When Okita Kazuaki was starting out as a doctor, he was forced to resign from the hospital. He left his girlfriend Danjo Mifuyu behind and went to the US alone. 10 years go by and he comes back as a surgeon with outstanding skills to save his former teacher from illness. His teacher is none other than his ex-girlfriend’s father. In the time that Okita was away, Mifuyu had married his owngood friend Masao, who is now the deputy director and the heir of the hospital. To make matters worse, this friend was the one who plotted to drive him out form the hospital 10 years ago. Okita has to face all sorts of ordeals to save his teacher. But he never gives up amid the swirl of love, desire, friendship, jealousy and pride. Okita may be awkward but deals with patients with all his heart. His way of life gets the people working at the hospital to start asking themselves what real healthcare is.
Cast & Credits
But if you're watching this for the story, the development of the characters, and for the medical story itself, you would be fine watching this.
Some may find this drama boring, maybe I am just used to watching Japanese drama that I am certainly not really expecting too many romantic moments, plus this is a supposedly slice-of-life / medical drama, so I can say I enjoy it as much...
I like Kimura's character here as Dr. Okita. He went from an ordinary doctor of Danjo Hospital, and went abroad to further his skills and went back for a mission to operate the director of Danjo. I like how he always look so relax for a doctor.
One of my favorites characters is Dr. Igawa, he is so bubbly and adorable. The way sometimes he deals with situations like he is totally clueless or can't read the atmosphere, but when a situation needs to be more serious or requires a sensitive moment especially when calling out for Okita's behavior, he gives him a scolding.
I used to work in a hospital, but not on the Medical Department, but somehow watching this drama makes me want to be one. I can't guarantee accuracy of the terms and medical procedures here, but it feels great and amazes me watching it.
Also I love how the friendship of Okita & Masao showed in the end. They may have some rivalry in the romance side, but their friendship and the way they cared for Mifuyu prevailed in the end.
The only thing I wished for this drama is that I hope there more episodes, or at least a side-story for the other characters.
For rewatch value, I might pick it up again sometime.
Story: Medical dramas can be hard to do well and when you have a star studded cast, you best take advantage...and I did not think A Life did that. Character development was really lacking and I found myself frustrated many times. I'm sorry, but Takeuchi Yuko deserved a better character than what they did with Danjo Mifuyu. I also really wanted more for Hamura--he felt like a useless character to me. And boy did I think Masao was poorly done (though acting by Asano was superb). Okita was really the best balance as we got some backstory with him but even still, we could've seen more with him--I did not like the whole super surgeon vibe we got, but I understand that it was necessary. Despite all of this, the series was entertaining. Okita and Shibata together were great and I enjoyed Igawa as well. The drama focused too heavily on the politics and then dragged out the ending. To me, the story could have been executed way better.
Acting/Cast: I give the acting high marks though I found the supporting surgeons annoying af even though I knew they were just there to provide exaggerated comedy relief. I actually think Asano was the best actor out of everybody here at times, but his character made me hate him still. We don't even need to talk about Kimutaku. He killed it as usual with the wordless expressive acting--I just wished they gave the other characters the same depth. Don't know if it was just me, but I felt like Mifuyu and Rina's scenes weren't as heartwarming and gushing as they could have been, but I do not want to be too critical about the child actress. I get why Nanao had to be the way she was as Sakakibara, but man she seemed forced. So there were some positives and negatives with the cast.
Music: I did not notice it too much, so it gets a passing grade from me.
Rewatch Value: I'm not sure about this, but I don't think I would instantly pick this up again to rewatch, so it's meh for me. There may be some episodes worth rewatching, but I wouldn't say the entire series.
Overall, I thought this series had a lot of potential that was not lived up to, but it was still an enjoyable drama and honestly better than some of the others I've seen where I could not even get through the entire series.