Drama Review: Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi / A Million Stars Falling From the Sky (Fuji TV, 2002)

Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magick

by Ender’s Girl

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The Cast:
Akashiya Sanma, Kimura Takuya, Fukatsu Eri, Shibasaki Kou, Igawa Haruka, Morishita Aiko

In a Nutshell:
Homicide detective Dojima Kanzo investigates the mysterious death of a female college student, while his sister Yuko grapples with her growing attraction to Katase Ryo, an apprentice cook who has started dating Yuko’s heiress friend Miwa.

(SpoilLert: Land mines up ahead!!! Proceed at your own risk!!!)

[Recommended companion track: “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2]

“O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed.”

-Gerard Manley Hopkins, “No Worst, There Is None”

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Paradise Lost

You would expect a drama bearing the title A Million Stars Falling From the Sky (The Smile Has Left Your Eyes) to be nothing short of epic. Images both great and terrible spring to mind, a tragic vision of Miltonian proportions. So you steel yourself for the onslaught, ready to be swept away by the darkness and the doom. (Don’t watch Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi if you’re in the mood for light, breezy fluff, obviously.) The drama’s overall tone is sordid and depressing, and the denouement does NOT go down smoothly. You’re in for a helluva ride down the homestretch, so buckle up and brace for impact. The whole thing has the atmosphere of a Greek tragedy, and you come away feeling dirty, as in deep-down dirty, right after watching it. Where do you even begin to make sense of this morass of malice, manipulation and murder? Everybody here is tainted, a gray area, deeply flawed and complex. When push comes to shove, nobody is above moral compromise. Nobody. “No worst, there is none.”

The jigsaw puzzle is a recurrent theme in this drama, from the opening credits down to the final moments. The college student’s death that prefaces the story is but one piece in this puzzle, with the Big Picture gradually materializing as each (seemingly unrelated) fragment falls into place. Despite the story kicking off with a homicide investigation, and despite one of the main characters being a detective, Sora Kara Furu… is not your action-packed whodunit or garden-variety police drama. It is something else altogether, and you get the feeling that whoever is assembling this puzzle is doing so at a very deliberate and measured pace. This drama is a slow burn for the first ten episodes, and you can only watch and wait in mingled fascination and dread as the story makes its inexorable climb to that unforgettable climax.

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Criminal Minds

You wonder what the two parallel story lines — the homicide investigation and the Yuko-Ryo-Miwa love triangle — have to do with each other, but you realize soon enough that these arcs aren’t parallel at all, but crisscrossing threads in a growing web of lies and lust and secrets, of past sins and new crimes, of suspicion and cover-ups. And at the center of it all is Katase Ryo, with the face of an angel (and the body of, well, something else, heh heh heh) but possessing the deadened eyes of one who has fallen from grace long before the story unfolds, who charms with his smile while ever so subtly ensnaring people in his own machinations — until they are all dead, or broken.

Ryo is arguably Kimura Takuya’s darkest role to date. Like Shakespeare’s Iago, Ryo is the perfect criminal because he never gets his hands bloodied. Both masters at string-pulling and button-pushing, Iago and Ryo play god without a second thought, moving people around like willing pawns in the crimes they have masterminded, disposable pieces in their sick little games. Othello‘s Iago is described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as this “motiveless malignity,” though one can argue that there IS a motive behind Iago’s (and Ryo’s) sociopathy, and that is POWER — over people’s lives and destinies. The lust for power is a potent drug that creates a false patina of invincibility — and even immortality. For in Ryo’s illusory world, blinded by his own hubris, he really becomes a god, vowing to make the stars “fall from the sky” through sheer cunning and will — while spitting in the face of Fate. But nothing lasts forever, and these stars that Ryo has willed to fall from the heavens — these beautiful, unattainable stars that mock him in their splendor — plummet to earth in a deadly firestorm that leaves Ryo’s world in ashes. Trapped in his own endgame, the master of destiny becomes the prisoner of doom.

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Original Sin

Nippon’s National Tarento Akashiya Sanma essays the role of Dojima Kanzo, the world-weary detective whose newest homicide case inadvertently unlocks the rusty wheels of a Past binding him and his sister Yuko (Fukatsu Eri) to the mysterious Ryo. Despite his comedic roots, Sanma fits this role to a T, and after watching him on Sora Kara Furu… you’ll never guess that this guy’s bread and butter for decades have been his one million comedy and variety shows. Sanma exudes this folksy, avuncular quality that makes his character Kanzo so believable, and so easy to root for.

I was riveted to Kanzo from the moment the drama opens with him in his car, a defeated look on that careworn face. Here is a middle-aged man already burned out by the everyday tenor of life. Kanzo sees himself as a “worn-out rag” — and so do his colleagues, who (with the exception of his partner, Kotoko) treat him like an outcast because of his countrified ways and halfhearted approach to his job. To them he’s just this klutzy, underachieving bloke who’s only good for making udon and lame puns, and so they tolerate him at the precinct but exclude him from the salient points in their investigations. They don’t even take Kanzo seriously when he’s the only one who points out the odd coincidence of the DVDs on the dead student’s shelf being in the exact same order as they were before her death — despite evidence of a scuffle that left the room in disarray.

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As more and more clues point to Ryo, the enigmatic kitchen assistant gifted with a photographic memory, a gnawing suspicion also starts to grow on Kanzo that Ryo may be that boy from his own buried past, the Boy with the Scar, who as a child watched an overzealous rookie cop gun his father down in their own home. At the same time Kanzo can only look on helplessly as Ryo insinuates himself into the lives of both Yuko and her friend Miwa (Igawa Haruka), and he realizes with mounting dread how dangerous this young man truly is. After a shocking turn of events confirms his initial gut feel, Kanzo vows to protect Yuko at all costs — but we soon learn that he is not above resorting to his own reprehensible tactics just to keep Ryo at bay.

But Kanzo turns out to be a puzzle within a puzzle: just like Ryo, he is not all that he seems to be, either. For the better part of the drama, Kanzo is the one out to dispense justice, the lawman who doggedly works to expose Ryo as the mastermind of this deadly game, while trying to shield those dear to him from the wiles of the devil. But you learn later on that this drama’s epic tragedy is actually rooted in Kanzo, and that stupid, senseless act of violence by his own hand 25 years ago. You realize with a sickening thud that it is Kanzo — affable, self-effacing Kanzo — who is the story’s Ground Zero, and that the bullet he fired in that forgotten past has somehow ricocheted — and is hurtling back to his world with deadly, vindictive speed.

