Posts Tagged ‘Ueno Juri’

Last Friends j-drama

May 3, 2009


Last Friends



This Japanese drama puts focus on human issues that are rarely addressed or kept secret most of the time. Issues such as domesic violence, gender identity confusion, adultery, and sexual child abuse are tackled in this drama. These issues  make this 11-episode show unique and really enjoyable to watch, especially when it weaves in a unique storyline that makes your emotions go haywire.



Summary: Michiru has been leading a pretty hard life which she thought would end when her boyfriend, Sousuke, invites her to live with him in his apartment. At the same time, Michiru and her junior high school best friend, Ruka, have reunited with her after four years of separation. These occurences have made her extremely happy, however, what she thought would be a happy life turned out to be something dreadful. Unable to cope with her problems, she runs into Ruka and from there, her life interweaves with Ruka and her housemates: Takeru, Ogura, and Eri.




Aida Michiru  
acted by Nagasawa Masami. Even though she’s pretty and well-dressed, I’m not really her fan since she’s very annoying in this drama. Michiru is a very (extremely) sweet and weak person, sort of a damsel in distress character. Coming from a broken family and a father who beats her, she seeks love in the wrong places. She’s the character who we can relate to our friends who won’t even take our advice and go on their pathetic stupid lives led blindly with love. Bleh. Her character put color in this drama, though.


Kishimoto Ruka acted by Ueno Juri. I’ve liked her since Nodame Cantabile and she’s even better here. Ruka is a lesbian who had hidden feelings for Michiru for a long time. In this series, Ruka is a motocross rider wanting to go professional, so she’s striving hard to win competitions. She seeks respect from certain individuals – not respect that is given to a woman, but to an individual. As Michiru drowns in her problems, Ruka always comes to her rescue and constantly tries to protect her.


Mizushima Takeru acted by Eita. I love this character since it’s so different from his acting in Nodame Cantabile. In this series, he’s a professional hair and make-up stylist and a part-time bartender who is being mistaken as homosexual most of the time by his colleagues. This is because he frequently avoids contact with women and fears to be involved in a relationship with them. He has a troubled past which has affected his view on women and relationship in general.


Oikawa Sousuke acted by Nishikido Ryo. Probably the scariest character I’ve seen on Japanese dramas, despite his good looks and resemblance to Victor Basa. Sousuke is Michiru’s boyfriend who works as a social worker. As Michiru starts to live with Sousuke, he becomes possessive of her, going into obsessive acts such as watching her while at work, controlling her life, and when disobeyed, he beats Michiru to a pulp. Brrrr, scary. 


Takigawa Eri acted by Mizukawa Asami. She is Ruka’s housemate who had issues with relationships for as long as she can remember. She works as a, stewardess, where she met a married man who she becomes involved with. Her character is very hyper and friendly and funny most of the time. 

I think that this series, compared to other light j-dramas, has a slightly mature theme. Domestic violence in itself is scary enough and seeing it on action is even scarier. This drama shows how Sousuke beats Michiru, why he beats her, and what he does when he becomes suspicious of her. Sousuke is really, really scary. What makes it more annoying is that Michiru lets him does this because she knows there’s a reason. Despite this reasoning being so stupid, I think that this is reality for most women who can’t fight back to their partners for committing domestic violence. 

Aside from domestic violence, the drama also gives light on real friendship. When  Sousuke goes mad, Ruka and her friends are ready to protect Michiru from him.

In terms of storyline, I just realized that each episode seem to become repetitive. It deserves to be called j-drama, with all the dramatic speeches and each of the characters’ issues that has no end. I didn’t think that Japan is pretty closed minded with lesbians, too. Ruka had a hard time revealing her true gender identity, which shocked the shell out of most characters. It’s really weird.

Despite the criticisms, this drama is a good watch. We’ve watched this in just one weekend since with the cliffhangers and preview of the next episode, we can’t just stop watching. So, go watch now!

