Drama Digest #15 Sequels & Romance Dramas

I’ve been busy and lazy and all things in between. Winter was such a bore that I didn’t have the motivation to bring news about dramas on air, and then spring came along with so many delights that it has been a challenge to follow all the dramas I want to watch. However, my most anticipated drama Mozu turned out to be the biggest letdown of the season and I don’t have much hope that the second season on WOWOW will be better since the scriptwriter remains the same.


A sequel for Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai? … NTV is said to have quickly decided on a sequel for the highest rated drama of the spring season Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai, which just ended its run on 18 June. A source familiar with the production said a 2-hour special will be broadcast next March and a second season has been scheduled after that. The network has negotiated with Anne and co-star Kamikawa Takaya and obtained their informal consent to appear in the special and second season. According to an NTV personnel, NTV’s reason for insisting on producing the second season in April next year is so that they retain Anne. Because she is now the actress with one of the three best viewership ratings in the entertainment industry, NTV’s objective is also not to let her appear in a TV Asahi, Fuji TV or TBS drama. The network intends to bolster its underachieving dramas with Anne. “This time, Anne is the only one of the drama heroines selected to be a main host for the 24-hour TV 37 which will be broadcast in August. NTV will make Anne its star actress and try to turn Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai into the post-Gokusen series,” a broadcast writer commented.

New season of GTO … … Fuji TV can only rehash despite series of dismal failures … A second season of the remake of the original GTO drama will air this July with the scene shifting from Tokyo’s Kichijoji to Kanagawa’s Shonan. The media has been quick to pounce on the fact that the original GTO which starred Sorimachi Takashi and Matsushima Nanako in 1998, was a huge hit that scored 35.7% for its last episode. But 14 years later, the GTO remake starring AKIRA only managed an average viewership rating of 13.2% for the first season and a humiliating 6.7% for GTO New Year’s Special last year. “It points to AKIRA’s lack of acting ability and a mixed reception among viewers,” an entertainment writer said. AKIRA’s fans may rejoice in a sequel to the remake, but others aren’t so thrilled that Fuji TV is always rehashing old dramas, doing dramas that aren’t hits and living off its past legacy. “Both Iryu 4 Team Medical Dragon and Team Batista 4 reached new lows for their respective series. Summer Nude which made a mockery of Beach Boys, and Shomuni 2013 from the previous season took a drubbing. Kyuumei Byoto 24-ji Season 5 dropped lead actor Eguchi Yosuke, triggering a rash of complaints from fans. There have also been hit sequels like Legal High Season 2, but because of the many serialisations which give the feeling of being flops before broadcast, quite a lot of people have doubts about Fuji TV’s planning ability,” said the writer.

Fuji TV’s president offers his theory on the waning fortunes of romance dramas … “I think young producers in the whole TV industry may have lost interest in romance dramas. I believe it’s an industry-wide trend.” This was Fuji TV’s president Kameyama Chihiro’s analysis of the current disappearance of romance dramas from TV programming at a regular press conference in late April. In recent years, there has been a boom in dramas about corporations, internal discord, and turnarounds. “Even Disney’s hit Frozen is ultimately about sisterly love when the norm would have been to have the prince play an active role. I feel that a turning point has come for romance dramas worldwide although this is probably overstating it.” He offered the view that “romance dramas have become hard to make” due to the emergence of mobile phones. “It’s difficult to create scenes of “crossing paths without meeting” and “misunderstanding”. When you add work, colleagues and various terms to the mix, it’s no longer purely love and I think the perspective ends up different,” he explained. “During our time, we used idols to make love stories, but I personally believe the actual state of affairs is that young performers and the type who will make people want to watch love stories are gone or cannot be found.” The only romance drama of this season is Fuji TV’s Zoku Saigo kara Nibanme no Koi. while Gokuaku Ganbo occupies its Gekku which has traditionally been dominated by romance dramas. Fuji TV says “Unlike the viewing public up to now, male viewers are more than the average Gekku. It’ll be good in the long history of Gekku to do something besides romance once in a few years.” Goodness. I’m baffled and I’m tempted to think that there’s a great lack of imagination and a disconnect. And certainly it must all come down to one thing in the end: viewership ratings.

