First Kiss : 3 of 5
Wow, it's been way too long since I enjoyed an entire Japanese drama series! I actually downloaded First Kiss in December of last year, but only watched one episode before my Christmas DVD avalanche, so I'm glad I finally had time to see it all. I didn't know anything about this show, but I wanted to see something else with Inoue Mao since I loved her so much in Hana Yori Dango. Unfortunately, in this series she spends the first several episodes being a total jerk - it's tough to watch her being such a mean-spirited character at first, but I guess that comes along with having a terminal heart condition! Her character Mio decides to spend a summer in Japan with her older brother before she has a risky operation, and her simple but kind-hearted brother decides he wants her to find love so her summer will be full of good memories. Of course, there are tons of supporting characters, such as her brother's funny roommates, her lead doctor (played by the female lead from Nanisama, who was nice to see again), the young doctor who becomes the romance of the show, and her brother's devoted girlfried Haruna, who ends up rejected (how can they do that with such a cute character?). Part of the show is set in Los Angeles, with some of the worst "they have no idea what they are saying" English I've heard, but once we get to Japan the story gets moving fast, and starts the tear-jerking machine in motion. I've begun to see that Episode 6 is usually the "major crisis" episode in these shows, and this time it included a huge typhoon while Mio's brother tries to get her some nitro medicine! The build-up to the inevitable romantic kiss is especially good, and the final life lessons are well-presented and interesting, especially if you think about how life would be if it could suddenly end. First Kiss isn't a spectacular drama, but I really enjoyed it, and now that I have the craving for more, I've already downloaded two more series to watch (maybe I can get to them before Christmas)!