The drama is set at the beautiful Shimanto River in the Kochi prefecture and revolves around a group of seven men and women and the unfolding of their lives.
Ikuta plays a man named ‘Joutarou’, who’s a typical example of the so-called ‘lost generation’ in Japan. The term ‘lost generation’ refers to people who face a scarcity of employment right after graduating from school and therefore are left without any real perspective. He was lucky to find a regular employment, but it didn’t last long and he was laid off due to downsizing. Around the same time he was also dumped by his girlfriend. Fed up with his life, he somehow ends up in a ‘revitalization group’ of the Shimanto River area in Kochi. -- Tokyohive
Cast & Credits
- Lev Tolstoy
I hope you can forgive me if my penchant for quotes invades a review. I have watched Osozaki no Himawari some time ago and loved it but never came around to write a review for it. Then I stumbled upon the words of Tolstoy and was immediately reminded of it.
The essence of this drama is, ultimately, the pursuit of happiness. It shows how this last can be found in the most unexpected places, with the most random people, doing things we would never have taken into consideration, if we hadn't been forced to do so by the circumstances.
The simple message this drama tries to send is beautifully conveyed, thanks to a wonderful cast that creates lovely characters and warms the heart. Ikuta Toma is perfect for the part: he's goofy and reasonable at the same time, I'd say he is the new element that unconsciously brings an otherwise sleepy community to a new life, while he himself learns to adapt and understand.
Jotaro's interactions with Kahori, wonderfully portrayed by a talented Maki Yoko are priceless, and their phone conversations are the sweetest thing ever. "Ore ore" will remain in my memory for a long time.
What makes this drama so special, besides the adorable ensemble of characters, is the cinematography. Perhaps the Shimanto River Region is so beautiful one doesn't need to be a particularly skilled photographer to capture its charm on screen; whatever the case, the end result is stunning. If the intention of this drama direction was to promote the region, I must say they succeded: when I finally visit Japan, it will be one of the first places I put on my itinerary.
The music is lovely too, and I agree with Sewitches that the idea of having the whole cast sing the leitmotif is brilliant.
If you are the type of person who feels at ease in the countryside, who finds happiness in small things, this drama will appeal to you. On the other hand, if you need the dizziness of crowded cities with a lot of events going on, it may not. This is a relaxing trot, not a wild gallop.
This drama is about Jotaro, who struggles in Tokyo because of job and unsteady life. He then decides to take a job in local revitalization team in Shimanto, small town in Kyushu. It really sounds boring. But the true is, that this drama is really nice, relaxing and somehow touching. It's not forced and the storyline is progressing in good pace. We can see the beautiful nature of Shimanto, the river and the bridge. We can see local elderly people and local problems. Somehow it is nearer to common people's hearts. It's not a flashy story about Tokyo, that's why I liked it a lot.
So we have Jotaro, who can't find his way of life. Kahori, the doctor who has another dream. The mysterious Morishita, nurse with a dark past. Hiroki, whose past is always chasing him. Junichi, who never stepped outsite of his beloved town and Sayori, who is not really living a happy married life. This drama is simple, but great. Not to mention the greatest opening song in the universe sung by main cast :)