Romaji: Algernon ni Hanataba wo
Aka: Flowers for Algernon
Based on the Daniel Keyes novel Flowers for Algernon, pub 1959
Related: Algernon ni Hanataba o (Fuji TV, 2002)
Broadcast network: TBS
Broadcast period: 2015 -Apr to Jun
Shiratori Sakuto (28) has the intelligence of a six year-old. He works for a flower distribution center that provides employment for problem youth. One day he and a colleague, Ryuichi, deliver roses to Mochizuki Haruka. She works for a brain physiology research center where they study the improvement of mental performance. Success comes with a white mouse called Algernon. -- Jdrama Weblog (with edits)
I know this is a rehash of a 2002 version based on a 1959 novel, but it is a first for me, and probably because Yamapi stars, that made it all the more special.
And, just when I was starting to think that I might never see some of these guys again, it's been a pleasure to see them starring in things that are slow to appear to us Americans but DO find their way to subtitling and a spot at either Dramafever or Aznv.tv or Dramanice.
Sakito (Tomohisa) lives much of his young adult life above a flower shop run by a kind man who takes in at-risk young males to help try and turn their lives around.
Yamashita did a great job portraying a mentally challenged young man, but there were a lot of instances where I had to wonder how many takes it took to film one scene. Did he end up laughing at himself, or did his co-stars laugh at him?
He's such a pretty man.
As I get older, things become a bit more clear to me, and after having watched hundreds of these Asian cinema and television dramas, what stands out most in my mind is whether or not an actor has the ability to not just pull me in and make me watch, but if they are capable of convincing me that they are, indeed, the character that they portray.
Yamashita is one of the actors who can make the transformation --
I'm not just staring at a handsome actor on the screen but a handsome 'character' fulfilling his role and making me forget that it is Tomohisa playing the part.
It can be a tough call sometimes, too, but for me, it's a sign of a great actor.
Also, and it's been noted before, but the guy just exudes a sense of warmth and humor that makes you wish you knew him personally.
Back to the JDo --
Sakito comes in contact with a woman who works in a research lab that has developed a serum to enhance brain function, and when a backer pushes for results in order to help save his own daughter, Sakito ends up becoming somewhat of a human guinea pig.
But if I tell you anything more, it'll surely spoil the plot.
There were four love stories that slowly developed, some tear-inducing moments, and a couple of frustrating situations that make you shake your head in wonder.
It also had laughs and a few disturbing moments to make this one a well-rounded ten-episode melodrama.
And as with nearly every Japanese drama I've watched, the subs were awful.
It is family-oriented and loaded with ganbatte stuff as well as the over-use of the "God Hand" thing, but don't let any of it stop you from watching this one.