hageshii_ame (hageshii_ame) wrote in lastfriends,

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First and Last Impressions{Spoilers}

I finished Last Friends quite awhile ago, I joined this community just yesterday.

Just a bit of background info, my family in general loves soap operas and dramas, but I never really took a liking to them. I suppose it was just too much exaggeration for a person like me to bear. When I say a person like me, I mean I really like books and shows that make you think a lot ... Psychologically or just plot twists. (That must make you think, Dramas have plot twists too... well, ones that aren't as predictable and woven well into the fabric of the story.) In general, I always regarded dramas as things that were a little too shallow for me to like.

I heard about Last Friends through the fact that Utada Hikaru was singing the theme song. I'm a really big fan of Utada, and I loved Prisoner of Love.

Cringing slightly, but still hoping that the drama would be "worthy" of the song, I watched the intro.

The symbolism astounded me, especially how the myth about the "red string on your finger" was subtly slipped in. (Other instances of symbolism was probably how everyone but Sousuke walked towards the screen.) I have to say though, that when Ryo was shown in the intro... I couldn't help but feel the need to watch it. (If you've read my profile, I've said I have a thing for guys that look good in suits... this is interchangeable with ties.)

That's the story of how Last Friends broke my high wall about dramas.
Further on, I didn't have too much time to watch it, but the scenes felt so real compared to the normal. I was ecstatic to find something that I'll enjoy watching, so I told all my friends. The lighting was great, the scenes understandable, and the happiness always held a bittersweet note.

Michiru was played wonderfully by Nagasawa Masami. You seemed to understand the hint of desperation Michiru felt for love through her acting. What made me respect Nagasawa was if the role was played inaccurately, Michiru would have easily become a one-dimensional character that preached throughout the series, "I want to love everyone even Sousuke! Love love love!" Though at certain points Michiru did irritate me. (i.e. the cellphone scene... I was practically shaking the monitor, screaming, "Just tell it to him straight! Stop stuttering and everyone will be happy!") She seemed like the least complex character in ways, but at the same time you could understand that she was a person that was starved of the fundamental human emotion of love. She tried to give and give, but you could obviously feel that she thought she didn't give enough. After finally meeting all her friends, she finally decides to give up hope for receiving proper love from Sousuke. But after his death, he seemed to finally give it to her in the form of a child. In the end, you could see she realized that she was cared for. I would say that this was seemingly one of the most easy major characters to act as, but if played the wrong way, I believe that Michiru would have come off as weak-hearted and indecisive... possibly just in general as a pest. But Nagasawa played her character with real feelings that brought an element of reality.

Ruka, in my opinion, was one of the harder characters to act as... as apparently Ueno Juri's personality contrasts her character's greatly. Probably the most difficult part of this character was how to express Ruka as a genuine human being, and not a stereotypical homosexual. Ueno evidently achieved this, because many people love Ruka. Throughout the whole series she was able to keep wonderfully in character, even walking with a boyish charm in her movements. The stress about her identity was believable, especially while she was being heavily persecuted by Sousuke. I also loved Ruka's parents, simply because the idea of Ruka being a lesbian did not bode well at first. I say this because there are just too many stories out there where the parents simply seem to not care, and glance over it quickly, or they were incredibly harsh, and did the most uninmaginable things to their own child. Once again, it was because they were convincing, that I liked this drama. Ueno played the pain in this character beautifully, because you yourself could feel the burden in her heart. Her act would make you remember all the secrets you hide yourself.

One of my most favorite characters was most likely Takeru. One of the best parts of his acting was the fact that you couldn't really decide for yourself if he really was gay as Eri said, until his confession to Ruka. A wonderful mystery presented by Eita's acting. You could feel something cross between Ruka and Michiru in his character, as he continued to try and love with his secret in his heart. I would have to say that Takeru's secret was probably one of the most traumatic ones. Though you never hear what his secret is, most people could infer what it truly was. Somewhere in the story, there was the quote, "I'm not a good person." You can evidently see that he believes what happened to him is his fault, a normal phenomenon that occurs with his experience. Even in the end, he could only compromise, knowing Ruka didn't love him. Overall, I believe that Takeru was had an extremely selfless heart. Once again, if he was played wrong by Eita, he would have simply become a generic good guy. What made him interesting was because he seemed so good-hearted because of his own self-hatred.

Eri and Ogurin were the least emphasized on because their relationship was considered the "least complicated." At the same time, Eri's character left impressions that she was strong and cheerful. Upon closer speculation, you get a feeling that she tries her best to be strong and cheerful more than she actually is. She pretended that everything should be taken in good stride, and that she only thought of Ogurin as another friend, another no-strings attached relationship. Covering up her true intentions with a loud sigh, she would hurry Ogurin back to his wife. Ogurin's character on the other hand, annoyed me greatly. He was very wishy-washy, and at times hurt Eri extremely badly by being indecisive about choosing to divorce his wife and leave Eri, or to stay with his cheating wife completely. Possibly he didn't know the truth because of Eri's acting on her part. From time to time though, these two were used as comic relief quite nicely, especially Ogurin's reactions. I would suppose that these two were not absolutely necessary to the plot, but were a good add in for the more intense moments.

Regarding to Oikawa Sousuke, I had to say that I was at first disappointed to find out exactly what kind of character he was in the story. This was actually the first time I ever saw Ryo Nishikido. (Ryo fans find it odd that I started liking him from this drama.) The way he conducted his madness was quite simple. Along with the lighting that hid his eyes, his mouth wasn't smiling, but it wasn't grimacing. He was set on "default," set on "nothing." Sousuke's character scared me, but amazed me all at the same time. Eventually he somehow wormed his way in my psychology-loving heart and became my favorite, simply because he was just incredibly twisted. Somehow earlier on, someone had spoiled his death to me. The death wasn't anything that I didn't expect, but I felt fear in my heart. Most of the fear was mainly that he would die without understanding his wrongdoings, or that people would watch him die without understand him completely. Though not expected, I believed that Sousuke died in a very satisfactory way. Some may comment it was a cheap move, but I breathed a sigh of relief when he finally cried. The man who would do anything to get Michiru back, even kill, finally understood that he lost her by trying to keep her so desperately. I would have to say that Sousuke was not a generic evil antagonist. You can clearly see from the way he got irritated as Michiru questioned him, that he didn't believe that he was doing was wrong. In Sousuke's eyes, everything he was doing was right, and it wasn't out of spite. It was because he truly thought what he was doing would be the best. I also felt the same way when Sousuke was with the abused child. You could see that he had a good heart, which made me want to like Sousuke, but at the same time it conflicted with all the other things he did.  Sousuke was the sort of character you mostly see in books, but not acted. His character was so twisted, wrong was right, and everything he did was justified in his eyes. He was not a simply bad character. In the end, Ryo was so convincing I was able to draw all of this from the way he acted. His acting was maddening, frightening, and convincing.

That is my general overview of Last Friends. The most important part was that everything was "Believable," contrast to more shows these days. The feeling of Last Friends was a feeling of Raw Truth, with the twisted character horrifically convincing, the self-loathing only loathing quietly, the confused in stress, the desperate trying her hardest, and the average characters... well, beautifully average.

Last Friends made me look at dramas in a whole new light, and I can say in the least that I suggest you watch it. I'm most likely sure that you will not be disappointed.

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