19 November 2019 | lyntonadam
THE RAGING HORMONES OF TEEN ROMANCE ARE NO LAUGHING MATTER !
The odd title is what first drew me to this intriguing Japanese show on VIKI, as well as reviews referring to the "dark" tone/mood.
And yes, it's quite full-on in various ways as the mercurial intensity of teen romance is explored. We all know that the onslaught of puberty unleashes major bodily changes and all those raging hormones create emotional mayhem too. Mother Nature says you're ready to breed, and falling in love with someone means a rollercoaster of moods whether they reciprocate or not. And the emotional immaturity of teens is certainly no barrier to mental turmoil.
High-schooler Hanabi ( a passionate Miyu Yashimoto ) has a major crush on Narumi ( Kouki Mizuta ) a kindly teacher whose had an association with her from a young age. Her classmate Mugi ( a brooding Dori Sakuruda ) has a crush on the lovely Ms Minagawa ( Rina Aizawa ), another teacher at the same school. Both students realise their love is doomed yet cling on to a thin thread of hope. They also decide to form a sort of team, whereby they'll try to satisfy each other's emotional and physical needs in lieu of getting who they want. And vow NOT to fall in love !
The Japanese are always more liberal than the Koreans when it comes to the S word on TV. In fact, it seems to me that Japanese men are more obsessed with the subject than anyone else on the planet. It's the only country I'm aware of where women need a separate train carriage because lustful men can't keep their hands to themselves. So pathetic! Nevertheless, I do applaud that liberality and it's a topic which really does need to be out in the open. It's truly absurd that something which brings so much pleasure is so repressed, but then religion has been very focussed in demonising the female body as well as the bigger picture. Plus it's great that gay couples are seen on J Drama whereas I've yet to see one in K Drama.
So the lusty antics on display here are a universe away from the prudes in Korea, yet they're totally consistent with the mindset of the average teen and adults are definitely not immune either.Possibly the most intense physical scene concerns a female classmate of Hanabi's called Sanae who is deeply in love with her. Another involving Mugi's member is interesting too.
As to the cast, Ms Yashimoto is very good as the conflicted Hanabi, though Mr Sakuruda is a bit too sullen most of the time. And yes, I realise the words "sullen" and "teen" usually go together but I still think it's excessive in this case. Ms Aizawa is interesting as a beauty who enjoys her power over men, and thoroughly impressive is Sarii Ikegami as the stricken Sanae. She has some heavy-duty scenes to manage and does so with heart-breaking assurance.
This is an adaptation of a manga and the title is echoed a few times by characters referring to themselves in that vein ( oh woe is me, I'm a worthless teen torn apart by desire ! ). I was somewhat confused by how the adult relationship finally worked out, and ditto for Sanae. Some humour would also have been nice, since there isn't any. However, the ending for the main couple was satisfying and the director does have some visual style/imagination, including astute use of slo-mo.
Oops, forgot to thank VIKI for putting this on ! More from Japan please !!