Riding on the wave of a good Jdorama autumn season, with Kyou wa Kaisha wo Yasumimasu and Nobunaga Concerto, I went on a Jdorama marathon last weekend. There was a sale at the neighbourhood DVD store, and I picked up 3 Japanese dramas on discount. These are old dramas, which I’ve read/heard of but not attention grabbing enough for me watch till now: Saikou no Rikon, Starman ~ Kono Hoshi no Koi, Hero 2.
I watched Saikou no Rikon for Eita, but sad to say, it wasn’t up my alley and I slowly found myself watching just Eita. The drama was too slow and didn’t feel like it achieved much every episode. I’m usually ok with slow, non-idol-ish dramas (such as Yasashii Jikan, Haikei Chichiue-sama) as long as each episode serves a purpose and moves the story forward. However, with Saikou no Rikon, I found myself lost as to the purpose of each episode. I couldn’t see how each episode contributed to the final resolution where Mitsuo and Yuka realised that in spite of their flaws, they couldn’t live without each other.
I have yet to start on Hero 2, but the fact that they changed the female lead irks me. I’ll still watch for KimuTaku and Kuryu for old time sake. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.
And now, to the main subject of this post.
I found the official poster very unflattering for both leads, so here are their individual shots
☆★Hirosue Ryoko as Sawako and Fukushi Sota as Hoshio★☆
Stole this photo from Fukushi’s blog here
It is not the perfect Jdorama, but it is addictive and a very breezy watch for the weekend. Slightly quirky in the usual way Japan does all its manga adaptions/manga-inspired dramas so perfectly. To enjoy this, one needs to throw all logic out of the window, accept each ridiculous plot point as they come, and watch it as a bundle of craziness being thrown at you left and right, as if you’re reading a manga. Just like watching Ashiya pretend to be a guy attending an all-male high school in Hanazakari no Kimi-tachi e, like watching true love happen between an OL and her built-to-order robotic boyfriend in Zettai Kareshi, this is just another love story involving a single mother and…an alien.
I wouldn’t recommend this to friends who are not Jdorama watchers, or who doesn’t already display an appetite for the crazy (how many times have I used this word already?), as it may scare them off. But just watch it with an open mind to see the actors and actresses take this ridiculous setting and impossible characters and create a drama overwhelming with romance, fun, and family love.
Abandon by her husband who didn’t want to face the realities of married life with 3 kids, Sawako (Hirosue Ryoko) looks after her three children, Dai, Hide and Shun, with the help of her granny. One day, she comes across an ikemen who passed out on the street (heh), and brought him home to be seen by a doctor. When it was diagnosed that he lost his memories, Sawako decided to lie that he is her husband, Uno Hoshio (Fukushi Sota), and even ropes her family in to help sustain the elaborate lie. Fortunately (plot-wise), the lie was soon exposed and resolved with minimal angst. Hoshio had developeted feelings for Sawako, deciding to leave his past behind and continue being part of his newfound famly. Eventually, it was revealed that the original body (Tatsuya) had actually died, and is now inhabited by an alien (fortunately for Sawako and us, he found a nice body – literally, jump to end of post). Will their love survive this transnational relationship? On the sidelines, find yourself entertained by a senpai alien-human family, a group of extras, who cast meta jokes about their roles, a girl whi is crazy about all things about space, finds out that she is alien too, and eventually gets transported into space. Yeah, did I say this show is filled with madness?
Delicious madness, that it.
Watch it for! DAI ICHI-BAN:
Fukushi Sota’s dimpled smile!
I don’t need perfection in looks. For example, I adore Hirosue Ryoko’s natural teeth; the crooked form makes her feel more real somehow. But Fukushi’s smile is just so irresistably perfect. Fukushi’s a relatively newcomer to the drama scene so his facial expression/body movements etc may seem awkward, or even stiff at times. But all was forgiven the moment he flashes that trademark dimpled, yasashii smile; the same smile which threatened to take over Tamaki Hiroshi’s position on the “watch-for” list during Kyou wa Kaisha wo Yasumimasu. Filled with charm, gentleness and innocence, his smile put a warm, fuzzy feeling inside me, and kept me watching.
