Anime / Drama

Top 5 J-dramas of all time

10 February 2014

This is a compilation of the Top 5 J-dramas (Japanese drama shows) that I have ever watched! ;D

I watched all these dramas at least a couple of years back, so while they may not be new, I would readily re-watch any and all of them!

In fact, while searching for links to write this post, I “accidentally” re-watched 2 full episodes of one of the shows XD And… I think I’m gonna continue watching the show, heh. That’s how good it is.

These dramas have truly stood the test of time in my heart. Even though I’ve watched many other newer dramas since, these 5 have left so deep impression that they are near-irreplaceable.

In no particular order of merit as they are all awesome, I present to you my favorite J-dramas:

The Devil ・ 魔王 (Maou)


Aired: 2008-Jul-04 to 2008-Sep-12
Genre: Suspense, Law
Episodes: 11
Where to watchHere

DramaWiki’s synopsis: This drama is a remake of the popular suspense drama The Devil that was aired in Korea last year. Ohno Satoshi will be playing the role of a two-faced lawyer, one of which is a kind hearted soul and the other who is plotting revenge, using his brilliant mind, on the person who killed his relative. On the other hand, Ikuta Toma will play the double lead role of the man, who has become a detective due to his dark past, who is pursuing the mysterious series of murders and fighting against the devil.

My thoughts: Superb drama. Suspense-filled throughout the entire 11 episodes. I loved the wit and brilliance of Naruse in how he gets his revenge right under the eyes of law.

Ohno did an excellent portrayal of Naruse, showing the two conflicting sides to the same person, and the delicate balance between revenge and morals. Ikuta also did a commendable portrayal of Serizawa, struggling with his past and present.

In short, an exceptional and superb drama! Did I say this already?


1 Litre of Tears ・ 1リットルの涙


Aired: 2005-Oct-11 to 2005-Dec-20
Genre: Human drama, Family
Episodes: 11
Where to watchHere

DramaWiki’s synopsis: 15-year-old Ikeuchi Aya was an ordinary girl, the daughter of a family who works at a tofu shop, and a soon-to-be high schooler. However, odd things have been happening to Aya lately. She has been falling down often and walks strange. Her mother, Shioka, takes Aya to see the doctor, and he informs Shioka that Aya has a terrible disease. How will Aya react when told about her disease? And how will Aya live from now on?

My thoughts: This is based on a true story. Sawajiri’s acting is so good you’ll really start to think that she is really afflicted with the disease. Prepare a bucket and plenty of tissue. You’re really gonna cry a litre of tears. I know I did :C


Nodame Cantabile・のだめカンタービレ


Aired: 2006-Oct-16 to 2006-Dec-25
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Episodes: 11
Where to watchHere

DramaWiki’s synopsis: Based on the hit comic book by Tomoko Ninomiya, this is a fun-filled quirky romantic story of two very opposite people.

Megumi Noda, or “Nodame” is a piano student at Momogaoka College of Music. An extremely talented pianist who wants to be a kindergarten teacher, she prefers playing by ear rather than reading the music score. She is messy and disorganized, takes baths several days apart and loves to eat, sometimes stealing her friend’s lunchbox when it is filled with delicacies.

Shinichi Chiaki, is Momogaoka’s top student. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. An arrogant multilingual perfectionist who once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy, he feels mired in Japan because of a childhood phobia.

They meet by accident. Nodame quickly falls in love, but it takes much longer for Chiaki to even begin to appreciate Nodame’s unusual qualities. Their relationship causes them both to develop and grow. Opportunities open up as both begin taking risks, stretching themselves far more than they ever thought possible.

My thoughts: Excellent drama! Great balance of storyline, character development and humor. Nodame is absolutely lovable, and Chiaki? Just made of awesome. (even Fu thinks so, so I’m not being biased!) They have great on-screen chemistry and such a joy to watch!


The Story of Yamada Taro・山田太郎ものがたり


Aired: 2007-Jul-6 to 2007-Sep-14
Genre: Comedy, Family
Episodes: 10
Where to watchHere

DramaWiki’s synopsis: Yamada Taro, a freshman on a scholarship at Ichinomiya Private Senior High School, is high-achieving, strikingly handsome, and truly athletic and seems perfect. But he is actually extremely poor. The story humorously portrays Taro, who tackles problems that occur because of his poverty, and his six younger brothers and sisters.

