Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life/Raifu eps 3-11

I kinda left this show in the backburner for a long time despite the first two episodes being pretty. Finally decided to continue with the show and ended up watching the rest of the series in one night. Life/Raifu is a show about high school bullying.

Blow wind!

To me the star of this show is definitely Saki Fukada as Anzai Manami. Anzai is what a good villain should be. Relentlessly cruel, unforgiving, forever scheming and most importantly is the villain because she enjoys it. Her ability to make me hate her is astounding and kept me watching just to see her get her just deserts. She is the character that drives the story. Anzai is the villain that forces Shiiba Ayumu to become the heroine of the story.

Mop Girl? Oops, wrong dorama.

Actually she's not the only 'evil' character in the show. Katsumi is fun to watch as the manipulative sob who is abused by his father. The overacting does take away from the believability of the character but he's still fun to watch. Lets not forget the useless self serving teachers, especially Seto Asuka's Toda sensei. For me Anzai is the most hateful character and I wished I could teach her a lesson with my rod of justice. :)

Bitch fight!

The set up of the show is sorta like those old school melodramas where the formula is to stack the odds against the heroine. Except this time instead of bucket loads of tears and self pity, we see Shiiba Ayumu continue to struggle against seemingly impossible odds. I wouldn't have blamed her if she went into a mental breakdown. Its like everytime something nice happened you knew it was going to get worse.

Unfortunately, this isn't what it looks like.....

The pace of the show doesn't let up. And it actually manages to pull off the Watashitachi no Kyokasho ending pretty well and make it a pretty cool scene. Kyokasho milked this really long and overly dramatic school hostage situation while in Life, its handled really quickly and succinctly while ending story arches of two characters.

I wish Saki Fukuda would say that to me...

Huge kudos to the show for not getting too preachy with the ending. I couldn't believe it when I found myself feeling a bit sorry for Anzai. For all her manipulation and evil doing, at least she has the guts to face the other students when it was her turn while practically everyone else are actually cowards who seek refuge in bullying. Even those two megane girls really got into bullying. You can say that the message of the dorama is to hate the sin, not the sinner but to me, what it has shown is that people are weak.

The hardest thing to do is to stand up to the majority which is something only 4 people in the whole school did. Its sorta like saying don't judge people by what they do but how they react to adversity. Whether the face it head one or run away/sell out their friends for their own survival. I hate to say it but when they really showed that everyone else were really cowards, I'd almost understand why Anzai did what she did. Almost.

Sonoda's one lucky guy, except for the whole cigarette thing...
Plus the guy who was the catalyst to turning the class against Anzai when Ayumu was caught cheating. It was basically the turning point of Ayumu's battle against Anzai. For a character of such significance, its kinda weird that his character is not even developed a little. I suppose he represents the other classmates who finally decided to speak up after being silent for so long.

One thing you'll definitely learn from this show is 'dogeza'. :)

Its too late to redo my top 5 shows from last year but Life is certainly up there. It has certainly shown me that Japanese doramas can have great, efficient writing. Or maybe this just applies to manga adaptations? Highly recommended show.


Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for you to update. ^^
I just checked out the cast for "3 nen B gumi Kinpachi Sensei" (Season 7) and Fukuda Saki (Manami from Life) was in it.

Akiramike said...

Fukuda Saki's in Kinpachi 7? Now I regret not getting the show. :(