Drama Review: Nigeru Onna


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I don’t know how I crossed this drama. I rarely watch J-drama lately, but this drama just draw my attention.

At first, I don’t have any idea about the plot or whatsoever about this drama. I don’t really understand Japanese language — I’m referring to the title — so I just watched this drama without any expectation. To my surprise, this drama only has 6 episodes!!

So what is this drama about? Well, Rieko Nishiwaki played by Miki Mizuno has just released from prison after spending 8 years incarcerated on a false charge. She seeks out her former best friend, Azumi, who betrayed her. On the way she comes across a young murderess played by Riisa Naka.

However, this drama is not all about vengeance or revenge. It’s darker and sadder. The story is well written. It’s able to portrait and deliver the feeling of a person who is wrongfully accused, to be in her shoes and understand how she is treated, looked, perceived and to be on her side to seek the truth.

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At the same time, this drama also succeeded to stir my feeling. For the first time I’m able to feel anger and pity at the same time while watching Mio. As the story goes by, I’m kind of understand why she acted like Reiko’s protector, never let anyone harm her, including killing a thief that stole Reiko’s purse (Ironically, Reiko doesn’t know this dark side of Mio). Even she doesn’t want to let Reiko meet her sister when she finally figures out Mio’s dark side. I kind of understand that she doesn’t want to be alone.

At the end, we’ll never know why Azumi gave a false confession that led Rieko being condemned as a murderer. Why? Because Mio killed her. However, this is still a recommended drama with Kento Kaku apperance as a bonus.

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Japanese Drama Watch List 2015: Into Summer


There are many Winter and Spring drama series for 2015 that I haven’t watch, but Summer is already here. Learning from the past, it would not be good to judge the upcoming dramas based on first impressions alone, or the “stellar” cast or even the storyline. When Wakamonotachi was first announced, I have zero interest, but the drama turned out to be one of the best of the season. It’s that good, and the major reason for my raves is the cast.

Here are 5 upcoming dramas I am excited to watch—based on the plot and the cast.

1. Death Note

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Date: From 10.30 p.m., Sundays, 5 July 2015
Station: NTV
Genre: Detective, sci-fi thriller
Cast: Kubota Masataka, Yamazaki Kento, Yuki Mio, Sano Hinako, Fujiwara Reiko, Seki Megumi, Maeda Goki, Yuge Tomohisa, Hankai Kazuaki, Sato Jiro, Matsushige Yutaka

 

Synopsis: One day, the god of death drops a notebook in the human world where it is picked up by Yagami Light (Kubota Masataka). It is the notebook of death that will determine people’s deaths. Once a name is written in the notebook, that person will die instantly.

2. Age Harassment

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Date: From 9.00 p.m., Thursdays, 9 July 2015
Station: TV Asahi
Cast: Takei Emi, Inamori Izumi, Seto Koji, Kaname Jun, Okura Koji, Naito Risa, Hara Mikie, Sugimoto Tetta, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Asano Kazuyuki, Aso Yumi, Takenaka Naoto, Kazama Morio, Koizumi Kotaro

Synopsis: Yoshii Emiri (Takei Emi) is a new employee of a top trading company. In addition to her motivation, skills and ambition, she possesses both youth and beauty. This would appear to be her passport to happiness. But because she is assigned to the General Affairs Department, the old guard which only pays lip service to “female employment”, everything she possesses becomes a target of harassment. The company only requires Emiri’s youth and beauty. Her dream of doing a good job and eventually becoming an executive officer is quickly crushed. On the other hand, Emiri just has to flash a smile and the male staff would fuss over her even though she did not ask for anything. She becomes the target of jealousy of the older female staff. Emiri is given a hard time simply because of her youth and beauty. Although she endures this every day, she soon reaches the limit of her patience. When Emiri rebels against the old-fashioned company, what awaits her is …

 

