Thursday, January 08, 2009

Kaze no Garden eps 1-7

First thing I noticed about this show besides the dedication to Ogata Ken was that it was in commemoration of 50 years of Fuji TV. The second thing was the camera work. Its not your typical still camera in generic studio set shots. Even the hospital sets look bigger, brighter and more real. Obviously signs that this has a higher budget than your average dorama. And this being the last jdorama by Ogata Ken (Ruri no Shima and Ai wa Doda) means its a must watch for me.

I dream of Kuninaka Ryoko saying that to me.

Kaze no Garden is basically the story of Shiratori sensei, played by Nakai Kiichi a doctor with a troublesome past who finds out that he has cancer and not long to live. Yup, this is the first dying main character dorama we've had in the last few years that does not star Sawajiri Erika and Nakai Kiichi is a much better actor than Erika sama. He is the kind of actor who doesn't need to overract to show his character's emotions.

Even a dying man can still get the women. :)

There's a side story in the beginning on a financial broker who is sick and Kuninaka Ryoko plays his daughter. I'm watching her acting going 'why is she always relegated to supporting roles?'. She certainly can act but she has not been given any challenging roles. She is certainly a better actress than Kuroki Meisa who plays Shiratori's daughter. Yes, Kuroki Meisa is in this show and is the reason I was hesitant about watching this. She doesn't stink up the join like Medaka but she still doesn't show me that she is an actress.

Who would dare do such a thing?!

Kuroki Meisa to me is like an overpushed Johnny. Stunt casting. A model pretending to be an actress without paying her dues by doing well as a supporting actress first. She tries hard is nowhere as bad as Fukada Kyoko or Ito Misaki but she just doesn't have the eyes that emote well. Her face is too stiff and I just can't help comparing her performance with Kuninaka Ryoko's as they both play daughters to estranged fathers. Even with Kuninaka Ryoko's crappy dialogue questioning Shiratori over what he said to her father, you can see the love of her character for her otousan and feel the connection. When Kuroki Meisa takes a walk with her father and they have their first real talk, there is a lack of connection. Nakai Kiichi saves it though, showing his character putting on a brave face while suppressing a gamut of emotions within.

Do you even have to ask?

I'm being too harsh on Kuroki Meisa but there's just something about her that makes it hard for me to enjoy her performance as the main actress. The worst offender in terms of acting would be the guy who plays the son of the bee keeper. OMFG, his overacting just stands out against the melancholy feel of Kaze no Garden.

Kaze no Garden is not for everyone. It is freaking slow. Its the type of story better suited to a movie format like Memories of Tomorrow. Too many unnecessary scenes. Its a low flame dorama but a well shot and well acted (for the most part) dorama. It does pick up after ep 5 when Shiratori finally meets up with his kids. You need to be in the right frame of mind to watch Kaze no Garden. You need to be in a mood for something that's very laid back. Forgot to mention that Hirahara Ayaka plays Shiratori's girlfriend and does a decent job at it. She reminds me of Tsu Chi with her doeful innocently seductive eyes. :) And its great to see the kid from Mukodono and Wedding Planner, two of my favourite jdoramas.

How can anyone in that right mind say yes to that?

In short, Kaze no Garden is not a must watch. The main reasons to watch it would be Nakai Kiichi's acting and Ogata Ken. The pacing is too slow but beautifully shot so its a very laid back dorama that's nice to look at.


Jung said...

Totally agree about Kuninaka Ryoko. Extremely beautiful, extremely talented, extremely versatile, and extremely undervalued. Well, she's young, so she still has a long career ahead of her.

I wasn't sure if I could take a cancer patient story, so I avoided this jdrama... but since I have nothing else to watch I might as well pick it up. I'm a sucker for beautifully shot visuals.

Where's your review of Innocent Love??! j/k. if you havent' started it, skip it. I hope the main guy never does another drama ever again.

Akiramike said...

I can't stand that less talented actresses are getting bigger roles instead of Kuninaka Ryoko. She deserves more than just safe and minor supporting roles. I really want to see her out of her comfort zone as the nice girl. She was good as the high maintenance Michiru in KDO and I need to see her push her boundaries.

I am avoiding Innocent Love like the plague. Looking at the cast and synopsis is enough to tell me it sucks.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think you have such insight, and other times I realize you were dropped on your head multiple times as a child. This drama is really well done, and one of my favorites.