Too Young to Die?
After quite a while feeling shitty and not in the right mood to watch any dorama, I finally back 2 da loop again! (everybody say, wahooo!!!) Though what I watched is not something new or current. Heh… Well, honest to the maxes, I kinda miss the old rollercoaster feeling that I get from watching drama that managed to get me hooked and kokoro-ly invested, especially from a romance type. But surprise, surprise I have my excitement back from watching this non-romantico genre, Kisarazu Cat’s Eye despite the year of production that is quite… ancient, I must say. 13 fricken years ago. Woooh~ that was the time where I still went to school with my crappy uniforms and acted oh-so-delinquent by reading mangas at the back of the classroom with my buddies in the midst of the lesson. Lulz… But this drama is the real kind of delinquent; the quirky type, and certainly, the lovable one. And soon after I finished watch this, it doesn’t need a second thought nor a rocket science to put this right away on the top of my fave drama of all time-list. And now I’m gonna talk about it cos…yeah, I wanna talk abouddit. Heheh…
Youth. Nothing beats the phase of youth. You do reckless things and people will admire you; you go through sleepless nights, stoned and chain smoking, pulling double or even triple taiyou (lulz…), and you still can be as healthy as a horse on the next day; you’re looking for something thrilling and exciting cos you know that life’s still ahead of you; you’re young, invincible, and the world is in your hands. This is a story about a guy named Tabuchi Kohei (Okada Junichi), nicknamed Bussan by his friends.From the surface, Bussan is just like any other youngster his age; he’s 21, unemployed, he plays baseball with his former high school mates: the kimono shop owner’s son, Bambi (Sakurai Sho); the young daddy who owns a pub near the Aqua Line, Master (Sato Ryuta); the NEET older brother of the star student baseball player in town, Ani (Tsukamoto Takashi) and the mysterious stutter-ish putz named Ucchie (Okada Yoshinori).Bussan also hangs out with these guys at Master’s bar, drinking pints of beer (mostly put it on a tab, as in he never pays, lol…), sharing good laughs and having a good time. But Bussan is not a garden variety guy, for there’s a cruel twist in his life. He has cancer. A malignant one. In fact, it’s so malignant, he’s diagnosed by the doctor with only 6 months left to live. He knows 6 months is just a short period of time, but he refuses to back down and lament over his tragedy. So then, Bussan decided to seek the excitements by forming a group of cat burglars with these four buddies of him that was later named as Kisarazu Cat’s Eye. Together they play Robin Hood by stealing money and valuable things from the bad guys and spending them for the sake of town’s welfare for, well, most of the time. The only difference is that, they often caught up by their own clumsiness and stupidity, which in the end making them less cool than they could have been.In the dorama world, Kisarazu Cat’s Eye is the epitome of what people would call as the cult classic. This drama is small scale, unpopular in ratings, but yet every scene comes as memorable and the whole thing is masterpiece in its own class. What I really like from this drama, aside the quirky exaggerated comedy, is that it didn’t structuring itself just by the core of the story. Yes, Kisarazu is a drama about baseball and solving cases, and yes, it’s episodic and formative with this particular top-bottom inning format; but there’s something that makes Kisarazu becomes more natural and flowing, which is the interaction between Bussan, the Kisarazu Cat’s Eye guys, and the town’s people; along with the small town vibe that builds the whole setting. Their lives were written in a comedic way and as realistic as possible, for not every day is eventful or heroic.There are couple scenes where Bussan were shown doing daily thing like helping his father at the barber shop, or hanging out on the street alone doing nothing as his other friends are having their own personal things to do. And to add the colours to live up Kisarazu, this drama also portraying the side characters’ lives and problems as well, like Mirei-sensei (Yakushimaru Hiroko) and her weird compulsive-pranking behaviour (which I found really entertaining and become one of my faves), Rose-san (Morishita Aiko) and her lousy strip club; there’s also Ozzy (Furuta Arata), the town beloved alcoholic nutcase with his infatuated love towards morning day, Nekota (Abe Sadao) and Yamaguchi (Yamaguchi Tomomitsu) with their daily yakuza life (and don’t let me start with the Louis Vuitton and Nike bag joke, which was so… hahahaha!!! *ROFL*); the cafe owner (Shima Daisuke) and his yankee-ness, and so on. These neighbourhood diversities act like pieces of puzzle that complete Kisarazu as a whole realistic town. Sometimes Kisarazu has this certain vibes that reminds me quite a lot with Stars Hollow; with Patty’s dance class, Luke’s Diner, Kim’s Antique, Al’s Pancake World etc. Heck it’s a no brainer since Gilmore Girls come as the cult classic TV series either. And it’s also one of my faves. Lulz…But one thing that perks up the small town is of course none other than Bussan and his gang. The dynamic and chemistry between these five delinquent youngsters are always a pleasure to watch. They’re uncool, but at the same time they do act cool. They know each other too well they didn’t sugarcoating words while talking–but yet they managed to not knowing about Ani’s real name though… lol…–
