- Overall 9.5
- Story 9.5
- Acting/Cast 10
- Music 10
- Rewatch Value 9.0
I wish I could un-watch this so I could watch it again, but after crossing out some of my to-be-watched doramas in my list. I don't think I have ever or will ever seen a more wonderful dorama as this one. Everything was perfect (the cast -my, that cast!-, the story, the setting, the soundtrack).
**POSSBILE SPOILERS BELOW**
I don't feel like this was a 2nd season. It was pretty much like read more an extension of the 1st season, so it is kind of hard to rate them separately. Maybe the only and biggest difference is that in 2nd season, Jin-sensei is not struggling so much with medicine and it repercussions in history. Since the photography has vanished, and his actions don't affect Miki's life anymore, he doesn't have any worry about the "what will happen if...". He is happy living in Edo period, he is happy with the Jindo-you (?), he is happy being friends with Ryoma-san. If he can save Ryoma-san from his assassination, he will do it, without a doubt, no matter the consequences.
Only in that aspect I prefer the 1st season to the 2nd. JIN has more medical cases, there were more surgeries and wow, awesome scenes that looked, if not entirely realistic, very good to the point of make me feel boneless. I love how Jin-sensei was so much aware of every one of his actions and what would happen if he did XX thing. 2nd season is more about political issues than medical ones. While 1st season is about penicillin, 2nd season is about battles and revolutions.
There is also a stronger bromance between Jin-sensei and Ryoma-san. Talk about bromance! Because Ryoma-san's assassination is around the corner, Jin-sensei is thinking about his welfare almost all the time. The love triangle between Jin-sensei, Nokaze and Saki-san is almost non-existent. Nokaze finds out the truth about Jin-sensei and Miki, she meets a foreign guy and is married in an episode (out of nowhere). Nokaze encourages the love between Jin-sensei and Saki-san, despite loving him as well.
I've read some reviews where people complained about Saki-san rejecting him. To me it made sense. She did not know when or if he would disappear to go back to the future. She decided to be a good doctor first, which was her dream. On the other hand, I've never felt that Jin-sensei truly loved Saki-san. Cared for her, yes. Loved her as a friend, yes. Loved her as a lover, no. I wouldn't want Saki-san to have Jin-sensei' heart half-arsed. And in a way, it is good, because Jin loved Miki, but he also loved Saki.
Which leads to... isn't their love story almost the same as Inuyasha and Kagome? The love triangle Jin/Miki/Saki = Inuyasha/Kagome/Kikyo. Jin/Inuyasha cannot forget their first love (Miki/Kikyo) which I admire because that is what loyalty is about, but at the same time, I pity Saki/Kagome for loving this fool guy so much and for never been able to have their hearts at 100%.
I don't know yet how to feel about the final chapter. The romantic in me is screaming internally in despair. I have to admit I got a bit tearful (who wouldn't?). It was a touching scene, that part where Jin is reading the letter from the past. And also when he was reading these books and found the photographs of the doctors in Jindo-you. I also wanted to say "minna..." with tears in my eyes...
On the other hand, the practical me says that it couldn't have ended in any other way. It was good, it was convenient (the thing about Miki). It was a bittersweet ending (more bitter than sweet).
About the acting. Ayase Haruka is truly a wonderful actress. She has "the vein" that only exceptional actresses have (like Angie). When she is struggling with her feelings, or when she is suffering, "the vein" (on her forehead) appears. She can cry so nicely, and she can smile so angelically as well. It is impossible not to feel empathy with her.
While in season 1 the acting of Miki (Nokaze) impressed me, her role in 2nd season is less prominent and she pales somewhat with her previous acting. Although I admit that she was superb when her baby was born. I don't think in real life anyone would have endured such a painful experience but her tears and determination to have her baby made me remember the Nokaze I fell in love with in Season 1.
Other actress that impressed me was Saki's mother. This actress, Asou Yumi, has such the face of a mother who had to go through so many painful things in her life. She looked a bit tough, especially on her children but also always on the verge of tears. The episode where she was sick was excellent, and she deserved an award for her performance.
My favorite actor has to be, maybe again, Kiritani Kenta. He is so funny without being a comedy character. His accent -the way he lisps-, his bulging eyes when he is shocked. I also love his character, how much he was into medicine, as well as all the other fellows in the little clinic.
No doubt it is the best dorama I've seen so far. True, I have others I liked as much as this one (probably I love Nodame Cantabile a bit more) but in terms of quality, clothing, setting, story, acting, this is the best there is. The kind of show all people should watch. I don't think there will be one single person who wouldn't love this dorama. It has medicine, politic, good battles, a bit of romance, friendship, family matters, Japan history (not sure of the accuracy but overall I learned a lot).