Friday, January 27, 2012

Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi eps 1+2

With a name like second last love, Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi seems like yet another obasan dorama. The lovely Koizumi Kyoko playing playing a single career woman who works as a jdorama producer. I am getting sick of obasan doramas because they always stick to conventions and the characters never get past stereotypes. A lot of them look the same and sound the same.

Not so with Saigo Kara. First off, Koizumi Kyoko really infuses her character Chiaki with a lot of personality. She's passionate of her job, wears her emotions on her sleeve and the scene where she admonishes this young writer about her script is so funny. I would say the big difference between Saigo Kara and other obasan doramas is the energy that Chiaki gives out. I feel like the plot is not driving Chiaki, she is the plot.

Saiga Kara is not your prototypical obasan dorama because its a KDO-ish love story with Chiaki running into Nagakura Wahei (Nakai Kiichi), a widower working for the Kamakura city council. Its KDO-ish in that they argue all the time and it is very entertaining. You know the drill, boy meets girl, they fight all the time, hate each other's guts and of course fall in love. The important thing is chemistry and whether the barb trading is entertaining, which Saigo Kara is. The most important thing that KDO did was of course make the two character really interesting and complement each other.

Saigo Kara is also a family drama. Chiaki moves next door to the Nagakura family and gets involved with them. Asada Ryutaro is the free spirited brother of Wahei, with a secret that is pretty obvious in the 2nd episode. Uchida Yuki is Iryu's twin sister who is very strange and seems to have communication problems. Lastly, Ijima Naoko is the oldest sister who is married and is prime canditate for the obasan drama role of wife who gets cheated on.

Acting wise, we've the awesome foursome of Koizumi Kyoko, Nakai Kiichi (Kaze no Garden), Iryuu and Uchida Yuki. That is some serious acting chops. Ok, Sakaguchi Kenji is not that great of an actor and certainly not in the class of the other 3 but he's better than most.

While Saigo Kara looks like an amalgam of genre's, it is very funny and very well written. Even the dialogue between Chiaki and her two friends talking about middle age female problems is funny and entertaining. When was the last obasan dorama that was funny? From the way they compete and console each other to Chiaki calling them traitors 1 and 2 I can't remember when a dorama where obasan discussions did not sound like a dry commentary on mid life crisis issues.

There's a lot of humour in the first two episodes and they are set up by situational humour, not slapstick which is hard to do. Like this old man complaining of Chiaki taking photos of houses and giving Wahei this gravure magazine which created some funny situations in ep 1 and 2. Or like the Nagakura family overhearing Chiaki's phone call.

The writer is Okada Yoshikazu who has written a lot of doramas and movies, Muri na Renai an entertaining drama about a middle age not famous actress and old dude. That show had some pretty good dialogue as well. He also wrote the Ima Ai ni Yukimasu movie, Mada Koi wa Hajimaranai and Flowers of Algernon. Pretty impressive though the above shows weren't notable for great dialogue. He seems to be channeling Nojima Shinji level of entertaining dialogue.


jt said...

and both great jdramas this season has koizumi kyoko in it. i think this season is worth remembering.

i love this dorama. i didnt regret downloading 720p version. u've already said the good thing it has and the winner is definitely the script and the location which reminded me of slam dunk anime and kdo. the crazy uchida yuki took me a while to recognize her and i just wish she'll have a long screen time for us to enjoy.

when a man discovers video capture, he cant stop taking screencaps of koizumi kyoko and uchida yuki which took me more than an hour to finish the drama

Sonnaaaaa~ said...

Just came to comment since you know how much I love obasan dramas!

I find myself liking this, mostly due to the setting (never seen Kamakura on a drama before) and of course, Koizumi Kyoko's energy. She has a way of talking that's both calming and funny.

I want to know what's up with the young fellow (people seem to shush him when he talks about having a short time left or something) and the Uchida Yuki's crazy character. This aught to be interesting.

Antspace said...

Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi Eps 3 + 4 kicked ass as well. This might become my favorite show this winter : )