by Ender’s Girl
Kamenashi Kazuya, Ayase Haruka, Toda Erika, Tanaka Koki, Hiraoka Yuta, Kaname Jun, Saito Ryusei, Zaitsu Kazuo, Yo Kimiko
In a Nutshell:
He’s dirt poor, she’s filthy rich; he’s the family breadwinner, she’s the crown princess of a jeweler chain; he has a sick younger brother and a boozy hostess of a mom, she was raised in a happy, loving home; he’s world-weary and cynical, she’s fresh and innocent; he has his whole life ahead of him, she’s battling a life-threatening disease. Both are twenty, and they fall in love.
(SpoilLert: Nothing major, so you’re in luck!!! No way I’m mucking this up for first-time viewers. I’m saving all the spoilers for another post, heh heh.)
[Recommended companion tracks: “Bokura no Machi de” by KAT-TUN; “Cool Whispers” by Ike Yoshihiro]
“I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill…
And both were young, and one was beautiful”
- Lord Byron, “The Dream” Stanza II
Does it matter if a story has already been told a thousand times, in a thousand different ways and in a thousand different settings? Does it truly make a difference if the conflicts and situations are all but variations on the same refrain, all shifting permutations of the same formula? The answer is easy to come by: no, it doesn’t matter, not really. Because we are all suckers for a good yarn, whether that yarn has been spun over and over again in a myriad of patterns, regardless of cultural milieu or historical context. The faces and places may change, but the narrative blueprint is immortal: Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Adversity threatens to drive them apart, whether it’s society, their own families, or some form of tragedy. Boy and girl strive to overcome the odds stacked against them. But — will their love be enough to keep them together??? Well, WILL IT????
Such stories are timeless, their universal appeal reverberating through the ages. But the key to retaining their luster and relevance is the treatment they are given: the best versions out there — “Romeo and Juliet!” Ian McEwan’s “Atonement!” anything by Nicholas Sparks! (lol, scratch that) — limn this well-worn template with freshness and creativity, so that the characters and circumstances feel like you’re knowing them for the very first time. But placed in lesser hands or with a limited vision, the same archetype can readily regress into soap-opera hell and taste as stale as a week-old wasabi burger (yum!).
One permutation in particular strikes a deep and vibrant chord in all of us. The recipe for it is really quite simple: You take the classic theme of Young Love and crossbreed it with another romance paradigm, that of Forbidden Love — with its generous sprinkling of meddling relations, class tensions and social incompatibility — and crown it all with the great blood-red cherry of Life-threatening Illness. And voilà! — a sumptuous, intoxicating brew of Tragic Young Love, this mad swirl of romantic devotion simmering under the pall of immeasurable loss, a heady concoction as effervescent as youth and as darkly potent as death. Ah, Tragic Young Love, is there anything like you in the whole world? The tragedy makes the love more urgent and desperate; the love makes the tragedy more meaningful and poignant.