Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Last Friends Episode 6 and Overview

The first 6 episodes have already been sub with English Subtitles, so there really is no point doing an episode recap for the older episodes. However for those who hasnt caught on, below is a review summary.

My Review

Last Friends is currently a new J-drama that is being aired on Fuji TV, intended for mature viewing presumably because the theme deals with the darker aspects of love. Up to espisode 6, the focus as far has been obviously about relationship violence in all forms, from emotional blackmailing & scarring, to actual physical violence (Domestic Violence).

Before you turn away thinking "this is too dark for me" or that "what a twisted series", I implore you to give this drama a chance because the script, the acting are really good. This is about reality, a side where most of us are lucky not to see or experience in our lives. Not knowing doesnt mean it doesnt exists, plus the drama is done so excellently that you end up rooting for more.

There are 6 main characters in the series, though up to now, the producers are only slowly clue-ing us in on the main 4 leads- Sosuke, Michiru, Ruka and Takeru.

The episodes started off with a heavily pregnant Michiru, reminiscing about her friend "lost" Ruka, and about an unfortunate death (not specifying who). Then it went back in time relating Michiru's reunion with Ruka her highschool best friend after 4 years of absence. The series also start off with viewers being led to believe (as how we as spectators to other people's life would think in real life) how gentle and loving her boyfriend Sosuke is, patiently and understandingly waiting for Michiru to knock off from her irregular and budding hairdstylist hours.

Moving rapidly forward, in episode one, we are shocked by the sudden change in Sosuke behind closed doors. Insanely charged with jealousy, possessiveness and mistrust, we are forced to witness the first tormenting abuse of Michiru.

Ruka comes into the picture, determined to protect Michiru at all cost, while Takeru (Ruka new found friend and housemate) in turn secretly made up his mind to protect Ruka. Ruka invited Michiru to stay with her at her "Sharhouse" as a refuge to escape Sosuke her abusive boyfriend. In the first night when Michiru ran to Ruka for help and fell asleep, we see Ruka bending over and kissing Michiru on her lips, indicating Ruka's struggle to keep her affections underneath. She understood that in keeping Michiru and Sosuke apart, the only person that will hurt the most is her.

In later episode, we also saw how Ruka realised with shock at how her protective concerns mirrors Sosuke's possesiveness, when Michiru timidly and obediently tried to throw her mobile away after Ruka vocalised her displeasure of everyone jumping at "Sosuke's shadows" (mobile rings). I doubt Michiru will remain oblivious to the Ruka's increasing and protective love for long.

We see Michiru timidly submitted to Sosuke in the name of love, and how with friends support and renewed courage, struggle to break free from Sosuke's darkness and relentless binding raging "love". What I admire is the director's realistic portrayal of how a DV's victim would struggle to break free, or how they would (unexplainably) sink back to the cycle of violence, without a voice and losing themselves to the situation that they felt they had no chance of breaking out. The story has it that Michiru's mother ran away from her abusive husband, but the home violence doesnt seem to dent Michiru's kind character. However later, the story seemed to hint at the her weakness and ability to escape from a desperate situation because she was desperately clinging on to her only thread of "love" (Sosuke), even if it means being abused, because that was her understanding of love...

Takeru is a character we would love. A seemingly mature sensible, sensitive and understanding companion. He has his own dark past, monsters he wanted to avoid but not seeminly able to break free no matter how far he ran. Takeru is scarred, knows he is scarred and tried to help himself. I suspect he is sexually abused by his sister or maybe her husband but the story hasnt progressed to there.

As far, the viewers have only been shown his good sides, his intervention to save Michiru, his implicit understanding of Ruka's feelings and his ability to defuse an awkward situation. I suspect that later on Michiru be in a relationship with Takeru since Ruka has gender disorder but its only a personal guess.

Sosuke, a seemingly nice person turns out to be a cruel man who is both an abuser and a stalker. From Michiru's account, we know Sosuke has a dark unwanted childhood, but the story has yet to evolved to how his current behaviour came about.

Eri and Ogurin's characters have yet to be accounted or developed fully and so we will see in later episodes.

I liked the script writting alot, especially those quiet & profound inner moments of each character such as:


From when was it, that people’s thought become so complex. Living with a small secret bottled up inside, and carrying their troubles along with them….. I wonder when we will be happy?”

Life isn’t simple. When we are in a hurry to find happiness…it wont work out well.

Ep 6:

Humans just aren’t black and white..even worthless man has his cute side.

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