IxrecMediaDramas and TV

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Ranking Title Difficulty Explanation Description Picture Medium
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Very Easy アニマルズ Honestly, nothing really difficult to see here. There might be some fashion or work lingo, but it's very approachable for beginners. Shikamori Umi is an overwhelmed office worker. She doesn't like herself and what she has become while working in the office, and instead of returning and remaining the same, she tries her luck in a makeup agency called Animal Beauty. With her new mindset she becomes an intern, where she meets Kazao, a photographer who becomes her friend, and Sakaki Keisuke, the handsome CEO of Animal Beauty.
Drama
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Very Easy ユニコーンに乗って Same as above, the only difficulty is some office lingo here and there but the rest is easy. When Sana Narukawa was only 23-years-old, she co-founded startup company Dream Pony. Her dream was to have people all over the world use her app. Now, Sana Narukawa is 26-years-old. Her company is in its 3rd year of existence. The company grew rapidly initially, but is now experiencing a decline in its growth. Due to the slowdown, Sana Narukawa feels nervous everyday. In her personal life, she has feelings for Ko Suzaki, who is a co-founder of Dream Pony.
Drama
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Very Easy 今際の国のアリス Straightforward action-focused story with Battle Royale themes and tropes. No special vocabulary needed. Difficulty ramps up slightly only when each game's rules are being explained, but even if you don't understand the spoken explanation fully at first, once the game starts the visuals should fill in the gaps. Possibly ideal for beginners. In Tokyo, video-game-obsessed Arisu hangs out with his friends Chōta and Karube. After causing an altercation in Shibuya Crossing, the trio hide from police in the station bathroom but reemerge to find the city empty. At night, they follow a billboard's instructions to a "game arena". There, the group is joined by a high school girl and another woman, who informs them that once a player enters an arena, they cannot leave, as a laser will shoot them dead if they try.
Drama
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Easy 結婚できない男 Nothing much to say, some architecture words from time to time. Shinsuke Kuwano, a successful architect at 40, enjoys living by himself. He doesn't like people but somehow is able to design wonderful houses for them.
Kuwano is incredibly socially awkward, to the point of being rude, however, he often means well, and is generally at a loss as to why he annoys people around him (which he does consistently). While he is a loner, he has regular contact with his family, his mother in particular is trying to get him married.
Drama
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Easy House Mostly day-to-day conversations making it somewhat easy. Hoping to find a sense of connection to her late mother, Gorgeous takes a trip to the country to visit her aunt at their ancestral house. She invites her six friends, Prof, Melody, Mac, Fantasy, Kung Fu, and Sweet, to join her. The girls soon discover that there is more to the old house than meets the eye.
Film
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Easy 持続可能な恋ですか?~父と娘の結婚行進曲~ The main character's father writes entries for a dictionary and sometimes waxes philosophical, but otherwise pretty simple. Sawada Kyoka gets into arguments with her father Sawada Rintaro constantly and she is also burdened with taking care of him. One day, Sawada Rintaro finds a divorce document among his late wife's belongings. This pushes Sawada Rintaro into wanting to remarry. He also pushes his daughter Sawada Kyoka to find a marriage partner.
Drama
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Easy 着飾る恋には理由があって Not much to say, easy vocabulary nothing too hard here. Kurumi, a publicist for an interior design company is so busy with work she forgets to renew her apartment lease, so her friend Koko helps her find a new place, but it's a share house with three strangers. Though their personalities clash, Kurumi falls in love, deepens her friendships, and learns to take off her "armor" and live as herself.
Drama
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Easy 流れ星 Good for learning short and simple conversations. There are some minor instances of rakugo but skipping through them will not have any impact on how well you comprehend the plot. Takenouchi plays an aquarium employee named Kengo, who seems ordinary at first glance but actually possesses a secret that he would sacrifice everything in order to protect. Meanwhile, Ueto plays Risa, a young woman working in the sex trade in order to pay off her brother's debt, though her situation has led her to contemplate suicide. These two characters, both full of despair, meet each other and end up entering a contract marriage purely for its benefits.
