Dramas with the highest production values

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Cyborg Ninja
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Dramas with the highest production values

Post by Cyborg Ninja » Jul 10th, '11, 02:45

What dramas have the highest production values? It's hard to find dramas outside of the US and England that get that glossy shine. Jin and Iryu seem to have received a lot of funding, but still aren't near to what Western shows like The Tudors or Star Trek might receive.

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Post by k361 » Jul 10th, '11, 03:06

Are you looking for something like this:
http://www.tokyohive.com/2011/01/kimura ... u-tairiku/

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Post by yanie » Jul 10th, '11, 08:05

You're looking only the historical and/or science-fiction ones?

Kimura Takuya's Karei-naru Ichizoku (2007) and Karasawa Toshiaki's Fumo Chitai (2009) seem to have big budget. Karei-naru had some scenes of steel factory explosions and filming in Shanghai, to get the 1960s Tokyo set. Fumo Chitai had filming locations in Siberia and had many 1960s set as well.

NHK's Saka no Ue no Kumo (2009/2010/2011) is another big budget drama, with filming locations in China and Russia. It's a historical drama sets in the 1900s.

No space opera J-drama, so far. But they have the widescreen movie Space Battleship YAMATO, and it cost alot for the CGs.

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Post by lollercopter » Jul 10th, '11, 19:35

Japanese dramas hardly ever have notable production values. With a show like JIN they may spend a lot of money on sets and such, but the cinematography, editing etc. is still the same old cookie cutter stuff you see in every other drama. That's the real problem. In the same vein, Yamato has good sets and CGI but everything else is completely uninspired and recycled.

From what I remember, Fumo Chitai is a rare exception. NHK probably has the best-looking shows.

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Post by outcast_within » Jul 10th, '11, 21:10

hana kimi, hana yori dango, densha otoko and that show where they air guitared in the opening (someinth monogatari about poor student and rich student combo)

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Post by 7th-key » Jul 10th, '11, 21:38

I thought Galileo had a very decent production.

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Post by lollercopter » Jul 10th, '11, 21:43

outcast_within wrote:hana kimi, hana yori dango, densha otoko and that show where they air guitared in the opening (someinth monogatari about poor student and rich student combo)
How do they have high production values?

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Post by Keiko1981 » Jul 10th, '11, 21:47

Maybe Byakuyako fits into this too.

From DramaWiki
A 30 second commercial during the drama cost $224,000 US Dollars. Third highest behind Rondo ($233,000) and Saiyuuki ($269,000) for the 2006 Winter season.

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Post by outcast_within » Jul 10th, '11, 22:10

lollercopter wrote:
outcast_within wrote:hana kimi, hana yori dango, densha otoko and that show where they air guitared in the opening (someinth monogatari about poor student and rich student combo)
How do they have high production values?
well hana kimi had a budget for a full sized cast of ikemen.
Hana yori dango also had a lot of extra's

It's a lot better than say Stand up for instance.

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Post by lollercopter » Jul 10th, '11, 23:02

Having handsome actors or lots of extras doesn't mean the drama has high production values.

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Post by Cyborg Ninja » Jul 10th, '11, 23:07

lollercopter wrote:Japanese dramas hardly ever have notable production values. With a show like JIN they may spend a lot of money on sets and such, but the cinematography, editing etc. is still the same old cookie cutter stuff you see in every other drama. That's the real problem. In the same vein, Yamato has good sets and CGI but everything else is completely uninspired and recycled.

From what I remember, Fumo Chitai is a rare exception. NHK probably has the best-looking shows.
I noticed that. I had hoped that it was just a problem with the shows I had watched, and not every show. Why don't Japanese shows have better cinematography? Is it too expensive, or does nobody care?

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Post by Keiko1981 » Jul 10th, '11, 23:15

Just a thought.
Since the regular Japanese dramas are short (usually about 11 episodes), compared to USA dramas where one season is 22 episodes and a drama can run for many seasons.
Shouldn't the amount of money spent on Japanese dramas be greater? Or does quantity go before quality?
Also, what about taiga and jidaigeki dramas?

