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Japanese live-action TV for snobs/discerning people?

#26
yogert909 Wrote:
sholum Wrote:if you think Game of Thrones is top quality... It's irrelevant to the topic, so I'll just say that the entire thing (the show, that is) is written to make money and nothing more.
Making money does not preclude quality. Anyone who thinks otherwise is unlikely to make anything regardles of quality.
What I'm trying to say is that, for all the praise it is given, it's basically a higher budget form of any other television serial; it's designed to take advantage of human psychology to gain viewership and thus subscription and disc sales.
I'll admit that it's much better than most of the stuff on TV, but there's a point where I just can't stand the internal marketing anymore (there's no way I don't already know about 'Game of Thrones', would you please quit advertising it to me). I rarely watch anime for the same reason. Heck, I barely watch television at all.

Granted, I guess I'm just showing my bias against the medium, but I still think the show suffers due to its open money-grubbing.

I'll shut up and go back to my books now. They cost an arm and a leg to buy anymore, but I still find them more worth my money than a cable subscription.
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#27
To be honest I think the best thing to do with Japanese doramas is to embrace the cheesiness, you get used to it and start to enjoy it after a while Wink

Having said that, these are good and not so cheesy:

Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi 空から降る一億の星
Orange Days オレンジデイズ
Last Friends ラスト フレンズ
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#28
sholum Wrote:What I'm trying to say is that, for all the praise it is given, it's basically a higher budget form of any other television serial; it's designed to take advantage of human psychology to gain viewership and thus subscription and disc sales.

I'll admit that it's much better than most of the stuff on TV, but there's a point where I just can't stand the internal marketing anymore (there's no way I don't already know about 'Game of Thrones', would you please quit advertising it to me). I rarely watch anime for the same reason. Heck, I barely watch television at all.

Granted, I guess I'm just showing my bias against the medium
It's not bias, it's irrational hatred. And not just of "the medium", but people in general. I'm sure you'll hate books too, once you figure out that they too use human psychology to appeal to an audience and marketing to inform that audience that they exist.
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#29
well, he's right about Game of thrones - a big-budget soap opera whose main point of interest is who will sleep with whom and who gets killed next. if you strip away its fantasy elements, it becomes pretty ridiculous.
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#30
sholum Wrote:You had me until that: if you think Game of Thrones is top quality... It's irrelevant to the topic, so I'll just say that the entire thing (the show, that is) is written to make money and nothing more. And yes, I did form my opinion through my own experiences.
Shows that are not written to make money have a name.

They're called "cancelled shows".
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#31
umetani666 Wrote:well, he's right about Game of thrones - a big-budget soap opera whose main point of interest is who will sleep with whom and who gets killed next.
Actually, Game of Thrones, just like its source material, is a political epic that provides a deep and realistic insight into European feudalism, while at the same time presenting an original and engaging plot.

It also explores human sexuality in a realistic, honest way, and has some of the most complex and carefully developed characters in the history of television.

And the series of novels it's based on (and follows pretty faithfully) is one of the few fantasy series even literary critics gave positive reviews to.
Edited: 2014-06-25, 8:54 am
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#32
caivano Wrote:To be honest I think the best thing to do with Japanese doramas is to embrace the cheesiness
Second best. The best is to find something better to watch.
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#33
TheViking Wrote:EDIT: These aren't live-action shows.

I'm a 19/yo male studying EE. I don't find Japanese dramas worse than American nor British shows. Just different. Maybe I've gotten accustomed after watching many hundred hours of J-drama.

Here's a few of the many i enjoyed:

http://mydramalist.com/568-summer-snow
http://mydramalist.com/2662-soredemo-ikite-yuku
http://mydramalist.com/7125-hanzawa-naoki
http://mydramalist.com/98-my-boss-my-hero
http://mydramalist.com/145-jin
http://mydramalist.com/418-engine
http://mydramalist.com/6068-kazoku-game
http://mydramalist.com/32-nodame-cantabile

I find that the writing for Japanese dramas is often quite good. The market definitely isn't as big as in the US. I think you should search for some dramas with a story that u might find interesting Smile
I second my boss my hero, jin, nodame cantabile
also recommend watashi tachi no kyoukasho, hanazakar no kimitachi e (give a few eps, I just find it really funny though I don't like the over-acting parts), and nobuta wo produce (you have to give this show a few eps)

I understand your plight. I love quality ameican dramas like korean dramas are unwatchable to me for that reason ( i see no reason to watch those when i can watch american ones. i did find one drama i'm interested in but it'll be a long time till i get around to seeing it to really see if it is watchable/fun to watch).

