Japanese Drama Recs: Romance Manga Adaptions

1. Switch Girl!!

Synopsis: Nika Tamiya is the most beautiful girl at school. All the boys are in love with her and a lot of girls are envious at how she does everything so perfectly. However, she has a secret… She is a switch girl! When she arrives home, she “switches off” and transforms into her “true” self: a lazy and unfeminine girl. Arata Kamiyama, a geeky guy at school, finds out her secret. Arata is the opposite of her… He appears to be geeky at school but he’s actually super hot!?

The plot of this romantic comedy shojo series is similar to the popular manga, Horimiya. I like Switch Girl!! more though. I liked this drama because the cast is spot on. Many Seventeen models play the characters, including Mariya Nishiuchi, the main lead. Renn Kiriyama who plays Arata is good-looking too.

I watched this back when I was in high school and I was hooked from the beginning. I ended up procrastinating on whatever homework I had, so fair warning.

If you like this, you might like:

  • Horimiya (manga)
  • Hotaru no Hikari (Japanese drama)

2. Good Morning Call

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Synopsis: Nao Yoshikawa moved into a new place, but she finds that she was scammed because another person is living in the same place as her. The person she has to live with is Hisashi Uehara, one of the most popular guys at school. Uehara is aloof and hard to get along with. Good luck Nao and don’t fall in love.

Good Morning Call is a Netflix Original series, based on the romantic comedy shojo series. I don’t know a single person who did not like this! The “living with the most popular guy at school (or my boss) and he is also cold and distant” trope is done again and again. The ending is predictable, but it’s still enjoyable to watch.

If you like this, you might like:

  • It Started With A Kiss (Taiwanese drama)
  • Playful Kiss (Korean drama)
  • Just You (Taiwanese drama)
  • Hotaru no Hikari (Japanese drama)

3. Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai

Synopsis: Michiko Shibata is a woman in her thirties. She is jobless and just broke up with her money-swindling younger boyfriend. She encounters Ayumu Kurosawa, her former supervisor. Hearing her situation, he gives her a job and a place to stay at his cafe.

You may already be familiar with the actor who plays Ayumu. He is played by Dean Fujioka, the singer who sang History Maker, the opening song of Yuri on Ice. Ayumu is so sweet… Where can I find someone like that?

Personally, high school shows don’t interest me as much anymore. I’m into josei series like this one, because I can relate to their struggles more and we are closer in age.

If you like this, you might like:

  • Hotaru no Hikari (Japanese drama)
  • Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii (anime)
  • Just You (Taiwanese drama)
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Apple Bunnies

I’m not sure if you remember my post on My Top 6 Taiwanese dramas, but I would like to add a drama to that list! At number three, it’s Autumn’s Concerto (2009). It’s one of the most popular Taiwanese dramas.

This drama just gets sadder and sadder. I continue it because I know it has a happy ending but you need a tissue box ready. One tissue box might not be enough! It’s a love story and the events that happen to the couple are unfortunate but they are meant to be together. Fair warning: I did not like the male protagonist at all in the first episode but he becomes a really good person pretty soon.

This drama reminds me why I love Taiwanese dramas so much. 

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Also I’m bummed that I can’t find my Death Note books. I wanted to write a blog post on Death Note and use the books as references but I guess that’s not happening until I find them… IF I ever find them. TT_TT

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Apple bunnies

Similar Series Recommendations

In this post I compare similar anime/manga/Asian dramas/games!

1. If you like Detective Conan, you might like Ace Attorney (and vise versa)

 

Both have showed me that people lie all the time and that people will commit murder for silly reasons. Everyone is a suspect!

Detective Conan (also known as Case Closed) is a manga and anime while Ace Attorney is a Nintendo DS game series. Obviously Ace Attorney involves more active participation because you are doing everything. Detective Conan is similar because I always try to figure out who the culprit is before the end of the episode. The culprit is always a character we’ve seen before. This applies to Ace Attorney as well.

2. If you like Liar Game, you might like Kakegurui (and vise versa)

 

 

Liar Game is a manga and Japanese drama series. Kakegurui is a manga, anime and Japanese drama. The live-action for Kakegurui is very good. There are very exaggerated moments, but it resembles the anime in that sense. You have to understand that the exaggerated moments are deliberate. This is my order for Kakegurui: manga > live-action drama > anime.

It is similar to Liar Game because the characters are placed into situations in which they have to play games against other players. The winner will win money and the loser will go into debt (we’re talking big amounts of money, like millions of dollars). These series have showed me that people cheat all the time.

