Welcome to my second type of editorial, Sensei no Kyoushitsu, aka Teacher’s Classroom. This editorial will be me teaching, informing, and preaching to everyone on a particular subject. My first class shall be about Japanese Drama!
If you don’t know what J-Drama is, I shall tell you. It is live action TV shows much like what you find in most countries in the world, like House M.D., Dexter, Bones, etc.. However, the biggest difference between most Western/European TV shows are that they don’t last until they are cancelled or just finish after many years. They have a lifespan much like anime. Most J-Drama end after a single season around 11 episodes. There are many types of J-Drama though, some go on for two seasons, they might have a sequel, or there are some that last for several years. However, for the most part, the J-Drama that gets subbed that is, only are the one to two season series.
So why is it that you should be watching them? Well, if you like anime, then J-Drama shouldn’t be too far from what you are use too. One type of J-Drama you can find are live action adaptations of anime and manga. GTO is just one of many series that have had a live action adaptation. So if you are a fan of the series, you can now enjoy reading the manga, watching the anime, and watching the J-Drama. Also, there are manga that have adaptations that don’t even have Anime, like Hana-Kimi or Yakee-kun to Megane-chan. These live action adaptations are very different from their manga and anime counterparts as well. They tend to edit them so they can fit in the 11 episode limit and they put a more realistic spin on them. These changes can be for the worst, but more than not, they do a good job. I have even seen live action adaptations that were better than both the anime and manga as well. Watching the live action version offers a very different experience, so you don’t have the feeling that you have already watched it or read it before.
Now I might have talked a lot about live action adaptations, however, some of the best J-Drama I have seen have no relations to an anime or manga series. Like anime and manga there are many types of J-Drama, so you can always find what you want or you can enjoy watching several different types of J-Drama, ie, suspense, drama, romance, comedy, action, etc.. J-Dramas are very distinct from anime and manga. They have their own style to them, even though I claim they are not too far from what you are use too, they are unique and quite refreshing. I started watching J-Drama several years ago because after watching so much anime I thought to myself I would like to tackle something new and J-Drama was exactly what I was looking for.
There are a lot of things good and band about J-Drama. One aspect of the good and the bad comes from the simple fact that it is real. Something thing that is common in anime and manga is when crowds of people adore a person or a group of people, like in Wallflower when all the school girls gawked over the four guys. In anime we don’t think much about it, but watching real people do it feels awkward in every way. Another thing bad about it being real can come from the effects added to it. J-Drama doesn’t have a big budget, so some series tend to have B movie graphics, like something you might see on a SyFy channel movie. Some of the good is, Anime and manga shows a lot about Japanese culture, but if you want to see a more realistic view of it, you have to watch J-Drama. Not that everything you see in J-Drama is real, but it is far more realistic in most ways. Also, let me feed us guy’s perverted side as well. Real also means real girls! Do not get me wrong, I like animated girls, but watching real girls is good! There are some, albeit few, J-Drama that have real nudity in it too~ 😀
Personally, the biggest reason I like J-Dramas is because they end! Don’t get me wrong, I love watching my House and Psych, and I would hate to see them end, but there is something about watching a complete story that is very satisfying. Most series are actually 45 minutes as well, so even though I said they are only around 11 episodes, in anime terms, they are 22 episode series. Another thing I love about J-Dramas are the actors in them. Much like Voice Actors, you find ones you love to watch, however, you get to see them in many roles instead of just hearing them. This makes you have more of an attachment to them. Many times I have decided to watch a series just because a certain actor or actress is in it. You might have seen them before too! Several prominent J-Drama actors have made it into some Hollywood movies, like Letters to Iwo Jima and The Last Samurai.
Now that I have told you all about J-Dramas you might ask me, “But steev-sensei, I do not know where to download or watch J-Dramas.” Well, I shall tell you! The main sources I use to download my J-Drama are: National Anime, D-Addicts, Drama Crazy, and ViiKii. National Anime costs $5 a month and has a ton of J-Drama on their servers, but if you have a subscription to another site that has servers, you should look there because many sites have both. If you do not have the money to spend or just are not old enough to open a paypal account, then D-Addicts is your place. There they have torrents and softsubs to many J-Dramas. If you don’t want to spend the time downloading or just don’t find what you are looking for, head over to Drama Crazy and ViiKii, they have J-Drama available via streaming. If you download regularly on IRC, then I can’t help you there. There are some fan subbers that have bots, but I haven’t really looked for a good channel with bots to download from. If you find one let me know! Where ever you go, I do recommend visiting D-Addicts or JDorama, they have an extensive database about all kinds of J-Drama you might want to watch or you can ask me for recommendations. As you can tell, I love telling people what to do.
One last thing before I go.. J-Drama is released 3 ways: hardsubs, softsubs, and streaming. Sometimes they are only released just one of these ways, but often time you can find at least two of those versions. Hardsubs are like what you find anime fan subbers releasing and if you don’t know what a softsub is, let me explain it to you. A softsub is a file that you download that places subtitles on top of a RAW file. Just make sure the file is in the same folder and has the same base name (don’t change the extension!). If you already have a codec pack installed, then more than likely you have the ability to watch softsubs already. This tends to be the way most J-Drama is released. Some J-Drama is only released via streaming.. I would explain why, but that is another story for another time~