Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Last Friends 1-5

When I first heard about this show and that there would be girl on girl action between Nagasawa Masami and Ueno Juri, I was excited. Less because of yuri action but more because this might be the show that establishes Nagasawa Masami as a top actress in my book. I think she's good but my gripe is that she's not been in a really good dorama/movie or showed that she can carry one. The best thing I've seen her in is Nada Sou Sou and that movie was carried by Satoshi Tsumabuki who should have been in Proposal Daisakusen. My point is, she hasn't shown that she can elevate mediocre shows into good shows like Hirosue Ryoko or Matsushima Nanako.

Just do it you &^%$@&*!!!!

Last Friends' synopsis on the drama wiki describes it as a dorama that tackles issues of the current generation. To me, this show is basically a textbook example of battered woman syndrome where Michiru, played by Nagasawa Masami is seemingly stuck in a violent relationship but cannot get out. The main problem I have with this is that is a textbook example rather than exploration or in depth look at the battered woman syndrome.

First problem is that very limited time is used to set up Michiru and Sosuke's relationship. They throw in the obligatory Michuru comes from a single mom family who is always looking for love to explain her stupidity in continuing to stay with Sosuke. Yes, I know lots of women are in such relationships. My complaint with Last Friends is just the way its presented. Its too shallow, too simple, too impersonal, too.... detached.

Main reason I watch this show...

Its like watching some educational video on battered woman syndrome. Michuru is less a real character and more and example. Time needed to be taken to established between her and Sousuke. There is no chemistry, no personal attachment by the viewer into their relationship and when Sousuke quickly revealed his true colours, there is viewer apathy. Its just too easy to say to Michuru to quickly leave him.

I'll never look at Ueno Juri the same way again....

Now if they had taken say 1 and a half episodes to establish the Michuru & Sousuke relationship and slowly showed the audience that he violent SOB it could different. Maybe in the beginning it would be just simple flinging things across the room or breaking of plates. Basically, their relationship needed to descend into hell slowly and drag the viewer them. Instead we get a big burst of violence in the first episode which by episode 5 I am so fucking sick and tired of Michiru not being able to walk away. Don't they have intervention orders in Japan?

I wish she were talking about me...

Yes, I know they are unable to devote that much time to Michiru's story. Problem is I don't give a fuck about the rest of the characters. Not the hairdresser who may have been abused as a kid, not Ueno Juri who wants to be a guy and not the CA and the husband without balls. All the characters revolve around Michiru's story of abuse but because that breaks down, the dorama falls apart. I think the show would have benefited from a gritter more realistic look similar to the movie Daremo Shiranai instead of your generic bright colours jdorama look.

Is there anything that can be done to save Last Friends? Not that I can see. Michiru is going to continue being abused until the end of the series maybe resulting in Ueno Juri dying in trying to save her or something. I don't care. Just because Michiru gets beaten up every episode by Sousuke doesn't automatically make her an emphatic character.


suparuki said...

one good thing has come from your watching this show: a new category with which to rate a show -> yuri

brief recap (scoring from 1 to 10):
kawaii, moe, pantsu, oppai & yuri.

gambare, tanomu! Maikai

Jung said...

I think this show tries to tackle too many taboo issues all at once. The writer is throwing all kinds of shit on the wall to see which ones stick. And of course, only the wet one sticks...

You got DV, sibling incest, gay love, infidelity, workplace ijime, and transgender. What the fuck the did I leave out? Oh, oh, dereliction of duty by civil servant...

They made Sosuke and Michiru's chacters too extreme, and impossible to sypathize for. The writer should've crafted the storyline so viewers can sympathize with not only Michiru, but also Sosuke. Now that would've been tabbo.

The only thing that's going to save this show is if Michiru actually turns out be bisexual at the end, and has always had a crush for Ruka.

The only winner in this dorama is Hirata Mitsuru, who finally gets a break from playing child molester, murderer, neglectful parent, and sadist roles... though as he was playing a nice father in this show, he was playing yet another loser role in another show called Pandora... *sigh*

Akiramike said...

Jung, I agree with your thoughts on this show. They put too many eggs in one basket.