Fall 2009 Drama Preview!

This fall looks like a strong season for drama fans! There are plenty to enjoy, including several hit sequels such as “LIAR GAME.” The lineup boasts a lot of popular male stars, such as Shun Oguri, Masaki Aiba, and Haruma Miura, as well as established actress such as Yukie Nakama and Norika Fujiwara. Here’s what you can look forward to:

Tokyo DOGS (東京DOGS)
Fuji TV, Monday 9:00pm, premieres October 19

As a child, Sou Takakura (Shun Oguri) witnessed the murder of his father. Vowing to someday catch the culprit, he grew up to become an elite detective on the New York police force, regarded highly for his composure, discipline, adaptability, and military training. One day, he takes on a case involving a major drug operation linked to his father’s killer. Maruo Kudo (Hiro Mizushima), a member of a special investigative division in Japan, arrives in New York to help out. The investigation leads them to Yuki Matsunaga (Yuriko Yoshitaka), who holds some crucial info about the case but has lost part of her memory due to a traumatic incident. Sou and Maruo team up to continue the case in Japan, but their completely opposite personalities may be a hindrance. And as Yuki regains her memory, her knowledge begins to expose a painful past.

Other Cast: Ryo Katsuji, Mikihisa Azuma, Kotaro Shiga, Asami Usuda, Rie Tomosaka, Yoshiko Tanaka, Nene Otsuka, Tomokazu Miura

Official Site: {{XLink http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/tokyo-dogs/index.html http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/tokyo-dogs/index.html}}
Boku no Himitsu Heiki (僕の秘密★兵器)
*Multiple stations and broadcast times
tvk, Monday 11:00pm, premieres October 5

High school student Hajime Ichinose (Koki Kato) has a “secret weapon.” Passed down from generation to generation, the men of the Ichinose family have had a special power – the “Godfinger.” If he successfully tickles the girl he likes, a wish will be granted. But because of his insecurities, Hajime can’t even approach a girl, much less tickle one. His current crush is his childhood friend Yui (Koto Takagi), who recently started dating a neighborhood delinquent named Yuto. After overhearing Yuto say that he plans on taking Yui’s virginity, the shocked Hajime is unsure of what to do, so he seeks the help of the one person who understands him, his younger sister Aoi (Uki Satake)… In addition to Takagi and Satake, this love comedy series features other recent winners of the Miss Magazine gravure idol competition.

Other Cast: Airi Nakajima, Mihato Ise, Ayano Tachibana, Haruka Mori, Misuzu Mochizuki, Aika, Yui Koike, Sakura Sato

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.bokuno.net/index.html http://www.bokuno.net/index.html}}
LIAR GAME 2 (ライアーゲーム ~シーズン2~)
Fuji TV, Tuesday 9:00pm, premieres November 10

The hit “LIAR GAME” drama returns for a second season, which will lead into a movie version being released next year. The new series takes place two years after the first one. The naïve Nao Kanzaki (Erika Toda) and expert swindler Shinichi Akiyama (Shota Matsuda) have not heard anything from the LIAR GAME organization since the end of the previous game, so it seems they may have actually escaped. But Nao suddenly gets another invitation and is once again caught up in the game. This time, she has to team up with Shinichi and one of their previous rivals named Fukunaga (Kosuke Suzuki), facing off against three more opponents in new games of deception, such as “24 Rensou Russian Roulette” and “17 Poker.”

Other Cast: Michiko Kichise, Ikkei Watanabe, Rinko Kikuchi

Official Site: {{XLink http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/liargame/index.html http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/liargame/index.html}}
Real Clothes (リアル・クローズ)
Fuji TV, Tuesday 10:00pm, premieres October 13

“Real Clothes” is based on a fashion manga by Satoru Makimura, which was already adapted as a tanpatsu drama special in 2008. Karina and Hitomi Kuroki will once again co-star, returning with most of the main cast from the special. Karina plays Kinue, a saleswoman in the futon section of a department store. One day, she suddenly gets transferred to the women’s clothing department, even though she herself is lacking in fashion sense. Kuroki plays the part of her new boss Miki, who soon introduces Kinue to the tough reality of the fashion world. Through this job, Kinue learns about the meaning of life, love, and work.