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Nemesis

What I looked forward to the most in this drama were the face-off scenes between Kanzo and Ryo. (And what an unlikely pair they make, Sanma and Kimura. They seem so mismatched on paper — the Aging Comedian and the Hot Young Idol — but together their on-screen chemistry pulsates with a wonderful synergy.) In Episode 2, Kanzo and Ryo share a smoke outside a neighborhood convenience store; after a brief encounter in the first episode, this is the first time they get to size each other up. The gloves have not yet come off, but you can already sense something dark simmering beneath the pleasantries: for what you really have are two dangerous beasts circling each other before a fight. As their conversation innocuously turns to Kanzo’s detective work, Ryo asks what it feels like to kill a person, and Kanzo candidly answers, “It feels as if you’re dying yourself.” Ryo muses aloud, “Isn’t it strange? No matter how bad the opponent is, no mater how corrupt, even if you’re just defending yourself, a human being killing another is wrong. Humans aren’t gods.” Kanzo counters with a rhetorical question: “But with guns, don’t they become gods?” “The wrong kind of gods,” Ryo retorts. You don’t realize right away how this little scene slyly portends the story’s main unraveling at the drama’s close. It is only much later that you see all the different layers embedded in this short exchange, and the twisted, ironic symmetry in their words when viewed in light of their shared past. (Take a bow, Kitagawa Eriko.) There are other scenes in the drama that play out Kanzo and Ryo’s epic battle of wills as more plot kinks get unsnarled and more puzzle pieces fall into place, but this moment was one of the best for me.

Kanzo and Ryo’s last two scenes together are equally outstanding, for they mark that critical moment of truth in their relationship, the single beam of starlight that dispels all the cobwebs and shadows obfuscating their past. Their emotionally charged confrontation in the empty precinct in Episode 10 is a reversal of roles for Kanzo the Lawman and Ryo the Villain, and the dialogue grimly echoes their first moment together. This time it is Ryo with the gun, and it is Ryo who, having recently regained most of his childhood memories, lays the terrible charges against Kanzo. And although Kanzo minces no words in disabusing Ryo of his own disembodied version of the incident, the indictment rings home. (The BGM used was ALL WRONG for this scene, though. Totally inappropriate, and bloody distracting to boot. No BGM would’ve been better.) Kanzo and Ryo’s final scene together in Episode 11 (a reprise of their cigarette break nine episodes ago) is less nerve-racking, but far more devastating — and the absence of shouting or any form of violence makes it even more so. The matter-of-fact tone of their conversation belies the earth-shattering implications of the words spoken: for the last shred of truth is ripped from its hiding place, the final rivet that unmakes Ryo’s world.

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The Talented Mr. Ryo, or When the Baddie Is Also the Hottie

The tragedy of Ryo’s life is not so much the cruel twist of fate he suffers as a child (witnessing his father’s killing, his own disfigurement, and thinking his sister dead), but rather it’s WHAT this stroke of misfortune turns him INTO. The real tragedy is that even as a child, he allows the traumatic experience to poison his soul, and so he grows into an adult consumed with hatred and bitterness and envy. The writing takes such pains to account for Child Ryo’s heartbreaking past, but at the same time the drama makes him too irredeemable a monster to elicit much sympathy from the viewer. The world is full of people who have seen and experienced unspeakable things, yet have managed to rise above their circumstances and lead normal (read: CRIME-FREE) lives. You can’t live your life holding your past accountable for your own wrongdoing, no matter how terrible this past may have been.

It’s interesting that the one time Ryo personally commits a crime is when he does it for someone other than himself. The paradox of Ryo as a tragic figure is that it is his love for Yuko that brings about his own undoing; by fully embracing his humanity, it destroys him in the end. Only when he has learned what it is like to love, to feel, to be vulnerable to joy and pain, to become a REAL person, that he perpetrates this act — the one crime among his litany of sins. Ryo finally learns to love, but this love is not enough to redeem him in the end. True, the healing power of redemptive love has restored many a wrongdoer on the path to wholeness, but not so for Ryo, who is too far gone to receive any absolution for his transgressions. And yet in its own quiet way, Love still succeeds in humanizing this monster, though it does not save his soul.

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Kimura’s performance is solid and compelling, and props to him for embracing the dark side. It isn’t every day (or every drama) that he gets to sink his teeth into a character so… depraved, lol. His portrayal of Ryo is truly a double-edged sword: as the viewer you’re repelled by the privy knowledge of his villainous nature — but at the same time beguiled by all that mind-blowing sensuality, heh heh. This is his most blatantly sexual role to date — and maybe for the rest of his career. (Dammit!) As Ryo, Kimura makes my blood curdle AND my toes curl all at the same time, heh heh. Damn, but that man simply oozes carnality — clothed, or not (but better — not! better not!!! lol). And did I say that this drama could also have been titled “A Million Sex Scenes Falling from the Kimura Sky”? Heh heh heh. With such a predator on the prowl, I guess you can’t really blame all those poor women for dropping like flies before Ryo’s wiles, ne?

Sora Kara Furu… definitely counts among Kimura’s best work, although (admittedly) it will hardly stand out in the spectrum of Great Drama Villains. Nevertheless I still thought Kimura did his role justice, and those moments immediately following the Big Revelations in Episodes 10 and 11 (“Kanzo! Killed! Your! Father!” and “Your! Lover! Is! Your! Sister!” respectively) showed an actor at the top of his game. <Gun + refrigerator + a child’s family portrait + The Truth = Ryo’s world implodes, sucking you in with it. And all you can really do is go, “My God, how terrible…. how terrible.”> I was also impressed by Kimura’s range, having seen him switch from melodrama lead (Beautiful Life) to quirky (Hero) to Angry Young Samurai (Chuushingura 1/47) in just two years, before doing Sora Kara Furu… Then he turns around and does breezy rom-com fluff a year later (well, hello-ooo, Co-Pilot Shinkai on Good Luck!).

Beauty and Madness

And oh, the women in Ryo’s world…

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Nishihara Miwa (Igawa Haruka) starts out with the viewer’s sympathy on her side, Miwa being the resident Poor Little Rich Girl, the proverbial Bird in a Gilded Cage. Though born into privilege, Miwa’s restlessness and dissatisfaction with her lot in life (which is to marry this rich cad her parents have foisted on her) provide the impetus for her romantic entanglement with Ryo. And being the perfect opportunist, Ryo seizes this chance meeting to add another victim to his portfolio. So he plays his cards well and she falls for him almost immediately — but she is no ditz, and realizes soon enough that he is not all he claims to be. The consummate con artist, Ryo ever so deftly reels her back by leeching off her vulnerability and fueling the… winter of her discontent. And this time, you want to kick Miwa for falling prey to this fork-tongued charmer while that truism keeps playing in your head: “Shame on him if he fools you once, shame on YOU if he fools you twice.”

And so, like a hackneyed refrain, Miwa becomes yet another willing pawn in Ryo’s bid to play god — until her own desperation to be with him at all costs drives her to do the unthinkable. Although by now, she has outlived her usefulness to him, while he in turn has calculated with chilling accuracy the lengths to which she is willing to go for his sake. Miwa’s downward spiral meets its own horrific conclusion in an act that is just as much Ryo’s doing as it is her own, but no judgment awaits her in the eyes of the viewer — just an overwhelming sense of sadness and regret.

