My All Time Favorite Dorama (ドラマ) – Japanese TV Series

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The original plan was to either write about my top 5 male voice or top 5 American Band. I couldn’t decide which one to write first…however, when Nat remind us that this November Hello Japan Mini Challenge is about top 5 of anything from Japan, I came to a decision that I will do a top 5 Japan related post. The other two top 5 will have to wait till next month.

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I know exactly what I want to write for my top 5 from Japan…it’s my favorite Japanese Dorama of all time. I know that this topic probably won’t get many comments sharing their version of top 5 as not many people watch Dorama like I do.

Dorama (ドラマ) actually comes from the word Drama. You can also call it as TV series. Some call it as Japanese Soap Opera, but I refuse to call Dorama as Soap Opera because Dorama never extend to LOOOOOONG episodes like soap opera. Unlike other Asian TV series, such as from Korea or Taiwan, Japanese Dorama rarely extends to more than 12 episodes. There are few Dorama that have more episodes but mostly only until 12 episodes. That short episode is one of the reasons I like Dorama. The other reason is the story, Dorama has wide variety of stories…not merely about love and family conflicts.

My favorites are never about love 😉 It is really difficult to choose as I like most Dorama I have seen.

Let’s move on to the list, shall we 🙂

#5 Waterboys (ウォーターボーイズ)

Out of all school related dorama, Waterboys 1 is my all time favorite. The story is about 5 boys trying to do synchronize swimming in all boys’ school. This sport belongs to female, but these 5 boys wanted do it so bad. Each has different reasons for doing it. The problem comes when some teachers wanted to make their dream difficult to come true. This dorama is hilarious. It is the sequel of the movie version I had reviewed earlier this year. I love seeing high school students trying hard to gain their last dream in school, trying to make their time at school as something memorable. Plus, their synchronize swimming is really nice to see 🙂

Starring: Yamada Takayuki, Moriyama Mirai, Eita, Ishigaki Yuma, and Ishii Tomoya.
Broadcast: July 01 – September 09, 2003
Episodes: 11

#4 1 litre of tears (1 リテルの涙)

Out of  all based on true story dorama,1 litre of tears is definitely the most heartbreaking one. I plan to review this dorama soon. 1 litre of tears is based on the life of Aya Kitou (木藤亜也) , they changed her name into Aya Ikeuchi. Aya has a rare incurable disease called Spinocerebellar Degeneration Disease, she was doomed to die young. She wrote poems that reflect her condition. Those poems were later turned into book and this dorama is based on that book. The title really represent the story, you need lots of tissue while watching this dorama because you wills shed 1 litre of tears. I admire the strength of Aya’s heart and her family. I have just finished watching it for the second time and I still need tissue to wipe my tears.

Starring: Sawajiri Erika, Yakushimaru Hiroko, Nishikido Ryo, Jinnai Takanori, Narumi Riko, and Fujiki Naohito.
Broadcast: October 11 – December 20, 2005
Episodes: 11

I found this wonderful video in youtube:

#3 Trick (トリック)

Out of all investigation related dorama, Trick is the one I love the most. It is funny, entertaining and smart. Trick is a dorama about a woman named Naoko Yamada and a man named Jiro Ueda. Naoko was a failed magician, she was actually really smart. Jiro was a professor who was not really brilliant, he was using Naoko to solve mysteries and claimed as his effort. Their relationship was really funny and the cases were always interesting. It’s like X Files in comedy version. I have all three seasons and special episodes of this dorama.

Starring: Yukie Nakama and Abe Hiroshi
Broadcast: 2000 (Season 1), 2002 (Season 2), 2003 (Season 3)
Episodes:  10 (Season 1), 12 (Season 2), 10 (Season 3)

#2 Orthros Dog (オルトロス の 犬)

I love love love this dorama so much!!!I almost put it in my number one list. I am planning to re-watch it soon. The story is so my kind of story. The story is about the kind-hearted Ryousuke Aoi who had a touch that can kill anyone and the convicted murder Shinji Ryuzaki who had a healing hand. This two opposite characters create such interesting story.

To know more about this dorama, just read my review here.