LASTLY I recommend LIFE. This isn't necessairly high high quality drama up to the levels of american dramas BUT it lacks some of the qualities of j-dramas that I despise like really slow pacing, crappy lighting/camera work because the episode is 35 minutes long. also something about it is really watchable and makes me want to keep watching. i also recommend LIAR GAME. this show was a lot of fun for me starting from episode 3. the plot for episode 1 and 2 are sorta eh but it picks up afterwards. it's only 35 minutes or so like LIFE so it's NOT slow-paced. definiely check d-addicts to see what has japanese subs and watch those first. last i checked nobuta wo produce only has DVD picutre subtitles on a russian site for all the episodes except the last episode. also also maybe check out mop girl

this is my old blog entry on j-dramas i saw. if you need more suggestions use the SEARCH button on this forum.

honestly only way to really find out is to actually watch the jdramas. try to be as picky and smart (hint just because it has high ratings or people rave about it doesn't mean you'll like it or i'tll actually be objectively a good show so follow your gut) about watching them as you can. you don't have force yourself to watch 5 episodes to decide you don't like etc etc. I've seen maybe 30 dramas and a couple definitely IMPRESSED me a lot which are the ones i recommend and i've seen mediocre/crappy ones too. I agree with other people there's no point really trying to compare american and japanese dramas beacaseut they're just different and sometimes that are things that only j-dramas can offer that american dramas cna't and vice versa, etc.

if you find any other good jdramas definitely share with us whether it's thread or the other threads about this same topic.
Edited: 2014-06-25, 11:04 am
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#34
Watch Trick (トリック). Great dialogue, amazing chemistry between the protagonists, interesting insights, and genre-bending brilliance.

Also, what does "cheesy acting" refer to? If it refers to unrealistic and over-the-top acting, then that seems like a personal bias to me. Acting doesn't have to be realistic to be good; it has to be artistic and meaningful. The acting in most David Lynch films is deliberately unrealistic, but it adds to the fantasy and surrealism of his movies.
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#35
"Why don't you do your best?!!!"
Edited: 2014-06-25, 12:09 pm
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#36
At first, the original question was somewhat confusing to me because snobs consider themselves above the crowd, yet the shows listed are at the top of the popularity list. It's kind of like saying you're a music snob and you're foaming at the mouth at the quality of the Top 40 charts. Although if you say that you're an American (for example) and you think American entertainment is the best in the world then yeah, that's pretty good as for as snobbism goes. Or, is it simply ignorance?

I'm with the cheese crowd. If you can appreciate the cheese in Japanese shows then you know you're at home with the Japanese culture and nuance. May take a few years of cultural exposure and language mastery though.

In caseo veritas. The truth is in the cheese.
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#37
well, i strongly disagree. i don't think you need to accept bad acting and bad writing in order to enjoy japanese media or culture.
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#38
howtwosavealif3 Wrote:LASTLY I recommend LIFE. This isn't necessairly high high quality drama up to the levels of american dramas BUT it lacks some of the qualities of j-dramas that I despise like really slow pacing, crappy lighting/camera work because the episode is 35 minutes long. also something about it is really watchable and makes me want to keep watching. i also recommend LIAR GAME. this show was a lot of fun for me starting from episode 3. the plot for episode 1 and 2 are sorta eh but it picks up afterwards. it's only 35 minutes or so like LIFE so it's NOT slow-paced. definiely check d-addicts to see what has japanese subs and watch those first. last i checked nobuta wo produce only has DVD picutre subtitles on a russian site for all the episodes except the last episode. also also maybe check out mop girl
I second Life and Mop Girl. Mop Girl is very over the top but it's funny and the 2 main characters are good.

I don"t think Japanese dramas have worse acting or writing than American ones, it just a different style.
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#39
Danchan Wrote:"Why don't you do your best?!!!"
なぜベストを尽くさないのか?
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#40
umetani666 Wrote:well, i strongly disagree. i don't think you need to accept bad acting and bad writing in order to enjoy japanese media or culture.
of course that's true. you have to find the shows with the good acting and good writing (of course this is subjective too). there's no reason to subject yourself to crappy shows just because it has x ratings or x popularity or x hype. use your best judgement. stop watching it and move on to another show! if if it really bothers then go open the last episode on a streaming site and then move on officially lol. i did this with magerarenai onnna. this drama was awful imo and i have no idea why people like it or were able to watch it. I loved kanno miho and tanihara shousuke in watashitachi no kyoukasho but this drama was just hell no. first episode was boring and crappy and the preview for the second episode made me want to stop watching the drama. so i did and just fast-forward/watch the last episode just so i could be "done with it". honestly to me in that drama "nothing happened" it was just so pointless and "who cares".