3. The Last Cop

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Date: From 19 June 2015, Fridays
Station: NTV & Hulu
Genre: Detective
Cast: Karasawa Toshiaki, Kubota Masataka, Sasaki Nozomi, Matsuo Satoru, Kurokawa Tomoka, Kuji Akiko, Tayama Ryosei, Suzunosuke, Miyakawa Ichirota, Saito Yuki, Sano Shiro, Wakui Emi, Emoto Tokio (guest star), Takimoto Miori (guest star), Malia (guest star), Ryusei Ryo (guest star)

Synopsis: In 1985, Kyogoku (Karasawa Toshiaki) is an unconventional but passionate to the point of overeagerness detective who has solved many cases. He corners a violent criminal called Kagura, but at that moment, a bomb planted by Kagura explodes and Kyogoku slips into a coma for 30 years. One day in 2015, Kyogoku suddenly wakes up and visits his wife, Kanako (Wakui Emi). However, she has remarried and rebuffs him. Just at the moment he is behaving violently, he ends up getting arrested by a young detective, Mochizuki Ryota (Kubota Masataka) and brought to Yokohama Chuo Police Precinct where he is reunited with his former junior Suzuki (Miyakawa Ichirota), and boss Kujira (Tayama Ryosei). Kyogoku quickly returns to his position as a detective. However, he cannot comprehend the latest gadgets and the “new wisdom”. He keeps ignoring modern rules without a care and getting Ryota, who has been made his buddy, into trouble.

 

4. Tamiou

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Date: From 11.15 p.m., Fridays, July 2015
Station: TV Asahi
Genre: Fantasy comedy
Cast: Endo Kenichi, Suda Masaki, Motokariya Yuika, Jiyoung, Takahashi Issei, Kaneda Akio, Minemura Rie, Yamauchi Takaya, Hara Kintaro, Iketani Nobue, Rokkaku Seiji, Kusakari Masao

Synopsis: One day, the current prime minister of Japan, Muto Taizan (Endo Kenichi), and his useless son, Sho (Suda Masaki), suddenly discover that they have switched bodies. With no known cause or solution at hand, Sho reluctantly ends up appearing in the Diet on his father’s behalf. But he completely cannot follow the deliberations as well as the questions and answers because it has been his routine to skip his studies. He is also repeatedly caught making childish responses or misreading kanji in documents. However, untainted by the adult world, Sho’s straightforward opinions and genuine feelings start to mobilise the Diet and the public. On the other hand, Taizan has to lead the life of a university student and search for a job on behalf of his son, but with the brains of a prime minister. He refutes arrogant interviewers with his overwhelming knowledge and debating skills. Although Taizan wins the war of words, he is an absolute failure in the interviews itself. Furthermore, several peculiar girls whom Sho has had relationships with appear and makes Taizan more bewildered.

 

5. Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san

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Date: From 11.40 p.m., Saturdays, 27 June 2015
Station: Fuji TV
Genre: Food
Cast: Hayami Akari, Miyama Karen, Furuhata Seika, Ono Yutaka, Tanaka Hideki, Muramatsu Toshifumi

Synopsis: Koizumi-san (Hayami Akari), a cool, beautiful high school student of few words, is in fact a ramen expert who seeks and tries out delicious ramen with gusto every day.

Among those five, I guess Death Note receives the most attention since its manga’s so booming back then—and until now, I guess. It’ is rumored that the drama series differs from previous movie adaptations where the main characters battle it out as young professionals. In the new drama, both Light Yagami and L are college students.  There are also pros and cons about the cast—which probably I’d like to discuss later.

However, let’s just drop the debate and enjoy the dramas.

Currently Watching: Ex-Girlfriend Club


Romantic-comedy series Ex-Girlfriend Club just wrapped two weeks ago on tvN. And Song Ji Hyo’s appearance will always steal my heart.

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I’d like to admit that: Yes, I watch this series because of Song Ji Hyo. She has stolen my heart since Emergency Couple. Unlike other female actresses, she doesn’t bother on how she will look like on screen—I mean how she dressed. She’s really into her character. Her messed up style really catches my attention. And I like that.