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In contrast to her sorely miscast turn on Good Luck!, Shibasaki Kou is perfect for the role of Mizashita Yuki, that deeply troubled girl blinded by her misguided love for Ryo and her own feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. A large part of it may have been due to Shibasaki’s (stunning!!!) physical attributes and her own acting mannerisms (i.e. sullen expression, mumbles her lines), but her portrayal of the child-woman Yuki–a contradiction of maddening sexuality and heartbreaking innocence — was highly satisfying and spot-on. Ironically enough, it is Yuki who is left standing tall in the end, the only character who finds true redemption and healing as she gradually (but painfully) weans herself off Ryo, owns up to her crime, and takes stock of her life before it careens completely out of control.

In Yuki there is the hope of a fresh beginning, which sadly is a luxury not everyone gets to enjoy in this story. Her character emerges from the psychological carnage bloodied, yet unbowed. You learn that she is more resilient than she seems at first, and it is her unlikely friendship with Detective Kanzo that further bolsters her resolve to piece her life back together. For it is Kanzo’s unrelenting kindness that helps set Yuki’s perspective aright, and it is only when she sees herself through his eyes that she realizes her true worth as a person — and not as an object of sexual gratification, or an embarrassing anomaly in her family’s gene pool. Kanzo and Yuki’s few moments together are both tender and bittersweet, and it comes as a mild surprise that it is she who falls for him first, and not the other way around. In this sense, Love succeeds where it could not with Ryo, because it redeems and liberates Yuki from a life lived in filth and shame and condemnation. In Love, Yuki finally finds her absolution.

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Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

And so we come to Dojima Yuko.

(Fukatsu Eri, you ROCK.)

There’s something about Yuko that melts the heart right from the start. She’s nothing like your conventional heroine: both the viewer and Ryo first meet her as this twitchy young woman self-consciously trying on wigs and clothes at Miwa’s birthday bash. Yuko is a strange little creature, a bundle of nervous energy and red eyeliner, and with an air of cheerful desperation about her that serves to mask her deep-seated insecurity. She reminds you of a string pulled taut, or a wild animal ready to take flight.

Yuko’s attraction to Ryo is from the get-go, but ever the loyal friend, she acts as both messenger and go-between for Miwa and her hot new boyfriend. Her instinct warns her that Ryo spells danger! — both for Miwa and more importantly, for herself — but such is her overpowering fascination with this man (nothing like that Bad Boy allure, tsk) that it is she who actively seeks Ryo out, irresistibly drawn to him like a moth to a dark flame. And strangely enough, for all of Ryo’s liaisons, it is Yuko who catches his eye — yet she is no mere passing fancy, and is in fact the only person who can make him lose his composure, make him feel like a real person. As Ryo tells Yuko in Episode 3: “Being with you somehow… it speeds me up. I lose my cool, I’m thrown off rhythm. And I have a feeling I can’t turn back.” True enough, this episode is the turning point in their relationship, the slippery slope leading to their doomed romance. Yuko is also the only woman whom Ryo ever lets into his digs (frightfully ugly as the place is — more like a hutch with giant ventilator fans and an armchair, heh), and the only one he lets into his own heart, blackened as it is.

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So goes this ill-fated love story between a soulless monster and a woman who turns out to be his own sister… An aberrant coupling, yes, but a love story nonetheless — and one that is only intensified by the exigent circumstances swirling around the lovers: the murder investigation, Miwa’s death, Kanzo’s patent disapproval of their liaison, even Ryo’s personal quest to unlock his childhood memories. And their matching burn marks provide the single clue to a long-concealed truth, fitting together like grotesque puzzle pieces. “It’s like we’re connected,” Yuko murmurs thoughtfully to Ryo while viewing their reflections in the mirror. “Sort of like a map…” Indeed, the contiguous contours of their scars point the way to their own terra incognita, although Ryo and Yuko learn too late that this so-called dreamland is the realm of their worst nightmares.

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But oh my stars, that chemistry. Kimura and Fukatsu Eri scorch up the screen no matter where the scene is set — whether it’s a neighborhood diner, or a convenience store, or the sultry cocoon of Ryo’s bed. This drama would not have worked the way it did given a different set of actors: Kimura and Eri’s individual qualities render them perfect for their roles, and together… DY-NA-MITE. You just can’t duplicate the kind of chemistry they bring to Ryo and Yuko’s romance, or the immediacy — and the desperation permeating this forbidden love. Ryo and Yuko throw themselves completely off the cliff–and into their love, just as Kimura and Eri throw themselves utterly into their characters with all the intensity and unbridled passion they can summon, holding nothing back.

Fukatsu Eri’s performance is a tour de force in every way. Of the Sanma-Kimura-Eri trifecta, it is Eri’s masterful interpretation that stays with you the longest: a portrayal that is not only gripping, but one that shows a character fully developed in all aspects. As the story unravels, so does Dojima Yuko, and her acute sense of betrayal in the final episode, caused by her own misinterpretation of Ryo’s motives, is what precipitates the drama’s climax. For Yuko, the scales have fallen from her red-rimmed eyes, and so she makes a final stand to protect the man she calls her brother — with her life, if need be. And oh, Yuko and Kanzo… I really have to hand it to Kitagawa Eriko for writing brother-sister dynamics so damn well (Long Vacation, Beautiful Life, and now, Sora Kara Furu…). Kanzo and Yuko’s relationship is so wonderfully complex, and their chemistry as siblings so well-utilized, with genuine affection mixed in with the darker elements that now threaten their home — such as the deception (on both sides) and Yuko’s willful refusal to give Ryo up.

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Murder, She Wrote

Romantic Drama Hall of Famer Kitagawa Eriko boasts an impressive oeuvre with far more gems (Long Vacation, Beautiful Life, Tatta Hitotsu no Koi) than lemons (the unfortunate Asunaro Hakusho, a mistake in every way). Sora Kara Furu… is the one deviation from her renzoku ren’ai norm, and although her screenplay often glows with the beauty and sadness that are trademark Kitagawa Eriko, there are weak points in the narrative that give away her limitations as a ren’ai writer. For one, she flounders in the murder investigation story arc, which is poorly developed and just flatlines toward the middle. The detectives don’t seem to be doing much sleuthing; sure, they pace around the precinct spouting snide comments in Kanzo’s direction, but the investigation never really gets under way — it’s like nobody puts in an effort, even for appearances’ sake. Why didn’t the investigators follow all leads and exhaust all angles before writing the case off as unsolvable? It would have seemed more believable that they kept shooting down Kanzo’s theory because they had their own premise that they wished to pursue. Their shabby treatment of Kanzo would have made more sense if their investigative work had been carried out more assiduously. Nobody was putting in an effort — probably because Kitagawa Eriko as a writer wasn’t, either.