3. If you like Your Lie in April, you might like Our Times (and vise versa)

 

Your Lie in April is an anime that will probably make you cry and Our Times is a Taiwanese movie that will make probably you cry. You might have heard of YLIA but Our Times is very popular as well. It was a highly successful movie in Asia and it’s my favourite movie of all time. I give it 10/10.

Both are similar because a main character tells the other character a lie that is crucial to the plot.

4. If you like Naruto SD: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals, you might like Attack on Titan: Junior High (and vise versa)

 

Both are gag series and the characters are drawn in chibi-style. I enjoyed both, but I liked Attack on Titan: Junior High more. These are pretty funny and they are done by different creators (so not the original Naruto and Attack on Titan creators).

There is also the Naruto: Chibi Sasuke’s Sharigan Legend manga if you’re interested. I personally couldn’t get into it.

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5. If you like Fushigi Yugi, you might like Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time. You might also like Scarlet Heart Ryeo

 

In all three, the female protagonists travel back in time into a feudal period. They are met with a lot of attractive boys.

Fushigi Yugi and Haruka (manga and anime, Haruka is also an otome game) are more similar because the girls are entrusted with a mission that involves travelling with the boys. Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Korean drama) is less similar because the female protagonist stays within the palace grounds.

Now for the ones you probably know already…

6. If you like Death Note, you might like Code Geass (and vise versa)

 

You probably know this already because both are very popular anime. Both involve intelligent protagonists with huge goals. Light in Death Note wants to become the god of the world and Lelouch in Code Geass wants to rule the world. Both gain supernatural powers that allow them to do things that normal people cannot do.

7. If you like Naruto, you might like My Hero Academia

 

This is an obvious one. When I watched The Battle Tournament in the U.A Sports Festival Arc in MHA, I was reminded of the Chunin Exams in Naruto. Naruto is the “weakling” who becomes strong, similar to Midoriya. Both are extremely popular shonen shows.

BL Review: HIStory 2: Boundary Crossing

The 2018 Taiwanese drama is also known as HIStory 2: Crossing the Line. I started the show this morning and was immediately hooked. There are 8 episodes and I just finished the show, haha.

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The show makes me so happy. In 2017, same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan. I’ve been a BL (Boys Love) fan for many years but felt frustrated at Asian dramas because of the censorship. For example, in China same-sex marriage is not legal and in the BL series and films I’ve watched, the kiss scenes were deleted. Doing this made the shows confusing to watch because key scenes were removed, and sends out an unfortunate message to everyone. One of the series I enjoyed was discontinued.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan was a great thing (and still is) for people in the lgbtq+ community and for the country. Now in 2018, we have great BL dramas and the kiss scenes are not deleted.

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Xia Yu Hao and Qiu Zi Xuan

Xia Yu Hao and two of his friends, Wang Zhen Wu and Wang Zhen Wen, enrol into a new high school. Yu Hao was kicked out of his old school because of a fight. Yu Hao reluctantly joins the school’s volleyball team after being coerced into joining. He becomes close with Qiu Zi Xuan, a senior student who is the team’s manager. Due to an injury in the past, Zi Xuan is unable to play volleyball.

Wang Zhen Wu and Wang Zhen Wen are step-brothers and later join the volleyball team as well. Zhen Wen starts to ignore Zen Wu and it frustrates Zen Wu a lot. Zen Wu and Zhen Wen are the secondary couple in the series and don’t get as much screen time as the main couple. I like that there is more than one couple in the series because it mirrors a lot of BL manga. Yu Hao actually reads BL manga (probably for research), hahaha.

Although this is a BL romance drama, volleyball was a huge component of the series. There was even a Haikyuu!! reference! We get to know some of the other volleyball players and I liked that the show was not just about the two couples. While the couples are certainly the main focus, there are other things going on with the plot. I also loved the other characters in the series, like the captain of the volleyball team. This was a problem I had with the shojo manga, Dengeki Daisy. I dropped the series because I didn’t like how there wasn’t much plot apart from the couple.

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Wang Zhen Wu and Wang Zhen Wen

This drama was a refreshing break from disturbing BL manga and webtoons. If you’re a reader of Korean BL webtoons, you will know that they have a lot of disturbing ones out there. Maybe that’s your thing, and I’m not going to judge! But for me, personally, I hate webtoons like Killing Stalking. The relationship is not healthy. For manga and webtoons in general, consent is important to me. If there is no consent, I will probably not like it.

In this series, both couples are so gentle with each other. When one person is sleeping, the other covers a blanket over him and does it in such a lovingly way. The way the characters look at each other is so cute. It’s hilarious when the characters get jealous.

