Sunday, February 16, 2014


Fall 2013

Masato Sakai and Yui Aragaki return as Kensuke Komikado and Machiko Mayuzumi respectively in "Legal High 2". Still undefeated in court, eccentric lawyer Komikado continues to wallow in his victories. Enter Haruki Hanyu; a handsome and spirited young lawyer who traveled the world and returned to Japan to gain experience under Komikado. Hanyu's perspective on the outcomes of a trial differ greatly from Komikado's, but they have great respect for each other. After leaving Komikado's law firm, Hanyu joins the Public Prosecution office which is working on a highly publicized murder case. Coincidentally, Komikado and Mayuzumi are hired to defend the suspected murderer. Is Komikado's days as a undefeated lawyer numbered? Will Hanyu's idealistic "win-win" strategy beat Komikado's "winning is all that matters" style? 

Recommendation: The ratings for the second season of "Legal High" were much higher than the first season. One reason is probably due to the fact that "Hanzawa Naoki" just ended and there is a Masato Sakai boom presently in Japan. I was quite happy with the first season, but I think the second season started out even better. From the get go, there was the usual slapstick, over the top humor that made the first season memorable. I'm still at awe as to how Masato Sakai can talk so fast. What I found really interesting about this drama is that, I thought I would get tired of each new case that was presented in every episode. This was the same format from the first season with the only difference being the Ando Kiwa murder case starring Koyuki which progresses throughout the drama, but most of the cases were quite good and were thought provoking. Despite the drama being a comedy, it presented some deep social issues. The characters all have a distinct trait, whether it be Komikado pointing his finger and swiping his hairline, Hanyu snapping his fingers and stating an Arabian quote, or Hattori-san revealing another talent or skill he learned while traveling overseas. Even judge Beppu played by Ryoko Hirosue returned from "Legal High SP" to show how much she loves actual field work. The little twist in the end caught me off guard too. I have a feeling that people will either really like this drama or hate it. Kensuke Komikado can be really annoying at times, but overall I laughed a lot and I also shed a few tears (probably from laughing a lot). I also liked the slow motion battle scenes that developed during the opening credits. Overall, I highly recommend this drama. Just remember that it is a bit crazy and over the top. 

Story: 1.0
Acting: 1.0
Directing: 1.0
Character Development: 1.0
Emotional Factor: 1.0

5.0 Out Of 5.0 Crowns

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Fall 2013

Umi No Ue No Shinryojo is about a young doctor named Kota Sezaki (Shota Matsuda) who is hired to practice on a boat clinic called the Kaishinmaru. The Kaishinmaru travels to rural islands located in the Seto Inland Sea due to the lack of medical resources in the area. Dr. Kota is talented and highly skilled, but his reasons for accepting the job is a mystery. What is immediately known by the staff of the Kaishinmaru is that Dr. Kota is single and falls for beautiful women a bit too quickly. Will he eventually find that special someone or will he be destined to sail on the Kaishinmaru empty handed?

Recommendation: I've seen Shota Matsuda in "Hana Yori Dango" and "Tsuki No Koibito". I wasn't a huge fan of his, but he showed some range in this drama as an eccentric young doctor. I enjoyed his acting, but despite his best efforts, the drama as a whole was a bit dull and slow. I think it was meant to be a bit on the slow side, in a way showcasing the calm and serene life of rural Japan. I did enjoy the beautiful shots of the ocean and mountains, but as a drama it didn't arouse much excitement in me.

If I could sum up the drama in just a few words, the story is really all about misunderstandings and miscommunication as Dr. Kota repetitively visits one island after the next and falls in love with the first beautiful woman he sets his eyes on, only to be dumped or realizing that said beautiful woman already has a lover. The first episode started out mysteriously, but all the mysteries and tense subplots ended up being nothing more than misunderstandings that were resolved easily. Also, every person or acquaintance of said person he encounters has an accident which is not only coincidental, but just too patterned for my taste. In the end, I had a hard time trying to figure out what exactly this drama was about. I thought the last two episodes were good, but it was a little too late. I really felt Emi Takei's character, Mako chan could have been utilized better. I would have added more scenes that develop the relationship between Dr. Kota and Mako chan like maybe adding more scenes of walking through the countryside and talking about a variety of issues. Their relationship just felt awkward to me and to have them come together in the end didn't feel realistic.

If you want to see a drama that's a bit slow with some subtle humor and you like Shota Matsuda then by no means, please watch this drama. Unfortunately, for me, it was a bit light in terms of story, character development and overall excitement. I think the Kaishinmaru can sail on without me.

Story: 0.5
Acting: 0.5
Directing: 0.5
Character Development: 0.5
Emotional Factor: 0.5

2.5 Out Of 5.0 Crowns