Other Cast: Sousuke Takaoka, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Kotaro Koizumi, IMALU, Anna Nose, Erena, Natsuki Kato, Yuko Mano

Official Site: {{XLink http://ktv.jp/real-clothes/index.html http://ktv.jp/real-clothes/index.html}}
Asami Mitsuhiko ~Saishusho~ (浅見光彦〜最終章〜)
TBS, Wednesday 9:00pm, premieres October 21

Yasuo Uchida’s bestselling mystery novel series about a reportage writer and detective named Mitsuhiko Asami now has its own full-length drama series, after numerous two-hour specials on multiple networks over the years. Since 2000, Ikki Sawamura has played the protagonist in TBS’s version, and he will continue in that role for this series. As always, the detective travels across Japan to investigate local legends and mysteries. Morio Kazama will play his older brother at the National Police Agency, while Sachie Hara plays the maid of the Asami household.

Other Cast: Chieko Kuroda, Kotaro Tanaka, Yoshiko Sakuma

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/asami09/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/asami09/}}
Aibou 8 (相棒)
TV Asahi, Wednesday 9:00pm, premieres October 14 (first episode, 8:00pm)

The long-running detective series “Aibou” returns for an 8th season, the first full one since Yasufumi Terawaki left the show. The drama now stars Yutaka Mizutani and Mitsuhiro Oikawa as the leading detective duo. In the first episode (a 2-hour special), the pair are greeted with a case immediately after Sugishita (Mizutani) returns from a trip to London. Guest appearances include Rina Uchiyama and Ikko Furuya.

Other Cast: Ikue Masudo, Ittoku Kishibe, Satoshi Jinbo, Seiji Rokkaku, Atsushi Yamanishi, Ryuji Katagiri, Ryo Ono, Kazuhisa Kawahara, Ryosuke Otani, Takashi Yamanaka

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/aibou/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/aibou/}}
Gyne: Sanfujinka no Onnatachi (ギネ 産婦人科の女たち)
NTV, Wednesday 10:00pm, premieres October 14

This human drama is set in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of a university hospital. At the center of the story is Nachi Hiiragi (Norika Fujiwara), an obstetrician in her fifth year of working there. Because of a traumatic incident, she follows a philosophy of never giving up on a patient, no matter how risky it is. Because all of her attention is devoted to her patients, she is lacking in communication skills with those around her, often leading to conflicts. In addition, Nachi’s actions are putting the hospital at risk of facing lawsuits, creating even more friction. Still, she only has her eye on protecting her patients’ lives.

Other Cast: Yuki Matsushita, Yuka Itaya, Yusuke Kamiji, Yuki Uchida, Naomi Nishida, Norito Yashima, Yuika Motokariya, Yoshimasa Kondo, Riko Yoshida

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ntv.co.jp/gyne/ http://www.ntv.co.jp/gyne/}}
Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂)
TBS, Wednesday 12:34am, premieres October 14 (first episode, 1:04am)

Based on a manga by Yaro Abe, the story of “Shinya Shokudo” is set in a small restaurant in the corner of a shopping district. The unusual eatery is only open after midnight, and its standard menu consists of just a single choice. However, the customers still come for the amusing chatter and the proprietor’s (Kaoru Kobayashi) willingness to cook any dish that they request. In a humorous way, this drama depicts the lives of the restaurant’s patrons, including a yakuza, an unsuccessful actor, a group of office ladies, a newspaper delivery boy, and a stripper.

Other Cast: Joe Odagiri, Risa Sudo, Asako Kobayashi, Nahoko Yoshimoto, Tamae Ando, Toshiki Ayata, Yutaka Matsushige, Takashi Yamanaka

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.meshiya.tv/ http://www.meshiya.tv/}}
Sono Otoko, Fukushocho (その男、副署長)
TV Asahi, Thursday 8:00pm, premieres October 15

This mystery series is now in its third season. Eiichiro Funakoshi once again returns as Kiyomi Ikenaga, the deputy chief of a local police station in Kyoto. In the first episode, which will be a two-hour special, a high school murder incident from 20 years ago is revived when an anonymous phone call claims that there’s more to the seemingly solved case. The situation gets even more complicated when a suspect taken in for assault is discovered to have the same fingerprints as those found 20 years ago on the victim’s bag!

