Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi Review (2002)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Ryo is a chef's assistant who meets Miwa on a cruise and also makes acquaintances with her friend Yuko. Smitten by him, Miwa develops feelings for Ryo, somewhat to Yuko's dismay. Around the same time, Detective Kanzo, Yuko's brother, is investigating a case where a young female university student supposedly committed suicide. Kanzo is not convinced by this explanation and after bumping into Ryo a few times, he begins to harbour suspicions that Ryo is somehow related to the case. Who exactly is Ryo and what is his involvement in the case? Watch on to unravel this mystery.

*Spoiler warning*

'One Million Stars Falling From the Sky' is another engaging piece of work by Eriko Kitagawa. As one of the classic writers of jdramas in the 90s, it wasn't too much of a surprise to see her use all the 'classic' drama effects such as ending episodes with cliffhangers or cuing the music at each of those moments. The general storyline wasn't too badly done with a reasonably well written mystery story that gradually unfolded bit by bit.  However, I didn't like the fact that whenever some important clue or confession was about to be given, the story would stall by having the questioner go 'grab a drink' right when someone was about to spill the beans on everything. I mean, its one thing to keep the audience in suspense but its another to create rather incredulous excuses to stall just for the sake of stalling and 'building' suspense. Also, there were a few points that led me to the point of disbelief such Kotoko placing a recorder in plain sight and Ryo's ability to see something in the mirror when it was so tiny and far away.  Regardless of whether he has photographic memory, even if I was there in person, my eyesight wouldn't have been able to zoom that close to see the reflection! In general, little things like these kept the story from staking out a higher ranking in my drama collection.

The two male leads clearly dominated the series as Akashiya Sanma's Detective Kanzo pitted against Kimura Takuya's Ryo. Both were excellent particularly in the adversarial scenes throughout the series.  Most of the acting by the supporting cast in the drama was also reasonably well done. The script gave a difficult task to the girls to convince the audience that they were entirely mesmerized by Ryo. Somehow, I didn't get that feeling either from the girls or from Takuya so there was a bit of a credibility issue with the acting there.

Depending on your perspective, the music either added to the intensity of the storyline by injecting a sense of urgency and drama to the frequent cliffhanger moments, or it made the drama feel a little tacky. Given that the drama, IMO, used a bit too many drama cliches, the music simply enhanced that feeling I already had and thus didn't have the intended effect on me as I suppose was intended for the audience.  However, to give credit where its due, the music did embellish the drama along those same lines.

If you're a classic kdrama fan, this drama will no doubt leave you happily satisfied as I felt this had much more in common with the classic kdramas of the early 2000s than it did with your typical jdramas.  If you've seen more than your fair share of melodramas, this is probably not the drama for you.  But if you're really into this type of thing, go for it!  The story is generally well done and flows nicely aside from a few points I had highlighted earlier.

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