Sunday, June 28, 2009
Shiroi Haru ep 11
I wanted to write about the finale of Shiroi Haru straight after watching but I couldn't. I had many different thoughts about it but I couldn't form a solid opinion on how I felt about the ending. If you take Shiroi Haru as a yakuza dorama, then its really a fitting ending. The stereotypical story about the bad guy with nice heart who wants to quit/change, finds some happiness only for his past to catch up with him in the end. I've seen it way too many times.
Except Shiroi Haru is not a yakuza dorama and Haruo wasn't really a bad guy or at least the viewers were not shown the bad things that he did in the past. Sure he killed a top ranking guy but he was under orders to do so and he did it for Mariko. He seemed more like a small time punk rather than yakuza who has down all sorts of evil that warrant denying him a happy ending. Even the way Haruo did the murder was so lame and amateurish making him look like more of a wannabe. And if the son really wanted revenge, he would paid to take Haruo out in prison or waited for him on his day of release.
If there's one major complaint I have about episode 11 its how the knife scene was staged. If you look at the baker's position and Haruo's, Haruo could have rushed the attacker from the side. To get stabbed he had to go around the freaking table which is a lot slower than say grabbing the assailant from behind or jumping across the table and knocking him against the wall. Its such a pivotal scene and the director can't even get the simple logistics of it right. Its not as bad as the cafe scene in Bloody Monday but no scene can even approach that in terms of gaps in logic. The audience doesn't want Haruo to die so can it be so hard for the director to ensure that it looked like using himself as a shield was the only to save the baker? Are jdorama directors so incompetent that they can't even direct an action sequence that makes sense?
When the knife weilding dude appeared, I was overjoyed. The perfect ending flashed through my mind. The show was been about Haruo's past but what about Koji the baker? What if he had a shady past that caught up to him? Now that would be a good way to get him out of the picture cause deep down, we all want a Haruo Sa-chan ending. Koji may be the better choice plus the 9 years he spent taking care of her but Haruo's a more sympathetic character. The audience would be crying crocodile tears while clapping in joy.
Maybe Haruo would make a move on Kanako. How could Koji or anyone live in a house with Shiraishi Miho and not make a freaking move on her? What Shiroi Haru lacked was more emphasis on his relationship with Kanako. Surely there must be some attraction there. Mixed emotions and reluctance to go further for fear of damaging their pseudo family life. Why not spend an extra episode exploring their relationship? I don't think Koji even banged Mariko. If Koji couldn't get the girl he liked, he should get her sister. They are like a married couple sticking together for the child except the skipped the whole romance part.
To me, the high point of the episode was Sa-chan's visit to Haruo. That scene where she asks him the question was brilliant. No need for music. Just raw emotion and close up of Haruo's face. Abe Hiroshi deserves all accolades for his work here. Contrast the supposed high point which was the hospital bedside scene. They had to use music and flashback to support Sa-chan's not so good acting. She can look kawaii but Ohashi Nozomi can't carry that scene. I think Fukuda Mayuko 5 years ago would be the perfect casting for Sa-chan. Its supposed to be the scene where Haruo is finally happy but I just can't feel that way for him. It reminds me of the ending of Utahime. Its an ending that makes sense but you'd rather see it go another way. Its not that it prevents Shiroi Haru from being a good show, it just does not give the audience emotional closure.
Usually when a character is going to die, they usually give the character an episode to be happy. When something good finally happens to a character but its a bit too early, you know something is going to happen. The art competition was suppose to be that for Haruo and Sa-chan but I would have loved to see them bond more. It would have been fun to see them hang out for a day or Haruo doing a conversation saying that if he were hypothetically her father, he would want Sa-chan to do this or that.
Some people have remarked that the ending is too short. When the emotional core of the show is finished, namely the Haruo Sa-chan relationship there is nothing else to do. There is no perfect. There is no perfect ending this show that will please everyone. I think my idea of Koji's past catching up to him instead of Haruo is the best cop out but if they had made it pretty obvious that Haruo had to take the knife instead of beating the shit out of that scared assailant I would have felt better about the ending. Its more the fact that he just did not fucking fight back. Its the pussy way where he sorted accepted it was punishment for his 'crime'. Didn't he come from the yakuza world where right makes right? Its not like beating the assailant would endanger Sa-chan. Its funny how I was complaining that it didn't seem like a yakuza show in the beginning and now they do a yakuza ending.