Hanzawa (Masato) Naoki

Line.  Hook…SAKAI!

Will Naoki be the favorite J boy baby name this year?   Because it should.   Who wouldn’t want a child to grow up and be an upholding honest model of society like a 直.樹?   Hahaha of course if the child happens to have an IQ of 200 and looking like any version of Itakiss Naoki(s) or my cuppa Sakai Masato, there really is nothing to lose.

It is always my habit to horde a dorama till midway before I dive in, especially when everything is telling me I would be obsessed.  Well, I did not.  I watched on, diligently every week.  The pace is brisk, the obstacles our protagonist Hanzawa Naoki is facing are predictable but not too mundane.  The character himself is a bit saintly but he has his RAGE! moments that are……so entertaining to watch for the OTT alone.  There is over simplification of the inner workings which I can understand for the TV audience, but I also have faith we can handle something closer to the messy murkier reality and was hoping we’ll get there as we go along, but nope.  It is a show about banks, bankers and loans, little guys against the system, then the tax agency steps in (cue: BOooooRING) but a 12 yo could be entertained and follow along intrigued.  It engages your brain just enough so you do not feel insulted, as if you are watching something more serious and convoluted but actually not.  And it is strange for me to say, none of the characters are terribly complex, nor exactly fascinating, it is a simple little David vs…Godzillas story, but it is always de-stressing to see the little guy winning little battles along the way and up he gets himself where he has tripped and fell.  The actors are all overacting to various bizarro cartoonish degrees, yet it stylistically works towards a cohesive drama for the masses.  This is not masterpiece, but it is entertainment no less.

If you are on the fence about the drama, take a look at the following unspoilery caps I stole from the finale posted at weibo by the original poster as marked:


If you are still staring, roflmao but still staring and obviously entertained, this is THE drama screaming at you.

Plus, sometimes Masato sama is hot like a Masato sama:


I welcomed the transformation, but with LH2 on the horizon he would rebound to the clown on top. :/


And I enjoy Kagawa Teruyuki as Ohwada Akira very much. Perhaps it is seeing an actor as skilled and versatile who can do it all even be it making faces most of the time here. I was hoping for a bickering bromance somewhere and hugs and some farfetched misunderstandings, thus kisses and make ups.

I adore Masato-sama a bit irrationally.  He loves to ham it up, and I can’t put a finger on why his patented smirk is an every drama occurrence.  Swarmy OTTing is a huge peeve of mine and I wish he is not encouraged because he could be spot on when he’s not.  I’m just alright with Legal High, the cases are often silly, but I would’ve loved it way more if I find Kensuke kinda hot, kinda is all I’m asking, but I was not even given that.  It is unacceptable when we are working with a Masato!!!  My gripe with LH is, I’d rather cut out all the hijinks and have Kensuke be the cliched entitled pain in the behind, every bit of his unbearable anal-retentive prince complex intact, like a realistically formidable lawyer in appearance at least.   The quirks are not exactly amusingly hilarious, I’d rather they copy the playbook of a Cumberbatch Sherlock and Gakki can be a Watson.

There were scenes in Ooku~ Tanjou~ Arikoto he’s amazing, but then when he does his grimace like his mouth is sucking some sour grapes, I follow his suit and do the same face.   He is much better with serious subject matter imo.  This fanvid is about as ridiculously perfect as it could be:  大奥~诞生】终是不能 I do not think the drama is memorable plot wise, nor is Ooku ~ Emonnosuke. Tsunayoshi Hen (the movie he did with his now pregnant wifey Kanno Miho).  They both performed up to par, and it caught me by surprised I was moved a little at the climax towards the end, but it is promptly deleted from my HD

And alright Masato, you win, I will watch Legal High 2 with one eye for your sake.

23 thoughts on “Hanzawa (Masato) Naoki

  1. I didn’t finish LH 1…let’s see if I can endure LH 2 this coming winter…

    Loved the OTT screen caps above LOL
    I can’t quite explain what happened, somehow the production made all the OTTness worked for me. ❤

    1. It jumped the shark a bit for me after Tokyo tbh, it’s brisk and fastpaced but I could do without ALL the OTT, I can’t look away, but I could not take it seriously at all.

  2. my masato sakai!! hi mookie! long time no see! i been observing hanzawa naoki rationg and i’ve excited bcoz it got such high ratings.. i didnt watch this drama yet as i eager to wait until it finish and watch in a single row..somehow i did not manage to find time for that now..TT.TT…will read your summary above now!

    1. hihi pdat! ^^ How have you been!?

      The ratings are ridiculous! I didn’t really give the drama a good writeup or anything, it is a very simple story, easily resonating with a lot of folks being the little guy working in large corporations suffering a degree of work bullying but won’t take it lying down. Sakai is playing along what is asked of him splendidly, you will have a ball with it! ^^

      1. mookie!!..been buzy lately..ikr!!the rating is splendid!..i will watch it later..it was one of my watch list..cant wait for another masato sakai project..i know teruyuki kazawa is one of my favourite actor too..he was one of main actor in ryomaden and steal the show! i love how he act in the..mostly i skip to his part bcoz it touching and entertaining..have you watch ryomaden?fukuyama masaharu is hot in there!one of the best taiga!

