If you haven't figured out how I rank these, I'll explain. There is no specific order, so they are only ranked into levels. Must Watch is reserved for the extremely popular dramas that pretty much everyone sees. Highly Recommended is for series that I really enjoyed and other (less) popular dramas. These tend to only have my favorites, I have yet to put a series I didn't finish or like in this section. Last is For Your Consideration. Here is where I leave series that I have yet to finish watching or start at all. This is the first time that I am kind of tweaking my system. I never finished any season of Gokusen, but it is so well known in the overseas J-drama fan community and in Japan that I have to include it. Not many dramas get three seasons and a full movie. Nobuta wo Produce is also fairly popular, but I've never watched a full episode. I've tried watching it, and I tried to skip forward to see if it gets better. It just might be not my cup of tea. I am going to copy a summary and then say what I think so you get more of a review this round.
-Based on a popular comic, this hilarious comedy follows the chaos, troubles and friendship at a boys’ boarding school after a girl-disguising-a-boy joins. Ashiya Mizuki has just come back to Japan from California where she was raised. She fell in love with Sano Izumi, a hopeful high jump hero, who has quit after an accident. As she wants him to go back to the sport once again, she enters the same high school as a boy! With a short hair, flattened chest and lowered voice, she starts sharing the same room with Sano. --Fuji Creative
-This is an extremely campy drama. The serious parts bore me at times, because I have a very short attention span. However, the absurd characters and events that take place are hilarious. Nakatsu spends half the time trying to make sure he is not a homo because he has feelings for Mizuki and the other half swooning over Mizuki's cuteness, which I have to say is my favorite part.
-Makino Tsukushi is the only poor student at Eitoku Gakuen, the school of the ridiculously rich and privileged that is ruled by Flower 4 or F4, a group of four boys who come from extremely powerful families: Domyoji Tsukasa, the leader and heir of the Domyoji World Finance Group; Hanazawa Rui, the introverted son of a large company; Nishikado Sojiro, a player who is the heir of a tea ceremony school; and Mimasaka Akira, a madam killer with ties to the underground. If a student gets on the F4’s bad side, he/she gets a red notice and is bullied and driven out of school. Makino hopes to pass her days quietly-- without drawing any attention to herself-- but one day, she stands up to Domyoji in defense of her friend. The next day, Makino gets the dreaded red notice. Even though she is harassed, Makino decides to keep going to school because she is a "tough weed". She declares war right back on the F4. Her resolve gets the attention of her crush Hanazawa Rui and oddly enough, rouses romantic feelings in her worst enemy, Domyoji Tsukasa. The series is based on the Japanese shoujo manga "Hana Yori Dango" (Boys Before Flowers) by Kamio Yoko.
-This is one of the series I insist people watch. I've loved every season and movie related to this drama. Unlike some comedies that bore me to tears anytime they try to make things serious, this one keeps my attention (and is actually interesting half of the time). This series has an amazing cast. I've bought the box set of the first season because I love this one so much.
-The story revolves around a young woman named Mei, who was rescued as a young girl by someone calling himself her "butler." With only a vague memory, though, the experience seems like just a dream. But one day, after her parents' accidental death, he appears: Rihito comes from a line of outstanding butlers, and he has been appointed to serve her! Now her ordinary life has completely flipped, as she discovers that she's actually the heiress to a fortune, and is forced to transfer to St. Lucia Girls' Academy, where all the students have butlers! As a result, her childhood friend Kento decides to enroll in a butler school so that he can stay close to her. --Tokyograph
-Oh gosh. So I wrote out my review and Firefox crashed on me, so I'm not in the mood to write the whole thing again. Let's see. . . I love the romantic tension between Mei and her butler. I hate the other love interest, because he isn't even cute. There is the beautiful villain, campy classmates, and good looking butlers. Mei can get on my nerves and I wish she wasn't down on herself so much. I like her cute short hair. That's about the it.
-The story of a young, idealistic teacher who enters Shirokin Gakuen with hopes of making a difference in the students' lives. However, Yamaguchi Kumiko (Nakama Yukie) is in for a rude awakening when she finds that she will be the homeroom teacher of 3-D, the hardest class to maintain in the school. The students have multi-colored hair, sloppy uniforms, and show absolutely no respect to her. The leader of the class, Sawada Shin is lazy but bright and shows some interest in Yamaguchi when he notices that she is very different from other teachers. The students try to bully her to make her quit, but their attempts don't get them very far. What the class and the rest of the school does not know is that Yamaguchi Kumiko is actually the 4th generation heir to the Ooedo Group, a notorious yakuza clan. Even though her family would like her to take the title of Ojou when her grandfather dies, they have accepted the fact that Yamaguchi would rather be a teacher. Eventually, the students learn to respect their quirky teacher because of her devotion to them, and even give her a nickname: Yankumi.
-I should like this more considering I love yankees. My complaint is that each episode has the same basic plot line and doesn't mix it up enough. I'm going to try it again and maybe they mix it up more as the seasons progress. This is another teacher trying to save her students, humph idealist Japan.
