Orange (2015)

If you’re given a chance to save someone you love, will you live differently?

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Title: オレンジ (Orenji) / Orange

Genre: Friendship, Drama, Romance, School Life

Main Cast(s):

  • Tsuchiya Tao as Takamiya Naho
  • Yamazaki Kento as Naruse Kakeru
  • Ryusei Ryo as Suwa Hiroto
  • Yamazaki Hirona as Chino Takako
  • Sakurada Dori as Hagita Saku
  • Shimizu Kurumi as Murasaka Azusa

Running Time: 139 minutes

Orange is a 2015 Japanese teen drama movie adapted from a manga with the same title, written and illustrated by Takano Ichigo. It tells a story about group of six high school friends in their school life while trying to save one of them from depression.

On the first day of school in the second year of high school, Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter from herself ten years in the future. The letter tells her that now her future self is living with a lot of regrets and wants her younger self to prevent her biggest regret from happening. The letter itself contains predictions of what’s going to happen next in current Naho’s time to help her so that she won’t make the same mistakes. Most of the predictions are related to the transfer student from Tokyo, Naruse Kakeru.

At first, Naho didn’t believe in the letter. But after several things happened as written on the letter, she starts acting differently in hope that she can at least lessen the regrets carried by her future self. She also learns from the letter that ten years from now, Kakeru is no longer with them. In parallel, ten years in the future, Naho, Hiroto, Chino, Hagita, and Azu visiting Kakeru’s house in memorial of him. They learn the bitter truth from Kakeru’s grandmother, that Kakeru’s death is not pure accident but suicide.

Later, Hiroto confessed to Naho that he got the same letter from his future self. The content of the letter is almost the same with Naho’s, a request to save Kakeru. They realizes that even though they can’t save Kakeru in their future self’s world, at least they can create a parallel world where Kakeru will live. Both of them ask the others to help them achieve that goal, together they celebrate Kakeru’s birthday and join the relay race, where Kakeru finally reveals the truth about his mother.

On the New Year’s Eve, the time when Kakeru will commit suicide according to the letter, they make promise to go to the shrine together. But when Kakeru’s late, they start searching for him through the streets in panic. Before at home, Kakeru finds a recording of his mother who confessed that she commit suicide so Kakeru won’t feel burdened by her and wished that he will find happiness somewhere. The recording causes him a mental breakdown and he goes out of the house in his bicycle thinking that he will go after his mother. Right when he is about to get hit by the truck, the memories of his friends flash before him. He dodges the truck at the last minute, at the same time when his friends found him. He apologizes to everyone for having a thought of suicide. He confesses that he doesn’t want to die knowing that he won’t see all of them again.

Usually I always find something wrong in a live action movie, especially when I really like the manga. Because I do have my expectations when it comes to live action. The settings, the actors and actresses, the scripts, everything. But it is different with this movie. I can say I really love this live action version. This movie successfully left a deep emotional impact for me. It managed to bring me on the verge of tears in many scenes.

It might be because the manga is not that long, only for 22 chapters so that it felt like nothing has been left behind. There are scenes from the manga which is cut from the movie for sure, but it’s not a big deal. The movie still can be enjoyed as a whole without missing something.

Yamazaki Kento will always be my favorite anime guy. He often got the lead role of the live action movie of mostly favorite shoujo manga and never disappoints me. Even though I don’t really know the rest of the casts, I think they really suit their character. Overall, this movie is not that kind of tearjerker movie, but still leave a big impact to the viewer. If you ever disappointed with live action movie of your favorite manga, trust me you will not disappointed with this one. So I think this movie should be on the must watch live action movie list.

A Silent Voice (2016)

When life hits you hard, will you fight for it?

Koe-no-Katachi-Anime-Visual
Source: otakutale.com

Title: 聲の形 / A Silent Voice

Genre: Animation, Drama, Friendship

Production Company: Kyoto Animation

Running Time: 129 minutes

Koe no Katachi or in english titled A Silent Voice, is a 2016 japanese anime movie produced by Kyoto Animation, the same studio which produced popular anime such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, K-On!!, Hyouka, etc. The movie is based on a manga with the same title written and illustrated by Yoshitoki Ōima.

