Hotaru no Hikari (Glow of Fireflies) is yet another in a long line of Jdrama romantic comedies featuring colourful leads who initially bicker and butt heads like oil and water yet deep down the audience inherently knows they’ll eventually hook up. Like just about every Jdrama out there in this genre the key for the audience here is presenting events and dilemmas that keep them apart or present alternate love interests in ways that seem justifiable and realistic but at the same time show the slow romantic buds blooming between the leads. In that sense Hotaru no Hikari works despite having next to no originality but viewers will be rewarded with energetic performances and some delightful chemistry that keeps episodes humming along even though the plot reeks of too many clichés.
Potential (noun): 1. The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into being. 2. Something possessing the capacity for growth or development— http://www.thefreedictionary.com
Kimura Takuya makes his annual return to Japanese drama with the high budget Mr. Brain, a procedural crime investigation series that takes elements from American shows such as CSI and Columbo that on paper sounds as if it could have a ton of potential but instead ends up as a middling entry filled with vacant characterizations and episodic narratives rife with a myriad of illogical contrivances.
There are odd setups and then there are totally bizzaro setups. Atashinchi no Danshi is firmly in the later group here. While I can give points for originality the narrative presented here is incredibly fresh yet totally far-fetched and off-the-wall. I suppose it can sort of function if one regards the show as live-action manga or some sort of weird fairy tale but originality aside the series itself has some truly gigantic issues that prevent it from being remotely successful.
Watching Innocent Love I can’t help but recall that hoary old Hollywood cliché that child actors have it tough when they attempt to transition to more mature subject matter. I’m sure you could start a list of famous kids who earned much praise and kudos for their earlier work only to find their careers careening into the abyss as they start to age. For every Ron Howard, Leonardo Dicaprio, Jodie Foster, Elizabeth Taylor or Drew Berrymore there’s a Macaulay Culkin, Edward Furlong, Gary Coleman or Dana Plato. I could go on for hours but you get the point.
There was a point during the first season of Keifer Sutherland’s 24 where I remembered thinking to myself, “Okay, this is about to jump the shark.” After merrily buzzing along at warp speed the story suddenly seemed to run out of ideas when Jack Bauer’s (Keifer Sutherland) wife suddenly developed a severe case of amnesia which is one of the most ridiculously overwrought and overused plot devices imaginable. To its credit, the inclusion of such a silly soap opera subplot didn’t torpedo the show as it managed to right itself and keep going with a wonderful marriage of tense situations and compelling action.
Code Blue is an average medical drama whose claim to fame is its trio of young stars Yamashita Tomohisa, Aragaki Yui and Toda Erika. While certainly photogenic they fail to impress since the narrative spends an inordinate amount of time on patients and medical procedure and makes the mistake of saddling the leads with pedestrian character arcs that are not even fully explored. In fact, the real stars of the show are the veteran cast headed by Yanagiba Toshiro who plays their mentor Kuroda Shuji and the actress Ryo as the veteran, though internally conflicted doctor Mitsui Kanna.
War is hell. Many have probably heard this short truism numerous times before in their life but whether or not they truly understand it is another matter yet one hopes that everyone in the world never has to experience the horrors first hand. As cinema has progressed through the years so has the war film genre and while once it might have made for great propaganda to show a clear delineation between good and evil and to ramp up patriotic furor watching stilted war flicks the norm nowadays is to take a much more evenhanded perspective.
Based on Umino Chika’s popular manga this live-action drama production of Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover) has got to be one of the most reviled Japanese dramas I have ever had the displeasure in watching. Instead of an insightful pastiche of intertwining love triangles what we have here is almost ten hours of turgidly paced schlock filled with grating characters who waffle in the wind at every turn including a lead in Takemoto Yuta (Ikuta Toma) whose inability to say his true feelings is so ponderous that you wish you could reach into your television set and strangle him with your own two hands at his sheer stupidity.