Drama
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Easy あなたの番です No complicated language, has a lot of repeating words/phrases. Nana and Shota are a newlywed couple, and Nana is 15 years older than Shota. After they move in a new apartment, Nana and Shota become involved in murder cases that take place at the apartment. Residents get murdered one by one. Some residents have a motive, but those suspects have an alibi. Because of this, an arrest has yet to be made.
Drama
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Easy 姉ちゃんの恋人 Everyday language, nothing too hard. When Momoko Adachi was in high school, her parents died in an accident. She was left with her 3 younger siblings. To support her family, Momoko Adachi gave up on going to a university and picked up a job at a hardware store. 9 years later, she is now 27-years-old. Her 3 younger siblings are 20, 17, and 14-years-old. Momoko Adachi places her sibling's happiness before anything else. One day, she meets Yoshioka-san at work. She is attracted to Yoshioka-san, who smiles all the time, but he has a secret.
Drama
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Easy 坂の途中の家 Common everyday language with a few legal terms popping up now and again. Yamazaki Risako lives with her husband Yoichiro and 3-year-old daughter Fumika. One day, she receives a notification from the court that she has been selected as an alternate member of the jury for a shocking criminal case. The defendant is on trial for causing the death of her 8-month-old daughter by dropping her into the bathtub.
Drama
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Easy インフルエンス Pretty much only everyday language, nothing too hard. Yuri goes to a female novelist and tells her that she and two of her friends committed three murders. Yuri asks the novelist to write a story about them.
Drama
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Easy 不幸くんはキスするしかない! Standard romance drama, subs are available which makes it easier. Fukuhara Kota is a university student who has unnaturally bad luck and after kissing Shinomiya Naoya, a good-looking fellow student with supernatural good luck, he asks him to be come friends. But Shinomiya Naoya misunderstands the suggestion as a request of dating!
Drama
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Easy 消えた初恋 Your average high school romance drama in terms of difficulty, so definitely approachable. Aoki has a crush on the girl in the seat next to him in class but after an incident Ida, another classmate, starts to think that Aoki has a crush on him!
Drama
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Easy-Medium チャンネルはそのまま! There is some TV and reporting lingo but it's not too hard. The main character can sometimes talk a bit fast or be over the top (or just plain stupid), but outside of that it's easy. Meet Yukimaru Hanako, a 22-year-old and fresh young reporter from Hokkaido. She's just been hired by a local television station to do field reporting, and we are here to watch the launching of her career!
Drama
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Easy-Medium ヒルナンデス! Standard Japanese, there are some subtitles. Some accents when the hosts talk to people in other parts of the country but should be manageable. This show gives profitable, interesting and practical information on delicacies, fashion, popular places. The show featured a series of regular members who only appeared on a particular day of the week. These regular members were changed periodically.
TV Show
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Easy-Medium 誰も知らない Coming of age story, mostly kids and teens talking. In a small Tokyo apartment, twelve-year-old Akira must care for his younger siblings after their mother leaves them and shows no sign of returning.
Film
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Easy-Medium ブラッシュアップライフ Mostly slice of life vocab with a bunch of work-related jargon here and there. A comedy focusing on Kondo Asami, a 33-year-old single woman who lives with her parents and works at the local city hall, and suddenly finds herself starting her life over from scratch. It happens out of a sudden and Asami finds herself on a bed in an obstetrics and gynecology clinic, where she meets her young parents and begins her life all over again.
Film
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Easy-Medium バッシング The vocabulary is pretty standard but you need to pay attention to pick up what is happening since it doesn't exactly throw the whole plot at your face. Still, it's decently easy. Yuko is a Japanese girl who was taken hostage in Iraq while volunteering there as an aid worker. Finally released and back in her hometown, Yuko finds herself ostracized as a national disgrace by society that sees her helping a country other than Japan, and the embarrassment of getting captured but not killed, as things of which to be brutally ashamed.
Film
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Easy-Medium 逃げるは恥だが役に立つ Mostly everyday language but has some more difficult bits from time to time. 25- year-old Moriyama Mikuri graduated but had no job offers. She became a temporary employee but was even laid off. So while she is taking a break right now, Mikuri feels unwanted and displaced. She starts work as a housekeeper for bachelor Tsuzaki Hiramasa by chance. One day, he proposes a contract marriage to her. The two of them get married in secret, but will their married life work out?
