Kon’nichiwa! I am back with a new JDrama review. I have an extra looooooooooooooong list of doramas to watch and review. I feel I must dedicate one whole month to Japanese dramas or else I will never be able to tick off all the dramas on my list. For today’s review I have the Japanese rom-com, Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku starring Matsumoto Jun and Takeuchi Yuko. I have seen previous dramas of both these actors and was excited to see them together in a drama.
Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku / Summer Romance Shines in Rainbow Colors) (2010) (10 episodes)
Kusunoki Taiga (Matsumoto Jun) is the son of the famous actor, Kusunoki Kotaro (Ito Shiro) and wishes to follow his father’s footsteps and become a popular actor someday. However, despite trying Taiga is unable to bag a decent role for himself and ends up working with reality shows to earn some money. One day, while skydiving he loses control over his parachute and ends up hanging mid-air from a tree in a deserted forest. He is rescued by a strange woman who he falls for at first sight. But she disappears without even telling him her name. Intrigued, Taiga goes to the same place the next day hoping to bump into her. He does meet her the next day and she recognizes him as the famous actor Kotaro’s son. She tells him that she is a big fan of his father’s work. But she once again leaves abruptly without mentioning her name to him. Taiga decides to get over his feelings for an unknown woman but finds himself in a fix when he sees her at his office as a new employee at his agency.
Let’s weigh Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku on our drama beam balance and see if this dorama is an interesting watch or no.
Matsumoto Jun: This guy is funny. Really funny. He was the funniest version of Tsukasa Doumyouji (Gu Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers) of all the adaptations of Hana Yori Dango and with Taiga he just proved how effortlessly hilarious he can be. Jun can look overbearing and endearing at the same time. His comic timing is impeccable and he makes me laugh till my stomach hurts. His craziness is proven when Shiori finally confesses her feelings for him and he does not know how to react. It was the most amusing confession scene I have ever seen.
Coming to the role of Taiga as a whole, I feel Jun played his part flawlessly. His character is the best thing about the drama and this drama is watchable because of him.
Yuko Takeuchi: I adore this lady. I loved her in Pride (one of my most favourite Japanese dramas) and I liked her as Shiori too. Shiori is a doting mother who works hard to give her daughter a good upbringing while trying her best to deny her feelings for Taiga. Takeuchi’s innocent face and her sincere acting skills make her an apt choice for this role. I could not find anything lacking in her acting despite her having a one-dimensional role which has limited growth in the drama.
Character Development: Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku may not make it to my most favourite drama list but Taiga will always be a lovable character for me. I like that Japanese dramas show character development and do not believe in focusing on just the story while the characters show no growth. Taiga evolves as a person in the drama and does not reach his aim overnight. Taiga is a young boy who dreams to be a successful actor like his father but he does not do anything to achieve his goal. He feels he is innately talented and does not require to work hard on honing his skills. It is only when life gets tough on him does he realise that he is lacking as a performer. His journey is bumpy and he slowly works towards bettering himself in his craft. By the end of the drama, Taiga is as naïve as he always was but he now looks more passionate about his work than he was before.
Realism: I admire Japanese dramas for being so connected with reality when dramas are all about straying away from anything real. I want to mention one scene here which moved me and I could see how much of thought the writer must have put behind the scene trying to make it real while retaining the positivity in it. [[Spoiler]] Taiga’s father is most popular for a legendary character, Gin-san that he played on-screen. After his death, the movie producers cast a popular and established actor to reprise the role of Gin-san. When the news reaches Taiga, he feels heart-broken as it was his dream to step into his father’s shoes and take forward the legacy his father left behind. Since it is a drama and everything goes as per the lead’s wishes, I thought Taiga would suddenly be motivated to work harder and will end up bagging the role he feels he most apt for. However, this is JDorama where fantasy will also be entwined with reality. The role finally does go to the established actor and he visits Taiga to tell him how difficult it is to fill in his father’s shoes. Before he leaves, he tells Taiga that he can succeed him as the third Gin-san and Taiga feels overjoyed at the mere prospect. Nothing happens suddenly in Japanese dramas. I am mentioning this scenario here because for some reason I could imagine Abhishek Bachchan in place of Taiga. I remember Abhishek always said in his interviews that he loved his father’s role in Agneepath and how he would love to reprise his father’s character. However, it was Hrithik Roshan who was eventually cast as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in the remake of Agneepath which went on to become a blockbuster. Taiga’s situation reminded me of Abhishek and I could see how the writer has shown brutal reality but concluded on a positive note by generating a hope in Taiga’s mind at being one of the contenders for the role. [[Spoiler]]
Lack of Chemistry: Jun and Takeuchi are impressive individually but together, they are not able to build the chemistry that is required to look like a convincing couple. I have seen dramas wherein an older woman falls for a younger guy and it is sad that only a few have impressed me chemistry-wise. This drama too falls short in this department and though I love Takeuchi I have to say that she does not look good with Jun.
Too many ‘coincidences’: Drama world survives of convenient coincidences. And I am a very accepting viewer I easily believe what the drama writer wants me to believe. However, sometimes some ideas are too hard even for me believe. And this drama tries to sell too many coincidences which I find difficult to accommodate. For instance, Taiga first meets Shiori when she rescues him in the forest. She coincidentally has a pair of scissors in her bag which she uses to snap the cable of Taiga’s parachute. Coincidently, she happens to be a big fan of his father. Coincidentally, of the many fans, Taiga’s father chooses father has, he chooses to write back to Shiori to help his son. Coincidentally, Shiori’s husband is dead and Taiga has nothing to worry about before he can ask her out. Coincidentally, Taiga’s brother is Shiori’s daughter’s teacher and is also in love with her. Even if I could gulp down all the other coincidences, one coincidence that I am unable to digest is the fact that Shiori lives in the same locality as Taiga. Taiga’s father was a rich man and their house is lavish too whereas Shiori is finding it difficult to make ends meet and lives a humble lifestyle with her daughter. Despite the difference in status, they share a locality which is something I find difficult to wrap my head around. If the Japanese do not believe in status and if the rich and poor live together in harmony, then that is a different thing. But if that’s not the case then I firmly refuse to buy this convenient coincidence.
Shoehorned Angles: Now drama lovers know how there is always a second-lead in a romantic drama. This drama has not one but several second-leads. In most dramas. Second-leads help to get the main leads closer but here, all the extra love angles only burdened the show with unnecessary characters. For instance, Taiga’s elder brother likes Shiori and so does Shiori’s late husband’s brother. Both these men like Shiori but do nothing to add to the story as our main couple is too busy fighting their feelings for each other to pay heed to these two men. Similarly, there is a fellow artist named Sakura in Taiga’s agency who likes him and vows to steal him from Shiori. However, she too does nothing to keep her vow except for trying to kiss Taiga. I fail to understand why is she even there in the drama. This drama could have been better had it not added unnecessary angles to the central love story.
The drama beam balance has more good weights than bad but the bad weights outweigh the good weights. The drama had a good cast with some really cute kids but the story was lacking. The drama was slow paced and the script was boring in certain parts. I could watch it only because of Jun and Takeuchi’s performances.
I give Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku 2.5 out of 5 rating. The extra 0.5 is for the amount of positivity this drama holds. Though this drama exudes a lot of warmth, it is insufficient to keep you from feeling cold. I found myself dozing off on several occasions while watching the drama. I would recommend this drama only to those who do not mind watching some decent feel-good dramas. Also, if you feel bogged down by difficulties in life then this drama is perfect to reignite the lost motivation.