You know it’s really tough to compete with something that has already been adapted excellently. Such is the case with Watashi wo Hanasanaide. I think for better viewing experience is to go into this drama without knowing too much of the story or have not watched the movie Never Let Me Go (yes, despite how I highly recommend the movie in the previous post, on hindsight, I just can’t feel the tension of the drama version as much as I felt with the movie) I keep on going back to the movie adaptation because of how well made it is that I’m also currently reading the novel.
There are things I like about the drama but there are also others that I wish they had not changed. There’s really not much going on in this drama, yet, because it’s really a focus on character study and how they cope with the apparent bleakness of their lives.
This isn’t going to be a recap but more of an analysis of the characters and my impression of the execution so far.
I’m just gonna put this out straight away. So far, I really like what they’re doing with Asami’s character, Miwa. Compared to the movie, here, Miwa is shown to be more manipulative and developed jealousy easily but also this insecurity inside of her that causes her to put up a wall. It’s a defense mechanism to cover up her vulnerability and fear of her own future. I like how the writers have planted seeds in her younger version, how she likes or drawn towards her arts teacher, Jiro. That is later carried over to her grown up version as she offers herself or rather, throwing herself blatantly to Jiro who pushes her away. This causes a huge heartbreak in Miwa and she’s thirsty for affection that at this point, she’s desperate. So when she sees Kyouko getting closer to Tomo, something snapped inside of her. She then preys on Tomo and she gets what she wants.
Miwa’s selfish as heck and I like the meanness in her. The character is detestable of course, she’s the antagonist but she’s also the only one making this whole thing all the more interesting. So I’m glad they’re not holding back for her character at least. Asami’s acting has its moments when she can be really convincing (I still think she’s excellent in Tsumi to Batsu) and she seems to do well in dark plots like these. Other times, she can be just mediocre (take Ghostwriter for example but again, Nakatani Miki is a really strong co-star).
As for Kyouko, the main lead, the star of the drama, I’m not as invested in her character as much as Miwa did to me, yet. I think it’s not so much about Ayase Haruka’s performance but something is lacking in the way her character is written, I can’t really put my finger on what but it’s just slightly different from what I envisioned her character to be. But I do like how relentlessly she’s always trying to cover up for Miwa despite how obvious Miwa’s to blame and all. For example, the perfume scene and the eventual fight between Miwa and Manami. Kyouko’s the peacekeeper in the group and I appreciate that part of her. This wasn’t in the movie so I do like this addition.
Tomo, Tomo, Tomo. How lovely you are when you’re younger. Nothing against the older Tomo or Miura Haruma but half the time, I can’t really determine what he’s feeling with his facial expressions. He also needs to cut back on the ‘widening eyes’ syndrome he seems to suffer from. He’s supposed to be this innocent and easy to manipulate guy in the drama but he has yet to really convince me. Andrew Garfield in the movie is better when portraying the character because he really acts like he’s a retard at times (sorry for the language), like how he’d just wander off into space on his own imaginations or not aware of his surroundings and I don’t see that in Tomo here. Andrew’s just more convincing as this really weak and innocent with child-like manners even when he’s grown up. Miura on the other hand seems to be more mature and I’m not sure how he’s supposed to be like yet. All things said, he does have some good moments like the tantrum scene and the one with Miwa (I have problems with that scene too which I will elaborate later).
Another character that really just appears every once in a while but still manage to stand out is Manami. She’s practically like the smartest and most mature of the lot. She’s quiet, observant and the only one who dares to confront Miwa. She’s a loner but it doesn’t matter. She likes it. She’s a really strong character and thank you, screenwriters for adding her in this drama, because she’s not in the movie. Everytime she talks, there’s just some sort of awakening moment and the revelations that only she seems to be aware of about the ‘donations’ they’re going to do.
She’s also the only one who knows they’re being monitored through the tracking device hidden under the soles of their shoes! Manami for the win! She needs to be developed further but sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen unless they have something prepared for this new character. I’m crossing my finger she’ll be the first person to escape safely from their destiny. I know she can do it with the brains she has but it’s up to her whether she wants to escape or not. That smile or smirk on her face is all I need to be convinced (the one in the van as they set off to The Cottages). This girl definitely has something under her sleeves, just waiting to be unleashed. Don’t disappoint me, screenwriter.
The kissing scene between Miwa and Tomo could’ve been better executed but they butchered it. It’s just weird to see the sudden transition where he pushes Miwa away initially, then when Miwa goes on a breakdown about being afraid of loneliness, he suddenly feels the same and kisses her?! Hmm… I’m not convinced, I’m just not convinced! They should’ve just followed the movie where Miwa is supposed to kiss him (Miwa’s supposed to take the lead here) and not the other way around. It just felt out of place for him to accept Miwa so easily when just a mere minute before that kiss, he’s acting as if Miwa’s some monster.
Next preview seems to be interesting because Miwa’s making more moves and is that a sign of Miwa committing suicide in present time with the open window and an empty bed as Kyoko rushes to her room (presumably)? The show’s progressing well, I do have my own gripes but that’s only because I’ve seen a really good adaptation of it so I have a certain level of expectations. I’m still going to finish this show no matter what because I’m curious how different it will be but most of all, I really just want to see how the 3 leads perform their roles here. Plus, I love dark genre and depressing shows. So far, Miwa as a character has the most range compared to the rest and I do like Asami’s portrayal. Kyoko probably still needs more time to develop down the line. I’m waiting for the showdown between the two 😄
Oh yes, before I forget, the way they end these two characters is pretty creepy. I like the contrast between how their final scene is such a beautiful, serene view but also marks their end of their lives. This is one of those things I like about the show, the way they insert certain unsettling and horrifying events when we least expected it.