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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Long Love Letter (2002)


Tagline: Drifting classroom
Country: Japan
Genre: surreal, sci-fi, romance, school
Format: drama, 11 episodes
Cast: Kubozuka Yousuke, Tokiwa Takako, Yamada Takayuki, Yamashita Tomohisa, Suzuki Emi, Karina, Osugi Ren, Misukawa Asami, Tsumabuki Satoshi,
Synopsis: Misaki Yuka and Asami Akio meet by chance at a bookstore. Even though they feel connection between each other, they are unable to meet again. One year later, Yuka is working in her dad's flower shop and Asami as a math teacher in Motokura high school. They meet again when Yuka goes to the school to collect money from a client there - re-encounter does not go as well as they hoped. Yuka receives a call from her former student to meet with her day after that. Next day Yuka goes back to the school (she did not get the money day before) - Asami wishes to clear the misunderstanding between them when suddenly an earthquake occurs. When they open their eyes again, they find that everything but school has turned into sand - or is it the school that has disappeared from its place?
Rating: 4/5
Really highly rated drama! It would have been a total killer if it would not have had one tooo annoying point in it, but more about it later. You can read about the end of the drama from SPOILER-review.
The main main character is more actually Asami, but I know that it does not seem to be so according to the synopsis. Asami is played by Kubozuka Yousuke. He is really amazing actor (well, it is his first drama I have seen) - all emotions are well played. As Asami is one character who goes through all kind of different scenes - he is being jealous, angry, sad, in love etc. Really cute - especially "Let's go on a date under the desert moon" *romance level 100* He tells most of the truths in the drama like "As long as you live, you have hope!". His and Yuka's love story in it is really cute form the start. When in Code blue operation with drill (construction drill) was sick, then prepare yourself to ultimate sickness as they perform an operation with paper knifes and spoons.
It is weird how things start to happen first with Yuka - that's why in the synopsis she is most mentioned. She gives the feminine aura to drama as she really starts to act as a mother by protecting the students. Her background is later explained, but it is difficult to understand her feelings towards Fujisawa, the former student of her.
Takamatsu is the main character among the students. He is really insensitive and stupid when it comes to Kaoru, his girlfriend, but he is only character whose mental growth is clearly shown. As well he is the one who wants to go back to the so-called reality the most as he starts to regret his foolness in the real world. What I did not know was that Yamada Takayuki is the same actor who played in The Seaside Motel as Asakura Yousuke (room 202). AMAZING! Kaoru stays in the real world, that's why they start to think about their relationship more - it is sweet how much Kaoru loves him.
Otomo Tadashi, played by Yamashita Tomohisa, is smart yet lazy best-friend of Takamatsu. He is popular, but does not have a girlfriend and he is regularly (mentally and almost sexually) abused by his teacher Sekiya. Tadashi is a little bit scary character by his talk - he mentions the most about killing and suicides, but at the same time he also talks the most about girls and sex. High point of him is when Takamatsu tells him "Don't jump on her!" when Nishi is unconscious in next bed and he answers "I am not that desperate!".
Others - Sekiya is way tooo crazy - even in the real world she has mental issues, which deepens with shock. Kamo is the genius of the drama - her IQ is 230 and she really finds out everything with out leaving the place (okey, GPS scene is an exceptition), but in the end, she comes to the same result with out leaving school as others are spending outside researching. Nishi is a girl whose leg is injured - she sets many things into motion like some happenings, Tadashi's heart etc, but she is really scary when she is having a revelation - I have never liked it when people start talking nonsense without remembering it later.
(Question!! - Is Ikegaki played by Kanjani8's Murakami Shingo? I have not seen videos of him from that age, but Ikegaki is pretty similar to him - there is no information of Ikegaki's actor on the Internet, so I would be happy if some Kanjani8's fan would tell it to me! ^o^)
Drama contains several messages to people. One, which is most talked about, is "Only this moment matters! Live for the moment" - in drama they start with it, but in the end they find out that other way is possible too, as it is rather difficult thing to do. I think you should live for the moment, but think for the future - another weird thing about me. This drama definitely makes you think about the situation when some people you used to know are not anymore with you. Other thing is that we all must keep the nature - we cannot use all resources and we definitely cannot pollute our nature with all kind of chemicals! It is true that deserts have widen with recent years, so we really must take care of areas close to deserts (It is easy for me to say as I live so far from it)
But now to the reasons why it lost its 5th star. It might be a spoiler, but they show what happens with human - how they evolve into something spiderlike things. When I first saw them I was like "WTGYOZA! YOU JUST RUINED THE DRAMA!" I understand that it had to be more science fiction with it, but it more was similar to "Boogeyman" (2005, USA) when you finally see that Boogeyman is a really failure puppet. I seriously hated those spider-like-humans as much as that lamb meat in my rice. In some way it is just another sci-fi about 21st century, which were so popular before 2000 and some years after it. Also the jump in the last episode is actually impossible - and that scene was anyway bad, because you can see it how they all jump down not forward. I think the last episode is the worst episode of the drama.
You never know what happens next in this drama and that's why some things at first seem impossible - why and what really happened to that school? how can they navigate in desert? How much to the future they went? How much fuel the car has?? At first I thought they have not noticed so-called "mistakes", but actually they will give answers to all those questions above, except that Kamo's laptop must have had a serious killer-battery as she used it all the time without recharging it first...
Finally, the drama is very interesting, because they soon find out that they are not the only ones in that desert and it is cool to see how they try to survive, when one by one people go crazy, die or have a serious mood-changes. Also drama shows different sides of life - romance, friendship, protecting nature, school, different people in extreme situations etc. I recommend it to watch as another drama not as a sci-fi, because if you concentrate too much on the surreal part of it, it gets weird.


SPOILERreview: The end is a little bit difficult to understand, but from my point of view this is how it was: they actually stayed into that desert, but they were able to recover nature, so that grass started to grow again (but it is weird that there was no possibility for other animals to come out, which means that they all became total vegetarians and the children of those 21 people will be kindred in future)   About those letters and "the past" clip which was shown - it was third parallel- the past, which would have been if some things would have not happened as they did. It is rather complicated, but just think that we never know what is real in this world and what is not - maybe every time you have to make a decision, the world actually divides itself between your decision and the parallel-what-might-have-happened. Easily said, it is another level of philosophy.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, thanks for the review. I just finished the series yesterday and was so confused at the last episode, but your review helped me make sense of it. I do feel that the ending wasn't really a conclusion but I wonder if the manga ended differently and has a more explained and thorough ending.

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    1. I am glad that it helped you. I have not read the manga myself, but I have heard that they changed many many things in drama in order to make it more modern (like putting the main emphasis on love and friendships). It is said that manga is even more confusing, but if you ever read it, then please let me know about the differences too. It might be really interesting :)

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