and of course some actors are really unbearable so i will probably never touch anything that shingo from SMAP stars in. I was reading online about his acting and how unnatural it was and i checkd out a clip of a drama and it was exactly as the people said. he just ruins the drama with his acting to the point of unwatchable. there's several other really awful actors that i wonder why they're actors when they're so awful. but i do know the answer. it's because of their FACE.
===

btw right now i'm in the middle of watching hanzawwa naoki and legal high. I don't like them enough to recommend them. I get more enjoyment from watching legal high than hanzawa. i'm around ep 6 for both of them so i doubt the last 5 eps or so will change my mind. I've been watching them for months just because of lack of time and other stuff I'd rather watch. A drama that I never finished watching that hopefully i'll finish watching this year is suzuki-sensei. in some ways this show is well-done and interesting but in some ways it's crappy and boring. this show had BAD ratings but it was praised on this blog that I like reading called hamsapsukebe.blogspot.com. the blogger didn't undersatnd why the ratings were so low when crappy dramas had high ratings but I can see why the show has bad ratings. I figured out a way to make it more interesting and watchable for me for this drama. I'm going to start fast-forwardig any scene with suzuki-sensei and his girlfriend or the mousou scenes (they're SO BORING for "mousou". god tongue is much more interesting). A drama that I start watching because it seemed "fun" along the lines of mop girl and whatnot is odagiri kyouko - reinouryokusha (forgot the whole title) and I had fun watching the first episode. I don't really expect THAT much from the episodic plot because i'm watching it for fun (I don't feel like analyzing, nit-picking, or discussing it really. it's pretty straight-forward and it's enough to entertain me for 40 minutes ) and I haven't seen the whole thing so Ican't really say but so far I definitely got more enjoyment from watching this then hanzawa naoki.

I pREFER 最善をつくす.
Edited: 2014-06-26, 10:58 am
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#41
I finished reading Brothers Karamazov and tried to watch the J-Drama but it doesn't even come close to what the novel sets out to achieve.

The highest "quality" drama I've seen was Karei naru Ichizoku. That show is really twisted.
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#42
riskyshift Wrote:When it comes to anime there are some great, insightful, well written shows. I just watched a live-action movie, そして父になる, which was a well directed, beautifully written and had excellent, naturalistic, subtle acting. There have to be some Japanese live-action TV shows that capture that level of quality, right?
Japanese films usually have the stuff you're looking for, they tend to be way more realistic and natural than dramas for some reason. And a lot of them have good cinematography and good production values.

I found that the same actors would act completely different based on whether they are in a film or a drama, which is something I can never understand.

Take for example Takuya Kimura, he was really convincing/subtle as the blind samurai in that movie Love and Honor...but the minute you see him in a J-Drama, he overacts and is just pouring with cheesiness...I mean wtf.


howtwosavealif3 Wrote:and of course some actors are really unbearable so i will probably never touch anything that shingo from SMAP stars in. I was reading online about his acting and how unnatural it was and i checkd out a clip of a drama and it was exactly as the people said. he just ruins the drama with his acting to the point of unwatchable. there's several other really awful actors that i wonder why they're actors when they're so awful. but i do know the answer. it's because of their FACE.
===

I pREFER 最善をつくす.
Shingo was good in Zatoichi The Last, he played the blind samurai pretty well, no overracting or anything from what I remember. The movie itself sucked though.
Edited: 2014-06-26, 7:20 pm
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#43
I never found the few J-dramas I've seen to be any more cheesy that their US equivalents. It's just a different kind of cheese. For example, I find that most US dramas are taken way too seriously, but this is by design so that even the dullest of the audience (yes, that's how they think of you; it's their job to do so) can understand the story without a written companion to explain what scenes are supposed to be high-tension.
Why do you think action movies and crime dramas are so prevalent? It's because they make a bunch of money, are relatively easy to make (they don't exactly require a deep plot, or any substantial plot, for that matter), and easily explain the overly dramatic voicing; chances are that the audience members are neither action stars or FBI/whatever investigators and will accept the acting as 'normal' to that setting even if they know it's unrealistic.

Anyway, my point is that the cheese is there, just that it's more of a hard, mild smelling cheese instead of a bright, aromatic cheese (which is the way I'd describe Japanese vocal cheese).
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#44
sholum Wrote:I never found the few J-dramas I've seen to be any more cheesy that their US equivalents. It's just a different kind of cheese. For example, I find that most US dramas are taken way too seriously, but this is by design so that even the dullest of the audience (yes, that's how they think of you; it's their job to do so) can understand the story without a written companion to explain what scenes are supposed to be high-tension.
Why do you think action movies and crime dramas are so prevalent? It's because they make a bunch of money, are relatively easy to make (they don't exactly require a deep plot, or any substantial plot, for that matter), and easily explain the overly dramatic voicing; chances are that the audience members are neither action stars or FBI/whatever investigators and will accept the acting as 'normal' to that setting even if they know it's unrealistic.

