Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi

Reviewed by: il_mare

January 18, 2004

Rating: two-point-five

Japanese Title:¿Õ¤«¤é½µ¤ëÒ»ƒ|¤ÎÐÇ
English Title: One Million Stars Falling from the Sky / The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
Script: Eriko Kitagawa ('Beautiful Life', ¡®Long Vacation¡¯)
Episodes: 11
Network: Fuji TV Mondays, 9:00-9:54 p.m.
Telecast: 2002-04-15 to 2002-06-24

Kimura Takuya as Ryo Katase
Akashiya Sanma as Kanzo Dojima
Fukatsu Eri as Yuko Dojima (Kanzo¡¯s sister)
Shibasaki Kou as Yuki Mizashita (Ryo¡¯s lover)
Tayama Ryosei as Osawa Takashi (Kanzo¡¯s superior)
Morishita Aiko as Kotoko Sugita (Kanzo¡¯s best female friend)
Igawa Haruka as Miwa Nishihara

THEME SONG: "Smile" by Elvis Costello


The serial starts with a suspected murder case. A young university undergraduate female student leaps to her death from her apartment. Kanzo Dojima is a shabby-looking underachieving cop working on the case. Ryo Katase is a mysterious young man who works as a cook in the restaurant R¨¨v¨¦. And there's Kanzo's eccentric and bubbly sister, Yuko who works for a magazine. All three lives are connected when they meet on the 25th birthday party of the wealthy Miwa Nishihara

Miwa is mesmerized by Ryo, and goes against her family¡¯s wishes to be with him. On the other hand, Naoya Kashiwagi who is the chosen match for Miwa tries to thwart their relationship. Ryo basks in Miwa¡¯s attention, but continues his affair with the young, impressionable and reckless Yuki Mizashita.

Yuko is also attracted to Ryo and she seems to find a connection with him every time they interact. Ryo in turns find that he has a special attraction for Yuko as well, she is the only one is able to see through him and accept him for what he is unconditionally¡­

As the murder case investigation unfolds, Kanzo finds Ryo to be a probable suspect. Kanzo tries to befriend Yuki to find out more about Ryo and his involvement in the case. In the process, Kanzo realise that Yuki is another innocent pawn in one of Ryo's game. He encourages Yuki to stand up for herself and tell the truth. But Yuki is too emotionally attached to Ryo, and feels that she can't live without him....

Ryo is arrested for the murder of Naoya¡­.....but he was released after Miwa left a suicide note admitting to the murder instead.

Ryo decides to return to the orphanage and then to his hometown to find out about his past. He realizes that Kanzo was the police office who shot his father during a police investigation 25 years ago¡­..


I saw this serial because I am a die-hard Kimura fan. But it is with mixed feelings that I write this review. I normally write about serials that I love, or I hate. I can¡¯t actually put my finger down on how I feel about this one.

¡®Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi¡¯ must be Eriko Kitagawa¡¯s darkest work to date. The story is really twisted. Every character in this serial is a tragic character, and the climatic ending just wipes out any positive possibilities for all the leads. It is just an absolute tragedy and it does not offer the audience any form of consolation whatsoever. Yet with such a strong storyline, it did not continue to haunt me with its darkness when I finished the serial.

The Kimura-Kitagawa partnership did not work any magic to the ratings either. Except for the first and last episode, the overall rating of the serial when it aired was only so-so.

The lead Ryo is a tragic character. He was orphaned at a very young age, and leads his life like a game by manipulating those around at will with his good looks and charm. He does not really care about the consequences of his game, but enjoys playing it and achieving the results he wishes for. I think Kimura accepted the role, as this is really different from the usual materials he did. Kimura was quite convincing as the cold, ruthless and sick Ryo. He really looked haggard in the role, and it was physically obvious that he is tortured and is ¡°living with demons within him¡±. Just when he thought he has finally found his happiness with Yuko, the writer immediately throws him back into the dark abyss from where he had climbed out. You can see the pain in Kimura¡¯s eyes and I really felt the cloud of hopelessness engulfing him when he realised the real identity of Yuko. Brilliant execution!
(Tabloids had it that the theme song "Smile" was Kimura's choice. I wonder if that is the consolation that he is trying to provide his fans with picking such a role.)

Sanma had a lot of on-screen charisma as the underachieving Kanzo Dojima. Kanzo is the wise gem in the department but choose to behave like a useless old bag to punish himself for what he did 25 years ago. I enjoyed the little actions Sanma did when he eats his noodles, when he talks, when he ponders on a case, etc. It added a lot of depth to the equally sad character.

There was a lot of controversy (according to the tabloids) over the casting of Eri Fukatsu as Yuko Dojima. She was considered as a second grade actress, compared to the likes of Miho Nakayama, or Takako Tokiwa. Which is why the casting folks decided to add more female leads in the show. But I find Fukatsu had outstanding chemistry with Sanma. The love and care they both exhibited as siblings was realistic and many a times touching. Unfortunately, the same could not be said when she is against Kimura. Why Yuko is attracted to Ryo and vice versa remains a mystery to me. And how Yuko continues to see Ryo despite what had happened to Miwa completely baffles me. What is going through this woman¡¯s mind ?!! Could her unconditional love and attraction be a result of the natural bond that Yuko shares with Ryo? However I have to admit that I was really impressed with her performance, in the last episode, back in the old house with Ryo. As she points the gun at Ryo, her eyes and her body language tells of a woman clearly on the verge of a mental breakdown.

The supporting cast was also overall good, except for Haruka Igawa (rumor had it that she was killed off because of her lousy acting). My personal favorite was Kotoko Sugita. As Kanzo¡¯s confidante, she and Sanma made an excellent on-screen pair. They were natural and portrayed their roles with ease.

The story is really original, COMPLETELY twisted and EXTREMELY dark. I think part of the reason for the flop is because the audience is left in so much shock that it plunges one into denial and/or rejection, so much so that one will choose to ignore or forget about the serial. I think a key ingredient for a successful serial, so that the common layman will continue to follow the story diligently, is to have at least one character that the audience yearns to be or yearns for. I did not manage to identify one here. As a matter of fact, as the serial unfolded, the more detached I became with the story and the characters. It is unfortunate because I really thought it was a good story and good execution by the key cast, but I just can¡¯t bring myself to love it.

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