When Life Gives You the Sourest and Bitterest Lemon
Hey, hisashiburieeeeeeeee!!! You guys miss me? huh, huh?! *grinning + eyebrows wiggling* well, it’s been a while since my last drama review (approximately 20 days, almost a fricken month! geez…) and that really says a lot about me: that I’m not an avid drama watcher and I only watch drama when I feel like it or I’m in the mood to do so. That’s why all of you, dramas; be grateful if I manage to finish you up, cos that means you are the CHOSEN ONE!!! hahaha… Well, as for this one, Soredemo Ikite Yuku (Still, Life Goes On); honestly, I will never even glance at it, moreover to watch it, if not because of all the positive reviews that I read online, since this kind of drama is not my cuppa tea. But what push me to watch and finish it then? Well, um, maybe it’s my high sense of nosy-curiosity, a bit of my completist-compulsive trait, and my Eugene Krab side of personality as like “I already downloaded it in HD! HD! I won’t make it go to waste! Must. Watch. Even though it’s blerg...” Lol. But despite all of that, this drama has its own charm in its own way, and now we’re gonna talk about it. Shall we, hmmm…?(Spoilert level: Venomenally Hazardous. Mwahahahaha!!! *evil laugh*)
Soredemo Ikite Yuku (SIY) is a melodrama that tells a story about two families who intertwined in a tragic entanglement. The Fukami and The Misaki are two families and neighbors with a good relationship between the households. Fukami has three children: Hiroki, Kohei, and little Aki who’s only six years old, while The Misaki has Fumiya, Futaba, and Akari who’s still in the womb at that time. Hiroki and Fumiya are best buds, since they’re also classmates in primary school. But one day, Fumiya kills Aki by smashes her head with hammer and then throws her lifeless body into the lake. And that cruel incident drastically changes both families life, as The Fukami are shattered away in depression and self-blaming, while The Misaki become the society trash who get endless of abashment and terrors wherever they move, even though they’re already change their surname to Toyama. 15 years have passed ever since, and they live their own life separately without any contact or knowing the reason why Fumiya (Kazama Shunsuke) would ever do such horrendous thing. Until one day, due to misunderstanding and finding her missing brother, Futaba (Mitsushima Hikari) comes to meet Hiroki (Eita)…SIY main theme is not about forgiveness; but moving on, which is the hardest thing to do for both sides of the family. Because what happened 15 years ago is not something petty or trivial, but a huge blow; a scar that won’t dry to heal easily or maybe it won’t be at all. That’s why everyone still talks about it and dwells in it as if it’s only happened yesterday. As the drama progresses, Hiroki gathers up piece by piece of information that will answer all his question of what kind of person Fumiya is? Why he did that? And moreover, did he feel the remorse of killing Aki after all these years? And I must say that SIY conveys the whole concept in beautiful and natural manners. Although the main core of this drama is inevitably tragic and depressing, but somehow the vibes that we get throughout are light and surprisingly…hopeful; it’s almost like your usual family/human drama, with extra one murderous family member. Hah.One of the prominent appeal (and weakness) from this drama is that it has a very veeerrry slow pacing. This drama doesn’t have any conflict since the whole thing has already based on the major one from the get go. Every episode revolves around activities of the two families on a daily basis; their interaction; the grief and misery that keep shadowing them. To be honest, there’s a couple seconds (or minutes) of my self-realization when I watch this that makes me feel like I’m doing a chore. Especially around fourth to seventh episode where it makes me want to scream “AAAAAIIIIIYYYEEEE!!!” in frustration, cos it’s so daaaang sluggish. Watching this drama feels like dragging a numb foot with all the pins and needles. But despite that mini-frustration, I keep going on in anticipation and