Other Cast: Hisako Manda, Misato Tanaka, Takashi Ukaji, Koji Matoba, Hirotaro Honda, Kenjiro Ishimaru, Hiroki Suzuki, Toshiya Sakai, Anzu Nagai, Shin Takuma

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/fukushocho/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/fukushocho/}}
ROMES: Kuukou Bougyo System (ROMES/空港防御システム日記)
NHK, Thursday 8:00pm, premieres October 15

Recently built on an artificial island, the (fictional) Tokyo Bay International Airport is equipped with the most advanced security system in the world, known as ROMES. To celebrate the airport’s first anniversary, a gold statue called the “Goddess of Temptation” is placed on display at the airport. After an international group of thieves called Silverfox issues a challenge to the airport and begins exploiting the ROMES system, the director (Masao Kusakari) requests assistance from the brilliant Yuya Narishima (Tadayoshi Okura), who knows the system the best out of anyone. Yuya’s team of experts is assigned to combat this dangerous organization, which continues to escalate its activities. Meanwhile, Yuya himself has a different reason for coming to the airport…

Other Cast: Shota Yasuda, Ryoko Kuninaka, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Taiyo Sugiura, Shigemitsu Ogi, Yukie Kawamura, Tetsuhiro Ikeda, Yoshimasa Kondo

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.nhk.or.jp/drama8/romes/ http://www.nhk.or.jp/drama8/romes/}}
Koshonin 2 (交渉人2)
TV Asahi, Thursday 9:00pm, premieres October 22

Ryoko Yonekura is back in this sequel to last year’s drama series “Koshonin ~The Negotiator~.” She plays the talented police negotiator Reiko Usagi, part of the Special Investigation Team. The new season opens with a string of deadly incidents involving guns sent to various people by someone known as “Summer Claus.” The weapons seem to be part of a batch of 27 stolen guns, and so far 14 of them have been given out. Now it’s up to Usagi and the rest of the SIT to recover the remaining 13 before there are any more casualties… This season will also serve as a warm-up for the “Koshonin” film scheduled to open in theaters in February.

Other Cast: Takanori Jinnai, Katsumi Takahashi, Toshio Kakei, Takashi Sasano, Muga Tsukaji, Noboru Takachi, Sousuke Takaoka, Ren Yagami, Yu Shirota, Tantan Hayashi, Megumi Yasu, Megumi Nakayama, Natsuko Nagaike, Yuko Asano, Ren Osugi, Masato Ibu

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/koshonin/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/koshonin/}}
Fumou Chitai (不毛地帯)
Fuji TV, Thursday 10:00pm, premieres October 15 (first episode, 9:00pm)

Adapted from a novel by Toyoko Yamasaki, “Fumou Chitai” is a large-scale project that will run for six months. Toshiaki Karasawa stars as a military leader named Tadashi Iki who was captured by the Soviets during World War II. Treated as a war criminal, he was sentenced to many years of labor in a harsh Siberian detention camp. After 11 years of imprisonment, he is released. He returns to Japan and begins readjusting to life as a civilian, rejecting an offer from his former colleague to work on a defense project. Tadashi has decided to never involve himself in war again, much to the joy of his family. Instead, he attempts to set off on a new path working at a major trading company.

Other Cast: Emi Wakui, Mikako Tabe, Taira Takahashi, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yasunori Danta, Arata Furuta, Shiro Ito, Sadao Abe, Yuki Amami, Kenichi Endo, Isao Hashizume, Shinsho Nakamaru, Kuranosuke Sasaki, Koyuki, Yutaka Takenouchi, Yutaka Matsushige, Yoshio Harada, Ittoku Kishibe

Official Site: {{XLink http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/fumouchitai/index.html http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/fumouchitai/index.html}}
Bouchou Mania 09 (傍聴マニア09)
NTV, Thursday 11:58pm, premieres October 22

Adapted from Toro Kitao’s manga “Saibancho! Koko wa Choeki 4 Nen de, Dousuka?,” this drama revolves around a part-timer named Morio (Osamu Mukai) who becomes a courtroom maniac. On a whim, Morio decides to sit in the audience of a courtroom one day, and he witnesses cases involving crimes such as murder, rape, fraud, and domestic violence. While observing these complete strangers, he becomes fascinated with the human aspect of the trials, from the judges to those being judged. Watching trials turns into a regular activity for Morio, and he is not the only one. Seiji Rokkaku plays a long-time courtroom otaku, while Akina Minami plays an eager law student.

