Tags: jdramas: is

oh mj ilu

IS - you classy drama, you.

Proof that what is - for all extents and purposes - the vehicle for a social message
need not feel preachy or simplistic.
Idealistic in spots, maybe
(particularly during the last episode,
in which everything falls oh-so-neatly into place),
but always nuanced.

Of course, the drama neatly captures:
1. The main issue of IS (i.e. surgery - Y/N?); and
2. The spectrum of reactions to IS
(horror, avoidance, insensitive jokes, pity, gradual/outright acceptance).

But it's the complexities that make it memorable:

- Ibuki's past.
I was half-disappointed when I found out his sister didn't have IS, lolol.
Jokes aside, though,
I love the fact that his family turned out to be yet another alternate-reality version of Haru's,
that the whole incident turned out to be a broader commentary on
(a) him, and
(b) most other people (because, deep down, we ARE afraid to stand out for the wrong reasons).
I love that he eventually came to terms with what he did
and that he was able to mend his family relationships.

- REON. <3
How he needs time to accept Miwako's IS,
but eventually boils the should-I-or-shouldn't-I question down to the essentials -
a heart, beating faster.
The hug scene was beautiful:
Miwako pushes away but HE PULLS HER BACK.
And after a lifetime of being afraid of non-acceptance,
that's all she really needs.

- The form teacher who becomes a sympathetic character.
There's change here, and change for the better.
Similarly, Miwako blooms in the course of the series,
such that the way she carries herself in the last episode
is so far removed from that in the first
you'd be hard-pressed to think her the same girl.
In general, I'd say that's one of the strengths of the drama:
the main characters are unrelentingly 3D.
No one's infallible (not even Haru's creepily-cheery family),
but each person grows and is in a better place by the end of the ten episodes.

- Haru's mom, always keeping it real.
E.g. reminding him not to use IS as an excuse for his (potential) expulsion.

- Haru =/= Miwako.
There's no one-size-fits-all plan -
what works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other.
For example, Haru reveals that he has IS to the school population,
but Miwako does not/will not.
Miwako might get the genital surgery in the future,
while Haru is going to live as male.

- The open-ended HaruXIbuki relationship.
Because it doesn't matter, really.
Whether their feelings come to fruition,
they've learnt so much from each other.


(Deserved a way better timeslot, IMO.
What's the point of producing a drama designed to educate the public
when barely anyone's going to watch?)
oh mj ilu

on IS episode 3.

IS is shaping up to be an excellent drama.
I love the fact that Haru and Miwako are essentially
alternate-reality versions of each other -
how the other could have turned out if they had switched parents/family environments.
I adore the fact that soccer kid has his OWN skeletons.

And I like the way Haru's family is currently having doubts
as to whether they made the right decision way back then,
since I hardly think that what-ifs are nonexistent in such grey areas
(and I have to applaud the scriptwriters for pointing it out,
as Haru's family's stand seems to be the one they are leaning towards).

The acting is also better than I expected it to be:
Gouriki Ayame nails tortured-angst-with-a-tinge-of-creepy,
and Fukuda Saki is adorable.

While IS itself is nothing provocative
(when all is said and done, it is a medical condition,
and thus not subject to the same questions as, say, GID),
the series seems to be tackling the ethics of parental attitudes/choices and their consequences,
which is intriguing.
I cannot, cannot wait to see where the series goes.