Midnight. On a certain website, Sara types "If you are dying, please donate your heart to my daughter". In an Internet cafe. The young man taps slowly on the keyboard. When Sara next rechecks the website, she sees a reply. "I would like to give my heart". And thus, the mysterious young man enters single mother Sara's life. When she falls in love, it is time for the young man to die. Is that what fate has in store for Sara?
Cast & Credits
The plot description released by NHK got me at first sight (or more like at first read). I thought this drama seems intriguing and without second thoughts I started downloading it. Not long after that, I started watching it and finished the whole thing even without subtitles. It was certainly worth the while.
Platonic’s plot, characters and events’ flowing is very similar to the way Japanese used to do dramas back in the late 90’s to the beginning of the millennium. I surely had a nostalgic moment while watching this. That factor amongst others helped this drama to stabilize an interesting watch until the very last end. It wasn’t mind-blowing but it was attention-grabbing. I dislike tearjerkers and everything that falls under that category. Fortunately, Platonic didn’t take that “I am going to die but I love you *cries* *cries*” turn. Instead, the drama took reality’s turn and made feelings and sentiments sound so genuine despite their simplicity. It excels at throwing every surreal sensation and exchanging it with more down to earth and believable emotions
On the other hand, this drama was somewhat slow in depicting some developments. The wait made me impatient and eager to see the whole thing through. Furthermore, the ending didn’t surprise me a bit. I really hate it when the exact same thing I predict happens. However, everything was logical and real enough.
Nakyama Miho was a good fit for the role of a mother who stopped being a woman, this is the first time I see her in recent times since I was used to her performance in older dramas. She was a mature actress and she still maintains that quality very well. Her co-star Domoto Tsuyoshi was quite good for this type of role. Although their chemistry didn’t strike me, they were a possible nice match. I also didn’t mind the age gap that much.
Some other characters added spirit to this drama; they were an undeniable presence just like few of them were a waste of space. I can say that I liked the supporting set as a whole.
This drama’s Music was English, the type that I don’t usually hear but color me surprised! It was such a great fit for the drama, I won’t listen to it again but when watching the drama, you can feel the OST penetrating into you.
Watch this if:
-You like Slice of Life Japanese dramas.
-You like the older Japanese way of doing dramas because this is quite similar.
-You like some unusual terminal diseases’ dramas.
Do not watch if:
-You’re looking for a tearjerker, despite the feel of it; this is not one.
-You dislike Slice of life dramas.
-You’re looking for something dazzling.
Platonic is a slow-sailing drama that goes into the depth of many human emotions. It’s not a tearjerker although it may sound like one at first.
Such a wonderfully deep and reflective drama; so sad and beautiful at the same time; and with a refreshingly unique romance story.
Loved the slow gentle pace of the drama that drifted along in such a wonderfully absorbing way, which added perfectly to the mood of the drama. It also made it feel very naturalistic, particularly to the romance, giving that storyline a chance to gradually blossom throughout the drama, and slowly drawing the attention further into the characters and their story, which made it so much more captivating and emotionally moving because of it.
I really loved how deep the main characters’ conversations were, where both had and were going through such traumas and pain, and as a result and with each other giving a certain positivity into one-another's lives, they had such a reflective outlook on life and various issues, and were very mature because of it.
I also really liked how they were so down-to-earth and straight-to-the-point, with no fussing about over whatever may be socially acceptable, but were doing what they believed was right for their circumstances, especially in terms of saving a life. It also made for an interesting twist to the usual romance stories, which was so much more intriguing, and added further layers to the drama as well.
Another thing that I liked about the drama, was how after they had talked about something earlier in each episode, they would show a scene at the end to give a better understanding of what they were talking about; and there was a really creative one later in the drama that reflected so well the main characters’ feelings and their situation.
Acting and Characters:
They really chose the leads perfectly with this, particularly as both actors do really well with these darker roles; and also both have such a lovely gentleness about them, as well as such beautifully calming voices, so complimented the mood of the drama wonderfully.
Domoto Tsuyoshi also acted his first main role 20 years previously in the writer of “Platonic”: Nojima Shinji’s earlier drama: “Ningen Shikkaku”, so was nice them working together again.
Great cast in general, with a really good mix of characters, several of which were really likeable, whilst others added intrigue and various issues for the characters to overcome throughout; all adding perfectly to the storyline each in their own way.
