I’m pretty spaced out about the Fall 2012 J-dorama season, which is once again chock full of odds and ends that I’m not interested in. So far I’ve only checked out Akumu-chan, and that was partially due to the curiosity over the first episode’s solid ratings and because I still have some good will towards Kitagawa Keiko despite her turning in one of the worst performances committed to celluloid in the Paradise Kiss movie. This Sunday night will bring me back to following my first of two J-doramas this season with the premiere of MONSTERS with Katori Shingo and Yamashita Tomohisa. This is a cop procedural dorama that doesn’t even pretend to shoehorn in awkward love stories, instead coming off like a buddy cop version of the quirky and rather adorable lady of the house-butler detective mystery Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de with Keiko and Sakurai Sho. Shingo plays a veteran detective that has a reputation for being a crazy MoFo case-cracker, while Yamapi is his rookie cop partner. I’ve loving the trailer that shows Yamapi reverting back to his comedic roots as his character is earnest, not-terribly-bright, and desperately wanting to succeed. I foresee Shingo tormenting him immensely and enjoying it tremendously. I’m still baffled by why Japan hasn’t done a dorama pairing up KimuTaku and Yamapi. I swear the chemistry and dynamic will write itself, plus the fangirl bases for both guys will surely bring in decent enough ratings. It was cute watching the P-chan versus Yamapi-chan battle in SMAPxSMAP earlier this year, but that was like getting a treat and I want a full meal.
I’m thrilled that Yamapi is back looking handsome and healthy, rocking a decent hairstyle, and losing some of his recent gauntness which has dogged him since he lost tons of weight two years ago to film Ashita no Joe. For the dorama, Shingo and Yamapi collaborated to sing the theme song also called “MONSTERS” and its a catchy enough ditty. During last week’s SMAP Live Tour 2012 concert in Tokyo, Yamapi made a surprise guest appearance towards the end of the concert and performed the single onstage with Shingo. Another random element of this dorama is that Yamapi’s character has a beloved girlfriend of four years now turned fiancee played by Yanagihara Kanako, who I am not dissing by describing as a plus-sized actress. Turns out Yamapi and Kanako’s characters love each other quite a lot in the dorama and he doesn’t have a problem with her weight because he has a love of round things. I’m thrilled a dorama is allowing a male lead to have a non-stick thin girlfriend and present it like its totally a non-issue, which is should be. If MONSTERS turn out to be entertaining then I’ll finally have a Yamapi dorama to follow again.
Yamapi and Shingo on King’s Brunch (includes trailer for MONSTERS and snippets from them performing the single on SMAP Live Tour 2012):