Drama
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Easy-Medium マイ★ボス マイ★ヒーロー Mostly average high school content, not too difficult and easy even without subs. That being said, sometimes characters are speaking like Yakuza and it can be troublesome to understand what they say. The show is about Makio Sakaki, also known as "Tornado", a 27-year-old yakuza, who wants to succeed his father at the head of the gang. But Makio is a little dumb, so his father decides to send him back to high school and makes a deal with him: if he can graduate he can become the new leader of the gang. If Makio doesn't graduate, the position of boss will be given to his younger brother, Mikio.
Drama
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Easy-Medium 発見!タカトシランド Nicely paced show where the two hosts visit various places in Hokkaido with guests, usually with good food. The dialogue isn't too hard, the subtitles help quite a bit. Since a lot of episodes center on places to eat, even a beginner can understand what's going on.
TV Show
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Easy-Medium 乃木坂工事中 The difficulty depends on the specific episode, but it usually isn't too hard since the Nogizaka members speak clearly with good 標準語 (standard Japanese) accent. Nogizaka46 variety show hosted by the comedy duo Bananaman. Each episode discusses a different topic with the various members of Nogizaka46 doing or discussing something.
TV Show
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Easy-Medium 日向坂出会いましょう On- screen captions are usually available, making it easier for the viewer to follow. The difficulty also varies on the topic of the specific episode but I believe it is relatively easier than Nogizaka Under Construction because it is easier to understand the hosts in this show. Similar style to Nogizaka Under Construction but starring Hinatazaka members instead and also hosted by comedy duo Audrey.
TV Show
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Easy-Medium カルテット Nothing too difficult here, although there are references to pop culture. Overall alright for a beginner but they might speak a bit fast, using subs is highly recommended. Maki Maki, Sebuki Suzume, Beppu Tsukasa, and Iemori Yutaka happen to meet and form a quartet. They even begin to live together in Karuizawa during the winter, but there is a big hidden secret.
Drama
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Easy-Medium 仄暗い水の底から Fairly easy movie with Japanese subtitles available online. Most of the story is told visually so even if you don't understand the dialogue you can understand what is happening. The plot follows a divorced mother who moves into a rundown apartment with her daughter, and experiences supernatural occurrences including a mysterious water leak from the floor above.
Film
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Easy-Medium 1リットルの涙 The main difficulty is the medical vocabulary from time to time but overall alright. Aya, a high school aged girl and the oldest daughter of her family who run a tofu shop starts to fall down often and has random bouts of confusion. Based on a true story. This is the saddest thing I've ever seen.
Drama
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Medium 美しい彼 Part of the difficulty is that not everything is explicitly stated. They tend to speak quite fast. That being said, the plot isn't the worst to understand. Seventeen-year-old Hira, who is at the bottom of the class, tries to remain invisible at school, never wanting to open his mouth and expose his stuttering speech to his classmates. He views the world through his camera lens, detached until one day, Kiyoi Sou walks through the classroom door. The impact is instantaneous.
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Medium A.K.A. Serial Killer The narrator is constantly speaking about the various murders in the movie so you need to pay attention in order not to lose track. AKA Serial Killer documents the social upheaval and political oppression that roiled Japan in the 1960s, profiling a nineteen-year-old serial killer Norio Nagayama. An indictment of media sensationalism, the film humanizes the young man by situating his crimes in the larger context of his environment.
Film
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Medium United Red Army The movie being divided into multiple acts, you can understand an act even if you didn't understand the previous one which makes it slightly easier than usual movies where you need to grasp everything. A film in three acts, discussing the 60s and 70s student movements in Japan using archive footage and a narrator.
Film
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Medium 殺し屋1 Extreme gorefest and lots of blood but nothing too crazy to understand. As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of.
Film
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Medium 逆噴射家族 The dialogue in the movie isn't that complicated but a downside is the audio. Classic "family" genre movie. A family of 4 moves into a new place but the grandpa decides to come too and the family has to adapt, etc.