It tells a story about Ishida Shoya who bullied a deaf girl named Nishimiya Shoko alongside his classmates back then in elementary school. The bullying continues to the point that Nishimiya has to transfer school. His classmates and the teacher blamed Ishida for what happened to Nishimiya, made him a scapegoat despite his classmates role in bullying her.

This results in Ishida being bullied and shunned by his classmates until he decides to isolate himself up until high school. He thinks that there is no point of having friends again and even considering suicide by jumping off the bridge. But then he decides to continue living after he reconciles with Nishimiya and sets to a path of redemption by trying to reconnect Nishimiya and their old classmates.

While Ishida tried to make Nishimiya befriend the others again, they realizes that they still haven’t changed from back then and so they along with the others from elementary school have a break down. They still blame each other for being ignorant of Nishimiya’s bullying, resulting in Nishimiya’s attempt to suicide by jumping off from her apartment because she blames herself for causing Ishida lost all of his friends.

At the last minute, Ishida managed to save her at the cost of his life. He is the one who fell from the veranda instead of Nishimiya. When Ishida is not conscious yet, Ueno stands by him all the time and forbids Nishimiya from visiting him. But his accident becomes a turning point for Nishimiya and his friends. When Ishida wakes up, he realizes that all of his friends are there waiting for him and he’s not alone. Together with Nishimiya and the others, he fight his biggest fears and enjoy the school festival. He decides to not ignore his surroundings anymore and moves on.

Koe no Katachi was one of the most anticipated movie in my must watch list. The movie aired in Japan around September 2016, not too long ago after Kimi No Na Wa which is aired on August 2016. So I expected the same thing happened. But even after Kimi No Na Wa finished airing in my country, it took few months later until this movie is coming out on the theater. I already finished reading the manga when I watched the movie. I can say the production house did a good job adapting the manga into a whole movie. Even people who haven’t read the manga can enjoy the movie in almost the same excitement with the people who did.

It was a journey full of mixed feelings for 2 hours. It showed us how bad bullying can affect someone’s life, even for someone who acted as the bully. It also told us that life is not all good all the way. Sometimes we are above the others, but the next seconds the situation could turn around drastically. That’s life for us.

Through Nishimiya character, we were taught that how bad our condition is, we should learn to love ourself. By doing that, not only we will live happier, people around us would also feel happy. Suicide was not a solution, it could only bring despair to people who love us. While through Ishida character, we were taught that running away is not an option. We shouldn’t be ignorant to our surroundings and never give up. There is always people like Nagatsuka who is willing to accept us as who we are. If we just open up a little and let the others come in.

There are different supporting characters with different personalities. In my opinion, those personalities are the examples of people in real life. We can’t judge the others as only good or bad. For example, Ueno. I think we are all agree that she’s a b*tch by the way she acted towards Nishimiya. But I can’t bring myself to really hate her, because I found a little bit of truth in her words. I think people are like that, not all good and not all bad.

Honestly I can’t love this movie as much as I love Kimi No Na Wa. Maybe because in Kimi No Na Wa case, I have nothing to compare except for Shinkai’s previous works. But in Koe no Katachi, which previously known as manga, people (including me) unconsciously will compare the movie with the manga. In my opinion, the transition between scenes were to fast. So it didn’t leave a deep emotional impact even on the saddest scenes. Maybe they tried so hard to fit those 60+ chapters of manga into a 2 hours long movie. I know it’s hard. In my opinion, for a story like this, the manga has already quite compact and I can say almost all of the scenes are important. So if you want to know the story in more detail I suggest you to read the manga.

So if we want to compare objectively as a standalone movie, I can say both Koe no Katachi and Kimi No Na Wa were masterpieces. Both of them had a strong emotional impact for the viewers and has such beautiful story. But if you seek more life lessons, then Koe no Katachi is better.

