Friday, October 10, 2008

Koi No Chikara eps 1-4

From the writer of Yamato Nadeshiko and Shikaotoko, two of the best jdoramas ever is Koi no Chikara. Aizawa Tomoko also wrote the rather pedestrian but still watchable Itsumo Futari de and goddamnit, I regret not watching Medaka because her writing in Koi no Chikara is damn good. Its going to be a hurculean task to get it now unless I can find Medaka on rapidshare/megaupload.

Koi no Chikara is basically a josei dorama aka made for the the working adult woman. Fukatsu Eri is of course the 30 year old main character, Toko who's working as an OL in a dead end job etc etc. She meets Tsutmi Shinichi who plays Nukui, a talented advertising dude who is too straightforward and slightly inept socialy. Basically, Toko the everywoman OL. She's nice, emphatic and slowly she changes Nukui's character. We've all seen this before, except never written so well.

There are always stereotypes in josei/shoujo manga/doramas. Most of the time, they just feel like cutboard characters playing their roles in the plot. For some reason, it doesn't feel that way in Koi no Chikara. I've watched a lot of Fukatsu Eri shows but and somehow Toko doesn't seem like a boring generic OL but rather a disillusioned woman in the who is looking for direction in life. There's not really an element or part of the script that strikes me as the key to making Toko seem real but I guess most of the credit is to the structure or dialogue. There are many parts of the show where a voice in my head goes, "this is the typical josei part where this and that happens", but I'm just enjoying the show so much.

Hotman 2 just wasn't the same without her.

Maybe its all the little details like her watching that stupid tv show and admiting that the misery of others makes her happy. Or maybe how unlike a lot of josei character today, she doesn't talk all the time. There's a scene in ep 4 where Nukui is taunting her but she says nothing. Rather her facial expressions almost tell us her chain of thought as she absorbs the taunts before she launches her comeback. At least now I see why Fukatsu Eri is in so many shows. With her being in two pretty good shows, this and Suekko Chonnan, can she be considered a good actress?

Maybe its the acting. Having the cast of Yamato Nadeshiko back together minus Matsushima Nanako. Nishimura Mashiko doesn't have the subtlety to play the vindictive Yoshitake but his acting is still better than the overacting we commonly see in jdoramas today. And Yada Akiko reprises the same role as in Yamato. She is a delight to watch on screen and I wonder whether she will upstage Fukatsu Eri like she almost did in Yamato. Actually Yada Akiko's character is closer to the generic josei heroine. Nice to a fault but no other discernable characteristic.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? :)

It goes to prove that sukebes like me can enjoy well written josei stories. I think the notion of the viewer needing to project themselves onto the main character is a whole load of crap. That's why lots of shows are stuck with boring, generic main characters. And there's that old school fell of the show and not to mention having an Kazumasa Oda song. There's a kind of feel in the late 90s early 2K jdoramas which seems to have been lost forever. A more innocent or rather more simplistic feel to the shows. Not trying to do to much and end up achieving nothing.

As I've said, its kinda hard to write a structured review for Koi no Chikara because the 4 episodes didn't blow me away but more of a slow realisation that I was enjoying the show a lot. And the great thing about it is that we're 4 episodes in and they haven't gone into the main relationship yet which is great pacing. I'm just stoked that Band of Nuts took the time time and effort to sub this 2002 jdorama. I would definitely rate this as a must watch show. Can't wait for the rest of the show!


sparqi said...

Thx for the heads up on this show. This makes your blog worthwhile!!

will check it out. Good writing eh? On a completely unrelated topic...whose the jachick in the last pic?

Damn she's a beauty and sexy!

Im looking forward to noticing the differences between her and shiori chan.

Shiori chan was extemely beautiful, but not sexy (yet!).

oh yeah the writing...ummm..aswell. probably didnt miss much with medaka...It was above average after a shakey start, I remember it tended to embarassing moments of naive/optimism like saitosan... which kind of left me, after cringing, wondering 'am I too cynical?' Fortunately after the series was over I stopped asking myself those kinds of awkward questions heheheheh

Jung said...

^girl in last pix is Fukatsu Eri.

She hasn't changed too much from when she was 15 in this old shinkansen commercial. Haha I like this commercial. It has that distinctive late 80s flare... oversized clothes, cheesy breakdance, thick eyebrows, upbeat mood. I tell you, Japanese commercial hasn't changed much in 20 years.

Thanks Mike for the show. This one flew under my radar too, but I'll hunt it down, seeing it has my favorite babes.

sparqi said...

15 in that commercial! no way. On the other hand she looks a touch older than 31 in that pic.

There seems to be one change (I think) they dont wear their trousers around their arses and waddle!

Also the pic above Fukatsu Eri is somewhat burned on the back of my retinas...who's she?

Remember the writing... and the link given in the writeup!!

sparqi said...

this brought tears to my eyes:

tUrtleAE86 said...

Looks like 4 people are seeding Medaka, if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

join this community, it has medaka in megaupload and other older dramas:

Akiramike said...

Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

it is really the charm, easy going of eri's 'tohko' character that makes the film so watchable - she's the underdog and you want her to find her true calling - in work and in love. who can forget the hannibal mask, the endless bottle of wine, seeds on her face...