Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Drama review- Hotaru no Hikari season 1&2

Hotaru no Hikari is a popular drama starring actress Ayase Haruka and actor Naohito Fujiki in the main roles. It is based on a popular josei manga of the same name. It has a second season too.

Ayase Haruka starring as Amemiya Hotaru is an average office lady with a decent amount of elegance. She works very hard at office and most of of co workers consider her a mature and elegant lady. But when Hotaru gets home, she changes into her jerseys, sits on the porch and drinks beer from cans. Furthurmore, she keeps her house in a terrible mess, sleeps wrapped in newspapers and eats preserved food. Her lifestyle undergoes some change when her manager (bucho) movies into the house with her. The house is the manager's father's property. Bucho (manager) is in the process of divorcing his wife but does not tell Hotaru about this. They make a cohabitation treaty and decide to stay together. Hotaru can be her true himono onna (dried fish woman) self with bucho. She also develops a liking for Teshima who wroks with her. The manager helps her make her way to his heart which trying desperately to hide the secret of their staying together.

The drama has lots of comedy with Ayase Haruka doing goofy expressions. Ayase Haruka is at her best here. Her acting skills fitted very well into the character. I saw Naohito Fujiki's G@me earlier in which his acting disappointed me. Here however, he shows me a completely different side. His acting is just as good as Ayase Haruka if not better. The characters fit well together. Even if the pairing didn't have much chemistry, it went on well. The house and many other backdrops are beautiful.

Most actors and actresses act well in the series. The comedy is refreshing with a unique storyline. Hotaru's personality is unique and even though different from Bucho's, it fits well with him. Ayase Haruka is mostly kawaii (cute) with a sweetened voice and lots of clumsiness and comic dialogues. Her monologues are entertaining.  Along with the protagonist's romance, the side characters' romance stories go on as well. In the first season it is Yuuka and in the second it is Yamada nee san.

The second season focuses on Hotaru's marriage. She comes back from Hong Kong after three years. During these years, she never once phoned or wrote to Bucho. He is angry in the beginning but towards the end of the first episode, proposes marriage. However, Hotaru doesn't know what marriage should be like. In this season Yamada, Hotaru's senior and Seichi's Takano's friend get married after a rocky relationship. There are new characters in the second season with Yamada, Takano and his friend being the only ones from the previous season. Hotaru faces many difficulties and Takano even withdraws his proposal for marriage. But in the end, they get married.

The second season was as good as the first one. Both had the same problem- They beat around the bush too much. In the first season, Hotaru was busy with Teshima and confessed to Bucho only in the last scene of the last episode. Much like that, in this season too she focuses on work and daily life and gets married only in the last episode.

The second season had more merits than the first one. While the first season is entertaining, it is disappointing since Hotaru beats around the bush and never confesses to Takano. In the second season however, their romantic relationship is given more importance. They clear hurdles and progress together. Takano manages to pick up some of Hotaru's habits like sleeping on the porch with newspapers in place of bedsheets. In the end, he leaves for Taiwan but Hotaru doesn't accompany him. He comes back and gives her the marriage paper after one year but she leaves it in her room and the cat poops on it. She promises to bring another one the following day. The drama ends at that but it didn't leave any ambiguous ending. Knowing Hotaru, she'll probably get another marriage paper and of she fails Takano is there for her.

The music for both the season was horrible. The first theme was Yokogao by aiko and the seocond one was Kimi ga iru by Ikimonogakari. I couldn't even hear the second one, it was hardply featured. The first one though genric was played in the last scenes of the first episode so, it has some sentimental value. But overall, the songs were terrible.

The first season is more or less incomplete without the second season that is why I watched them continuously. The first season ends with confession and leaves a question about their future together in the viewers mind. If you want to complete the journey and be satisfied, I recommend the second season too. The pros for the second season are much like the cons. Hotaru remains a himono oonna with too many monologues and clumsiness till the end. Her senior Yamada says it is okay to be a himono onna as long as she remains cute. Even though after the second season, you feel like you've got an overdose of Hotaru, it is still fun watching.

Overall, one of the best romantic comedy dramas. I enjoyed the comedy. The romance was quite slow but okay. The actors and actresses acted well with proper script, direction, story and backdrops. I have started to like josei dramas. Nodame Cantabile, Kimi wa petto, Hotaru no hikari, Gokusen and many other wonderful dramas have been adapted from josei mangas. Viva josei manga!

Characters-4.5/5
Story-4.2/5
Acting-4.5/5
Script- 4.3/5
Music-3/5
Overall-4.4/5

Pros

Entertaining
Comedy
Characterisation and development
Acting
Backdrops
Second season that completes the story
Ending

Cons

Might get repetitive after the second season
Beats around the bush too much especially in the first season

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