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Post by Cyborg Ninja » Jul 10th, '11, 23:34

I find that Taiga's have really poor production values, writing and cinematography. As much as I'd love to see a good Japanese period drama, taigas just don't cut it. There are many American and English dramas that are short, especially those for Showtime and HBO, that are well-made.

Perhaps the main factor is that in Japan, shows are sponsored by a network and not a production company. Do the Japanese pay for any of these networks outside of their taxes?

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Post by ecco27 » Jul 11th, '11, 01:00

Keiko1981 wrote:Just a thought.
Since the regular Japanese dramas are short (usually about 11 episodes), compared to USA dramas where one season is 22 episodes and a drama can run for many seasons.
Shouldn't the amount of money spent on Japanese dramas be greater?
Obviously the money spent on Japanese dramas would not be greater because the US is a much, much bigger market and has more money to spend in the first place. A drama time slot in Japan shows about 40 new episodes a year, and in the US like you said it's more like 22-26.

Japanese pay for the NHK, it's a public channel like BBC in the UK. I haven't liked many NHK dramas but what sets them apart from regular dramas is that I'm pretty sure they're completely made before they start airing and they're made without thinking about sponsors and ratings since they don't have to worry about that.

WOWOW is a paid channel like HBO is in the US, I've never seen any of their dramas but I've heard good things...

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Post by xploring » Jul 11th, '11, 03:18

Keiko1981 wrote:Just a thought.
Since the regular Japanese dramas are short (usually about 11 episodes), compared to USA dramas where one season is 22 episodes and a drama can run for many seasons.
Shouldn't the amount of money spent on Japanese dramas be greater? Or does quantity go before quality?
Also, what about taiga and jidaigeki dramas?
There are less commercials though, around 10 minutes or even less per episode compared to probably 20 minutes for a (marginally shorter) US show. And obviously with a shorter program, producers would not be as ready to invest in the shows because they only runs for a short time, compared with a US show where the investment can be used for many years. And market/audience too like ecco27 mentioned. In addition to the US population, US show can also be sold to all the English speaking countries, whereas Japanese shows are not in demand nearly as much, and the language/cultural barrier meant that it can only be sold around SE Asia even with dubbing and subtitles. When I went to Hong Kong, Jdramas are only shown on late night/weekend time slots, Korean dramas are much more sought after. Only Taiwan has dedicated channels/time slots for Japanese shows on TV as far as I know.

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Post by Cyborg Ninja » Jul 11th, '11, 05:15

Quantity certainly forgoes quality for Japanese TV. Plenty of excuses can be made, like "Japan doesn't have a big market," but none really explain the phenomenon. It doesn't make sense to say Japan has a limited market because of its size and language barrier, and then in the same statement say Korean dramas are more marketable.

A team can make a great production with limited funding. Great writing can pull a story together. But all we see to get are teen school dramas, romantic comedies and cop shows. Then again, America has that too, but we have more variety and better writers for even the weakest shows (excluding crappy sitcoms).

Why does a period drama have to have such a ridiculous premise like Jin has? It has a wonderful male lead who can truly act, but having a doctor go back through time is silly. And Iryu, which can have serious side stories, is unraveled with some kind of action/suspense motif where the lead actor is like a video game character. Ugh.

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Post by ersby » Jul 11th, '11, 06:08

Cyborg Ninja wrote:I find that Taiga's have really poor production values, writing and cinematography.
I don't know much about Taiga dramas in general, but I thought that Gou was quite well shot. At least, the first few episodes, which is all I saw.

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Post by xploring » Jul 11th, '11, 06:48

Cyborg Ninja wrote:Great writing can pull a story together.
Watch some Japanese dramas from the 90s. They have got some of the best writing there. Not much hope looking for it in new dramas now.

