Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SAIKOU NO JINSEI NO OWARIKATA ~ Ending Planner ~ (最高の人生の終り方~エンディングプランナー~)

Winter 2012

Okay, so before I totally refocus on studying I was able to fit one more drama into my tight schedule. I was looking forward to watching this recent Yamapi drama which also included Eikura Nana; I haven't seen her since Proposal Daisakusen. I also like Sorimachi Takashi and I was curious to see how Maeda Atsuko would do since it would be my first time watching her in a drama as well. The story focuses on the second son Ihara Masato (Tomohisa Yamashita) of a director who owns a funeral home. Masato left home 4 years prior and the eldest son, Ihara Kento (Sorimachi Takashi) who helped around the funeral home business, recently disappeared without a trace. The eldest daughter, Ihara Haruka (Maeda Atsuko) took responsibility to help her father with the business while the youngest siblings, Ihara Hayato and Ihara Momoko remain indifferent to the business. Their father suddenly passes away and Masato is forced to decide whether or not to close the business that he despised all his life or to take it over and keep it running. Through a series of dramatic, life altering experiences, Masato comes to realize that there is more to the funeral business than just death and sadness.

Recommendation: If you are looking for a tearjerker you have come to the right place. I thought the cast played their roles quite well and the story was deep and thoughtful, but ultimately I ended up not being able to fully immerse myself into this bittersweet drama. It's not all sad and depressing as the characters interact in lightly placed comedic scenes. I believe the story sends a strong message about the intricacies of life and death. People regret and misunderstand each other and tend to miss opportunities to resolve relationship issues until it's too late, but the living still need to move on and there is always a lesson to be learned when someone dies. Overall, I liked the characters and the depth of the story, but from the first few episodes I felt that the incidents' occurring were too coincidental/unbelievable even for a drama. The direction of the story was a bit awkward as it focused on the complexities of running a funeral business, to resolving family issues and changing into a full blown mystery/detective story with a dash of paranormal activity. There were also a few scenes that were too mushy for my taste. Still it kept me interested, and some of the scenes with the family coming together were both priceless and heart wrenching. The ratings were unfortunately sub par, but I thought it was worth my time. I was surprised to see Eikura Nana play a major role. I think she is a good actress and had nice chemistry with Yamashita Tomohisa.

Story: 1.0
Acting: 0.5
Directing: 0.5
Character Development: 1.0
Emotional Factor: 1.0

4.0 Out Of 5.0 Crowns

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Winter 2012

I apologize as I've recently been busy with school so I haven't seen any drama's recently, but I just had a short break and chose to review Lucky Seven. The story revolves around a small and humble detective agency with six members that eventually recruits a seventh member, Tokita Shuntaro played by Matsumoto Jun. He is a overconfident and brash young man who is an "expert" at wooing women. Never able to hold a job for long, he encounters Nitta Teru (Eita) and the other members of the detective agency by being a suspect in a case involving a love scandal. Fujisaki Touko (Matsushima Nanako) who heads the agency perceives a few qualities that she likes in Shuntaro and offers him an opportunity to work for her. As he goes through various cases, he learns to grow not only as a skilled detective, but also as a human being.

Recommendation: I have to be honest in saying that I was looking forward to this drama because I'm a big fan of Eita and Matsushima Nanako. Both of them just recently had great success with Soredemo Ikite Yuku and Kaseifu No Mita respectively and of course Matsumoto Jun is always a draw. Unfortunately, I would have to say that I felt unlucky after watching Lucky Seven and I wish I chose a different drama to watch during my short break. Besides the first and last episodes, there was nothing particularly interesting about the drama. The characters were underdeveloped, many cases were boring and didn't involve creative detective work, and Eita was missing in 4 episodes out of ten! He wasn't in a lot of scenes in the last episode either. I think they underutilized Matsushima Nanako's character and I was annoyed mostly by Oizumi Yo and Naka Riisa's characters as well. Other than Shuntaro and Nitta being cool, strong and smart, what special detective skills did the other members have? Kayano was the IT guru, but her character was also bland. The drama didn't take the time to show a personal side to these characters and a lot of the friendship scenes seemed forced and crudely edited. If I had to pick out one positive, I thought the martial art action scenes with Shuntaro and Eita were well done, but really the last episode was the only interesting story to me; by then I just wanted it all to be over. I would have to sadly state that you won't be missing anything here as it was mostly uninspiring detective glop.

Story: 0.5
Acting: 0.5
Directing: 0.5
Character Development: 0.5
Emotional Factor: 0.5

2.5 Out Of 5.0 Crowns