Spring Drama Dilemna

The drama gods are deeming it fun to use one of my new year resolutions as target practice.

I swore to Alien earlier in the year that I would cut back on my drama-viewing to reduce the growing list of to-watch films and to-read books, all sorely neglected in the past two years because of my current drama-fixation.

But it’s hard to deny the ridiculously promising-looking spring line up…

BOSS 2!

Amami Yuki-sama!天海祐希様 returning as Eriko Osawa! Takenouchi Yutaka returning as the greasy playboy best friend and supervisor (of sorts)! Toda Erika as her protege-in-training! Kendo Kobayashi the fierce yet lascivious gay cop! Kichise Michiko as the beautiful  scientist with a penchant for cream puffs! Mizobata Junpei as the forever energetic puppy dog-like officer! Tamayama Tetsuji angsty over his gun! Nukumizu Youichi and his panda bag! (Oh wait, I think I just named the entire cast~ ♥♥♥)

Majisuka Gakuen 2!

Yankee school girls battling for supremacy! Sae and Sayaka, my twin towers! Oshima Yuko the invincible fighting-crazed girl boss and the intriguing relationship with her second in command, Sado! (I blame Satosumi Takaguchi’s Hana no Asuka-gumi for my thing for Japanese delinquent high school girls. Sensei, it’s all your fault!)

Tied in third place is a battle between Koukousei Restaurant (Food-themed shows are my weakness. That and the presence of Matsuoka Masahiro and Ito Hideaki will spice things up no?) and Shiawase ni Narou yo (Shingo! SMAPxSMAP remains my favorite variety show ever and thus will always have a soft spot in my heart.)

But if for some reason, you could simply choose only one drama to follow this spring season, my money would be on BOSS 2.

Of course I’m biased, need one ask? The exalted presence of ex-Takarazuka Revue actress Amani Yuki is all that would be needed  to sway my vote.

(If you are reading this, Alien, I lied. It seems I do have an Asian Goddess after all and she is in the form of one Amami Yuki. 天海祐希様 ♥♥♥ But I am not her fan girl. That would be Lena Headey; she is my one and only.)

Amani commanded the Fuji TV’s original series in 2009 as Eriko Osawa, a formidable but slightly mysterious policewoman who returns from a training stint in the States to head up a newly set up special police division.

Even a superwoman needs her chocolate fix.

Her towering and grandiose presence was teased by many  in the series and initially, she was constantly undermined by her superiors and even her own company with many a snide remark about the division existing for pure public relation purposes than actual sleuthing.

Nonetheless she paid the naysayers no heed, pressing on with the cases at hand, coolly holding her unit of problem officers together.  Not only does she manage them into effectiveness, she is dully acknowledged as being a superior crime scene investigator and a killer interrogator to boot.

She is constantly the first person to be able to discern the real criminal’s true intents but allows her underlings to hustle and bustle, gathering evidence without interference while she makes sense of the chaos.

Osawa-sama holding court with her bumbling but loyal(?) subjects.

Truthfully she is just as magnificent terrorizing her staff and criminals alike in her relentless pursuit of the truth and justice. But she is the best of the best after all, and I love it.

Did I mention how women-friendly this show is? While Japan isn’t exactly a sterling example of equality in women rights in the workplace, BOSS‘s premise was sold as a detective show geared towards a female target audience and I think it shows as much with them largely in strong roles and taking control in much of the series.

I would also like to point out that parts of synopsis below floating online are misleading:

Osawa Eriko is a beautiful career woman who has just returned from training in the U.S. and is appointed as the “boss” of this division. But despite her intelligence and capabilities, she can never understand a man’s heart, so she remains unable to find a husband. In fact, her assignment in the U.S. was really a demotion after she ruined her career track over a man..”

Osawa-sama is not pleased.

The beautiful career woman bit is right. The demotion is only half right. Everything else, NO. She does not hanker in the series for a husband nor display any man-hunger.  In fact, the only time there was any serious discussion towards this topic was in banter with the equally capable and beautiful forensic scientist, Narahashi Reiko (played by the lovely Kichise Michiko) in the laboratory over another case, and it’s more of a the semi-rivals trying to one up each other.

The two most capable personnel in the entire division.

Boss also showcases one of the things that Fuji TV does best at; a star studded supporting cast. Where else would you find headlining actors and actress like Yutaka Takenouchi (Beach Boys, With Love, Ice World) and Eriko Toda (Liar Game, Keizoku 2: Spec) content to play second fiddle in a series?

(Think Densha Otoko, the OL epic, Shomuni, Nodame Cantabile, and of course the all time trendy-dorama classic, Long Vacation and look at some of the alumni gathered here.)

But at the heart of what made the drama truly memorable besides the star power in the lineup was the wonderful ensemble cast. Not only were they possessed of amazing chemistry, everyone seemed embedded with a terrific sense of comic timing, which contributed to the intrinsic success of the series which ended up at a ratings high of twenty percent.

A quick example of the goofiness interplayed with the snarky tone of the series was during an episode where Osawa was trading barbs with a high school prodigy suspect.

Whilst the teenager made snide remarks about Osawa being too old to be popular, she replied that younger men found her wrinkles attractive, immediately eyeballing the male sidekick next to her for affirmation.

The ever cheerful puppy-like Hanagata is quick to respond correctly, but she is startled to be on the receiving end of the stoic Katagiri’s  instant support as well and I wound up rolling around the floor in stitches at his somber demeanor to her surprise at his response.

"Wrinkles Are The Best!"

BOSS フジテレビ 2 begins 14th April on Fuiji TV at 10pm!

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