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Post by kitty10 » Jul 11th, '11, 07:00

xploring wrote:
Cyborg Ninja wrote:Great writing can pull a story together.
Watch some Japanese dramas from the 90s. They have got some of the best writing there. Not much hope looking for it in new dramas now.
I agree. I find too that most of my favourite Japanese dramas are from the late 90s - early 2000s period. Those dramas packed in a good storyline, actors who could act, and memorable soundtracks. There are too many dramas these days with idols whose acting ain't worth a yen, and plots that are tired and recycled.
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Post by ecco27 » Jul 11th, '11, 07:11

I honestly believe as far as the writing and stuff goes what really hurts jdramas is the fact that they're taped so close to when they air. I mean sometimes it seems like they're working on the last episode up to the day before it airs! What I think often happens is that the writer and directors have a vision of what they want the drama to be like but then feedback starts to come in and someone (who's in charge of these things? The producer?) tells them "People don't like that, change it and make it in to something people will like." or "People like this one thing so put more of that in it." And that ends up messing up what the drama was supposed to be. I really think that must happen cos it explains how some writers and directors can make a really good drama but then turn around and for their next drama do absolute trash. Also why some dramas seem so promising for the first three or four episodes and then go completely down the tubes. Oh also I think they really don't know in the beginning if a show will have 8 or 11 episodes so I think that causes pacing problems as well...

In the US when a show does badly it gets cancelled, in the UK their series are so short and a lot of the best shows are on the BBC so they don't really have to worry about the ratings it'll get but for JDramas once they start a drama they're stuck with it for at least 8 episodes so they have to work with what they have.

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Post by knuppeldik » Jul 11th, '11, 07:47

Just watch Gonzo - Densetsu no Keiji.

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Post by kitty10 » Jul 11th, '11, 08:05

ecco27 wrote:I honestly believe as far as the writing and stuff goes what really hurts jdramas is the fact that they're taped so close to when they air. I mean sometimes it seems like they're working on the last episode up to the day before it airs! What I think often happens is that the writer and directors have a vision of what they want the drama to be like but then feedback starts to come in and someone (who's in charge of these things? The producer?) tells them "People don't like that, change it and make it in to something people will like." or "People like this one thing so put more of that in it." And that ends up messing up what the drama was supposed to be. I really think that must happen cos it explains how some writers and directors can make a really good drama but then turn around and for their next drama do absolute trash. Also why some dramas seem so promising for the first three or four episodes and then go completely down the tubes. Oh also I think they really don't know in the beginning if a show will have 8 or 11 episodes so I think that causes pacing problems as well...
I know the Koreans have a terrible live-shoot system whereby things can get changed due to viewer preferences, new writers are brought in halfway, dramas extended at the last minute, or final episodes finish filming just hours before they are scheduled to air. Fully pre-produced dramas are not the norm in Korea. I didn't realise something similar applies to J-dramas as well. It's impossible to please everyone, so I'd rather the writers/directors stuck to their guns and produced what they thought would be a good drama (with good actors and a strong storyline, thank you very much).

Of course, that is easier said than done :-(
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Post by zettaiKaren » Jul 11th, '11, 08:12

yanie wrote:NHK's Saka no Ue no Kumo (2009/2010/2011) is another big budget drama, with filming locations in China and Russia. It's a historical drama sets in the 1900s.

No space opera J-drama, so far. But they have the widescreen movie Space Battleship YAMATO, and it cost alot for the CGs.
Saka no Ue no Kumo was shot on location in England, France, Italy, Russia, Latvia, China, USA and Cuba (and Japan of course) according to

http://eng.jqrmag.com/?p=68

and may be the most expensive Japanese drama series ever made - huge sets, casts of thousands, and decent SFX (from what I've seen so far in the first 2 parts). They have almost the whole year to do the post production work for the final part (where 2 major battles occurred), so they better get it right. I just hope they won't white-wash the Japanese attrocities after they captured Port Arthur (several thousands of innocent Chinese civilians were massacred, leaving only 36 to bury the corpses).

Battleship Yamato was a big disappointment:
- the SFX level is IMO no better than the films Hollywood put out in the 90's
- more like a space melodrama than what the original manga/anime intended
- may be I'm a bit sensitive as my grandfather was killed by the Japanese during WW II, but I seem to have noticed some subliminal imperialistic slant and bitterness to the overwhelming success US has against Japan towards of the end of WW II, but that's a topic for another day...