Perhaps an even more gaping hole in the plot is how quickly Miwa’s character is forgotten after her suicide. The first episode clearly shows Miwa to be chummy with both Yuko and Kanzo (who is even secretly infatuated with her): why else would Yuko be in Miwa’s room, trying on wigs and clothes, and why else would Kanzo be invited to Miwa’s birthday shindig in the first place? But if this were the case, then why were there not enough scenes showing the aftermath of Miwa’s death? Why didn’t it create a significant impact on Kanzo and Yuko, other than one or two moments when they first learn of the shocking news? The two seemed to recover from this loss too quickly to be believable, despite the drama having played up their closeness.

My third bone to pick with the writing is the heavy-handed use of the caged bird leitmotif. Unlike the jigsaw puzzle or the “million stars” reference (which is first mentioned in Ryo’s letter as a child, and later echoed in the drama’s gripping finale), the bird-in-a-cage metaphor (which applies not only to Miwa, but more significantly to Ryo, as we later learn) is as overused as… Ryo’s tweed baker boy cap (but, okay, I loved that cap, lol). After about the second time that danged bird was alluded to, I felt like screaming, “I get it already, you don’t have to bludgeon me to death with the avian analogy!!!” I also felt like singing a la Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins: “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a caaaaaage!!!” Er, I mean bird in a cage. But even the dialogue belabors the point: in Episode 5, Ryo tells Yuko, “It’s like putting a bird in a cage (*ka-ching!* there ya go!), then locking up its heart. Not being able to come out, not happy, not sad, not hoping, not trusting, not loving… so I can’t be hurt.” He’s obviously referring to his own desolation, and that line was moving enough to work by itself, but the excessive use of this same trope throughout the drama just dulled the impact for me.

Curtain

As a tragedy, Sora Kara Furu… feels more Greek than Shakespearean. Although both sub-genres chart the main characters’ downfall amid the storm and stress of life, Greek tragedy (Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, for instance) emphasizes man’s epic struggle against Fate — and Fate (or the will of the gods) is often portrayed as capricious. Greek tragedy also draws heavily from Greek myth, which has no qualms about depicting the sordidness of the human condition, rife with taboo elements such as incest and parricide. But such is the human condition as it wavers between two extremes: man as god and the apex of Creation, and man as beast. The noble and the depraved — we are always a mix of both. It is the choices that we make through life that determine which side will win out in the end.

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In the drama’s final act, the players in this puzzle make choices that ultimately seal their own fate. Ryo and Yuko’s tragic story — which has simmered steadily for the first ten episodes — now reaches boiling point, a scalding tempest of ruinous consequences. Only this time the heat does not merely scar the lovers; it consumes them. But the climax is no less than perfect in light of how the situations and the characters’ own actions have panned out. Ryo’s demise by the hand of his lover/sister is the judgment long due him for having lived so dishonorably — and NOT because he unwittingly fell in love with his own sibling. Pain, desolation, heartbreak, death — these are Katase Ryo’s… or I should say, Sawada Shougo’s just deserts.

And so the curtain closes on Ryo and Yuko as they lie cold in each other’s arms. With that, night falls on the accursed House of Sawada. The police and crime scene investigators swarm over the riverbank, their flurry of activity in stark contrast to the quietude covering the dead in that little boat, which has become their own funeral bier. Dojima Kanzo can feel the last jigsaw piece falling into place, the final death blow hammering home. The puzzle’s tragic vision is complete, and he has not been spared his judgment. “God has turned His back on me,” he tells his partner Kotoko. “Koto-chan, take a look… At a time like this, on a night like this, the stars falling from the sky are so beautiful.” And just as he says, the night sky is ablaze with a million, billion, trillion stars: immeasurable, eternal, and unfathomable as the human heart.

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“Smile, though your heart is aching…”

Our story comes full circle with Dojima Kanzo back in his car, playing an old cassette tape he found by the river that (somehow) went unnoticed that fateful night. On the long, lonely drive back to Tokyo, the strains of the Japanese ballad fill his car — just as memories of the dead wash over him in a tsunami of grief and remorse. There is no rest for the weary, and Kanzo has many miles to go. He stops before a traffic light, oblivious of the impatient honks from the vehicles behind him as the light turns green. Finally roused from his abstraction, Kanzo drives off under a sunless, starless sky. But what is he thinking of at that very moment, when that cryptic smile (or grimace?) passes over his face? Only then do you realize the significance of the Elvis Costello song, which will be the theme of Kanzo’s life for the rest of his days. And you wonder if he will truly find, upon reaching the end of his own road, that “Life is still worthwhile,” as promised by the song. That is something we will never know, the story does not say. One can only hope.

Grade
Artistic & technical merit: B-
Entertainment value: B+
Overall: B

***
Photo credits: ginkovn.wordpress.com, cranberrysheep.livejournal.com, mapenzi01.cowblog.fr

Title credit: “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)

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33 Comments on “Drama Review: Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi / A Million Stars Falling From the Sky (Fuji TV, 2002)”

  1. goblin Says:

    Oh yes, yes… you have summarised this show most admirably and left me wanting to watch it again.
    This was the first Kimura dorama I ever watched, and I did so without subs, you see, and at a time where I knew very little Japanese. Yet it was still riveting.
    How I wept at the end… several years later, back in my home country, I happened to hear the theme song and was immediately reduced to tears again. And whenever I see Fukatsu Eri I want to shout, “YUUUKOOOO!!”
    It also gave me an abiding affection for Sanma-san.
    He and Kimura are such good friends, they even make a show together every Christmas… it’s called Santaku. Geddit? San…Taku. Santa…ku.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Thanks. A re-watch every now and then won’t hurt, I s’pose…🙂.

      Oooh, subless, huh… Wow, I don’t think I could last a single episode without subs, no matter how compelling the story. (I’m inferring that you first watched Sora Kara… while living in Japan, and saw it on local prime time–ergo no subs?)

      Heh, did you still feel like screaming “YUKOOOOO!!!” after watching Change? XP I’ve seen Eri in 4 dramas so far (and 3 of them with KimuTaku, lolz), but Dojima Yuko was the role of a lifetime.

      And yeah, I’ve seen a couple of Santaku episodes on Youtube. Fun stuff. Good to see that their chemistry as friends is for real. And wasn’t it Sanma who organized that uber-excluuuuuusive “underground” Tokyo Confidential (lol) b-day bash for his BFF last year? I guess not this year, with Kimura in NYC and all… (Madonna: “Where’s the parteh?” lol)

      • goblin Says:

        Actually I borrowed it out from the video shop when living in Japan. Having become obsessed with SMAPxSMAP, I wanted a SMAP-related dorama. Kimura was my housemate’s favourite member and I wasn’t too choosy, so that’s what we settled on. (It now seems implausible to me that there wasn’t one on at the time, but I guess it’s possible).

        But I admit I haven’t watched “Change”. Does that make me a bad person?😉 So much to watch so little time… which is one of the reasons I’m enjoying your blog. It’s giving me a good heads up on what to watch and what to skip.

