Thursday, August 23, 2007

Love Story

How could I have missed this show the first time around? Nakayama Miho + Toyokawa Etsushi = more than enough talent to carry a decent show. Thank the jdorama gods it was voted as series of the week. The bad thing about that is it took forever to get the whole series and now I'm desperately playing catch-up. I just finished this show in one sitting (haven't done that in a while) but that does not necessarily mean that its a good show.

As Satonaka Haru would say, furui yori jidai no onna. :) Except the show came out in 2001.

Toyokawa Etsushi plays Nagase, a famous writer struggling with writer's block and Nakayama Miho plays Misaki, who is assigned to be his new editor. The first interesting thing is that Nagase is an eccentric person, sorta like Kuwano from KDO. He's bad tempered and inconsiderate and of course gets into fights with Misaki. I was excited cause this seemed like the spiritual predecessor to KDO. Both leads were good actors, had good chemistry and there was plenty of funny dialogue like the Nobita-Doraemon joke.

There are times where Yuka's boobs look really perky and times when they look very flat...

Katagori Shingo plays Nagase's neighbour who likes to wear gay scarfs around his neck. The scarves are not really the main problem but he's a very boring character and unfortunately gets too much screen time. He should solely be there to give us a slight break from the verbal jousting between Nagase and Misaki. I don't care how perky Yuka's oppai are, their's is one side story that should have stayed in the fringes. I guess its cause they cast Katagori Shingo and there's some unwritten law that someone from SMAP should be given substantial screen time even though he's playing a supporting character.

2nd problem with the show is that it takes a major detour in the middle of the series which really made me fast forward. (hence finishing the series in one shot) It was then that I realised Kitagawa Eriko was the writer. Sure, she wrote Long Vacation and Beautiful Life. But she also wrote bland shows like Saigo no Koi, Overtime, Orange Days and the horrible Tatta Hitotsu no Koi. Looking at her body of work IMHO, its probably due to the directors/editors and actors who made Long Vacation and Beautiful Life the classics they are.

Kumiko is one really crappily written character. Boring and almost inconsequential plot wise.

She has not fucking concept of narrative. The first few eps were good because they were character driven. Exploring how the characters in the show behave and interact and why. When the first major detour comes, its like a plot diversion for the sake of padding the story. It does nothing for character development and slows the pacing to a halt. Not to mention eliminates the humour which mostly comes from the Nagase + Misaki.

The show then takes even more bloody detours before finally leading to the inevitable ending. By that time, I couldn't care less. The narrative was shot. Too much beating around the bush. There are some classic dialogue in the show but the writer seems to be throwing too many jdorama cliches to make the 11 episodes. It reminds me of the Korean movie 'The Classic' where the director throws every fucking Korean movie cliche into a 3 hour movie, except that the director intended it that way and I respect him for trying to make it work. Here it was like she had a good beginning and ending but didn't know what to do in between. Its like what Nagase said in the beginning of the series. Simple is better. Looks like the writer of the show did not follow the advice what she wrote for her character.

Its a shame that a show with Nakayama Miho and Toyokawa Etsushi was spoilt but such uncreative plotting. IMO, Nakayama Miho is a really good actress. One need only look at Home & Away to see that she can really carry a jdorama by herself. Only other actress who can do that would be Matsushima Nanako. If I'm not mistaken, she's retired so its really sad non of the actresses today have reached her level. Her acting doesn't really jump out but she's just got this x-factor and screen presence that lights up the screen every time she's in it.


Jung said...

very flat indeed...

I'll still take it. :-D~~

Akiramike said...

Yuka's not an it. :)