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Post by garnet07 » Jul 11th, '11, 08:32

Cyborg Ninja wrote: Why does a period drama have to have such a ridiculous premise like Jin has? It has a wonderful male lead who can truly act, but having a doctor go back through time is silly. And Iryu, which can have serious side stories, is unraveled with some kind of action/suspense motif where the lead actor is like a video game character. Ugh.
Here's the difference between Japanese and Korean dramas, they make a simple story unique. Why bash on Jin when that pulled off a lot of viewer counts for its amazing casts, acting and storyline.

What exactly do you guys count as high production values ... is it having lots of exploding scenes, going to multiple countries, CGs ... well I guess you can count America and some Korean dramas for that. But lately with these type of "big budget" shows comes the lack of great storyline. They focus too much on action scenes and don't bother with the heart of storytelling and development of characters. Also IRYU, well that is a manga live action, it got it's storyline from a manga ... which translates to well an episodic type of show.

Like many people say, maybe watch older Jdoramas where they're pretty close to how Kdramas are ex: Long Vacation, Summer Snow, many more . I haven't watched much Japanese period dramas compared to Korean historical dramas, but I think Jin is awesome. It has its Japanese trademark of episodic storyline where new characters appear. But if this were done Korean style ... it'll be crappy. Love both Jdoramas and Kdramas for what they offer. Variety of humor, wit and presentation. Both Jdoramas and Kdramas recently are surrounded by teen dramas, romantic comedies and action shows. Why? Because that's what people want to see.

Again, it's your time you're wasting, so why watch something if you find it ridiculous? Move on, do something that makes you think, and enjoy.
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Post by pikenshin » Jul 11th, '11, 09:31

Iris is a big production too !!

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Post by lollercopter » Jul 11th, '11, 10:16

Cyborg Ninja wrote:Quantity certainly forgoes quality for Japanese TV. Plenty of excuses can be made, like "Japan doesn't have a big market," but none really explain the phenomenon. It doesn't make sense to say Japan has a limited market because of its size and language barrier, and then in the same statement say Korean dramas are more marketable.
One reason is that there's no incentive to increase quality because there's no demand for it. Minimum effort is enough to bring in the ratings, so why bother doing anything more? I don't know why people have such low standards for television, though.

When skilled movie directors make dramas, you can immediately tell the difference. When I watched one of the episodes of that Juri Ueno thing where she acts in different short stories, I thought it must have been made by a movie director, and sure enough it was Michael Arias. Atami no Sousakan by Satoshi Miki is clearly no ordinary drama either.
ecco27 wrote:I honestly believe as far as the writing and stuff goes what really hurts jdramas is the fact that they're taped so close to when they air. I mean sometimes it seems like they're working on the last episode up to the day before it airs! What I think often happens is that the writer and directors have a vision of what they want the drama to be like but then feedback starts to come in and someone (who's in charge of these things? The producer?) tells them "People don't like that, change it and make it in to something people will like." or "People like this one thing so put more of that in it." And that ends up messing up what the drama was supposed to be.
This is also a factor, though I don't know how common it is. Last Friends was derailed by catering to audience preferences, and Jyoou no Kyoshitsu was completely ruined because the sponsors pulled out and forced hasty rewrites.

I wonder if the general look and feel of Japanese dramas is caused by directors and writers not bothering or knowing how to do anything different, or if some suits are forcing them to do things in certain ways.
garnet07 wrote:What exactly do you guys count as high production values ... is it having lots of exploding scenes, going to multiple countries, CGs ...
"The combined technical qualities of the methods, materials, or stagecraft skills used in the production of a motion picture or artistic performance."

So that means things like effects, sounds, sets, costumes and cinematography.

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Post by Cyborg Ninja » Jul 11th, '11, 22:36

You are right about Last Friends. So many viewers loved what's-his-name from NEWS that they altered the show. I found his character interesting, but they went as far as to make a girlfriend-beater and potential rapist a sympathetic character!

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Post by ersby » Jul 12th, '11, 22:36

Cyborg Ninja wrote:You are right about Last Friends. So many viewers loved what's-his-name from NEWS that they altered the show. I found his character interesting, but they went as far as to make a girlfriend-beater and potential rapist a sympathetic character!
Is that what they were doing? I thought, when he was trying to be sympathetic, he was just being more evil and manipulative. Guess I misunderstood that one!

