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"I thought I might be using a lifetime's happiness in a moment. I was that happy and she was that beautiful." A young boy stands on the red earth of Australia under its blue sky. It is 17-year-old Sakutaro Matsumoto. His time with the girl comes back to him. The colored sand runs through his hands and a tear appears on his cheek. He wakes up. It's 2004 and he is 34years old and in Japan. He thinks "I have been in a world without her for 17 years." Returning home to see his old high school for the last time before it is demolished, Saku confronts anew the loss of the love of his life, Aki, to leukemia 17 years ago. Now a medical researcher at graduate school, he has been living as if half of him died with her since then. Based on the bestselling novel that sold over 3 million copies, the past and present come together in this love story that is both pure and sad.Written by
The recent trend towards more "serious" drama and the influx melodramatic korean dramas replacing the more light-hearted Japanese style, a crazy tear-jerker was bound to hit the Japanese airwaves. This drama will make even a cold-hearted person with ice water in their veins tear up. The formula is simple, really: Show innocent high school kids falling in love and dealing with happiness, love, and loss. The reason this formula has and will always work is because everyone has an affinity for the purity and idealistic quality of adolescent love. I imagine that there will be a few out there who will say that the "tragedy" aspect of the drama is pandering for sympathy. True, it seems like there are a lot Asian dramas out there in which cute, bright-eyed kids are stricken with some terminal disease (leukemia, brain cancer, acid reflux, etc.). The brilliance of Sekai no Chuushin is the presentation of this (maybe overdone) subject. Like almost everything, a measure of quality involves considering details. Sekai no Chuushin sets aside screen time in order to throw in subtle instances of humanity in order to generate a foundation for us to care for the characters before hitting us with one of the crazy, dramatic moments. Personally, I felt the beginning episodes (before we're hit with bad news about Aki) were the best ones. The acting was outstanding for a Japanese drama and the whole series was well-cast (the older Saku could've been a little more likable though). Special honors go to Takayuki Yamada for his portrayal of 17-year-old Saku. Yamada has to be one of the best dramatic actors in Japan. Overall, this is one of the best dramas to come out of Japan.
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