke - Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Michieda Shunsuke - Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo
2) Mamiya Shotaro - Nanba MG5
3) Ninomiya Kazunari - My Family
4) Yamashita Tomohisa - Shoujiki Fudousan
5) Jinguuji Yuuta - Uketsuke no Jou

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Ninomiya Kazunari - My Family
2) Mamiya Shotaro - Nanba MG5
3) Yamashita Tomohisa - Shoujiki Fudousan
4) Yamada Ryosuke - Ore no kawai wa mou sugu shouhi kigen!?
5) Takahashi Issei - Invisible

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Ninomiya Kazunari - My Family
Mamiya Shotaro - Nanba MG5
3) Kimura Takuya - Mirai e no 10 count
4) Kamio Fuuju - 17-sai no Teikoku
5) Yamashita Tomohisa - Shoujiki Fudousan

Saturday, September 03, 2022

The 112nd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2022) - Best Leading Actress


Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Imada Mio - Waru ~ Hataraku no ga kakkowarui nante dare ga itta ~
2) Tsuchiya Tao - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
3) Ayase Haruka - Motokare no yuigonjou

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Ueno Juri - Jizoku kanou na koi desuka?
2) Imada Mio - Waru ~ Hataraku no ga kakkowarui nante dare ga itta ~
3) Ayase Haruka - Motokare no yuigonjou
4) Hirose Arisu - Koi nante, honki de yatte dousuru no?
5) Tsuchiya Tao - Yangotonaki Ichizoku

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Tsuchiya Tao - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
2) Imada Mio - Waru ~ Hataraku no ga kakkowarui nante dare ga itta ~
3) Ayase Haruka - Motokare no yuigonjou
4) Hirose Arisu - Koi nante, honki de yatte dousuru no?
5) Yoshikawa Ai - Ashita, watashi wa dare ka no kanojo

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Imada Mio - Waru ~ Hataraku no ga kakkowarui nante dare ga itta ~
2) Ayase Haruka - Motokare no yuigonjou
3) Tsuchiya Tao - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
4) Koshiba Fuuka - Youkai Sharehouse - Kattekitan kai -
Ueno Juri - Jizoku kanou na koi desuka?

Friday, September 02, 2022

The 112nd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2022) - Best Supporting Actor


Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Hamada Gaku - My Family
2) Matsushita Kouhei - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
3) Morimoto Shintaro - Nanba MG5

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Morimoto Shintaro - Nanba MG5
2) Matsumura Hokuto - Koi nante, honki de yatte dousuru no?
3) Sawamura Ikki - Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo
4) Hamada Gaku - My Family
5) Iwasaki Taisho - Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Hamada Gaku - My Family
2) Matsushita Kouhei - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
3) Matsumura Hokuto - Koi nante, honki de yatte dousuru no?
4) Matsushige Yutaka - Jizoku kanou na koi desuka? ~ Chichi to musume no kekkon shinkoukyoku ~
5) Ooizumi Yo - Motokare no yuigonjou

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Hamada Gaku - My Family
2) Murakami Nijirou - Mirai e no 10 count
3) Ichihara Hayato - Shoujiki Fudousan
Tamaki Hiroshi - My Family
Matsushita Kouhei - Yangotonaki Ichizoku

Thursday, September 01, 2022

The 112nd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2022) - Best Supporting Actress


Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Matsumoto Wakana - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
2) Tabe Mikako - My Family
3) Mitsushima Hikari - Mirai e no 10 count

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Kamishiraishi Moka - Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo
2) Tabe Mikako - My Family
3) Fukuhara Haruka - Shoujiki Fudousan
4) Eguchi Noriko - Waru ~ Hataraku no ga kakkowarui nante dare ga itta ~
5) Morikawa Aoi - Nanba MG5

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Matsumoto Wakana - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
2) Tabe Mikako - My Family
3) Shibasaki Kou - Invisible
4) Fukuhara Haruka - Shoujiki Fudousan
Yoshine Kyoko - Ore no kawai wa mou sugu shouhi kigen!?