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Post by lollercopter » Jul 13th, '11, 13:06

I read that the domestic abuse subplot was expanded because viewers liked it (for some reason), but as a result the story of Ruka and Michiru got sidetracked.

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Post by Cyborg Ninja » Jul 14th, '11, 03:37

ersby wrote:
Cyborg Ninja wrote:You are right about Last Friends. So many viewers loved what's-his-name from NEWS that they altered the show. I found his character interesting, but they went as far as to make a girlfriend-beater and potential rapist a sympathetic character!
Is that what they were doing? I thought, when he was trying to be sympathetic, he was just being more evil and manipulative. Guess I misunderstood that one!
Well, at the start of episode 11 you can really tell that they were trying to get the audience to sympathize with him. The special shows this too.

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Post by howtwosavealif3 » Jul 16th, '11, 01:13

JIN is based on a manga that's why that's the setting/storyline.

basically if you don't like it don't watch it.
and anyways Japanese ppl say how historical korean dramas aren't accurate since they're hanbokk is too colorful or the hanbokk shouldn't be colorful snce that character isn't royality or whatever that stuff is (to hate on kdramas)

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Post by Cyborg Ninja » Jul 16th, '11, 03:51

There's nothing wrong with criticizing a piece of work (作文). If you want things to be better, then you need to speak up. Criticizing something isn't synonymous with hating it. I like Jin, but I can still wish it were more realistic.

If you think what we're saying is the same as someone calling out K-dramas for having bright clothing, then you're not getting it.

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Post by lollercopter » Jul 16th, '11, 04:54

howtwosavealif3 wrote:basically if you don't like it don't watch it.
This is the same as saying, "You are not allowed to criticize anything."

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Post by refev » Jul 16th, '11, 12:49

xploring wrote:In addition to the US population, US show can also be sold to all the English speaking countries,
Not only that; the more popular US shows are dubbed and syndicated all over the world and recycled forever in some European markets.
whereas Japanese shows are not in demand nearly as much, and the language/cultural barrier meant that it can only be sold around SE Asia even with dubbing and subtitles.
Right, I can't remember a single Japanese drama that's aired in Europe.

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Post by areea-chan » Jul 16th, '11, 13:30

I've done quite a bit of research on why drama ratings are falling and how dramas get made, and it's like ecco27 said about filming so close to the air dates as well as writers being influenced by audience preferences.

Most (if not all) of the time, a drama starts off not being fully written. This can also be the case for dramas in the US or Britain, but for a drama that's not based off a manga or anime, sometimes there's not a clear end point at first. As the series goes along, the writers finally get to where they want to go.

However.

Once ratings start coming in for a show (by that dumb ratings company that figures out ratings with some weird method that hasn't fully been explained and if anyone does know, I would love to hear it), the producers go to the writers and tell them to change it up. So the writers have to rewrite, change plots, expand some things, etc.

Take Tsuki no Koibito, for example. It was a highly-anticipated drama that was supposed to herald the return of KimuTaku to his romantic drama roles. "It'll get over 20% ratings with every episode!" people thought. People were, sadly, wrong. Once ratings plummetted, a drama that was supposed to last at least 10 episodes was cut down to 8. It could have had 9, but they made the last episode longer just to get to that end-point and get it over with. The drama ended up being a mishmash of nothing happening and love triangles and they dropped the plot about the company in China. KimuTaku's character, who was supposed to be cunning and a little evil at first ended up being, well, boring. Compare it to his character in A Million Stars Falling From the Sky and see the difference.

It's not always the case that a drama isn't fully written. Sometimes it's just bad acting, inconsistent directing, and that "manga-style" editing that's so popular nowadays. It's like TV studios think people won't watch dramas nowadays unless they're MADE in a certain way when in reality, people aren't watching dramas because they other things to do...and TV recording equipment so they can watch it later. And because of that ratings system, companies cut their support budgets and then dramas have to make the best with what they have.

/end rambly ramble

If you have any comments/corrections, please let me know. This is based on my own research into the J-drama industry.

