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

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shiroi Haru / 白い春 / White Spring

2009 Fuji TV drama that stars Abe Hiroshi as Sakura Haruo as a small-time Yakuza member in love with a sickly woman in need of surgery.
He begs to be released from the gang in order to find a full-time job that can support his girl, but he is beaten severely instead and offered more than enough money to cover the hospital expenses if he will kill a rival gang leader.

Haruo accepts the job, and in unexpected, bumbling fashion, he shoots his target, killing him - but only after missing a few times and then shooting himself in the leg while both he and the target roll down cement steps in the pouring rain.

He spends nine years in prison, is released on a sunny, spring day, and he wanders into town with about 375,000 yen (the equivalent of $4,000 US) in a brown envelope.
He stops in at a tiny restaurant where an old man is the proprietor, and after noting how cheap it is, he proceeds to order everything on the menu.
Afterward, he stumbles to the bathroom to puke it all up, and when he returns to his table, he finds that the envelope is missing from his black man-purse.
Haruo runs into the street in search of the thief, and he sees a man hailing a bus with the envelope in his hand, but it is too late for our gimp to reach him before the bus takes off.
After staring down the frightened, old restaurant owner, Haruo dines & dashes.

He ends up in a park where children like to play and not, too far from where nice people dole out free food and makeshift shelter to itinerant workers.
He also spends a night at an internet cafe where he inadvertently meets two, young lovers.
Haruo has one, other friend from his days with the Yakuza, and before he went to jail, Haruo made him promise to get the 8 million yen to his girl so she could have the operation that would save her life.
Haruo finds him at a bar, and it is then that he discovers his girlfriend actually died shortly after he was sent to prison.
For several, more episodes poor Haruo wanders around trying to figure out why and how it was possible if she had the life-saving operation.
He finds out that his girl quickly moved in with another man who runs a bakery, so he heads there and proceeds to terrify everyone, including the man who runs the shop.
He thinks that Murakami Yasushi (Endo Kenichi) is responsible for the death of his girl because he used the 8 million yen to open the bakery.

Haruo is actually a shy, frightened character but his size and huge, round eyes make him seem powerful and domineering to everyone he manages to intimidate without trying.

Intimidating, that is, to everyone but a little girl (Sachi) who draws his portrait while he tries to nap on a park bench.
She begs him not to move so that she can finish her drawing, and that she gave him wings makes him curious.

Her two friends don't share her interest in him, though, and when he roars at her to let him be, one of the girls presses an alarm attached to her backpack which sends nearby adults running to the scene.

Eventually, though, he and Sachi become friends.

Haruo moves in with the young couple from the internet cafe, and while they fall victim to scams and end up on the wrong end of the Yakuza stick, Haruo ends up getting a job at the very bakery where he still thinks that Yasushi had something to do with the death of his old girlfriend.
He also takes for granted that she fell in love with Yasushi and that the little girl is theirs.

I, for one, will always love Abe Hiroshi no matter what character he portrays, and as shocked as I was to see him this way, I will never regret finally giving in to this story.
I refused to watch it because the poster made him look like a very, bad man, and that was not how I wanted him to be portrayed or remembered.
For me, this was a 'box of tissues' drama with a surprise ending that left me agape in horror and crying out with grief, begging them to just STOP.
Haruo goes through so, much from beginning to end, and there was no way for me not to be drawn to him no matter how hard he tried to keep people from getting too close.
I loved this, and I think that you will, too, if you haven't, already watched.
The title is linked to in case you're interested.


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