Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soredemo Ikite Yuku eps 9-11

I finally caved in last night. I just could not bear the wait for ep 9 subs and then the long wait for the last two. This isn't KDO where you could watch it raw for the story and enjoy the dialogue again with the subs. The emotional impact when first watching is important and lack of comprehension would dilute the experience/enjoyment.

There was a risk but this wasn't Hagetaka the movie with all the technical terms. I gave it a go and suffice to say episode 9 and 10 were pretty awesome with ep 11 being a lot calmer. Nothing could match the emotional kettle peg of ep 8 but the quality of the acting and story doesn't stop.

I just love how Soredemo can tackle the frequently used subjects of revenge, responsibility and forgiveness in jdoramas and avoid all the pitfalls and conventions that make most jdoramas very preachy. It is testament to the writing and acting whereby the characters do not need to voice out their emotional turmoils and how they come to terms with things. They actually do but they say it in a way that it feels like they are telling the other person, not the audience.

Soredemo is so non judgmental. We get to see Kenji as this cold blooded, unfeeling murderer. We get to see him like a kid, scared to remember what he had done when confronting Aki's mom in ep 8. We find out about his traumatic childhood but its not offered as an excuse. He tries to absolve himself of responsibility by blaming it on Futaba. He blames his father and at the same time he wants his father to acknowledge him. Kenji is what he is. A murderer, son and a brother.

Soredemo is a godlike dorama. It is invincible. Not many jdoramas can touch it. It is destined to be on my top 10 list of jdoramas, whenever I get around to it. Fukuda Mayuko may have a limited role but I'm pretty sure she got to take a small part in this show.

If you know a bit of kanji, I find watching it with Japanese subs helped with my understanding and is a great way to learn kanji besides playing the AKB48 game on my psp. I copy and pasted the Japanese subs onto google translate but it transted the counter for the lines as well, ie the first line was numbered 1 and it became 'one'. I think rewatching Soredemo and older jdoramas with Japanese subs is a pretty good idea. I'm running out of superlatives for Soredemo.  This is truly IMHO, a jdorama classic and everyone must watch it instead of generic crap like Zenkai girl which has 3000 downloads per sub.


As for the ending... I get it but I just didn't get why it had to be so sad which the last episode was based around. Its not like they couldn't be in touch and stuff. Unless of course Futaba thinks of it as a punishment for her. That she should be happy while Yuri's mom is still in the hospital.

It doesn't bother me that much cause this is a character based dorama and Futaba made that choice which I can respect. I really like the last bit where they are trading letters/lines and its just awesome scenery with rolling piano music. I just don't buy the 'we can't meet again' cause I'm going to be Yuri's mom' bit cause there's emails, skype, mobile phones and cars/trains to meet up on weekends unless there was an obvious 'we can't meet' cause I can't be happy thing that Hiroki understood. Need to wait for subs to see how it works.

Some other stuff that I loved:

- Hiroki becoming almost like an enlightened monk in ep 9, free from the shackles of hate and the past. Query where Futaba can ever be free or should she free herself? Is atonement for her brother necessary? Perhaps it is for her to find peace.

- The flying kick. I was laughing and having the feeling of WTF at the same time. After all the crying, it all the anger that is buried is unleased as she pushes the policeman aside like a rag doll. Lol. And the flashback at the beginning of episode 12 makes it even better.

- Yuri's mom didn't wake up. Forced happy endings have no place in dramatic stories.

- Alas, Kurashina Kana turned out to be merely a plot device and a sounding board for Hiroki to voice his thoughts. :(


maiku said...

Spoilers ahead, no doubt...

I'll go out on a limb and says this is the best written, best acted jdrama I've seen yet. I usually skip more serious genres like this but I was drawn in by the honesty and simplicity. So much was understated, left to the viewer to figure out. My epiphany came when Futaba associates the red poppies growing by the lake with her brother's guilt. For some reason the significance of the flowers didn't immediately click in my mind. They just briefly showed a pack of seeds in his bedroom. Afterwards I wondered if I was missing other subtleties. Everything seemed so deliberate, I started paying more attention. Wait...did forgetting to offer Futaba salmon onigiri imply their class differences?

It all felt very natural and realistic too. When Hiroki's mother goes into a long monologue about how miserable she's been, it doesn't feel out of place or drawn out. When Futaba wails on her brother Hiroki and the police are just as shocked as we are.

I'm not totally sure how to interpret the ending. At the amusement park Futaba briefly mentions how she used to think tying notes to trees at shrines was a strange sort of mail system. Later they're both seen writing letters and tying them to trees. It's sad, but I got the impression the letters are never actually being exchanged. Still, this correspondence seems to keep them going.

Then at the very end Hiroki jumps up out of the boat and looks around. It's as if one of Futaba's messages got through to him?

chobuki said...


There are indeed a couple of subtleties in the drama waiting to be discovered. An easy one would be Kohei quoting lines from mangas to Hiroki like they were personal mantras, to show how Kohei in particular took managas in high regard as a result of his lack of social interaction.

Another one a friend spotted was Hiroki at the karaoke with Futaba, where they unanimously regarded the two enka titles as songs about alcohol. Not that the lyrics were really about alcohol, just that they were used in commercials, which in turn implied how the two of them were indoors watching TV a lot as a result of their circumstances.

I took their "letter-exchanging" literally as Omikuji, so they probably didn't send them out at all. So that boat scene was likely to be her words figurative "reaching out" to Hiroki, least that's how I saw it.

Personally, I was extremely impressed with what came after that. I mean the act of Hiroki keeping the video tape (very briefly but strongly) showed how he couldn't move on from the incident, so that last bit packed so much impact I couldn't ask for a better ending scene.

Akiramike said...

Wow. Lots of observations that I did not even think of. I think I need to rewatch it and take everything in again.

Anonymous said...

I really like this drama at first...but it was starting to drag. Too much talking in one spot and crying.


canavial said...

This one is for you, Mike:
Guess who played the nurse in episodes 8 & 9.

eliza bennet said...

I really liked this drama even if for just being so excellently subtle.

I also liked the ending since despite rooting for your couple, it would have been hard for both of them to continue. I loved it that in their amusement park date, they mention that they have not visited a park like that for years and Hiroki says "it has been 15 years" and there in awkward silence between them. Their relationship would have been filled with those kind of silences and both of them deserve better.

To me the only weak link was Eita's acting. He looks like Kimura, talks like Kimura but he is no Kimura.

Anonymous said...

It's good that he isn't Kimura bc otherwise he'd be too concerned with acting cool and wounded more than guilty and repressed.It would be more about HIM, rather than the story. It wouldn't be dark at all.

I would agree with you though that I don't think Eita as much of an actor either, but compared to the stuff he's done in other dramas, at least after Ep 1 in this drama, i didn't doubt that he was the negligent brother who had to live through the guilt and also be ignored by his mother.