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ytv.co.jp/bouchou/ http://www.ytv.co.jp/bouchou/}}
Untouchable (アンタッチャブル)
TV Asahi, Friday 9:00pm, premieres October 16

Reporter Ryoko Narumi (Yukie Nakama) loses her job at a first-rate publisher and ends up at a trashy tabloid called “Shukan Untouchable.” She now chases celebrity scandals and sensational stories, but she hasn’t lost her sense of duty or her persistence. While investigating her stories, she tends to notice details that imply some hidden truth beneath the surface, leading her to probe deeper into dangerous secrets.

Other Cast: Jun Kaname, Tomohito Sato, Sei Ashina, Yoshimasa Tsujitani, Kazumi Urano, Yoji Tanaka, Toshiya Sakai, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Tetsushi Tanaka, Susumu Terajima

Official Site: {{XLink http://untouchable.asahi.co.jp/ http://untouchable.asahi.co.jp/}}
Ohitorisama (おひとりさま)
TBS, Friday 10:00pm, premieres October 16

33-year-old Satomi Akiyama (Alisa Mizuki) 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 (Teppei Koike) 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?

Other Cast: Nao Matsushita, Keita Tachibana, Ami Suzuki, Wakana Sakai, Hiromi Kitagawa, Erika Mahiro, David Ito, Kenta Satoi, Miki Maya

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/ohitorisama2009/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/ohitorisama2009/}}
My Girl (マイガール)
TV Asahi, Friday 11:15pm, premieres October 9

“My Girl” is an adaptation of Mizu Sahara’s manga of the same name, described as an “ultimate love story.” Arashi’s Masaki Aiba takes on his first starring role as Masamune Kasama, a young camera assistant. During high school, he had an older girlfriend named Yoko Tsukamoto (Yuka), but she suddenly disappeared one day. Six years later, he learns that Yoko has passed away. At the same time, he meets his five-year-old daughter Koharu (Momoka Ishii), whom Yuko secretly gave birth to. Masamune and Koharu begin living together, and through their mutual love for the deceased Yoko, they begin to develop a bond as father and daughter.

Other Cast: Shingo Murakami, Shigeru Muroi, Yukiya Kitamura, Shigenori Yamazaki, Kami Hiraiwa, Kumi Imura, Mayumi Asaka, Tsutomu Yamazaki

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/mygirl/ http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/mygirl/}}
Jyouou Virgin (嬢王 Virgin)
TV Tokyo, Friday 12:12am, premieres October 2

This late-night drama is a sequel to the 2005 series “Jyouou.” Still set in the hostess club industry, “Jyouou Virgin” brings a brand-new cast, led by popular idol Mikie Hara. She plays the part of Mai Ando, who has just graduated from high school but has not yet determined her path in life. When she hears about the “Jyouou Grand Prix,” a competition awarding 100 million yen to the number-one hostess, she decides to give it a shot. But she’ll need more than just good looks to win against her rivals in this cutthroat battle.

Other Cast: Mei Kurokawa, Saori Hara, Natsuko Tatsumi, Akari Asahina, Rin Sakuragi, Akira Nagata, Reon Kadena, Hiroshi Okouchi, Noriyoshi Tsumura, Yuma Asami, Ayano Moriyama

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/jyouou/ http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/jyouou/}}
Shokojo Seira (小公女セイラ)
TBS, Saturday 7:56pm, premieres October 17

Based on the famous story “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this drama tells the struggle of a young girl who falls from riches to rags. Talented young actress Mirai Shida stars as Seira Kuroda, the daughter of a widower and wealthy businessman (Atsushi Yanaka). Seira was raised in India, but she is sent back to Japan to continue her education at an affluent boarding high school. Although she has lived in luxury, the well-bred Seira is kind and generous, earning her many friends at the school. One person who dislikes Seira is the school’s director (Kanako Higuchi), though she treats Seira well due to the father’s fortune. Then, during Seira’s 16th birthday party, the director informs her that her father has died, leaving her penniless. As a result, she is forced to work as a servant in order to pay off her school bills.

Other Cast: Kento Hayashi, Seiichi Tanabe, Anri Okamoto, Shiori Kutsuna, Fujiko Kojima, Shinya Owada, Tomoka Kurokawa, Yuriko Hirooka, Yuki Saito

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/seira2009/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/seira2009/}}
Samurai High School (サムライ・ハイスクール)
NTV, Saturday 9:00pm, premieres October 17

Kotaro Mochizuki (Haruma Miura) is a mild-mannered, unmanly high school student. One day, he visits a library and meets the mysterious librarian Himiko (Mimura), who recommends to him an ancient book about a heroic general from the Sengoku period 400 years ago. Kotaro notices that he has the same name and age as the general described in the book, and he experiences a flashback… Kotaro later mentions the book to his father (Goro Kishitani), who tells him that he may be the descendent of a powerful samurai. At that moment, Kotaro receives a message from his childhood friend Ai (Anne) telling him that their classmate (Yu Shirota) is in trouble. He rushes to the scene but doesn’t have the guts to help, until another flashback transforms him into a samurai!

