16 dramas with likeable characters to date, if I remember correctly (it’s been a while!). That leaves me with 84! On to part 3, another 5 dramas.
Tonbi is for me the Japanese drama of the year 2013! Tonbi is a very endearing story about a father’s bond with his son, about what it means to be a parent and how a son grows to understand his dad. The spotlight falls on the young actor who played young Akira as he is narrating the story. But the dad-Uchino Masaaki-definitely focuses the entire show. He is VERY endearing. A bit of a village jester type a simple-minded, down to earth person, he knows the meaning of the word to dote. All of Yasu’s friends are also very likeable- especially the monk. This was based on a novel inspired by true story. It really warms my heart to see stories like that. The overall mood is irreplacable, the drama quickly creeps into your heart and steals it. The first episode was, to me, reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli movie. It set the tone of the story with such warmth. Tonbi is the reason why I love japanese tv so much. It’s a drama made with heart. There was a two episode special drama starring Tsutsumi Shinichi earlier on as well. The funny thing is when I saw this version, prior to discovering the special version, I felt: hey, Tsutsumi Shinichi would be nice in this role too. But I’m more fond of this version as it really was very well executed and satisfying to watch. And Masaaki gives off a stronger awkward personality type vibe than Shinichi, though they are both excellent actors. Perhaps it’s because I see Shinichi playing brooding types more…see below.
Features a very nice student-mentor relationship. The young rookie played by Kimura and the older captain share some sort of tactic undertanding, which comes to be more pronounced and highlighted during the final moments. I think perhaps I find male bonding somehow more open and honest without being explicitly emotional or overwhelming and that is why I find this story so compelling. Also, Shibaski Kou’s characters posesses a certain quirkiness about her that is well-matched to the quirkiness of Kimura’s character. The supporting characters, especially some of the other pilots, are nice too. The drama is about persistence in realising your dreams but also about the notion of responsibility and moving on. And here Shinichi’s character came across as one that is pitiable as he is trapped in his past, along with Kuroki Hitomi’s very strong and appealing chief stewardess Togashi.
A GENTLEMAN’S DIGNITY
I have a number of gripes with this popular drama. The ladies are not likable at all, especially Se Ra. But I did feel sorry for Jung Rok’s wife. They are rather silly and frustrating a lot of the times. Tae San and Mea Ri do not get enough screen time as siblings and I felt Tae San doesn’t care about his sister at all. The main attraction and the source of likeability of this drama lies in the bonding between the four guys, it’s fun to watch them. But to me only Yoon is really likeable as the sort of a warm, dependable and serious character, even though his behaviour throughout most of the drama is way too passive. And then Colin and his friend they add a little bit of likeability to the story as well. The story overall is, however, fairly stable as the scriptwriter is in general very dependable for creating mood in her sories that are likely to catch the viewer’s interest. This, coupled with good cast, is a key to success.
9 END 2 OUTS
The main leads are a couple of good friends who over the course of the drama fight wth the deeper feelings for each other that threaten to emerge, though they still maintain a close relationship. I enjoyed their deep friendship and anticipated “the next step” with good feeling. It’s fun whe the drama plays and builds the tension resulting from such an anticipation and I think 9E2O is one of the better examples of this kind of story.
This was one of the first stories I watched. The lead actor Oda Yuji is likeable in this role. It’s a simple love story about two unexpected neighbours; naturally they fight at the beginning and there is some hilarity but the girl is hiding something. The story was full of good feeling and the banter between the characters was very pleasant.In many ways, though the drama is fairly typical by today’s standards in particular, this was the drama that perhaps defined what I would later come to seek in Japanese tv- simplicity and good feeling. Details of the story evade me now as I watched it agers ago and never rewatched it. I think that my view would likely be more critical if I watched it now, but still I keep it in fond memory, somehow. Some of the other characters are also quite likeable, maybe with exception of the Tamaki Hiroshi character, he was off-putting.
I want to watch Tonbi!
It’s highly recommended 🙂