Bonus: Watch this Youtube clip, where Fukushi got pranked on TV with ridiculous situations during a mock interview. His reactions are priceless!
Watch it for! DAI NI-BAN:
The family, in particular the bond between Dai and Hide, Dai and Sawako, and Shun and Hoshio.
Love the kids, so cute and ridiculous, like their mom, who is like her granny. It runs in the family! At least in dramaland.
Like what Granny said, Dai is a very matured 10 year old. Unlike other children of his age who would rush to claim a seat on the train, he would make his mother have the seat. He also helps his mother to look after the 2 younger brothers during playtime, and also takes the initiative to cheer his brother up when the latter gave a disappointing performance at a baseball competition. Almost like the adult of the family, he knocked some sense into his mother and ‘stepfather’, to give more thought to their future instead of just basking in the happiness of the moment. I feel the same as Sawako – heartache that Dai’s being forced to grow up and protect his mother in his father’s place.
Contrary to my expectations, he didn’t throw a fit when his mother literally brought home a new father. Instead, he accepted her decision. Although he did not warm up to Hoshio until much later, he didn’t reject this new person as any other 10 year old would in similar situations. He was cautious because Hoshio was of unknown background, and perhaps also because he was worried that Hoshio would abandon them just like his father did – that was why he later asked Hoshio if he would disappear one day. Such a sensible child, so sensible that it makes my heart ache for him.
He was the highlight of the family scenes, the one who brings this out-of-the-world story back to solid reality, making the drama more relatable to most of us who has never had the fortune of picking up a handsome alien husband AND have the guts to keep him by the bedside. Honestly speaking, I was thinking up the exact same picture as Sawako did about Hoshio’s true form – octopus-like creature!
Now, look at these. Who can blame Sawako for giving in to her last Otome-dream and throw all reason and morality out into space?
Watch it for! DAI SAN-BAN:
It’s such a visual treat that this story is set in the countryside, so there’re plenty of beautiful scenery, including Fuji-san as the backdrop, open fields and farmland, forest scenes. Best of all is the night sky with all the stars dotting it. I’m pretty sure some effects were used to make the stars more obvious/numerous, but I’m inclined to belileve that the night sky is really so beautiful in that town, where light pollution is low.
My favourite scene was during the first kiss between the 2 leads, under the starry sky. The cinematography made full use of the scenery and also paid homage to the setting of a prince who came from the stars, panning 360 degrees around the couple with the camera angled such that the night sky filled the background as they shared their first kiss with each other.
Watch it for! DAI YON-BAN:
Who am I kidding? Of course for Fukushi Sota!
I was pleasantly surprised that he has a pretty well toned body, not overwhelmed with packs, but asthetically pleasing. Here, have one more of Fukushi ❤
[image credits as marked/Google/yahoo.co.jp]
I actively disliked that girl who was crazy about aliens. Skipped all of her scenes which didn’t feature Hirosue a well.
What was with the lack of creative display of Hoshio’s special abilities and how he used them to protect his family. Just how many times did he leap into the air to catch a baseball flying towards his family (twice for Shun and once for Sawako)? First time was amazing, second time made me feel nostalgic (since he was in Kuro-Hoshio mode when he did the same thing Shiro-Hoshio did for Shun), but third time made me roll my eyes. I’m sure the scriptwriter could have concoted fresher scenerios to let our hero do his job.
There were quite a lot of loose unexplained threads, such as Tatsuya’s background (sure, he was a scary dude, but he gradually softened towards the family. Too bad he died. I was hoping they could reconcile him with Shiro-Hoshio. But who exactly is this Tatsuya guy and what did he experience to want to commit suicide? It seemed to me that he was some popular star – pun intended?), who the alien in that girl was (since she couldn’t communicate with Shinzo the alien way, was she from a different planet as Shinzo and Hoshio?)…