Friday, September 17, 2010
Whoooaaa. This drama is inteeense. I hadn’t heard much about this previously, but from the little impression I had gotten, I didn’t think it was something I’d be interested in. A friend of mine was actually the one who really wanted to check it out, so I watched it with her. I ended up really loving this drama, even though it’s completely different from any other drama I’ve watched. There are pretty tough themes at hand: abuse, homosexual/transsexual identity, rape. While it is a very serious drama and it does have its crazy moments, however, generally I wouldn’t say it’s completely dark and depressing throughout. There were a lot of laughs, a lot of gasps, and it was an overall enjoyable watch.
Michiru (Nagasawa Masami) is a girl who has a rough home life with her mother and decides to move in with her beloved boyfriend, Sousuke (Nishikido Ryo). Around the same time, she runs into an old high school friend of hers, Ruka (Ueno Juri), a tomboyish girl who is living with her cheerful friend Eri (Mizukawa Asami) in a house together. Michiru’s move in with her boyfriend does not go as smoothly as she would have hoped, as he proves to be both mentally and physically abusive. Meanwhile, Takeru (Eita) enters into the picture, a kind and gentle – and seemingly homosexual – guy who has a dark past of his own. Through twists of circumstances, Takeru, Michiru, and Emi’s friend Ogurin (Yamazaki Shigenori), all end up living together with Ruka and Eri. But the drama isn’t over yet – Sousuke has not given up on Michiru, Ruka realizes that she is in love with Michiru, and overlapping love triangles arise in this emotionally intense story.
I was impressed by many of the actors, namely Ryo and Juri. They had tough characters to play, and they weren’t too dramatic with their personas while still being effective – in fact, I believe they were the only two who got acting awards for this drama, and I definitely agree, as their performances were great. The characters all had nice chemistry, which is very important as this drama is primarily about friendship (hence the name). The plot was very interesting and the storytelling was great and kept you hooked. The serious themes were a nice change of pace from other dramas I watch, and I liked the fact that there were also many happy moments in the series to balance it out.
Sometimes I couldn’t stomach the drama very well as it occasionally went overboard and became unnecessarily melodramatic. Michiru annoyed me a lot; not only was her character generally weak and irritating (the way she would let her boyfriend treat her at the beginning got ridiculous and wasn’t believable to me), but I didn’t find Masami’s portrayal of that particular character very good either. I have nothing against her, and I do like her in other stuff, so I think it’s mostly the character of this particular role that was the problem. There were many exiting, tense scenes that were very effective, but sometimes it got so dramatic that I had trouble taking it seriously. Not all parts of the plot were played out to the end or explained fully, which always irks me, and while there were some aspects of the ending that I really liked, there were other aspects I wasn’t really satisfied with. While the negative aspects are a factor to consider, however, they didn’t really get too much in the way of my enjoyment of the series.
Ultimately, I feel this is a very particular drama that wouldn’t appeal to everyone but was very well made. The characters and plot were very good, the acting was solid, as were the visuals. I usually like happier or funnier dramas and thus I’d want the serious ones to be exceptional for me to enjoy them, and while Last Friends wasn’t perfect, I still feel it met the mark, and do recommend it if you enjoy its genre.