Friday, November 02, 2007

Hotaru no Hikari 1-9

Hotaru no Hikari is Ayase Haruka's chance to show that she can really act after the disaster that was Tatta Hitotsu no Koi. She was ok in Byakuyakou but she hasn't shown that x-factor that separates the Matsushima Nanakos from the Uchiyama Rinas. As Kanno Miho has shown in Watashitachi no Kyokasho, all a good actress needs is just a meaty role to show she is more than eye candy.

Someone please stop casting Fujiki Naohito in serious shows.

In Hotaru no Hikari, Haruka plays Hotaru, a himono onna, a woman who pretends to be ladylike outside but at home wears a t-shirt and sweatpants, drinks beer and lazes around. First problem is that the show treats it like its such a bad thing. Its as if its a bad thing to not to bound by society's dress code and rules of behaviour when at the comfort of one's home. I mean wtf is so uncultured about t-shirts and for sweatpants?

Not even Kuninaka Ryoko could save this show for me. They should have put Ken-chan in it. :)

Is Japanese society so image conscious that image is everything? If this rule only applies to women then I don't really care. Still , making such a stupid concept the main subject of this show makes everyone who cares about it look like idiots. I seriously doubt the show is a critique of society's obsession with image. Yes, they way one presents oneself is important but to the extent of looking down on girls wearing t-shirts and sweatpants? The way everyone throughout the course of the 9 episodes makes snide comments about women in t-shirts is just not funny.

I like how the script portrays Hotaru. She's probably the only 'real' character in the show. Everyone is just a 2d character. Fujiki Naohito's Takano-san is just a device for Hotaru to voice her emotions. As well written as Hotaru's personality is, there's just something about Ayase Haruka's acting that just doesn't impress me. I'd rather see Kuninaka Ryoko switch roles with her. She just doesn't have the talent for comedy and the show could really use a few laughs.

Maybe I'm just pissed off Kuninaka Ryoko hardly gets any screen time....

Part of me thinks I just can't get this show cause I'm a guy. The other part just feels that the acting is not good enough. I just can't help comparing this show to KDO. I would say this show is KDO for women. Unfortunately Ayase Haruka and Naohito Fujiki are not even in the same planet as Abe Hiroshi and Natsukawa Yui acting wise. They're not even fit to feed Ken-chan cucumbers. Can't fucking believe they and Kuninaka Ryoko won awards for their acting, especially Naohito Fujiki's stilted acting which only works in comedies. I like Kuninaka Ryoko as an actress but serious, she was just doing the stereotypical ojousan role. But then last season was a really crap one.

Acting has a lot to do with facial expressions and using that to express emotions to the audience. Hotaru no Hikari spells out every single emotion that the characters go through. Compare how Kuwano in KDO expresses his happiness with slight changes in his behaviour. Its subtle and entertaining. There is no freaking emotionally charged scene in the show. Even the scene in ep 9 where Hotaru's bf confronts her and Takano san in the house is so lame. You can't feel the tension. Compare with the scene in KDO where Kuwano and Hayasaka are arguing in Michiru's home. You could cut the freaking tension with the knife. You feel for Michiru cause she's angry that she's been blind all along. You feel for Hayasaka cause she realised too late that she has hurt Michiru and she is torn between what she wants and her sempai relationship to Michiru.

In Hotaru no Hikari, you don't feel the conflict Takano's conflict. You don't see Teshima's pain of betrayal not just by his girlfriend but by his boss. You don't see and feel that not just because the acting sucks but because they've not developed their relationships well in the story. Hotaru no Hikari tries to be a dorama where the characters write the story not where the story decides what the characters do. It doesn't work when the characters and relationships don't feel real.


Anonymous said...

You compare this one to KDO. I used to think of it more as a Densha Otoko for women. At least in the first part. The two stories looked very alike imho. In the two series, you have a lead who is whiny and kinda creepy for anyone else since he doesn't abide by the society rules. The love interest, like Hermes, is more a symbol than everything else. Just someone gorgeous and way out of the league of the lead (cause he's a otaku/himono onna). Actually, they both share the fact that they were in foreign countries before the story. And the boss filled both Jinkama and the internet guys purposes.
Now, while the first one was full of allusions, was funny or had tension this one was just plain boring and while Densha was in his own way pathetic and moving, Hotaru is just irritating.
Hotaru no hikari had no rythm: the relationship between Makoto and Hotaru was too long and had pretty much nothing to offer and yet they waited episode 9 to begin a love triangle.

