It’s the beginning of the year which means its time to take a Taiga temperature check. Last year’s Taiga Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛) with Matsuyama Kenichi was a huge bust ratings-wise since it was rather boring and blergh, but this year’s Taiga Yae no Sakura (八重の桜) with Ayase Haruka is off to a rollicking start premiering with a solid 21.7% ratings and great critical and popular reception with solid word-of-mouth. Sweet. I love Haruka and a female-led Taiga always makes me happy (the last one was Go with Ueno Juri in 2011 and before that was Atsuhime in 2008 so NHK is really tapping into the female Japanese historical figures lately). YnS chronicles the life of Nijima Yae who lived in the late Edo period born in the Aizu Domain. Skilled in gunnery, she helped defend Aizu during the Boshin War earning her the nickname of the “Bakumatsu Joan of Arc” and later helped found Doshisha University in Kyoto.
Is this woman kick ass or what? Considering she’s holding a shotgun and a sword on her waist in the poster above, I’d say she’s a feminist ahead of her time. 2014’s Taiga has been confirmed a few months ago already as Gunshi Kanbei (軍師官兵衛) starring Okada Junichi of the group V6. That story deals with the life of Kuroda Kanbei, a master general and tactician serving under Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Sengoku period. But it’s the rumors of the 2015 Taiga that has me frothing at the mouth. Apparently Kimura Takuya will finally headline a Taiga (which is a year long dorama production commitment) playing Oda Nobunaga (who unified Japan in the 16th century and was succeeded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi) with a cast consisting of Kitano Takeshi as Tokugawa Ieyasu, Oguri Shun as Toyotomi Hideyoshi, along with Horikita Maki, Ishihara Satomi, and Yoshitaka Yuriko. Holy momma I want I want I want!
KimuTaku as Oda Nobunaga makes so much sense since he played the younger version of that famed historical figure in the 1998 SP on NHK which garnered him a lot of praise. KimuTaku was offered the role of Sakamoto Ryoma in 2010’s Taiga Ryomaden which his agency turned down because SMAP was planning a new album and tour. The role eventually went to Fukuyama Masaharu which ended up revitalizing his career and was a ratings success for NHK. Ryomaden was about Ryoma’s movement to overthrow the Bakumatsu led by the Tokugawa shogunate and modernize Japan. I’ve watched one episode of Yae no Sakura and I can safely say its awesome so far! I’m not interested in 2014 but if 2015 comes true with that cast I will be cloistered somewhere burning incense to the dorama gods and flailing uncontrollably. Make it happen, NHK!
Back to Yae no Sakura for a moment, let us marvel at the real life personage that is Nijima Yae – when she’s not reading to improve her mind, she’s wielding a shotgun and heading into battle to protect her clan. Yeah, totally nothing strange about that other than CAN WE PLEASE HAVE MORE STORIES ABOUT WOMEN LIKE HER. I also want to know where I can buy her fashionable finger-less leather shotgun handling gloves. Way to make a fashion statement AND a dont-mess-with-me statement.
New child actress Suzuki Rio playing the kid version of Yae was adorable and awesome wrapped up into one. Way to make a first impression Rio-chan. Also, her resemblance to Ayase Haruka is uncanny. They even make the same determined chin look. Seriously, where did NHK find this cherub? I wub them both!
The last Taiga I tried was Ueno Juri’s Go and it didn’t really hold my attention since I started late-ish into the series.
I totally have a soft spot for Ayase especially after a trifecta of hits such as Mr. Brain, Jin and Hotaru. Thanks for the heads up Koala. I’ll try a couple of eps at least.
This kind of show doesn’t interest me but holy cow…Kimura Takuya AND Oguri Shun? I don’t know if my heart could take it!
when I saw Ayase in the photo above, I didn’t know what to make of it. I mean, she usually plays funny, cute and blur-sotong characters. Suddenly she’s wielding a shotgun and a sword??? Felt rather inappropriate, but maybe that’s how her character is like, forced to rise up to the circumstances. I’m just guessing!
I always thought Galileo is the drama that mark Fukuyama’s comeback, while Ryomaden pushed him into the S-list. lol.
I’m not too sure about the 2015 rumour, because would NHK continues with Sengoku era after 2014? With another Nobunaga taiga? It feels like an overkill here.
I missed Yae no Sakura’s first episode, so I’m catching the re-run. Her accent… I need to get use to that.
Now if there’s a prequel SP of Hotaru growing up with her grandmother, Rio-chan can step in nicely 🙂
Well, I must give these a try when subbed….
“CAN WE PLEASE HAVE MORE STORIES ABOUT WOMEN LIKE HER?” Yes, please and thank you. Running off to watch first episode and waiting for the rest. Woohoo!
Thanks Ms Koala!
Watched 2 episodes and so far I’m loving the series. Last time when I watched Go the character who really captivated me was Oda Nobunaga (played by Toyokawa Etsushi) who died in Ep 5 or 6 and thus I gradually lost interest in the series…
I have wiki-ed the story of Yae and she totally ROCKED! I am particularly looking forward to seeing the love story between Yae and Joe unfold~ hehe
wow! This is all new to me. Can’t wait to see more of this. Thanks
Gonna have to jump on this boat. I promised myself I’d start watching Jdramas more faithfully this year after my 3 year near-hiatus from them. This seems like a great jumping point! I love stories about real life female HBICs. Come to mamma!
Also the rumors for the 2015 Taiga have me frothing at the mouth. That casting you mentioned would be a dream come true for me. Please, drama gods, have mercy on your lowly supplicants and bestow upon us this drama!
My everlong wishes just might be coming true. I have tried to make it obvious everywhere forever that Kimura san simply must play in a drama as the older version of Oda Nobunaga. the younger role was done so well and Kimura was just right in his element. Now at last he is old enough to play the older Oda. Please can we have Seto Koji as Mori Ranmaru?? Please? He was perfect in GOU. After the Honnoji scenes that drama was hard for me. I can’t wait for this taiga.
Yae no Sakura has started off so well I am sure it will keep going. I loved the little girl Rio.
yay!!!.i have taiga drama fever recently and now it recently and now you post this and definitely it will going me hook with 2013 taiga drama as well..i watch episode 1 of yae no sakura without sub and i am impressed with the young child actress..she is so freaking cute!!! i started watching atsuhime due to my love to sakai masato and after that i just finished 50 episode.. there is a special feeling when u watched taiga drama because it is based from true historical fact and solid acting by various actors. after finished atsuhime, i watched ryoma den and realize most of actor in ruroni kenshin came from ryoma den..koala-san sato takeru is awesome in ryoma den!!! ryoma den is very good!!the actor who play yataro (mistsubishi founder) totally catch my attention and the soundtrack is too awesome!!!! i wish you had the craze of taiga too..after this i will watch 2006 taiga shinseigumi where i heard is good too.. after watching some taiga u can see that some of historical figure appeared in several taiga which is basically important as the drama based on the same period of event..i think if take a japan history exam..i will definitely at least can answer 20% of question due to my craze to taiga drama ..haha..i hope u can review more taiga drama koala-san!
for some reason i always thought that ayase haruka’s face looked odd.
like her in hotaru no hikari though.
Hum, I always start Taiga doramas with great enthusiasm and eventually drop them half way through or so. It sounds like a great ensemble of cast members to begin with. Thank you for enticing me^^.
its better to watch finished taiga drama to avoid feeling boring..for example i watched taiga drama early episode and drop it due to lack of subtitle and a week of waiting for each episode.