After selecting some Korean dramas, it’s time to choose my favorite Japanese dramas of the year. For the record, I watched about 22 Japanese dramas of 2013 and choosing only 10 dramas has been really difficult and harder compared to picking 10 Korean dramas that’s because I enjoyed many Jdramas this year. Anyhow, here are my picks in order:
Another remake? Yay! Not because I was eager to watch the story once again, but because the first adaptation by Japan was a serious disaster, so it felt good that they’re making up for it.
Now that I think about it, I don’t believe the remake idea was so good. I mean it’s a given that no version can outclass the Taiwanese adaptation so why bother? I feel like Japanese producers wanted to make a fresh look that’s completely different from the 1996 version and I believe that the concept worked. But then comes another problem, the lead actress (Miki Honoka) is only 16 year-old so I was extremely anxious about her portrayal of certain parts and my worries came to light; the part I was waiting for was never portrayed. Other than that, the young actress did well in this; some people may think she overreacted but believe me, some Korean actresses should get acting lessons from this girl.
Love in Tokyo lived up to the expectations; it would’ve been more enjoyable if they cut out some filler episodes; I think this drama would’ve been much better if they finished it off in 12-13 episodes. A second season has been given the green light, let’s wait and see what Japan will do with my favorite part of the story.
Galileo 2 is another second season that came a bit late. I was extremely worried about the change of partners; those worries faded away by the end of the second episode but now that I look back, I still prefer Shibasaki Kou’s character over Yoshitaka Yuriko’s even if I like both actresses.
Galileo 2 got some great recognition in Japan both in the ratings and the awards. I am not saying it’s not well-earned but in my opinion, the first season was better than this. It’s not about changing some cast members but because the first season’s cases were more fun to follow. This season had some cool cases too but others were just disappointing especially the closure case; that was a complete bore and a failure according to me.
Why top 10? Because this drama is one of the best Detective dramas produced in Japan this year. It may not have been as awesome as the first season but it’s still very enjoyable.
This drama is a surprise for me; it’s true that I watched this because I like mystery plots made in Japan but I was surprised with the type of mysteries used in this drama.
Why top 10? It’s an underrated mystery Jdrama like many others. The mysteries in this drama are slow sailing and intriguing.
I fell completely in love with the first season of the sassy lawyer drama. It marked my first Asian law drama ever. I was really excited about the second season and the long wait finally came to an end.
Why top 10?This drama’s theme is really rare in Dramaland and what makes it even better is that Komikado Kennuske is such a funny, entertaining and one of the kind character.
I've stated that this drama is underrated and I am still persisting on my opinion. The drama has a simple episodic plot that manages to become interesting and even give some life lessons. Here are some reasons why you would like this:
*It’s entertaining; you will burst out laughing at some scenes (if you appreciate the Japanese sense of humor).
*The acting by Eita and Matsuda Ryohei was top-notch and the characterization was pretty well-done.
*It’s very short (about 26 minute per episode).
Why top 10? This drama is certainly one of the hidden gems that didn’t get the appropriate attention this year unlike many other dramas that didn’t make sense but still managed to be on top of many lists.
Another super underrated drama; I can’t get over the lack of recognition for this one.
*The family situations’ are realistic and not exaggerated, such as domestic violence, school pressure, social classes and so on.
*It’s a heartwarming touching story about how two families get affected with a certain murder and the way they outcome that situation.
*The acting department was extremely good in a way that would make you immersed in their performances especially the younger actors who delivered so well considering their age.
Why top 5? This drama excels at showing emotional struggles inside the family without adding the fake atmosphere. What also made it appealing is the mystery elements that always kept us wondering about the identity of the culprit.
This is quite different from any other Detective drama ever produced.
Why top 5? This is one of the best Detective dramas produced this year. What makes it special is the absence of the episodic pattern and the use of thriller events to keep the pacing interesting. It also has remarkable main characters (except for the female lead).
This seems to be the most famous drama of the year amongst international fans. Some may like it while others think it’s ridiculous and overrated. I am from the team who really liked this.
Why top 5? This drama is pretty different from any other family drama I saw. It drew great characterization to make you feel the main leads and their suffering. It’s absolutely one of the best dramas produced this year in my opinion.
The best psychology suspense of the year, hands down.
*The high-class mesmerizing cinematography that fits so well for the drama’s theme is such a masterstroke. Hats off to the director, he perfectly chose his angles and knew exactly where to place his cameras.
*Bunzo is the most evil character I ever came across; someone you would hate from the bottom of your heart. I swear if he wasn’t killed, I would’ve done the job for free. Loud applause to Yoshida Kotaro, he portrayed the character in the most epic way ever. I can never imagine another actor as his substitute.
*The three brothers had involving characters that would make you sympathize and feel their pain and struggling. The actors delivered great emotions but I would most certainly pick Ishihara Hayato as the best out of them, he was just fascinating as Kurosawa Isao.
*The music for this drama was so well-chosen especially “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones.
*This drama’s execution and length are serious strength points that count in its favor.
Why top 5? This drama is compelling, dark and mysterious. A perfect combination to make a twisty ride that will dazzle you throughout. It’s absolutely one of the best dramas produced this year.
Another masterpiece made in Japan. It’s the best drama of the year, period.
Why the first place? This drama is that flawless. It’s the only drama that got the perfect score from me this year and the third drama that ever got a 10 from me. It’s very involving and captivating to follow.
Here is a small follow-up list of Jdramas that deserve to be mentioned:
Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou: This drama deserved a spot in my top 10, for real! But since I will mention it in my upcoming “underrated dramas” review, I thought I should leave its spot for something else. Anyhow, this is a different type of investigation drama that solves mysteries by using old books.
Soratobu Kouhoushitsu: A different heartwarming drama that deals with the relationships inside the public affairs office in the ministry of defense, when a stubborn female journalist does a report on them.
Last Cinderella: Apparently the romantic comedy of the year in Japan; it’s a cute drama with a different type of female lead and another Cinderella story where Miura Haruma and Fujiki Naohito have to fight for the girl.
Otenki Onee-San: An atypical detective drama where the female lead uses the weather to solve crimes. It’s a fresh concept of the investigation genre and pretty easy to watch.
Ando Lloyd~ A.I Knows Love? It’s a sci-fi about future androids battles and a slice romance. Kimura Takuya did so well as a machine.
Doubles ~Futari no Keiji: It’s another Japanese detective drama. It relies on the bromance between the two male leads to deliver an interesting enjoyable ride throughout.
Take Five ~Oretachi wa Ai wo Nusumeru ka: It’s about a group of thieves who steal to help people or catch the corrupted. You can consider it modern times Robin Hood made in Japan.
Yamada kun to 7 nin no Majo: It’s a silly quick supernatural Japanese drama that deals with witches and kissing. It’s also really hilarious for those who are used to the Japanese silly sense of humor.
Sennyuu Tantei Tokage: This is the perfect example of usual episodic detective dramas made in Japan. It’s enjoyable but not special by any means. I nearly forgot that I watched this drama.
xxxHolic:This is another interesting supernatural drama that shows many spooky ghosts, supernatural creatures, entertaining storyline and awesome bromance.