Kai Yuuki is in his senior year at university studying social welfare psychology. At present, he is in the middle of job-hunting season. He is finding it difficult with no job offers so far. One day, he meets a girl who is playing violin in the campus. She is Sae Hagio. In marked contrast to her beautiful tone and attractive looks, her personality is somewhat impertinent. And to top it off, she communicates through very vulgar sign language. Four years ago, she lost the most important thing for a violinist - her hearing. As a result Sae closed off her inner self from the outside world. Kai finds himself on a date with Sae, in place of his best friend. Unexpectedly, he comes into contact with Sae's private side. Love, job-hunting, friendship... Setting a campus in spring as a dorama's backdrop, it's the start of a glittering youth drama.
Cast & Credits
The reason why I write one is because I loved this show and wish to share the joy, so to speak.
I believe the best trait of this drama is in its script. Eriko Kitagawa - the screenwriter - does not disappoint.
It's a collection of memorable, beautiful quotes, whether about love, friendship, dreams or fears for the future. They make you pause and think.
And the screentime given to this disparate group of friends can really make your day, so universal it is in the world of friendship, be it in Japan, America, Europe or elsewhere. Change the names and perhaps the face features, and you'll be reminded of your own experiences.
It's truly difficult not to fall in love with Sae and Kai, so sweet is their love story, but it's just as hard not to laugh, dispair or rejoice with all the other characters.
Shibasaki Kou does such a wonderful job here, one soon forgets she has lost her hearing and can almost "hear" her talk.
In short: I can't imagine anyone being disappointed by this drama.
The show gives us a peek into the lives of 5 friends, all college students on the cusp of becoming contributing citizens to society. Some have dreams they want to pursue, some have dreams they've had to let go and some are still trying to figure out what next. Their stories are all relatable and poignantly human. Inevitably you'll find yourself reevaluating your own life and wondering if you're on the path you set out for yourself.
Orange Days is also a sweet love story. About a beautiful, talented girl who lost the thing she loved the most, who was without hope and angry at the world because of her misfortune, and the boy who healed her soul with his kindness, his patience, his gentleness, his understanding, and most of all, his unconditional love. Kai, our hero, has got to be one of the most compassionate heroes I've ever come across. Massive kudos to the actor for bringing him so impressively to life!
Kai manages to be both masculine and incredibly sweet and sensitive at the same time and let me tell you it was pretty darn sexy to watch. Sae is one very lucky girl. All the while I kept thinking, where the heck was my Kai when I was in college? LOL I enjoyed every minute of watching these two on their journey to find themselves and each other.
Both leads were standouts, but the supporting cast did a fairly good job too. I was drawn to Shohei who projected an air of infallibility, but was really just a lost kid searching for the love he never got from the most important woman in his life. I really liked him and wished his story had more development. He had a weird sense of fashion, though. I don't think young men wore such ugly-ass clothes, even in 2003/2004. LOL
Orange Days did not avoid the usual Asian drama clichés -- the ever present love triangle, the mandatory separation and what have you, but somehow it wasn't over played to the point where it got annoying (as is the tendency in a lot of other -- for eg Korean -- dramas). Issues were resolved quickly so that the characters' growth as people remained the focus.
All in all, what made this show an absolute joy to watch is that it's a great slice of life drama about overcoming grief and savouring the precious moments we have with the people we love. But it isn't pessimistic in its message. There's an undercurrent of hope that permeates the stories of each character. You get a nice dose of reality but not so much that you're unable or unwilling to escape into their world. It also reaffirms the fact that no matter where we're from, no matter our gender or our ethnicity the only race that really exists on earth is the human race, and we all share the same hopes, dreams and fears about finding our way in this life.
I don’t usually take notice of music, but I remember the music in this drama because it was so simple and yet so effective. Unlike the theme song in Autumn's Concerto (Taiwanese drama) that literally almost drove me mad, the music here served its purpose of evoking all the right emotions at the right time. Even though the same instrumentals were repeated throughout the drama, it didn't feel repetitive because it wasn't overdone to the point where it grated on the nerves.
I think anyone who watches Orange Days will come away with a joyous feeling of having just watched something great. And like me you'll probably be sad that it's over.