As Smile opens we meet Vito who has been imprisoned. He has a visitor who we learn is his lawyer.
This is the opening of the Japanese TV Drama Series Smile.
Jun Matsumoto is Vito and in his role, he portrays a half- Filipino half Japanese man. He was born in Japan, speaks only Japanese, but yet he is subject to prejudice and racial discrimination.
Smile asks us to take a look at his situation. It also asks us to look and consider the problem in Japanese society regard racial discrimination,the reality of truth and justice in Japan, as well as the jury system.
The story circles around in time with flashbacks to 2000, and flash-forwards to 2015. Most of the story is set in the present time.
There is some narration, but you are not overloaded with this. As it should showing is better than telling.
I thought the series was well made, provocative, and even though there were a few 'wait-until-next-week' cliffhangers, the series wasn't overly melodramatic. It seems geared for a thoughtful and intelligent viewer who would not be afraid to think about serious issues.
The supporting cast of characters included Vito's attorney, and his assistant. A pretty girl played by the lovely Yui Aragaki, who has lost her ability to speak is the love interest. And a nice family who not only took Vito in and helped raise him, but also gave him employment help round out Vito's story.
The series began in Japan on April 17th, 2009 and included 11 episodes. There is a DVD Boxed set available and I do recommend this series.
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