Tags: jdramas: sekai no chuushin de

oh mj ilu

世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ

I regret not watching this earlier.
The DramaWiki summary screamed 'weepy tearjerker',
but ack that doesn't do the drama justice.
At all.

It transcends your typical 'boy-meets-girl --> girl-dies-of-terminal-illness' cliche.
I liked that the Saku X Aki relationship contained elements
of a relationship you'd normally expect only from more mature individuals
(as opposed to high school kids),
which made Saku's devotion/reluctance to let go all the more believable.
Yet the plot doesn't revolve solely around the lovers -
beyond romance, it also explores friendship and familial love.
(For one, the Saku-Ryunosuke-Bozu circle
is one of the healthiest guy-guy friendships I've seen depicted in dramas.
And there's this one scene between Saku's parents
that struck me -
when his mother has a smoke with his father,
and tells his father that she's taken on extra shifts at work,
indicating acceptance of the whole photo studio thing?)
And there are all these gorgeous (and gorgeously-worded) insights
into how we live, love and die,
and how we grow and change and move on.

No character is a cliche:
Aki lies continuously and is ridiculously-obstinate at times;
Saku is a bit of a blockhead.
And the fact that Ryunosuke and Tomoyo don't end up together
(tiny detail, but doesn't that just say something else about love?
Argh I love this drama.).

Plot-wise -
I loved the parallels between Saku-and-Aki and Grandpa-and-his-young-lover,
and Majima and Aki.
And the fact that Kobayashi Aki and Hirose Aki have the same name,
which just emphasises the whole cyclical, life-death cycle thing that the show has going.
And various images:
the tapes, the hydrangeas, the ashes, the photos, the sky.
(What comes immediately to mind:
grown!Saku dropping the bottle of Aki's ashes
in favour of trying to save Kazuki.)

This show rested on Yamada Takayuki,
and he owned the role in a spot of perfect casting + flawless acting.
He made the character so intensely believable/involving -
you love him when he's being sweet,
you want to hit him when he's being an idiot.
Ayase Haruka was a little forced in earlier episodes,
but I thought she really came into her own in the second half of the drama.
The weakest link here, I felt, was the older Saku,
whose overacting cheapened the sentiment a little.

In fact, one of the drama's only weak points
is that some of its sentiments fall flat (writer trying too hard, etc).
But, given the proportion of screentime devoted to ~emotional~ scenes,
the fact that only a few moments fall into this category is a pretty good sign.
And this really is a minor point
compared to the unbelievable amount of heart the drama possesses.

All in all, superb direction, superb writing, superb acting.
AND: Amazing theme song.
Very fitting, considering the themes of the drama.
This is perhaps the only ending theme that I've listened to in its entirety
for all the drama episodes.



To date, I have watched 7 K-dramas.
Yikes, they're so much more time-consuming/commitment-requiring than J-dramas. ><
It's not just about the physical length of the dramas
(each episode lasts 60mins, and there are usually 16-20 eps), though:
what I've seen so far is that while they can START OUT excellent,
the pace tends to sag in the middle episodes,
when the writers run out of ideas
and have to resort to melodrama and/or stale plot devices
(a la opposition from prospective mothers-in-law) as episode fillers.
Yet you have to get through these
in order to understand what happens to the leads
(whom the scriptwriters have made you develop a fondness for
in aforementioned excellent initial episodes).
Sigh.



And the following is going to make this a monster of an entry, but:
MADA MINU'S ACID TRIP OF A PV HAS BEEN LEAKED,
and I have ~feelings~ about it.
1. First off, I love that it's vastly different from the recent Arashi PVs.
(No Big, Vaguely-Symbolic Prop that they dance around,
no standing around/looking pretty.)
2. I also love that Ohno is front, right, centre in what is essentially a dance PV.
IN OTHER WORDS, LOTS OF OHNO-PRETTINESS/SMOOTH MOVES.
Also: 4:05. SQUEE :):):)
3. In fact, I love the choreo for this whole thing.
The moves look good, the boys are in sync
(EDIT: Hahaha obviously I have watched this PV too many times,
because I have spotted an Aiba-mistake!
3:05 - he moves in the same direction as everyone else,
but faces the wrong direction.
So he basically moves backward when everyone else moves forward. xD),
and the dance fits the song to a T
(I giggle with all my might when they do that clapping move to the 'to the top' bit).
4. There are throwbacks(!) to old PVs:
people on arama say Sunrise Nippon,
but it's more of A.RA.SHI for me -
the whole room-of-squarish-lit-tiles concept
(with less cyan, though.
Which was obviously shafted to the acid-trip parts of the pV.)
And the blindingly-colourful clothes.
5. 0:35, at which Nino aims to channel gangsta swag
but lands somewhere between Jun and rebellious teen. xD
(To further diminish the effect: he is wearing a skirt.
A skirt that is less manly-kilt, more girly-pleats. Hahahaha.)

BUT: the whole thing is unabashedly chaotic.
Jumpy camerawork and cuts (and random freeze-frames),
and WAY too many flares/saturated colours.
Positively dizzying, and not in a good way.
(I am rather fond of the heat-sensor-y effect at the start of the PV, though. Heh.)
Also: Sho's hairstylist ought to be fired -
all the guys look younger (and very awesome),
but Sho ages 10 years with that hair. ><
It's a bit like watching a father with his four kids. xD

But, for all its flaws,
I've replayed the PV at least five times already.
And it has succeeded in making me like the song more -
ostensibly its primary mission.
(I really do think it's the great choreo.
GREAT CHOREO, GUYS! FOR ONCE!)
And it made me laugh - though perhaps for the wrong reasons. xD
So I'm going to judge it favourably
and leave the mocking up to the PVS girl,
who does it wonderfully and with lots of love.