Akiramike said...

Interesting comparison with Densha except Densha did not possess a cool facade to hide behind.

I compare Hotaru to Densha cause both had love triangles as climaxes to the series and Densha worked cause the viewers cared about the character whereas no one gives a crap about Makoto. He is like this personality-less character who IMO doesn't qualify as a symbol.

Data said...

Well I was the one who recommended Hotaru no Hikari, so obviously you and I have differences of opinion. My own rating was 8/10.

First of all, I'm quite puzzled why you think Hotaru no Hikari is a "serious show." It isn't all-out comedy, but almost all the scenes between Hotaru and Buchou had the humorous touch. The physical comedy and snippy dialogue between the two was what won me over, so I guess I overlooked the other not-so-good or attractive aspects like the one about mocking the attire.

Did Kato Kazuki's bad acting as Makoto ruin the whole thing? Maybe not the whole thing, but a lot of it. He never was able to 'sell' the part. Makoto's supposed to be this office hunk/oujisama (princely) type that supposedly any girl would fall for, but the fellow only looks like a wuss and a pushover. Actually, come to think of it, Fujiki could have played Makoto very well, so long as they cast other people of more appropriate ages. (There were people on forums who said Ayase was too young - a himono onna needs to be around 30, like Shinohara Ryoko.)

Lastly, yes, I feel your pain about Kuninaka Ryoko not getting more screen time. Perhaps this season's Otoko no Kosodate will be more satisfying, since she has a meatier role in there. I've watched the first episode - it's not bad - and I'm thinking of fansubbing it if no one else comes forward.

Jung said...

You guys are being too generous. This was a shitty ass show. Ayase Haruka's acting was too over the top. Her facial expression is naturally sad even when she is trying to be cheery. And I don't think it's something she can overcome. Kuninaka of course can put on all kinds of expressions with ease.

Another problem was Haruka Ayase's love interest. This show did incredibly bad job of convincing me how she can fall in love with that one-dimensional card board box. There has never there been such a dull, expressionless, male character as a love interest in the history of Jdorama. He made Fujiki Naohito look good. And that's some feat.

tUrtleAE86 said...

To me, this show was a wannabe Kimi wa Petto. But, of course, it couldn't hold a candle to it. I'm not saying that Kimi wa Petto was an amazing show, but it was enjoyable and I think it played on the closed door relationship thing in a much more effective way.

Anonymous said...

Watched till episode 9 today.
Found this drama quite funny, but it is far away from the KDO-League.
After Proposal Daisakusen I now vote for Buchou since the Ahomiha love interest is so dump.

Akiramike said...

Jung, one-dimensional card board box is the perfect phrase to describe Makoto. I can't see him as a symbol similar to Hermes because he's not like this unattainable dream that Hermes was.

Its intersting that some ppl found the show funny. Yes, its suppose to be a comedy but never once did I loled. The dialogue btw Hotaru and Bucho was good but the delivery wasn't.

Strangely, I'm sorta looking forward to the end cause just to see Hotaru choose Bucho over cardboard box Makoto.

Anonymous said...

The least we can say is that this drama left nobody indefferent : either you find it really crappy either you giggle watching buchou...

varms said...

Darn, I don't really understand why you guys don't like this show... Maybe I'm blinded coz I like it when Fujiki Naohito does comedy! I was sleeping thru his other drama as the going-blind-cameraman (now that is boring...but I loved him in GTO as the sleazy cop.) I'm watching KOD and HNH now at the same time... I'm somewhere past the middle of both. KDO is charming in its way, I don't love it but it's amusing enough to keep me interested (Ken-chan is so cute!!!). HNH is another light show that doesn't take itself too seriously. Ayase Haruka annoyed me from the beginning of Hotaru no Hikari but I just focused on Fujiki coz I like it when he acts like a cocky smartass... I felt like shaking Hotaru, yelling "Why are you so stupid!!" in every episode so far. Girls with no backbone bug me and so do boring pretty boy characters.