Other Cast: Suzuka Ohgo, Ryoko Kobayashi, Dori Sakurada, Tomo Yanagishita, Shigeru Muroi, Mikako Ichikawa, Nobuaki Kaneko, Masaya Kato

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.ntv.co.jp/samurai/ http://www.ntv.co.jp/samurai/}}
Challenged (チャレンジド)
NHK, Saturday 9:00pm, premieres October 10

Kuranosuke Sasaki stars as a teacher struck by misfortune, as he suddenly loses his eyesight. He pulls himself together and decides to continue as an educator, despite the countless challenges he now faces. This human drama follows his personal growth through his interactions with his students and colleagues, while also looking at the state of education in the current society.

Other Cast: Yasuko Tomita, Eri Murakawa, Isao Natsuyagi, Teruhiko Saigo, Minoru Tanaka, Jay Kabira, Rie Kuwabata, Shuhei Minami, Erena Natsumi, Rina Koike, Nanami Fujimoto, Toshi Takeuchi

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.nhk.or.jp/dodra/challenged/ http://www.nhk.or.jp/dodra/challenged/}}
Gaiji Keisatsu (外事警察)
NHK, Saturday 9:00pm, premieres November 14

In this world, there exists a police force that goes unnoticed, hidden deep within the city and never revealing themselves. Established after the September 11 attacks, this elite division is tasked with combating threats of international terrorism and espionage. Actor Atsuro Watabe plays the star of this suspenseful drama, leading his team in a war of secret intelligence, deception, and betrayal.

Shakking: Zeni no Tatsujin (借王 ー銭の達人ー)
WOWOW, Saturday 12:00am, premieres October 10

Shigeru Tsuchiyama’s manga “Shakking” has already been adapted into nine films, but now it has been turned into a television series with a completely new cast. Police detective Mizunuma (Susumu Terajima), his sister Rie who works for a judicial scrivener office (Naomi Nishida), and psychiatrist and mental clinic manager Kamijo (Keisuke Horibe) form a team nicknamed Shakking (debt king), so named because they have each racked up 200 million yen in debt. With the repayment deadline fast approaching, the trio concocts a swindling scheme in order to obtain the money they need.

Other Cast: Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Ren Osugi, Takeshi Masu, Kazuyuki Aijima, Maki Tamaru, Noriko Watanabe, Kei Taguchi, Kei Yamamoto

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.wowow.co.jp/drama/king/ http://www.wowow.co.jp/drama/king/}}
Saka no Ue no Kumo (坂の上の雲)
NHK, Sunday 8:00pm, premieres November 29

These are the first five episodes of NHK’s large-scale drama project “Saka no Ue no Kumo,” which will be continued in fall 2010 and fall 2011. Based on a novel by Ryotaro Shiba, the drama is set in the Meiji era and focuses on the lives of a group of historical figures. Masahiro Motoki and Hiroshi Abe play the brothers Akiyama Saneyuki and Akiyama Yoshifuru, who were both military officers during the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. Teruyuki Kagawa plays the poet Masaoka Shiki, a childhood friend of Saneyuki, while Miho Kanno plays Shiki’s sister Ritsu. Yukiyoshi Ozawa has been cast as the writer Natsume Soseki, who was also close friends with Shiki and Saneyuki.

Other Cast: Shiro Ito, Keiko Takeshita, Takako Matsu, Go Kato, Takahiro Fujimoto, Tetsuya Watari, Toshiyuki Nishida, Satomi Ishihara, Koji Ishizaka

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.nhk.or.jp/matsuyama/sakanoue/ http://www.nhk.or.jp/matsuyama/sakanoue/}}
Jin (JIN-仁-)
TBS, Sunday 9:00pm, premieres October 11

Brain surgeon Jin Minakata (Takao Osawa) has spent the last two years in anguish, as his fiancee (Miki Nakatani) lies in a vegetative state after an operation he performed. One day, he faints at the hospital and awakens to find himself transported back in time to the Edo period. He is soon attacked by a samurai, but he escapes with the help of a man named Kyotaro (Keisuke Koide). Kyotaro suffers a serious injury to the head while trying to protect him, but Jin manages to save his life despite a lack of proper medical equipment. Because of that, Kyotaro’s sister Saki (Haruka Ayase) begins taking an interest in Jin and becomes his assistant. Meanwhile, Jin is determined to find a way back to the present.

