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

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tatta Hitotsu no Koi / Love of My Life

Honestly, I don't understand why this 2006, 10-episode Japanese drama didn't do better with viewers than it did with me.

I absolutely loved this !

It was one of the most pure, unconvoluted, and simple-yet-charming stories I've come across in a long time, if ever, and I, for one, had a terrific time watching start to finish.

Tatta is about a young boy and girl from opposing sides of life who meet, fall in love, and then battle the obvious social morays up until the very end of the show, but despite all that, they still manage to create something wonderful together, and I think this was why I had such a good time watching.

Yokohama is the setting - Kamenashi Kazuya is the boy - Kanzaki Hiroto - and Ayase Haruka is the girl - Tsukioka Nao.

Now, these two had actual on-screen chemistry imho, and the likelihood of their 'forbidden' romance taking shape occurred as a result of Nao's inability to LIE her way through life - as is the case with a majority of the characters portrayed on-screen and from Asia in general.

Hiroto is from the wrong side of the tracks, having to forego college and a promising baseball career after his father committed suicide to pay off creditors and save an already floundering machine repair factory Hiroto is now responsible for keeping afloat.

He and his poor buddies still manage to have fun while becoming working stiffs after high school, and one thing they enjoy doing is to sneak into a restricted area to fish and then sell their catch to local restaurants for pocket change.

The boys are on their way to a restaurant when the kids from an elite college are making their way to school, and an accident with the fish forces Hiroto and his friends to confront Nao and her overly pleasant friend, Motomiya Yuko (Toda Erika).

The boys end up shelling out a lot of money to attend a ritzy social put on by the snobby college students, and it is at this party that Hiroto and Nao begin to develop feelings for one another.

Yuko encourages Nao to continue to pursue Hiroto, reminding her of their last Christmas together, when they ended up handing out gifts to customers at Nao's family jewelry store instead of spending a romantic evening with a hunky fella.

It is just for kicks, something different to do, and not meant to last beyond the holiday - but while Nao and Hiroto's relationship starts to heat up despite the pressures from society, parents, and so-on, Yuko is struggling to maintain her dignity while falling more and more for the wrong guy in the trio.

Yuka wants this guy,

Hiraoka Yuta as Ozawa Ayuta

but instead, she ends up falling for

Tanaka Koki on the far right

Even in the above shot, it looked, to me, like Nao wore maternity clothes

but, that might, just have been the style at the time this drama was made, who knows.

It looked like everything was hanging off her body and way, too big for her size.

She's really pretty, which was another reason why I liked the drama and could connect with the two leads.

Funny thing was, Yuko kept saying she was the pretty one and her gushing friends agreed, but I didn't, and the same, too, with the fellas, when Ayuta kept complaining that he was the dude with the looks & charm in their group, yet he ended up without a girl - and again, I had to disagree.

Kazuya is and probably always will be a hotty

Kamenashi Kazuya as Kanzaki Hiroto

but, for me the star of this show was Nao's older, hotter brother,

Kaname Jun as Tsukioka Tatsuya

He portrayed the sweetheart, older bro who is actually bookish and a nerd, but he helped to save Nao's life when she was stricken with leukemia in middle school by donating his bone marrow.

I know - as soon as I heard that, I groaned and thought, "Dear Lord, don't tell me I'm watching another 'gonna die, someone!' drama I can't stand!!!"

Y'know, now that I think about it, maybe THAT was what caused people to tune out, eh?

If you're one of them, then shame on you, because that aspect of the story had NOTHING to do with the drama or even the outcome.

It was NOT as predictable as you might expect, and I, for one, am thankful that I stuck with this to the very end, because it was absolutely wonderful start to finish, and I highly recommend you give this a go (or, another, as the case may be).

So, as it turns out, Nao living on the 45th floor of her fancy condo complex ended up being a major part of the romance between her and Hiroto, whose dilapidated warehouse home just happens to face the tower.

Early in their romance, the gang attends a summer fair together, and Nao pouts about Hiroto's inability to win for her a silly-looking, rubber thingy with a bunch of rubber strings hanging off its face.


Hiroto leaves them to do Nao's bidding, and eventually, he succeeds in winning the light-up keychain.

When he tells her the apartment faces his house, she gets all excited and runs up to her room, turns off the lights, and stands on the balcony shaking the Orenji.

In turn, Hiroto flashes back at her with a 'torch', and his little, asmatic brother tells him that they are like the whales he is so fond of - which can communicate from as far away as 200km.

Nao's birthday present from Ren and Hiroto

Nao's father is adament about their not seeing each other again, and then Hiroto's mother does something unspeakable to help destroy the relationship even more.

Nao's older, nerdy brother, Tatsuya, doesn't help matters any, either, when he argues against the idea of her seeing anyone beneath her, and then he breaks a promise by telling their father about an incident that implicates Hiroto when he's actually quite innocent.

Eventually, Hiroto realizes that what he is doing isn't right, and that he can't continue playing the game when he knows he'll never be good enough for saintly Nao, so aboard a pretty cruise liner that tours the harbor, he tells Nao that they are through.

For the last, fifteen minutes of the cruise, she asks that they hold hands, and then he proposes that for the next, three years, until her five-year stint with the transplant hold-out is up, if she will flash him on her birthday (Christmas Eve), that it will prove they were meant to be together.

The first, two years, she shakes the Orenji and he replies with the flashlight, but on the third year, no Orenji - and Hiroto is devastated.

Then, he sells the warehouse and moves away with mother & brother.

In an unlikely twist, they meet again after Ko's wedding, and Nao has an engagement ring on her finger.

Hiroto is devastated beyond belief, gets drunk, and stumbles home in tears.

I won't spoil the ending, but i will reiterate that Tatta Hitotsu no Koi was one of the best JDorama's I've seen in awhile, and I recommend you give this a chance.

Yokohama at sunset

typical of just about every JDorama I've ever seen

pretty sunset

cool idea for lighting at a bar

Yuko's groovy apartment


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