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10 Japanese TV Series Featuring Unique Forms of Friendship

Updated on June 30, 2015

Japanese TV Dramas are well known for some of the best romantic stories to have been shown on the small screens, but one other thing that they do well are stories that feature unique forms of friendship. Here are ten notable Japanese TV series featuring unique forms of friendship:

#10. Shark

Characters

  • Yamashita Rio as Komatsu Ichika
  • Hirano Sho as Kurata Mizuki
  • Hamada Takahiro as Hagiwara Kai
  • Matsumura Hokuto as Ryuzaki Ayumu
  • Fujii Ryusei as Kitagawa Kazuki
  • Iwamoto Hikaru as Satomi Kenzo
  • Kamiyama Tomohiro as Adachi Teppei

Synopsis

SHARK focuses on the eponymous five-member band, who all want to make their mark on the world by debuting on a major label. Despite the challenges that they face and the aggressive competition, the band persevered and was near their goal. However, on the verge of their major debut, tragedy falls as their vocalist dies in an accident.

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Uniqueness in their friendship

The camaraderie in SHARK is a complex puzzle. First, we have the remaining band members who cannot accept a new vocalist out of loyalty to their deceased friend. Then we have the new vocalist Mizuki, who initially decided to join because he needs a band but eventually learns to put the band’s needs over his own (even at the cost of his health), and then we have the group’s producer, Ichika, who believes in the band’s potential and recognizes that they need to move on from the former vocalist’s death and accept Mizuki as a friend and bandmate.

#9. Until We Meet Again

Characters

  • Fukuyama Masaharu as Konno Shinichi
  • Sakurai Sachiko as Kinosaki Tsuyumi
  • Imada Koji as Nakata Kanzo
  • Otsuka Nene as Imanaka Junko
  • Shiina Kippei as Araki Katsutoshi
  • Nishida Naomi as Yamashina Akemi

Synopsis

Until We Meet Again focuses on five friends who attended the same high school, who realize that even with all the changes they have gone through in life, some things still remain the same.

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Uniqueness in their friendship

In Until We Meet Again, we bear witness to a reunion of old highschool friends. What’s unique about their friendships is that they are all individually different – the fill specific stereotypes such as jock, class clown, regular joe – they’re people who would normally not hang out with each other yet they are friends for life. And there’s also the complication brought about the burgeoning romance: Fukuyama loves Sakurai, Otsuka loves Fukuyama, Sakurai loves Shiina Kippei and so on.

#8. Orange Days

Characters

  • Satoshi Tsumabuki as Kai Yuuki
  • Kou Shibasaki as Sae Hagio
  • Manami Konishi as Maho Takagi
  • Hiroki Narimiya as Shohei Aida
  • Eita as Keita Yashima
  • Miho Shiraishi as Akane Ozawa
  • Yu Yamada as Soyoko Saeki
  • Jun Fubuki as Yuriko Hagio

Synopsis

Orange Days tells the story of Yuuki Kai, who is trying to find a job while juggling his studies. One day, he meets and befriends the beautiful violinist Hagio Sae, who is exceptionally gifted in music but is actually deaf.

Uniqueness in their friendship

The main difference with Kai and Sae’s friendship (and they do start as friends at first) is that they must overcome a lot of barriers. There’s the emotional ones, but they also have to overcome communication barriers due to Sae’s disability.

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#7. Here is Greenwood

Characters

  • Izawa Yuki as Hasukawa Kazuya
  • Miura Riki as Ikeda Mitsuru
  • Sato Yuuichi as Tezuka Shinobu
  • Suzuki Hiroki as Kisaragi Shun

Synopsis

Based on the 9 volume manga series of the same name, Here is Greenwood focuses on the activities of four boys in Greenwood Dormitory at a fictional all boys private school.

Uniqueness in their friendship

The unique friendship that stands out in Here is Greenwood is between Kazuya and Shun. When they originally met each other, Kazuya thought Shun is a girl, which is odd considering that they are studying in an all-boys’ school. It turns out that Shun is merely androgynous, and despite being completely heterosexual, enjoys pranking other people over his gender.

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#6. Happy Boys

Characters

  • Koji Seto as Segawa Kyoichi/Shiva
  • Kenta Kamakari as Akasaka Junta/Renjou
  • Keisuke Kato as Kitamura Kosuke/Ivory
  • Gaku Shindo as Inada Gen/Silk
  • Shugo Nagashima as Tsuruoka Kokoro/Ibu
  • Eiji Sugawara as Fukawa Kiichi
  • Shunji Fujimura as Shikawaichi Kura (Owner)
  • Tetsushi Tanaka as Katano Sakatoru/Katapi

Synopsis

Happy Boys is a live action comedy series that follows five young men who work at a butler café called the Lady Braganza.

