Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake J-Drama Review (1998)

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

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Info
Title: Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake (Japanese: 神様、もう少しだけ)
English Title: God Please Give Me More Time/Precious Time
Episodes: 12
TV Station: Fuji TV
Broadcast Time: July 7, 1998 to September 22, 1998 on Tuesdays at 21:00
Genre: Drama, romance, disease/disability
Average TV Rating: 22.5%

Synopsis
A touching love story about a girl Kano Masaki (Fukada) who contracted HIV after selling her body in order to earn money for the concert of a famous composer Ishikawa Keigo (Kaneshiro). After the concert, Keigo saw Masaki chasing after his van. She was drenched, and thus Keigo took her to his apartment, where they spent the night.

Cast
Kaneshiro Takeshi as Ishikawa Keigo
Fukada Kyoko as Kano Masaki
Kato Haruhiko as Hibino Isamu
Nakama Yukie as Kaoru
Yazawa Shin as Oda Asami
Hirata Mitsuru as Kano Nogiro
Tanaka Yoshiko as Kano Yaeko
Masuoka Toru as Arida Yoshikatsu
Tonesaku Toshihide as Kubo Takashi
Tanaka Yukimi (田中有紀美) as Tamura Kana
Takeshita Kotaro (竹下宏太郎) as Isawa Hiroyuki
Nagahori Taketoshi (永堀剛敏) as Noguchi Takaaki
Isayama Hiroko as Hiratsuka Ishi
Miyazawa Rie as Takimura Lisa
Katsurayama Shingo (ep3)
Kohinata Fumiyo (ep10)

Awards
Television Drama Academy Awards:
Best Drama
Best Actor: Kaneshiro Takeshi
Best Supporting Actress: Fukada Kyoko
Best Theme Song: I For You - Luna Sea
Best Scriptwriter: Asano Taeko
Best Director: Takeuchi Hideki
Best Cast
Best Opening

My Review
Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake is one of my all-time favorites. It has everything you would want in a drama. A touching story, great cast, awesome soundtrack, and a very good romance. It's as close as you can get to being a masterpiece.

The story circles around Masaki (played by Kyoko Fukada), whom contracts HIV after trying prostitution to get enough money to go to a concert. The concert she goes to is set up by the music producer Keigo, whom Masaki is a big fan of. Later on, the two develop a friendship that starts out of Keigo's sympathy for Masaki and eventually turns into a romance. On paper it does sound a little far fetch but to be honest almost anything on TV (rather it's J-Dramas or Hollywood) has some unrealistic parts. The plot is daring, tackling controversial subjects like HIV, prostitution, and social attitudes. What really makes the story great is the depth that it has. It's more than just about AIDS and prostitution. Other issues tackled in the drama included school bullying, having kids, social attitudes towards AIDS patients, and child-parent relationships. This makes for an intense rollercoaster ride of emotions, and you can really sympathize with the characters. It's a tearjerker, yet very beautiful.

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Fukada's role as Masaki is generally agreed by most to be her best acting performance. She won a J-Drama academy award for best supporting actress in the drama, though it makes absolutely no sense why she won the award for supporting actress since she portrays the main character in the drama. Indeed, Kyoko was excellent in her role as Masaki. It was a vastly mature role for Kyoko, especially considering that she was only 15 at the time of filming the drama. She's able to bring a lot of depth to her character and shows a wide range of emotions. Her character is somewhat on the immature side initially, but looking from a teenager's point of view you can't really blame her. Besides having to deal with the virus, she's bullied at school once her classmates find out. On top of that her mom is having an affair and her dad neglects his own responsibilities as head of the household. Masaki's also unable to take the medication given to her due to the strong side-effects. Masaki's attitude does change throughout the drama, and matures tremendously. Later on there's some really good moments that bring out the best of her character. A couple great examples are the speech she gives at her school where she confesses to having HIV, and in the last episode where she's willing to sacrifice her life to give birth.

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One particular part of the story I really enjoyed was Masaki's relationship with her parents. The process in which her relationship with both her parents changes leads to some good character development for both her and her parents, as well as some touching moments. She struggles to tell them that she contracted the HIV virus. Besides that, both of Masaki's parents have their own issues. Masaki's mom is having an affair, and after finding out Masaki is even more reluctant to talk to her. Despite her affair, Masaki's mom is deeply worried about Masaki after noticing a change in her. Eventually Masaki opens up to her mom after realizing that she does care for her. Meanwhile, Masaki's dad is pretty much your stereotypical father. He neglects his family's needs, and yet is overprotective and overreacts to anything he doesn't like. Eventually he changes and admits his own faults.

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The male lead is Keigo, played by Takeshi Kaneshiro who is more well known for playing in a handful of Chinese wuxia films such as House of Flying Daggers and Red Cliff. Keigo is a cold and emotionless character due to his dark past. His character balances out Masaki, who's younger, bubbly, and cheerful (before learning she has HIV). Like Masaki he has his own issues to deal with, such as his dark past and his dwindling music career. Like Kyoko, Takeshi won a J-Drama Academy Award, winning the Best Actor award. He's just as strong in his role as Kyoko is.

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Eventually, the two leads develop a romance. Both lead characters help each other to develop. Takeshi and Kyoko have fairly good chemistry, and are a likable couple, with many good kissing scenes throughout. However, it's this romance where the only real flaws exist. First is the character Kaoru played by Nakama Yukie (Trick, Gokusen). Kaoru is the annoying, jealous woman whom tries to steal Keigo from Masaki. The other flaw is an idiot ball plot over the last three episodes. Keigo willingly has offscreen unprotected sex with Kyoko, and it's implied in the lead-up. Yet Masaki gives birth to a child and somehow neither Keigo nor the child get infected. Admittedly it is possible and Masaki's child birth did make for some really good drama and touching scenes later, but the writers didn't need to go as far as they did to imply that they had unprotected sex. It just makes the scene somewhat disturbing to think about.

The only other issue I had with this drama is that the ending is bittersweet. Masaki dies, which is expected since she had HIV. I wasn't really upset about her dying since it was inevitable throughout. The bigger issue I have was Masaki dying at her wedding, which is what made it bittersweet. Still, it's not as painfully bittersweet as other dramas, like Summer Snow, and everything before Masaki's death does feel like a happy ending and leaves you satisfied.





A major bonus that this drama has is the OST. The soundtrack is one of the best among J-Dramas, filled with many great songs. Highlighting the soundtrack is the opening theme song, I For You by Luna Sea. The intro itself is fun to watch. There's other great songs as well, including a beautiful piano piece, Wishes by S.E.N.S. and In The Sky by Kudo Shizuka.

My Rating
9.5/10- This drama has the complete package. The cast is great, the music is awesome, and the emotional yet beautiful story outweigh the flaws.

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