Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Nazo no Tenkousei

Nazo no Tenkousei is a Shunji Iwai produced jdorama that's stuck between a high school quadrangle love story and a science fiction story about being human and different worlds. Yes, the famous director of Love Letter and Lily Chou. It starts off as a well shot, whimsical high school childhood friend dorama and then a mysterious transfer student Norio appears and thing get exciting in the middle when it becomes a full blown science fiction story culminating in an uneven finish.


- Beautifully shot by Nagasawa Mashiko. (Thirteen Steps, Sotsugyou, Way of Blue Sky) Like Sono Sion, this guy knows how to make a low budget midnight dorama look like a million bucks. His 2013 movie So Far So Close has been sitting in my HD for sometime and I definitely need to watch it. We need more movie directors doing doramas (Sono Sion, Koreeda) cause they bring that cinematic look to the small screen.

- They really maximized the special effects with what little budget they had. 

- It gets exciting in episode 4 when we start learning about Norio's purpose.

- Sakurai Minami who plays Koichi's childhood friend, Midori is not unpleasant to look at (as can be seen from all my screencaps) and reminds me of a poor man's Yoshitaka Yuriko.


- Sakurai Minami is like a poor man's Yoshitaka Yuriko. I have no idea whether its because of the director but there are scenes where she severely underacts. Hhmm, guess what, she's also a singer which might explain the acting.

- Nazo no Tenkousei suffers from an uneven narrative. Sakurai Minami's Midori kind of disappears in the middle and before finally getting something to do in the end but by then, its too late. The romance quadrangle stuff feels so undercooked yet at the same time I feel like they could have done more with the sci-fi setting. The script and pacing could have been a lot tighter but then it would lose a bit of that whimsical feeling.

- Koichi doesn't really have an interesting character arc.


Nazo no Tenkousei is a sci-fi jdorama that looks awesome but all the pieces didn't fit together well for me. Its an ambitious jdorama that needed a bit more polish. If you want something different, its worth a look at. Thanks to Shane for recommending Nazo no Tenkousei.


Mrmz said...

This is a dorama I fully enjoyed. I loved the whimsical feel to it, and the laid-backness, and Hongo Kanata's acting felt on spot. I know it's not perfect and I agree it felt that it couldn't choose it's identity, but I guess it's made for me :P

Shane said...

Thanks for reviewing it, I pretty much agree with everything said here. Glad you enjoyed it! I think the opening song was sung by Sakurai Minami... Not a great voice but a very pretty face.