        • Ender's Girl Says:

          @ goblin: G’lord… think of what your life would be like now if your housemate had been crushing on Goro instead… Y____Y

          Lol, I don’t even count Change as part of The Essential Kimura, so no horrified gasps from my end. (I haven’t watched Gift; I slept through most of Oda Nobunaga; I can’t get past Ep. 3 of Concerto. Does that make me a bad person? :-))

          @ kelly: Did you like Fukatsu Eri on Change, then? Her character there was a lot less edgy than Yuko…😉 (But you probably won’t like her on Chuushingura 1/47. She played Kimura’s wife and her character had zero personality, not to mention 3 seconds of screen time, heh.)

          • goblin Says:

            If she’d been crushing on Goro?! Never would have happened – not then.
            I hated Goro passionately for the first year of my SMAP fandom – mainly for his hair and for nearly running over a policewoman – until the combined efforts of my first two major online SMAP friends who adore the man turned my hatred into grudging appreciation.
            I rather like him now. But it took a LOOONG time. He was the last of them I warmed to.

            Kimura gained my affections third, believe it or not.

  2. Kelly Says:

    A Million Star is a good show, a great mix of romance, mysety, and even a little bit thriller, enough intrigue to capture your interest without being crypic. Yet, it’s still hard to tell that I fully enjoyed watching it. One of the reasons is that I’m not that into the female lead. I admit that she is a very good actress who had great chemistry with Takuya, however, the way she portrayed the character didn’t make me feel that they were meant to be together…and I think another thing that put me off is the plot flaw in this show…But like I said before, this is still a good show. I cannot tell this is my favorite Takuya show, but I can say, as a Kimura fan, you definitely don’t want to miss it.

  3. anastassia Says:

    Oh MY!!

    How you have indeed SUMMARIZED what I thought of this drama, Fukatsu Eri, Kimu role’s and their SIZZLING, FREAKING passionate CHEMISTRY.

    That what made this drama extremlly unique, special and whatever words that suitable for it. Their performance is JUST brilliant and don’t know else to say.

    Their chemistry something that I will never found or never felt the same in any Jdorama even Pride or Beautiful Life. It was sooo dynamic, intense and passionate as you said. You said it right and you said what I can’t expresses.

    It has been my fav drama ALL THE TIME.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Yeah, that chemistry was somethin’ else…🙂 I see what you mean about feeling differently about Ryo+Yuko compared to Halu+Aki or Shuji+Kyoko. Great chemistry is so hard to compare quantitatively, so even if I loved all three pairings, I can’t say if I felt that Kimura and Eri had more chemistry than Kimura with Takeuchi Yuko or with Tokiwa Takako (though I love Pride and Beautiful Life like, immensely, even more than Sora Kara…). But going back to what you said, I guess it’s much easier to qualify chemistry than to quantify it. And it really was different from Sora Kara… to Pride to Beautiful Life. Hmmm, let’s see now:

      Sora Kara… = Sex!+DOOM!
      Beautiful Life = UnconditionalLove+Sadness
      Pride = SportsRomance+IloveyouHaluuuuuu *chews on hockey puck*
      🙂

      • anastassia Says:

        Hi dear. Thanks for the reply.

        Yup. I have to agree. Those three were my fav of all times. I just finished Beautiful Life last week after long postponing it. It was such a wonderful, unforgetful and lovable journey.I’m sooo immense in it. I have to say I agree with all you said and I feel just the same. It like three of its was a three different story of life that hold a special place deep down in my soul with their profound and everlasting love. Three stories that can’t be compared. My fav was Beautiful Life of their subtle, depth and internal love and romance, sizzling chemistry more than ordinary love will go to Sora, Pride was always hold a special pure love. Like a first love kind of feelings. Romantic and pure.:)

  4. anastassia Says:

    “But oh my stars, that chemistry. Kimura and Fukatsu Eri scorch up the screen no matter where the scene is set–whether it’s a neighborhood diner, or a convenience store, or the sultry cocoon of Ryo’s bed. This drama would not have worked the way it did given a different set of actors: Kimura and Eri’s individual qualities render them perfect for their roles, and together… DY-NA-MITE. You just can’t duplicate the kind of chemistry they bring to Ryo and Yuko’s romance, or the immediacy–and the desperation permeating this forbidden love. Ryo and Yuko throw themselves completely off the cliff–and into their love, just as Kimura and Eri throw themselves utterly into their characters with all the intensity and unbridled passion they can summon, holding nothing back.”

    OH, I’m SOOOO agree with this sentences of yours.

  5. v Says:

    dang… this drama was INTENSE.. and i liked it.. kinda reminds me of what happened in bali vibe but way better. it is not my fav kimutaku drama but it is one of the most memorable. that rich woman was CRAZY! anyways, thanks for the review!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      in what happened in bali i couldn’t get myself to root for any of the characters, so i think that’s what spoiled the drama for me. unlike sora kara… where the performances were both compelling and sympathetic at the same time (yuko and kanzo, at least).

      • v Says:

        wow… i could never pinpoint what didn’t work for what happened in bali for me and you just said it! i just knew that i was annoyed when I watched it but i was not sure why. you’re right.. none of the characters could connect for me. although many would disagree. for a million stars, I think I was anticipating every ep every week.. it was that intense. and yeah.. yuko and kanzo.. T.T such tragedy…

  6. Novroz Says:

    I didn’t finish this dorama…I can only watch 2 episodes and return the CD back to my friend. It’s too slow and like I said in my previous comment, LOVE story is not my thing

  7. Peggy Says:

    So good to refresh myself with reading these posts.
    Sora Kara one of my most favourite dramas that Kimura ever made. He really is a talented actor. Very instinctive and you wonder where all the emotions come from because they are so real..How to make this Ryo come alive and like him, and feel sad for him, and yet he is such a cold fiend. I was always most impressed how Kimura made me see that he was pushing his sister, finally taunting her, to make her hate him so that her love would be eradicated. In their last scenes I am still not quite sure that he realised she would get the gun and use it before he could get it and kill himself. Very few words from him. He does it with his eyes and expressive face. Fukatsu was able to be the edgy frail girl but at the same time there was something taut and powerful in her core. Her actions after rreading the letter were so well done that it seemed quite simple to accept her actions with him and the boat and the rest of it. I thought it was a perfect story and well done most of the way through.

    It is not surprising that the emotions between them were so high strung. The bed scenes were not easy for Kimura. He has said fairly recently when answering a question, that usually bed scenes are just like acting any scene with crews all around them. However, he said that with Fukatsu he always had a feeling that remained when the scene was over. I think pheromones in the background probably. He did not feel that way with the steamy scene with Shibasaki.
    Kimura is always very honest and outspoken when he is able to answer a question I think.

    There was one little quibble I had at the very end when Kanzo was driving, after the too long stop at the traffic light. Why did they show a food truck passing him and the figure of Ryo glaring down at him.
    This seemed out of place to me and a little awkward. Not necessary.
    Thanks for your wonderful summary E.G.