First two episodes tell the story of Kim Soo Jin (Song Ji Hyo), who is a film producer that works in an almost bankrupt company. She’s prepared to do whatever it takes to save the company. Therefore, she accepts the assignment to produce a webtoon adaptation. But to her horror, Soo Jin belatedly finds out that the webtoon artist is her ex-boyfriend, Myeong Soo (Byun Yo Han).

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Not only reluctantly working with her ex, Soo Jin also has to face that the company she works in has a lot of debt to pay. And as the movie starts shooting, the project also brings Myeong Soo’s other ex-girlfriends back into his life all at the same time. With unique personalities, these Myeong Soo’s ex-girlfriends—which includes an older wealthy divorcee (Jang Ji Eun), a chic and successful woman who works at an investment firm (Lee Yoon Ji), and a third-rate airhead actress (Hwa Young)—bring another problems and delays the movie’s production.

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Although I just watched the first two episodes, I kinda know how the drama will end. Like other K-Dramas, this one may end with the main female and male leads fall in love. However, what I like about this drama is that the drama isn’t a drama where big things happened, like other typical K-Dramas. This is a rom-com drama which focuses more on everyday interactions and relationships, peppered with some seriously gut-busting comedy. It’s light and the plot flows smoothly. Afterall, it is worth to follow the series until episode finale.

[Review] 10 Favorite Japanese Drama of 2014


It’s kinda late to talk about 2014 Japanese drama. But—I guess—it’s not too late to share good dramas.

What makes Japanese drama shows different, likeable, more interesting, compared to other Asian drama productions? Perhaps one of the best features of J-dramas is the duration—most are produced to deliver 8-10 episodes, compared to its Korean counterparts which usually run double. I really have to say, having an average of 10 episodes is more than enough to cover most stories/plots, provide adequate character development and maintain audience interest.

Statistically, there were 135 J-dramas were shown during the year which were divided into four seasons. Seventeen shows aired during winter, a whopping 41 dramas during spring, another 41 productions in summer and 36 shows during the fall.

Naming your favorite drama shows remain subjective. If you happen to love crime-dramas, then you will prefer shows covering this genre. The ultimate success of rom-coms, family drama, school and coming of age, medical, police and detective, horror, comedy, sci-fi and many other genres depend on a number of factors—storyline, lead actors, topnotch technical features that further highlight the show, even theme song. I like watching almost all genre. But personally, I prefer what so-called detective-sci-fi-mystery-action genre (sorry to those who have different ‘taste’ with me).

For your information, I didn’t watch all the 2014 drama. So, I’m sorry if I missed one or two dramas. This is my 5 favorite dramas anyway.

So let’s begin!

10. Boku no Ita Jikan

ggfgfgI’ll open my 10 favourite J-drama with Boku no Ita Jikan.  It’s a slice-of-life drama portraying Miura Haruma as Sawada Takuto who has shown such promise yet is about to die. A tragic story I’d say and Miura just able to deliver Takuto fears and struggles well. A little advice; prepare a box of tissue, please because you will cry a lot. And that’s the reason why I put it on the 10th rank—I hate crying.

9. Summer Nude

summer nude poster A typical rom-com drama. But it has Yamashita Tomohisa as its main lead! The conflict was quite light, easy to consume. However, it was not taste plain. Worth to watch for those who love rom-com. But then, why I put this drama on the 9th position. Simply because it couldn’t draw my interest.

8. Alice no Toge

Alice's_Thorn-p1Another Ueno Juri ’s drama after Sunao ni Narenakute. I had big expectation on this, watching Ueno playing a dark role. However, I’m a bit disappointed on this. At some point, the storyline became plain predictable and simply ‘boring’ to follow with full attention. It’s a pity because the idea of medical revenge clicked so well in the background of the plot, but it wasn’t well-handled for the most part. It’s also a shame that Odagiri Joe  and Ueno Juri were effectively wasted on this.