          1. *hugs you back*…i will spare my time for legal high 2.. maybe after it complete.. will watch it in a single seat..i am not a fan of masaharu too but that was the time i am addicted to taiga drama..i’ve finished atsuhime and gou so i continued to ryomaden..there also sato takeru in there..it kinda like a guy movie bcoz major of actor are males..i became an instant fan of kagawa in ryomaden and masato sakai in atsuhime..mookie san please watch masato and princess atsu part in atsuhime taiga..it was awesome and the chemistry great..you will totally shed tears for them!

            1. I know I know! Atsuhime is on my list, but I have no time for serious taiga watching last couple years now…:/ One of these days I must see it, because I know in that confine Masato is not encouraged to be as cartoonish and he’s soooo FINE when he’s serious in my book! I always thought he has lovely chemistry with all his ladies, the pitch perfect one whether it is the bickering camaraderie because they are slow on the uptake on all normal human feelings in Legal High with Gakki haha or both his outings in Ooku.

  3. Bahahaha… Those ‘caps.
    I don’t know whether to roll over dying laughing or crying… Dafuq man!
    On the one hand this looks like epically entertaining shit but on the other hand… It’s Kagawa-san!!! And what if the wind blew..???
    I mean, I have plans to watch other stuff with this guy in, I’m still basking in the afterglow of his most sublime, most gloriously flawless performance in the IA remake.
    Curse you, Hanazawa Naoki.

    1. Oh what is IA remake, I need to see! I ended up laughing my arse off watching most of it, especially in the later half when I realized what I signed up for, it’s a hengao show of the professionals at technical faces, every second of which emoticons should be made of.

  4. Good god. Are those two practising facial yoga or what? XD I cannot believe the finale actually recorded ratings of 42.2%. That beats out every single KimuTaku drama ever, which I think is actually kinda awesome in a way XDDDD
    You know, after seeing those Sakai gifs, I have half a mind to watch Legal High. Btw, if you want to see Kagawa and Sakai in a bromance, can I recommend the movie Key of Life if you haven’t seen it? It is absolutely hilarious (and I don’t mean this in a brainless slapstick way), and the movie gets even better the second time round. Sakai is a bit of a spazz in this one (but so adorable, even if there are times he’s practically asking for a punch XDDD)
    Here, have a trailer:

    1. Oh yesyesyesyesyes So3 above alerted me to Key of Life being a must-see a while ago since I’m having this strange love for slashing the 2 in my head that is not going away. I have it dl’d and ready, tmr it is! I must get to it!

      You do not come across to me LH will be your thing, it has little substance when Hanzawa, being based on a decent novel is safe in the writing department, it is not breaking any new grounds, nor masterful, but there are first world problems at stake which is bound to resonates. LH is basically a Sakai litmus test of a show on how much you love the guy to still find it funny and entertaining and it takes very strong stock.

      Oh but the 42~% is just the peak it averaged ~29% and it is placed 6th in dorama history, one guess who is the guy Sakai ‘lost’ to occupying 1-5? Yup, Kimutaku. Nobody is ever going to touch HRH.
      Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    2. Ok. I’m going to watch Key of Life.
      Damn these enablers haha!

      Mookie: IA – Infernal Affairs. You must have heard of last year’s Double Face surely where Kagawa-san played the Andy Lau character^^

      1. Oh!!! I have no idea it was based on Infernal Affairs!!!!!!!!! GUESS what imma watching next?! One thing though, is it at least respectable against IA, because The Departed broke my heart and I can not look at Scorcese in a redeeming light.

        1. GURRRLL… Don’t think of Double Face as a remake but a loving, stunning, respectful tribute made by a team of devotees who must have spent the past decade worshipping at the altar of the brilliance that was IA. There couldn’t be a truer depiction of ‘labour of love’.
          DF is flawless in my eyes, it’s sheer breathtaking perfection. In embodies the soul of IA.
          Sure, the first installment feels like a slightly condensed blow-by-blow copy, but the second episode throws in a bit of creativity whilst still retaining the original flavour. And yeah, the 2nd ep does have IA 2’s flashback story with younger actors, but again, all of this condensed into one drama episode-length. It still proved very effective story-wise.
          Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.<3

          1. Not to mention it did away with IA’s supposed flaws, by having a better Kelly Chen in Wakui Emi and Kagawa-sama as Andy Lau. AND the fact that they ended the story succintly where it should have ended originally, at the end of IA 2.(Didn’t get why the made the 3rd film if not for the capital borne of fanservice.)