And they have this strong sense of brotherhood and togetherness, despite their relationship with each other is not always on the good terms. At first, the thought of forming this Kisarazu gang come as a whimsical idea from Bussan who wanted to wrap up his final 6 months with a bang, and also in order to get even with their loser coach, Nekota, who happened to have this swanky imported car and acting snob bcos of it. But after having several wrong turns to accomplished this crime, they have to face another unrelated incident involving school bombing and through that thing, the Kisarazu Cat’s Eye name accidentally born and become their brand; after having quite a revision from its prior emo-ish name which was Kisarazu Death Death team, courtesy of atm angst-full Bussan. Lulz… At the beginning Master, Bambi, Ani and Ucchie are so damn excited about this new found group thing, picturing themselves doing awesome stuffs and stunts, and become those of that chick gone crazy for-bad guys. But Bussan finally spill the beans and spoil their fun figments by telling them the breaking news about his illness, much to the other four guys’ consternation.At first Master, Bambi, Ani and Ucchie are in denial, thinking that this must be another joke from Bussan. Then they began taking turns playing April fools to each other and forcing themselves to laugh about it. But when they saw how serious Bussan is, they know that this is not a laughing matter. They feel screwed and for the first couple of weeks, they have this awkward phase every time they’re reminding and watching Bussan takes his medicine, thinking that this cancer thing is really really real and it’s happening to one of their circle of friends.This phase also makes Bussan have a pet peeve, with the way his buds looking and staring at him like he’s a damn sad puppy. And this thing kinda drove them into a minor bicker as Bussan refuse to be pitied at by his own friends. But slowly and naturally they learn to put that sad thought on the backseat, putting YOLO as their main life’s philosophy and try their best to explore everything out as the Kisarazu gang while Bussan still alive to hang out with them and it’s Bussan’s dying wish for them to do so. But of course, sadness is an inevitable thing when dead becomes the main topic on that one particular day, when they lost someone important to them. They pissed, they frustrated, they bickered and they fought. But deep down they really care for each other and soon they make up again and valuing every small adventurous moment together while they still can.I think the friendship part of this drama was written perfectly to live up to the terms of through thick and thin, for as Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, they have been through many ups and downs together. That’s why their friendship becomes strong and familial. But while the Bambi, Master, Ani and Ucchie finally able to deal with Bussan’s situation, here comes the real question; does Bussan himself able to cope with it?Imo, Bussan is one of the best characters ever written in a dorama that I ever watched so far. He’s distinctly ordinary and has his own flawed as well. Truth be told, Bussan actually is a complicated person. He has this funny and bursting effervescent personality that often come as the main source in creating a lively atmosphere and galvanizing Bambi, Master, Ani and Ucchie into doing the heist as the Kisarazu gang.But on the flipside, Bussan is also having this state of doldrums with his life, cos he knows that his days are numbered and he just can’t do anything about it. He’s scared; knowing that he’s about to die soon, but yet at the same time, he doesn’t wanna do the pity party nor gain any sympathy from anyone including his own friends. He just want everyone to be their usual selves and enjoying life to the fullest with him while he’s still around, instead of crying for him and playing victim with the twist of fate.But sometimes his sepulchral moments come out inevitably, as he feels that he’s getting closer to the finish line of his short life and the “dead” thing is starting to become more and more real for him. There are couple of scenes that shows Bussan’s down and cry, but he managed to get