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Mitsushima Hikari - Mirai e no 10 count
2) Matsumoto Wakana - Yangotonaki Ichizoku
3) Eguchi Noriko - Waru ~ Hataraku no ga kakkowarui nante dare ga itta ~
Tabe Mikako - My Family
5) Kato Yuzuna - Kanakana

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The 112nd Drama Academy Awards (Spring 2022) - Best Theme Song


Overall Ranking Top 3
1) The Answer by Naniwa Danshi (Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo)
2) Sore wo ai to yobu nara by Uru (My Family)
3) Genkou by WANIMA (Nanba MG5)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) The Answer by Naniwa Danshi (Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo)
2) Watashi by SixTONES (Koi nante, honki de yatte dousuru no?)
3) Sore wo ai to yobu nara by Uru (My Family)
4) Odoru you ni jinsei wo by King & Prince (Uketsuke no Jou)
5) Genkou by WANIMA (Nanba MG5)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Sore wo ai to yobu nara by Uru (My Family)
2) Genkou by WANIMA (Nanba MG5)
3) Hatsukoi ga naiteiru by Aimyon (Koi nante, honki de yatte dousuru no?)
4) Koi wo surunda by Hey! Say! JUMP (Ore no kawai wa mou sugu shouhi kigen!?)
5) Walkin' in My Lane by milet (Yangotonaki Ichizoku)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) COMEBACK - Itoshiki hahen - by B'z (Mirai e no 10 count)
Genkou by WANIMA (Nanba MG5)
3) so far so good by Oda Kazumasa (Shoujiki Fudousan)
The Answer by Naniwa Danshi (Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo)
intersolid by Miura Touko (Nanika okashii)

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Quick Review #9: "Hagane no renkin jutsushi Kanketsuhen Fukushuusha Scar" (movie)


Title: Hagane no renkin jutsushi Kanketsuhen Fukushuusha Scar 鋼の錬金術師 完結編 復讐者スカー

Currently available for viewing on: Netflix (subject to geographical location)

* Do note that this is Part 1 of the finale so there is no ending as yet.

Rating: 2/10

Recommended for
- Those who have no prior knowledge of the original manga
- Those who have prior knowledge of the original manga but don't mind alterations to the storyline and character settings

Liked:
Actually, nothing. The reason why I gave it 2 points was for the efforts by the cast and staff in attempting such a difficult task of doing a real life adaptation for this manga.

Disliked: 
- Despite the title, the story didn't put enough focus on Scar and his elder brother so the whole motive behind his hunt for the State Alchemists, his internal turmoil after "inheriting" the alchemy powers from the latter and why his elder brother was obsessed with research into alchemy were not presented in its entirety. As such, it was difficult to empathize with Scar or even see him as a dark hero given the skewed portrayal of who he was. If there had been a proper explanation on what happened, I think it would have made Scar a more compelling and attractive character. In view of this, I can see why Arata Mackenyu couldn't bring out the depth in Scar's character but it also didn't help that he was too young to bring out the masculine and jaded sides of Scar. Muscles and trying hard to put on a cold face alone are just insufficient.

- There were also many side stories going on clamouring for attention as if they were in a hurry to wrap everything up. I get it that this is the finale but still... For example, I vaguely remember that during the Scar arc, the story about the Xing royals seeking the secret to longevity wasn't featured so I got the impression that the timelines were also jumbled up to squeeze everything together. Not to mention the longtime issue with the Homunculi as well as King Bradley's identity.

- Maybe it's the pandemic that made it impossible for them to go on location shooting in Europe like what they did in the first movie. The CG this time was very unnatural in certain scenes e.g. when Hohenheim left Pinako's home and the surrounding scenery stood out like a sore thumb. Maybe it's best to spend most of the CG budget on the fighting scenes which were generally OK.

- As for the cast's suitability for the roles they played, I could go on and on about that. However, I think the issue this time is more about everyone having to fight for limited screen time with so many storylines going on that nobody really stood out. They were pretty much going through the motions so there wasn't much character development to speak of.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Preview of "HOTEL - NEXT DOOR -" - Summer 2022


Title: HOTEL - NEXT DOOR - 
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 10 Sep 2022
Timeslot: Saturdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Original manga by: Ishinomori Shotaro
Cast: Dean Fujioka, Kusabue Mitsuko, Kato Masaya, Ishibashi Renji, Murakami Hiroaki, Abe Junko, Omi Toshinori, Toyota Maho, Tsubokura Yoshiyuki, Masuoka Tooru, Nagai Masaru, Negishi Toshie, Moro Morooka & Yada Akiko

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Preview of "Uzukawamura Jiken" - Summer 2022 (WOWOW)