/nowendrambles

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Post by ryoko11 » Jul 16th, '11, 13:59

Cyborg Ninja wrote:There's nothing wrong with criticizing a piece of work (作文). If you want things to be better, then you need to speak up. Criticizing something isn't synonymous with hating it. I like Jin, but I can still wish it were more realistic.

If you think what we're saying is the same as someone calling out K-dramas for having bright clothing, then you're not getting it.


Constructive criticism of dramas is a necessary process. Calling out Jin on the cinematography falls into the category of constructive criticism. I wouldn't call complaining that Jin has a timetravel premise even remotely constructive though. The premise is clearly stated in the synopsis at Dramawiki, and it's based on a known manga. As a viewer it is your own responsibility to research a title before you watch to see if it will suit you, rather than assuming every program is meant to be tailored to your tastes.

You can criticize all you want, but why did you watch a show about a time traveling doctor and expect it to not be about a time traveling doctor? It'd be like me watching Doctor Who and complaining that it's about a time traveling doctor. It just sounds like you didn't bother to read the description before watching and blamed the show for your mistake.

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Post by k361 » Jul 16th, '11, 15:05

refev wrote:Right, I can't remember a single Japanese drama that's aired in Europe.
JSTV
http://www.jstv.co.uk/drama/index.php
available by sat or in cable TV (UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Russia)

But i think, you mean dubbed/subbed

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Post by nnnc » Jul 17th, '11, 23:06

areea-chan wrote: Take Tsuki no Koibito, for example. It was a highly-anticipated drama that was supposed to herald the return of KimuTaku to his romantic drama roles. "It'll get over 20% ratings with every episode!" people thought. People were, sadly, wrong. Once ratings plummetted, a drama that was supposed to last at least 10 episodes was cut down to 8. It could have had 9, but they made the last episode longer just to get to that end-point and get it over with. The drama ended up being a mishmash of nothing happening and love triangles and they dropped the plot about the company in China. KimuTaku's character, who was supposed to be cunning and a little evil at first ended up being, well, boring. Compare it to his character in A Million Stars Falling From the Sky and see the difference.
From what Kimura said in his radio show even before the rating dropped, the drama was intended to be just 8 episodes since the beginning because of his schedules and other factors. The drama started a month later than other dramas in the same drama but it ended at around the same time. Same thing with Mr.Brain that had only 8 episodes even the ratings were around 20% for most episodes.

I agree about everything else though. They tried to do too much with Tsuki no Koibito, wrong casting and change in direction during filming lead to the disappointment in rating.

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Post by Ender's Girl » Aug 4th, '11, 06:09

I don't really watch NHK Taiga but as far as non-NHK historical Jdorama are concerned (and the one I can think of at the moment is Jin :D), they still seem to be outgunned in the production department by their Kdrama counterparts. Jin was impressive technically, but still wasn't in the same league as Damo or Chuno or The Return of Iljimae, sageuk with unquestionably top-notch production values.
lollercopter wrote:
garnet07 wrote:What exactly do you guys count as high production values ... is it having lots of exploding scenes, going to multiple countries, CGs ...
"The combined technical qualities of the methods, materials, or stagecraft skills used in the production of a motion picture or artistic performance."

So that means things like effects, sounds, sets, costumes and cinematography.
Thank you for pointing this out. :-) I also think it's not so much the bigness (or loudness) of a production as the caliber of the technical elements, and how they're used to enhance the storytelling (but not overwhelm it). I think of a dorama like Nobuta wo Produce: I don't know the exact figures but I doubt that NTV earmarked a higher-than-normal budget for a typical idoru vehicle as NwP. But through the director's thoughtful planning, judicious use of production resources, and meticulous rendering of each shot, each frame, the technical execution was able to match the excellent writing, resulting in one of the most satisfying and memorable Jdorama I've ever known. :thumright: (Heck, the director even made judicious use of the meager acting skills of his three young stars, coaxing out of Kame, YamaPi and Maki the performances of their lifetimes. :P)

