Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ryokiteki no Kanojo eps 1-10

When I first heard of a Japanese dorama remake of Sassy Girl, I was filled with dread. Hotelier was a pathetic remake of a Korean dorama. How the hell were they going to expand a 2 hour movie, into 11? Not to mention the first half of the Korean movie really stretched my patience. Basically the crutch of My Sassy Girl are the two revelations and two inportant scenes, the conversation in the cafe followed by the running and the tree in the hills. I sorta thought about how they would have to space the dorama and concluded that the dorama would require Kimutaku/Matsu Takako chemistry and lost of comedy.

The best thing about the GTO movie and Over Time.

I heart leapt for joy when I found out Tanaka Rena would be in it. She doesn't do doramas and 11 episodes of Tanaka Rena is good enough reason to watch this show. Unfortunately, Ryokiteki no Kanojo proves that once again, movies should never be adapted to doramas unless there's a lot of backstory to tell.

Riko spying on Saburo checking out some JAV. :)

First main problem is absolutely no chemistry between Kusanagi Tsuyoshi (Saburo) and Tanaka Rena (Riko). I'm usually a fan of Tsuyoshi's doramas but this time he really seems to be sleepwalking through this role. On paper, he seems the perfect fit. He's always played the passive, lovable loser type of role but in this show, Saburo is such a boring and unentertaining charater. After watching 10 episodes of this show, I think Tsuyoshi is not suited for shows where he has to talk to much. Santamaria Yusuke is a much better fit. Think back to his and Iijima Naoko's fighting in wedding planner. The spark seems to be missing from Tsuyoshi and there's no light in his eyes. Yusuke is a bit too old but IMO, he'll actually bring some fire to the Saburo and Riko fights.

Didn't you use to do para-para in Shibuya?

Tanaka Rena tries but it takes two to make a relationship work. Towards the middle I got so freaking bored with the Saburo and Riko story that I was eagerly anticipating the side stories. The writers of course realised that stretching a two hour movie in 11 episodes is hard and instead of expand bits to make it work, they completely reworked the story. Problem is, they sorta took bits and pieces of the movie and plastered it all over a story about an abusive girl.

If I had a daughter like that the mum better look like Umemiya Masako!

The result is that the dorama feels so disjointed. Its sorta like watching the Departed. Its got the scenes from Infernal Affairs but feels to capture the spirit/magic. I just feels like they threw every jdorama convention they could think off and strung them together. There's no pacing in terms of build up of the story that when pivotal scenes from the movie happen, its just so meh. If it weren't for Tanihara Shosuke's Professor Kazushima, the show would be completely unwatchable.

Sigh, such a big waste of Tanaka Rena. The big question is, if this movie was not called Ryokiteki no Kanojo, would I still have rated it as badly? Probably. End of the day, My Sassy Girl was not a character movie. It was a movie with two nice revelations. Ryokiteki no Kanojo completely removed those revelations and basically came up with a remake in name but not in spirit.


Anonymous said...

You are right, but I don't mind the mis-chemistry between the two main chracters that much. I actualy hated the drama atthe beginning because everytime the retelled parts of the movie it sucked. I found the parts who does'nt belong to the my sassy girl movie much better. For me it would have worked much better if it was'nt a remake of that great movie but an original drama. The worst ist the time capsule thing in episode 10. It does'nt make any sense any more.
Trought the series I liked the part with her father and the piano thing the best.
But I missed an bikini episode! ;-)

iampeter said...

Would this series be bearable to watch for those who haven't seen the My Sassy Girl movie?

The ratings are very poor according to the wiki, so I became very hesistant to try this series(although i never really let ratings stop me from watching a show if it had someone like Tanaka Rena in it ;D)

Jung said...

Well, I'll give Kusanagi a batch of stale Oero cookies for at least making an effort to play the role of Saburo. And even the directors must've realized in the middle of shoot that Kusanagi can't handle the exaggerated emotion, so they seemed to have cut back on the whacky scenes after a few episodes.

I bet Tanihara Shosuke would've done a much better job if he had swapped role with Kusanagi. He really transitioned well from playing dashing, serious, and somtimes coniving roles to a douchebag role. The more I watch him act, the more I like.

One thing I think the writer did well in show was showing the gradual process of the two characters falling in love.

Data said...

Oh god, the remake's such a disaster that I don't even know where to begin. I actually stopped at ep5 but then picked it up again because I was curious about Umemiya Masako (ep8-9). But this drama has this weird way of abusing its guest stars by giving them bleah nothing roles, and in the case of Umemiya, not even giving her a scene to herself. It's like the producers said, well, what if you got well-known actors and treated them like walk-on extras? This is the result.

But probably the most infuriating thing about Ryokiteki is how the producers treated important things like the time capsule, the tree, the mysterious old man and the reunion at the end. It's like they watched the same Korean movie we did and completely missed the point. Were they too dumb to understand it?

My vote for Worst Japanese Drama of All Time.

Anonymous said...

@iampeter: I think its even better if you didn't know the movie before.
I would have prefered this.

Musouka said...

This was true torture! The only reason that made watch this until the very end was TANAKA Rena....

And the only thing worse than this is Narita Rikon (1997) which costars, surprise surprise, TSUYOSHI Kusanagi and ASAKA Seto.