Esumi Makiko returns to drama acting after 4 years


Esumi Makiko (Love Revolution, Shomuni, Pistol Opera, Inochi), one of my favourite actresses, returns to dramaland this summer to headline NTV’s Bull Doctor. This follows a 4-year hiatus during which she busied herself raising her two daughters with television director husband, Hirano Shin.

Bull Doctor’s script is written by Hashibe Junko who was also behind the hit dramas Freeter, Ie o Kau, Boku no Ikiru Michi, Emergency Room 24 Hours and Around 40. The drama focuses on the hunt for the truth in medical mysteries and the lifestyles of its two main female characters, Odate Tamami and Kamatsuta Chika.

Esumi’s Tamami is an associate professor and a shrewd forensic pathologist who possesses strong convictions which she boldly pursues. This often leads to conflicts and antagonism between her and Chika, a career detective stagnating at a police precinct played by Ishihara Satomi. But at home, Tamami is a mother who struggles to raise her 9-year-old son.

So we have strong, successful career woman floundering around at home? Check. Animosity between lead character and those around her? Check. These are the exact ingredients that have been used liberally in dramas, but to varying degrees of success, and I’ve grown quite tired of such setups because they’ve become stale.


My excitement about Esumi’s return is doused by what sounds like a cliche-ridden drama with a bland storyline as well as mediocre co-stars which include Ishihara Satomi and Inagaki Goro. A reunion with Goro 14 years after Koi was Katamichi Kippu is hardly the most thrilling news because he is not Esumi’s acting equal. The best he can muster are wooden mannerisms and stilted deliveries that somehow pass as acting. Maybe he will throw himself into his jealous, resentful role here and make me eat my words, but alas Goro is no Kusanagi Tsuyoshi.

I have the feeling that Tamami won’t be a challenge for Esumi who is a versatile actress able to deliver impassioned, intense performances, while Bull Doctor seems like one of those coming out of a cookie cutter mould. I might attempt an episode or two seeing how there really isn’t much this summer until the WOWOW dramas kick in late July and August, and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Otherwise, it should really be considered criminal to underutilise actors and actresses who can act and to call a cast spectacular when they are clearly not, then wonder why the ratings are not coming in.

Bull Doctor will follow Rebound and premiere on 6 July 2011, 10.00 pm.

About jadefrost

This blog contains information and musings on current and upcoming Japanese dramas but is not intended to be comprehensive.
This entry was posted in NTV, Summer 2011 Dramas and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Esumi Makiko returns to drama acting after 4 years

  1. junny says:

    Thanks for posting this! Just as I was saying that Inagaki Goro might give this a lift (seeing as he was pretty decent in “13 Assassins”)… sigh. Plot isn’t much, cast isn’t much (other than Esumi)… things are not looking too good for this drama. I really want to see Esumi pick a role that will do her talents justice – her recent dramas haven’t really been much, I think.

    I saw Kusanagi in 2003’s “Taikoki”, he was pretty good as Saru. But I guess he’s still in the midst of his comeback after that incident.

    Wonder if “Shiawase” ended well for Fujiki?

  2. Zitrone says:

    I don’t care what’s the storyline, I just want to catch a glimpse of Esumi again. Boy ! Her stage presence is as overwhelming as her height… usual.

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