Last Friends Ep 01

3 05 2008

So I don’t usually blog anime or drama because I find that I usually don’t watch anime or drama when it first comes out and I just end up watching the entire series in one go. But Last Friends was something that I saw was coming out and was really looking forward to it. I think looking up some Nishikido Ryo stuff was what led me to this drama, but after looking at the cast, I was really excited because I loved Ueno Juri and Eita in Nodame Cantabile. Not a particular fan of Nagasawa Masami but that’s okay. I also find that I can get a bit lazy and if nothing particularly exciting happens in an episode, I find it hard to write about it. But after watching this first episode of Last Friends, I had so many things that I wanted to say and talk about that I figured I should blog about it. Hey, that’s partly what this blog is for right?

So Last Friends is about the complicated relationships between five people: Michiru (Nagasawa Masami), Ruka (Ueno Juri), Takeru (Eita), Eri (Mizukawa Asami) and Sousuke (Nishikido Ryo). In terms of summary that’s all, because summarizing the entire episode would just take too long and wouldn’t do it justice. Just go watch it!

I think one of my first impressions of this series is that the style and essence, I guess is the word, reminds me of NANA. The narration style was what really gave me that notion. There is constant talk about “If I had known…” and “I wonder…”. Plus there is some sort of looming tragedy that is going to happen which is similar to the plot of NANA. The characters themselves and some of their relationships also remind me of NANA. Ruka, embodies a kind of classic tomboy-who-looks-strong-but-is-actually-really-fragile but with a twist and I feel has a similar vibe to Nana. But Michiru doesn’t really remind me of Hachi so I guess the analogy would break down there. But that’s okay. Actually while I love NANA I hope it’s not too similar because that would negate the point of calling it Last Friends, they should just call it NANA and get it over with.

I’ve read some theories that the death that Michiru talks about at the beginning is either Ruka or Takeru’s. My personal opinion is that Ruka is still alive at this point because Michiru talks about her leaving Ruka and not the other way around. That and she is shown writing a letter during the beginning monologue which leads me to believe that it is a letter to Ruka. Why would you write a letter to someone who’s dead? I think Takeru being dead is a much more plausible theory. His character seems really fragile.

I’m also sure that many of you know that this is Nishikido Ryo’s most scandalous role to date, especially for a Johnny. Playing a domestic abuser doesn’t really give you brownie points with the younger crowd who sometimes can’t separate actor and role too well. Some people applauded his acting when his abusive side came out, but honestly I wasn’t too moved. I’m sure his character is supposed to be a little schizo and bi-polar, but in the few scenes before his personality changes, there is no indication whatsoever of his obsession/possessive streak. No suggestion. I think he is supposed to have a 180 degree change, but for some reason, I’m not buying it at this point. Hopefully it gets better.

In terms of other people’s acting, can I just say that I love Ueno Juri. I first saw her in Nodame and loved her in that. This role just really shows her range. I was also impressed with her voice. I was thinking that she was like a seiyuu with the voice changes from cutesy Nodame to serious Ruka. And I know this sounds really kind of mean, but I love her pained expression at the end of the episode; it’s really believable. On the other hand, I feel like I don’t really have anything to say about Nagasawa. It feels a bit mediocre at this point, so hopefully her acting pulls me in. I also love Eita. He has such weird fashion sense but he carries it well. His scene with Ueno at the bar was too cute. I feel like he’s a real strong supporting character actor. I haven’t seen anything where he’s the lead so I can’t say about that, but I feel like in all the dramas that I’ve seen him in, I really love him. Mizakawa is also super cute as Eri. Her hyper nature is so different than that of her serious Nodame role. Love it.

The music cutting in this series is also awesome so far. “Prisoner of Love” might have been overplayed just a tad, but I still love the song at this point so it’s okay. The instrumental arrangement of “Prisoner of Love” is beautiful too. And random question, do all Japanese people take their coffee black? Because no one seems to add creamer or sugar to their coffee in dramas…

But getting back to the drama, the ending scene was definite confirmation that Ruka is in love with Michiru. That was already kind of obvious when Ruka first sees Michiru for the first time, but definite confirmation at the end with Ruka kissing Michiru.

Hopefully this drama goes well. Things have been looking good so far, but you never know. Hopefully the drama is about the subtleties and complications of the relationships of these people and doesn’t get too overly dramatic. I feel like there is already enough drama to work with: abusive boyfriend, developing love triangle between Michiru, Takeru and Ruka and Eri’s drama hasn’t even been touched upon. Unfortunately I can see this happening in this kind of drama. Hopefully murder isn’t involved. Ruka murdering Sousuke because he’s abusive would just push this drama into the realm of All My Children, and honestly, soap operas need to stay away from doramas.


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