Ok. I admit it. I'm hooked on J-Dorama. What is J-Dorama you ask? Well, J-Dorama shows (or JDrama, whichever you prefer) are prime-time TV dramas shown in Japan. J-Doramas usually consists of ten to twelve 1-hour episodes about a group of people and their relationships. Most have a central theme as well, but it usually just provides a backdrop to the interpersonal stories. Since each show is 10-12 episodes in length, watching each one to completion provides a sense of closure. Once a show is over, thats usually the end of the story -- with the really popular ones occasionally spinning off to a 'special' or movie.
I don't really watch any prime time US TV; I never got into ER, CSI, or other similar shows since I guess I didn't find them very interesting. However, my fascination with most things Japanese has lead me to J-Dorama. I guess I have my friend Eric to thank, since he got me started. Last year, he mentioned that he used to watch old videotapes of J-Dorama shows in college. When I told him that I had been downloading a lot of fan-subbed anime, he asked if there were any places online to find fan-subbed J-Dorama, He was interested in getting a copy of one of his favorite shows called Shomuni, a story about a group of office ladies and their comedic struggles within a large company. After some digging, I found a copy of it -- along with lots and lots of other interesting shows. This is when I also discovered J-Dorama.com, a virtual clearinghouse for all dramas that have been produced in the last 15 years. After watching Shomuni and enjoying it, Eric recommended that I check out GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka. It is a story about an ex-motorcycle gang member who has cleaned up his act and decided to follow his lifetime dream of being a high school teacher. It may sound corny, but the show is fantastic. Of all of the shows I've watched, GTO is still my favorite. Here's a list of some of the other shows I've enjoyed:
- Good Luck !! - a story about an airline pilot in training and the relationships he has with his mentor and a female mechanic whose parents died in a plane crash many years ago.
- Beautiful Life - a heart-wrenching story about a young woman who is physically bound to a wheelchair and a man who brings her happiness.
- Hero - a story about an unconventional public prosecutor in Tokyo and his assistant.
- Star no Koi - a story about a famous but mediocre actress who falls in love with an average salaryman who is able to help her realize her potential.
- News no Onna - a story about a female news anchor woman for a large TV station whose coldhearted nature is softened when she is forced to assume custody of her late husband's son.
I suppose that the reason I've been hooked on J-Dorama is that all of the shows deal with universal human interest issues but since they come from another country I find it fascinating to see the subtle differences in culture and lifestyle. So far, I've enjoyed every show I've watched. And the list of shows I still have to watch is always growing, thanks to D-Addicts.com. While the fan-subs are great, I wish a distribution company would pick up some of these shows and produce formal releases here in the US!