-33-year-old Akiyama Satomi is a history teacher at the prestigious all-girls high school she once attended. She has earned the nickname "ohitorisama" (meaning "one person") for her perfectionism and capability to handle any work by herself. At the same time, the name also refers to her lack of romance. One day, a young man named Shinichi arrives at the school as a temporary instructor. He's ten years younger than Satomi, has only worked part-time jobs, and has neither money nor status. Although the other female teachers and students find him cute, he is completely not Satomi's type... or is he? Will love blossom between this unlikely pair? --Tokyograph
-I wasn't sure where to place this one. It feels more like an OL drama, but it is set at a high school and the students get some storyline. Is it just me or does every successful woman end up having romantic ties with a young, cute guy? It is what you expect to get.
-The story centers around the popular high school boy Masamune Asuka, the top kendo fighter in the nation. However, beneath his cool exterior, he is actually fond of sweets and shojo manga, and is skilled in sewing and cooking. When he instantly falls for the transfer student Miyakozuka Ryo, his secret is in danger of being exposed. --Tokyograph
-It is another high school romance, but I love the twist. His mom gets left because his dad was gay or wanted to become a women, anyway she insists her son to be as manly as can be. It is a sweet and cute series that I do recommend.
-Fukada plays Mai Aida, a woman in her third year as an english teacher at a private all-girls high school. Due to declining enrollment, the school decides to admit its first male students. Those five freshmen initially feel they're in paradise, but the concerned Mai tries to help them adjust by creating a social dance club and inviting five girls. Those ten students become the focus of the drama, which is described as a story of love and adolescence.
-This drama is also extremely cute. The main cast is pretty big and less campy. Guys being guys and girls being girls. Plus Fukada is starring as the teacher. I would of put this higher if only it was more popular. I have no idea why that is.
-The story revolves around high school student Akira Uehara, sensitive and demure by nature. Despite that he has a large crush on the most feared and violent girl in school–Nanako Momoi, who seems fragile and cute, until she opens her mouth. One day, Uehara is made to go to Momoi’s house where he meets her mad scientist grandfather and unwillingly becomes the test subject for one of his machines. Accidentally, Momoi also gets tangled in the experiment and the two end up switching bodies. To make matters worse Momoi in Uehara’s body breaks the machine (which will cost 2mil. yen to fix) as she would like more time in this body thus beginning their world full of debts and troubles.
-I have no idea why this isn't more popular either. It is campy with hints towards both yuri and yaoi. I love gender bending dramas. I like a lot of things. These reviews are getting worse. The plot line is more important.
-Shochikubai Miroku (Akanishi Jin) is the son of a police commissioner and also a traveller. Miroku has lots of connections and is a very good fighter. His interest is his motorcycle. Kikumasamune Seishiro (Yokoyuma Yu) is the rich son of a large hospital. He also fights as well as Miroku. He is a good fighter with smarts. Bido Granmarie (Taguchi Junnosuke) is the son of a Swedish ambassador. He's also a playboy, dating many girls at once. Granmarie can't see himself going steady because he thinks the world can't handle it. Kenbishi Yuri (Minami) is the rich daughter of a world-renowned president of the Kenbishi Business. She loves to indulge on eating. She's also a good fighter, but can never beat Seishiro. Hakushika Noriko (Kashii Yu) is the daughter of a famous japanese painter and her mother is from a tradition tea ceremony family. Her only weakness is men and can get very violent when they touch her. Kizakura Karen (Suzuki Emi) lives with her mother, a rich jewel dealer. Her dream is to marry into a rich family using her attractive body and style. Together, they formed the Yukan Club, solving mysteries to pass time.
For Your Consideration:
-Kiritani Shuji is the popular guy who gets along with everyone, from the jerks to the nerds to the just plain weird. The one person Shuji cannot stand is Kusano Akira. To Shuji, Akira is just plain annoying. He laughs, talks and acts funny. Things heat up when a new student comes to school. Her name is Kotani Nobuko, a girl who has no self confidence at all and is content at being made fun of and bullied in school. Shuji and Akira come to an accord that in order to make use of their "youth" they will "produce" Nobuko as the next popular girl. One of the conditions, however, is that nobody should find out that they are working together as a team to make this concept possible. Unveiled here is the story of true friendship between three unlikely candidates who would not have been friends if not given the special circumstances.
-The story of this drama is based on a Kanagawa Prefecture senior high school cheerleading team which won the All-US cheerleading contest. The last summer vacation in high school is a time when unforgettable memories are made and everything seems so bright. July 2006: for 18 girls, their unforgettable summer has arrived! At first, the girls in this drama are leading mundane lives, uncertain of their future. What's more, they feel there's nothing special about them. But when they discover cheerleading, their world changes completely. Suddenly, their lives are centered around cheerleading. More than fashion, studies, and romance, they are obsessed with cheerleading. Join the girls as they work together towards the same goal and experience the most exciting summer ever! -- Fuji TV