If you’re looking for a Japanese tear-jerking drama, search no more. Algernon ni Hanabata o is what you need right now. So far, it has got me crying at the end of each episode.
This drama is an adaptation of Daniel Keyes’s novel “Flowers for Algernon” whose story revolves around a mentally challenged man, who is going to experience the ups and downs of suddenly becoming a genius, and the pain of going back to his initial state of intelligence.
In this adaptation, Yamashita Tomohisa portrays Shiratori Sakuto, 28, who’s got the mental abilities of a 6 year old boy. Rejected by his mother because of his mental problems, Sakuto’s dream is to become clever so that she will get to accept him. He works for a flower delivery service, taken care of by his guardian Takebe Junichiro.
By a turn of events, Sakuto meets Mochizuki Haruka ( Kuriyama Chiaki ), a researcher at a brain physiology center. Her lab group experiments with a new medicine that could improve mental performance. Algernon, a white mouse, has reacted very well to this treatment so far, and the lab group now wishes to start testing the new molecule on a human brain.
Haruka, touched by Sakuto’s earnest will to become smarter and convinced about the effectiveness of the cure, persuades her boss and unrequited love, professor Hachizuka to perform the experiment on Sakuto.
Sakuto displays a very positive and cheerful personality and likes spending time with his friend Yanagawa Ryuichi (Kubota Masataka). But, Ryuichi often takes advantage of Sakuto’s handicap. He swindles money from him and uses his face to pick up girls.
Hiyama Kosuke (Kudo Asuka), freshly released from prison, starts working at the flower delivery service and becomes Sakuto’s new roommate. He particularly dislikes people who hurt the weakest ones and acts a bit as Sakuto’s protector.
Rio and Mai, two college friends, get to meet Sakuto and his colleagues. Rio is a rich ojousan and is drawn to Sakuto’s innocence and never-fading smile.
My first impressions and why you should watch it too:
- Obviously, you have to watch this drama if you are a fan of Yamashita Tomohisa. He took on a very challenging role here, and observing his character’s transformation will be exciting. So far, I think he’s doing a good job, nothing amazing but still believable. His character is very sweet and you just want to root for him.
- Sakuto’s not the only person of interest in the drama. All the characters seem to have an interesting back-story. I hope we’ll get to know more about them throughout the drama.
- The drama tackles serious issues, but I think it keeps subtle and does not feel too heavy (yet?). It is certainly heartbreaking at some points, especially the moments when you see Sakuto is well aware of not being clever enough, and actually suffers from it constantly. But, there are also happier events punctuating the episodes.
- Even though the overall plot is known (many adaptations of this story have been made before), the story stays interesting and intriguing and I can’t help wishing for a happy ending.