The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

With Love




This is a 1998 release from Japan that was another unexpected surprise for me. Reviews seem to want to compare it with You've Got Mail, and yet both the movie and the drama came out at around the same time in the same year. Others claim it drags on, which might be true for some, but it's a drama, not a movie. I don't know that if this had become a movie that it would have had the same impression, but who is to say.

The lead actor, Takenouchi Yutaka as Hasegawa Takashi, is a college drop-out who formed a band that became popular for it's new, Indie's style. He's madly in lust with the lead singer, whom he has a two-year, live-in relationship with, and then she up and leaves him with a 'so long' written in english on a teruteru bozu.

Six years later, he's an aimless soul working as a jingle creator for commercials, and he mistakenly sends a piano piece to the wrong e-mail address, where Murakami Amane (
Tanaka Misato) opens it, listens, and falls in love with the beautiful melody. She writes to HATA, (HAsegawa TAkashi) and explains about his mistake, but adds that the piece is wonderful, and that it made her feel good.

Amane can't use her real name for e-mail, so she chooses teru teru bozu. Her real name means rain - sound, and she thinks the rain part is bad. Teru teru bozu are hung to bring sunny weather, or upside down to produce rain.

I laughed to discover that the words translated mean shiny, shiny buddhist priest.

Here in America, we call them tissue ghosts and hang them about at Halloween.

Anyway, the name intrigues Hata, thinking back to his girlfriend Lena, and Amane, liking the idea of getting lost in a fantasy world (the internet) by creating an alter-ego to mask her real life, begins to send Hata messages, when Hata finally replies with, "Who are you?" in English. Amane puts herself in Paris, where she thinks she wants to be after having gone through a bad break-up with a guy who used her to try and embezzle from the bank where they both worked. She tells Hata she used to work at a bank, but that she now roams about the streets of Paris. Hata tells her that he's a composer who went back to his elementary school to teach music.

In reality, they both work inside the same building, and it's adorable how she mistakes the abbreviations outside his office (AVA) for Adult Video Agency instead of Audio Visual Advertising. It's no surprise she would think this, since
Takenouchi is a steaming hunk of sex on two feet in this drama. His long hair, his brown skin, his EYES, and that voice ... (sigh). (*^.^*)

Hata is screwing around with a night DJ, and Amane is trying desperately to avoid the pesky advances of
Yoshida Haruhiko (Oikawa Mitsuhiro).
Amane is a straight lace, shy woman and Yoshida is a wealthy businessman, so a majority of the viewers felt that they fit together more suitably than she would with Takenouchi's character. I think that's near-sighted and dumb. (>.<); I usually always have to ask dos de? Why are looks so important, and why are people always labeled as this or that based solely on their appearance? Hata and Amena met almost immediately in this drama, and right away, he seemed to treat her like a second-class citizen while she treated him like he carried a switchblade in his back pocket. Even as they got to know each other better, that first-impression stayed with them, and it was such a shame, too. I know in my heart the ending could have been so, much better if the writer maybe had just let go of that notion.

The ending was pitiful, to say the least, and it's not at all what I expected. Still, I am one of few who think it was worth the 11-episodes (which the translators referred to as versions, and this made me giggle). Speaking of translation, this was practically flawless, so kudo's to the Nippon team! Of course this was before the 21st century, before online translators got their dyslexic hands on the Asian drama machine and ruined it for the rest of the world.

I didn't care for the title song, My Little Lover by Destiny, but I adored Once in a Blue Moon by Takashi Hasegawa. Here it is for your listening pleasure (and viewing pleasure if you're like me and dig a man with long, sexy hair).



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