Timeout: Top #12 Pick for Crackling Chemistry – Onscreen Jdrama Couples!

I love lists. Sometimes I let my mind wander and create lists of random things, just because.

I thought about this the other day and realized that surely there are Jdrama-equivalent couples for it’s sister list I’d compiled (and one of my most popular entries). Here’s my take for top #12 crackling chemistry in Jdramas, namely those I personally love. They’re a lot more understated than their counterpart, but no less emotionally stirring and heart-tugging. In fact, I’ll go so far as to attest that they’re more impacting, organic and long-lasting, most of them still on my mind and heart even after many years later.

Without further ado, on to the list!

N’s Top #12 Pick for Crackling Chemistry: Onscreen Jdrama Couples

#1 Nogami/Yuri Maroev & Mashiro Rieru in Love 2000 (2000)

Love 2000 (2000)
Love 2000 (2000)

Crackling-O-Meter: On FIRE!

Who’s Who: Kaneshiro Takeshi & Nakayama Miho

Case-in-Point: She turned back and repeated her steps, back to where he stood, the spot they’d parted just seconds ago. On the other side of the fence, he did the same. Hands clasped together and separated by a barbed wire fence, he leaped up just above the fence and planted a kiss on her lips. Stirring, emotionally moving and oh, so hot.

#2 Satonaka Halu & Murase Aki in PRIDE (2004)

PRIDE (2004)
PRIDE (2004)

Crackling-O-Meter: On FIRE!

Who’s Who: Kimura Takuya & Takeuchi Yuko

Case-in-Point: Can I say everything? But if there’s one scene in particular I need to pimp, it’d be when he kissed her eyelid the morning after. And in a few episodes later, when he lost it because the ex-boyfriend had hurt her right there, that eyelid. His. Together they were just so, so hot.

#3 Hirokawa Eiki & Egi Toko in Ice World (1999)

Ice World (1999)
Ice World (1999)

Crackling-O-Meter: On FIRE!

Who’s Who: Takenouchi Yutaka & Matsushima Nanako

Case-in-Point: I know this statement sounds creepy and uhm, in a way incredibly inappropriate but if I’m to sum up what I feel or think when I think of this couple and therefore being the exact reason why I’d watched, stayed on and still remember this show, it’d be, “They’re so hot together I wanted so badly for them to make babies, like stat.” Uh, yeah. He’s hot, she’s hot too but it’s their fiery passion and crackling chemistry that drew me in, plus I thought the fact that they stood on opposite sides and this whole shouldn’t-fall-in-love-with-you dilemma just upped the stakes and well, desires.

#4 Okishima Shuji & Machida Kyoko in Beautiful Life (2001)

Beautiful Life (2001)
Beautiful Life (2001)

Crackling-O-Meter: On FIRE!

Who’s Who: Kimura Takuya & Tokiwa Takako

Case-in-Point: I can’t describe it. Okay, I’ll try – it’s in the way they communicate with each other, it’s in how real they seem as a couple who’s struggling to meet halfway. I don’t mean it as them attempting to meet halfway as a disabled person and egocentric aspiring hairdresser but as two souls, persons, who genuinely love one another and learning that so many other things – life and death included – factor in. The result? An epic, deeply stirring and unforgettable love story, one for the(my) books.

#5 Hidetoshi Sena & Hayama Minami in Long Vacation (1996)

Long Vacation (1996)
Long Vacation (1996)

Crackling-O-Meter: On FIRE!

Who’s Who: Kimura Takuya & Yamaguchi Tomoko

Case-in-Point: To be honest, I wanted to put this couple higher on the list – perhaps even overtaking #4. But Beautiful Life is no question, on my infinite loop i.e. something I rewatch often that I figured because here’s my personal crackling chemistry list, this will go beneath the personal favorite. However, I’ll attest that Kimura‘s portrayal of Sena is one of his best in his long-standing acting career and though the leading lady initially annoyed me like crazy, when I rewatched this a few years ago, I could actually relate. Above all though, the two of them? Hot damn, sparks were flying all over the place, like crazy that I wanted so badly for them to just get together already!

#6 Suga Eiichiro & Asaoka Kyoko in Love Revolution (2001)

Love Revolution (2001)
Love Revolution (2001)

Crackling-O-Meter: On FIRE!

Who’s Who: Fujiki Naohito & Esumi Makiko

Case-in-Point: I’d actually also wondered if they should be higher on the list, but my last revisit of show left me a little bit cold and cynical. However, in the twelve years I’ve rewatched this show, the sole reason I’ve done so is because to me these two, together – simply magical. Exact dose of love, passion and realism, or so I believed. That first encounter – literally sealed with a kiss – remains one of my favorite fated encounter moment in dramaland. Plus, I loved the fact that Suga, who’d never compromised for any woman, was finally in a way… tamed (or taken in) by Kyoko. Whenever he calls her by her first name… Oh my god, I can’t help it; I am that goo on the floor.

