Love is a Universal Language
No, no, no, it’s not that Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams Paisley movie; it’s another one, newer…and sadder. Hah! I told you how I love makjang thingy right? Hahahaha… Well, I come to know about this drama coincidentally, when I’m nosily looking at Mukai Osamu filmography at Wikipedia, because I’m just curious, why eligible lead actor like him can passed my attention as a nerd viewer? D.u.h.. and I found this title “Hanayome no Chichi (Father of the Bride)”, and my mind automatically like “huh? Is this remake of the 90s or what?” and so I read the cast and I was like, “oh wow, Mukai-chan and Kanjiya Shihori? Honto-nieeeeeeeee???!!!” *OTP alarm buzzing* seriously, one of the most important factors for me to watch—even a crappy dorama—is that it has to have an awesome coupling, at least for my taste. I don’t mind watching bonkers drama with hundreds of episodes; seriously, I can endure that, as long as the couple is awesomy awesome, for example: Summer Nude’s Karina and Yamapi are sooooo fit together despite the drama is a great therapy medicine for insomniac people, cos it’s so fricken boriiiinnnggg!!! Omgggg, when I finish that drama, I gave myself not just a pat on the back, but also a damn warm hug, since I’m so amazed with my will to finish that series (even though I took 3 months break in the middle of the sixth episode). Basically, a good drama ingredients for me are: 20% good setting and atmosphere, 20% good story (more mellow romantic, the better), and 60% good coupling that makes you want to ship them as OTP. So, can you imagine how do I feel when I discovered THNK, right?! It’s like Spongebob finding a limited edition mermaid man and barnacle boy toy; it’s so unique, cherishable, and makes me giddily excited (Naoto ftw!!! Lol) okay, back to the topic..geez…for pete’s sake…*smh* This drama, turns out is not a series, but a tanpatsu, basically like DCOM kinda stuff, and it’s also rated like DCOM, like fricken PG!! omg, a PG-rated love story!!!! cry me a gutter, for there will be no cute romantic kiss scene *sigh*. But like what I said before, no matter what, I keep watching for the main couple, yeaah! *strong minded*. So now, lemme share you a piece of my geeky mind….
Hanayome no Chichi (Father of the Bride) tells a story about a widowed father, Satoshi (Yanagiba Toshiro) who lives with his father and his daughter–who cannot speak–in a peaceful quiet small town of Yamakoshi, Niigata. He owns a bull farm, for he’s doing bull fighting on festival kind of stuffs. He has a neighbor, Yukiko, a divorcee because her husband leaves her for another woman. Satoshi likes Yukiko, but he just can’t say it.
While his daughter, Mine (Kanjiya Shihori), is an office lady. She has a fiancé, and they plan to get married soon, until one day her fiancé suddenly asks to break up. She was sad, but it’s half and half, since half of her reason to get married is so she can get out of the house and won’t be a burden to her papa and gramp anymore.
And so one day, her dad takes her to Tokyo, so she can have a refreshing time to forget her jilted wedding-heartbreak. And While Mine is walking around the city, she was told by other people there that her bag was open and her celly was stolen!! Oh noes!! Missing celly!! What to do, what to do… She of course having a batsh*t panic moment, cos she can’t speak to call her papa dearest, and so, while walking around aimlessly, she’s looking down to the river in a depressed mood, and it caught attention by our dude, Maru (Mukai Osamu), who thought she was about to go suicide, but turns out it just her distracting way to steal Maru’s phone…and heart (gosh, I’m so cheesy, I’m gonna throw up on myself).
And in the end, Maru helps her by taking her home, and there they’re properly introducing themselves. And then he also takes her to traditional instrument classes, where they bonding relationship over a shamisen (oooh, so romantic…not). And so it’s the start of their love story, and also revelation of sad past in Mine’s family.
