Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jdrama Review - Long Vacation

Before commenting on the drama itself, its important to say a word on the significance this drama had over time. Long Vacation was first aired on Japanese TV in 1996, it was the first drama that Kimura Takuya worked in; heralding-in the "Kimutaku" craze that swept over Japan the following decade or so, often being regarded as a classic drama for this fact alone. For those who don't know, Kimura Takuya is widely regarded as one of Japan's top actors. And I must admit, this was the first drama of his that I've seen and though I can't say he's among the best just yet, I see the potential that people attribute to him. All of his dramas have been well-received and according to, he is voted as the number #1 actor in Jdrama. Kimura Takuya's performance in Long Vacation was pretty good, but then again so was the rest of the cast so it's hard to single-out any one actor in this drama.

Having said that, Long Vacation is a pretty solid drama. Great casting, good soundtrack, and a somewhat normal, everyday storyline. Though it was a bit slow-to-start, LV catches the interest of the viewer as the story progresses. The story revolves around a young pianist named Sena (Kimura Takuya) and Minami (Yamaguchi Tomoko) and how their platonic friendship slowly turns into romance. After being stood up by her husband-to-be on their wedding day, Minami has no choice but to go to her fiance's apartment, only to find that he has left the scene and she meets Sena, his roommate. Having no where to go she decides to stay with Sena until her fiance returns but slowly she realizes that he will never return. Sena allows her to stay as a sort of "long vacation" until she fixes her life back but the two of them grow close as friends while pursuing their own interests. The drama really picks up towards the end when they both realize just how much they liked each other after supposedly moving on.

In its favor, LV offers good & likeable cast of characters to the screen. Being a story revolving around a pianist, the soundtrack was pretty good (I wouldn't say amazing, but good.) Though I have to admit, I LOVE the opening song! The script, although I have both good and bad to say concerning it, was for the most part successful at making the drama feel less like a drama and more like real life. There was very little dramatic pauses or phrases here and there so when they did happen it felt all the more dramatic. The story itself wasn't too bad either and I think it tackles the issue of platonic friendships between men & women pretty well.

If I had to pick a downside to the drama, I would say its probably due to the believable-everyday feel of the dialogue within the script that both acted as something new and different yet at the same time made the drama feel a bit slow. It only really started to feel like an actual drama by around episode 8 or 9. For this reason it felt a bit dragged at parts but otherwise the good, casual acting on the part of the actors made it feel very believable and real (which was nice.) The characters themselves felt very real and therefore both likeable and annoying. That is good casting! In short, the script acted as a double-edged sword, both adding a new face to the drama and yet hurting it at the same time.

All-in-all, Long Vacation is enjoyable to watch. I plan on watching more of Kimura's dramas as I hear that the others are even better. There's also a rumor that Long Vacation 2 is in the works so if that's true, definitely pick this one up beforehand!

Presentation/Story: 8.5/10
Characters: 8.5/10
Setting: 7/10
Music: 7.5/10
Value: 9/10
Quirks: 4.5/10 (5.5)

THE GOOD: Who doesn't want to have a "Long Vacation" of their own? So romantic! ;p
THE BAD: Yea ok, that never happens in real life..does it?
THE UGLY: Yawwwwn! Oh wait, did i just miss the second half of the episode?

Review: 7.7/10

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