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In comparison to other romance dramas (including straight couples), it is less dramatic because there aren’t really any threatening people trying to sabotage their relationship. I liked this about the show a lot because it feels more realistic this way. When a drama gets too intense because of an evil person getting in the way, it’s usually not as good. I like it when all the characters are fairly decent and understanding people.

None of the characters displayed discrimination against people in the lgbtq+ community. Unfortunately, it happens way too much in Korean webtoons and Chinese manhwa where a male character feels “disgusted” by the boys’ love. -.- Both couples talk about liking another boy and it’s clear that they do not see anything wrong with it because love is love. They also don’t like it when another person discriminates against lgbtq+.

One of my biggest pet peeves in BL series (manga, webtoons, anime, dramas, movies) is when a female character tries to break up a couple between two gay men. The female is aware that they are gay but “refuse to believe it.” -.- Rest assured, this does not happen in this show.

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Other notable aspects of the show:

I loved the character development in Xia Yu Hao because he goes from a delinquent student with a cocky attitude to a sensitive and caring person who is passionate about volleyball. Maybe he was always like this, but it is less obvious in the beginning.

Overall, I definitely recommend this series. It’s a great BL drama because of the reasons mentioned above, and the volleyball team side to it was enjoyable to watch!

Korean Dramas I Loved

Korean dramas are really good quality because they have a high budget, especially since they’re super popular in Korea and throughout the world. The actors and actresses are always attractive too.

I do have some problems with them because most of the time, they are very dramatic. Sometimes the drama seems too unrealistic and I feel like I need to take a break from watching them. I also don’t like how so many dramas follow the same storyline: Rich, attractive boy falls for poor, average-looking girl. Now that you know a bit about my tastes, here are Korean dramas I loved!

Thanks Neko Nyan for giving me the idea for this post. These aren’t in any order.

1. Lie to Me (2011)

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Okay, this one follows the rich boy, not rich girl trope but Ki-joon (the CEO) is so sweet! I hate Boys Over Flowers because I think that falling in love with a rich guy who bullied you is problematic. It’s different here. In order to impress her friends, Ah-jung (the female lead) lies and tells her friends that she is married to Ki-Joon. Her lie spreads like wildfire and everyone in the country finds out about it through the media and news outlets. I love how he agrees to pretend to be married to her HAHAHA! I definitely think this drama deserves to be more popular.

2. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)

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I don’t have strong opinions about the male lead but I love the female lead, Mi-ho. She is so kind-hearted, funny, and naturally gorgeous. She will defend herself if she has to. Mi-ho is a gumiho, which is a nine-tail fox. She is found by the main lead, Dae-woong, and tries to live life as a human. Dae-woong does treat her well and it’s a good love story. The soundtrack is beautiful – I love this song the most.

3. Cunning Single Lady (2014)

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I enjoyed this drama a lot more than I anticipated! It’s binge-worthy and the female lead is so beautiful. The main couple were married in the past but got a divorce because Jung-woo, the male lead, was too poor. Years later, Jung-woo is the CEO of a huge company. Ae-ra starts working at the company for revenge.

Okay, you probably think Ae-ra is a horrible person. She’s actually a really good person! I don’t want to spoil anything so you’ll just have to trust me. I love romance dramas with sweet male protagonists. Even though Jung-woo thinks that Ae-ra is trying to get close to him for his wealth, he’s still so kind to her. T_T

4. 38 Task Force (2016)

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I LOVE dramas that involve con-artists or deceiving people. In this show, a tax collector sees injustice because he works for a government agency but the people who are not paying their taxes are very rich and get away with it. The tax collector, Baek Sung-il, teams up with the con-artist, Yang Jeong-do. Yang Jeong-do gets a team of people and together they scam the rich people. It’s super interesting and when it came out, I checked every week if the new episode was out because I was so excited to watch it.

5. Liar Game (2014)

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I blogged about this drama before in my “10 Live-Action Manga Adaptations I Enjoyed” post. You can read that here.

In Liar Game, the goal is to deceive the other players. If you win, you will get a lot of money but if you lose, the money lost becomes your debt. Da-jung is tricked into joining the game. She’s very naive, and gets former con-artist and former psychology professor, Ha Woo-jin, to help her. Ha Woo-jin is brilliant.

This drama is based on a manga but they made a lot of changes to it. I usually don’t like it when shows deviate from the source material but these changes were refreshing and pleasant to watch. They made the Liar Game into a reality TV show and so the game is watched by a lot of people. They also changed the games, which was nice because I didn’t know the outcome of the games. The two main protagonists are similar to their manga counterparts but the other characters are very different. I didn’t have complaints about that. It’s a really good remake. The Japanese drama, Liar Game, is more true to the manga but this drama is worth watching.