    Peg

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Peggy!!!😀 Thanks for the wonderful compliment, I’ll try my best to live up to your regard!😉

      Yeah I did read somewhere that Kimura may have gotten a *little* carried away in his steam scenes with Eri, heh heh heh.😄

      I thought that little moment at the end was a deja vu of sorts for Kanzo. Also perhaps a reminder (both Kanzo and the viewer) that Ryo may be dead, but he will continue to haunt Kanzo for the rest of his days.


  8. […] is my 2 cents on the show. For an extended review, please visit Ginko’s post (Vietnamese) and Ender’s Girl […]

  9. Ellen Says:

    Hi Enders Gril,

    Finished this drama last night and all I can say is – WAH! I actually dreaded watching the last half of the series. It’s torturous, as you know, but I get VERY involved in the dramas (actually don’t see how one cannot – it’s like 9 or 10 hours we spend with these people). But I really enjoyed it, if that word can be applied.

    I love your interpretation and all your drama reviews I’ve read so far. They help me clarify what I felt about them (and in the case of Sora Kara, that’s especially helpful).

    I felt the first half, maybe even to episode 7(?) was like watching many different dramas, all with the same characters and mood. At first I was really enjoying Kimura being a cad (would love to see him play more baddies – have you seen his guest appearance in Saiyuuki?!). It was kind of fun. Then when Miwa commits murder it seemed like some sort of melodrama (like some old Jean Tierney movie) and then the tragedy started in motion.

    Maybe it’s just me and my love for him but I found it easy to feel sorrier and sorrier for Kimura as he changed and loved Yuko. Because he is so charismatic (and, yes, of course, so damn hot!) you want to keep watching him and, perhaps perversely want him to be ok (though you know it’s not possible).

    I have been very surprised watching J-dramas at the Buddhist subtext that they all seem to have. I’ve been loathe to bring this up in any forum as religion is a touchy subject but… The most popular form of Buddhism in Japan believes that kharma is the sum total of who a person is. So Ryo’s childhood and all his subsequent encounters are what have made him what he is. This makes what he does understandable, if not forgivable. Kanzo, like Sena in LV, tries to do the right thing, but ends up hurting people none the less. In a sense he is just as much a manipulator (albeit mostly a benign one) as Ryo. As you said, good and evil are not mutually exclusive, and in fact don’t exist as we think of them, in the Buddhist universe.

    My fave symbolism in the show was the broken torii. The stars are falling and spirituality has, too; the sacred and profane space is a muddied blob. Yuko sails to the other side, but the other side of what?

    I really admire this drama for going to places K-dramas (with their often fake incest plots) fear to go.

    Can’t say I felt dirty watching Sora Kara but I did find myself watching smaXsma Bistros after each episode just so I could see Kimura and the guys doing normal things with other normal people.

    Also, is it just me, or did he sometimes resemble Eric Mun (where is our new drama from him? – he’s been home at least a month!) at times in his little cap?

    Now I am really looking forward to watching that silly Kame drama. How are you enjoying Shingo and Yuko?

    All the best & keep watching and writing – I love it!

    E.
    PS Found a Bistro with Meisa and Shun when she was only 19!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Wow you finished it!!!🙂

      “Maybe it’s just me and my love for him but I found it easy to feel sorrier and sorrier for Kimura as he changed and loved Yuko. Because he is so charismatic (and, yes, of course, so damn hot!) you want to keep watching him and, perhaps perversely want him to be ok (though you know it’s not possible).” << Hee hee! I get what you're saying, girl.😉 I also felt some sympathy and understanding towards Ryo but a part of me didn't want him to get off the hook either. And after his death scene in Yuko's arms I couldn't think of any other end awaiting him. Even if Yuko hadn't shot Ryo his life would still have ended tragically, IMO.😦

      “My fave symbolism in the show was the broken torii. The stars are falling and spirituality has, too; the sacred and profane space is a muddied blob. Yuko sails to the other side, but the other side of what?” << Loved your analysis here. ^^;; I didn't get to dwell much on the significance of the broken torii, so thanks for pointing that out. I got no problem with discussing religion (why is it such a hot-button topic anyway? if it's in the spirit of free and open discourse, why the heck not?) and it was in fact fascinating to hear your thoughts on the Buddhist subtext of the story (as I'm not a Buddhist myself).

      LOL I didn't see the resemblance to Eric, but since you mentioned that baker’s cap…😀 it's okay 'coz I've had this mini-crush on Eric ever since… Firebird. I’ve seen most of his work and I’m really hoping that Poseidon turns out well. *crosses fingers* (And I hope that in this drama he gets to show off his post-MS bod A WHOLE LOT, too! hehe)

      Have not yet gotten around to Bara no nai Hanaya as I’m still finishing Chuno. (I’m slow that way, lol)

      p.s. Yeah, I saw that Bistro episode where Shun and Meisa were promoting Crows Zero, and I LOLd when Nakai (at least I think it was Nakai) ribbed Shun, “why do you always seem to be playing high school students?” lmao😀

  10. Ellen Says:

    Hi Enders Girl!

    Yeah, they had to die, but, well, I don’t like it when any of my guys die and this was a first for me and Kimura so..

    I could go on and on about Buddhist readings in J-dramas. I go to a Japanese temple every week so… I don’t think it’s so much that the dramas are Buddhist per se but that it’s just part of their culture and their thinking seeping through. Coming from the world of HK bloodshed it was quite a shock for me to find compassion replacing revenge so often in Japanese fiction.

    Wah! Eric in a new drama! Once again you have all the info! But is he going to be upside down underwater? Never mind – who cares?! Yum! Yum! Can’t wait. I will probably even watch Rain’s drama when it’s all over and subbed, even though it’s supposed to suck.

    It’s hard to keep up with the dramas and movies and smaXsma and normal everyday life. I think all of us dorama girlz have that problem!

    Have fun trying to keep up!

    E
    PS And, yes, if there is something tacky to be said, I think we can be sure that Nakai will say it.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Kimura’s other heavy drama would be Karei naru Ichizoku — have you seen it? Probably the most well-made of all his dramas. You may wanna shift gears to something lighter before jumping in, though. What’s next on your Kimurawatch? (That silly Kame drama will do quite nicely too, hehe)

      “But is he going to be upside down underwater? Never mind – who cares?! Yum! Yum! Can’t wait.” << Hahaha! My thoughts exactly🙂 (Hey do you have a favorite Eric drama?)

