Okay, the Dorama Encyclopedia arrived yesterday, so I can now offer some comments!First, an apology to the Encyclopedias other author, Motoko Tamamuro, who I neglected to mention before. Sorry!The books cover immediately catches the eye - while minimalist in layout, the cover photo is of a young Japanese woman sitting at a mirror - with what appears to be a lizard-thing staring back at her! (from the show Daughter of Iguana, which is not even the strangest title in there...!)The book starts with a brisk but informative history of Japanese television broadcasting, followed by some notes on the books format. The bulk of the book is immediately familiar if you already have the Anime Encyclopedia, an alphabetical run-down of each title, with cast, crew and broadcast information followed by a plot synopsis.I would suggest that, like its predecessor, this is not a book to read through in one go. Asides from the fact that your eyeballs will probably explode if you did so, its much more fun to just find a comfy chair, open a page at random and then go where your whims take you. So excited was I at first, that I initially forgot that one reason I bought the book was to see what it had to say on Star Fleet, and it was several hours of enjoyable browsing later before I remembered to check out the entry!Those of you familiar with this site may be a little bit disappointed that little new information is revealed here, but for newcomers to the show it clears up a lot of questions they may have once had, and there may also be related information tid-bits hidden in other entires - one of the books great strengths is that many series have linked information not just with other dramas, but also with the Anime Encyclopedia as well.Asides from Star Fleet, I would still highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Japanese TV. Jonathan and Motoro have an engaging writing style, and aren't above expressing their own disbelief at some of the more way-out plots apparently readily accepted by Japanese audiences. The authors attention to detail is superb; it includes details of opening themes and they even go as far to include an appendix of foreign shows whose titles were altered in Japan - good luck guessing which popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon Burn! 011 actually is - and another appendix listing some of the drama titles Mandarin names. Sentai and monster fans will find much to like here; indeed, the "U" section would be over a third smaller without the exhaustive Ultraman entry, but all kinds of dramas are covered, and theres a surprising amount of historical education to be gleaned from the numerous samurai-era shows. Its also touching to find lists of the authors favourite shows and actors included; Jonathan perhaps revealing that he just as much a fan at heart as we all are with a high placing for Star Fleet...!There are a number of photos and also some illustrations provided by Steve Kyte, varying from serious to comic in style. One reason for these illustrations is that, as the authors wryly comment, Japanese production companies are extremely reluctant to provide publicity material even to domestic publications, and indeed, some photos have had had to be taken from US versions...! Its arguable that the book is worth it just for the shot from Cyber Girls Thelomea... ( er... I just need to go for a brisk run...! ) But the best praise I can give this book is that after a few minutes reading, you too will be wondering just where you can get hold of such gems as Purple Eyes in the Dark, Geisha Detective, Bayside Showdown, Big Wing, Leave It to the Nurses, and The Sniper. The book makes clear that there is a sizable market waiting to be tapped for some of the higher quality shows, if only foreign licensees can be persuaded to invest as much effort as they have done anime, and this book suceeds wonderfully in generating enthusism for its subject.
"The power of bakers, the power of artists; even the power of witches! It must be a power given by God... sometimes we suffer for it."- Ursula, Kikis Delivery Service.