Year of Broadcast: 2005
Number of Episode: 11 + 1 special
The tale of Tiger & Dragon revolves around Rakugo, a traditional form of Japanese comedy that can look back on an impressive 400 year long history. Nagase portrays the Yakuza follower Toraji who goes to a Rakugo performer to collect debts and the first time he see a rakugo performance, he was motivated to become a performer and eventually decided that if things goes well, he’ll quit being a yakuza, while Okada plays Ryuji a talented Rakugo player who wants to leave behind the old fashioned world of Rakugo and follow his dream to become a fashion designer. Shortly afterwards these two very different characters happen to cross paths through a girl named Megumi and that’s when all the real trouble starts igniting.
Tiger and Dragon is one of those dramas that when you see the first episode you’ll immediately thought that it isn’t worth your time or rather you’d switch to a drama that involves romance, comedy, etc (in short boring), I would have thought to give up watching after the first episode but being a drama enthusiast myself (hahaha) I decided to continue.
And then I was surprise. I was probably not paying attention to the first episode (or because by the second episode I found that the drama’s interesting. Or simply because at first I don’t have a clue about the story, and rakugo itself. When I finally understood how it works (rakugo) and the connection of it to Toraji (Nagase) I realized that it’s worth my time.
What I like best about Tiger and Dragon is how at first the story teller (Rakugo) tells a classic tale and how at the end Toraji retells the same story – but with a twist (instead of dealing with the classic, he reinvents it using people he knows). I think it’s brilliant and at the same time great lessons are learned. The only drawback of this drama is that it follows the same format every episode (tells a classic story – shows the life of the characters – Toraji’s retelling of the story), what I mean is the first and last part is okay but the middle part can give me the feeling that if they continuously show the events in a longer period it may make me wanna quit watching it, they could have cut it shorter.
About the characters, Nagase, again, plays as a Yakuza (same as his role in MBMH), no worries because I think it suits him best, I especially love his expressions and how he can act silly yet funny. I also like the master (okay sorry I forgot his name). And I’m pretty surprise on how most of the characters in this drama also appeared in the recent jdramas I watched (Kisarazu, Ryuusei, etc.) And okay this may be irrelevant but I just discovered that Okada Junichi (the other lead guy) is a member of V6, talk about JE boys. haha
Nonetheless though Tiger and Dragon may seem old, boring and plain, I think all you need is to focus more on the story itself because it will be the only way for you to discover how great this drama is.