MUSH!!! (South Pole or Bust!)
by Ender’s Girl
No question about it: with his active, fun-loving, outdoorsy lifestyle, Kimura Takuya is Dog’s best friend. (Unlike sedentary, cat-owning little me…eow.) Word is he keeps two canines, a Labrador and a guide dog of unspecified breed. And the above photo of him with a Golden Retriever (one of my all-time fave Kimura snapshots) says it all: the Dorama King digs dawgs… Dawg. I mean, just look at that Gatsby-Waxed animatronic canine plushie ensconced in his lap (see video below), and tell me they weren’t made for each other, lol. (How something can look like creepy sh*t and be beyond adorable and cool at the same time is lost on me.)
Now picture Kimura with not one, but fifteen dogs — Sakhalin Huskies to be precise, and all of them stranded in the harshest imaginable place on earth. (Clue: it starts with an “A” and ends with an “A” — but it sure as heck ain’t Australia, lol.) It’s Man plus Dog… vs. Wild! Human and canine, battling the elements together! Oh the blizzards! The whiteout! The frostbite and hypothermia! The deadly leopard seals! The Abominable Snowman! (Wrong hemisphere I know! lol) And what could possibly be worse than getting stuck in Planet Earth’s butthole? Why, it’s having to ditch your loyal sled dogs in Planet Earth’s butthole while you get rescued with your fellow humans!!! (Tsk tsk) Would you risk life and (frostbitten) limb to go back for your furry friends, even with no guarantee that they’d still be alive? Would you?
If this scenario sounds like the stuff of Disney movies, it IS in fact the stuff of a Disney movie – specifically the 2006 film Eight Below (starring Paul Walker). But what audiences then probably didn’t know was that Eight Below was inspired by the 1983 Japanese blockbuster Nankyoku Monogatari (South Pole Story). The film was based on the dramatic events of the 1957-58 Japanese Antarctic Expedition, when extreme weather conditions forced the Showa Base research team to evacuate via chopper and leave behind an entire pack of Sakhalin Huskies (or “Karafuto-Ken”) still chained to the base. It was almost a year before Antarctic weather conditions permitted the team to make their way back to Showa Base in the hopes of burying the dogs. But what they didn’t expect to find was that two of the Huskies, Taro and Jiro, had miraculously survived and were awaiting the team’s return. (Cue: *giant sniffle*)