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Every once in a great while when the stars, planets, and fates align – a new Japanese drama comes out that really grabs my attention. I’ve found another one. Last year I wrote a post about Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu and that drama was pretty solid, but this new one I’ve found pretty much blows it out of the water. It has two of my favorite J-drama stars in it and even though the season is only halfway aired currently, I know this will be one of my all-time favorites.

Is This as Good as You Claim it is, John?

Why yes. Yes it is. A little while ago I had the strong desire to watch a Japanese drama. This happens every once in a while, but most of the time I check out a few shows and end up coming away disappointed. Recently though, I came across the drama Summer Nude.

In fact, just reading about Summer Nude got me all excited with anticipation to check it out. It stars two of my favorite J-drama names (Yamapi and Karina, both of which I featured in my Favorite J-Drama Actors post), it’s a rom-com drama (my favored drama genre by the numbers), and it’s getting decent viewership ratings from Japanese viewers as well.

Plus, I talked to my Japanese homestay sister and asked her what dramas she/her friends were watching. She told me that all of her friends were watching Summer Nude and were pretty excited about it. My suspicions had been confirmed. This was a show that I needed to check out.

But What’s it All About?

actors

Okay, so we’ve got Yamapi playing the main dude, Asahi Mikuri‎ya. Asahi works at a photography studio by the ocean and is always hanging out with the same group of friends. They live in a small coastal town and live relatively comfortable, quaint, simple lives. When Asahi was little, he dreamed of becoming a famous photographer, though he currently spends his days photographing normal things like weddings and local events.

The issue with Asahi is that he was deeply infatuated with a woman, but this woman up and left the town without a trace, giving no reason for having left. Asahi is super hung up on her, even though it is now three years later. The girl was somewhat of a local celebrity because she did an ad campaign for a local brewery, and her face is plastered on a huge billboard in the middle of town.

summer-nude-waiting

Every day for the past three years, Asahi has said good morning and good night to this billboard, pathetically reminding himself of the girl he lost three years ago and can’t seem to move on from. He is still holding onto her in the hope that she will one day return.

And then there’s this other girl, Natsuki Chiyohara‎ (Karina), who works as a successful restaurant manager in Tokyo. But then she quits this job to start a new life with the man she’s going to marry. Asahi is hired on to photograph the wedding, but Natsuki’s husband ends up taking off and leaving her during the reception.

bubbles

Through a series of events, Natsuki ends up working at the local restaurant in Asahi’s town and gets close with him and all his pals. Meanwhile, Hanae (Erika Toda) is crushing super hard on Asahi like she has been for the past ten years. And then there’s another guy crushing on her! And then there’s a model who comes to town and throws another wrench into the mix! Talk about your typical j-drama love pentagon, ammiright?

Who will Asahi end up with? Will his love ever return? Will he give Hanae a chance? Will he end up dating Natsuki? What about the other people? Everyone is crushing on everyone and there is just so many love chains and triangles going on in this show it’s insane.

So Many Feels!

Oh. My. God. Every episode of this drama is absolutely packed with feels. As you can tell from the summary, there are a lot of feelings happening in this show – I didn’t even cover them all! It starts off kind of complicated, and then it gets even more complicated from there. It’s awesome.

Most of the time I have difficulty explaining to someone the convoluted love relations that happen in dramas, but I think Summer Nude has taken the cake for me. But really, if you have a weakness for J-dramas, this one will pull at your heartstrings multiple times every single episode.

The music accompanying the scenes really fits well with everything, the beach scenery featured in the show is great, and there are great actors to be seen in the show. I know not everyone is a huge fan of Yamapi, but I really like him.

But Wait, This Can be Both Entertaining and Useful!?

summer-cm

Like all great recommendations that come from this fine site of ours, Summer Nude is both fun and educational. Well, it doesn’t have to be educational, but it can be. Koichi wrote a while ago about how to use dramas for studying up on your Japanese, and Summer Nude is no exception. You should probably also check out Jordan’s article on Going from Loving Japanese Media to Studying It. You can do it! Yeah!

In the show you get a healthy smattering of male and female dialogue to listen to and learn with. It’s mostly informal speech, but there’s some formal language thrown in here and there as well.

