Koi ga Shitai, Koi ga Shitai, Koi ga Shitai/ I want to be In Love
Miho Kanno as Nagashima Mikan
Atsuro Watabe as Akai Ryosuke
Miki Mizuno as Haneda Ai
Takayuki Yamada as Aoshima Wataru
Okae Kumiko as Kohda Orie
Oikawa Mitsuhiro as Shimura Ichiro
George Tokoro as Midorikawa Bunpei
Theme song: Rainbow Connection by Carpenters
Its about time that I should tell the whole world how good this drama is. I know that this drama is underrated perhaps because it does not contain any J-drama King or Queen in the cast. But who needs them? All it needs are a good story and good acting to appreciate what is meant to be a solid great drama.
This is actually a simple story about seven people longing and looking for love. Nagashima Mikan (Miho Kanno) was an unhappy housekeeper who worked in a big luxurious hotel in Tokyo. She felt that her life was empty and her job was not that exciting. Her only consolation was to dream of perfect love. One day, it was her birthday and she wanted something special to herself then she stopped by at a shoe store which sold a pair of red sandals that she longed to have. Unfortunately, they did not sell any of her size anymore. Feeling so disappointed she decided to go straight home. On her way home, she felt so hungry and decided to go into a Gyudon restaurant. In that restaurant, there were: Wataru Aoshima (Takayuki Yamada), a high school student engaging in an intense conversation over the phone; overdressed housewife Orie Kohda (Kumiko Okae) feeling so tired of her household chores and of the treatment from her husband and children; a couple, famous writer Ichiro Shimura (Mitsuhiro Oikawa) and his girlfriend Ai Hada (Miki Mizuno), who attracts all the people in the restaurant by starting to fake a fight; and the last one arriving at the restaurant, Ryosuke Akai (Atsuro Watabe), a school teacher who was jilted by his fiancée for a reason he didnt know himself. After he finished eating his Gyudon, he gave a bag containing a present to Mikan. She was so surprised to receive a gift from a man that shed never known before. Even though Mikan tried to refuse it, Ryosuke insisted on giving it to her because he said there was no point him keeping the present. After that he left Mikan in the restaurant. She opened the bag and found the red sandals that she wanted so badly. Without further thinking, Mikan tried to catch up with Ryosuke and she also forgot to pay the bill, but Bunpei, the Gyudon restaurants waiter did not really mind even though he tried to call her out.
The next day, Ryosuke found Ai lying on the door step of his apartment looking very drunk. She mumbled something that he could not catch. Ai giggled and said she was just feeling sad and broken hearted because her boyfriend left her. Ryosuke brought her into his apartment and gave her a warm cup of coffee. From then one, their friendship began. On the same night at the same Gyudon restaurant, Mikan sat alone eating her gyudon bowl. She asked for another bowl of gyudon and Bunpei was so surprised by her good appetite. At that moment, a yellow car stopped in front of the restaurant: it was Ryosuke. When the car drove off, Mikan quickly ran to follow it. She kept on running. She thought that her destination was like in this movie called Yellow Something and in that moment that car was the yellow something in her life. Unfortunately she could not make it and fell down in the middle of the road while her sandals thong was broken. Again, Mikan felt so sad for not being able to meet him. Day after day, she continued to stalk him, but never had the courage to show up and talk to him.
Meanwhile, Wataru Aoshima kept on checking his mobile phone to see a message. It seemed that he got hooked on the dating service. He lied about his age and claimed to have a steady job. The woman who sent him a message was Orie Kohda, who also lied about her age and her status. They kept on corresponding through sending messages to each other, until one day Aoshima got the courage to call her. Orie was not ready for his call and panicked. She calmed herself and answered his phone. The conversation went better than expected. They even shared the same interests, especially in arts and painting. And then Aoshima asked to meet up. Again, Orie got so shocked. They agreed to meet in the city.
Since Mikan became a regular customer in the Gyudon Restaurant, Bunpei developed a crush on her. Bunpei was a middle-aged man, was divorced and lived alone in his apartment. He always felt lonely after coming home after work. The only thing that kept him strong was his son even though he had not seen his son for a couple of years. He found out later on that his son was Aoshima.
