Q.E.D. Shoumei Shuuryou : 3 of 5
I can't believe this is the first Japanese drama I've watched since January, but I'm glad I finally took the time to watch this light-hearted mystery series. Of course, the main reason I chose this show is because it stars current Morning Musume leader Ai Takahashi, who is also a fine actress that can produce the most awesome tears on command. Although Ai-chan is a mature 22-year old, she does a great job at playing 17-year old Kana Mizuhara, a somewhat spaced-out high school girl who is a kendo champion, thanks to being raised by her single dad who happens to be a police detective. Kana soon meets Touma, a genius kid straight from M.I.T. who has returned to high school in Japan, and they suddenly become friends and solve a series of mysteries together, always ending with Touma saying "Q.E.D." (used when a mathematical proof is complete). Some of the cases are really interesting (I especially enjoyed the creepy doll museum episode, as well as the one told from the student thief's point of view), but a few episodes are definitely bizarre (I about fell over when they discovered a time machine that transported Kana back to solve a mystery in the Showa era!). The supporting characters are fun (Makoto Ogawa, former member of Morning Musume, has a small role as a teacher), but my favorite is Kana's dad, who has a cool detective questioning style and a totally funny, boisterous side, too. Although Kana and Touma are good friends, there's not much romance going on, unfortunately (I think the source manga must have really been aimed at younger kids), but that doesn't mean there aren't some emotional moments that give Ai-chan a chance to really perform. Overall I really enjoyed this series, but I'm not sure how compelled I would have been to watch it all if Ai-chan wasn't there. I'm still glad I finally finished another Japanese drama, though, and I've already started another one!