expectation because I have the same questions just like Hiroki. But I must say that I’m quite disappointed with the drama revelation and conclusion, cos for me it’s just not…nail-biting enough. I know that Fumiya is a psychopath with mommy problem whatsoever, but imo, that simple answer is too…simple, comparing to all the pain and ugly situations that both families have to deal because of him. There’s even one episode (#07) that almost fully dedicated to talk about Fumiya’s juvenile years and past crime; but till this drama ends, there’s none revelation in a flashback of how Fumiya can be whoever he’s becoming now. I mean, it shoulda been more than just…that. I think the writer could have fleshed Fumiya as more complex, conflicting, deep character rather than just a sick-killer with straight wooden expression and high creepy drawing skill. This superficial portrayal of course makes Fumiya un-lovable, but at the same time, not despise-worthy either. I dunno, maybe I watch too many tension-full murder series such as L&O Criminal Intent and Criminal Minds, it makes me finds Fumiya simply just plain blah. *sigh*Despite the slight failure in projecting Fumiya, this drama aces to the bases in portraying the side characters of each families, especially the parents. And it’s no surprise that one of them has cancer cos, boy, their life is so damn bitter.Hiroki’s dad’s life is a whole scattered mess since his wife left him, and he only gets through day by day with alcohol and grudge-bearing towards his daughter killer. It even takes toll on him one day, as he wandering around Tokyo with knife; looking to kill Fumiya who already became free man years ago. He keeps his vengeance until he dies of cancer. Meanwhile, Hiroki’s mom lives her life in auto pilot and guilt ever since Aki died. She keeps introspecting her own self, canvassing that day in her mind over and over again; looking for her own mistake; a fault that might be the fatal factor that causes Aki’s death. She even resents her own husband for saying such easy indifferent words like “we can have another child”. Her drive to live is solely based on her hatred towards the Toyama Family, for she’s the one that harassing them through anonymous phone calls and murder-news pamphlets everywhere they move. As for the Toyama family; they’re practically living in despair for being cursed and ostracized by anyone who knows about the case. Mom and dad live only to atone their son’s sin. They’re literally bowing in perfect 90 degrees every single fricken time Hiroki and his family appear in front of their faces. Especially dad, whose face already screams the great depression. Hah!He’s really degrading himself to the lowest every time he interacts with The Fukami; like when Hiroki wants to sit down, he pulling out the chair for him, not talking till he talks, submits to everything Hiroki says. Dad’s almost like…Hiroki’s eunuch. Lol.
There’s even one scene where he’s apologizing to Maki’s—Fumiya’s latest victim—father for Fumiya who’s making Maki goes into a coma. But Maki’s father doesn’t want to accept his apology, so dad comes to Maki’s father house every single day in a formal suit. In summer weather. Bowing every time Maki’s father passes by till he sweats more than a marathon runner. That moment, I really can feel the stress and exhaustion of Fumiya’s dad. Aigoooo…that little scene really breaks my kokoro to pieces.To answer the above question…hmmm…If I have to pick side, then I’ll be on team Toyama all the way. (Fumiya excluded, as he can go to bleeping hell; character-wise, okay?! Haha…) Even though both sides have their own grief and suffer, I have more respect towards the Toyama cos they stick together despite all the shi*tty situations that were kept thrown at them. It may be easier for mom to leave dad cos, as revealed later on, Fumiya isn’t even her biological son, she doesn’t has the obligation to bear all the responsibility for that incident and she has all the right to get out from that miseryville, but girl, it’s a hell to the no, for she decided to stick by her hubby side. And to me, that is one of the admirable things from the Toyama.