Of course, tech and gloss don't mean squat without solid, credible storytelling making up any production's backbone. So many spy thrillers out there boast by-the-minute explosions, car chases, gunfights and what-have-you, but fail to tell a good, let alone believable story. And like so many of you have pointed out, even a production behemoth like Tsuki no Koibito proved to be all hype and vainglory when the dust finally settled. Such a huge production budget and the network didn't even know how to use it to the show's advantage, so they ended up throwing their moolah everywhere -- and against the wall, hoping something would stick. :roll Too bad the TV audiences didn't bite. :lol (Ok now I just thought of Hero -- man, the aesthetics of that show (what aesthetics? lol) looked pretty cheap and dated, but the ratings were sky-high. :lol)
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Post by Peggy » Aug 4th, '11, 07:15

I won't even go into Takuya Kimura's drama with the Taiwan model. Said all I wanted to say on the thread about that drama.
Ratings don't excite me, but it is obvious that in this time there are not as many houses that are watching dramas on TV. Lots of other places to record and save etc etc. Even so there are some dramas that can get 20% for a final count.

There were always Japanese films being shown. Mostly in art houses many years ago in UK and Europe. Kurasawa films have always been worldwide. I always watched French, Italian, Swedish films without any subs. Language does not always need to be understood if the direction and the acting is good. I don't speak Japanese now ,but I watch without subs when they are not given.

Can't ever understamd some criticisms because they seem to want perfection. Yhere is no such thing as perfection in any art form. People know what they admire and what they like and it is not always available 100% thoughout a film or drama.

Being able to have a forum and talk about dramas good or not so good is most interesting. I admire the hard work put in by the writers and the directors. The actors follow orders mostly and some are great and some don't know left from right. It is all interesting.

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Post by Peggy » Aug 4th, '11, 07:40

I just remembered that a few months ago here in California some silent Japanese black and white films were shown every night very late. They dated from the late 1920's up into the 1930's. Considering the very early techniques with film and camera they were well worth watching. Someone had done a good job of saving them. Best of all they left them black and white and made no idiotic attempt to put any colour and ruin them . This has been done here with early US films. Minimal English subs were added.
I would say that the finished cinematography was better than many US Chaplin early comedies but the Japanese stories were telling a deeper kind of story . Very impressive.

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Post by Ender's Girl » Aug 15th, '11, 16:53

Peggy! :cheers: Hehe, I know we've discussed TsukiKoi extensively in other threads and sites. (Always fun to do it with you, though.)
So are you stoked for Kimura's Antarctica drama? I know I am! :D But what do you think of Ayase being cast as the (possible) love interest? I love Ayase but wish they had chosen someone else. She and Kimura gave their chemistry a shot in Mr Brain but it just didn't work out for me. :roll
You watch foreign films raw? I don't think I could ever have the patience to do that, lol. I tend to zone out when I don't understand the dialogue. Different strokes so it's cool. :thumright:

I agree that people are finite and imperfect creatures after all, so there can never be 100% perfection in the arts. But surely we can aim for it? While art criticism and appreciation can be very subjective, I do think there are certain widely recognized standards regarding aesthetics, direction, acting, writing, technicals, etc. That's why there are award giving bodies that run on peer recognition, etc.
Peggy wrote:The actors follow orders mostly and some are great and some don't know left from right. It is all interesting.
:lol :lol :lol I think this observation is particularly true in Japan's idol-driven entertainment industry... :whistling: I don't know what you think of Method actors (my fave Hollywood actor bar none, Daniel Day-Lewis, is very Methody), but every time a gifted, intuitive actor comes along and nails a performance in one take, he makes the Methods look like overprepared, overthinking try-hards. :mrgreen:

And lastly, those silent black and white films sound lovely. I've never watched one but I'm sure I'd find the experience strange but enthralling. A Japanese film festival is showing locally (all modern movies, though), and I'm looking forward to seeing Villon's Wife. :-)
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Post by curlywurly » Dec 5th, '11, 06:30

What is the typical budget for a Japanese drama series? How much of it goes on the writers?

Have been watching Breaking Bad recently and keep thinking, is it possible for a show of that quality to be produced on Japanese TV? Not necessarily a big budget production like Breaking Bad but something irrespective of cost, where all the right elements come together for the creative process, most importantly the script and the acting. Louie is a great example of an awesome show that is produced on a shoe-string budget (well, budget by an American Network's standard).

