Saturday, 28 December 2013

Takami-kun Series: Nijiiro no garasu (2009) - ★★★½

Director: Takeshi Yokoi
Stars: Kyosuke Hamao, Daisuke Watanabe,
Yukihiro Takiguchi, Yûta Takahashi, Kei Hosogai, Yûki Hiyori

This is the 2nd chapter of the Takami-kun series, an LGBT romance made in Japan. I quite liked the first instalment, but I'm happy to say that Nijiiro no garasu is an even better chapter of this young romance. It's well-made, beautiful, entertaining, and surprisingly emotional. At times it made my heart sing with glee, then it made me quite angry, but best of all, it made me feel heartbroken by the end. This is a show with a heart and soul. It tenderly displays the romance of a young, gay couple, and all the complications of their relationship.

Takami-kun and Gii have been going steady for the past year. The new year brings more drama in the form of a lover's quarrel, and a romance that blossoms in the midst of a terminal illness. 

Series 2 of Takami-kun was made around 2 years after the first series, which is a very long time considering they only go for one hour. I’m not sure why they delayed the sequel, but obviously the two leading actors from the previous chapter moved on from the show. They were replaced by two very similar, convincing actors. I’m not gonna lie, I was saddened to see the original Takami and Gii go. I guess that means I formed an attachment to them in some way.

I enjoyed it mainly because of the introduction of Morita, a handsome and intelligent first-year. His character caused quite the commotion in the mind of Takami, who believed that Gii had fallen in-love with Morita. This storyline was filled with emotion like jealousy, anger, fear, and heartache. It was done well enough that it made me feel quite upset myself. There are dark moments and light moments concerning the character Morita, making him the character I enjoyed watching the most.

I absolutely adored Morita, played by Yûki Hiyori.
I liked Hamao's overall performance, just not in this scene.
There’s some sort of sad farewell to a character we’re supposed to be well acquainted with. To be perfectly honest, I do not remember a thing about that character! It appears as though I should have been heartbroken, but I just didn’t know who he was! Gii then went on and on about this character’s terrible illness, which would have been upsetting had it not been for the less than stellar performance by Kyosuke Hamao. He just looked like a deer in headlights, gawking at poor Gii with zero expression. You’d think he’d show some kind of emotion on his face, but there was nothing there. That performance, as well as the fact that I didn’t know the character in question, made the whole sequence very slow and monotonous.

The final act of this episode is absolutely heartbreaking. Even though I wasn’t fully connected to the characters of Morita and Takeshi… their romance and their ending just tore me to pieces. The flashbacks of their meeting, their friendship, and Morita’s search for the ‘Refractales’ book were just devastating to me. The way they executed this tear-jerking sequence was absolutely perfect. The scene of the refracted light shining through the hospital window is pretty damned moving.

Even though I wasn’t completely chuffed with this chapter, there was a higher degree of emotion, and enough interesting content to keep me entertained. I was pleasantly surprised at the extent to which they showed the lovemaking scene. I’m sure it was a pretty big risk concerning mainstream Japanese morals. I’m ever so glad the creators stuck to their guns, because it provided a wonderful climax and showed off how much Gii and Takami love each other. So in the end, I truly enjoyed Nijiiro no garasu, which is so far the best instalment in the Takami-kun series!

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