HNC is a quiet drama, literally, most of the time, for Mine’s unable to speak, her communication with everyone is always in silence, no sound, rarely BGM, and so we can really feel the mood. And connotatively as well, because this drama barely has a climax, has a peaceful atmosphere, but at the same time, it’s what make this drama felt realistic, natural, and not over the top. The main arc of this drama wasn’t the love story, but the bond between family, like Mine and her dad, Maru and his adoptive parents, Mine’s father and grandfather, and even Mine’s father and Maru as well.
Everyone has different kind of ways and styles of communicating, for example, Maru’s mom is louder than her husband and Mine’s grandfather always speaks frankly to his son. Even Mine has a different way in communicating with people around her, for she’s using board/paper with marker when she’s talking to her dad, and sign language when communicating with Maru.
But no matter what media or ways Mine and everyone around her use, the meaning is always delivered; the problems are always solved; and the bond is getting stronger; for love is their universal language (there, I said the title!! Hah!).
Now we’re gonna have a brief talk about the character. First, we have Mine’s pop, Satoshi, who was a very dedicated father and son. He owns a bull that he always thinks as his own son and he also a very good illustrator. He only lives with Mine and his dad, since his wife passed away, because he never remarried. He has a crush on Yukiko, his neighbor, but he always hesitate to say his feeling, and the circumstances somehow also never let him to. He used to buy a lot of sign language tutorial videos, but he never watches them all. So in the end, he uses paper/board and marker to communicate with Mine. At one moment, this makes Mine frustrated and confront her dad about why he doesn’t want to learn sign language, and he tells her that it simply because he wants Mine to get used to with a lot people out there who doesn’t know sign language. But it also makes him questioning himself, why he doesn’t make any effort to learn. Then we have Mine, who is an example of a good daughter; she takes good care of the guys (dad and gramp), working, and cooking dinner. She even made a special recipe book about his father’s favorite food to be given to his “someday wife”. She loves her dad and grandfather dearly, it reaches one point where she doesn’t want to leave the house to get married. But in the end, she knows that Maru and his parents are another great family that she can come home to. Next, we have Maru, who is a shy and quiet guy, not to mention a bit awkward. Maru is working in his father tourist boat, where it’s near the house. But actually his parents aren’t his real parents, for Maru is abandoned by his real parents at the place near the boat, under a Japan flag (Hinomaru), that’s why his adoptive parents named him that name. He likes Mine from the get go, you can say it’s almost like love at the first sight, and in the end it makes him take a drastic measure by proposing Mine to be his girlfriend so they can get married someday.
Like every drama, this also has some memorable moments, whether it’s sweet, or bittersweet:
- When Maru meets Mine for the second time, he doesn’t want to let this chance slip away, so he wants to ask Mine for another meet. But since he doesn’t know sign language, Maru has to say goodbye to Mine who rushingly go home without telling her his intention. And so he learns sign language through a TV program. And the way he concentrates hard and determined is what makes this little scene felt so cute and sincere at the same time.
- Satoshi and Mine used to watch the bonfire at Koshi no Himatsuri (Yamakoshi fire festival), and this year makes no difference. But when he wants to share some story to his daughter, Mine suddenly runs to Maru’s side and they’re watching the bonfire while holding hands together. When he sees that, Satoshi realizes that his daughter is indeed a grown-up and he has to learn to let her go. That realization is clearly seen on his face, and it’s relieving but also sad at the same time.
- The last of the last scene, where Satoshi was late to attend Mine’s wedding, but he stood from a bridge and conveying a fatherly message about how grateful he was for Mine and how he loves his daughter. And he does it with sign language, which of course makes Mine touched by his father effort.
Overall Hanayome no Chichi has a story that flows really well. It may be unsuitable for viewers who love romantic comedy or bubbly movie. But the daily-natural vibe of this drama is what really captivating. This movie doesn’t do much, but it gives much to the viewers, from the cinematography, dialogue, plot; you can say it managed to make a whole good package. This is a drama that’s not meant to be entertaining, but to be heartwarming.
Final Score: 72/100