Hooray for Sakurai Sho proving himself to be a competent actor. Now, this is the first drama I’ve watched him in, so he could have proved himself long ago, but I will say I was pleasantly surprised at his acting ability since he’s never seemed like he would be a good actor. I thought his acting would be just like his singing and dancing–meh. But, thankfully, I was wrong. On to the drama: *Note: I’ve decided to take production value out since production value of Japanese dramas are mostly lower than Taiwanese dramas which are mostly lower than Korean dramas which are mostly lower than British and American TV shows, and since production value has no bearing how well a drama is made, just how it looks, I decided it would be better to omit it from my scores for dramas to come.
Ratings out of 10:
Plot Development 10
Every actor in this drama was really good. As I already mentioned, Sakurai Sho was a pleasant surprise. He played the main character, Yoshimoto Kouya, who was rather a confusing and eccentric person, and he played it well. In the first episode, I thought that Sho was simply trying too hard to act weird like his character, but as the episode rolled on, and I continued on to other episodes, I realized that this was just how his character would act. I loved the way his character walked, and I thought it was impressive that Sho never forgot the way his character was supposed to walk, even when he wasn’t walking very far or in the more solemn scenes. He was great at communicating a wide range of emotions that were believable. The only thing Sho needs to work on is crying, since he’s not very good at it, but since there wasn’t a lot of that in this drama, he could get away with it.
Besides Sho, Uragami Seishuu and Kamiki Ryunosuke, who played Shigeyuki and Shinichi, were the best actors. Seishuu made his character of a kid being bullied realistic. At the beginning of the drama, Ryunosuke’s character wasn’t really the main focus, so his acting ability seemed only average, but as the drama continued and the spotlight made its way to him, he definitely stole the show from his costars.
The actor who played the father, Itao Itsuji, was great at playing the role of a father who only cares about work. The actress who played the mother, Suzuki Honami, did a fantastic job of acting out a depressed housewife. Actually, she did such a good job, that I would put her above Sho in terms of best actors in this drama. She perfectly captured what it’s like to be depressed, in not caring about anything or anyone and pouring all your energy into one thing that helps you cope with things, and added the neglected wife and uncaring mother to make one sad, very realistic character.
There were a few other minor actors in the drama, and they played their parts well.
The plot of this drama seems at first very simple–a tutor helps a struggling kid–but it’s much more complicated than that. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this drama. Being an Arashi fan, I was only watching it to see if Sho Sakurai could actually act, and although he certainly kept me watching, the story and its progression kept me going. Up until the last couple of episodes, the drama keeps you on the edge of your seat, which is impressive since this is not a mystery or suspense drama. The way the characters and plot points confused just kept me intrigued and wanting to come back for more. The way the drama ended was great. It was an ending that was not too rushed or too slow, and it tied together and explained everything that needed explaining. The one thing that I like about Japanese dramas as opposed to Korean and Taiwanese is that they have so few episodes. Kazoku Game was only 1o episodes and this was the perfect number of episodes. One of the reasons I almost always finish Japanese dramas that I start is simply because they don’t add extra scenes that don’t really add anything to the plot.
I gave the music a solid 6 because it only played a few tracks over and over. The theme song was bright and perfectly captured the character of Yoshimoto, and it played in interesting places. There was another song that was clearly there to add suspense. The rest, if there were more, were just typical background music. The only thing this drama could have improved upon was the music.
I know this was based off of the book and a movie, so I’d be interested to know how it measured up because having not read the book nor seen the movie, the drama was really good. At long last, my love for Japanese dramas has been reignited, and it’s because of Kazoku Game.
Overall Rating out of 10: 9.2