 

Another Oh Hae-young (2016)

When fate decides you another way…

Another-Oh-Hae-Young-Poster
Source: forums.soompi.com

Title: 또! 오해영 / Another Oh Hae-young

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Main Cast(s):

Number of Episode(s): 18 + 2 special

Plot:

Oh Hae-young, Park Do-kyung’s fiancee, never show up on their wedding day and leave him devastated. So when Do-kyung is told later that Oh Hae-young will marry a rich businessman called Han Tae-jin, he plans to ruin their marriage by making Tae-jin going bankrupt as a revenge. But he doesn’t know that the Oh Hae-young whom Tae-jin is going to marry is not his ex-fiancee, but totally a stranger with the same name. Tae-jin, who never expects that he is going to bankrupt, calls off his marriage with Hae-young because he is going to jail and doesn’t want her to live miserably while waiting for him to come out. Things become complicated as Oh Hae-young, whose wedding was ruined by Do-kyung moves in to the apartment next to Do-kyung’s. As they share the same pain of being dumped before the wedding and their continuous interaction as neighbors, they got closer and later fall in love with each other. But their love story doesn’t go that smooth. The ex-fiancee, the pretty Hae-young is back and claiming that she still loves Do-kyung. Tae-jin is also out from the jail and determine to win the plain Hae-young’s heart again. Their love was also challenged when the plain Hae-young knows that the one who ruined her wedding is Do-kyung.

Review:

I really like the main idea of this drama, a story about two women with the same name and one of them is mistaken as the other. It is such a simple idea, yet with the additional of this and that, the writer succeed to create such a wonderful story. This drama is one of the best romantic comedy drama I ever watch, besides The Sassy Girl Chun Hyang I think. When usually the other drama will only focus on the sad scene and forget the comedy part, I love how they make the comedy in this drama consistent. Even in the depressing scenes, the drama still can make you laugh. Even so, it doesn’t make the roller coaster of feeling of this drama becomes less.

A good drama is not only depends on a good writer. It should be supported by a great actors and actress to make this drama successful. In my opinion, this drama has one of the best casts. Everyone was so into the character to the point that I can’t imagine those character can be played by another actor/actress.

My favorite is of course Seo Hyun-jin. Her acting was great as the plain Oh Hae-young. Funny, straightforward, crazy and yet attractive. I always say to myself when I watch her doing something hilarious on the screen, “Oh this crazy girl, how can she be so funny!”. The plain Oh Hae-young’s character was very expressive, and I think she’s very good at making expression, whether it is funny, angry, sad, happy, etc.

Another actor who catch my eye is Lee Han-wi who acted as the plain Oh Hae-young’s father. He didn’t have many dialogues on the drama, but that’s exactly what made him interesting. He always give me this funny feeling when he appeared on screen. If it wasn’t him, I bet it would give the drama a totally different feel. Overall, all of the casts were funny and I enjoy their acting very much.

I think what’s most interesting about this drama is, they tried to show us that there are many forms of love and relationship in this world. Do-kyung’s love for the pretty Oh Hae-young might be a pity. Han Tae-jin’s love for the plain Oh Hae-young is letting her go and hurt her instead of let her made the choice. Do-kyung and plain Hae-young’s love was a kind of love that will do anything for the one you love. Park Hoon and Anna’s love life was a an exciting and passionate love. While Jin-sang and Soo-kyung’s love was a siblings like love but on their way to couple’s love. I can’t say that Do-kyung’s and Hae-young’s love is the best, but I agree that when it comes to different people, we love them in different form and nothing is right or wrong when it comes to love.

Because we can relate in our everyday life, the explanation about love becomes very realistic. What if Do-kyung never met the plain Oh Hae-young and marry the pretty Oh Hae-young instead, will he become happy? I think so. We already watch several times how devastated Do-kyung when pretty Hae-young leaves, so is the plain Hae-young. They did really love their partner wholeheartedly, but it’s just fate that plays with them and give them another way instead.

One thing that feels off for this drama is on the episode 15 until the end, they already become a too lovey-dovey couple with nothing to afraid about, which is very rare in Korean drama world. So a few last episodes were feel like filler only episodes instead of conclusions. I didn’t hate the finals, but it is just anti-climax so it becomes a little bit boring for me.

So the conclusion is, if you don’t want to watch a heartbreaking story which will make you depressed but still want a good lesson from it, go watch this drama. It’s really worth your time 🙂