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Uniqueness in their friendship

It’s normal for five male coworkers to develop a bond with each other, but what makes the friendship in Happy Boys unique is the context: as employees in a butler cafe, they have to be in character and avoid being seen out of character by customers, even when they’re outside of work. This means the five friends have to constantly watch each other’s back and can only be themselves within each other’s company.

#5. Delicious Gakuin

Characters

  • Nishijima Takahiro as Kitasaka Rouma
  • Aiba Hiroki as Takasugi Rin
  • Miura Ryosuke as Matthew Perrier
  • Nagayama Takashi as Okita Tsukasa
  • Shirosaki Jin as Tokudaira Yoshinobu
  • Atae Shinjiro as Katsuragi Shuugo
  • Amano Hironari as Kodou Ken
  • Nakamura Yuichi as Nangou Ryuuji
  • Kawai Ryunosuke as Hijikata Toshiki

Synopsis

Delicious Gakuin follows a group of young men who were kidnapped and taken to a cooking school, where they were forced to enroll.

Uniqueness in their friendship

At first, the boys wanted to get out of the school through escaping, but once they get to know each other, they realize that they each have complementing skills and specialties that they can use as a team, in order to challenge the academy’s faculty in an amazing cooking contest. The friendship between the boys is unique owing to the fact that they have very little in common, instead making their differences work to their advantage.

#4. Kisarazu Cat’s Eye

Characters

  • Bussan (Kohei Tabuchi) - Junichi Okada
  • Bambi (Futoshi Nakagomi) - Sho Sakurai
  • Ucchi (Uchiyama) - Yoshinori Okada
  • Master (Shingo Okabayashi) - Ryuta Sato
  • Ani (Kizashi Sasaki) - Takashi Tsukamoto

Synopsis

This drama series follows 21-year-old man Kohei, who has just been diagnosed with cancer and given half a year to live. Instead of resigning himself to his fate, Kohei decides to make something of his remaining time.

Uniqueness in their friendship

The friendship in the series revolves around Kohei and his friends, the high school baseball team Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, who all play baseball during the day while getting into mischief at night. Like any group of friends, they help each other with problems but their unique friendship comes to the fore when it comes to Kohei’s condition, which is a problem that they can’t solve conventionally.

#3. Nobuta Wo Produce

Characters

  • Kamenashi Kazuya as Kiritani Shuji
  • Yamashita Tomohisa as Kusano Akira
  • Horikita Maki as Kotani Nobuko

Synopsis

Nobuta Wo Produce follows 3 unlikely friends: popular high school boy Shuji Kiritani, his always aloof classmate Akira Kusano, and the very shy and constantly bullied transferee Nobuko Kotani. Shuji and Akira join forces and try to make Nobuko popular, referring to her as Nobuta.

Uniqueness in their friendship

The trio’s friendship is unique in the sense that they belong to different castes in the school system. Kiritani is the popular boy, Kusano is the outsider, and Nobuko is the bully target. The two guys are not even close to each other until the girl came along. In the end, Kiritani and Kusano’s friendship was so close that they followed each other after high school, while Nobuko learned how to stand up on her own.

#2. Antique

Characters

  • Takizawa Hideaki as Kanda Eiji
  • Shiina Kippei as Tachibana Keichiro
  • Fujiki Naohito as Ono Yusuke
  • Koyuki as Izuka Momoko

Synopsis

Antique is a drama comedy series that follows four men who work in a confectionery: owner Keiichiro, baker Yusuke, waiter Chikage, and former boxer turned waiter Eiji. The confectionery they work at is different because everything in the shop is antique, with even the sherry glasses costing 50k yen.

Uniqueness in their friendship

All four men belong in different age groups and have different pasts (and one of them is pitched as having a mysterious past), yet inside the bakery, it hardly matters – they are all friends and they interact with each other closely, along with the customers who have their own stories to tell.

#1. RH Plus

Characters

  • Miura Yuu as Nogami Makoto
  • Tochihara Rakuto as Seto Ageha
  • Ojima Naoya as Tamura Masakazu
  • Takano Hassei (高野八誠) as Kiyoi
  • Tomatsu Haruka (戸松 遥) as Misaki Ami

Synopsis

RH plus is a drama series that centers around the daily lives of 4 pacifist vampires: the eldest Kiyoi, the college student Masakazu, and high school students Ageha and Makoto. Instead of preying on humans, all four take a diet of tomato juice and use their powers to fight crime as vigilantes.

Uniqueness in their friendship

Once again, the series plays with tropes in the sense that the conventional male camaraderie is turned on its head, as the members of the group are immortal creatures of the night. They all support each other’s desire to lead normal lives but being extremely long lived has its baggages, not to mention the fact that they are considered by the populus as monsters and there are those who seek their end. The dynamics in their relationship become apparent once you realize that they’re basically a family unit, with an elder and his adoptive sons.

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