7. Nobunaga Concerto

posterI don’t really understand Japan history, especially Oda Nobunaga. I put this drama on my watch list simply because Oguri Shun. No doubt, Oguri played the role of Oda Nobunaga and Saburo well. Even though it felt a bit odd to see Oguri as a senior high student, I’d say Oguri Shun and Shibasaki Kou look great together in this drama.

6. MOZU (Season 1&2)

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It’s a political thriller drama. Unfortunately, the thriller-action-packed show didn’t make it to the masterpiece podium. Co-produced by TBS and WOWOW, led by a ground-breaking main cast and starting with an utterly promising conflict, the drama held the signs of an outstanding drama but alas! Winds do not blow as the vessels wish. The second season wasn’t any better. However, the drama isn’t all that bad. It could be nerve-wracking at times, but that doesn’t deny its great potentials and some of its amazing characters.

5. Border

20140411-00010005-nkcyzo-000-1-view It’s Oguri Shun, ladies and gentlemen! What could be any better? Here, he plays a detective role who got shot in the head while in an investigation. He barely survived but could see dead people—ghost in exact—afterward. The plot was a bit predictable but wait until the last episode. You’ll be surprised by it.

4. Bitter Blood

Bitter_Blood-p1I am a big fan of Sato Takeru. Amazed by his acting in Rurouni Kenshin, I decided to continue watching all his dramas and movies. Plus, this drama is a police drama, a-must-to-watch-drama. Actually Bitter Blood is another typical investigation J-drama. All the cliché cases of the detective genre were blunt clear in the plot, but it still managed to stand out due to the strong bromance—between a father-and-son partner—and great sense of humour. The best part was the bad blood between the father and son; they don’t get along, and they’re as different as night and day. In my opinion, that’s what made Bitter Blood catch my attention; the path they took to become good partners or the funny situations both of them were put into.

3. Nazo no Tenkousei

Nazo_no_Tenkosei-tp After two action-thriller dramas, finally it’s a different genre. It’s a mix of sci-fi and mystery. And another good point is that set of young actors! Yay to that. You know, watching dramas with a set of young talented and handsome actors may a little bit ’refresh our eyes’. However, Nazo no Tenkosei was not all about that. It had cool opening and ending theme song. I just love how Hongo Kanata played the role of a humanoid alien who pretended as a weird and a little bit stupid transfer student. And, oh, I also love Asuka’s character here. Sugisaki Hana succeeded in bringing out cheerful yet mysterious side of Asuka.

2. N no Tame Ni

N_tame I should admit that at first, I didn’t put it on my watch list. Simply because I don’t really know the actors/actresses. But I watched it anyway and surprised for the unpredictable plot—and ending. It may appear to be cruel or biased even, but you will savour each and every episode with both dread and gusto—and a bit sympathy maybe. N no Tame ni is a mixture of drama, mystery and murder. Both featured Japan’s most accomplished young talents—the kinds who can elevate drama with unconscious effort.

1. Wakamonotachi

Wakamonotachi_zpsb0236ebf Wakamonotachi and N no Tame Ni share the same fate. I mean, I didn’t really consider them as excellent dramas at first—my bad. If it’s not for Eita in the set of actors, I wouldn’t put it on watch list. Wakamonotachi is a heart-warming family drama that deals with the problems of their members. It’s evident that Japanese are professional at keeping situations realistic and moving. It’s also important to note that the wonderful actors weren’t the drama’s only strong point, the scriptwiter knew how to handle a star-studded cast by giving each of them credit in a well-written piece.

Hungry!: Watching Osamu Mukai Being A Chef!


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Aku selalu suka menonton acara masak-masak di TV, entah itu reality show atau variety show. Lebih suka lagi, tentu saja, acara makan-makannya (hehehe). Nah, postingan kali ini juga berhubungan dengan makanan. Kali ini, aku bakal me-review sebuah drama Jepang yang mengangkat tema food dan romance. Judul drama ini adalah Hungry!

