Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dream Again - J Drama Review

Finally finished a drama from the current season - worth the wait!

Dream Again 10

Read my preview of the series

About Kato Ai in this drama

Wiki entry @ D-addicts


Sorimachi Takashi (GTO) stars as Ogi Shunsuke & Asahina Takaya:Dream Again 01 2

Kato Ai (IWGP) as Ninomiya Satsuki:Dream Again 01 4

Shida Mirai (14 Sai no Haha) as Fujimoto Hina:Dream Again 01 3

Aota Noriko as Ushiyama Momoko:

Miyake Hiroki as Kumada Tsunehito: Dream Again 01 1

Watanabe Tetsu as Maeda Kenzo

Suga Takamasa as Hishinuma Tsukasa

"Ogi is a baseball home run hero for the Giants but is forced to retire due to a shoulder injury, but years later he has been busy with other jobs and retraining in the hope of a dream comeback into baseball.

But a sudden accident claims his life but he gets a 2nd chance but only in the body of another man! The show follows the man as he tries to get by with his daily life as a wealthy fund company manager but still trying to realise his dream of playing baseball again in his new body." Taken straight from the preview.

This series is classed more as a sports/human drama - it has subtle blends of family,sports,romance and human drama mixed in.

The opening episode is really well set up for viewers - the plot is something new and fresh as are the cast.

Shunsuke's fool hardy approach to try juggling work at the Asahina company and train to become a pro baseball player again wins him many fans from employees to his daughter - and Mirai does a sterling job as Hina, more on that later.

Shunsuke gets close to fulfilling his dream of pro baseball but at a price, Hina has been hiding her heart condition hoping she can live out her last few months in a family and she is in a critical condition on her 2nd heart attack.

Shunsuke passes the pro baseball test as he promised with Hina but she is not recovering, in an act of love and desperation he pleads with Tanaka (Kodama Kiyoshi) who is like the angel looking over Shunsuke to swap his life for hers - take his life in exchange for her to survive and live on.

At the last moments Satsuki learns from the coach Kenzo (Watanabe Tetsu) that he is going to trade his life with Hina's, teary moments ensue and Shunsuke says that chasing his dream was more important than making it reality, he regrets not being able to make her happy with his own hands.

The fact that Asahina starts to fall for Satsuki again mid way through the series and she starts to see more of Shunsuke in him adds complexity - because Shunsuke cannot reveal his true identity directly to anyone or risks losing his new body completely!

He dies and Hina comes back to life from the brink of death - no Shunsuke is cheering her on from the afterlife. Tanaka has seen a massive changing in Shunsuke and throws a spanner in the works by sending us back to the beginning of the show!

Now Ogi Shunsuke is alive and reconciles with Satsuki, and the past plays out differently - Shunsuke gets back to pro baseball, Kenzo gets to go out with Kayo, and Mirai is alive and living with the real Asahina who looks to be more mellow now.

For the whole of the last episode I knew he was going to swap his life for Hina but I thought there might be a minor chance of something stopping it - like Tanaka saying he was just testing him! But I truly didn't expect it to all rewind to the start!

I was really moved by Mirai's performance in the episode when she is on the verge of trying to end her life because she has no future thanks to her heart condition, while Kato was in a real wreck emotionally because she kept being dropped hints that Asahina was in fact Shunsuke, but when she overhears Shunsuke talking to Tanaka she is broken to hear that he is Ogi Shunsuke, and likewise when he is going to die she is a wreck too. You begin to feel for her as it must be an emotional rollercoaster ride!

Takashi plays his role well, sometimes he is a bit naive or arrogant - a reflection of the old Ogi Shunsuke, and is rather cold emotionally but you warm to his baseball related antics and his constant attempts to understand the stock market!

This drama didn't get high rankings in Japan but with massive amount of air time dedicated to these actors I was well satisfied with their performances and am looking for more from them in the future.

This is a really enjoyable and satisfactory watch especially during the cold winter evenings! I will give this a 7 out of 10 because of the great cast otherwise it would be a 6.5.

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