      Poseidon — I don’t actively keep myself abreast of Kdrama news so it’s usually by best friend (who knows so much about Kdramas/film/actors/industry it’s scary, lol) who fills me in. All I know is that it’s gonna be another procedural but Kim Ok-bin is in it so hopefully she does a better job than Kim Tae-hee in Iris. I watched like 2 eppies of Iris (and Imma still finish it for Byung-hunnie’s sake), but guhhhh — I was up to my armpits in K-melo/OTP/kilometric backstory before the 1st eppie ended. I was like, when is Byung-hun gonna GET IT ON with that hot NoKor secret agent? lolz Then I realized it was a K-drama so the OTP with Tae-hee was pretty much carved in stone since Day -3434. *rolleyes*

      Seriously, Plan Bi — er, Plan B reportedly sucks? Still watching that one (mebbe in… 2013? haha) ‘coz some parts were shot in the Philippines (represent! lol) and I’m terribly curious. Plus, Bi+Henney = YEAHBOI. Double the abs, double the fun!!! lololol😛

      “It’s hard to keep up with the dramas and movies and smaXsma and normal everyday life. I think all of us dorama girlz have that problem!” << Ugh, tell me about it… Q__Q

      p.s. Lol, actually that comment by Nakai came off pretty funny.😀 He likes to poke fun at his guests if he feel's they're up to it, but he can also be quite self-deprecating and he's always so affable and seems genuinely interested in what his guests have to say so it never feels like he's mocking them. =D

      • Ellen Says:

        Hi Enders Girl!

        No, haven’t seen that one. I think my next Kimura drama will be Good Luck! Just the fact that it has an exclamation mark is encouraging! I’m trying to pace myself and change ’em up.

        Enjoying One Pound Gospel even though it’s so light and fluffy it threatens to float away. Hard to believe there are 9 episodes worth of something to tell us about these characters. But for once, it seems, a man (I am hesitating to use ” around that when referring to Kame) gets to be infantile instead of a girl. And, if it were me, I would have mistaken Meisa for Mary sama, too! She really is a vision! (And, yes, I really do like exclamation marks!).

        I heard that Rain’s drama (also know as Runaway – maybe he should have?) got less and less viewer share each week but I haven’t checked that out in a while so I don’t know. I love looking at him and I like his acting and singing but the stuff he’s doing – including the music lately – is just so lame imo. I prefer the Full House Rain and Sang Doo Rain but… I guess he feels beating people/getting beat by people sells better than playing a cranky movie star or a single dad. Haven’t seen the Philipines as a drama location since a TVB drama with Andy Hui (do you know him? He’s the other Andy), so that would be nice.

        Got really bored with K-dramas as they all seemed the same and the Taiwanese follow them so… And I’m just not up for the crime stuff now so I miss out on a lot of dramas because of that, too. I can’t get the Korean tv channel anymore so I am really out of the loop.

        Didn’t mean to diss Nakai. Of course I give him props – he is our leader – after all. But sometimes I just can’t get over the stuff he says. Like when he asked Takeuchi Yuko is she had lost weight. And, I do love how his interviews on Bistro seem more like conversations. Loved him talking with Kaneshiro Takeshi (can you believe he shared the same space with Kimura? – I thought my head was going to explode!). So many MCs have their own agenda. Was actually very impressed with Kimura’s chats with people who shared his birth sign. He REALLY listened to them and gave them lots of space to talk.

        We are very lucky to have SMAP in our lives as they are such super people. There! I’ve said something mushy about the 5 and I’m glad!

        Thanks for writing. This is fun!

        E.

        • Ender's Girl Says:

          W00t! Good Luck! is light and easy (and OMG a clean-cut KimuTaku in his pilot stripes and Ray-Bans!!!!!!! *gnaws on desk* lol) (“Just the fact that it has an exclamation mark is encouraging!” << Hahahaha so true! :D)

          Hey glad you're enjoying 1PG! For some reason I found it lots more entertaining than YNSH/Perfect Girl Evolution. And yeah, that chaste nun’s habit can’t hide Meisa’s hotness, ne? Love her face, she has great facial structure.🙂 I don’t think 1PG rated well — ergo just 9 eppies — and come to think of it, Nobuta wo Produce was the last Kame drama that rated well. Tsk tsk. Hope the boy finds himself a good project soon.

          “I guess he feels beating people/getting beat by people sells better than playing a cranky movie star or a single dad.” << Lololol!🙂 Maybe he just wanted to diversify after having tried melodrama and romcom. ^^;; And yeah, prolly 'coz he also wanted to get on the action/procedural bandwagon. I like Bi a lot too and thought he was fantastic in Sangdoo (well, I loved that drama, period). You may wanna check out jicks’ blog post on Bi (The Ultimate Triple Threat… and then some) ‘coz she’s a much bigger Bi fan than I am. Me I just liked him in a few dramas and I like to watch him dance and I like his butt — not necessarily in that order, lol.😀 (Um, sorry I don’t know Andy Hui or any of the big Tw/C drama stars outside the Hong Kong royalty — Andy Lau, Tony LCW, Edison — and the Meteor Garden cast.

          Oh, I know you weren’t ragging on Leadah Nakai. Didn’t mean to sound like I was defending Nakai’s honor and stuff. ^^;; I for one like to poke fun at his singing talent (or lack of it) ALL the time, so since we’re all SMAP fans here anyway, it’s all good.😉 Argh — when Takeshi guested on SmaSma my head almost exploded too!!!! alskdjfhg And you’re right about Kimura’s interviewing skills. He has an insanely good memory and always remembers the tiniest details about his co-stars and celebs he’s met. These details always come in handy when there are quiz-type challenges or when he has to cook for them on Bistro and he remembers that Celebrity X does not like pepper in his soup — or something so obscure as that.😀 Then Kimura would handily win the challenge. *cue: looks of dismay on Tsuyoshi’s face, lololol*

          • Ellen Says:

            Hi Enders Girl,

            Yes, really looking forward to Kimura in uniform. Makes me want to say something totally cheesy – like – fly me!

            A friend started Rain’s drama and is liking it so far. Seems less serious (read violent) than I thought. She was happy to report that Oh Ji Ho is visible in flashbacks, too. I’m just not down with hot Asian guys going the way of Hollywood because they get such crap jobs there. Anyway, I have new hope that Plan B or Plan Bi will be fun!

            Really enjoying Kame and Meisa now but I guess I will tell you more when I’m finished. Just to say that Andy (Andy Lau – of course) was in a film where he also fell for a nun – but she turned out to be a fake one! Tokiwa Takako (yes, Kimura’s old gf) was just frontin’ so guys wouldn’t bother her. So she had no problems getting together with Andy, thank God!

            Actually watched some Yamato promo stuff without subs just to see Kimura & Meisa. She was not so much different from when she was on the Bistro all those years ago – giggling and blushing as he went on and on with stories about the shooting (I guess). Did see her piloting some Star Wars like fighter jet. Mama! I’m am going to enjoy at least some parts of this movie!

            Have you ever seen the Andy Lau episode on Bistro? Even without subs you can see how well they got on together. And why not? They are the same person in their respective countries! And I forgive you for referring to Edison Chen as HK royalty because you might not realize that he has long since been banished due to a little thing we call – Sexy Photos Gate.

            Hope you don’t mind me writing you like this ’cause it’s too much fun!

            Stay smappie!

            E.