Other Cast: Masaaki Uchino, Kenta Kiritani, Hiromasa Taguchi, Naho Toda, Saki Takaoka, Yumi Aso, Fumiyo Kohinata

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.tbs.co.jp/jin2009/ http://www.tbs.co.jp/jin2009/}}
Inpei Shirei (隠蔽指令)
WOWOW, Sunday 10:00pm, premieres October 18

Yoshihiko Amano (Katsunori Takahashi) works at the giant Mizunami Bank. Trusted by the president (Ikko Furuya), he is put in charge of hiding 700 million yen worth of bad debt. For the sake of the bank and the president, he puts all his effort into taking care of the matter, but he encounters many obstacles, including an ambitious politician (Masahiko Nishimura) and his secretary (Masahiro Takashima), a hostess club run by the former president’s mistress (Noriko Aoyama), and even his own colleagues. Meanwhile, as Amano becomes more involved in the problem, his own personal life is falling apart.

Other Cast: Yumi Aso, Yui Ichikawa, Gitan Otsuru, Maho Nonami, Noboru Takachi, Chizuru Azuma, Kenichi Yajima

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/inpei/ http://www.wowow.co.jp/dramaw/inpei/}}
Mama-san Volley de Tsukamaete (ママさんバレーでつかまえて)
NHK, Sunday 11:00pm, premieres October 11

In this comedy, the Mammies are a small “mama-san volleyball” team sponsored by a local supermarket, whose colorful members range in age from their 20s to their 70s. The team’s captain is 40-year-old Suzuko (Hitomi Kuroki), but she has a secret that she can never share with her teammates – she and the team’s young, good-looking coach Kotaro (Osamu Mukai) are actually newlyweds!

Other Cast: Natsuki Kato, Hitomi Sato, Megumi Yokoyama, Michiko Godai, Hairi Katagiri, Hisako Kyoda, Ichiro Ogura

Official Site: {{XLink http://www.nhk.or.jp/mamasan/ http://www.nhk.or.jp/mamasan/}}
Welkame (ウェルかめ)
NHK, Monday-Saturday 8:15am, premieres September 28

Ever since she was young, Nami (Kana Kurashina) has dreamt of becoming a publishing editor on a global scale. She heads to Tokyo to begin working for a major fashion magazine, but the magazine is suddenly shut down shortly after she arrives. Unable to find another publisher in Tokyo that will hire her, she dejectedly returns to her small hometown in the Tokushima prefecture. One day, she meets the owner and editor (Shigeru Muroi) of a small local publisher who offers her a job, and she resumes her path towards her dreams.

Other Cast: Ken Ishiguro, Michiko Hada, Kogan Ashiya, Toru Masuoka, Maki Sakai, Bokuzo Masana, Leonardo Benucci, Shunsuke Daito, Mayuko Iwasa, Konatsu Tanaka, Kohei Takeda, Tomoko Hoshino, Yoichi Nukumizu, Daisuke Shima, Yasue Michi, Reiko Matsuo

Official Site: {{XLink http://www9.nhk.or.jp/asadora/welkame/ http://www9.nhk.or.jp/asadora/welkame/ }}
Xmas no Kiseki (Xmasの奇蹟)
Fuji TV, Weekdays 1:30pm, premieres November 2

One night, record company employee Nao (Kaori Takahashi) hears a beautiful piano song that brings tears to her eyes. At that moment, she meets music director Hiroshi (Kohki Okada) in what seems like a fated encounter. They fall in love and start their own record company a year later, signing the pianist who played the song that linked the two together. Nao and Hiroshi have decided to get married if the pianist’s Christmas concert is a success, but on his way there, Hiroshi gets into a car accident and is taken to the hospital. He remains unconscious, but a 20-year-old (Masataka Kubota) at the same hospital miraculously awakens from his own unconscious state. Hiroshi’s soul is actually in the young man’s body, and he appears at Nao’s home to try to resume their love.

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