J-Drama Adaptations To Put on Your Watchlist

After a long day, it’s a great time to cozy up with some good ‘ol TV time. I always like to seek out live-action adaptations of manga, anime, and books that I’ve enjoyed in the past. While live-action shows can be a hit or miss, you can’t deny your curiosity in seeing how the source material will be adapted. Here are some notable live-action adaptation Japanese dramas that I’ve enjoyed and that you should add to your TV watchlist.

May I Blackmail You?

Despite the sinister title, this J-Drama is a fun and suspenseful show based on the light novel of the same name. The drama follows Kanji Senkawa who receives requests which the police or private investigators can’t handle. He coincidentally meets wealthy university student Mio Kanesaka who is the opposite of him. She has a good heart and can’t ignore those in difficult situations. Kanji and Mio get involved in various cases including voice phishing and kidnappings.

I was familiar with the lead actors Emi Takei and Dean Fujikawa and was interested in checking this out since I like other shows and movies they’ve acted in. It’s very funny and the blackmailing cases that are presented aren’t too dark. Each episode focuses on a new case and we see how the blackmailer becomes misconstrued and wants revenge. I love the witty banter and of Mio and Kenji as the leads in this mystery show.

Stream Here: https://www.viki.com/tv/35769c-may-i-blackmail-you

Good Morning Call

Based on the manga, in Good Morning Call the main character Nao rents her dream apartment. But things are quickly turned upside down when she learns she will be sharing it with popular high school classmate Uehara. They try to find the best way to co-exist in their new situation.

The show has its ups and downs for me since I’m not the biggest fan of high school dramas, but the acting is done very well, and I like the range of characters portrayed. It’s a story about first love with themes of coming of age. The story is a bit predictable at certain times, but it’s still an overall entertaining show that leaves you with the warm fuzzies as a cute romantic comedy should.

Stream Here: https://www.netflix.com/title/80092878


If you enjoy a spine-tingling thriller full of suspense, Penance is the show for you. This J-Drama is based on one of Kanae Minato’s novels who is famous for her crime fiction and thriller novels. This dark and gritty drama follows the tense story of four young women who were traumatized by the death of their friend Emily as young girls. Her case was left unsolved and as a result, the stress from guilt has taken a toll on them since their childhood.

This adaptation sticks close to its source material and I appreciated how it was adapted for TV. Viewers get a glimpse inside of the women’s minds to see what their lives are like and how they feel about the incident. The narrative of the story is engrossing, and I found the characters to be complex and shrouded in mystery. It’s a strong psychological thriller and the characters are faced with a fight or flight situation that takes them back to the day they’ve tried so hard to forget.

Stream Here: https://tubitv.com/series/300005761/penance?start=true

Happy Marriage

Based on the manga by Enoji Maki, this story follows Chiwa Takanashi, who agrees to an arranged marriage with Hokuto Mamiya- the president of the company she works at- in order to pay off her dad’s debts. It’s the story of two strangers living together and their way to find a happy marriage.

This show is a marriage of convenience trope. Though they clash at first, readers see how the couple grow to love each other over time. There are some love triangles, jealous rivals, Hokuto’s family who is trying to take everything from him, and so many more obstacles that the couple has to face. There are a lot of ups and downs in their relationship, which keeps the love aspect more realistic.

Stream Here: https://amzn.to/2O5DYOX

About Rachel Moulden

Rachel is a fandom nerd who loves to create new stories. Outside of Fandom Spotlite you can find her writing books, chatting about all things pop culture related, and gushing about all things bookish on her book blog, Life of a Female Bibliophile. When Rachel is not busy writing you can find her jamming out to anime OSTs, indulging in a good cup of coffee, or watching too many K-Dramas. Check out her middle-grade debut novel (Lost Love: My First Boyfriend) available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. You can follow her on Twitter at @bibliophilelyfe and Instagram at @lifeofafemalebibliophile.

View all posts by Rachel Moulden

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