In the middle of the drama, I began to see the connection between the characters and how they connect to each other which was through helping each other out from the problems they faced. Ryosuke continued to be Ais best friend. She always confided in him her problems relating to her failed relationship with Ichiro. Mikan kept on stalking Ryosuke, in a good way of course. She even cleaned his car when it got dirty. The centre of the connection was Ai. Ai accidentally met Mikan and they talked. Seeing something in common between them made them become friends. Through Ai, Mikan finally got the chance to meet Ryosuke but still she was still afraid of letting him know her feelings. When Mikan decided to give Ryosuke a present she saw him kissing Ai. At that moment, Mikan was so devastated. Nonetheless, she did not stop trying to get close to Ryosuke. Bravely she called Ryosuke on a date on one Sunday morning. She told him that she needed advice about a guy (which she actually made up) she liked. Without knowing that it was actually a date, Ryosuke agreed to meet her. On that beautiful morning Orie and Aoshima arrived at the same place in the city, they stood next to each other but, they did not realize it because in their minds they expected people who were completely different. Aoshima decided to call Orie on the mobile. When the mobile rang, Orie panicked. She looked at him as he looked at her. Then she told him that she was her sister and the reason she was there because her sister asked her to tell Aoshima that she could not make it. Afterward, Orie ran off like a scared teenager. Would she have the courage to tell him the truth?
Ichiro, the famous writer, had a dark past that he hid so well, nobody knew except the girlfriend of his late best friend. He was so afraid of losing respect from Ai if his dark secret was revealed. That was why he decided to break off with her. He never admitted that he actually loved Ai so much that he was so afraid of losing her. This was shown when he found out that Ai had developed a new relationship with Ryosuke, a serious relationship that might lead into marriage. He was so outraged. Because this meant that she had managed to get over him for good and moved on with her life. One night, after hearing that her relationship was getting serious, Ichiro decided to call Ai and proposed her. Ai was surprised to hear that. She was still in love with him and yet she had made a commitment to Ryosuke to marry him, even though Ryosuke thought that such decision was too rushed. Did Ryosuke really love her? How would Mikan be able to cope with the fact that her new best friend, Ai, would marry Ryosuke, the man she secretly loved?
Alright Im going to make comments on each of the characters as well as continue with the story. First of all, my judgment would go to Miho Kanno. This is the first time I saw Miho Kannos acting. She was brilliant as an awkward girl who got so depressed at home and at work. She did not particularly love the job and while at home she did not really get along with her mother either, although there was no bickering between mother and daughter but it was showed that she felt inferior toward her domineering mother. I have to say that through Mihos expression she has successfully played Mikans character. In this drama, I would say that I like Mikans character the best. The way she stalked Ryosuke reminded me of Faye Wong in Chungking Express. She cleaned his car from tar and also bought him presents. Unlike Tony Leungs ignorance of the changes in his apartment in "Chungking", Ryosuke was far more observant. He got so confused after he found out that his car got cleaned and shiny and also the present that he received from his mailbox. I found all of Mikans actions amusing. I must say that she was the worst stalker but quite a lovable one. Miho Kanno did a really good job.
The lead actor, Atsuro Watabe, was no doubt always good in playing any kind of role. Being a depressed confused jilted lover in this drama was not such a tough job for him to do. His acting was so convincing and you felt so sorry about Ryosuke. He was so determined to win his fiancée back again. The airport scene where Ryosuke went to follow his fiancée to convince her not to go to Paris was sad. Ryosuke always blamed himself for being the one who caused his fiancée to leave him for Paris. He even ordered a ticket to find her there. Unfortunately he did not do so. He changed his mind and tried to come to terms with the fact that the relationship was over. Through Ai, Ryosuke found new strength in him and he also discovered something that would change his way of looking the world.
The relationship between Ai and Ryosuke was quite complex in the sense that they do love each other but also depended to one another. However, this relationship was not really showing the real love. It was more of the dependency of each other to get through the hardship of getting over the past love. Ai actually came from a wealthy family. She ran away from home to search for something and she wanted to be independent. Her background was discovered when all of a sudden she was chased by two big guys. Ai came across Ryosuke in his yellow car at the traffic light. Ai went in but the two guys managed to throw a bucket full of tar to his car. Ryosuke drove off with Ai inside his car and then she explained the whole thing. The tar was later on cleaned off by Mikan without Ryosukes knowledge. Anyway, Ai was also an interesting person, but not as interesting as Mikan. She was having the hardest time forgetting her past relationship with Ichiro. A number of times, Ai was treated like dirt by Ichiro but she still managed to forgive him. I was thinking to myself, this girl was unbelievably strong and honest to herself. She did not deny her feelings and sincere love for him. In this drama Ichiro said that a woman who is only capable of giving love is boring. Upon hearing that, Ai felt crushed.