Film
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Medium 愛のむきだし Great story and great comedy, pretty long though. You need to pay proper attention throughout so it's a bit harder. The story of a teenage boy named Yu, who falls for Yoko, a girl he runs into while working as an “up-skirt” photographer in an offshoot of the porn industry.
Film
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Medium 池袋ウエストゲートパーク Has some detective vocabulary but overall decently easy, although there are some yankees in the movie which makes it slightly harder to understand. This story follows a young man named Makoto, who lives in Ikebukuro West Gate Park, an area known for youth delinquency and gangs. In fact, one of Makoto's best friends from high school, Takeshi, is the "king" or leader, of one such gang, called the G-Boys.
Drama
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Medium ハコヅメ~交番女子の逆襲~ Has a bunch of police-related vocabulary. Rookie police officer Mai is about to hand in her resignation when she meets 30-year-old Fuji Seiko, the former ace detective of the Criminal Investigations Division. Seiko is said to have been forced to transfer to the police box for harassing a subordinate at work but... This encounter between Mai and Seiko will significantly change their lives as they are suddenly paired up.
Film
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Medium 恋せぬふたり It seems like SOL but some of the convos are about fairly abstract topics without many contextual clues. Sakuko finds it difficult to live in a society which operates under the assumption that people will fall in love with each other. She meets supermarket employee Takahashi when she goes to support a "fall-in-love" campaign by her junior at work. She is startled when she hears him say that there are people who don't fall in love.
Drama
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Medium ハケンの品格 It has some office lingo which is a great way to learn about work and company structures in japanese companies. Probably less difficult if you're a salaryman and are aware of corporate structuring. Oomae Haruko is an A+ Temp worker who never cracks a smile, does not mince words, and leaves work at 5 o’clock on the dot. Her cynical nature indicates she has something painful to hide. Satonaka Kensuke has just been promoted to the head of S&F's new Marketing Division. Saddled with a rag-tag staff, he is struggling to lift his division off the ground. Placed in Kensuke's department, Oomae finds herself working harder than ever before.
Drama
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Medium ロングバケーション Standard drama, nothing stands out too much. Sena is a college music graduate who dreams of becoming a professional musician and a world-class pianist. Minami is an out-of-work model. The two down-on-their-luck persons with very different personalities find themselves bonding over their similar situations in life.
Drama
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Medium ナンバMG5 Has some yankee speak but other than that standard. Born in a family of delinquents, Nanba Tsuyoshi is expected to succeed as the strongest delinquent in school. Unbeknownst to his family however, he decides to enroll in the top high school in town to live as a normal high schooler. Can he maintain his double life as the strongest delinquent in town and as a normal high schooler?
Drama
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Medium おかえりモネ Pretty long drama, has some work-related vocabulary. Some character have a regional accent. Other than this, quite easy to follow. Momone Nagaura walks on a mountain with the weather forecaster. She hears from the weather forecaster that the weather forecaster can predict the future. Momone Nagaura becomes touched by that comment and decides to become a weather forecaster. In 2019, a major typhoon approaches Japan. To help her hometown, she heads to Kesennuma Bay.
Short Film
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Medium 花咲舞が黙っていない! The main difficulty comes from the bank language and vocabulary, the rest is approachable. Based on a book by the same author who wrote the books Hanzawa Naoki is based on (池井戸潤). While Hanzawa Naoki focuses on big financial corporate drama, this is more focused on day-to-day operations of banks. Very educational and fun. Not as serious or dramatic as Hanzawa Naoki.
Drama
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Medium 最愛 Some characters speak in the Hida dialect. Also has some detective jargon. A suspense love story centered around Sanada Rio, a businesswoman who suddenly became an important reference for a murder case; a detective who is Rio's first love and is trying to pursue the truth of the case; and a lawyer who wants to protect Rio by all means.
Drama
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Medium コールドケース ~真実の扉~ Cop detective show with pretty standard jargon for the genre. Yuri Ishikawa and her team try to crack unresolved cold cases in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
Drama
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Medium 勇者ヨシヒコと魔王シリーズ Has JRPG vocab and the jokes can be hard to catch. A pure young man named Yoshihiko becomes chosen as a hero, and he sets out on a journey in order to save a village.
This is more of a Dragon Quest and JRPG genre parody series.