About jadefrost

This blog contains information and musings on current and upcoming Japanese dramas but is not intended to be comprehensive.
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7 Responses to Drama Digest #15 Sequels & Romance Dramas

  1. {{“I think young producers in the whole TV industry may have lost interest in romance dramas. I believe it’s an industry-wide trend.” }}
    This mentality is why good romance drama is gone from Japan programming. I have been watching JDrama for years, mostly through episodes posted on the internet, but I noticed this “trend” has been around since the mid-2000s, with a glut of office/work dramas replacing romance for years. There has been a few since then but they have not had the quality of the early 2000s late 90s romance dramas. Also, Zoku Saigo kara Nibanme no Koi isn’t a romance. It’s a light drama/comedy with tiny bits of romance thrown in. If they think that show is a romance then they really forgotten how to make romance dramas. Romance dramas aren’t dead. Many KDramas that are being made are the perfect example of them still being alive and kicking. It just sounds to me that the higher ups like the FujiTV President are old fossils that don’t know how to hire good romance screenwriters and are unwilling to produce them more often again.

  2. forweg says:

    Personally, it’s great to see less and less romance JDramas. If one really enjoys romances, why wouldn’t they just watch Korean dramas instead? Seeing how 99.9% of them are romances. That’s why I *stopped* watching Korean dramas.

    • Because KDrama romances can be predictable. They’re good but after viewing a lot of them the formula is mostly the same with every new series. Personally I only watch KDrama romances if they star the actress I want to see. JDrama romances used to range from serious to light dramatic themes and also helped make the careers of some famous Japanese actors and actresses. Some people like watching Japanese romances and not Korean ones because they’re not the same.

    • GiaKiem says:

      Same here Forweg. That’s one of the reasons Jdramas are different than the rest , and I like them that way .

  3. Rootabega says:

    The scriptwriting was almost a criminal act in MOZU. There is no way I’m going to subject myself to part 2. The only actor that came off with a shred, and only a shred, of professional diginity, was Maki Yoko. This is an era of decent Japanese actors trapped in an era of indecently bad scripts, both in television and film.
    But have you seen Long Goodbye, jadefrost? It is the best, best, best television I have seen in years. I hope NHK will enter it in international competition. There’s a good reason Asano Tadanobu hasn’t appeared on TV since his youth – not good enough scripts and production values. IMHO, he’s too good for the small screen (not that the large screen has been distinguishing itself in recent years). Long Goodbye is a superb production, and Asano-san turns in one of his finest performances.
    I know I sound harsh; I consider myself a dorama fan, but life is too short for bad television.

  4. kingitsune says:

    Anne, like many other j-actresses/talents, is so overrated… She was also horrible in xxxholic. I can’t believe that Hanasaki Mai is given a second season. I know that the ratings were high, but I can’t understand why people are watching this.

    I think that the low rates for the new GTO are mainly because it’s very poorly directed. Akira can be decent sometimes (even if he’s not the best actor in Japan), though he’s clearly horrible in GTO, and the main reason is IMO because he’s poorly directed. This remake is just painfully horrible to watch.

  5. azraqey says:

    I am one of the few Kdrama fans who liked Jdrama romance more than Kdrama (but I am originally Jdrama fans, and just added the Kdrama in recent years). I’ve watched a lot of Kdramas when I craved for some romances, but nothing of them can delight me the way Jdrama can. I ever wonder when will they produce a good romance drama as in the era before (90s and early 2000).

    Through my observation of Kdrama, though it looked the same with other (the storyline/concept/theme), things can be different with the casting actor/actress and also with scriptwriter and the PD (it can be a whole production, too). And I tend to amazed on how they can come up with new romance dramas practically everytime, and giving off different vibes. Jdramas should learn one or two things from these while not compromising on their own Jdrama identity. I really like Rich Man, Poor Woman (though the title kind off…cliche), because it really different with Kdrama. I disagree with people who said it was similar to Kdramas, because it doesn’t. The subtlety was there and the Jdrama essence was strong, it sticks to its genre.

    I really hope they can produce some high quality Jdrama romances because I am craving for it. Until when do I need to rewind the scenes between KimuTaku and Shinohara Ryoko in Tsuki no Koibito (though the drama was a failure) or Beautiful Life or in between Hero or Long Vacation or Love Generation or Last Christmas? I can’t even suck into high school romance anymore as it annoyed me more than entertain me nowadays.

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