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Prof_Talk

Low Risk Japanese Dramas for #Jdrama Beginners

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Recently someone ask me to recommend her a Japanese drama as she was new to the genre.
It was rather difficult because nothing immediately came to mind since the heyday of #Jdrama seemed to be rather over since the early 2010s.
 

I let a lot of those shows go from my memory banks
 

All of my good memories in regards to Japanese dramas go back even to the late 90s really with Long Vacation (1996) and Beach Boys (1997).

 

Then I was really taken with Dekichatta Kekkon / Shotgun_Wedding (2001) and it was off to the races.

 
However, for someone who has been only accustomed to modern Korean dramas and a novice to Japanese dramas, these simply maybe too old to start out from. And more recent Jdramas tend to be uneven at best.
 
The thing with Japanese dramas is that they can go "out to left field" commonly unlike Korean dramas that tend to stick to narrowly defined parameters. I actually think the Popular Korean culture is more or less a less crazy and less eccentric version of Japanese popular culture. 
 
Oh and more feminine centric also.
 
It makes Japanese popular culture more palatable for everyone. 
 
So, trying out a Japanese drama can get a little risky at times. They could either be very crazy and odd or very dull depending on your selections.
 
So, I thought to compile a non-ranked list of Japanese dramas that are solid in what they are. Thus, you can just try the first episode of each show and, if you do not like it, then you can move on. It is not that the show is poorly made.
 

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Among all of the dramas that are listed, Kekkon Denikai Otoko and Hotaru no Hikari are the only ones that I have watched and enjoyed so much. I am not a fan of Jdorama but always a regular viewer of these shows. Still find Jdorama has more heart than Kdrama

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You should check out Amachan. It's an NHK asadora/morning dorama about a highschool girl who becomes a diver and a local idol. It's a cute feel-good dorama. 

 

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Among all of the dramas that are listed, Kekkon Denikai Otoko and Hotaru no Hikari are the only ones that I have watched and enjoyed so much. 

same about those two dramas! Last Cinderella I was really eager for that but story deviated from my liking. 

 

I haven’t been watching jdramas for some some time because its too repetitive of detectives/police/sleuths dramas. 

Low risk j-dramas for me (that I liked) - Nodame Cantabile, Rookies, Perfect Report (all with Koide Keisuke) , Atashinchi no Danshi, Hero. i can’t remember any from the past 3 or 4 years that were worth watching for me

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My recommendation for J-dorama beginners: Orange Days

It wasn't over the top, at all. If you want to recommend a Japanese drama to someone who's not familiar with the Japanese culture and hence its drama style yet, then you would want to recommend a drama that's as neutral as possible. And since the theme of this drama revolves around love and friendship, it's timeless. I'm pretty sure everyone from any age and background would be able to relate. :)  

It was one of the first Japanese drama that I watched, back in 2004-2005, and now, many many MANY years and Japanese drama later, it's still one of my most favorite drama ever. 

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I'd add Nodame Cantabile, an absolute riot with solid acting and awesome music.

Others I'd recommend include Hero (2001), Neko Zamurai, Shinya Shokudo and Love Revolution.

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Food

  • Shinya Shokudo 
  • Kodoku no Gorume
  • Hungry
  • Hondana Shokudo
  • Queen of Lunch
  • Dinner

Detective 

  • Galileo 
  • Boss  I/II
  • Hero I/II
  • Hard Nut!
  • Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou

Medical

  • Doctor X 
  • Team Batista 2: General Rouge 

Workplace/RomCom

  • Suppli
  • Densha Otoko
  • Hotaru no Hikari
  • Ohitorisama
  • Real Clothes
  •  

If  your friend decides to level up:

  • Keizoku 2: SPEC - fantasy detective 
  • xxxHOLiC - fantasy witchcraft, dark
  • Border - ghost-seeing detective 
  • River's Edge Okawabata Detective Agency - the other side of Japan (mature content)
  • Liar Game - game show survival thriller
  • MOZU - political thriller

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My first was Boys Over Flowers, and it is and always will remain my favourite, far above even the Korean version. Otherwise, I'm not sure about drama. I've seen a fair amount of drama-type movies I've liked though. What you or friend can do is go on Asian drama sites and look for the ones that have the highest ratings. Usually the easiest bet when you can't decide on something.

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