            1. EEEEEKKKK!!! I’m so beyond sold knowing Kagawa is Andy Lau’s character!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is not hard to imagine in my crazyhead, every single time I rewatch IA 1, 2, I grumbled ever so lightly to myself every time both TL and AL are sharing the screen, TL would kick ass in Andy’s role. Not that Andy sucked in it, I’ll honestly give him an almost 8.5/10, but next to a TL…you get my drift: he did his very best, such a hard diligent worker with a superhuman work ethics… but it’s just that his very best still leaves me unaffected somewhat, a feeling of calculated, rehearsed precision to wow at his actor-ly prowess, ‘see what I can do now!’ his AndyLauTM perfect statuesque poise and posing, and how it’s of utmost importance you see Andy Lau entering room first before the character rather than convincing me he’s living breathing that other being he’s supposed to be seamlessly immersed in without over thinking every detail. But then TL at his role as Chan WY is perfection as well. I am most certain I could love IA more if Sean Lau is given a chance to be clean-cut meticulously pretty Ibias fangirl is bias!) in the role of Lau KM instead of his typecast of a pudgy wonky grizzlyteddybear. I have scrubbed Kelly Chen off as an integral part of IA, lets pretend her character had no real meat anyway as presented, just as if we need to take the metro, we would need a metro driver, Chan needs some psychological help and hence we need some pretty vase of a wooden face sitting there. TL is so flawless in every other possible frame of the movie I can overlook the slight. *I lied. I am forever pissed. A Maggie Cheung HorYee if going for convincing non-A-lister face recognition or if we go ALL OUT with a Faye Wong (if we need to pick a pop goddess, at least pick one who has proven screen presence) would have been a great fit*

              We all know how many times things have been pitched of IA-esque (thus I had to make sure of what you meant), I really did not register this as a true remake/tribute/ page by page homage. I was weeping inside in the theater gushing silent no…no…no! watching the Departed when it’s all so very wrong, like condensing a whole beautiful dense fog of murky boundless cigarette smoke seeping into pores and hair into soda can with only a second of pop then fizzled. fitting the stylish noir into just another cop neatly done procedural straightforward narrative, muting all the hum of tension, the sizzling palpitating confusion right in our face of these characters in this milieu we are living vicariously through them…so I keep mumbling to myself at whatever said to be IA whatever ‘fooled me twice, shame on me’. I trust you, Supah (and Kagawa sama hahaha) esp when you put it as a tribute, clearly the work of fanboys of the origina!

              btw Is the ‘Kr remake’ New World any good? I’m the sole LeeJungJae nonfangirl, so him trying out at Andy’s role is not making it very attractive to me as in possibly rocking a new perspective and it could’ve been me judging him unfairly. BUT KAGAWA!!!!!!!!!!!! He can do no wrong, he can perfectly calibrate the exact amount, almost distilling his acting so nothing is noticeably Kagawa, but everything the character. It is exactly why I kinda forget about him in btn his stuff, yet kissing the ground he walks on time and again.

              1. I actually really liked Andy Lau looking back but he’s definitely a technique actor, it doesn’t come naturally to him as it does Tony Leung. But I really liked his character, and Edison Chen as the younger version.

                Departed was blasphemy. As a standalone it seemed solid enough but as a remake it was a farce. It lacked soul, character… It was just dull.

                Double Face was definitely WOWOW shaking their heads in disapproval and saying ”F U Hollywood, THIS is how you do remakes.Watch and learn.”

                I can’t wait till you watch it!!
                First part has a more stronger Hidetoshi Nishijima focus as Tony Leung’s char.
                The second part is OWNed by Kagawa-san.
                Cannot wait to hear your thoughts… Please please pleaseee write about it. I want to spazzzz…

                1. Oh and I’ve not seen ‘New World’, I think I’m back to avoiding k-films at the moment, it’s sort of back on my shitlist. They’ve kind of reverted back to the formulaic tripe. Of course, I’m sure there are exceptions but I’m kind of not willing to invest the time to search for them.

                  1. Terror Life is VERY GOOD. But that is about the only thing I’ve seen very memorable. That and KKD’s Moebius <–not a rec, you either have the urge to watch any and all KKD or you are better off not knowing a thing about it.

                2. I liked Andy’s character as in I see it as more a dream challenge for an actor’s actor like a Kagawa, while Andy was solid, it would’ve overshadowed Tony’s ChanWY easy in my head.

                  I’m so careless and mighty impatient just to dl the first part without knowing there is a second serving with not the easy Ep/Part1, Ep/Part 2 signs but different titles! Now I have to patiently wait for it ALL to be neatly available.

                  So be nice to me and do not make me more eager to watch and spazz with you. My life is HARD as is drumming fingers in morse code waiting!!!!!!

    1. I conclude this show is akin to sumo wrestling of facial muscles of hot ojisans in SUITS!

      We have some in Kdrama, but yeah you start my head spinning on who I want included if they are making a Kdrama remake of Hanzawa…hmmmmmmyummmm

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