Title: Uzukawamura Jiken 鵜頭川村事件 (The Case of Uzukawa Village)
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 28 August 2022
Timeslot: Sundays at 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 6
Original novel by: Kushiki Riu
Cast: Matsuda Ryuuhei, Renbutsu Misako, Ibu Masato, Kudo Asuka, Yamada Anna, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi, Mashima Hidekazu, Ayata Toshiki, Itabashi Shunya, Tomite Ami, Yoshioka Mutsuo, Wada Misa & Usa Takuma

Monday, August 08, 2022

Romaji lyrics of "Warui Onna" by Higuchi Ai (Ending theme song of TV Tokyo Summer 2022 drama "Yukionna to kani wo kuu")


Title: Warui Onna
Sung by: Higuchi Ai
Lyrics & Melody by: Higuchi Ai
Ending theme song of TV Tokyo Summer 2022 drama "Yukionna to kani wo kuu"

[nikai gurai shita dakede
kanojozura shinaide]
sou iisute satta saiaku na hito
anata wa imademo saiai no hito

atarimae no shiawase
nugisute tobikonda
kekkon suru nara ano hito dakedo
tonari ni itai no wa tada anata datta

takusan aenakya yada yo
onnanoko to asobanaidene
nante ieru kenri hitotsu mo nai no ni
yoru wo mataide asa wo mukaeta

uragiri demo asobi demo nai
watashi ga kitto dame dattan darou
sou omoeba raku ni naru kara
anata wa warukunai
watashi ga warui warui warui onna

omoidaseru omoide
nanshuu shitan darou
sukunai kuse ni irokoi mon dakara
asetemo yabuketemo sutetari dekinai

shigoto de isogashii toka
honto ka uso ka wakarumon dane
naniga warukute naniga yokatta no
kotae awase no jikan wo choudai

uragiri demo asobi demo nai
datoshitara chanto namae tsukete
sou janai to kitai shichau yo
kantan ni okiru yo kiseki gurai
anata to deaetan dashi

isshun no netsu dato ka
anata wa sou omotteru kedo
watashi wa zutto koi wo shitetakara
machiwaranai shisen kowakunatte
negao bakari miteita

uragiri demo asobi demo nai
watashi ga kitto dame dattan darou
sou omoeba raku ni naru kara
anata wa warukunai
watashi ga warui warui warui onna

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Winners of Nikkansports Dorama Grand Prix - Spring 2022


The numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received. Voting was conducted via Nikkansports.com between 17 and 24 June 2022. The top 5 winners in each category will be nominees for the annual awards in the year 2022.

Best Drama
1) Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo (6,006)
2) My Family (3,408)
3) Shoujiki Fudousan (3,267)
4) Jizoku kanou na koi desuka? (1,850)
5) Tokusou 9 Season 5 (808)

Best Leading Actor
1) Michieda Shunsuke - Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo (6,070)
2) Ninomiya Kazunari - My Family (3,744)
3) Yamashita Tomohisa - Shoujiki Fudousan (3,350)
4) Yamada Ryosuke - Ore no kawai wa mou sugu shouhi kigen!? (864)
5) Oguri Shun - Kamakuradono no 13 nin (620)

Best Leading Actress
1) Ueno Juri - Jizoku kanou na koi desuka? (3,272)
2) Ayase Haruka - Motokare no yuigonjou (2,165)
3) Imada Mio - Waru (2,063)
4) Tsuchiya Tao - Yangotonaki Ichizoku (1,516)
5) Kuroshima Yuina - Chimudondon (896)

Best Supporting Actor
1) Ichihara Hayato - Shoujiki Fudousan (2,373)
2) Hamada Gaku - My Family (2,254)
3) Sawamura Ikki - Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo (1,855)
4) Tanaka Kei - Jizoku kanou na koi desuka? (1,750)
5) Mukai Koji - Tokusou 9 season 5 (1,112)

Best Supporting Actress
1) Tabe Mikako - My Family (3,056)
2) Fukuhara Haruka - Shoujiki Fudousan (2,478)
3) Kamishiraishi Moka - Chimudondon / Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo (1,530)
4) Igawa Haruka - Jizoku kanou na koi desuka? (1,240)
5) Aragaki Yui - Kamakuradono no 13 nin (1,231)

Source: Nikkansports

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Romaji lyrics of "Hoshi no ame" by Johnny's WEST (Theme song of TV Tokyo Summer 2022 drama "Yukionna to kani wo kuu")


