Sunday, January 20, 2013
Osozaki No Himawari or Late Blooming Sunflower is a heartwarming drama that follows the lives of 7 young adults. They all have dreams, but they live through their insecurities. One day, Kodairo Jotaro (Ikuta Toma) who is living an "average" life holding temporary jobs is laid off from a company that was supposed to provide him full-time work. He is also dumped by his girlfriend for his indirectness and laid back attitude. Desperately he looks for something he can do without much luck until he stumbles upon an ad that requires a volunteer to work in Kochi prefecture for 3 years to help revitalize Shimanto city. He decides to go for the job without really having any plans or knowing exactly what is expected of him. At first, he starts working like any other "job" but he begins to realize that there is something unique and special about this town. As he develops relationships with the locals, he begins on a journey toward self-awareness and a purposeful life.
Recommendation: This was a solid drama. It provided a good amount of humor, tension, sadness and joy as it followed the lives and relationships of 7 characters. The story of a young man floating through life, eventually finding something meaningful to focus on and influencing others with his positive energy is nothing new. I would put it in the inspirational category, but I often felt some scenes were forced. I think Ikuta Toma plays a good central character and the acting all around was quite good, but I felt they could have developed the love relationship between Jotaro and Kahori a bit better. They were definitely bonding, but their relationship was more friend like than love like in my opinion so the ending didn't work for me that well. The scenes of the Shimanto river and nature surrounding the city were really nice to see. I felt like I was involved in this rural town away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. The pace of the drama too was slow which was probably done on purpose to create a laid back mood. Overall, it's an uplifting drama about finding yourself and holding onto your dreams. There is no real closure in this drama and nothing gets completed in terms of external/physical accomplishments, but I think that is the point. So if that's what interests you than I recommend it. I've just seen plenty of dramas with similar story-lines and situations, so to me it was good, but not great.
Character Development: 1.0
Emotional Factor: 1.0
4.0 Out Of 5.0 Crowns
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Yes I'm back! Actually, just on a little break before my last semester begins so I browsed through some recent shows and was glad to see a new Kimura Takuya one. The drama is called "Priceless" and it's about a salesman named Kindaichi Fumio (Kimura Takuya) who has a cheerful and positive attitude. His carefree life may seem out of ordinary to some, but one of the most important things he cares about is his unwavering loyalty and dedication to the people that he works with. He believes that relationships are the cornerstone to a successful business. Unfortunately he is confronted with unbelievable circumstances in which he ends up losing seemingly priceless possessions; a job, his apartment, and his girlfriend. Having to start from the ground up, he meets two poor boys which jump starts his life towards a path that only he could maneuver through.
Recommendation: So I know that Kimura Takuya is the king of dramas, but it is true that his ratings have gradually decreased over the last few years. Still, compared to others, he can still draw relatively high ratings. I for one am always happy to see him act. I think there is still no other actor in Japan like him; he's a natural. That said I was a bit disappointed with this drama. The acting is great all around. Kimura, Nakai Kiichi, and Karina have good chemistry, and the subtle comedic scenes worked well for the most part, but the story comes off as a bit trite and pretentious in my opinion. It's subjective obviously and I know some people will love Kindaichi's character and the underdog story-line, but even a drama should be grounded in some reality. The story was too idealistic for me to care. Kindaichi is Mr. Goody Two-Shoes basically and the story falls flat when no matter how difficult a situation may be, he finds a way to succeed. I would have added a back story or a few situations in Kindaichi's past that helped develop his present character. It just felt like he was superhuman and unless the obstacles that a character faces don't inspire growth or change (he does inspire change in others though), it is just a boring character to watch. Oyashiki Toichiro played by Fujiki Naohito was the antagonist trying to take Kindaichi down. Fujiki is a really good actor and I was again disappointed that there wasn't a lot of major interaction between the two. I mean I wanted to see a brawl!...or at least a brawl of words. Anyway, enough of the negativity. I was relatively pleased and you can't go totally wrong with a Kimutaku drama. So Kimutaku fans rejoice! But is it priceless? Um, there's no such thing.
Character Development: 0.5
Emotional Factor: 0.5
3.0 Out Of 5.0 Crowns