I’ll copy-paste my list from another thread here. A textwall, but I think in this context more info is better than not enough, and I don’t plan on posting one of these every day. (“Thanks!” they say.
“Life” (2007) - based on Keiko Suenobu’s manga about brutal school bullying, is easily the best, most ethically spectacular drama I’ve ever seen. I’d die to see it again and I would dearly like to introduce a whole bunch of friends to it, but… there’s no longer any place to see it. I describe “Life” as being “Like ‘Alien,’ but with scarier monsters.” Every single scene in this is electrifying, and every single scene has that rarity of rarities, the either-or moral choice . In virtually every scene someone has to choose between loyalty to a friend vs. fitting in with the crowd; giving up vs. fighting; standing up for oneself vs. caving in and living as a beaten dog; trashing an enemy in vengeance vs. elegantly stepping aside and allowing them to destroy themselves via their own embarrassing actions; stepping in and saving the day for someone else vs. indirectly guiding them and letting them triumph via their own effort. Viki really needs to get a “Life,” hahaha. Anyone who’s ever had to endure being bullied will find this drama to be jaw-dropping and flat-out magnificent in its inspiration;
“Joker Yurusarezaru Sosakan” (2010) - a brilliant show about the ethical questions in vigilantism, with some incredible twists and some of the best acting I’ve seen in ages (Sakai Masato is a Japanese Gary Sinese, with an inscrutable face that’s always smiling but with heavy-duty conflict going on in his head.) I know at least two friends, one of them a bestselling writer of vigilante novels, who’d really dig this show and would likely become long-term subscibers if the show were here;
“Voice” (2009) - about forensic science students turned detectives, with a classic “morality play” in every episode, like vintage Star Trek and Twilight Zone used to be, IOW, food-for-thought long after it’s done, and with excellent acting and writing;
“Iryu: Team Medical Dragon” (2006) - one of the best and most realistic doctor shows I’ve ever seen, also with great writing, acting and effects;
“Kiina: Fukano Hanzai Sosakan” (2009) - about a police woman assigned to an X-Files-type division that deals with weird supernatural cases, much like the classic “Galileo” but even weirder;
“Ushi ni Negai wo” (a.k.a. “Wish Upon A Cow” or “Love & Farm” - 2007) - a group of pampered Tokyo college students sign up for a semester in Hokkaido to intern as farm workers, where they instantly regret it but can’t back out, so they have to learn to get serious about life and basically to grow up. I remember in the opening episode two of them birth an actual calf, live, with no effects and no help (nothing is done half-hearted in Japan, including acting.) The calf, which they name “Green,” basically becomes another cast member as he grows older. Just a cool and totally unique show;
“Yasashii Jikan” (2005) - about a father and son living a few miles apart on Hokkaido without knowing it, who’d become estranged after the son crashed the family car, killing his mother. The father runs the Forest Clock, a coffee bar with a huge picture window that looks out on the forest beyond - an actual place you can visit in Furano. A really intense, emotional melodrama that will stick with you forever, and has Ayaka Hirahara’s “Ashita” as its theme song(!)
Dr. X (2012) - This was on Amazon Prime but got deleted before I had the time to see it (they’ve ditched a ton of their J-dramas too, which means there has to be a bunch of J-drama addicts just as frustrated as me, wanting somewhere else to see them.) This one has gone to six seasons, so it must be good.
Asakusa Fukumaru Ryokan (2007) - about a nosy and hilarious inn owner in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, starring Nishida Toshiyuki, who played the grumpy noodle chef opposite the late, great Brittany Murphy in “Ramen Girl.” This had a second season but I’ve only seen the first - a great comedy with some heavy tear-jerker action too. By the end of this the actors will feel like they’re your family, and you’ll be sad to have to say goodbye to them.
Midnight Diner (a.k.a. Shinya Shokudo - 2009 onward) - About a diner that opens at midnight and closes in the morning, and the weird regulars and non-regulars who show up there. This is mondo cool and has gone to something like five seasons, but Netflix only has one. So a great opportunity to pick up their slack and basically pull fans of the show away from the “flix” Borg.
Prolly others I’m forgetting - well “With Love” from 1998, which is basically the same story as the movie “You’ve Got Mail” but came out several months earlier - people might be put off by the now ancient-looking computers that are the focus of the story, but it’s a great story (with some flaws,) with phenomenal music that’s woven throughout the plot.
Ok, now I’m done. Again, sorry for the textwall but better to be thorough.
I’m not much of a Jdrama watcher, but there is one Jdrama that I would love to see on Viki: Fallen Angel.
