Thursday, April 19, 2012

Love Generation Review (1997)

Drama Rating: *****
Personal Rating: All time favourite!!

Katagiri Teppei is newly transferred to the Marketing Department and discovers that Uesugi Riko, a chance acquaintance he had spent the night with in a love hotel a day earlier, is a secretary in his new department. Quickly, they develop an interesting rapport as they learn more about themselves and each other. Incidentally, Teppei learns his brother Soichiro is engaged to his ex-high school girlfriend Mizuhara Sanae. Predictably, confused feelings abound as the drama takes you on a spectacular emotional roller coaster ride.

*Spoiler warning*

This jdrama is a thrill to watch from the very first episode, beautifully written to suit the actors and building up a splendid love story. Few dramas can match the emotional punch of this delightfully romantic series. The writer leaves no stone unturned in order to accentuate the full range of emotions dealing with love, from breakups to jealousy to squabbles to pure, unadulterated happiness. Plot and character development are both extensively explored and the steady progression of the story keeps the drama moving at a good pace.

Kimura Takuya and Matsu Takako: A

As one of Kimura Takuya's earlier dramas, his youth definitely shows but you can already feel his growing maturity. Coming a year after Long Vacation, his character in this drama, while still somewhat similar to Sena, has a bit more backbone and allows him to further explore his emotional range. As for Matsu Takako, this was definitely one of my favourite performances from her. Despite her youth, her impulsive, busybody personality and lively demeanor fit the role of Uesugi Riko rather well, in great contrast to her role in Long Vacation. While the spirited Riko did feel a tad over the top in the initial episode, much like Minami in LV, the charming KimuTaku and spirited Matsu take to each other quickly, with the sparks literally flying from their great chemistry with each other. And between Norika Fujiwara's playful Takagi Erika, Teppei's old flame Mizuhara Sanae and his workaholic brother Soichiro, they form a great supporting cast for the leading couple.

The soundtrack for this drama is wonderfully romantic. While the title song 'Shiawase na Ketsumatsu' sounds a bit dated, it certainly creates a comfortable, nostalgic atmosphere giving you the impression of sitting on a cozy sofa in front of a warm fireplace. Other unforgettable pieces such as 'Here Me Cry' are tastefully used to give a consistent feel to the drama and helps elevate and enhance the viewing experience.

The mid-late nineties was really the golden age of jdramas; coming on the heels of Long Vacation and followed by such gems as GTO and Beautiful Life, you can still feel the relevance and timelessness of Love Generation. In almost every way, this drama truly has the makings of a classic masterpiece. In spite of the continually evolving changes in society, technology and work, the drama beautifully highlights the push and pull of human relationships. But at the same time, it weaves a captivating love story that is sure to keep you hooked for hours on end!

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