Friday, March 22, 2013

Doctor X ~ Gekai Daimon Michiko Review (2012)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Doctor Daimon Michiko is a freelance 'super'-surgeon who's hired on contract to help fill a surgeon shortage in the surgery department of a university hospital. However, Daimon-sensei commands exhorbitant fees for her superior medical skills/services and cares little for the struggles of the medical workers in the ivory tower workplace. No one knows how she acquired her top-notch skills and her new colleagues are confounded by her disregard for department norms.

*Spoiler warning*

The plot is an oft-recycled storyline of an independent but highly skilled doctor making waves in the highly political atmosphere of a university hospital (I'm looking at you Iryu). While sticking with a time-tested formula though, the drama admittedly does a good job at creating suspense, injecting some robust tensions and infusing it with the right amount of humor to make this drama a solid hit. While there were instances of over-the-top silliness, the 'melon' gifts for one and 'Gyoi' for another (where the heck did they come up with that??), they did well to balance out the weightiness of the material although some wittier comedy would have been appreciated.

Yonekura Ryoko plays an impressively confident Dr Michiko with the needed flair and no-nonsense attitude to portray her character. The rest of the doctors on the cast, including Tanaka Kei, Uchida Yuki, Katsumura Masanobu etc, form a decent Surgery Department 2 on par with the likes of the medical teams in the medical series Iryu or Kyumei Byoto 24. While there wasn't much in-depth exploration of some of the side characters, there was sufficient development of some characters to generate a variety of perspectives and ideas to balance and support the title character.

The music perfectly complemented the drama's atmosphere by providing it with the weighty, heavy sounds of the orchestra and timpani when called for but yielded to the light, airy sounds of the flute during more comedic moments. There's no doubt that creating a suitable soundtrack or the drama is oftentimes tricky but I think they really nailed it in this drama with a highly appropriate, well-proportioned and well-timed musical accompaniment.

A solid medical drama that ranks with Iryu in its storytelling and impact. Yonekura Ryoko does a comparable job as Sakaguchi Kenji in Iryu but is supported by a somewhat more down-to-earth team in this series. Overall, this was a good drama with a fairly predictable storyline and I wouldn't be surprised if we see another season of this appear given the strong ratings and the somewhat open-ended conclusion.

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