himself together, and that’s what makes him become a lovable character.Since Bussan has grown up only with his father as a single parent, he has this kind of infatuation with an older woman that’s mature and caring. That’s why, Bussan has this puppy crush with his former high school teacher, Mirei sensei, despite Mirei-sensei purposefully make herself vague about this matter. At the beginning, they become sorta like acquaintances, where they used to meet at the cafe and talk about whatever they want to talk about. But later, Bussan become the one who helped Mirei-sensei coping with her problem, and she, too, become someone that Bussan can rely on.What funny is that, the other guys (and me) knew that Bussan is smitten with his sensei, but Bussan is just keep denying it. But then, he finally managed to gather up the courage and splur out the words of asking Mirei-sensei out. And surprisingly, she says yes; much to Bussan’s uber-shockness. Lulz…And so, they managed to go for a brief date, but the way she’s dodging away from Bussan rabu confession in the middle of it, makes Bussan draw conclusion that he’s being rejected. Well, honestly, me kinda questioning what is Mirei-sensei true feeling for Bussan, since it feels like her avoidance from that matter is simply bcos she doesn’t want another society branding for dating her own former student; not after the whole bad teacher spurn that she and her family had to face priorly. And as the drama progresses, Bussan’s relationship with Mirei-sensei is clearly going nowhere, and this makes Bussan’s unexplainable loneliness inside him starts to grow bigger and bigger.At first this said loneliness was shown as Bussan’s wish to have a girlfriend. But since he feels that there’s no more time to like, court , or date any chic around, Bussan starts to feel the sexual frustration. It then makes him try to resolute one of his bucket list wish to get y’know, one final bang-bang-boom before he’s saying bye-bye-bye and he just doesn’t care about what type girl he’s gonna get it on with; booty or not booty call, lulz.But later Bussan got to know this one roller-skater call girl/swindler, Mizuki Asari (YOU) that managed to get every guy in town to love her unconditionally, despite being conned by her beforehand. Bussan, feeling immune to this matter since he thinks that she’s ugly enough to make him want to change the escort service girl (since she’s the booty call chick as well) the day before, decide to get to know Mizuki in order to get everyone’s stuffs, that was taken away by her, back.But somehow, gradually, Bussan (also) became besotted with her as well. It makes him finally able to do “it” one final time, with Mizuki. And turns out every thing doesn’t stop there, for Bussan also do the proposal(-ish) thing to her, since he feels like he can spend the rest of his time with her. But then, things start to spiraling out of control, which in the end makes Bussan got his fair share of broken heart because of Mizuki; cos despite she was honest with Bussan all the time they were together, she chose to turn down his proposal to be with him until the end of his life.This part, imo, clearly show the weakest and lowest points of Bussan’s life. All this time, Bussan always appear as someone who’s cheerful in front of all his friends, but as a human being, there must be one point in life where he just fed up with everything and want to start a new page while he still have time to do so. Fortunately, though things didn’t work out in Bussan’s love life, he still have everyone by his side. Ugh, now I feel sentimental… *sniffle*Mizuki aside, Bussan also has this benignly weird, if not, lopsided love triangle conflict with Mouko (Sakai Wakana) and Bambi. This whole thing come as dysfunctional, cos even though Mouko is in relationship with Bambi, she just so hung up on Bussan, it makes Bambi really pissed sometimes; in a hilarious way. Lol…The relationship between Mouko and Bambi is one of the things that I like from this drama, since Bambi, surprisingly to his pals, love Mouko dearly and sincerely ever since school years, despite she’s an airhead and have this infamous easy image all over the neighborhood. The uber-cute part from Bambi and Mouko is that Bambi is so foolish in love, and so old fashioned for Mouko, but yet his sincerity and promptness in being there for her are something that comes very sweet. Like when Bambi rush to help her from being set up to make an AV movie, or when he believes Mouko bogus love myth without questioning, despite Mouko keeps telling him that she just made it up to make Bussan want to go with her.As a viewer I’m just so fricken glad that Mouko’s feeling towards Bussan comes unrequited, since Bussan is always shown talking to her in a joking and friendly teasing manners. But there is one thing that I found so Ugh-ly sucks from Bussan’s act in relation with Mouko-Bambi, in which when