Alright, since no-one wants to do it, guess I’ll be the one. It’s 13.7%, the highest for its time slot and the second highest for all programmes from 19:00~ onwards last night (First place is a game show at 14.7%). Still, this is the lowest this drama has had so far.
C’mon, we all know that August is going to be a bad month with all its festivals and holidays. We know that the numbers esp this year don’t reflect all viewership since HDTV is excluded.* And we know that perhaps some of the audience aren’t ready yet. Which is all the more reason why NHK needs to keep on going. As the message in Ryomaden goes, the times have changed and good luck to those who insist on only watching what they had in the past.
If it takes more than 1 taiga to change the mindset (and it probably will), so be it. (Sorry if this sounds cheesy but) there is a case in point to start the change with a taiga on who else but Sakamoto Ryoma. NHK knew they might be up against this when they started. So kudos to those who were willing to jump in as pioneer. And you cannot help but admire the man who’s made the decision 2 years ago that he’s going brave such possiblities as the face of this taiga (…in a field that is new to him and while it may have taken a bit of time, he’s certainly holding his own up there now.) Bear in mind that these ratings, inconclusive as they may be, are still the best overall in drama this year. (Gegege’s Wife is a weekly 15-min only and honestly can’t be compared.)
What’s important for me is whether we enjoy the drama ourselves. I certainly do. For whatever reason we’re watching, we’re watching and that means they’re doing something right. They’ve even started some of us looking into related Japanese history and we can’t be the only ones out there. So people may not be watching for various reasons. Some may not accept the way it’s filmed, some may prefer something more escapist, some may think they already know the story to the hundredth degree. But had Ryomaden done what it set out to do? If it is to start the ball rolling on higher drama standards, then I think it’s exceeded it’s job brilliantly, don’t you?
Will it be worse with next week’s sad sad episode? Ganbare NHK! Ganbare minna!
* Japan will switch over to full-scale digital HD broadcasting next year (2011)
After posting this rant in another forum, I received a reply which warmed me up. If I may quote part of it here:
“I agree with you Izumi. I just had a Japanese friend (wife of my hubby’s long time friend) in town for their family visit. When I talked about Ryomaden, she got excited instantly. She said it is very popular in Japan and she starts looking up Japanese history though she has never been interested in the topic before. See, she is just like us. I start to think the popularity and the impact of the show may not necessarily be in line with the TV rating. I certainly enjoy the show very very much. Not just because of Masha, but the whole drama in general.”
These comments were first posted in MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums (Registration required to enter.)