I have been eagerly anticipating the Honey and Clover drama since I learned there was going to be one. I couldn’t resist from checking it out (I absolutely loved the anime! I think I said it for the nth time now, but I don’t care! xD) I wavered and watched the 1st episode raw. Yep, I know I don’t speak Japanese, but… but … but I just had to see it! ~Lol. ;P
Naturally, I couldn’t understand what they were saying (heh, save for a few phrases here and there) but since I’ve seen the anime and with the help of Totali’s and Garten’s summaries, I got the gist of the story. I couldn’t laugh at the funny dialogue (which I think it most probably has) but action speaks louder than words, no? I’m also not familiar with the actors since I don’t really follow the J-Drama scene, so I can’t really comment much about them. I started with a clean slate, so what I would say about the actors would actually be my first impression.
I was kind of expecting the beginning to be like in the anime, with Takemoto falling in love at the first sight of Hagu with Mayama doing a voice over. Heh, wasn’t how it went but the scene change with the sakura petals and the button was a nice substitute too. I thought Ikuta Toma was simply perfect as Takemoto. He really portrayed his character well. He has this good guy, sentimental aura about him and his voice sounds really sincere in his voice overs. Mukai Osamu as Mayama did pretty well too. I’ve seen him a bit in the Nodame Cantabile live-action where he was part of the orchestra (as Kikuchi the cello player with 3 girlfriends). He has a kind face and looks dependable, just as Mayama is supposed to be. Wearing those glasses does really help in looking the part. Ha, I think he will also do well when we see the stalker-side of Mayama. Marimiya Hiroki as Morita seems a bit off from what I was expecting the silly and wacky Morita to be. He was okay though, so far. Oh and, um, what’s with the bathrobe-like get-up? :P. I was totally LOL with their little stint to have the curry rice. Poor Takemoto being the one to take the blame and getting the feel of Yamada’s wrath. Haha. Go Yamada kick!!!
I thought Harada Natsuki fit well as Yamada. She has a kind and pretty face, has a good posture and can give a nice kick! ~Lol. I also like her clothes, quite a close match with anime Yamada’s fashion with the skirts and the cardigans. The book scene was a nice touch for letting the viewers see how much she actually likes Mayama, then him getting a call from Rika-san and running through the rain to immediately go to her and immediately changing his “yes” to “sorry” on Yamada’s invitation, making her cry. I thought it was done pretty well. The message of the love triangle (soon to be square) was quickly and casually incorporated into the story. As you might have already guessed from this post and the next, I’m a Yamada x Nomiya shipper (Well, I initially thought it might be Morita x Yamada from one of the episodes in the anime, when Yamada was saying she wishes happiness for the one holding her hand – or something like that). I might be in the minority who likes Nomiya ( I thought he was quite cool, sweet and nice ^^). Kashiwabara Takashi as Nomiya might take some getting used to. I was like, “Eh, what happened to his hair?!” It wasn’t exactly the Nomiya I was expecting, he didn’t look cool enough for the first impression as he was supposed to be. Maybe they shouldn’t have had the hair that short and I think they should’ve stuck with the standard white long-sleeved collared shirt. Oh well, I think I’ll get used to him. Ah, I hope he’d be able to pull off the Tottori to Tokyo episode (I loved that one! I wonder, will the unicorns make a cameo? Haha). Takizawa Saori was pretty spot on as Miwako! I thought she really looked the part. =)
I initially thought Murakami Jun as Shuji was okay, I was just a bit taken aback by the facial hair. I thought Narumi Riko as Hagu was a bit timid and a little too tall to be Hagu, but she looked cute enough when she gives that shy smile, so I guess that’s okay. Seto Asaka as Rika was fine. I think she was able to capture Rika’s expressions. During the scene where she tells Mayama that the rain has stopped and he folds the umbrella, I think she was clutching a bag on one hand and then some books or documents on the other. Um, did I miss the cane? I’m not too sure, but think I didn’t see it.
I didn’t watch the movie adaptation since I haven’t heard much positive stuff about it (and I didn’t want to be disappointed), so I can’t really say anything about that either. Naturally, there would be comparisons with the manga and anime, that’s kind of a given since it was just so well done. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode! I loved that they manage to still make it funny and emotional at the same time. There have been quite a few changes with the timeframe and some of the events, but generally, I can say that it was able to preserve the essence of what Honey and Clover is about. It’s just going to be a 12-episode series, so I think I can understand the changes they had to make to try to squeeze everything in (I just hope they won’t stray too far from the original material).
Of course, I’d still be re-watching this when the subs come out, and would definitely be watching this series all the way through. I even rambled about this J-drama first before posting the Winter 2007/2008 anime first impressions I had prepared yesterday (I’ll save that for tomorrow then). Heh, yeah, I love Honey and Clover that much.
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