Bussan takes a desperate measure to get laid, he almost do it with Mouko, even though he knows that she’s Bambi’s girlfriend at that time.I mean like, come on dudddee!!! She’s your best bud’s chick yooo!!! Are ya havin’ a loose screw in your head, man? What’s with the say of Bros before hoe huh? HUH?!!! Or in this case, Bros before Mo. Lulz… If only Mouko did not telling the truth about her life sexperience (cool, huh? I just made that pun, heheh…) that managed to make Bussan taken aback by it, they’d probably already do it anyway, and if that’s happened, I swear on my turkey sandwich that I will hate Bussan for the rest of my fangirl life for being a double crossing jerk. *cue Never shout Never “Cheater Cheater Best Friend Eater”* Geez…Despite being all about friendship and love, this drama didn’t forget to tag in the family matters. Well, in this case, it’s all about Bussan and his dad, the barber shop owner, Tabuchi Kosuke (Kohinata Fumiyo). Bussan’s and Kosuke’s relationship appears as something endearing, and yet, bittersweet at the same time.The way they’re expressing their affections toward each other in a very verrrry tsundere way becomes the sweet part, like Bussan who secretly writes a help-book for how to trim customer’s hair stylishly, since he knew that Kosuke is actually don’t have any skill in doing the barber thing for he’s using mom’s license to open the shop. While, Kosuke always looked stiff and unemotional when talking to Bussan, but deep down he has this big concern about his only son, and how to deal with him.The bittersweet part is that despite they love each other as a family, they always looked so distant and awkward, they feel this uneasiness every time either Kosuke, or Bussan, want to tell something important to each other. As a son, Bussan never tell his father that he has cancer, he always make up various excuses every time Kosuke questioning his hospital visit. It reaches to a point where Kosuke coincidentally heard this bad news from Ani, who thought that Bussan must had already told Kosuke beforehand. And the way Kosuke staring at Bussan while doing his Wada Akiko impression is just somehow heart breaking for me, cos he clearly has this sharp pang of sadness at the moment for knowing that he’s gonna lose his son sooner than when it should be; and also disappointed, for having to know about such an important family matter through an outsider and not directly from Bussan himself. Gee golly…*sniffle*Kisarazu’s genre is undoubtedly comedy, since there are too many LMAO-worthy scenes that make this supposed makjang drama becomes a very enjoyable ride, but it doesn’t forget to handle the debbie downer parts either, since 50% of the drama’s theme is terminal illness and the way this problem were dealt by Bussan and his close-knit of loved ones. Regarding about Bussan and Kosuke, there is one particular scenes that, funnily, come out as a fine mixture of both. I dunno whether Kudo Kankuro aimed for this part to be a tragicomic or not, cos if he did, he definitely succeed in doing so, for this part leaves me with a confusing feeling of wanting to be sad, but at the same time, I’m also about to laugh. Hah!That scene happens when Bussan and Kosuke are talking about who can resemble Ozzy the most. Since Ozzy is chubby, they try to resemble him by stuffing their mouths with this steamed buns until they have this puffy squirrel cheeks.Then Bussan keeps trying to make Kosuke to look more like Ozzy, by pulling his side eyes. But then, Bussan’s going melancholy, as he’s starting to talk about how scary it is to be dead, cos by the time it comes, he’ll be vanished from the world just like that. And that thought scares him, it makes him starts to cry. This scene is so menacingly sad, cos we clearly can feel Bussan’s frustration through his rueful smile and teary eyes. Supposedly. If Bussan did not looked like this:Oh.mai.gawt, I dunno what to say, I really REALLY dunno what to say. At one moment I feel sorta guilty if I DO laugh cos it feels like I’m being happy over other (fictional) people’s misery. But here, lemme ask you; how can you not Lol-ing when you see how Bussan looked like an uber-kawaii little chimp along with his stuffy cheeks and glassy eyes? Not to mention he has this long eyelashes, along with his half forehead-length fringe and his drag-ish/Kame-style eyebrows? Oooh… for the love of walnuts, forgive me, but I just can’t take it anymore… AHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! OHMAIGAWT!!! OH MY LIL BOOBOO MONKICHI!!! I’M SORRY BUT THIS IS TOO DAMN FUNNY!!! AHAHAHAAAA!!!