Dibintangi oleh Osamu Mukai, Miori Takimoto, Ryoko Kuninaka, dan Goro Inagaki, Hungry! menceritakan tentang perjuangan Eisuke, ex-rock band guitarist, dan teman-temannya (yang juga tergabung dalam band yang sama) dalam menjalankan sebuah restoran Prancis, Le Petit Chou. And hungry is the exact feeling I get from watching this drama. Gimana nggak, tiap episode kamu disuguhi Osamu Mukai yang lagi masak makanan-makanan enak. Watching the food and watching the casts eat them with this-food-is-extremely-delicious expression really could make you drool. So, really, don’t watch the drama if you haven’t eaten all day or if you’re on a diet because this show will kill you with all the “yumminess” (I’m saying this from my personal experience).

Back to the plot, sebenarnya nggak ada yang terlalu istimewa. Konflik yang ditampilkan cukup sederhana; nggak terlalu ruwet. Ending-nya pun predictable, except that the main character, Eisuke doesn’t end up with the main girl character, Chie (Miori Takimoto). Ups, did I just reveal the most important point here? Well, begitulah. Jadi kalian jangan terlalu berharap akan menyaksikan banyak adegan romantis di sini.

Walaupun begitu, aku tetap menikmati proses Eisuke dan teman-temannya mengembangkan si restoran; bagaimana mereka menghadapi tantangan demi tantangan, terutama dari Tokio dan Gasterea-nya (restoran saingan Le Petit Chou), dan juga bagaimana Eisuke semakin berkembang, baik secara emosional ataupun kemampuan memasaknya. Selain itu, tentu saja, yang paling kusuka adalah melihat Osamu Mukai di drama ini (yey!). Kapan lagi coba bisa lihat Osamu Mukai masak, despite from the fact that he couldn’t really cook in real life. And to be honest, I’m kinda fan of Osamu Mukai (hehehe).

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Okay, back to the topic, selain suka sama Osamu Mukai yang mampu memerankan Eisuke dengan baik, aku juga suka sama aktingnya Miori Takimoto sebagai Chie, gadis 20 tahun yang jatuh cinta dengan masakan Eisuke dan Eisuke sendiri. Karakternya yang ceria, sedikit immature, dan polos memberikan warna tersendiri dalam drama ini. Kalau Eisuke memberikan warna-warna tegas, Chie-lah yang mengimbanginya dengan memberikan warna-warna soft yang ceria dalam Hungry!

Anyway, though I’m not exactly obsessed with this drama, I do find it enjoyable to watch. I just wish I could have a bite of those amazing dishes….

Bagi yang penasaran, kalian bisa nonton secara online dan gratis di sini atau di sini. Kalian juga bisa download gratis TV series ini di sini atau di sini. Happy watching!

Dragon Zakura: Ketika Universitas Menjadi Tolok Ukur Kesuksesan


Setelah G.T.O dan Gokusen, ada satu lagi nih drama Jepang yang bertemakan pendidikan, Dragon Zakura. Secara umum, drama ini menceritakan bagaimana satu orang – bertindak sebagai guru – mengubah sekelompok siswa bermasalah menjadi siswa yang memiliki prestasi. Dan seperti halnya G.T.O dan Gokusen, Dragon Zakura ini juga diangkat dari sebuah manga dengan judul yang sama yang dimuat di Shuukan Morning (Kodansha). Sebenarnya drama ini termasuk drama yang tahun rilisnya sudah lama, 2005, tapi ceritanya masih relevan samapai sekarang. Menurut beberapa ulasan, drama ini mendapatkan rating yang lumayan tinggi. Bahkan IMBd memberikan angka 7,1/10, nilai yang cukup tinggi kurasa.