#7 Yuuki Kai & Hagio Sae in Orange Days (2004)

Orange Days (2004)
Orange Days (2004)

Crackling-O-Meter: Heartrendingly Palpable

Who’s Who: Tsumabuki Satoshi & Shibasaki Kou

Case-in-Point: I love this couple. Their chemistry isn’t something that’s physical or basically, animalistic passion. Instead, similar to my Beautiful Life resident couple, it’s in the way they communicate with each other; so in-sync. It’s in the way they realistically argue, challenging each other every step of the way. It’s in the way they’re there for each other, without judgment. It’s in the way they become fast friends, immediately connecting and not long after, the teasing and flirting. Ultimately, it’s in the way that they not only love one another, but that they’re accepting of each other. So realistic, this couple.

(Psst… The actors dated for about 4 years following this show! This chemistry is real, yo!)

#8 Hyuga Toru & Natsui Makoto in Rich Man, Poor Woman (2012)

Rich Man, Poor Woman (2012)
Rich Man, Poor Woman (2012)

Crackling-O-Meter: Palpable (& Very Cute!)

Who’s Who: Oguri Shun & Ishihara Satoshi

Case-in-Point: These two… I’ve never thought of Oguri Shun as hot and never really liked Ishihara Satomi, so who knew? Cast him as an eccentric, egoistic man-child and her as the bumbling but endearing heroine and together they were adorable. Their chemistry’s so organic, like two individuals who genuinely enjoy each other’s company that their bubbling happiness is unsurprisingly, infectious.

#9 Chiaki Shinichi & Noda Megumi in Nodame Cantabile (2006)

Nodame Cantabile (2006)
Nodame Cantabile (2006)

Crackling-O-Meter: Palpable (& Very Cute!)

Who’s Who: Tamaki Hiroshi & Ueno Juri

Case-in-Point: Granted, their romantic scenes in all the installments (dramas, SP and movies) were actually very far and few in-between – so typical of Jdramas! – but when they made their appearances, they really packed lots of emotional punches. For instance, the backhug at the end of season 1 and in the movie installment (part 2 I think), there’s this brief scene in which he planted a kiss on her as they laid side by side. They’re on my list not only because they’re so cute together, but cos they’re totally each other’s yin and yang, balancing each other’s eccentricities so effing well and bringing the best out of each other.

#10 Domyouji Tsukasa & Makino Tsukushi in Hana Yori Dango I, II and SPs (2005 – 2008)

Hana Yori Dango (2005)
Hana Yori Dango (2005)

Crackling-O-Meter: Palpable (& Very Cute!)

Who’s Who: Matsumoto Jun & Inoue Mao

Case-in-Point: I almost want to put their meter as intense, but this installment’s been very PG-13, manga-esque that this might not hold. The reason why they made it to my list though, is because they’re the first Jdrama couple I’d shipped so much I wanted them (and remain convinced that they did) date each other in Real Life. Their chemistry lies in the easy banters, the obviously at ease with each other vibe as they bicker their way deeper into love.

#11 Kanzaki Hiroto & Tsukioka Nao in Tatta Hitotsu no Koi (2006)

Tatta Hitotsu no Koi (2006)
Tatta Hitotsu no Koi (2006)

Crackling-O-Meter: Stirring (Emotionally Moving)

Who’s Who: Kamenashi Kazuya & Ayase Haruka

Case-in-Point: Ah, these two. Who knew? I never could have guessed, but they made it work indeed. He’s the boy from the wrong side of town and she’s the protected golden daughter and sister to a wealthy family. Star-crossed lovers with no future in sight, one in which this show and these two dealt with so darn realistically. My heart broke and sang along with them, as they faced every ebb and flow to finally, at long last, meet halfway.

#12 Azumi Shunsuke & Tomokawa Shiki in Itoshi Kimi e (2004)

Itoshi Kimi e (2004)
Itoshi Kimi e (2004)

Crackling-O-Meter: Stirring (Emotionally Moving)

Who’s Who: Fujiki Naohito & Kanno Miho

Case-in-Point: There is a softness in their chemistry which tugged me in and never quite let go, even now. Theirs is like all the rest, not really anything to sing home about but something resonates, kindness and sincerity perhaps, and this openness to love. I can’t quite explain it, but they muted the cynic in me – for once, just this once – and made me… rather hopeful for something similar in Real Life. Maybe.


Honestly as I compiled this, more couples from other shows started coming to mind but all the aforementioned are my personal and particular favorites. I’ve watched quite a bit of Jdramas, but I’m fully aware that my list (and Jdrama-watching history) is not comprehensive; I typically steer away from anything not life-dramas, rom-com and live-actions. I’ve actually always wanted to watch more period dramas like JIN, but somehow never really got to them… Plus there are oldies which I haven’t yet watch but have heard so much about (which people say throw chemistry out of the park); an example would be A Million Stars Falling From The Sky – I promise I’ll get to this one sometime this summer!

