Tempest 3D

I found this news to be pretty interesting, so I thought I’d share it here. I’m not sure if many of you have gotten a chance to catch Yukie Nakama‘s summer drama series, Tempest but if you haven’t if may not have to.

I’m a huge fan of Yukie Nakama (as a personality and actress)  and jumped at the chance to see her second dorama this year テンペスト (Tempest) starring, Tanihara Shosuke, Tsukomoto Takashi and Gackt. Based on the novel by Ikegami Eiichi Tempest tells the story of a young girl in 19th Century Japan, who disguises herself as a eunuch and becomes a royal government officer.

The  drama has currently aired eight of it’s ten episodes on NHK BS-Premium and last month was reported to be releasing as a 3-D film(it’s third live-action format for Nakama did the play version as well). The drama will be cut down from it’s original runtime of 7 1/2 hours (roughly 45 mins per episode) to fit a two and one half hour movie format. The film is set to open at the beginning of next year with the title Gekijoban Tempest 3D.

Thoughts:I’ve actually watched up to seven episodes of this drama and truly have been pleased so far. There are definitely some issues with drama but overall I feel the performances have been well done. Besides, Nakama, Tanihara is a decided favorite of mine and Gackt was rather comical in his role, though he was most certainly depicted as a villainous character. Given the time period there are some mythical references which ring true to the belief system of the era, however, it’s transference to screen is a little lacking.

As for the story, Mazuru chooses to be a boy to bring honor to her family as well as please her father and this gives the drama a freshness I appreciate. Her motivation was not based solely on her thirst for knowledge and therefore doesn’t make her choices heroic or innately feminist, initially. She’s a female lead that isn’t quite female, therefore, you view her a character on a mission to serve her country well and this is very pleasant to watch.

I’m still not sure how to feel about the 5-hour cut but I think it’s a wait and see issue. At times a series would be better benefited as a short miniseries and I could see that being true for this story. In two hours, the story could be told in a way that is brisk, challenging and direct without the filler that episodic concession relies upon.

Ultimately, I will be finishing the original series, then checking out the film just to see whether the cut was successful. If you haven’t watched the drama, it is an easy watch and a great segue into Japanese historical cinema, without the habitual angst and diabolical political plot conflicts. Of course these things are covered in the drama but it doesn’t drag it down. It’s a simple and to the point retelling of Mazuru’s story in a genuine and linear manner.

Tempest airs Sundays until September 18, 2011. The film drops January 2012.

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