Tag Archives: Toma Ikuta

Ouroboros (2015 TV Series)


Status: Completed, 10 episodes

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Growing up together in the orphanage of Mahoroba, Danno Tatsuya and Ryuzaki Ikuo found love, inspiration, and strength in their caregiver, Yuiko-sensei. . . . That is, until one night when she is murdered and the case is covered up by a police man wearing a gold watch. Young Tatsuya and Ikuo vow to find Yuiko’s murder and exact their own justice. Twenty years later, Tatsuya is a leader in the yakuza and Ikuo is rising through the ranks of the police, working together to ferret out any clues as to Yuiko’s killer. But will they be able to handle the truths they find?

Ouroboros is probably the best J-drama I’ve seen to date. Of course, part of that is the fact that it stars both Shun Oguri and Toma Ikuta, two of my favorite actors. They have a really great dynamic when they work together, and their part in this show was definitely a huge plus for me. But I think that even for those unfamiliar with these two, the show has a lot to offer. It’s a cops and yakuza story, with lots of interconnecting plots, tragic backstory, and a nice balance of drama and action. There are some nicely choreographed fight scenes, even. And an adorable but tragic love story (more than one, depending on how you look at it). Of course, being a J-drama, there’s a certain amount of just plain goofiness, especially at the beginning (then again, can you put Toma in a show without some goofiness?). But again, it balances out, and by the end of the show, it’s just plain heartbreaking. This is a tear-jerker, to be sure, but I think the writers did a great job of making the story fall the way it needs to, not the way you necessarily want it to. . . . It feels like hitsuzen when you get down to it, I guess. Also just have to mention that the character development is remarkably well done–especially for this sort of show–and even the relatively minor characters are interesting. And one last point of note: the casting for the childhood versions of Tatsuya and Ikuo are fabulous. So often, kids seem just picked at random, but the kids chosen for the roles here are perfect, both in appearance and in how they act. Ouroboros is high on my list of recommendations, both for those who enjoy J-dramas and for those who like detective stories in general.

Note: At this point, I don’t know of an official English version of this show, but there are some quite decent fan-subs available.

Based on the manga by Kanzaki Yuya/Directed by Yasuharu Ishii/Music by Kimura Hideakira/Starring Toma Ikuta, Shun Oguri, & Juri Ueno


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Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Ikemen♂Paradise

Written by Muto Shogo & Yamaura Masahiro/Directed by Matsuda Hidetomo, Tsuzuki Junichi, & Sato Genta/Starring Maki Horikita, Shun Oguri, & Toma Ikuta/Based on the Manga by Nakajo Hisaya

Ohsaka Gakuen is a prestigious (infamous?) all-boys high school, known for only accepting attractive (not necessarily smart) students. So why on earth would an American-Japanese girl like Ashiya Mizuki travel across the world to sneak into such a school–disguised as a boy, no less?! The answer is . . . complicated, but basically she came to inspire the guy who has in times past been her own inspiration. Mizuki wants to see Sano Izumi start high jumping again, and she is willing to do whatever she has to to make that happen. Along the way, she’ll have a tough but interesting time, becoming friends with Sano, Nakatsu, and the rest of the zany guys in the dorms–and struggling to keep her gender a secret. It’s hard to say what kind of success Mizuki will have . . . or where love will bloom.

I think I’m in love–both with this series and with the main characters! I started watching this drama after reading Hana-Kimi, the manga it’s (loosely) based on. Actually though, they’re two different stories that happen to share some basic ideas and characters. I love them both! Hanazakari no Kimitachi e is a lot of fun, although it does have its serious moments. There’s a lot of just plain silliness, especially with the numerous dorm competitions and such. The story also includes drama, athletics, and romance (a love triangle!), so it balances out pretty well. The cast is well selected, and they suit their characters excellently. I especially love the characters for Sano (Shun Oguri), Mizuki (Maki Horikita), Nakatsu (Toma Ikuta), and Nanba-senpai (Hiro Mizushima) to the extent that I’m searching out more of their work to watch. I’m still getting used to the J-drama genre, but I think Hanazakari no Kimitachi e will be one of my longstanding favorites.

Note: This is a Japanese live-action television series consisting of 12 episodes + 1 TV special.

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