Jdramas own a very special place in my heart, more so than Kdramas to be honest. Here’s to hoping they’ll continue to give me couples who, understated as their chemistry may be, feel so darn real and organic that I’m drawn to them anyway, rooting for their happy endings!

Disclaimer: All photos are credited to wiki.d-addicts.com!

18 thoughts on “Timeout: Top #12 Pick for Crackling Chemistry – Onscreen Jdrama Couples!

    1. Aw man… Caught! Hahaha, can’t help it ;) my other fave (Ryo!) didn’t make my list though, funnily… He’s still lacking the it-factor, le sigh.

      Had so much fun coming up with this (I’ve been thinking about Jdramas a lot lately, especially since I’m way behind on Kdramas yikes!) so it’s my pleasure haha :)

    1. I’m biased towards KimuTaku haha but I will say his recent ones are lackluster compared to the 90s and early 2000 ones! Watch these three highlighted for rom-coms. If you’re into quirky ones, his HERO is a gem (if you haven’t watched it yet). I like his old shows :)

  1. As a fan of chemistry (not the school subject hehe) I really must watch some of these! Haven’t seen nearly enough! I think Orange Days will probably be my next Jdrama.

  2. I’ve watched seven of the dramas from your list. Has been a fan of Takuya’s early works too but can’t take it anymore after the drama where he eats lots of bananas.
    I do remember watching the mv of your no 1 and Takeshi Kaneshiro is totally hot in his prime.

    1. Nice! 7/12 is fantastic, I love all of them here :) The drama with KimuTaku and bananas? Would that be his last, PRICELESS? I’ve heard mixed reviews about it (mostly terrible) and his previous one, Tsuki no Koibito was just homg terrible that unfortunately, I think dude may have past his prime. I still have lots of love for his older works though, up until perhaps CHANGE.

      Takeshi is just yummy haha, in this one especially he was such a heartthrob (…though confession: I keep wondering deep down if he is gay? I’ve never heard of news of a girlfriend, ever, and I’ve liked him for 10+ years now!)

      1. Now that I search the name of that Takuya’s drama …Mr Brain . It was an awful drama and the years has not been good on his looks compared to like the same generation actor such as Yutaka Takenouchi and Fujiki Naohito Maybe he is smoking too much. HD era just make it worst. I used to be a completist of every piece of work he did but after that drama I can’t bear to watch any of his dramas anymore.

        I was wondering about it that too. I am not following Takeshi’s but there’s not a blip of any so called scandal with women.

        1. my top 5 from your list will be:
          1) Hidetoshi Sena & Hayama Minami in Long Vacation (1996)
          2) Okishima Shuji & Machida Kyoko in Beautiful Life (2001)
          3) Suga Eiichiro & Asaoka Kyoko in Love Revolution (2001)
          4) Hirokawa Eiki & Egi Toko in Ice World (1999)
          5) Chiaki Shinichi & Noda Megumi in Nodame Cantabile (2006)

        2. I used to be a completist too but real life’s taken a toll, so little time for terrible dramas! But I feel kinda sad for KimuTaku when I think of him cos its like.. You wanna leave or be remembered during your prime, you know? As opposed to this exponential decrease on quality of his work, reflected through recent years. Agree the years aren’t as kind towards him compared to the rest, but every time I tell myself, “it’s KimuTaku, he can do it!” … Cycle repeats, le sigh.

  3. I am woefully ignorant of J-dramas. I’ve watched two: one is “Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo” which isn’t even finished yet; and the other is, hilariously, “A Million Stars Falling From the Sky”. So I’m thrilled with this list of yours because good chemistry is what will pull me in. So, thank you! :)

    1. Jdramas really are of a different flavor versus the sister counterpart and some people (at least those I know) who started off with Kdramas don’t always dig Jdramas … Some just don’t dig them period, but for most others it comes with lots of trial and errors. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit – is MK the right “first Jdrama” for many viewers already seasoned by Kdrama quirks? But it seems to be working for you, and what lovely second choice! I’ve heard about A Million Stars since forever, finally picking it up again now and telling myself I need to finish it!

      Pleasure is all mine, it was such a fun list! :)

      1. In a very, very, (very!) rough analogy — I think of K-dramas to J-dramas as US movies to French movies. Mainly because J-dramas seem a little more laid-back, a little less slick than K-dramas. You know. Of the two I’ve managed to see. ;) (In other words — my analogy is tissue thin — wet tissue at that. Doesn’t stop me from making it, though.)

        Maybe MK works well because it’s a familiar story? I personally think it’s more laid-back and less colorful and antic-filled, filming style serves the story better.

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