Run out of K-Dramas to watch? Try these Japanese series for a change of pace

It’s Philippines-Japan Friendship Month, but Eiga Sai, our favorite Japanese film festival, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fortunately there is Netflix, right? Besides Japanese films, there are many J drama series available for our viewing pleasure.

So if you are looking for some new things to watch, or if you are just fed up with K dramas, why not give these Japanese shows a try? Whatever genre you prefer, there’s bound to be something you might like.

1. Hello, call

What is it about? A high school student is forced to live with the most popular boy in school when she is scammed into renting the same apartment. It’s hard enough to keep the situation a secret from her family and friends, but it gets more complicated when she starts having feelings for her roommate.

Why watch it? It’s a wellness series about teenage love. If you need your daily kilig dose, this is fine.

2. Midnight Dinner: Stories from Tokyo

What is it about? It’s a slice of life anthology about different characters visiting a Tokyo restaurant every night. They bond around the episode’s star dish and find out something about themselves – and others.

Why watch it? It’s an interesting study on food as a community experience. Perfect if you don’t have time to binge and just want to have fun after a full day of work.

3. Samurai Gourmet

What is it about? A retired employee learns to live with his newfound freedom by eating what he wants. It’s not easy to make the adjustment, but it takes inspiration from the ronin – masterless samurai – of feudal-era Japan.

Why watch it? There is something about watching a 60 year old man enjoy an afternoon beer after depriving himself of such a simple pleasure in his career. We all wish we could do the same, don’t we? The food is also great and guaranteed to make you suddenly hungry.

4. Border

What is it about? A detective is shot in the head while checking the perimeter of a crime scene. He died on the operating table, but the doctors managed to resuscitate him. When he chooses to keep the bullet in his head instead of removing it, he suddenly gains the ability to see the dead.

Why watch it? Oguri Shun is in his element with another Sherlock-type role after previously playing Kudo Shinichi in the Detective Conan live-action movie. Along with his own Watson, a stoic female coroner with a medical license, he resolves murder cases while receiving counseling from the victims themselves.

5. Switched

What is it about? A high school girl suddenly finds herself in the body of an unpopular classmate. She is forced to watch her boyfriend and her life being stolen from her, while learning what it is like to be abused and intimidated by her peers.

Why watch it? It’s a grim take on the body change trope, but there are some heartwarming moments, too. The plot twists get you hooked and the great acting wows you.

6. Spark

What is it about? An aspiring comedian asks a comic book veteran to take him on as an apprentice after they meet at a summer festival. They dream of being successful in the industry, but hardships follow them every step of the way.

Why watch it? It’s as tough as an independent film, not at all what you would expect from a show about comedians. At a time when Jo Koy and other jokers are on the rise, it’s interesting to see what their life looks like off the stage.

—JCB, GMA News

Marie A. Evans