6. Money’s Warfare (2007)

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In this drama, Na-ra becomes homeless after a series of unfortunate events. These events happen early on. Na-ra picks himself up and becomes a loan shark. His job is to collect debt from poor people, but he uses unconventional methods. There are some really funny scenes. Na-ra is awesome.

10 Live-Action Manga Adaptations I Enjoyed

Many anime fans don’t like live-actions of anime. Period.

I also (mostly) agree. But… live-actions dramas are better than films. With episodes, it allows the show to have more depth. One major problem in all live-action films is that they cut a lot of important scenes and most of the time, they cut out important characters.

These aren’t in any particular order. I won’t be talking about the plots of these shows, just what I liked about them. I don’t watch as many dramas as I used to, so the newer live-actions will probably not be on here. Nonetheless, I still find value in making this list because good shows are good shows, no matter how old they are. 😉 If you’re interested in knowing which dramas I’ve watched, you can view My Drama List (still incomplete) here.

1. Bloody Monday (2008)

I enjoyed this Japanese live-action because Haruma Miura and Hiroki Narimiya played their characters really well. The instrumental soundtrack is beautiful. Listen to this and you’ll know what I mean. Also, both seasons played music by Flumpool, which is my favourite Japanese band.

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2. Boku dake ga Inai Machi (2017)

This is better known as Erased. It is a Japanese drama. I didn’t think I would be interested in time travel but I was proven wrong. I often take breaks from dramas and anime (My Drama List reflects this by the number of dramas I am “currently watching”) but I binged this show. Special thanks to Fed for watching it after my recommendation!

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3. GTO (1998)

This Japanese drama stands for Great Teacher Onizuka. I watched this before I started university and I feel like it changed my life. That’s a really bold statement but I began to see life a little bit differently in “unconventional” ways.

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4. Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (2007)

This Japanese drama is also known as Hana Kimi. There are so many actors!!

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5. Hotaru no Hikari (2007)

This is a Japanese drama based on the josei manga with the same title.

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6. Kurosagi (2006)

I’ve watched every episode in this Japanese drama at least 10 times, and the reason is because I used to really, really like Kurosaki, the main character.

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7. Liar Game (2014)

This is the Korean live-action adaptation. It is different from the manga because they made the Liar Game into a TV game show. I love how they changed it to better suit the current generation.

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8. Liar Game (2007)

This is a Japanese drama. I do prefer this over the Korean live-action of Liar Game.

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9. Smiling Pasta (2006)

This Taiwanese drama is based on a manhwa. I haven’t read the manhwa because it’s really hard to find English scanlations of it (or even the work in its original language). However, this drama was able to make me cry and laugh in the same episode.

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10. Switch Girl!! (2011)

This is a Japanese drama. Mariya Nishiuchi was perfect for the main role because she was a model of Seventeen at the time, and so were other actresses (her character does modelling in the drama too). I am her fan. ❤

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My Drama List

If you watch Asian dramas, I recommend you use My Drama List if you haven’t already. It’s like My Anime List, but for dramas! Basically, you mark down the statuses of different shows and movies you’ve watched, record the episodes you’ve seen, give them ratings and leave comments.

I do have some issues with My Anime List, but I like it better than My Drama List because  it is harder to find shows on MDL. The shows should be separated by genres and in categories such as ‘Korean drama’ and ‘Japanese drama,’ etc. They don’t have that. That’s why I’m missing a lot of shows on my list!! I can remember the plots and characters’ appearances of certain dramas, but I don’t remember the names of the dramas.

If you’re interested, My Drama List can be found at https://mydramalist.com/dramalist/alpaca_xx 

Please note that it is incomplete because of the reason I explained above. I actually just filled out the list recently so I have not entered any episode data on my ‘Currently Watching’ list. I don’t know if I will be able to because I haven’t watched dramas in a LONG time, which means I don’t remember what episode I’m on! T_T With that being said, my ‘Currently Watching’ list is not being counted in my Profile’s episode number and time watched information. Most of these shows are from 2009~ because that was when I watched a lot of Asian dramas.

My Anime List is private, but I can tell you that it’s longer than My Drama List. My Manga List (this is on the My Anime List website) is longer than My Anime List.

What does this all mean? 

It means I’ve watched a lot of T.V. and it’s no wonder I have poor eyesight AND I’m not sure whether I am proud or if I pity my soul…

Moving forward…

Now that I have My Drama List kind of filled out, expect some drama recommendations and favourites posts in the future!!! Even though I do not plan on ranking any of these dramas and movies, I still remember what I enjoyed (or hated) about them. ^_^