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Cerita ini diawali dengan ditunjuknya Sakuragi Kenji (Hiroshi Abe) sebagai pengacara yang mengurusi penutupan SMA Ryuzan yang mengalami masalah finansial alias nyaris bangkrut. Didorong oleh ambisi pribadi, Kenji akhirnya membuat pengumuman di depan pada penyumbang dana bahwa dia berhasil membuat 5 siswa Ryuzan masuk Universitas Tokyo, maka para penyumbang dana harus mau jadi donatur Ryuzan. Dengan begitu, Ryuzan tidak akan ditutup dan Kenji akan mendapatkan pujian karena keberhasilannya membantu masalah finansial Ryuzan serta membuat popularitas Ryuzan naik – karena siswanya berhasil masuk Universitas Tokyo.

Dan kemudian masalah dimulai. Pertama-tama Kenji harus mendapatkan 5 siswa yang mau masuk kelas khususnya, kelas persiapan masuk Universitas Tokyo. Karena Ryuzan merupakan sekolah yang berisi siswa-siswa bermasalah dan pemalas, tentu saja mendapatkan satu siswa yang mau masuk kelas khusus ini pasti sangat sulit. Para guru Ryuzan pun pesimis mengenai rencana Kenji ini. Jadi tidak heran kalau Kenji sama sekali tidak punya sekutu di Ryuzan. Pada akhirnya hanya Mamako Ino-lah (Hasegawa Kyoko), guru bahasa Inggris Ryuzan, yang bersedia membantu Kenji sebagai asisten.

Oke, singkat cerita akhirnya ada juga yang mau ikut kelas khususnya Kenji. Awalnya hanya ada 4, Yajima Yusuke (Yamashita Tomohisa), Ogata Hideki (Koike Teppei), Kosaka Yoshino (Aragaki Yui), dan Kobayashi Maki (Saeko). Mizuno Naomi (Nagasawa Naomi) dan Okuno Ichiro (Nakao Akiyoshi) adalah dua siswa Ryuzan yang ikut kelas khusus ini setelahnya. As you can count, pada akhirnya ada 6 siswa yang ikut kelas khusus.

Tiap-tiap siswa tersebut memiliki karakter, latar belakang keluarga, serta motivasi ikut kelas khusus yang berbeda-beda. Jelas, cara mengajar yang biasa tidak akan mampu meng-upgrade otak 6 siswa tersebut. Sebagai orang yang pernah mengalami masa muda yang serupa, Kenji pun tidak kehilangan akal, dari mulai mengintegrasikan olahraga dan konsep mengingat sampai mendatangkan para pengajar ahli (Matematika, Sains, Bahasa Jepang, dan Bahasa Inggris) yang unik dan antik dalam mengajar. Intinya, metode pengajaran yang diterapkan di kelas khusus ini sangat tidak biasa.

Ditinjau dari sudut pandang pendidikan, tentu saja metode-metode pengajaran yang ditampilkan di drama ini sangat menarik. Beberapa sangat bisa diaplikasikan dalam sistem pendidikan Indonesia, seperti mind-mapping, penjelasan dengan gambar, atau juga mengajar Bahasa Inggris lewat lagu. Yang paling menarik buatku adalah ketika Ryūzaburō Akutayama, guru bahasa Jepang kelas khusus, mengajarkan sejarah Jepang dengan menggunakan manga. Ryūzaburō Akutayama mencoba mengubah deskripsi sejarah Jepang pada buku pelajaran pada umumnya yang membosankan menjadi lebih menarik, yaitu lewat gambar dan sudut pandang cerita yang lebih populer di kalangan anak muda – tentu saja tanpa mengubah fakta dan garis besar cerita. Mungkin rasanya hampir sama saat aku membaca komik Shanaou Yoshitsune. Secara nggak sadar, melalui komik tersebut, aku jadi belajar tentang sejarah Genpei war serta peran Shanaou Yoshitsune di dalamnya. Aku jadi membayangkan diriku kembali ke masa-masa SMA dan belajar sejarah Indonesia dari komik. Hmm, sangat menarik.