Or if Summer Nude isn’t really your kind of drama, you can always head over to DramaWiki and check out their entire list of currently airing summer dramas and find one you like. It’s a very enjoyable and potentially rewarding time consuming treasure hunt.

Yamapi Sings a Song

Also, Yamapi himself sings one of the main songs for this show. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sing before (I knew he sang, I just never watched any of his stuff before), and he ain’t bad – but it feels weird to see him singing when I’m just so used to him being a stoic actor. It’s still an enjoyable song though – I think it fits well with the show.


So, have any of you seen Summer Nude yet? If you like the same kind of shows that I do (see my top ten here), then you should definitely check this one out.

Are you following any dramas this summer? I’m planning on checking out Yamada-kun to Nananin no Majo and Hanzawa Naoki at some point, but Summer Nude is more than enough for now. I’ll probably check those out once I get caught up with the Summer Nude episodes and have to start waiting a week to see the next one (the horror!).

Do you have any other recommendations for summer J-dramas this season? Share your picks in the comments!

  • Ginger

    Does it get better though? I’m on ep 3 and it’s so boring that I’m about to give up. Yamapi is so wooden in his performance. I love Toda Erika and I think she is saving the show.

  • ysabelandrei

    I greatly suggest to watch Hanzawa Naoki! Every episode gives me the thrills and chills! :)

  • TeyD

    For summer drama, I watch Hanzawa Naoki, and its highly recommended, I heard alot that this drama very popular in Japan. I know it might be quite intense and heavy, but its not bad to give a try.

    I also watching Summer Nude, but still stuck in the second episode, its kind of monotonous. i found its hard to force myself to watch the next ep even when YamaP take off his shirts and bare his manboobs in every ep, and they gather Karina+Toda+Nagasawa Masami (they’re on my fav actress list).

  • KaoriCamellia

    I’ll have to keep an eye out for this one. I haven’t watched any dorama in ages (not since Densha Otoko I think, or the ol’ Shinsengumi taiga, which I loved). Thanks for the recommendation.

  • kober

    For me, the best dramas of this season are: Hanzawa Naoki, Amachan, Woman and Doctors (not in particular order). Take a look to them, you will love it! :D

  • Ryan Bounedara

    My girlfriend ran into Yamapi and Toda Erika near a beach where they were filming. *sigh* Too jealous.

  • Linkuei

    You should check out Doctors, it’s already in the second season and it’s awesome!

  • Tora.Silver

    Soo…
    Do they wear clothes in this drama?
    Is it reasonably family-friendly or is it raunchy?

  • Joel Alexander

    This one actually got mentioned in passing during my Japanese class last week – I still haven’t quite made up my mind as to whether I intend to watch it or not, though. =P

  • John

    I’ve been super into it since the first episode so if you don’t like it by ep 3, you probably won’t enjoy the rest of it, haha. I’ve always enjoyed Yamapi and the dramas he’s been in but his acting style definitely isn’t for everyone, haha.

  • John

    Haha, that’s awesome!

  • John

    I’ll look into it!

  • John

    lol, the most skin shown is by people at the beach in swimsuits. It’s not really raunchy at all.

  • John

    I’m gathering that one’s enjoyment hinges heavily on how you feel about Yamapi and his acting, haha

  • Joel Alexander

    Possibly. I did enjoy Lunch Queen, which he was in, but I don’t know if I’d say I liked it because he was in it. =P

  • Ari

    Do you have a link where i can watch this?

  • John

    Did you like Proposal Daisakusen or Buzzer Beat?

  • Flora

    I heard about a jdrama not that long ago called “Pintoko na”. I think it’s fairly popular in Japan right now. If anyone else has heard of it, can you tell me where I can watch some of it for free?