Episode list:

1: The troubles we keep to ourselves: DV, pregnancy, and forbidden love

2: A life-and-death secret

3: A love that eats away life

4: A bond torn apart

5: A night of shock

6: A desperate getaway

7: A harsh reality

8: Last Letter

9: Your life

10: Love and death

11: To the future


















Nodame Cantabile review

June 23, 2008

Nodame Cantabile

I’ve been liking classical music for some time now especially the piano solos from Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, and Chopin. But for the many times that I encountered this J-drama in drama wiki, I never wanted to watch it because it seemed boring and I thought it might be stiff. But when I finally tried it from downloading one episode, I was proven so wrong. XD

This is my favorite J-drama so far – I know I’ve been saying this with every review I’ve been making, but the combination of my interests, comedy, and a nice story really makes this one a top-notch drama comparable to the ever popular hana kimi. The only thing that separates Nodame Cantabile from the rest is its interpretation of something that is not seen in everyday life – well, classical music.

Main Characters

Ueno Juri as Noda Megumi or Nodame

Nodame is a really uber talented pianist who can play hard pieces by ear. She came to study piano in Momogaoka College of Music so she could attain her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher. She doesn’t realize her full potential as a performer thus her attitude of being lazy at practicing, not caring about the score, and playing by impulse. Her habits are also terrible, such as not washing her hair for days, not taking a bath for an interval of time, and leaving garbages lying around her room.

Tamaki Hiroshi as Chiaki Shinichi

Chiaki is another talented and hardworking guy who enrolled in Momogaoka College of Music to study piano. He also plays the violin, however his ultimate dream is to become a conductor. He realizes his full potential and he uses it really well. He works hard to attain his dream, which is to conduct.


Becoming tired of a school where lousy students came to study, Chiaki is at his limit of appreciating his classmates. One day, he hears someone playing Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata in a lousy but correct manner. Surprised that he
finally discovered someone probably as talented as he, he searched and met Nodame. What he found is a weirdo who instantly fell in love with Chiaki.

Through Nodame, Chiaki finds himself in a tangle of events that made him slowly attain his dreams. Well, of course this is not about Chiaki too. Nodame, the weird girl, has her own story in the drama as well, being the lousy player that Chiaki tries to encourage.

Where it all started XD YUMMY YAOI CHIAKI MAN!!!!!!!!

Chiaki in Nodame’s room. The hell, it’s really covered in garbage!

When I watched the first episode of Nodame Cantabile, I instantly noticed that the main characters really look good! Nodame is really cute and has a sophisticated face. She has a model-like figure and really cute hair. Meanwhile, Chiaki has a really manly face that shows great expressions, AWESOME hair, and YAOI-character like physique. WAHAHHA He’s sexy! Plus what they wear are also awesome. Nodame’s outfits seem to make a fashion statement throughout the show that I thought that wow, I want to wear those too! Hahaha XD

The musical part of the show is what I like best. Students in the school are shown playing mostly the violin and the piano. There are also plenty of episodes which featured orchestra playing – like what you see in orchestra concerts. Whaha, scary right? But the first episode that featured orchestra would really get you into it. When I finished watching it, I was reminded of our high school plays which I had the chance to watch so many times in practices but when I watched the final performance, I was really moved. XD wheeeeee

The classical music are well picked as well. You can really see that the creator really has a good grasp of classical music. Composers featured are Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Schubert, Debussy, and Stravinsky. I might’ve missed some, but those are well featured. It’s really well presented in the drama that I listened for two weeks straight to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto 2. It’s the best. 😀

About the love story, don’t expect this drama to have cheesy scenes. When I watched that certain part, it seemed so perfect since it was still funny but romantic at the same time. The actors/actresses are great in the movie, especially Nodame who’s great in comedy, drama, and err, shouting. Hehe.

If you want a lot of comedy with romance (that actually brings out results XD) and classical music that will get you hooked, watch this. After watching the series, I decided to play more piano and improve my playing. 😀 My sister, who had no interest in classical music, is now hooked. Go go watch it! XD