Starring: Takizawa Hideaki, Nishikido Ryo, and Mizukawa Asami
Broadcast: July 24 – September 25, 2009
Episodes: 9

#1 Gokusen (ごくせん) and GTO (グレート ティーチャー オニヅカ)

I really can’t decide which one I like most out of these 2 teacher related dorama. Both GTO and Gokusen have interesting story to tell. Both are my inspiration as teacher. I love them both equally.

Gokusen is about a teacher named Yamaguchi Kumiko, her students called her Yankumi. She was related to a Yakuza family and it was almost impossible for Yakuza family to be a teacher. Yankumi showed her troubled class that they can trust her as place for them to lean on.

Starring: Yukie Nakama, Matsujun, Ogori Shun
Broadcast: April 01 – July 03, 2002
Episodes: 12
Review: here

GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) is about a teacher named Onizuka who used to a really naughty student. He hated when other teachers called their students as trash. All students were special in his eyes. He had to face students who had lost trust on teachers and grown-ups. He had to make them  start trusting grown-ups again.

Starring: Sorimachi Takashi, Matsushima  Nanako, Kubozuka Yosuke,  Ogori Shun, and Kirari.
Broadcast: July 07 – September 22, 1998
Episodes: 12
Review: here



Those are my favorite dorama 🙂

As I said before,I love most dorama I have seen, and here are my honorable mention: Mr. Brain, Dragon Zakura, My Boss My Hero, Nobuta Wo Produce, Nodame Cantabile, and Hana Yori Dango.

If you like dorama too…please share your list 🙂

If not…tell me what you think of these dorama based on my brief description 🙂


  1. How come almost all of the Asian stars and films we know about are from China and never from Japan? I don’t think I know any of the Japanese stars.

    1. Ken Watanabe is Japanes Dezz 😉
      So does Hiroyuki Sanada. But I have to admit that there are more Chinese actors in hollywood than Japanese.

      1. ah, yes, Ken I do know, but I’ve never heard of Sanada.

        PS have you notice Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic winning a tennins tournament at Bali this weekend? 🙂 She looked so gorgeous in Indonesian national costume!

        1. Sanada played in Sunshine as the captain (he is my second reason for liking that movie), he is also in Speed Racer and The Last Samurai. He will also appear in The 47 Ronins alongside Keanu.

          Ah…too bad I am not into Tennis,do you have her picture? or maybe I should google it myself 😉
          I have seen it…she does look gorgeous!!

  2. nov, postinganmu menggoda gue untuk tidak hiatus dari blog across-ku niii…. 😉 I’m going to share mine tonight when I can open my computer.

    1. Mine in no alphabetical order:
      Good Luck!! (the passion to be up in the air), H2-Kimi to Itahibi (the happiness of youth), My Boss My Hero (Makky’s spirit), News no Onna (my first dorama), and Nodame Cantabile (the music and the chemistry of S-Oke + R*S).

      1. Dhitz jd nulis di blog hiatusmu ga??

        I like your list, they are in my honorable mention 🙂

        NODAME is hilarious and Chiaki is sooo handsome, his most handsome role ever. I want to watch My Boss my hero again but someone borrowed my DVD and never return it 😦

  3. nice list! di antara semuanya cuma belom nonton Orthros no Inu sama Waterboys (yg ini baru nonton episode 1-nya aja sih) aja… di antara semuanya paling suka 1 Litre of Tears, mungkin ini salah satu dorama paling bersejarah buat saya dan yg bikin saya jadi suka dorama lagi setelah bertahun2 gak nonton….

    btw kalo list all time favorite dorama saya…bingung milihnya karena banyak yg suka sih, tapi untuk sementara sepuluh besarnya: Nobuta wo Produce, Densha Otoko, 1 Litre of Tears, Tokyo Love Story, Love Shuffle, SPEC, BOSS, Satorare, Hotaru no Hikari, News no Onna. Nanti juga rencananya pengen bikin postingan semacam ini di blog, tapi sebelumnya pengen lebih banyak nonton dorama lg, karena masih banyak dorama bagus yg kelewat 😀

    btw, hisashiburii Novroz-san, lama gak main ke sini 😀

    1. Hisashiburi….saya juga dah lama ga main kesana 🙂 punya blog 2 yang aktif bikin banyak waktu berkunjung jadi berkurang.