My thoughts: I LOVE this drama. This was one where I was like a madwoman, alternating between crying and laughing. As he triumphed over each obstacle, I cheered in his victories as if they were my own. When they wept, I cried even more than they did :C The relationships between the characters, especially between Taro and his family truly warmed my heart. Definitely a touching drama that fully engaged my emotional side.


The Witch Trial・魔女裁判 (Majo Saiban)


Aired: 2009-Apr-25 to 2009-Jul-11
Genre: Suspense, Law
Episodes: 10
Where to watchHere

DramaWiki’s synopsis: Toru is a young part-timer who has no interest in social issues. He gets called in as a juror in the trial of a woman labeled as a “witch”, charged with a murder over an enormous inheritance. Though it appears that she is definitely guilty, one by one the jurors begin casting their votes for “not guilty.” It seems that there is a mysterious organization working from the shadows. At the same time, strange events start happening around Toru. When another juror is threatened, Toru is determined to save her. However, Toru’s girlfriend, a newspaper reporter, seems suspicious of their relationship. And so, Toru begins his lonely fight for the truth.

My thoughts: This drama is the epitome of unpredictable. Just when I thought I had it figured out, BAM. Twists the other way. I like how it keeps me thinking and wondering right to the very end.

Have you watched any of these dramas?
What are your favorite J-drama(s)? I’d love to hear what other people’s favorites are!


  • Reply kelly grainey 19 February 2014 at 9:16 am

    Thank you for the recommendations. I’m currently watching Shitsuren Chocolatier or “The Heartbroken Chocolatier” and am loving it !!! May I recommend this drama to you? I think it’s currently airing in Japan right now.

    • Reply Rin 20 February 2014 at 2:32 am

      Hello Kelly!

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely check it out! It’s been a long time since I watched a good J-drama T_T

      I also wanted to say thank you for your previous Ghost recommendation! We loved the show and finished it in no time at all ;D

  • Reply kelly grainey 14 April 2014 at 6:22 am

    I just got done watching “1 Litre of Tears”. Wow!!! What a sad and hopeful drama. I liked it very much. Even watched the 3 hour special of it. This drama kind of reminds me of another recent Jdrama called “The Hours Of My Life” or (Boku no Ita Jikan) released this year in 2014. Same theme. Different disease I think.

    I’m going to watch your other recommendations.

    Shitsuren Chocolatier turned out to be a bad and boring jdrama. Sorry for the bad recommendation. This drama was a waste of my time.

    • Reply Rin 14 April 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the drama! If I’m not mistaken, the SP is just a condensation of the entire drama into 3 hours, yes? Have you watched Boku no Ita Jikan as well? If so, how did you find it?

      Ahhh, sorry to hear about Shitsuren Chocolatier. The good thing is I haven’t watched it yet, as we have been marathoning K-dramas lately lol.

  • Reply kelly grainey 14 April 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Sharene,

    Thanks for replying. Yes, the 1 Litre of Tears special is basically the condensation of the drama in 3 hours. But the first 20 minutes of it is new. Aya’s sister Ako is a nurse now and Haruto became a neurologist because of Aya. And then the last 5 or 10 minutes of the special is brand new. You can tell, all the actors look a little older especially Erika Sawajiri who plays Aya. So those scenes are new if you haven’t seen them. But the majority of the special are flashbacks.

    Yes, I have seen Boku no Ita Jikan. I actually watched the whole drama before starting 1 Litre of Tears. It deals with the same concept except the main character is a little older. A college graduate to be precise. To me I think it dealt more with the emotional denial/acceptance of the disease. I actually liked both.

    I was impressed with Erika Sawajiri’s acting in “1 Litre of Tears” that I’m watching her other dramas. This one is named “Taiyo no uta” ( And guess what? She has an illness in this one too!! lol !!! Why is she taking roles with characters who has terminal illnesses????

    I watch all my asian dramas from this site in HD. You got to download the episodes first instead of streaming.

    Hope this helps and thanks for recommending 1 Litre of Tears. I really enjoyed watching it.

    • Reply Rin 16 April 2014 at 11:57 pm

      I might have watched the SP, because it sounds so familiar. Or I may have read about it before.

      Thanks for your thoughts about Boku no Ita Jikan. I’ll keep it in mind for when we want to watch a J-drama!

      Haha, I guess she did so well in 1 Litre of Tears she’s stereotyped into those roles.

      And wow, thanks for sharing the link! We usually stream and sometimes want to whack the TV when we encounter a broken link / disrupted streaming, etc etc. :A

      Thank you too for discussing and sharing! I enjoy talking about it with someone else :)

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