In contrary, at The Fukami, Hiroki’s mom leaves her husband away because of that one ‘deadly’ sentence and she refuse to meet him. And she’s not even coming to his funeral! I was like, c’mon moooom, HE’S YOUR HUSBAND, and HE’S DEAD; you won’t be seeing him again as in foreverrrr. How can she’s not moved by sadness just a teeny-weeny bit and at least go to his funeral??!! O, M, to the G! No wonder Hiroki is disappointed at his mom on the beginning, bcos what happened with Aki is a tragedy, and in order to stay strong, they need to face it together, as a whole family. Ooooh, and don’t even lemme start on Hiroki’s ototo, Kohei. Ugh, jiminy cricket, Kohei is one of the most shallow-annoying characters ever written in the drama that I’ve watched so far. (It’s a close second; better hold your throne, Rikuto!!!) I mean, he tries to move on and push everyone around to do so in a very obnoxious way. Pfft… you gotta be kidding me…*rolling eyes* Dude, lemme tell you, it’s not that fricken easaaay peasaaay, okay??!! It’s not a heartbreak-move on kinda thingy, it’s a loss of someone important!!! Sheeesh…not to mention he hates his own dad with a vague reason; ex. on the first episode where he’s dropping dad home after a drunken night, he threw away the cake that dad bought for Aki’s birthday commemoration from his car as if it’s a garbage, saying all the snob crappy stuff about how dad shouldn’t try to meet mom and then harshly pull dad away from the backseat as if he’s not willing to help his own parent. Omjayjay, I’m so pissed at that scene!!! Gosh, poor dad, still grieving for his daughter but one of his own sons doesn’t even have the heart to understand that. The only one that’s still good and devoted to him is Hiroki. That’s why my sympathy is withering away-way-waaay for Kohei; even though he has his mini breakdown about Aki on the tenth episode. At that scene, I was like, “dude, save your sappy confide moment for Oprah, okay?” *hand shooing*
But I like Hiroki’s mom effort to reach out Toyama family by visiting Fumiya’s mom and Akari and she told Fumiya’s mom to just be honest about what she felt about her all this time. And both moms vent out their angers in very soft-tone, sentimental, motherly way. That is like, the calmest confrontation ever. Hahaha…And in the end Hiroki’s mom said, “We’re the victim’s family and you’re the criminal’s family. We’re all in the same boat and we could be stuck in it for the rest of our lives. That’s why, we should work together and think about how we can move forward,” That wasn’t the sign of forgiveness, but a sign of invitation to Fumiya’s mom to move on together. And that conversation indicates that they’ll forget about the hatred towards each other. So, all cool in the moms’ zone.
Aside from all the families’ tragedy, this drama also focusing on the romance between Hiroki and Futaba and OOOOYYYYYY!!! It was as flat as Eita’s buttocks. Their love showing of being in love is so platonic, casual, and…passion-less. They NEVER HAVE scenes that we can call romantic; seriously, all they ever do together is hunting Fumiya like a damn witch.
I know that they are star-crossed lovers for being in the polar opposite sides as Hiroki is from the victim’s family and Futaba is from the assailant’s family. But seriously, their relationship dynamic amazingly remains the same(!) even until the final minutes of the final episode! The fricken final episode! When all had come to a conclusion, even Hiroki’s mom already gives Hiroki green light to be with Futaba, but yet, they STILL remain goodie-friendly as sh*t, I mean they’re not even snog, as they’re only hugging!!! H.U.G!!!Ehrmargeeeerrdddd, Hiroki-Futaba, what are you? Teletubbies??!! Gosh, I’m fuming every time I remember it. This drama has three kisu scenes, but none of them were theirs! You know who got them all three? It’s Fumiya!!! Fumiya gets all the love, baby!! He even got the kiss from Hiroki!!!! Yeeehaaawwtttt!!! As in ‘bring me back to life’ style. Bwahahahaha!!!Hiroki didn’t even kiss his beloved distressed damsel, but he kisses her killah brothaaaa. Not to mention he feels hesitant priorly, like, “Should I do it or not? Should or shouldn’t I?” Gee golly, yaoi at its best!! Lol. The Fu-Fu (Fukami-Futaba) sans romantic-love story is what makes me un-ship them as the drama OTP. I even ship Fumiya and Maki more than them, and it makes me feel like a sinner after watched what Fumiya did to Maki at the end.