Drama
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Medium 妖怪! 百鬼夜高等学校 Highschool drama, but it has youkai vocabulary and no subs. When the clock in the school building strikes midnight, the campus will become "a school for yokais" that cannot be seen with human eyes. Tanaka Kazuo is a human high school student with no friends who is bullied by his classmates. He feels miserable and lonely, believing that he doesn't belongs anywhere. However eveything changes when he discovers the existence of the yokai realm.
Drama
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Medium-Hard 回路 A little abstract, you need to properly pay attention to what's going on. In the immense city of Tokyo, the darkness of the afterlife lurks some of its inhabitants who are desperately trying to escape the sadness and isolation of the modern world.
Film
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Medium-Hard BORDER Has policy and forensic jargon, making it harder than your average drama. Ango Ishikawa is a detective with smarts and a keen sense of observation. He's in a great physical shape and also highly ambitious. Ango also only focuses on his work and his personal life is pretty much non-existent. One day, Ango is shot in the head by the killer who is lurking at the crime scene. Ango hovers between life and death. Since then Ango can see and talk with the dead.
Film
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Medium-Hard BORDER: Shokuzai The sequel so see above. See above.
Film
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Medium-Hard コウノドリ Has a bunch of medical jargon. The drama revolves around Kounotori Sakura, an Ob-Gyn doctor working at the Persona General Medical Centre who is also a gifted jazz pianist. His mother had died in childbirth, and he was brought up in an orphanage, which is what fueled his ambition to be an ob-gyn. He hopes to be able to deliver every baby to this world, congratulating them on the gift of life given to their little bodies.
Drama
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Hard 豚と軍艦 Audio quality is pretty bad due to the age of the film, it also has some old words that make it hard. In the city of Yokosuka, Kinta and his lover Haruko, both involved with yakuza, brave the post-occupation period with a goal to be together.
Film
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Hard リーガル・ハイ Main character talks fast with plenty of law and technological terminology. Some references can go over your head if you don't know Japanese culture and media that well. Attorney Komikado Kensuke loves money, prestige and women, but also has a 100% winning rate when it comes to his legal cases. Mayuzumi Machiko is a rookie attorney who holds a strong sense of justice and passionate about protecting the weak. The two attorneys constantly clash, but in the courtroom, they cooperate in fighting as one.
Drama
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Hard キュア Can get really hard sometimes mostly because of the obscurity the movie has, along with a lot of detective terminology. Kenichi Takabe, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police detective, is involved in the investigation of a bizarre series of violent killings by seemingly random perpetrators. In each case the murderers have been caught close to the scene of the crime. Each one has mutilated his or her victim by carving a large "X" into the neck or chest of the deceased. Although all of the perpetrators readily confess and remember their deeds, none seems to have substantial motives or explanations for their actions. Takabe is at a loss for answers.
Film
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Hard Hero Has law terminology with some fast speaking characters. The audio quality might not be crystal clear either which doesn't help, the show being a bit old at this point. Kuryu Kohei is an unconventional prosecutor at the Josai branch of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office. One day Kuryu is asked to take on a case which his colleague, Shibayama, prosecuted. The case looks simple with a confession by the accused, but the accused changes his plea at the first hearing and now claims his innocence.
Film
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Hard 半沢直樹 Business thriller with a lot of hard business and finance terminology. Some made up words here and there too. An idealistic banker takes on corruption and wrongdoing at his large corporate bank. While forging ties with some unlikely allies, he must use his financial expertise, his instincts about human nature, and his skills of improvisation to try to stay one step ahead of his powerful enemies.
Drama
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Hard TRICK Detective/ comedy show. A lot of the comedy requires good knowledge of Japanese culture and news. The show is somewhat old so the audio quality might be lacking too. Although 23-year-old Yamada Naoko is a talented illusionist, she is continuously fired from jobs and constantly hounded by her landlady for the rent being late. She refuses to give up her unusual vocation as she wants to follow in the footsteps of her famous magician father who died when she was a child.
Drama
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Very Hard 絞死刑 A lot of symbolism and rhetorical questions make this movie very hard to follow. A Korean man is sentenced to death in Japan but survives his execution, sending the authorities into a panic about what to do next.
Film