          • Ender's Girl Says:

            “Makes me want to say something totally cheesy – like – fly me!” << ROFLLLLL!!!! Ah luff this!!!!! hahahaha😀

            Runaway less violent than you thought, huh? Well I daresay that pretty much anything that Bi does, has done and will ever do would be 39850945475 x less violent than Ninja Assassin — which I couldn’t even finish despite the man’s INSANE BODY SCULPTING.😛

            Omo, Tokiwa pulling a Sister Act with Andy Lau??? I love Tokiwa! That should be divine to watch! lulz

            OHMYGOSH I can’t believe I said “Edison Chen” (did I say Edison Chen? *dies*) I meant Shawn Yue. I’m sorry I’m sorry!!! I tend to switch the two — prolly an aftereffect of Infernal Affairs lol. Yuck I never thought Edison “Mr. Scandal” Chen to be HK royalty *throws up in mouth* Sure he’s cute and all, but isn’t Shawn the more established actor?😉 (He wasn’t given much to work with in I Come w/ the Rain, though. Q_Q)

  11. Ellen Says:

    Hey Enders Girl,

    That movie with Andy and Tokiwa is called A Fighter’s Blues in english and Ah Fu in Chinese. It’s mostly pretty sad and the ending is kind of hard to take but it’s one of Andy’s best performances and has some great songs (sung by him – natch!). Also, realized that Tokiwa was in another HK movie, though not a very good one, Moonlight Express. Actually, I don’t remember much about that film at all, but Leslie Cheung is in it and he was very lovely.

    Yeah, I thought maybe you were WAY out of the loop including Edison with those folks. Shawn Yu is a jillion times better actor and, apparently, is not into amateur photography like his old buddy. He seems to be maturing very well. Recently saw him in a fab film with Miriam Yeung (one of my fave actresses), Love in a Puff.

    I can’t bring myself to see I Come with the Rain. I get upset when people are just generally mean to Kimura in dramas (when Sanma stabbed him I almost lost my mind) so I don’t think I could deal with it.

    Have you seen this?

    http://www.tokyohive.com/2010/12/child-actress-ashida-mana-plays-hide-and-seek-with-smap-on-smap%C3%97smap/

    It’s too cute for words so you don’t really need subs (though they’d be nice). And even a 7(?) year old knows who to pick to be her bf!

    Best!

    E.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Thanks for the AndyLau-TokiwaTakako movie title! Yeah, I knew she did a movie with the late Leslie Cheung but was in the dark re A Fighter’s Blues.

      “Shawn Yu is a jillion times better actor and, apparently, is not into amateur photography like his old buddy” << LMAO! I just heard about the Edison scandal but never bothered to look up the damning evidence. It's a wonder he got out alive (or did he? lulz) and didn't end up as sushi or in some Triad boss' shark's fin soup tureen given all the gangsters' molls that turned up in his "database".🙂

      Re ICwtR – You won’t be missing anything at all by not watching this. In fact you’d be doing yourself a huge favor. ^^;;

      Re the Bistro clip: WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH THAT KID THAT KID THAT KID I want one I want one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!😀 Love how self-possessed and precocious yet totally unselfconscious she was the whole time. I’d never seen the Fab 5 so smitten with a female guest on SmaSma, lol. (Nakai was a great babysitter/host!!!! I LOVE NAKAI *hearto*)

      lmao @ Goro hiding behind the pan!!!!!! and Shingo in the chimney FTW! And what Kimura did, “hiding” in plain sight? GOLD. (And the kid knows her hotties, choosing KimuTaku as her boyfriend wooohoooo!!!)

      Hey I didn’t know the kid was the kid in Mother. Oughtta bump that drama higher up my to-watch list, then.😉

      SMAP oughtta do a Christmas Special with her before she grows up and starts doing Shida Mirai-types of roles, lol. (I also want the kid in an OTP with my fave male child actor, Kato Seishiro hahaha :D)

      Thank you for sharing the clip!!! I cannot wait for the subs!!!

  12. Anna Says:

    It may not be the best drama I’ve ever seen, but it’s the only one that made me cry.

    I’m not a sap, I don’t tear up over happy things, or easily descend into tears over sad ones. But this was such an utter tragedy on all counts that I couldn’t stop. I knew what was coming from the moment we found out they were siblings, but not because the writing was predictable. On the contrary, it was because it was so wonderful. Ryo is one of the most complex characters I’ve seen in any show – Asian or American. It’s a tribute to the acting and story progression that I immediately knew that he would sacrifice himself for Yuko in the end, and she would realize it too late and join him in the beyond. I don’t harbor any idealistic romantic sentiments about their relationship – in the end, the way they were written, they simply had to die – but I do think it’s sad that they lived in a world where redemption was an impossibility. Yuki alone escaped. For everyone else, there were no second chances – not for Miwa, not for Kanzo, not for Yuko, and not for Ryo. One fatal misstep and their fate was sealed. Perhaps their world mirrors the one we live in in that respect, but I’d like to think that it doesn’t always have to end that way for humanity.

    Brava to Eriko, never would have expected this of her and was continually bewildered when I saw her name on the credits. The incest, in particular. I’d considered the possibility throughout the show, but I didn’t think they (and she) would actually take that leap. Major kudos to them for going into the darkness of the human soul where few others tread.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hi Anna, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts here.🙂 I can see that Sora Kara really got to you. It’s just one of those dramas, huh?

      “I don’t harbor any idealistic romantic sentiments about their relationship – in the end, the way they were written, they simply had to die – but I do think it’s sad that they lived in a world where redemption was an impossibility.” << I've never been of the opinion that a writer ought to just kill off characters who have dug themselves into deep a hole, or who have made choices with such irreparable consequences. I don't think any character has to die per se just because life has become too unbearable for them or for those around them. But I do agree that the true tragedy was that Ryo and Yuko were denied their redemption by Fate.

      “Perhaps their world mirrors the one we live in in that respect, but I’d like to think that it doesn’t always have to end that way for humanity.” << Me too. I agree wholeheartedly🙂

      The incest angle was def. one of those ominous, shadowy possibilities hanging over Ryo and Yuko's heads, and I was badly hoping the worst wouldn't come true. But it did😦

      Speaking of the "darkness of the human soul," have you seen Byakuyakou starring Yamada Takayuki and Ayase Haruka? Also deep and very dark. Unlike Sora Kara, which I can watch over and over, Byakuyakou is one drama I don’t think I can stomach seeing again. Pretty twisted stuff🙂

  13. noi Says:

    i’m not kimutaku fans but this drama sure is one of his best, and i think it’s one of kitagawa eriko’s best too. it’s not perfect but i love the whole atmosphere in this show. it’s thrilling, it’s engaging, it’s keeping my eyes on the screen. thanks for your review.❤

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      You’re more than welcome!😀 Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts on Sora Kara. Although the caged-bird trope and weak development of the police investigation angle put a damper on my enjoyment of this drama, overall I liked the brooding, something-bad-is-gonna-happen-any-minute-now atmosphere, too ^^;;


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