Anyway, my point is that the cheese is there, just that it's more of a hard, mild smelling cheese instead of a bright, aromatic cheese (which is the way I'd describe Japanese vocal cheese).
I totally agree with this. People take action and crime movies/ TV shows way too seriously. The things are trying so hard to be serious that it comes across really stupid to me and I don't even enjoy it. The only crazy action film I particularly enjoyed was Die Hard and that had it's fair share of cheese.

The prime example of a series of films that I don't understand why people think they are cool is the latest series of Batman films. When I'm watching Dark Night I'm like: "Why the hell does he speak like that when he's wearing the bat suit? Isn't that ridiculous? Yet the rest of it takes itself so seriously!""What exactly is the story here? The Joker just likes killing people? Does he want to get caught? I mean, I get it, he's crazy, but this isn't exciting, because it doesn't flow at all.""Oh for god's sake, how fricking miserable can you get? Can there just not be one scene where people are not dying, or that cop is screwing up his face, or it just doesn't look like there's an eternal eclipse?" I enjoyed the Spiderman films a lot more because they had their fair share of jokes and romance, and family and work and school scenes and a suitably goofy and cute little Peter Parker and SUNLIGHT. But now they're making new Spiderman films to fit the trend...

I don't think I've yet seen any jdramas that make as little sense and at the same time take themselves as seriously as American stuff.
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#45
Sebastian Wrote:You are missing Person of Interest, which is network rather than cable drama, but it's at least at the level of Breaking Bad, if not superior.

...

It seems Person of Interest isn't as known as it should, and I have no idea why. If anyone here hasn't watched it, give it a try.
This has nothing to do with Japanese shows, but I've been watching this show based on Sebastian's recommendation (and the fact that it has Michael Emerson). I'm about halfway through the second season and I agree it's one of the better shows I've seen in a while. The procedural episodes are entertaining in their own right but the overall story threads are well done too. As of now I certainly would not rate it anywhere near Breaking Bad in quality, but it's worth a watch.
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#46
I liked the recent ドラマ called BORDER. You can see a trailer for it here:


The acting seemed quite good, not too cheesy for the most part.
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#47
riskyshift Wrote:Looking at the other thread, someone posted a link to http://www.jdorama.com/topdramas.htm, and GTO (1998) is the #1 rated show. While I did enjoy GTO more than most other J-Dramas, frankly, the dialog was pretty bad, the acting wasn't great and the production values were about on the same level as the kids' TV shows I used to watch in the 90s. It was really only Takashi Sorimachi's portrayal of Onizuka that saved it.
Having recently finally given in to watching this old show that people seem to rave about so much I decided to come back to this thread. I haven't finished it yet but you are totally right about how Takashi Sorimachi's acting is the best thing about GTO. There is something typically j-drama-y about the others' acting but I find it actually to be way more wooden than the acting in any other jdrama I've watched. Some of the stuff that Onizuka does that makes people love him is just so ridiculous and I just cannot fathom how that would ever work. What I'm saying is, please don't give up on jdramas because you've been put of by the hype surrounding that outdated series. Generally, watch some newer stuff. I find that in newer series the comedic elements flow much better into some more mature dramatic scenes and the higher production values and standards of acting create the overall impression that you're watching a good US comedic drama (Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty are the only examples I can think of right now, but of course, all these jdramas aren't female orientated like them) or a British Doctor Who or Sherlock type drama, that doesn't take itself particularly seriously, but is very high quality.

I like:

Bitter Blood - A gem of 2014 with very high production value that's just thrilling. A tough cop legend father and over enthusiatic, thinks-he-needs-to-be-everyone's-white-knight son work together as police detectives at Ginza Police Station after years of having been estranged. The relationship between father and son and the office banter is quite comedic, but tastefully and amusingly rather than straight up cheesily, and this does not interfere with the police drama side; the crime investigations and the tense interactions with criminals are serious and suspenseful. I've only just watched the first episode, but I have to say that the opening was action from the get go, the comedy that they mixed into the father son reunion warmed me to the characters and when they got to the *slight spoiler* hostage situation near the end of the episode, it was suspenseful and I was on the edge of my seat and I think it was handled well. The cheesiest thing was probably the slightly OTT psycho villians, but it sort of just reminded me of Bond villians and the Joker, which US viewers enjoy, and it just made them scarier. Not a gritty US cop drama like the ones you quoted but an exciting suspenseful cop drama nonetheless.

