I have been watching one of the latest Japanese Dramas (JDrama), Last Friends… or RASUTO FURENZU as its read Katakana name. It is the first Asian drama I have seen (Chinese, Korean… or any other) – and despite the fact that I have seen my fair amount of Asian films, or listened to music in an Asiatic language. Last Friends is my first EVER Asian Soap… or as I call it, my AsiaNovela.
Last Thursday, we saw the fifth episode… so I have been roughly watching this weekly for the past month, and I can’t wait for more! LOL’ – Watch the Intro here – First, the Intro theme (which played on Ep01, 02 and 03) is stunningly beautiful, featuring the 5 main characters in a white room, with almost everything white, and lovely framing. Accompanying this is the theme provided by Utada Hikaru, Prisoner of Love. Then some added drama…
The supposedly 11-episode drama stars no one I knew, ha! But I have been quickly impressed by Ueno Juri’s performance. Despite theme, or storyline… or even character – there’s just something very compelling about the way Ueno Juri holds her own on screen. And as I read somewhere online, Ueno Juri might be turning into the ‘must-see’ star on Japanese televisions…
The show is about Michiru (Nagasawa Masami), a young 22-year-old Japanese girl working as a hair stylist in Tokyo who moves in with her boyfriend, Sousuke (Nishikido Ryo), who works for Child Welfare. On the same period of time, Michiru also meets with high-school-friend Ruka (Ueno Juri), whom Michru hadn’t seen in roughly 4 years due to family issues. And let me tell you, Michiru has a lot of family issues~~~
Ruka is another young 22-or-something-year-old Japanese girl working at a bike shop, and training as a motocross racer… and she has a crush on Michiru, but cannot profess her love for obvious reasons. At first glance, Ruka seems confident, and care-free, but soon it all changes, as we discover the silent suffering of not being able to be who she really is, even with her closest friends. She can’t even be, who she really feels~~
As Michiru tells how lovely her relationship with Sousuke is, we quickly discover the hurt that he would cause Michiru, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Everyone seems to be torn apart!!
Part of the storyline also shows Takeru (Eita), a professional makeup and hair artists, with close physical contact issues, who befriends Ruka for mere chance, and the help of Ruka’s roommate, Eri (Mizukawa Asami), a seemingly happy-go-lucky flight attendant with isolation issues.
So, to be clear… the Introduction of the show means something!
Michiru – Love – She must deal with choosing between Sousuke, Ruka… and even herself. She must learn how to love and respect herself, in order to be loved.
Ruka – Liberation – Even if she loves herself, and loves Michiru, Ruka can’t be herself. Will she take the ultimate step, or will she succumb?
Takeru – Agony – He loves people, but can’t let them get too close. Whatever happened to him, sexual abuse or anything keeps him from being truly happy.
Eri – Solitude – She obviously fears being lonely. She feels rejected by her co-workers, and if she’s promiscuous, it’s because she must feel that she has to do it for people to not leave. I don’t feel she’s promiscuous, though haha… maybe to Japanese standards. (See Shane McCutcheon for Promiscuous). HA!
Sousuke – Contradiction – Let’s face it, Sousuke is a walking contradiction! He said he loved Michiru, but has problems accepting her as she is. He said he would never do it again, but he does it again… He is not only abusive, but manipulative, and scheming. He says something, does something else, while his mind tells a whole different story.
Well, from Ep01 – we know that Michiru is pregnant, Ruka doesn’t have contact with her (*sadness*), and actually… Michiru seemed pretty much alone. There’s also a voice over from Takeru… did HE knock her up???? Or is it Sousuke’s kid??? Did Sousuke kill himself???? Did Ruka kill Sousuke??? WTF happened to Eri?? She truly doesn’t fit on this storyline, LOL’
Here are some links:
- d-addicts Wiki
- Official FujiTV Site
- Official FujiTV Site 2 (has some really nice photos on the photo gallery)
- Japanese Wikipedia (Might need Google Translate)
- Ueno Juri Official Website (really cute diary ‘report section’)
- JP Drama – Torrents of the eps in Japanese uploaded one day after broadcast.
- D-Addicts – Last Friends subtitles posted one day after torrent upload.