Jdrama:Proposal Daisakusen

  • Title: プロポーズ大作戦
  • Title (romaji): Proposal Daisakusen
  • Tagline: Operation Love
  • Genre: Romanc
  • Episodes: 11
  • Viewership ratings: 17.3 (Kanto), 17.2 (Kansai)
  • Broadcast period: 2007-Apr-16 to 2007-Jun-25
  • Air time: Monday 21:00
  • Theme song: Ashita Hareru Kana by Kuwata Keisuke

Dramaworld rating: 4/5

One-line review: A sometimes slow but mostly deeply compelling and well-written drama, with quite possibly the BEST final episode(the special) of any drama I’ve ever seen.


Iwase Ken and Yoshida Rei have been friends since elementary school. On the day of Rei’s wedding to another man, Ken watches her, coming to the full realization for the first time that he’s in love with her and always has been, and that he was simply too stubborn to admit it. Fortunately for him, a fairy who lives in the church has been observing him, and decides to give him one last chance(or two) at a happy ending. He sends Ken back in time, giving him the chance to remake the past so that he can chance the present.

Proposal Daisakusen is that rare story of childhood sweethearts-turning-into-grown-up lovers done right. Most stories such as this have a couple falling in love as children and then being split up or separated by fate and losing track of each other until they magically meet again later, at which point they either don’t immediately recognize each other or other obstacles arise(usually both). The most difficult part of this plot – the aspect which almost all films that I’ve seen with this theme have screwed up on – is showing the two falling in love all over again as adults.  The entire weight of the romance tends to rest on their childhood feelings for each other, usually shown mostly in flashbacks, and quite simply that’s not going to cut it. For one thing because we rarely experience their childhood with them – it’s shown almost invariably as a first meeting followed by a few pretty images of them together and then a flash forward to the present, so we as the audience never really empathize with it or are convinced by it. Proposal Daisakusen, thankfully, doesn’t follow this theme at all – Ken and Rei remain solid and close(in proximity at least) friends their until lives, and know each other as well as two people in that position could be expected to know each other(by which I mean they have as many misunderstandings and fumblings as any couple fighting toward love would have) so their feelings for each other are both convincing and constantly before our eyes. Ken doesn’t need to love some childhood memory of a girl because he loves the girl standing right before him.

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Hana Yori Dango Official Review

  • Title: 花より男子
  • Title (romaji): Hana Yori Dango
  • Also known as: Boys Before Flowers / Boys Over Flowers
  • Genre: Romance
  • Broadcast network: TBS
  • Episodes: 9


Dramaworld rating: 5/5

Hana Yori Dango, the Japanese version of the manga upon which Meteor Garden is based, is everything that is adorable and delightful. Makino Tsukushi is the only poor girl at a an upper-class high school full of rich kids and dominated by four of the wealthiest, a group of four guys known as the F4, or Flower 4. All that Makino wants to do is escape the attention of her shallow classmates and stay under the F4’s radar until graduating, but when the F4 go after a friend of hers, she can’t take it any more, and fate steps in to throw she and the leader of the F4, Domyoji, together.

The first adaptation of this manga that I saw was the Taiwanese version, Meteor Garden. Here’s what I think about the Taiwanese casting versus the Japanese: as far as the F4 go, the Taiwanese boys fit the physical profile much better; they’re all tall, buff, physically impressive men, particularly Jerry Yan, whose heavy features fit the character of Domyoji/Daoming Si very well. Unfortunately, Jerry Yan can’t act. While MatsuJun, who plays the Japanese Domyoji/Daoming Si, brings a depth of sensitivity and nuance to the character that Jerry Yan can’t even touch, but physically looks like a willow, and doesn’t possess the necessary sheer brutal force and charisma that the F4 leader should.