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05 April 2014 @ 11:25 am
Dokushin Kizoku  
I think liking a movie or a TV series has a lot to do with timing. We are able to fall for things and people only because they are relevant to us at certain periods of our life. If so, then I suppose Dokushin Kizoku came to me at just the right moment. I don’t think it will replace Nodame Cantabile as my favorite drama, as the bar Nodame has set is simply too high, but it’s certainly a deserving runner-up. Dokushin Kizoku is simply moving. It makes you want to believe in love again, even if Kusanagi Tsuyoshi looks lost playing this particular role.



Dokushin Kizoku (A Swinging Single) deals with the intertwined love lives of three people who, at the start of the series anyway, want nothing to do with marriage. Hoshino Mamoru (Kusanagi Tsuyoshi) is content with his lavish bachelor lifestyle as president of a film production company, surrounded by his artsy-fartsy DVDs and his leather shoe collection. His charismatic younger brother Susumu (Itou Hideaki) gets his kick from sleeping around with one new woman each night while his divorce is being processed. Finally, humble country girl Haruno Yuki (Kitagawa Keiko) thinks marriage will get in the way of her dream of becoming a screenwriter. The three of them cross paths through their shared connection of movies, and they fall in love with each other in the most awkward imaginable ways.



As I’ve said, my main problem here is that Kusanagi Tsuyoshi is too awkward. Then again, if his acting goal for this piece had been to be painfully awkward, then he’s done his part well – sorry, Kusanagi fans, I personally don’t know him well enough to have anything against him. Kitagawa and Itou actually look better together; there is also, of course, the unfortunate fact that I have seen Kitagawa act with Sakurai Sho and they form the most delicious on-screen couple ever, repressed sexual tension and all. Despite this little kink, the casting is superb. The characters may at first seem prosaic and too safe, but eventually they take flight and develop into really endearing people. My favorite character is Genouzono Reiko. Mainstream Japanese television should have more female characters like her.

I love the movie leitmotif for this series. They talk about movies all the time, and they use famous songs from classic movies for the BGM. Even without the sensitive lighting of certain scenes, the carefully heartbreaking lines, and the sheer talent Kitagawa Keiko showed throughout the show’s run, hearing Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River straight from Breakfast at Tiffany’s is enough to break one’s heart. At least I think it was straight from the movie.



Seriously though, this show feels different from anything I’ve ever seen Japan do before. It feels like the first work of a newbie screenwriter, a newbie director, a newbie producer – in a good way. Everything feels extremely well thought out and played out – it’s not something common in television shows, where people tend to rush, throw all ideas in, and sort of wait to see what happens next. Through the screen, you can feel the heart of the people who worked on this show, and you know someone gave a huge portion of his or her soul to make this happen. Everything may seem too calculated, too neat, but that in itself is its strength. This series is about making calculated risks when it comes to love. It’s about people who want to be careful, people who don’t want to lose themselves in the fever of passion. Naturally, the show would have to be played out in tentative, calculated steps as well.

Watching this show feels like falling in love for the first time. Watching this show makes one want to believe that it’s possible to start from scratch again, to fall in love as though one had never been hurt, to fall in love as though one had absolutely no fear of getting one’s heart broken by someone one hoped would be the One. If there is one great fault of the show, it is this: It makes one want to believe in true love. It makes one hope. It makes one believe someone is out there for everyone, even if no one really is.



Raws care of pboxes and subs from the wonderful, crazy people at amiso.
Crossposted at projectmanuela.wordpress.com.
 
 
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meiko_cielmeiko_ciel on April 5th, 2014 04:36 am (UTC)
I'm currently watching this dorama. And it really surprised me.
First, I started to watch it just because of Keiko-chan. I personally don't like Kusanagi Tsuyoshi at all, so I avoid his doramas, but for Keiko anything.

I enjoy the little (or big) details of the dorama. The classic OST, is such a treat to hear all those master pieces, and always so well curated. I also enjoy Kusanagi's quotes about love, woman (I feel the same about woman and elephants, I like to watch them, but I don’t want them in my house) and marriage. But I like what is going on between Keiko's and Kusanagi's character, maybe because I always tend to like the quirky guy.
I haven't finished the dorama, but I'm really enjoying it.
But taking some of your words about Kitagawa and Sakurai being this delicious on-screen couple ever, repressed sexual tension and all. It's SO TRUE! Because I have watch her with a lot of different guys on TV, and I have never seen the chemistry she has with him. It sort of hit me today meanwhile I was watching episode 3.
Aruarasukishi on April 28th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC)
RIiiiiiiiiIIght? I'm honestly worried that I'm never going to get over the ShoXKeiko pairing. I may never learn to approve of any drama partner for Keiko aside from Sho, and vice versa. ;( That's sad, because as a friend of mine pointed out, Japan isn't very fond of sticking to a love team on the level of, say Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, who worked together for yeeeeeears. I'll keep my hopes up though. I hope Sho and Keiko do something together again.

I hope you really enjoyed the drama! By this time you're probably done watching it - I took my time in replying. :P What did you think? <3
meiko_cielmeiko_ciel on April 28th, 2014 09:29 pm (UTC)
I hope they do too.
I really liked it. I enjoy the vision of love that they showed us and I was happy with the end.
The dorama gave me a lot of emotions, and for me, when a dorama does that, it's a good one. If I scream to the screen (with rage or happiness), it's because I'm enjoying it, and that's good enough for me.
This month I was back on track with watching doramas, and I have found some really good ones, so I will probably write about them soon.