Rec of the Week: Winter Jodorama 2012

I have been away for eons it seems. However, while I was unable to type away to you guys, I did catch a drama or three. And though I’ve said this all before (I’m sure); the crazy thing about dramas, is not every season bears good fruit. Fortunately though, even when that happens, you just might have the good fortune to find one that catches your eye, whets your appetite and actually tastes pretty sweet.

Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi  is the 2012 project that brought together the two stars of the insanely popular drama, Mada Koi wa Hajimaranai. Reuniting this pair was by no means a mistake, for they have irrefutable chemistry that proves some of the most solid actors in the world right now get passed over for idol stars that couldn’t scare emotion out of a screaming baby. Koizumi still delivers each line with a sing-songy rhythm and Nakai remains unfaltering in his craft. Every scene with him was a delight, running the gamut from hilarious to poignant.

Story: Yoshino Chiaki is a 45 year old TV drama producer at a television network station. As she grows older, she becomes more concerned about her health and retirement rather than a romantic relationship with someone she loves. The dream life she imagined upon joining her company seems far away and no longer reachable. Will things change if she took a break from her routine life? Such questions lead her to Kamakura, where she searches for an antique house to settle in. This is where she meets Nagakura Wahei, a 50 year old man working for the city office. Wahei was separated from his wife by death, a heartbroken lonely single man with one child.

Chiaki and Wahei are drawn to each other as they learn more and more about each other. Facing the challenges of interacting with each unique member of the family, Chiaki and Wahei together try to overcome them to attain a long-standing happiness.

Cast: Koizumi Kyoko, Nakai Kiichi, Sakaguchi Kenji

Impression: I actually watched this drama about two weeks ago, beginning to end in one day. I truly adored it. I’m one not flock to “second chance at love stories for old people” because I think the sentiment is rather trite. Not to say that romance or love is only for the young but rather that most dramas try to create a story for a different generation and end up with a preachy shallow mess. What this drama did well, was showcase and balance of getting older with the ideals of love and relationships. However, it was also able to examine the various differences between women at different stages and ventures in their lives.

The world we now live, is filled with women no different from the women in this drama: young, older, married, single, housewives, career driven, or even those trying to have it all. Yoshino Chiaki wasn’t a role model but just a regular woman living her life and trying to make it better. She isn’t extraordinary in her thinking, occupation or personal life but she is as honest and genuine as I’ve seen in a character (of any age) in a long time.

I don’t mean to speak about the women as though this a just a female centric drama, though I do believe the drama is pretty chock full of them. Perhaps the drama is meant for a female audience but I also felt that the males weren’t short changed at all and probably were the most lovable characters. I was actually pretty impressed with Sakaguchi, as the bubbly female “volunteer” and shop runner to Nakai Kiichi’s bumbling but protective older brother. Sakaguchi is by far very attractive but I haven’t truly cared for much of his starring roles since, PRIDE. He’s had successful guest spots but is long term roles just haven’t struck a cord with me. But here, I adored his performance and truly wished we’d had more time with him and his development as a character.

I can’t say that this drama is for everyone but I wouldn’t pass it over just because you are young or older, etc. The drama deals with the reality of life as it passes us all by, (quicker than we imagine) and shines some insights on the plights of many in several different circumstances. The drama surrounds a widower and a career gal but it doesn’t paint the picture that either life choice or circumstance is more admirable than the other, nor does it degrade and belittle or even wax philosophical about love for the young, the old or those in the middle. It’s really just a drama that gives hope, that life is ongoing and therefore love (in all forms, for all people) is as well.


2 Replies to “Rec of the Week: Winter Jodorama 2012”

  1. Thanks for mentioning Saigo… It’s Okada Yoshikazu’s most recent work and he’s one of my two favourite screenwriters. His Zeni Geba was P H E N O M E N A L! And the asadora Ohisama was quite brilliant, too.
    I was meaning to check this out and was curious. Now I know it’s a must-see. I adore the premise already and Nakai Kiichi is one of those few understated, charismatic, mature actors. Loved him in Kaze no Garden. Cheers again!
    And you should post more! I j’adore your blog.

    1. Thank you for dropping in! I fell in love with the drama and the concept rather quickly. It moves fast and kept me stuck in front of my screen, for the growth of these characters was so satisfyingly pleasant to watch. Hope you enjoy much as I did!

      Also, thank you so much for your kind words. I am pleased that I am contributing opinions others find intriguing and worth the read 😉

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