Kimura Takuya Regains the J-dorama Ratings Crown with the Entertaining Sequel to Hero

Japan’s undisputed television ratings king hasn’t had the same success the last five years as he did the first fifteen of his acting career. I still don’t get the Japanese media’s fixation on Kimura Takuya‘s new doramas tanking in ratings because he’s never really had a genuine flop. At most a middling rated dorama is spun into some sort of bottom barrel career disaster for him. KimuTaku still churns out watchable fare and I’m always going to check out his new work no matter if I stay to watch it all. His biggest crap in recent years has to be Tsuki no Koibito (Moon Lovers), while Nankyouku Tairiku (Antarctica) was overly nationalistic, but both Priceless and Ando Lloyd – A.I. Knows Love? were decently entertaining. KimuTaku got his ratings crown stolen in the last two years by Sakai Masato with Legal High and the unexpected raging success of Hanzawa Naoki, but going back to the tried and true formula appears to vault him back to the top as his new dorama Hero 2 (the sequel to the massive 2001 hit of the same name) debuted with 26.5% ratings last Monday.

Half of the original cast is back despite the thirteen year break, except leading lady Matsu Takako has been replaced with Kitagawa Keiko. I want to temper the rush to rage about Takako in her forties being replaced with Keiko in her twenties, the way Shibasaki Kou was replaced in Galileo 2 with Yoshitaka Yuriko since this case is different. The Hero leading lady is always going to play KimuTaku’s paralegal assistant and I would hope to god that Takako’s character in the original Hero would be a prosecutor of her own by now rather than having some reason to come back as merely the assistant to the leading man. It would have been nice if she was in the cast as a prosecutor in the same office but her not being in the sequel doesn’t bother me. Plus Takako is less known for being in Hero with KimuTaku as much as their iconic pairing in both Long Vacation and Love Generation are what they are remembered most for. I watched episode 1 of Hero 2 this week and was vastly pleased, it feels both intensely nostalgic but with a fresh breath of air in new cast members and new cases for rebel prosecutor Kuryu Kohei to solve. This one is win for KimuTaku and a win for the audience to have another solid Summer offering to check out.

Hero 2 opening:


Kimura Takuya Regains the J-dorama Ratings Crown with the Entertaining Sequel to Hero — 23 Comments

  1. Maybe I never watched Hero before but I find the sequel pretty dull. The case is not very interesting, nothing fresh about it, enjoyable to watch when I have nothing to do, it’s mediocre at best, but I guess hero fans must feel very nostalgic about it. The first case is veryyy boring though so I’m hoping that it will pick up in upcoming episodes.

    • Hero isn’t about the cases, it’s a character-driven drama so watching it with an eye towards all the characters and their interactions is what makes it fun. The cases are dime-a-dozen low brow fare.

  2. Did anyone else miss his orange jacket? I know it is the wrong season. I went to listen ” Can you keep a secret?” straight after the watching episode 1.
    Carolies541, this episode was old school comfort food Jap drama. Nostalgia is marked all over it…

  3. Talking about ratings, the actors can only do so much to affect the ratings. The writer actually affects the ratings the most. The actors are there to bring the writer’s characters to life, and without a good story, it will just put people off.

    People also affect the ratings. They won’t watch something that they don’t like. So often time, writers are told to cater the story to the liking of the viewers so that ratings can increase. But ratings aren’t what makes a drama good. A drama can have high ratings, but the story is complete bull. Or that the story can be incredible, but the drama is underrated.

    • I think the KimuTaku legend is that he used to always pick good dramas. Whereas now his drama choices have been less than inspired which reflects the ratings. It’s like his script-picking midas touch is gone more than he doesn’t bring in the viewers anymore.

  4. What? No Matsu Takako? Nope. Not gonna watch. Gonna break my heart if I watch it without her. I love her more than Takuya (yes, I said it) :3

  5. I love Priceless eventho Buchou’s the bad guy. Karina not as annoying as i thought..

    I never really watch the original but i might check this sequel once halfway..

      • Yeah I figured for you everything is ok, but wonder if other readers have the same issue. It’s not that a big problem tho, just curious why I can’t see videos in the entire site : /

    • There could be several reasons you can’t see the videos. Since they are hosted at other various sites, like YouTube, they may be blocked by your adblocker, isp or other reasons. When I’m on my phone, I use a browser called Puffin because of it’s speed. One of the ways it does that is that it doesn’t serve video at all during busy times of the day. Opera, otoh, tends to preload and redirect, so if your isp detects them coming from a different site, it may block them. And when I run Firefox, my adblocker tends to kill them.

      Of course, alternatively, there is the always popular problem of not having the correct extension to play them. For that one, you’ll normally see a little puzzle piece and a message.

      Anyway, back to Hero. While I adore Kimutaku and his hair in Hero – no Abe Hiroshi? How can it be Hero without him?

      • Sorry for spamming the comment section about this >.< I've never had problem with youtube or any videos links before, i havent try to disactivate adblocker and nothing is working.

        This is how the page looks for me. (For any videos links btw)

      • Sunshine, type about://plugins in the address bar and see if you have several flash plugins. Try disabling them one by one. Or conversely, if you have one or two disabled, try enabling them. This happens on one of my machines in Chrome, and for the life of me, I can’t remember exactly which plug in it is. I’ll see if I can figure it out

  6. It’s always refreshing to read your Jdrama posts.

    I never watched “Hero”, but I kept hoping that KimuTaku would give us at least one more good romantic drama this decade.

    Supposedly there’s a sequel to “Hanzawa Naoki” in the works. I’m really looking forward to it. Now THAT is a drama that needs a sequel, after that ending.

  7. I miss Matsu Takako! I find the first episode still entertaining and am so glad that some of the original cast are back. Just hope Takako will make a guest appearance in later episodes!

  8. although i didn’t watch Hero 1st season, i’m starting to like the 2nd season! is super interesting & once again i’m amazed by Kimura!! shall watch his old drama & hopefully they won’t disappoint me!~

  9. The sequel series was pretty fun. I can’t imagine it did much to people who hadn’t seen the original series–it was a nice, if superfluous series that gave us “more of the same,” but lacked the raw charm of the first series.

    And apparently there’s a 2015 movie, so maybe this show will just keep going like Trick.

  10. The long lapse actually killed off the followers a little.
    HERO 1 & 2 is a span lapse of 13 years, lots of other dramas that might appear later on (in similiar context) and have fans lured away from continuing to follow the series or development.

    Also somehow most dramas often follow the same few pattern of events as before.
    Take for instance Trick series; Trick 1 started off slow but as season goes, it actually draws fans in Season 2 but somehow lost steam in Season 3 & eventually end in Trick Final Stage Theatrical show.

    I’d just look forward to shows like Beach Boys or Long Vacation style where the dramas are kept short and sweet instead of too long a series unless script writers are able to do something similar to ‘Game of Thrones’ style.

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