Now, we’re gonna talk about the main leads. First is the hero of the drama, Hiroki. Hiroki is the eldest son of Fukami family. He leads a simple life with a complicated emotional baggage. Since Aki died on Fumiya’s hands, his family is shattered away, as Hiroki stays with his dad and running the B&B fishing cottage, while his mom lives with his ototo, Kohei, since Kohei is married and adopted to his wife’s family a.k.a mukouyoshi. (thanks to one of my fave doramas, Brother Beat for using this term, lurve you BB! *smooch*) Hiroki goes through all these 15 years in regret, cos at the day Aki was killed, he refused his lil sister request to play kite together, and chose to go with his friend to rent a porn video instead. That’s why he never returned the video and keeps it as a memento of his guilt. But he slowly changes since he met Futaba, whom at first he didn’t recognize as Fumiya lil sister all grown up. Even though at first after he knew, he hated her and even wanted to kill her, but slowly his hatred turns into pity, and that pity turns into friendly feelings, and later turns into love. Imma give my thumbs for Eita in his portrayal as Hiroki. There’s something about Eita’s acting that feels so natural and into the character. I watched a couple of his drama before (Last Friends, Sunao ni Narenakute, Orange Days [can’t manage to finish]) and I must say that almost of his characters are quirky (especially in the hair-do) and a lil bit weird. But when I watched him in SIY, I feel like he’s Fukami Hiroki and not Eita the quirky actor. And that’s really important in order to really enjoy and get sucked in to the whole drama plot. But one thing I never really get from drama watcher-tachi is how they always put Eita in the ikemen section. I mean wut? the? I never opinionated Eita as the hansamu actor, and this drama really cemented my statement. Like seriously, that mushroom hair, especially on the first episode, ooooh his hair is in the mega mushroom phase, as it was so round, scraggly, and mullety, it looks like Toad from Mario Bros, lol. “Hey, but later he chops all of it y’know!” Yeaaah, rrright he switches hair style indeed…to the baby butt-crack hair do. Lol. Not to mention the thin pedostache, and that cargo culottes pants combine with rag-like clothes and mustard-color socks (arrrgghhh, my eyes!!my eyes!!) And to everyone who still thinks the sorry sight Eita in this drama is an ikemen; I’m just gonna say, well, um, errrr…to each their own(?) Hahaha…
Next is our heroine, Futaba. Futaba is the eldest daughter of Misaki/Toyama family. She’s driven, optimist, but like everyone else in the drama, she also has the baggage.She and Fumiya are their father’s children, but her mom is not her real mom, and she just knew it later, and it breaks her apart and she feel lost for a moment. But thankfully, she always has Hiroki as her place to run to. At first, she only feels guilty every time she sees Hiroki, but yet she always comes back to meet him. And as she changes Hiroki’s perception towards her family, she’s also slowly changed by him and his kindness. And every day she passes with him encourages her more to believe that there’s still a chance of happiness for her as well. As for the character portrayal, I must say I really like Mitsushima Hikari’s acting as Futaba. She’s somehow so likeable in screen presence and her awkwardness emphasizes it more. Also I can’t help to notice that she has a dang perfect heart-shaped face. I mean, it’s so…prettily pointy. Lol. There’s a couple of her close-up scene that got me zonks out for a moment and totally watching her face while mumbling “wow, it’s so…hearty” hahaha…If I could describe the chemistry between Eita and Mitsushima in one word, it will be: congenial. Their awkwardness in gesture and conversation is a pleasant to watch, and even though their love story is not prominent, they manage to make us as viewers believe that love is there. If they’re not able to show it thoroughly, it’s simply because of Hiroki and Futaba written characteristics as they’re not straightforward type of people. And those scenes of their last first date is the only cutest thing ever happened in the whole drama, as in that date, Hiroki is Hiroki and Futaba is Futaba; there’s no victim-assailant family shenanigans haunting them. And the time when Futaba bids her farewell to Hiroki, my heart just goes crack…crack…boom!!! *sigh*
I knew from the start that I’ll be signing in for a sinking ship of romantic OTP-ing, and even though I don’t ship them as one, but still, there’s a part of my feeling that goes…perforated. There, there, my tormented fangirl soul… *pat pat* But one thing I really love about their doomed star-crossed love story is that the drama always put meta for that in the scenes of hand touching. All of the hand touching scene between Futaba and Hiroki is always almost but never happening. It’s like a symbolization of no matter how big their will and want to be together, there’s always something that stops them to get there.