    The only Jdrama I’ve managed to enjoy so far is “Kamen Rider Den-O”

  • Alice

    Yay! I was just looking for a new drama with a little romance. And super bonus for it being popular right now, so when my students talk about it I’ll know what they’re talking about ^^

  • Skdidid

    I love the song!!! Catchy and summery :)

    As for suggestions go watch nobuta wo produce. Its amazong and u get to hear yamapo sing the ed song

  • http://www.dandelion-cha.com/ アマンダ

    I have been watching this drama from the start and I must say it really is not good. I am an avid watcher of Japanese dramas (100+ and counting) and I have watched many starring Yamapi. I know he isn’t a fantastic actor but his acting is probably at its worst in this drama. He conveys no emotion whatsoever, brings nothing to the character and is just dull on screen. He seems bored with his own acting role most of the time. He has absolutely no chemistry with his co-stars. The rest are obviously doing their best but he’s not pulling his weight at all. And I’m saying this as a fan.

    The drama itself is a snoozer as well. There is barely any romance and what romance the drama has is slow moving and contrived. Spoiler alert: Anyone looking for a legitimate love triangle will be severely disappointed. The first episode was promising, along with the cast. But after that, it just went downhill. It just moves at such a sluggish pace.The plot is barely there, and in some episodes completely random characters are just thrown in for no reason that contribute nothing to the drama except filler plot lines. I’d advise anyone looking for a good summer drama to skip this one. I must say that you did a good job describing the drama in this article because you made it seem more interesting than it really is.

    Oh and for anyone looking to watching just search Summer Nude or type it in katakana on Dailymotion. Several users are uploading the tv rips and that’s how I have been watching it. I’m going to continue watching it until the end just to see how they wrap it up, but even the last episode was so boring that I just starting browsing the internet halfway through while watching it. Good listening practice though.

  • http://www.dandelion-cha.com/ アマンダ

    Unfortunately, he barely takes his shirt off at all…

  • Ryan Bounedara

    Try Nobuta wo Produce! (A bit of an oldie, but so good.)

  • http://www.dandelion-cha.com/ アマンダ

    You, sir are a saint for being able to enjoy this. I can barely even call what Yamapi is doing in this drama acting. He was so much better in Proposal Daisakusen, Stand Up, Nobuta wo Produce…what happened?

  • John

    I feel like episodes 6 and 7 weren’t as strong as the first 5, but yeah – this drama doesn’t seem to be as well received in general as it was by me. I’m really enjoying it overall though, so hopefully those who have similar tastes to mine are able to enjoy it as well!

  • Crazy-Pumkin

    If you are interested in sci-fi + slice of life, watch Starman Kono Hoshi No Koi. It’s a gem waiting to be found. And yes, it involves aliens, lol. Hirosue Ryoko and Fushiki Sota are the leads. It’s a really cute drama.

  • simplyshiny

    I’ve thought about watching it….If you reccomend it, I might give it a try!

  • simplyshiny

    LOVE that one! It’s pretty much adorable.

  • Rashmi

    I think I’ll watch it. It’s been a while since I watched J-Drama, and ages since anything with Yamapi in it;-) Thanks for the rec!!

  • Inna

    ughh… SMH. This drama’s a total snooze, plus Toda Erika’s character is super needy and annoying. So, I stopped watching after the 3rd episode.

    Hanzawa Naoki, I think, is definitely a must-watch. Yamada-kun to Nananin no Majo is actually very entertaining, to my surprise. Pin to Kona is also surprisingly interesting, since you learn a lot about Kabuki in this one. The Summer 2013 line-up, I think, isn’t that great, but these are the few gems of the bunch.

  • Pepper_the_Sgt

    Can you tell me how the show is connected to The Magokoro Brothers song Summer Nude? The theme song is a cover of the Magokoro Brothers song. The Magokoro Brothers song came out in the 90s, I think.
    Here’s a live version for anyone curious (videos of the studio version seem to have been taken down. Maybe because of the new drama?):
    http://youtu.be/dgLCxeFE–Y

  • Juanita Magalhães

    Where do you guys watch those dramas? I wonder if I can find the old ones at Tsutaya…

  • John

    Yeah I’m definitely looking forward to checking out Hanzawa Naoki and Yamada-kun to Nananin no Majo at some point.

  • saya

    i watch this drama too and i really like the story and all

    and asahi character is somehow crazy in the way he love …… i love that when he always teasing karina &takahashi

    mm i dont know why the other dont like yamapi acting his character here have to be a clam and sad yes i agree pi is not that good actor but he is doing well for me

  • Joel Alexander

    I’ve have a look-see, thanks for the suggestion. =)

  • Joel Alexander

    Never seen either.