Title: Hoshi no ame
Sung by: Johnny's WEST
Lyrics & Melody by: Keiya - amazuti - (KEYTONE)
Arranged by: Ikuta Mashin

bokura no mae ni nagareru hoshi no ame
tsukamitakute tsukamenakute mata te wo nobashi
soko de yume kara sameru
wasuretai noni wasurete ii noka wakaranai noni
kagayaki dake wa oboeteiru

moshimo kamisama ga iru nara donna kao shiten darou
nante itta monono kyoumi mo nakute
tada tsuzuku michi wo hashiraseru
supiido wo agete mukaikaze wo ukeru tabi
konna kisetsu nanoni sukoshi hadasamuku kanjite shimau you na

betsu ni mou sabishikunai yo zenzen kono toori sa
chizu wa nai kedo mi wo makasete miyouka
itsu datte heiki da heiki da

bokura no mae ni nagareru hoshi no ame
tsukamitakute tsukamenakute mata te wo nobashi
soko de yume kara sameru
wasuretai noni wasurete ii noka wakaranai no ni
zankoku da kagayaki dake wa oboeteiru

edawakare shiteru basho ni nando mo sashikakaru
tottekita toko torazu kita toko
ima mo tatazunde hitori

toki ga tatte wasurete shimatta you de
chanto oboeteiru koto mo attarishite
ano yoru mo ano asa mo

tada mou sukoshi ato mou sukoshi dake
nekorogatte hateshinaku tsuzuku yozora ni
sotto te wo nobashitemiru
hoshi wo todoreba boku dake no katachi ni naru kana
asa ga kuru sono mae ni mata hashiridasu

me wo sameyou oshikomou
kyou mo utsukushii ichinichi ga boku wo matteiru
waratte iyou oshikomou

sugu soko ni aru chiisana kiseki niwa
nakanaka kizukezu sugoshite shimau kara
umaku ikanai mon dayona
demo tashikana ondo wa
kimi to boku ga kanjita hazu no bokura dake no kono jinsei wa
shinjitai tada sore dake

bokura no mae ni nagareru hoshi no ame
tsukamitakute tsukamenakute mata te wo nobashi
soko de yume kara sameru
mou todokanakutemo mou soko ni aru hazu mo nakutemo
kimi to mita kagayaki dake wa oboeteiku

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Preview of "Junai Dissonance" - Summer 2022


Title: Junai Dissonance 純愛ディソナンス (Pure Love Dissonance)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 14 Jul 2022
Timeslot: Thursdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Theme Song: "Fate or Destiny" by Hey! Say! JUMP
Cast: Nakajima Yuuto, Yoshikawa Ai, Higa Manami, Takahashi Yuuto, Kakei Miwako, Wada Masato, Hata Mei, Fujiwara Taiyu, Jinbo Satoshi, Tezuka Tooru, Mashima Hidekazu, Tomita Yasuko, Mitsuishi Ken & Sato Ryuuta

Monday, August 01, 2022

Status update of Summer 2022 dramas - 1 Aug 2022


Now that we are already a month into the Summer 2022 drama season, it's time for a recap of the dramas which I've watched, will continue watching and have already dropped. With this, you will know if I will continue to cover a drama with my episode reflections or will just round up at the end with a quick review. 

To read my past episode reflections posted on Twitter and Facebook, simply search for the hashtags on the Dorama World pages.

What I watched (at least 2 episodes; in order of start date):
1) Old Rookie
2) Unicorn ni notte
3) Teppachi!
4) Okutou 
5) Junai Dissonance
6) Yukionna to kani wo kuu
7) Ishiko to Haneo 
8) Kyousou no bannin
9) Hatsukoi no akuma
10) Mahou no rinobe

Dropped
1) Teppachi! (watched up to Ep 4) 
2) Okutou (watched half of Ep 3) 

In danger of being dropped
1) Unicorn ni notte
2) Kyousou no bannin

Will continue watching but may switch to doing a quick review at the end instead
1) Yukionna to kani wo kuu
2) Old Rookie
3) Junai Dissonance

To continue with episode reflections barring unforeseen circumstances
1) Ishiko to Haneo
2) Hatsukoi no akuma
3) Mahou no rinobe

In the last season, I only finished one drama to the end with episode reflections i.e. "My Family" while I did a quick review for "Koi nante honki de dousuru no". Considering that I've only dropped 2 out of 10 at this stage, it seems that the offerings this season are better in terms of quality and appeal, at least in my opinion.

However, things may change again in the span of an episode or two so it's still too early to tell which drama will make it to the end.