Okay, so I’ve watched the first episodes of Galileo 2, Kazoku Game, TAKE FIVE, Kasuka na Kanojo, and Otenki Oneesan, and will give each a quick word below the cut. First, though, let’s take a look at how the dramas fared after the second episode blues.

As always, the ratings presented below are from much more complete articles on TokyoHive – the latest one of which is available here.

Prime Time Shows

Galileo 2 – (01) 22.6%, (02) 20.5%

35-sai no Koukousei – (01) 14.7%, (02) 12.9%, (03) 15.1%

Doubles – (01) 15.8%, (02) 11.6%

Kazoku Game – (01) 12.0%, (02) 13.7%

Iryu Sosa 3 – (01) 14.6%, (02) 9.8%

TAKE FIVE – (01) 12.3%, (02) 10.5%

Kasuka na Kanojo – (01) 11.8%, (02) 10.2%, (03) 10.7%

Otenki Oneesan – (01) 11.9%, (02) 10.1%, (03) 9.5%

Kakusho – (01) 10.9%, (02) 9.5%

Machigawarechatta Otoko – (01) 8.8%, (02) 6.0%, (03) 5.3%

Late Night Shows

Bad Boys J – (01) 2.5%, (02) 2.2%, (03) 3.1%, (04) 2.5%

First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Galileo 2. I’m not surprised that some people might find the new female lead irritating, but I think she provides an okay foil for Yukawa (Fukuyama Masaharu-san’s character). The mystery was fascinating and very well thought-out, featuring an absolutely excellent technique for the murder. The episode contains a bit of unfortunate preachiness about the limits of reason, but that’s to be expected. I also appreciated the ending a great deal. So, I’ll definitely keep watching it, but my long-term plans are to do whole series reviews on legendary series, and Galileo 2 seems set to join the original in that category, so I probably won’t do things episode-by-episode.

Kazoku Game was intense. On an initial look (when I’m not writing a review yet), I usually watch while doing other work, but the first episode of Kazoku Game had me riveted and I couldn’t turn away. Sakurai-san showed all the intensity viewers might remember from The Quiz Show 2 and then added more insanity. It’s a bit overboard, but it sure kept me wondering right from the first scene. The contrast between the first scene and the second was pure genius, and the acting in the second scene (where Yoshimoto (Sakurai) is sitting with the Numata parents) will definitely be one of the highlights of the season. I was impressed by the acting from Uragami Seishuu, who plays the boy Yoshimoto is supposed to tutor. Uragami-kun might have actually upstaged Sakurai-san in this one. Frankly, there’s no surprise that this drama actually went up substantially in the second episode. My main worry going in was that I saw from descriptions that Yoshimoto would use violence, and I didn’t like the sound of that. He does, and it’s . . . you’ll have to make up your own mind. I think I can deal with it, but just barely. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing episode reviews of this series.

TAKE FIVE was okay – it’s not really my kind of thing. I haven’t watched many caper stories (the only ones I have any respect for are the original Italian Job from 1969 and an episode of the sci-fi series Firefly), so I don’t think I can do a good job reviewing it. People have compared it to Ocean’s Eleven, and that’s probably right, but I say “probably” because I never watched the remake of Ocean’s Eleven (remembering that it was originally a Rat Pack movie from 1960) or its sequels. The acting was smooth, but only Karasawa Toshiaki-san’s performance was truly brilliant and engaging. Story-wise, expect that there is a discussion of security systems and attempts to get around said security systems as well as the obligatory confrontations between the police bloodhound and her prey. This drama is probably an excellent example of this genre, so those who like this sort of thing shouldn’t miss it.

I’m iffy on Kasuka na Kanojo. I like the way Kamiyama (Katori Shingo) treats the ghosts and denies their very existence – it’s a great way to approach the person-who-speaks-to-ghosts thing. I was less impressed by the acting from the ghosts – especially Yoshioka, who was played by Sato Jiro-san. Sato-san already irritated me with his performance in Kodomo Keishi, so just the sight of him made me unhappy here. There’s a lot of young talent in this series – Maeda Atsuko, Kitayama Hiromitsu, Morimoto Shintaro, Jinguji Yuta, and Iwahashi Genki among others – but I didn’t see any noteworthy performances from any of them yet. Jinguji-kun’s character was a focus of the first episode, but there’s very little that I can say about his acting – for his age and experience, it was about what you’d expect.

Otenki Oneesan was more of a disappointment. I haven’t seen the merits of Takei Emi-san’s acting, and this initial episode did nothing to show me why she deserved this role. The character itself, though, was neither credible nor engaging, so it’s not entirely Takei-san’s fault – there’s just no depth to the character. I find the idea that someone who is in-tune with the weather would wear black constantly to be ludicrous. The trope that a person who is deeply involved in a subject would have no sense of human feeling is a horrid cliche – see Galileo 2 for an example of a well-crafted genius rather than this ham-handed attempt. The main mystery itself thankfully unraveled with a real weather phenomenon instead of something dubious, so the series at least seemed to be informed by real knowledge about weather. The reveal was the highlight of the episode (as it should be), but it was marred by the unconvincing way the culprit admitted to the crime. But forget my other criticisms – by far the worst thing in this episode was the character who is infatuated by Takei-san’s character. He is neither a useful character nor funny.

Whether you agree or disagree with my assessments, feel free to contribute your thoughts below.