  • SamuraiAvenger

    海外で日本を話題にする時、「アニメやマンガの話ばかりするな!ふつうに映画やドラマや音楽の話をしろ!」

    と思うが、

    いざこうして普通にドラマの話題がトピックになると、なぜ寒々しいと思ってしまうのだろうか?
    山P、香里奈、戸田恵梨香、キャストからしてマンネリで寒々しい・・・。

  • John

    Those are my other two favorite Yamapi dramas but since you haven’t seen either it doesn’t really help, haha. Oh well.

  • Colin

    I can’t believe that more people don’t like this show. This is cookie-cutter Yamapi drama goodness. I love this drama and wait with bated breath for each episode. Really, for me, Karina’s performance makes this show. I’ve never been a huge fan of her but she’s just so damn sweet here from top to bottom and I am more than rooting for her to land Yamapi by the end of it. She’s like this wounded yet strong beauty forging forward after a major catastrophe which is the perfect foil for Yama’s brooding character of Asahi. The interplay between the tow characters and actors is a thing of beauty.

    To the criticisms by アマンダ:

    I totaly understand where you’re coming from but think you need to come at this drama from a different angle. Yama’s “dead-inside” portrayal of Asahi makes complete sense given the initial set up of the story. If you’ve ever been in a situation like that (as I have) it’s very easy to find yourself just clinging to the hopes of a lost past becoming an impossible future, ultimately leaving you deadlocked and unable to move forward. This show is sort of like a hurricane of emotion and people all circling around the unmoving eye that is Yama’s character, which, in the end, I am hoping will finally be swayed by Karina. You do bring up something interesting though. Romance in J Dramas; there is none. Really, if you think of it how much actual romance occurs in these dramas? Not very much that’s for sure. It’s almost entirely preludes and allusions towards the materialization of romance that is developing.

    But, isn’t that exactly what makes J Drama so much different than North American rom-coms? If this were an American show the first episode would have been Yama hooking up with Karina on her first night and then reminiscing about the few times he got drunk and banged Toda in the past, or some such Friend’s-like stupidity (man did I hate that show). I think that a large part of the reason we all love J Dramas is the very fact that they primarily focus on the emotional development that leads up to moments of intimacy rather than just portraying the acts themselves. It’s the ride on that emotional journey that keeps us coming back for more. That’s the way I see it.

    I do have one gripe with this show; Masami Nagasawa. I usually LOVE her (it’s easy to see why she’s voted number one wife material in Japan) but here she is just straight phoning it in. It’s almost like she ‘s begrudgingly showing up for every shooting, being pissed off at herself for accepting the obviously large amount of cash the producers threw at her so they’d be able to put her name in the credits. Her character would have been infinitely more effective (and symbolic) had it just remained only in photographs, a figment of Asahi’s past that would never come to be a reality in his present.

    Besides that though, this is a bang up show that will invoke serious joy joy feelings for anyone that gets off on this genre.

  • Andrew Haddow

    I’m trying to find a torrent and all I am getting is pornography :(

  • Christine Gris

    Not fond of streaming?

  • Andrew Haddow

    Not really I prefer higher quality and the ability to watch it later or share it with friends without taking more bandwidth

  • Tom

    did you guys hear that? Summer Nude got him all excited! :p

  • Hazel E.

    Hell yeah! Found out about it when it just came out. I’m a fan of yamapi and karina and thought this looked good! Been meaning to watch this but haven’t yet. Will watch after finishing 薔薇のない花屋 (^o^)

  • Jamie Grant
  • Tanaya

    OMG what?! Lucky!!

  • Tanaya

    I don’t know, I like the sweet slow pace so far… I’ve been smiling at the screen fondly a lot :)

  • Tanaya

    Proposal was a bit meh for me, I think I got sick of the structured episodes and that “Hallelujah Chance!” thing, but I loved Buzzer Beat SO MUCH. I don’t know why, it’s either a sports drama/realistic drama thing for me, since Pride is an all time fav too.