Thursday, January 19, 2012
Soredemo, Ikite Yuku or loosely translated as "Even So, I Will Live On" is a story revolving around a murder of a young girl named Fukami Aki. The murderer, Toyama Fumiya happened to be a friend of Fukami Aki's older brother. 15 years after the incident, the older brother, Fukami Hiroki unknowingly meets with Toyama Fumiya's younger sister, Toyama Futaba. Both the families involved in the tragedy live with grief, despair and deep regret. Despite a sorrowful past, Hiroki and Futaba seek a path of hope for their families and for themselves to move forward with their lives.
Recommendation: Although I usually skip sad dramas I really enjoyed this one. The acting, the depth of the characters, the complex story, the different perspectives of the tragedy from both the victim's family and the criminal's family were so well done. It is heavy, but there are some funny and quirky scenes as well. It is not mainly about the tragedy itself, but more of how the families of both sides of the tragedy live on. The story also hit home in a way because I personally went through a tragic event 15 years ago so it was strangely coincidental. The ratings weren't very high, but the drama as well as Eita who played Fukami Hiroki, the screenplay, and the director all won awards at the 70th Television Drama Academy Awards. I don't know all the contestants for best actress, but I think Mitsushima Hikari who played Toyama Futaba may have been robbed. She's an excellent actress. The story too was a complex one with an ending that I didn't expect. I thought there would be more of a resolution regarding Toyama Fumiya and between Hiroki and Futaba, but looking back I think the ending made the story more authentic in a way. Personally, I would like to see a special as I was really attached to the characters. Bravo for such a well made drama!
Character Development: 1.0
Emotional Factor: 1.0
5.0 Out Of 5.0 Crowns
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Nazotoki Wa Dinner No Atode or (loosely translated as) Solving Mysteries After Dinner is a mystery/comedy drama about Reiko Hosho (Kitagawa Keiko), a rookie detective who is actually the heiress to the uber wealthy Hosho Group. Having to work murder cases under an inept detective named Kazamatsuri, she begrudgingly asks her newly hired butler Kageyama (Sho Sakurai) to assist in solving cases. Kageyama is not only a reliable butler, but to her amazement he is quite brilliant in deductive reasoning. Having a lot of pride, Reiko has a tough time handling criticism from her own butler, but she begins to realize that there is much more to learn from Kageyama than just solving mysteries.
This series was actually quite good. It was the first time I watched Sho Sakurai act and I was surprised to see him play a pleasant mannered butler very well. I'm not a huge fan of Keiko Kitagawa's acting, but both actors had good chemistry and it was enjoyable to watch. As a mystery/comedy, each episode was light hearted despite most of the cases involving murder. The CG worked for the most part and Kippei Shiina who played the non-sensical Kazamatsuri was, well non-sensical. I have a feeling that there will be a second season as I think there is room for the main characters to grow and their relationship to develop further. If you're interested in watching something that can be funny and is not heavy despite the stories being about crime then this drama is for you, but take your time as you may want to decide after dinner!
P.S. - As far as I can remember, in all the dramas I watched with an Arashi member, another Arashi member would pop out in the last episode playing a small role. In this case, I didn't notice it happening.
Character Development: 0.5
Emotional Factor: 1.0
4.0 Out Of 5.0 Crowns