|Index||2 reviews in total|
Unusual, but clever and entertaining mini-series, featuring Hiroshi
Based on a novel by Manabu Manjome,Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi mixes the ancient lore with events happening in modern day Japan.
Takanobu Ogawa (Hiroshi Tamaki) showed up at a girl's high school in Nara (ancient capital of Japan) as a teacher, but his real reason for showing up was because he got kicked out from his college's grad school. He meets Ito Horita (Haruka Ayase) who's a student in his class. She gives snide remarks to Tadanobu, and from the get go he takes dislike to her. But she has a supernatural powers that allows her to see the truth about what's going on. Tadanobu meets a talking deer at Nara's deer park. The deer tells Tadanobu to bring the "Eye" that will save Japan from destruction, but Tadanobu has no clue as to what its all about. Deer puts a curse on Tadanobu, and when he sees himself in the mirror, his head has transformed into that of a deer. No one else can see this except Ito. Unless he succeeds in delivering the "Eye", he won't be freed from the curse. From that point on Ito and Tadanobu ends up as a team in finding the "Eye".
Manjome's stories have fantasy/ancient history type settings, and this story takes on this form as well. Hiroshi Tamaki takes on the unusual role of man with a deer's head after his spectacular success with Nodame Kantabire.
This is a pretty good TV drama that's intriguing and funny at the same time. Hiroshi Tamaki shows that his performance on Nodame was not a fluke, and keeps the story going.
I was prepared to really enjoy "Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi", given that it's
set in Nara (one of my favorite places) and features deer, animals that
I feel very close to. The series' premise is interesting enough -- that
an ancient ritual to subdue an immense primordial catfish-shaped god
underneath the islands of Japan must be performed regularly, and is the
responsibility of sacred deer, foxes and rats. Not your run-of-the-mill
premise, to be sure! The guardian animals select humans to act as their
facilitators, but the deer could not have made a worse choice: a
hapless, bumbling goof of a high school teacher, recently arrived in
Nara ("Ogawa-sensei", played by former model Hiroshi Tamaki).
Here's the series' first main failing: the character of Ogawa-sensei is repeatedly described as "unlucky", but -- either due to the dialogue, or Tamaki's acting, or the direction (or all three) -- it's more that he's irritatingly stupid. It's one thing to be "unlucky"; it's another thing entirely to be thoughtless and clueless towards the lovely Haruka Ayase, his only real ally, and to go around mooning like a lovesick 14 year-old over "Madonna" (Yuki Shibamoto). Ogawa is a caricature of a slack-jawed, goggle-eyed buffoon who is visibly started by everything around him.
And Ogawa has the world's worst judgment; the plot hinges all too often on him doing the exact *worst* thing. A priceless artifact must be held onto in order to save Japan from imminent destruction? No problem! -he'll just tuck it into his desk drawer, or hold it carelessly in his hand. What? -what could possibly go wrong? At times when I wasn't saying "Oh, come ON!" at the screen, I was shaking my head in disbelief. Shows and movies insult their viewers when they have the protagonist be such an utter fool. We want to identify with him, to cheer him on, to feel empathy for him. Given the poor depiction of Ogawa-sensei, I found myself rooting *against* him after about the 5th episode. At least the show has a few interesting characters: the enigmatic art teacher Fukuhara-sensei (Kuranosuke Sasaki), the brooding kendo champion Hotta-chan (Mikako Tabe) and the luminous "Madonna".
The other main problem is that the pacing is sluggish and it feels like they're trying to stretch the story to fit the required number of episodes. I got bored more often than I could count. Still, I'm glad I watched the series -- mostly for the characters other than Ogawa-sensei, the premise and the locations around Nara.
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