On the day of entrance exam someone helps Narumi by giving her a pencil. She wants to thank him but he's soon gone. She couldn't forget her hero so she hopes to see him again. While looking around the campus she hears the sound of the piano and enters a room where other four freshmen are present. Here she'll meet Seika, Tamotsu, Osamu and Junichiro. Together they decide to form the Asunaro Club.
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The story was a little melodramatic for me, and that got frustrating at times, but the acting was decent and nothing felt fake. I enjoyed all of the cast, and think the actors fit their characters well. Narumi was my favorite character because she was very relatable and had complexity.
The soundtrack was sweet and romantic and I especially liked the opening "True Love" by Fujii Fumiya.
As far as rewatch value, I might rewatch it someday since the story was character driven and I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, but it will be awhile. While some plot points were a little predictable, I thought the ending was pretty good and came with a few twists.
If you are looking for a bittersweet, somewhat philosophical drama that explores friendships, relationships, and all the shades of gray in between, you will probably enjoy this one. It is also interesting to see what Japan looked like during the 90's.
Biased as somewhat of a Kimutaku fan, I admit I watched this because he was in it -- that and I recognized Tsutsui Michitaka from Ohsama no Resutoran. I was thrown off because Kimura-san wasn't the main squeeze, but from that I grew even more impressed that he could play "the friend" character so well -- I felt like I could relate to him.
I also like how the show portrayed a gay man's social struggles and repression of desires for the love of a straight man (in the "friend zone"), further lending to the story's theme -- that of "love for another who doesn't love you back." It's a refreshing use of characterization that serves to strengthen the other characters at the "expense" of one, which really only serves to strengthen him even more.
Everything about the execution of the show I liked... it was very enjoyable to have my emotions tossed around; after all, that's what I watch them for. The only complaints I have are about the situations -- complaints that stem from my own experiences. For example, despite how well this show portrays the relationship of each person, I can't for the life of me understand why Narumi would go after a guy like Tamostu when there is a much better guy that cares much more for her and treats her better in almost every way. I didn't quite understand what her attraction to Tamotsu was. But as that is a misunderstanding that I may never come to terms with, it has no bearing on the production of the show. With that in mind, I give it a 8 out of 10. Despite the few story line falterings, it has interesting characters, decent acting, excellent music and is well-paced. I recommend this for anybody who is interested in the intricacies of the borderline relationship between friendship and love.
(Originally posted July 24th, 2006.)