This show, which aired on TV Tokyo in 2011, is one of the funniest j-dramas I’ve seen yet. It takes place in a fantasy setting, based (not so loosely) on the RPG Dragon Quest. The title translates to “The Hero Yoshihiko and the Devil’s Castle” and it’s totally nuts. The main protagonist, Yoshihiko (played hilariously by Yamada Takayuki 山田孝之) begins his adventures by pulling a sword from a stone in his village (named Cowboy Village). This proves that he’s the next hero, or yuusha.
He’s then sent on a quest to find magical herbs that will cure the plague that is ravaging the local countryside, the same quest that his father, the first yuusha, embarked on but disappeared. Along the way, he meets Danjo, a warrior swordsman, Murasaki, a girl who wants to kill Yoshihiko for revenge, and Merebu, a bumbling wizard who is busy conning a small town. Oh, and they’re guided along the way by a bizzare, off-the wall Buddha (played by Jiro Sato 佐藤二朗).
The group steps off to seek and defeat the Demon King, who is the cause of the plague, and along the way they have various zany adventures. The writing is thick with absurd comedy sketches and some of Japan’s most famous comics appear throughout. Even if you’re not familiar with Japanese comedy, you’ll laugh out loud at more than a few of the bits. If you are familiar with the style, sit back and enjoy the puns, fast dialogue exchanges and taboo-breaking jokes.
The show has completed a second season: Yūsha Yoshihiko to Akuryō no Kagi (The Hero Yoshihiko and the Key of the Evil Spirit) and a third, Yuusha Yoshihiko to Michibikareshi Shichinin is scheduled for a 2016 release.
If you think you might like a Japanese version of Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, or ever played Dragon Quest at all, or if you just like goofy comedy, you really have to check this drama out.