I watched it on YT in a day, since the episodes aren’t very long, and there are only 9, I believe. The story line may be rushed and rather fragmented, but I was glued to my seat watching it! The themes the drama went through in such a short amount of time really touched me, and I still think about that drama (or mini-series?).
As an overarching summary, the story is about three brothers who discover that their mother works for a secret society. They work on trying to find out the mission of the society and why the society people are trying to capture one of the brothers. It’s a little bit dystopian and a lot of suspense . I would say that they are trying to create ultra-smart human beings in order to improve society, but that contrasts with the real need of society…which maybe isn’t intelligence but love…
In the beginning, there is a mother who is attempting to save her son from some people trying to catch him (we learn later on who they are and why they try to catch him). She quickly finishes his heart transplant and sneaks him out of the hospital, and tells him to go to his two older brothers. She gives him the address and I think a note, and leaves him.
He stumbles to a train station and gets a ticket to the city where his brothers live. His brothers are skeptical of him at first, but the oldest remembers the youngest brother and he recognizes his mother’s handwriting. He is the first of the two older brothers to extend love and compassion to the youngest.
When the youngest finally gets enough strength to go out, he convinces his older brothers to try and find their mom at the hospital; the only problem is that the hospital doesn’t exist. They go to where it once was, but it completely disappeared…and this is where weird things start happening, like suspicious jelly beans and strange girls trying to force the boys to eat the jelly beans…a crazy (or seemingly crazy) young man tries to kill them, but then runs away…the youngest has horrible flashbacks of a surgery…
And so begins the journey of the three brothers to discover what happened to the youngest, where their mom might be, what the meaning of the jelly beans is, who is the society, and why they are being chased…
If you would like, I can write in more detail.
There should be a playlist on YT with all of the episodes, but the quality isn’t very great…if you search fallen angel eng sub playlist, it should pop up…
Sounds to me like a very complicated drama. I still don’t get it though. In the end, do we finally have understanding as to why all this weird things happened? Or do they leave it as a cliffhanger, with no closure in the ending? That would kill me bc i hate endings like that.
Thank you for adding the video it has all the episodes.
The ending…it does show the mastermind behind everything and it does explain why he did what he did, but…it does leave off on a sort of cliffhanger into what should be a next season.
Yes, the story is kind of confusing, I was confused too, but as I watched, I understood more, especially towards the end.
I really wish Viki would update people on what - if any - progress it’s making on getting new Japanese dramas added to the site. The virus-panic has likely hit Viki as hard financially as everybody else so maybe it’s particularly difficult right now, but any information would be helpful. Also it would be interesting to know more about the obstacles that prevent more Japanese dramas from being added.
Just judging from the number of posts on these Discussion forums, it seems like K-dramas are much more popular than J-dramas. But I’m thinking this is just the “snowball” effect: Because there are more Korean dramas to choose from, naturally there are going to be more people watching K-dramas than anything else. Because there are more people watching them, there is more “buzz” about them.
I’m convinced that once people started seeing more Japanese dramas - especially if Viki breaks away from the over-represented Romantic Comedy genre and gets some doctor shows like “Doctor X” and “Iryu: Team Medical Dragon,” detective shows like “Joker,” “Tantei no Tantei” and “Zettai Reido,” school dramas like “Life” and “35-Sai no Koukousei,” paranormal shows like “Galileo” and “Trick,” and many other genres - more people will become aware of them and eventually there will be as much buzz about J-dramas as with any other.
…as well as the growing U.S. interest in J-rock bands like Gacharic Spin, Doll$Boxx, Band-Maid, Tears of Tragedy, Light Bringer, BabyMetal (which I hate, but which is nonetheless weirdly popular here,) and Soko ni Naru - and the virtual explosion of Japanese festivals in Europe and the Americas, focusing on everything from Anime and Kawaii culture to music (like SF’s J-Pop Summit, etc.)
All of which indicate that there is a huge potential for growth in all things Japanese in North America and Europe, including Japanese dramas. But only if they’re available for people to see.
Well, I guess J-Dramas are mainly from the Japanese for the Japanese, they’re often adapted from Manga and relatively short and ‘simple’ (not necessarily referring to their topics though). Japan seems to focus more on animation in regard to exports.
Most ‘dorama’ are adaptions of either Shoujou or Jousei-Manga it seems - but in fact they sometimes address things in a more open way than ofc China or Korea. To me it feels a bit like watching stuff from Great Britain, there’s a certain unique atmosphere.
I really want them to add the rest of the Novelist series (aka the Pornographer), it’s incredible. It might be the best bl drama I’ve seen. But the last two installments aren’t available for free anywhere :((((( If they ever get it I will join the subtitle team immediately