But despite all the separation and stuff, I must say that the
sad ending is the best possible one for them, because it will be a bit nonsensical if they end up together in a snap just like that. The whole thing take process, and it’s not short and easy one. So, will they really really gonna end up together in the very end? Well, I dunno, only time will tell…or a SP. Haha…No drama is perfectly good, but none is absolutely bad either. It’ll always have the two contradictory sides with one that manages to touch your viewer soul in an emotional or sentimental way and the other in cringe-worthy WTFery or unintentional LOL-ing. SIY is no exception here, as I will share to you the emotional side and…the not so emotional side. Teeheehee…
Soredemo: Emotional Edition
01. Hiroki & the Kite (Episode #01)
This scene happens on the premiere episode of the drama. It all started when Hiroki confides to Futaba (whom he hadn’t known for being Fumiya’s imoto) that he can’t remember Aki’s face at all, it all seems blur in his mind. Then, on the day after Aki’s birthday, Hiroki goes home after dropped his father to the hospital. When he’s tidying up the messy room by putting the futon into the closet, he finds dozens of girl shoes from kid to adult size in chronological order. Turns out, his father always buys a pair of shoes for Aki every year on her birthday until now because he wanted to present her a pair of red shoes back then on the day she was gone. And then Hiroki finds an old school bag that belonged to Aki and he sees a drawing of a kite inside the bag. It somehow triggers him to remember Aki’s face clear as crystal. And as he sees the messy birthday cake that his father bought yesterday, Hiroki’s recollecting the past of how him and his family celebrated Aki birthday in a close-knit celebration. And it makes him want to make a kite all of sudden. As he’s making the kite, all the memories of Aki rolling inside his head; the moment they flew a kite together, the moment he taught Aki how to ride a bike, and so on. For the love of peewee, that kite-making scene; combines with the flashback childhood scene and the piano BGM; they’re making me sad. Worse, they’re making me cry. And I think those scenes weren’t suppose to be a tearjerker, but I cry my eyes out, along with all the snorting session. Gosh, me such a freak. Lol.
02. “Things will go well” (episode #05)
It all started when Futaba‘s mom unintentionally blabs that she’s not Fumiya and Futaba’s biological mother and it breaks Futaba’s heart.She then run away to Fukami’s B&B and decided to stay overnight. And on the next morning, Futaba’s dad comes to Hiroki’s place to pick up Futaba. And as the father and daughter are having their reconciliation moment, Hiroki overhears they’re talking about Futaba and her mom problem. Then later, as Futaba come visit Hiroki after work, he invites her for eating ramen together. There they’re having a relaxing talk and joking around about trivial topic such as, “what would you like to change about yourself” and, “ignoring someone’s talking while eating ramen is a sign of unlikeable person” (and Hiroki’s answer is so damn me as he said, “It’s not like I want to be well-liked anyway.” Hahaha… u go, boi!) but then Hiroki talks figuratively that everything will go well for Futaba. It makes Futaba realizes that Hiroki knew about her mother. And after a little silence eating moment, Futaba awkwardly asks Hiroki to say those words again, and she doesn’t care even though he’s saying it while eating ramen. And so, Hiroki, in a gentle manner (with aaaaalmoooost touching her hand) said to Futaba, “Things will go well, Toyama-san. Because you’ve been trying so hard.” And Futaba can’t help but cry and said, “That’s so kind of you,” to Hiroki. I really can feel Futaba sadness at this scene, and I can’t help but to feel sorry (and almost cry) for her. This is one of the sweetest and touching (but unromantic) scenes in this drama. *sobbing*
03. Hiroki’s Mom and Fumiya Confrontation (Episode #08)
Dude, I can assure you that this is the most gripping and gritting scene in the drama. It happened when Fumiya runs away after assaulted Maki in her own house. He rides on the bus and coincidentally arrives along with Kohei’s wife who intends to visit her mother in law by bringing her son. And Fumiya helps her with the jammed baby stroller and escorts her to Fukami’s B&B. And when Hiroki’s mom sees him; she knows, she just fricken knows right away that he is her daughter’s killer. She’s shaken and scared at the same time—well, who doesn’t, as it was a murderer we’re facing here!—But her rage and hatred are bigger than her fear, and she confronts him, confirming if he’s indeed Fumiya. And he says yes. Hiroki’s mom just stays composed as she keeps asking Fumiya why he assault Maki while knowing she has a lil daughter that needs her mom and stuff. And Fumiya just going flustered by saying that he didn’t know why cos he has an illness. Hearing Fumiya’s answer, Hiroki’s mom just going crazy; like batsh*t crazy. She vents it all to him, her anger, frustration, along with the slap, punch, kick, hair-pulling; practically everything, all while talking about Aki. Gee golly, you should see her crazy eyes! I can’t help to mumble “Oooh, aahh..! Yeaah! That’s right! Uh-huh! You go mom!!!” and shaking my pom-poms when I’m watching this scene cos it’s so emotionally squishing…and compelling. Team Mom all the waaaaay!!! Yeeeesss!!! *cartwheeling*
