Saturday, May 21, 2011

Japanese Drama - Producing Nobuta

Wow! I'm so excited that it wasn't just a one-show-in-a-million interest in Japanese drama! I honestly wasn't sure if I would actually find another show I liked as much as The Wallflower. While Producing Nobuta isn't based off a manga, it still has immense heart and substance. Weirdly enough, though, my favorite character is not played by Kame. YamaPi plays the wacky and wild best friend, Akira, to Kame's character Shuji. He started off as a constant irritant. Akira always seemed to be high or something, but the more I watched the show, the more I think it's a defense mechanism he has. By just being goofy and never showing the serious side to his personality, he's able to protect himself. Akira's uses his craziness as an emotional shield.

One thing that is constantly impressing me is how the Japanese incorporate life lessons into their dramas. Sure, they're a little hokey sometimes and incredibly zany most of the time. But there are still moments that make the viewer pause and think that maybe, just maybe, the writers were onto something profound in the midst of their stumbling. Take Producing Nobuta. This girl, Nobuka (or Nobuta is her nickname by Shuji and Akira), has been bullied her entire life. She's vulnerable and actually gave up trying to fight back because it never did any good. She reached the point of not caring because she thought it didn't hurt anymore. But it always hurts. Doesn't it? To be bullied and mocked hurts!

I'm not entirely sure why, but Shuji and Akira decide to help produce Nobuka into society. To help her become popular. It's more Akira's idea than Shuji's because Akira is just one of those guys that likes to help people. Plus, it gives him an excuse to spend time with Shuji who he genuinely likes and wants to like him back. Akira is lonely because he refuses to change and everyone thinks he's weird. Shuji is lonely because he pretends to actually like people that he really can't stand. He doesn't even care that much about his girlfriend and only fawns over her when they're together. Yet for some reason these two guys who have almost nothing in common, band together to help Nobuka find herself.

There's only 3 episodes left for me to watch. But so far, I love watching Shuji start to realize that he needs to stop being a phony. Because he is a phony and unless he wants me to rip his lips off then he'd better quit it. Having Akira realize his feelings for Nobuka is awesome too because this is the first time he's actually felt romantic love. My annoyance with Akira is no more. He's matured too. And Nobuka? Well, she's slowly learning to move forward. She's realizing that she can't let circumstances bother her or prevent her from looking to the future.

There's no guarantee that Akira and Nobuka will have a happy ending. For all I know she'll choose Shuji (heaven forbid since they'd be a dreadful match) or she'll pick no one at all. But in the end, the romance doesn't really matter. It's watching Shuji's maturity lightbulb slowly start to flicker that counts. It's seeing Nobuka blossom like a flower. And it's cheering as Akira banishes his most childish behavior to the closet. It's like reading their journals in a way. Shuji actually puzzles over his decisions, wondering why he does this and not that. Why he stays silent when he should speak up. These kids are just like any other kids. They go through the same fears and paranoia as American kids. The language barrier isn't even a barrier. Their fears are the same as ours. The most important thing to remember in Producing Nobuta is that fear is there to be surmounted.

We'll see what I think by the end of the series.

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