Selain tentang metode mengajar, yang coba diangkat di drama ini adalah betapa masuk Universitas Tokyo itu adalah impian banyak orang Jepang. Jawabannya simpel, karena Universitas Tokyo adalah universitas terbaik di Jepang. Asumsi mereka, karena Universitas Tokyo adalah universitas terbaik, maka masuk Universitas Tokyo pastilah sangat sulit. Sehingga muncul anggapan bahwa siapapun yang berhasil lolos seleksi masuk Universitas Tokyo adalah orang pintar.

Asumsi yang tersebar di masyarakat Jepang kemudian adalah dengan memegang ijazah dari Universitas Tokyo, seseorang pasti mampu mendapatkan pekerjaan yang bagus dan masa depan yang cerah. Punya istri cantik atau suami tampan walaupun wajahmu pas-pasan pun bisa, asal namamu tedaftar sebagai alumnus Univesitas Tokyo. Seringkali orang tidak mau ambil pusing untuk mengetahui seberapa bagus nilamu dan prestasimu di sana, yang penting kamu berhasil lulus dari Universitas Tokyo. In summary, kalau mau mengubah hidup menjadi lebih baik, Universitas Tokyo adalah jawabannya.

Kondisi seperti di atas dijelaskan secara gamblang oleh tiga pemain pendukung dalam drama ini, Nozomi Yamamoto, teman Mamako Ino, dan dua laki-laki yang sedang dekat dengannya. Kedua laki-laki itu adalah Yoshio Tanaka dan Yasushi Sawamatsu. Yoshio Tanaka, sarjana hukum dari Uversitas Tokyo, sombong dan sangat percaya diri meskipun wajahnya tidak tampan dan kepribadiannya kurang menarik. Yasushi Sawamatsu merupakan kebalikan dari Yoshio Tanaka. Pendidikannya hanya sampai SMA – tidak lulus karena di-DO – dan hanya seorang pekerja paruh waktu. Sebagian besar waktunya dihabiskan untuk bermain Pachinko. Wajahnya tampan dan bentuk tubuhnya cukup proporsional untuk ukuran pria, namun otaknya yang minimalis membuatnya sering gagal dalam mendapatkan pekerjaan atau pacar.

Walaupun sering merasa tidak yakin, antara memilih Tanaka atau Sawamatsu, pada akhirnya Nozomi Yamamoto menjatuhkan pilihannya pada Tanaka. Simply because he’s graduated from Tokyo University.

Fenomena seperti ini juga banyak kita jumpai di Indonesia. Orang akan menganggap hebat orang-orang yang berhasil masuk universitas-universitas terkenal, seperti UI, ITB, IPB, STAN, dan UGM. Sebaliknya, orang-orang yang sama itu akan menganggap rendah orang yang hanya kuliah di universitas yang tidak terlalu terkenal, atau bahkan tidak kuliah. Padahal, mungkin orang-orang ini tidak kalah hebatnya dengan mereka yang berhasil masuk universitas terkenal. Terkesan pilih kasih dan tidak adil memang, tapi itulah kenyataan di masyarakat kita.

Namun, pandangan seperti itulah yang sebenarnya Kenji ingin coba ubah – which I couldn’t agree more, terutama bagi kita yang termasuk dalam golongan unable-to-enter-top-universities, “If you fall, pick yourself up and do your best. In life there are many correct answers. Go find the correct answers for you, go and have a magnificent life!” Jangan nyerah deh kalau kamu sekarang lagi jatuh – nggak berhasil masuk universitas ngetop dan dipandang rendah masyarakat. Bangkit dan lakukanlah yang terbaik yang kamu bisa. Nggak seperti soal dengan multiple choice, hidup itu penuh dengan pilihan yang benar. Cari dan temukan jawabanmu sendiri dan buatlah hidupmu berharga dan luar biasa.

Bagi yang penasaran dan ingin menontonnya, bisa mampir di sini. Kalian juga bisa men-download drama ini secara gratis di sini. Happy watching!

Akumu-chan: Antara Mimpi, Kenyataan, dan Masa Depan


“mim·pi (n) 1. sesuatu yang terlihat atau dialami dalam tidur; 2. angan-angan.”