Domoto Tsuyoshi’s character: the mysterious young man, of whom refrained from sharing his name due to a certain part of the storyline; I thought he did wonderfully in the role, especially considering apart from a couple of comedy series, it had been almost a decade since he previously acted in a serious drama role; and I found his acting in this excellent and reflected well the character and storyline throughout. I could really feel how the character had been left with such an emptiness due to his situation and had been so depressed and tired of everything he had gone through and was going through, yet a certain acceptance of his character's fate gave him a more relaxed and reflective outlook on life; made him more sensitive and compassionate because of it; and made him very mature in his conversations, putting much thought into his responses and remaining as calm and polite as he could, particularly when faced with confrontation.
And just like his other dramas, I loved how natural he was with the sad scenes, where it was so heartfelt and realistic; and really made the drama even more emotionally moving than it already was.
Some really adorable moments also, with such beautiful scenes of happiness and positivity, whilst keeping a certain melancholy aura that lurked beneath the surface due to the dark and sad storyline, so felt very naturalistic in those scenes.
I really liked Nakayama Miho who played the lead female character: Sara, as well, and thought the actress was great in the role. Such a lovely graceful and gentle elegance about her, with a certain modesty and quiet nature, that reflected and added so nicely to the character. She really portrayed the desperate mother well; and with a coldness and a certain hostility towards others, yet a politeness at the same time, that made the character so endearing and intriguing to find out whether she’d be able to open up and move on from her negativity towards others.
It was particularly interesting how because of the situation with her daughter, she had given up on being a “woman” and had devoted herself to being fully a “mother”. And she’d become so singularly focussed on looking after her daughter Sari, that she’d closed herself off from everyone else, where her entire world had just become the two of them, where she’d become obsessed with keeping a certain control over their little world, and was scared of anyone else interfering in any way. So was even more interesting the potential romance storyline, as it gave her a chance to let someone else into her’s and their lives; plus gave questions over what would happen once, as one of the theme songs said: “the stranger comes along” into their world.
They really chose well the actress for playing Sari, as the character could have perhaps been a bit too sickly sweet, yet I really liked the actress Nagano Mei who played her, as she was lovely and brought a certain realism to the character; plus I thought she played her really well, particularly at a young age.
I really liked how despite her circumstances, she was such a positive character with such a sweet and beautiful nature about her; and particularly liked how sensible, and like the leads, how mature she was, where even when things did get her down, she’d make an effort to understand the situation and be more positive about it, and was very thoughtful and considerate towards her mother.
I liked all the supporting characters and cast in this, where all had their part in the story to make it extra enjoyable and interesting; but I particularly liked Sara’s friend Masako, who was such a character with loads of personality, and loved her down-to-earth and easy-going nature, and acted wonderfully by actress Kaga Mariko; plus I liked the quirky characters that worked in Sara’s store, and particularly the fantasy/supernatural element they added with Maeda Goki's character Shougo, which added a nice ethereal element that was really beautiful, and again made the drama extra special.
Although not really my cup-of-tea musically, but the words of Billy Joel’s “Honesty” and “The Stranger” were so perfect to the drama’s storyline, so went really well to reflect the themes, and I ended up liking them more as they played throughout the drama.
The instrumentals were also appropriate, and some I thought were really beautiful and added so nicely.
And with both the songs and instrumental music, I thought they went really well with further setting the mood of the drama, keeping it grounded and with a slight melancholy nature, without being too sweet/sentimental which could have affected it negatively, had they done so judging from other similar dramas/movies; whilst at the same time I found it wonderfully emotionally moving, so added perfectly to the drama.
The cinematography was perfect and reflected the story and mood so well. Particularly with such gentle pacing, the slow lingering and still shots in certain moments, really added to that; and many camera shots really brought the focus into the themes of the world of two, and of the individual characters and their stories.
I also loved the orange filter effects during certain scenes, both outside as well as certain indoor scenes, as it gave such a beautiful representation of the sad themes like a setting sun; whilst at the same time added that warmth and cosiness, and a certain safe feeling, like how the main characters’ unique set-up gave them some hope again.
Rewatch value and Overall:
Already rewatched and loved it even more so, particularly as started noticing so much more about the story, characters, and their talks throughout; and I’d definitely watch it again when in the mood for a slow-paced, sad and beautiful drama.
I think my only disappointment is that, without mentioning a spoiler, as just an opinion, but I thought what they did with part of the last episode could have been done differently, however I liked that it wasn’t the cliche that would have been expected from dramas with such storylines.
Otherwise overall, such a gorgeously gentle-paced and emotionally moving drama, with plenty of depth, interesting talks on life and various topics amongst the leads; a great cast, and a wonderful mix of interesting characters; plus some lovely creative extras that added so nicely to make the drama so much more meaningful, extra special and unique.