Soredemo: Cringing, Laughing, and Everything in Between
01. “Kakipi?” (Episode #06)
This scene is totally unintentionally funny. It happens after Hiroki’s mom decided to move out from Kohei’s family house and stays with Hiroki. And one morning, Fumiya’s mom comes without prior notice to asks about the MIA Futaba.This visit quite surprise Hiroki and moreover Hiroki’s mom. Since Hiroki is a lone bachelor in that house before his mom moves in, he literally doesn’t have anything edible in the house to be given as a guest treat while waiting his mom making tea and do all the crazy kitchen stuff (as mom is so disordered at that moment) So, he ends up regaling the guest with a box of cookies which turns out was given to him by Fumiya’s father himself. And not so long after that, Fumiya’s mom got a phone call from her husband that said he also wants to come over. Hiroki and his mom are so damn confuse and flustered, all mix in one. Mom is pissed at Hiroki and saying “Why did you take out something we received from them? There isn’t anything else?” and Hiroki nervously—if not, stupidly–takes a half eaten bag of peanuts and saying, “Kaki-peanuts?”What’s funnier is that Hiroki’s not saying “Kaki-peanuts?” but “Kakipi?” which doubling the hilarity effect. And for the love of Charles M. Schulz, it’s clearly visible that Hiroki’s mom is on the verge of having a NG moment as she looks constipated holding back her laugh while looking at Hiroki’s ninny face. Oh dear, good time, gooood time. Hahaha…
02. Hiroki Vs Fumiya: Barfight or Catfight? (episode #09)
If Hiroki’s mom and Fumiya scene is the emotion mixer as it was so sad, angsty and gritty; Hiroki and Fumiya showdown scene is…um…not so much. It happens after Hiroki drops Futaba at her house and ask her to text him right away if she meets Fumiya again. And turns out, Futaba isn’t the only one who meets Fumiya, as everyone now meets him for he’s coming home. After the high-tension family dinner, Fumiya asks Futaba to come along with him.Only this time Futaba says no to his invitation. It makes Fumiya mad (inside, as he still stiff-faced) so he decides to go solo out of the house. But when he goes outside, Hiroki is already waiting for him, as Futaba texted Hiroki beforehand. And soon, Hiroki and Fumiya involve in a game of cat and mouse as Hiroki’s chasing Fumiya all around the town (with Hiroki’s eunuch following behind).They finally reach what looks like truck parking lot. And there, Hiroki and Fumiya are having their long brawling moment; full of tension and anger with all the rage screaming. What funny is, at first, they’re fighting crazily and I was mumbling again like, “ouch, ouch, omaigawt, omaigawt, ouch!!” along their fight, but at the moment Hiroki unintentionally pull Fumiya’s shirt up to his head and makes it become like a hoodie, I sorta lost my seriousness a bit here.
And their brawling screaming sounds slowly morphing into more like a sound of…cats fighting on a trash can in the dark alley on midnight. Seriously. At first they sound like “aaarrrgghhh!!” but later they’re more like “nyaaaannn!!” and “rawrrrrr!!!” At this scene, I was holding my laughing breath already like, “omaigawt, omaigawt, pfffftttt…., ouch…pfffttt….” But the climax of
the retardant it all is when Hiroki and Fumiya taking a break for a moment, and they were in crawling poses that look like two grubby street cats having a stare down contest.ohmaipete, at this point I just can’t take it anymore and I’m LOL-ing. Hard. Hilarity, serves in meow-licious way. Bwahahahahahaa!!!! *slapping own knee*
All in all, Soredemo, Ikite Yuku is a good drama that I enjoy to watch in every minute despite the slow draggy pacing it’s possessed. And I’m really sorry for the long review, that turns out…longer than I expected. Blame my fingers for they won’t stop dancing on the keyboard. Lol. This drama has a heavy theme, that’s written in a non depressing tone. The genre itself may not be a popular choice, but it’s a masterpiece in its own class. If you get tired from all the cliche cheesecake fluff in bubbly rom-com and looking for something with a meaningful insight of life, then this is the drama for you. Soredemo, Ikite Yuku is a shining example that no matter how bad your day or your life has been; the sun keeps shining, tomorrow will come, and life still goes on.
Final Score: 77/100