I find that as I get older, a lot of Japanese dramas become very difficult to watch and I often give up after a few episodes in. Simply because story lines are weak, non-engaging, un-original, and/or the acting is atrocious, cringing and embarrassing.

I refuse to believe the talent isn't there, one only has to look at Japanese film to find great work, great stories, scripts, acting, etc.... Yes, while you also do need to sift through a lot crap, it isn't nearly as much as the crap you find on tv.

Or is my distaste for a lot the dramas simply a cultural issue? I was brought up in a western country, what I like to watch and what my family members like are at complete polar opposites. A lot of the things they like, I find un-engaging. The things I like, they don't understand it.

Dunno, just ranting...

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Post by Keiko1981 » Dec 5th, '11, 07:25

curlywurly wrote:I find that as I get older, a lot of Japanese dramas become very difficult to watch and I often give up after a few episodes in. Simply because story lines are weak, non-engaging, un-originial, and/or the acting is atrocious, cringing and embarrassing.
One of the reasons I guess is that nowadays more dramas are based upon animes/mangas that become live-actions.
Earlier it was more common with screen-writers working on the story.
The amount of the time spent scripts.
I did work on subbing parts of Koukou Kyoushi 1993's SP.
The producer Ito Kazuhiro said that Nojima Shinji began to work on the script of the drama before the actual filming begun. They had much time on developing the characters.

If I remember right groink mentioned that the scripts of a Japanese dramas isn't usually finished when the filming of it begins.

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Post by rootabega » Dec 5th, '11, 07:55

I just remembered that a few months ago here in California some silent Japanese
black and white films were shown every night very late. They dated from the late 1920's up into the 1930's. Considering the very early techniques with film and camera they were well worth watching.....
I would say that the finished cinematography was better than many US Chaplin early comedies but the Japanese stories were telling a deeper kind of story . Very impressive.
Once, again, Peggy, you've read my mind. The topic of "production values" in J-dorama deserves its own thread, IMO. There are many threads criticizing acting, plot development and bad hair (and, believe me, I have enjoyed contributing to them), but they are not related to the actual production sphere. The French have long had a term for this artistic/technical realm : "mise en scene". From Elements of Cinema online:
The arrangement of everything that appears in the framing – actors, lighting, décor, props, costume – is called mise-en-scène, a French term that means “placing on stage.” The frame and camerawork also constitute the mise-en-scène of a movie
Japan has been a world leader in cutting edge television technology for decades (first adopter of HD broadcast, etc..), not to mention a beacon of excellence in filmmaking, so what is up with the production poverty I'm seeing in J-dorama? Let's take Unubore Deka, for example. The biggest stars, the biggest writer, the biggest awards. I'm sorry, the production looked weak. Simply impoverished. Those endless hermetic scenes in the bar......ugghh. I'm picking on a champ here - you should see the stuff the fansubbers won't touch! There are so many excuses, but the brutal truth remains, Japan needs to pick up its game in the area of television production values. It's not a matter of selling the shows to the US or wherever. It's a simple matter of pride and craftsmanship.

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Post by rootabega » Dec 5th, '11, 08:29

I just noticed the OP was seeking a dorama with high production values.

Atami no Sousakan FTW.
Consistently high standards throughout. You may or may not like this dorama, but the mise en scene is first-class. I love you, Miki sensei. :wub:

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Post by rootabega » Dec 5th, '11, 09:22

A few more with, IMO, a cut above in production values:
Soredemo, Ikite Yuku, though suffering a little in consistency
Ten to Sen with Takeshi Kitano (nice-looking period drama (1950s).
The omnibus actress showcases:
Yu Aoi - Camouflage - Yottsu no Uso, Maki Yoko - Shukan Maki Yoko, and Ueno Juri - Itsutsu no Kaban all contain a few gems, if you go looking.
I just saw the Shiritsu Tantei Hama Maiku dorama series (2002), and even with the very funky TV rip, I could tell this could be a visual and auditory treat. I am saving my pennies for proper DVD copies... Made with real directors - more filling!
Some of this stuff is a little indie-looking, but it still a far cry from mediocrely lit, framed and blocked hackery.

Must check out Fumo Chitai... :whistling:

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