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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Osazaki no Himawari

Late Blooming Sunflower

2012 10-episode Fuji TV drama that starred Ikuta Toma as Kodaira Jotaro, a so-called slacker because despite his having graduated college, he's a nobody because he works part-time.

I really shouldn't be blogging at such a time, or about such a topic, when I myself am now being forced to have to put up with this same issue. All I'd really like to say at this point in my life is FUCK YOU world, but then that has nothing to do with dramas in general, does it?

Anyway, Jotaro spends about 10 years of his life shuffling through the Tokyo bullshit maze trying to get ahead without success, and then he gets laid off from a part-time job so his girlfriend dumps him because she never loved him, she just wanted his money, and since he doesn't have any now then screw HIM, I guess.

Sorry! I did it again.

Jotaro sees an ad on the internet and decides to go for it - literally. It's on the other side of their country in a place that is remote as well as declining in things like prosperity, population, and I don't know ... everything but its natural beauty, I guess.

He 'volunteers' as a helper and ends up meeting the old people, shuttling them to the hospital, pulling their weeds, etc. He also meets a young doctor, Maki Yoko as Nikaido Kahori, removed from her research position and sent back to her hometown of Kochi prefecture.

He also meets a high-strung guy, Kiritani Kenta as Fujii Junichi, who works at his fathers flagging hardware store and is constantly trying to get the old shop owners to see the error of their ways so that the decline will stop and prosperity will return.

His efforts don't work, though, and no one listens or cares about what he has to say in his efforts to help revitalize the area - which happens to be his and Jotaro's volunteer jobs.

There are other characters and none of them are minor.

A nurse, Kashii Yu as Morishita Ayaka, with a cold heart, a young girl trying to steal her married professor away from his wife because she just knows she can succeed at destroying someone elses life while ending up destroying her own in the end.

And a really hot guy, Emoto Tasuku as Matsumoto Hiroki, who is a has-been in the baseball pitcher department. It was never really explained why he didn't go on to the majors if he was that great, but whatever. He was good-looking and it was nice to have him around during these ten episodes.

Seriously, though, I really enjoyed watching this story.

It was purposeful, laid-back, intense, and believable all rolled up in pristine, backwoods, relaxing atmosphere located somewhere in Japan with a pretty river and a lot more flora than concrete.

This is a story about young people at a crossroads who have to tough it out GANBATTE style in order to succeed.

Life sucks and it's hard, but if you keep plodding away, eventually you'll be rewarded.
It isn't true, of course, but another effort to stop people from giving up on the ganbatte mentality, I think.

Jotaro is the savior of these flagging youths in this waning town. He brought 'happiness' to their lives while also searching for answers to his own dilemmas.

And, of course, in the end everything wound its way down, fit perfectly into place, and smiles were to be had by all ... because of the 

ganbatte thing.

All I ever get after watching dramas like this is first a sense of warmth, belonging, and interest in these guys and then its over and MY reality is left dangling before my bleary eyes. It tells me I suck, not them, and that all you really, honestly need in this world are great friends like these to lean on, confide in, party and drink with, tell your sorrows to, and accept their sage advice if you truly hope to survive in this world.

Good for them and all those who have such folks hanging around on an as-needed basis.

The other thing I liked about this drama was the story itself, not so much about romance but about how awful it is to be alive at certain points, or how meaningless it seems until (as mentioned above) someone amazing comes along to put all that self doubt, insecurity, and dark brooding aside and force you to look at things from a better perspective.

I loved the scenic views, and I adore Ikuta Toma, too. He did another splendid job of portraying a real man under real circumstances, but who has those imaginary perfect friends to help him out.

And, they all have the ganbatte spirit to infinity.

What I didn't like was that they tried to make me believe that old folks are stupid, inept, anti-social, and dead wrong about every aspect of life and that only the young are capable of getting it right.

There were a few sideline stories, too, that wrapped up a bit too neatly and set in fancy wrapping with a cute bow on top. This upsets me in that it is never as easy as all that to fix things like adultery, death, and true loneliness.

In other words, there are no answers and no quick fix to certain life problems. It isn't likely you will ever meet or find someone who can change at the flip of a switch. It would be awesome, though, wouldn't it, if this were true?

Osozaki is a great way to pass some time, especially if you really need to escape for awhile from reality, and especially if that reality is super hard. Just be ready to have your real life come back at you full-force once you're done, though.

Funny ... great drama that ends up depressing its viewer.


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