Miki Mizuno is another underrated actress whos been acting since she was a teenager with the whole SMAP members (I envy her). Her acting as Ai was well presented but it will not be as memorable as Miho Kanno's. Everybody who has watched this drama would probably remember Miho rather than her. Yes, Miho steals the show. Ai was the one who connected to one another. Through her friendliness she befriends with Mikan, Ryosuke and also Orie. Ai was very helpful as well. She was also the one who helped Orie, who was the regular customer of the Beauty Parlour where Ai worked, pretending to be the stewardess when meeting up with Aoshima. Accidentally, the girls became best friends through thick and thin. Ai came to an intersection in her life, when she had to choose whether to marry Ryosuke or go back to Ichiro. She was unsure about herself and her love for Ryosuke.
Orie Kohda is the boring housewife who felt that the whole house has ignored her, her children and most of all her husband. Most of the time during breakfast she was trying so hard to make conversation to them but none seemed to be that interested. That was why she was seeking salvation through the dating service. Through Aoshima, Orie found her own identity. She was not a mother, or a being called mother. Once again she regained her name. She felt the warmth of love and the excitement in her life and began to realise that she was still attractive in her 40s, thanks to the compliment from Aoshima who met her in the first meeting in the city. Ories life became more colorful with the presence of Aoshima even though she lied about things, including her age and her job. Kumiko Okaes acting was worth noting too. Ive no idea how to compliment her here because this drama was the first time for me to see her act. Overall, through her acting, Ories sorrow was clearly expressed.
Takayuki Yamada as Aoshima Wataru is a young actor whose future is promising. He has proved that he is not just another cute face. Aoshima is an unhappy boy. He was so angry with his mother who remarried again. He simply could not forgive her for divorcing his father. He hated his stepfather and refused to communicate with him even though his stepfather tried so hard. He seeks love through dating service and thats when he got to know Orie. Through Orie he finally makes amends with his stepfather. And through Orie, he also finds his true love in his new family and starts a new page of journey with his birth father, Bunpei.
I shall briefly mention Bunpei, who was played by George Tokoro, a veteran actor. Perhaps his character did not appear too much in this drama and he also did not talk too much either. But, his facial expression has enough to give what it takes for the world to know what has been going on with him. For example, when Mikan was at the restaurant one of the waiters was trying to hit on her. Mikan quickly replied that she was not interested in young men but older men. Of course what Mikan meant was Ryosuke, but Bunpei got it all wrong. Through his grinning while cleaning the kitchen, we could tell that he felt that he had won the game with the young man. He too became friends with Ryosuke, Mikan, Orie and Ai, especially with Ryosuke, where they share their bitter sweet experiences together.
Shimura Ichiro was the most irritating character in this drama. However, when you found out the real him you started to feel sorry. He actually needed Ai so much and was so afraid to lose her. He pretended not to love her because of the silliness that he did years ago and also he was so scared of being hurt. His pride has clouded his heart and also his head which made him the loneliest person on earth. He realized that he loved Ai when he found out that Ai was about to marry Ryosuke. From then, Ichiro started to fight for his love and to win her heart again. He also bravely revealed his past deed which was a major humiliation and would affect his career as a writer. Oikawa Mitsuhiro portrayed a perfect jerk which was convincing that you really wanted to give him a punch on his face. This means that he has successfully acted as Shimura Ichiro.
I give you just one spoiler here which I reckon you would be dying to know whether Ryosuke ended up with Ai or Mikan. Well, at the end, Ryosuke realized that he fell in love with Mikan and went to look for her. Ai has managed to be independent and she got the chance to meet Ichiro again, who was not working as a famous writer anymore but a delivery guy. Why all this happened unexpectedly? Thats for you to find out yourself.
Now I know why the theme song was Rainbow Connection, because we will see how different people with different characters manage to relate to one another and become friends. In this big world all you need is a real friend that you can count on and hang on to. Whats the flaw of this drama? Perhaps only one thing: if these have been acted by famous cast itd be well received and well recognized. Then again, like what I said in the beginning, who needs famous cast if they could not act? The ensemble of cast in this drama has admirably delivered great performances. I would not want to think of other actors to replace them. Perhaps you should give this drama a chance. Put away those eye candy drama and go watch this one. My personal view is that this drama truly deserves five stars.
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