“dream /driːm/ (noun) 1. a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep; 2. a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.”

Dari dua definisi di atas udah jelas kan kalau mimpi itu cuma bunga tidur, alias nggak nyata. Tapi gimana jadinya kalau mimpi-mimpi kita menjadi kenyataan, termasuk mimpi buruk? A prophecy. Yup, a prophecy of bad things.

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Takut dan cemas. Ya, kurang lebih seperti itulah yang dirasakan Koto Yuiko (Kimura Manatsu), seorang anak SD yang mempunyai kemampuan memprediksi kejadian-kejadian yang akan menimpa seseorang yang dia temui, terutama kejadian buruk. Namun, mimpinya ini berupa simbol-simbol dan membutuhkan seseorang untuk mengartikannya. Di saat itulah Yuiko masuk ke sekolah Mutoi Ayami (Kitagawa Keiko); seorang guru SD yang selalu tampil perfeksionis dan ramah — lovable — di depan murid dan rekan kerjanya. Namun sebenarnya ia adalah orang yang cuek, skeptis, bahkan sarkastik. Benar-benar kebalikan dari penampilan luarnya. Dan akhirnya Ayami, guru kelas Yuiko, dipaksa (karena keadaan) untuk membatu Yuiko mengartikan mimpi-mimpinya. Tidak hanya sampai di situ, Ayami juga akhirnya ikut terlibat dalam mencegah agar mimpi-mimpi Yuiko tidak menjadi kenyataan; mengubah masa depan. Cerita makin menarik ketika ternyata diketahui bahwa Mutoi Ayami juga punya kemampuan melihat masa depan lewat mimpi yang bahkan Ayami sendiri tidak menyadari.

Two-faces Ayami

Selain plot dan tema cerita yang menarik (sci-fi, fantasy, school life), yang paling menarik dari Akumu-chan ini adalah karakter Mutoi Ayami; having two faces. Ketika berhadapan dengan orang banyak, Ayami lebih senang memakai topengnya agar disukai oleh orang lain dan untuk menghindar dari masalah-masalah dan tanggung jawab yang tidak ia inginkan. Karena itu memang bukan kepribadian aslinya, Ayami sering ‘makan hati’ karenanya.

Living in dreams

Ketimbang kenyataan, Mutoi Ayami lebih senang hidup dalam mimpi. Terbukti, tiap malam dengan kemampuannya, Ayami memanipulasi mimpinya sendiri sehingga yang muncul adalah apa yang ia inginkan – mimpi indah setiap saat. Ketika kembali ke kehidupan nyata, yang ia lakukan hanyalah menggerutu.

The reality

Kembali ke dunia nyata dan meninggalkan Ayami beserta kehidupannya, banyak dari kita yang sebenarnya juga seperti Ayami. Memakai topeng dan hidup dalam mimpi. Sepanjang hidupnya hanya dihabiskan untuk menggerutu dan berandai-andai; if I were rich, if I were beautiful/handsome, if I were clever, if I were her/him, if I were…, if I were…. Tapi pernah nggak sih kita melihat hidup kita dari sudut pandang yang lain, that I will be rich and I am beautiful/handsome. No more if-I-were phrases!! Kurasa itu juga yang ingin disampaikan oleh TV series ini; selama masa depan belum terjadi, then we still have plenty of opportunities to change it. Live your dreams, not live in your dreams.

Despite of the plot and story, which are good, the visual effects are also amazing. Pokoknya, kalau nonton Akumu-chan, kamu bakal serasa dibawa ke dunia fantasi beneran. Or, at least, kamu seperti nonton Alice in Wonderland versi agak horornya.

Selain Kitagawa Keiko dan Kimura Manatsu, drama Jepang yang satu ini juga dibintangi oleh Gackt (Takashi Shiki), Yuka (Kotoha Hirajima), dan Fumiyo Kohinata (Koto Mannosuke).

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