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Series cast summary:
Kenji Sakaguchi ...  Asada Ryutaro / ... 43 episodes, 2006-2014
...  Noboru ijuin / ... 43 episodes, 2006-2014
Sadao Abe ...  Arase Monji / ... 43 episodes, 2006-2014
Tetsuhiro Ikeda ...  Kihara Takehiko 43 episodes, 2006-2014
Ittoku Kishibe ...  Noguchi Keno 43 episodes, 2006-2014
Kuranosuke Sasaki ...  Fujiyoshi Keisuke 43 episodes, 2006-2014
Mari Natsuki ...  Kito Shoko 43 episodes, 2006-2014
Izumi Inamori ...  Aki kato / ... 34 episodes, 2006-2014
Asami Mizukawa ...  Satohara Miki / ... 23 episodes, 2006-2014
...  Kirishima Gunji 22 episodes, 2006-2007
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13 April 2006 (Japan)  »

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One of the Best Medical Drama from Asia
11 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

Based on a comic by Akira Nagai, and Sakataro Nogi, "Iryu - Team Medical Dragon" is a story about Ryutaro Asada who has stupendous talent when it comes to performing difficult surgeries, and a team of technical staff that supports him during those procedures. So far three seasons has been aired, and a fourth is scheduled to air in 2014.

Ryutaro Asada ( Kenji Sakaguchi ) is a surgeon who used work as a volunteer field surgeon ( MSAP ) in war torn countries. Him and his team was known as Team Medical Dragon for their superior surgical skills. Shortly after returning to Japan, Asada gets recruited by doctor Akira Kato ( Izumi Morimura ) who've heard about Asada at the field hospital during the war. She recruits him to be the first surgeon in Japan to perform a difficult heart surgery know as the Batista procedure. Kato is an ambitious assistant professor who's vying for professorship at Meishin University Hospital. Her plan is to use Asada's talent to gain her professorship at the hospital. First he's not interested, but as the situation progress, he changes his mind and joins Meishin University Hospital. There he meets the head of surgery Dr. Takeo Noguchi ( Ittoku Kishibe ). Noguchi rules his department with his cunning and an iron hand. From the start Asada who's interest is saving patient's life, and Noguchi who's politically motivated to uphold the hospital's reputation don't see eye to eye. There's all sorts of amoral practice going on at the hospital such as trying experimental drugs on late stage cancer patient without telling the family about its side effects. Asada is not interested in these practices, and starts to find similar minded comrades who's not seen as promotable material within the hospital. This crew of similar minded staff becomes Asada's first team at the Meishin hospital.

The talent gathered in making this drama succeeded in making it one of the best medical themed drama to come out of Asia. Kenji Sakaguchi is spot on as the super doctor Ryutaro Asada. Teppei Koike, Ittoku Kishibe, Asami Minagawa, Sadao Abe, Izumi Morimura, Mari Natsuki, and other supporting casts also puts in outstanding performance to make this drama compelling, and exciting. Honorable mention goes to Teppei Koike who's acting ability helps to bring the drama up a notch or two on each of the episodes, and also Ittoku Kishibe who puts in his gritty performance. Interestingly enough, both Koike, and Kishibe started their career as a musician. Koike is still one half of the music duo called WaT, and Kishibe used to be the bassist for the biggest Japanese Rock band of the '60s "The Tigers". Rumor has it that Led Zeppelin's bassist John Paul Jones upon seeing Kishibe's performances while he was visiting Japan commented " That guy who was playing the bass was unbelievably good. I seriously thought he might be better than me. I wanted to meet him, but never got the chance" (Player magazine 1981). Kishibe still frequently performs as the bassist when his old band mates performs on stage.

The plot of this series was most realistic in the first season. Starting with the second season, situation of the patient's medical condition started to escalate to the level of implausibility. This somewhat detracted from the realism in the subsequent seasons.

A fine drama with excellent performance by the casts makes this series recommended for viewing by all Asian drama fans.

7.5/10


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