Sunday, January 25, 2009

Arifureta Kiseki eps 1+2

I've always thought that Nakama Yukie is better as a comedy actress. I've always enjoyed her role in Trick with Abe Hiroshi. I think her ability to play such a flawed character is great. Contrast that with her boring role in the super pedestrian Tokyo Wankei. Arifureta Kiseki seems to be another serious boy meets girl jdorama ala Tokyo Wankei so I wasn't expecting much. I really don't see how they can do a serious romance dorama today that comes close to Long Vacation/Love Generation quality with the non-acting ability of young actors today.

Imagine my surprise when I realised that the main actor was Kase Ryo from 'Soredemo boku wa yattenai'! Yes! Someone who can actually act! OMG, how did this happen?! Someone actually decided to cast based on acting skills rather than random Johnny bishonen? This is brilliant! Nakama Yukie won't have to carry the show by herself! Yatta!

Hhhm, she's not as kabe onna as I thought...

Then, Jinnai Takanori turned up on my screen with his super bulging eyeballs and array of overacting skills. WTF is this person in so many freaking doramas. Do they not realise his tendency to overact kills every serious dorama he's been in. I love it when he's in comedies like Heaven Cannot Wait or Backdancers. Its cool when he's suppose to be comedy relief supporting actor. With a serious show like Arifureta Kiseki, it could be really bad.

I try to banish my resentment for Jinnai Takanori from my mind in order to enjoy the show more. It was that or fast forward all his scenes. It is really nice to see a more realistic jdorama. Too many anime style jdoramas can be a bad thing. And this is realistic serious dorama. Not like Tomorrow where its serious but people act and speak slightly more anime like. You can say its more movie like than you're average jdoramas. The characters can exist in our world.

Arifureta Kiseki is about Kana (Nakama Yuki) and Shota (Kase Ryo) who meet when they try both prevented Makoto (Jinnai Takanori) from commiting suicide at a train platform. From there, its plays like your typical serious romance show. Awkward exchanges. Family background etc etc. I was sort of getting bored near the end and thinking there better be something at the end that'll make me excited about episode 2. And there was. Nice big reveal which just makes everything so much more interesting. This show is gonna rule and Jinnai Takanori's overacting is not going to spoil it for me! (I hope) Suffice to say, there's gonna be lots of emotional and dark stuff in this serious and (fingers crossed) no simplification or anime style dumbing down.

One thing that struck me as I was watching this show is that the camera is way too still. Yeah, I know movies have 3 months to shoot for 2 hours of runtime so they can take their time with shots but the realistic mood is slightly off put by the too obvious studio set shots. I guess you can call this more of an observation than criticism. The other thing I noticed when taking screencaps was the lack of close ups. This goes together with static camera observation. Even when focused on a character, the camera is distant. Maybe a deliberate choice to highlight the emotional distance between the characters and their emotions? To amplify their emotional detachment or signify the depths that they had buried their problems to? Will the camera shots get closer as more gets revealed and they confront their past?

I for one, am looking forward to seeing how Arifureta Kiseki unfolds and highly recommend it. At least give ep 1 a try and I guarantee you'll be hooked at the end.


Anonymous said...

Hmm... serious drama.... a change of pace then... I haven't seen Nakama Yukie in anything since a movie she did a while back, had foregone Gokusen... but it'll be interesting to see what type of drama this will turn out to be, with Kase Ryo in it.. of which I can't help but think back to his voice in The Sky Crawlers...

jaycbll said...

i liked the 1st 2 episodes.i like the pacing...though it might be a little slow for some...
nakama yukie put on some weight? o_O
still looks good though ^

maiku said...

I noticed she looked a little bigger when she hosted this year's Kouhaku. Either that or I just wasn't used to seeing her in sleeveless outfits before. Err...big arms?

Jung said...

Big 3 thumbs up for this show.

I like this show because it feels real. There is no rapid-fire dialogs between people. Instead dialogs are choppy and often consist of incomplete sentences... kind of like how many people talk. And more attention is given to the verbal acting than other shows.

Interesting observation about the static camera work and the dearth of closeup shots. I think the latter has to do with the fact that this show has more continuous / single-take shots than other shows. With closeup shots, you have to have multiple takes, and bring all the scenes together later. It's costlier, but also more forgiving to actor's mistakes.

But I guess they can get away with longer takes because of veteran actors. The static nature of the camera work also complements the show well.

All in all, a great show so far.

Akiramike said...

Totally forgot to watch Kouhaku this year. Still behind on my downloads so I doubt they'll be any seeders left when I finally catch up on my stuff.

Nice point about the dialogue. But then in real life, Japanese speak much faster than they do in Jdoramas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Akira Mike!

I started watching this Jdrama after reading your nice review! Thanks a lot! And I've already watched all episodes.

Well, I've never watched a Jdrama that 仲間由紀恵 (Nakama Yukie) plays as a comedy actress.
ありふれた奇跡 (Arifureta kiseki)
Shinobi - Heart under blade
東京湾景 (Tokyo Wankei)
So, I don't get see her playing like that funny character at all.

That romance between 中城加奈 - Nakajo Kana (仲間由紀恵 - Nakama Yukie) and 田崎翔太 - Tasaki Shota (加瀬亮 - Kase Ryo)??? OMG, It could choose another better romantic pair to 仲間由紀恵 - Nakama Yukie, huh? (smile)

This Jdrama show us a bit on how is the someone's thought who try to practise suicide and his diary battle to prevent he does it. A great human drama but quite depressing theme. I guess that kind of people should live by themselves. Unfortunately, It's a psychological impulse out-of-control. I guess.

I highly recommend it too but I've thought this Jdrama took too long to ending, didn't you? And I've missed a soundtrack. The Enya song "Dreams are more precious" is one of the best song ever and I do appeciate it but how it is the only song, I would say it has been too repetitive.


Hélio Shiino
Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL