Nobuta wo Produce is a good drama. Painful at times but with important lessons and -I'm going to say it- good acting. I started thinking about this when complaining about Yamada Taro. What jdramas so I like and why? Well, Hana Yori Dango is the most addictive. But Nobuta wo Produce is the best. The one that actually made me think about life. Specifically, about the way people create identities for themselves, how people are driven by their own self-conceptions in their relation to other people. And, Nobuta wo Produce made me realize that Kamenashi Kazuya can really act.
Okay, plot summary. Kamenashi Kazuya is Kiritani Shuuji, a guy to whom popularity means everything. He has built up his image at school, dating the most popular girl and forming a group of friends. But to him it's all fake, all a game. He partners up with Kusano Akira (Yamashita Tomohisa acting like a cracked out monkey under a strobe light) to make the new, bizarre girl Nobuko Kotani (Maki Horikita) popular, to "produce" her.
I entered thinking it would be Kotani who undergoes the biggest change, but I was wrong. This drama is definitely Shuuji centered and in some ways, although he seems the most "normal", he's the one who has the most to learn. Akira and Kotani's disregard for how they should act according to everyone else is contrasted with Shuuji's extreme need to be liked by everyone. You might be asking, "but Kotani wants to be popular, doesn't that show she wants to conform?" Well, yes, in a way. The drama strikes a balance. Kotani wants to be popular, but she still wants to stay true to herself and resists Shuuji's attempts to change her in ways that make her fake. In ways that make her lie to other people.
So, as contrasted with Yamada Taro, the girls in this drama have strong personalities. In addition to Kotani, we have Shuuji's popular girl girlfriend. She's smart, perceptive, sensitive and plays basketball. It make's Shuuji's fear of her a symptom of his disfunctionality (guilt from lying to her?). The fact she likes him at all confirms what the audience already knows, that despite the fakeness that taints Shuuji's motives he cares about people and deserves our support.
Other pluses of this drama include Shuuji's awesome family, especially his adorable younger brother, and an ending that'll have slashers everywhere raising their eyebrows. Heck even my mother picked up on the vibes.
Here's a picture of the guys -L, Akira. R, Shuuji-
Lastly, I'd like to say I'm really enjoying Arashi's new album Time.
Little sidenote: Both the guys in this drama are from boybands, but neither are in Arashi. Kame is from KAT-TUN and YamaP is from NewS.