      Wah jadi pengen tau sejarahnya apa di balik ichi ritoru, saya mau mereview dorama itu bulan ini kalo sempet. Sebenarnya saya masih belum nntn banyak doarama bagus juga…tapi dari semua yang udah saya tntn,inilah top-5nya….suatu saat list ini bisa berubah lagi kok 🙂

  4. Aaaaargh luar biasa, saya cuma tahu yang 1 Litre of Tears. 😀

    Mbak, kalo mau nampilin gambar jangan dari sumbernya langsung. Jangan nge-hotlink. Itu ada gambar yang gak keluar. Mending di-save ke desktop Mbak, terus unggah ke akun wordpress Mbak. Jangan lupa sertakan sumber di akhir posting-an atau di bawah gambar. 🙂

    1. Wah sayang sekali!! padahal semua yang dilist itu bagus2 loh 😉

      Ah iya…makasih sop.Saya juga dah dikasih tau sama teman lewat twitter tapi dr kemaren xl error jadi ga bisa buka internet. Kalo film saya suka malas menyertakan sumber (kecuali itu hasil snapshot si uploader) hehehe karena itu dah umum, kalo selain film dan buku baru deh sy sertakan sumber 😉

  5. I’ve only seen Gokusen on your list, but I didn’t finish it. It’s an interesting approach though, making the pretty teacher the one who have the most skilled in fighting among her students. I miss seeing good dorama. I heard 1 litre of tears is very dramatic, it even could make boys cry. But I avoid seeing that kind, always like the comedy ones.

    1. I bet you’re not a dorama lover 😉
      Apart from US series, dorama is my second favorite series. I love the way the make it short and simple but the message still delivers

      1. I actually have a period in my college years where I watched dorama all the time. But that’s because I get free dorama series from my friend 🙂 Some I love, some I don’t. But if there’s a good one now, I could watch it again. They have their own greatness.

  6. TRICK is amazing! I always find Abe Hiroshi’s works to be great shows. Hmm, I watched Gokusen, too and it’s a nice show with full of ikemen.
    Can’t tell you this is my all-time favorite dorama since the list changes every season. lol. But, here you go:
    (1) Keizoku 2: SPEC
    (2) Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de
    (3) BOSS 1&2
    (4) Ninkyo Helper
    (5) Suzuki sensei

    1. Hi Sakura 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your list here 🙂 I really need to check that BOSS dorama,you are the third person who said it was a good dorama

  7. Novros-san : hajimemashite. Rin to moushimasu ^_^ (hi, nice2 meet u – i’m Rin)
    i started learning japanese after watching Gokusen so surely all Gokusen siries (Gokusen1,2,3 & special + anime) is my no.1!
    Thanx for sharing your list. So, some of my most favourite :
    HYD (season 1 & 2 + special), Hero (+ 2 special), Tokyo Dog, Boss1&2….
    oh well, to make it short, i love all jdorama which have Matsujun, Oguri, Nanba sempai (Hiro), kimutaku, yankumi, yamapi & ryo in it…^_~

    1. hajimemashite Rin-san 🙂
      Unfortunately, I only like the first series…I guess I am one of the weird ones 😉
      Another one who likes Boss…wow,I really need to find it and watch it.
      Arigatou rin-san for sharing your list 🙂

  8. It was fun to read about your favourite tv series. I haven’t actually seen any of these but I’ve heard of Trick and think it sounds fun. Have also heard about GTO as the manga. Have you read it?
    Thanks for taking part, Novia. 🙂

  9. Ikutan pake bhs Indonesia juga ya 😀
    Yang udah nonton baru 1LOTR, emang bagus banget. Gokusen sekarang lagi nonton, fun! GTO dari dulu pengen baca/nonton, tapi adaa aja yang bikin lupa 😀 Nanti mau coba baca manga nya dulu 😀 Trick kayaknya menarik! *catet*

    1. Ah ternyata orang Indonesia juga 🙂
      Seneng deh kalo ketemu org Indo lain yang juga pake English blognya ((hug))
      GTO bukunya sedikit lebih echi drpd doramanya. Sy ga begitu pengen baca bukunya.
      Trick seru n lucu, X Files ketemu Scooby Doo 😉

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