Amazing drama. AMAZING. I was hooked from the very beginning. And what it is best, the last 3 or 2 episodes are not boring or dragging at all (something that I've been dealing with with the last doramas I've watched). Everything was excellent in this dorama. Excellent.
This is the first time I see a period drama (a Japanese period drama, that is). I learned so much. First, this character, Sakamoto Ryoma, who is one of Japan's hero (although you would not believe it in this show... he was more like a comedy relief, but I've read some text about him to be more informed). And then, their life styles. This is the 1862 year.
Top-notch things about this wonderful dorama:
- Cast: many familiar faces, but also some new ones. Ayase Haruka has never failed me. She is amazing in everything she does. I think I will like whatever she is in. She plays the daughter of an important family, and she wants to be a doctor (which was not possible in that time, for a woman). Needless to say, she looked gorgeous as Saki-sama, in her kimono and fancy hairdo. Her brother is Koide Keisuke, another actor that has never failed me. He may be a little to tamed here, but I liked him so much he could have said two words in the entire show and I would have still liked him. Other actor that I've recently started to like is Kiritani Kenta (as the doctor Saburi). He has such a funny face, and boy he can act! He was wonderful as the new doctor who practiced his studies with prostitutes. And then it is Nakatani Miki, as Miki and the courtesan Nokaze. WOW, what a pretty, elegant lady. I have seen her only in one movie ("Densha Otoko") and I wasn't impressed. She was too plain, in looks and in acting. Boy did I change my mind! She is beautiful, she moved me with her acting as both Nokaze and Miki. She was so elegant and lady-like as the courtesan. Everything, from her voice to her little movements, were majestic. OMG, even her little feet were elegant. I love her smile, I can't believe I once thought she was plain.
The new faces, for me, were first, Ozawa Takao as Jin. Excellent his role as the doctor. I don't think I will be able to see him in another role, he WAS Dr. Jin. He traveled in time, from present time to Edo time. It was not hard to put into his shoes. Everything he did -every life he saved, every person he met- could change history, and he was afraid of it. But more than anything, he was a doctor, so of course he changed perspectives; his and the people he met. I could understand why two strong females, like Saki and Nokaze, fall in love with him. He was just, he was kind, he was skillful. On the other hand, I could not take sides. I loved Saki, she was an independent woman who was interested in medicine. I loved Nokaze, who had a very sad past and wanted her freedom. I loved Miki, Nokaze's great-great-great-granddaughter and present girlfriend. I could understand why Jin was so aware of the little photograph he took with him (where he and Miki were posing. With every change he made into history, the photograph changed). I don't know how this will end... and although I hate love triangles -or love squares- I wish Jin all the happiness and wisdom to chose a woman among these wonderful women.
At first I thought the actor had a funny face... a bit weird, since his eyes are very apart. But with every laugh I liked him more. He had those tiny wrinkles that made him attractive, he has a nice body and nice teeth. On the other hand, he has a huge Adam's apple (is it weird to take notice of that??)
The actor who played Dr. Ogata was also wonderful. First time I see this man. He did a good job playing the most important doctor in this little town. I was moved by his tears. And I was convinced of his importance and intelligence.
The little boy... waaa, I had tears in my eyes when he was crying for his mother. At first I thought he was a bit annoying and not a good actor, but he proved me wrong with the scene with his mother.
Oh, and Kohinata Fumiyo has a small role as well! He was, of course, wonderful. WOW the number of roles he played so far! One of the most prolific Japanese actors.
The man who played Ryoma-san was good, first time I see him. I just did not like his role that much, mainly because of the way he talked, and also because I just couldn't make up my mind that a guy like him has been the most important guy in Japan history. He was just too... he took things like a joke, which is fine of course, but as Ryoma-san... not so much I guess.
- Setting: the backgrounds were beautiful. The houses -so Japanese-, the gardens! The little red district... the trees! Houses were wide and so clean.
- Costumes: Saki's kimonos and Nokaze's... O_O WOW, beyond gorgeous. Their hairstyles, Nokaze's high shoes, her make-up. I loved one of Saki's kimono which was pink. Or another that was blue with little flowers. Scratch that, I loved ALL her kimonos! From the top of their heads to their tiny feet... everything was pretty.
- The surgeries: I am one of those people that cannot see blood... and since Jin is a doctor who has to perform surgeries -brain surgery, skin surgery, breast surgery...- everything looked very real. I was like O_O OMG. And of course, praying that Jin could save his or her life. It did not always happen -obviously- but I was so happy when he did.
- Soundtrack: the ending song not so much. But the opening and the one that accompanied the most important scenes (by Takami Yu). It was sweet and a bit sad and just beautiful. I loved it and I am currently searching it to have it on my playlist. One of my favorite dorama songs.
Before I decided to watch it, I've read several reviews in order to decide. Most of the reviews said that the end was not good. I think it was good, a bit of a cliffhanger but not a life-or-death problem. It ended like it was supposed to end. Some get their happy ending, some get a HFN. A perfect way to continue a 2nd season, but for people who did not like it so much, it can also end here.
Rewatch value is 100% since I have watched it already twice.