Mother - If you really want to eliminate all cheese from your J-drama experience there is Mother. Mother is about a elementary school girl called Rena who is abused by her mother's boyfriend and seen as a hinderance by her mother. Rena's teacher, Nao, picks up on this and decides her only choice is to kidnap the girl before her family ends up killing her. Thus ensues an emotional on the run story which explore's Nao's troubled childhood as an adopted child and meeting many other troubled characters along the way, never knowing who to trust. I have not finished this either, but I can tell you, there is no chance of the thinnest slice of cheese in this; it is all rather depressing. It's very well acted - I am repeatedly impressed by Rena's actress who really puts the right emotion into everything convincingly despite being only 6 years old.

Yakou Kanransha 夜行観覧車 - A mystery/family drama, with cheese that was pretty minimal. A new family in an exclusive neighbourhood are troubled by their snobbish neighbours apart from one young family with children from past marriages, who they look up to until the husband in that family is murdered in the house. Solving the mystery leads to constant flashes back and forwards in time until all info is filled in up until the night of the murder and we see the families The main family came off as horrifyingly cheesy at the beginning, but the whole thing got dark quick and ceases to tolerate any cheese after pretty much the first episode. The one exception to this are the snobbish old ladies that keep a sort of Cruella De Vil air about them, but eventually become less relevant.

Face Maker - People who want to start a new life visit a plastic surgeon called the face maker who will replace their face with the face of a past patient in exchange for adding their face to the library for future customers. This was really dramatic and generally very good. Many of the characters were very troubled and it was interesting to see how they hoped to change their life with their new face. However, more often that not, something would occur to make them realise what they had lost, and pretty much always the person who received their original face from the face maker would come back to haunt them. Very episodic until the last 2 episodes pretty much, when we learn the back story of the face maker and his glamorous assistant. Generally well acted, never comedic but sometimes over the top, but that really just pushed the drama forwards. The main problem is the wealth of female clients who were being bullied into thinking they weren't good enough or were jealous of someone and somehow thought that becoming another person was the best option to fix those situations. Of course it was always way too extreme a solution and gave them more problems than they had originally had. I began to loose respect for these sorts of characters, much preferring those who were in real mortal peril or who had truly ruined their lives beyond repair.

Soratobu Kouhoushitsu 空飛ぶ広報室 - A drama about romance, journalism and military aircraft. I watched this because it was just so odd a premise to me. A female television reporter, Inaba, who previously hounded a husband and wife to near madness is relegated to doing gourmet reports until she gets the opportunity to produce a documentary on the Self Defence Office (the place that organises Japan's defence). This does get her out of the drudgery of gourmet reports but she is really not chuffed about having to make a story out of daily office life (since there is no war going on, their office life really isn't interesting). Entering the job with this bad attitude, she instantly rubs an enthusiastic young ex-pilot, Sorai, who works in the office, up the wrong way by telling him, after he made a huge speech about all the different types of planes they have with great enthusiasm, that planes aren't beautiful because they're just made for killing people. It's not until Inaba finds out Sorai's horrible story of why he had to quit being a pilot before he achieved his dream and then breaks through to him that she starts to respect the people in this office and sees how there is really a touching story behind all of them that Japan wants to hear. Eventually Inaba develops a friendship with everyone in the office, and there is some serious character development as she discovers all of their past stories and starts to help them overcome their troubles, and a sparkle of romance begins between her and Sorai. This was well acted, but there was definite cheese particularly coming from the head of the office and one worker there. It was not action packed but did occasionally get very dramatic, but that drama was more about the emotions of the characters trying to overcome their weaknesses and their drive to help their friends rather than the actual situation that was going on, which was never life threatening. Generally, it was a heartwarming drama that will teach you lots about planes and friendship.
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#48
Hamon is a pretty awesome drama with a high production value.
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#49
Someone this show already in previous replies, but I definitely recommend "Liar Game". I can't really think of anything comparable in US television in terms of humour, creativity, and engagement. The whole plot is so unique, and while acting is a bit manga-ish, it definitely gets you going and wanting for more after each episode.
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#50
Thank you so much Helena4 for the great post with really interesting-sounding dorama write-ups. I'll check them out.

Helena4 Wrote:I like:

Bitter Blood -

Mother -

Yakou Kanransha 夜行観覧車 -

Face Maker -

Soratobu Kouhoushitsu 空飛ぶ広報室 -
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