… *inhale~exhale*… phew… there I go. Felt so relieved by now. Lulz…Just like the Ecclesiastes 3 wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die,…a time to weep and a time to laugh“. Well, when you laugh hard, you gotta spare some of your lil salty water called tear as well, eh? As this drama managed to give us tonzzz of hilarious moments, it didn’t forget to slip the scenes that showing about how serious Bussan’s condition is, as a (not so) friendly reminder, that he really is a dying man. Uarrrgh~ I hate this part… *clenching fist*There are couple times–two times to be more precise–where Bussan got THIS close of giving his friends a heart attack and the “this is it, he’s dead!”-shocking moment. But if luck says that third time’s a charm, did the same philosophy also applied for something that less than…luckier, like this? And since cat has nine lives, does Bussan could also have nine chances to avoid the, well…unavoidable?But the real question (again) is: Is this time Bussan really saying goodbye to everyone? Well, the answer is… I’m not gonna tell you for once this time. Though usually I’m all about bloody spoiling and blabbing the drama’s ending in my review, this one somehow, I feel an urge to keep my mouth shut, or in here, my fingers to type-shut, whatever. Lulz… All I gotta say is that, the ending is kinda… bittersweet, in my opinion. Is it sad? Sadly, it is. Is it happy? Happily, it is. It’s either way, my friend, it’s either way. Mwahaha!!! *evil laughter*As we reached to the end of my review, I feel that I need to point out something from the theme song’s point of view. Kisarazu Cat’s Eye has a very good set of original soundtracks, I must say, but the most prominent one is of course aca-awesome acapella song, Moonlight Lovers, that often being used at the sentimental scenes of the drama. But the ending song itself, A Day in Our Life by Arashi, is a kind of song that grows inside you slowly and gradually, as you watched the per episode’s ending. And when the drama ends, I had reached to a point where I come to love this song, enough to search for the lyrics and the translation, despite the subber team is doing a helluva great job in subtitling, including giving us a karaoke-ish text of the song. But since I can’t break my two eyes’ focuses like a damn french bulldog or pug’s eyes, I always tend to watch the credit’s scenes, where the Kisarazu boys are shown hanging out together, rather than, you know, singing along. Lulz…
And so, I look for the full lyrics translation. And, dude, it makes me love this song more, since the lyrics is just a snug fit to the drama theme. Well, it’s not 100% snuggy though, since the lyrics lead more to lovers-topic, but it’s mostly spot on in depicting the friendship between this Kisarazu’s Cat’s Eye gang. And here’s the summarize of it:
Time flows in a circle, tear off each day [even] long ago you were somewhere far away Ah, my thoughts won't reach you You won't come back again But I can't forget (about you) all night Yo, how bright do you shine? As bright as the sun, yeah! It was something so close I couldn't see it But time has passed and now I've come to see it With us holding hands I get the strength to draw you close A sound is made, then fades away The beating of my heart quickens Now I'm different from who I was back then Just a little bit more and it will reach you, I'll tell you, it will resound To my darling, my beloved, to you, yeah! (I LOVE YOU, even now, ENDLESS LOVE One day...you will...return to me) The way I put all my heart and soul into it So that I can regain who I am I'll find something new We'll surely meet again someday Ah, painful feelings pass by Ah, now I can finally tell you everything Your tears, your smile, everyone, everything I always want to feel you by my side Holding on to my hand We'll surely meet again someday Thinking of you (one) morning (Brings me) continued pain (With a) heart has been obscured (all the while) by the load (it carries) Ride on, let's get on We don't need these quiet days Tick tick tick tock, the clock tells time It's OK, don't worry about it, leave it be My unchanging feelings are always straight and true My unending emotions are already at their limit One day when you're by my side again Then, I will promise you, forever... Surely I won't surrender (Because) I have complete conviction Different from how I was back then, now Just a little bit more and it will reach you, I'll tell you, it will resound To my darling, my beloved, to you, yeah! We'll surely meet again someday
All in all, Kisarazu Cat’s Eye is a truly one helluva great ride of emotional watch; through it’s hilarity, melancholy, and realistic touch that harmoniously blend so nicely in creating a memorable nine episodes-dorama. The way it portrays every character makes us feel like they’re real as a person that we can easily and naturally love enough and to care about. Kisarazu Cat’s Eye is a heartwarming drama that reminds us about the fun of our youth, and not only that, it also is about to make the most of it while you still have a chance.
Final Score: 84/100
~Kisarazuuuu! Cats! Nyaaan! Cats! Nyaaan! Cats! Nyaaan! The End!~
Credits for lyrics translation: ©honyakukonnyaku@LJ