Japanese Drama Review:白い春 (Shiroi Haru)

Storyline/plot: 8

Plot Development: 6

Characters: 10

Acting: 8

Music: 5

Production Value: 6

I just got finished watching this drama, and I really liked it, so I felt that it needed a review.

STORYLINE/PLOT:

Shiroi Haru is the story of an ex-yakuza member named Sakura Haruo (played by Abe Hiroshi). The drama begins with him being released from a nine year sentence in prison because of a murder he committed. A little bit later we find out that the reason he murdered somebody was because he needed money to cure his girlfriend’s disease. Originally, Haruo planned to quit being a yakuza member, but because of desperation, he undertook the job of murdering a man that the yakuza boss wanted dead. He gets caught for the murder, but before he goes to prison, he makes his best friend swear to give his girlfriend the 8 million yen that was supposed to be given to him. The best friend promises, and Haruo is sent to prison. When he gets out, he discovers that his girlfriend, Takamura Mariko, lived with another man while he was in prison and is now dead because she never received the money. Haruo, then, tracks down the man she was living with, Murakami Yasushi (played by Kenichi Endo) and vows to get revenge. A short while later he meets the man’s daughter, Murakami Sachi, who immediately becomes attached to him.

Throughout the whole of this drama there are flashbacks of times between Haruo and Mariko and Yasushi and Mariko. We find out that Sachi is actually Haruo’s daughter. Haruo does not find out, himself, until around episode five. After that it is basically a battle between the father who raised Sachi and the father who simply wants to be around his own daughter. (Oh gosh, here comes another spoiler I didn’t remember was in here) In the end Haruo ends up being stabbed to death by the son of the man he murdered nine years before; we really don’t know if Sachi actually knew Haruo was her true father. . .

I really liked most of the storyline;  it was heartbreaking, yet refreshing at the same time. One of the big flaws that I saw with it, however, was the ending. SPOILER ALERT (After all these years, I reread this review and just discovered this. Sorry!): After watching the strenuous and painful  journey of Haruo to become a better man so that he could be around his daughter, you see him die, and that is totally not fair! Now, I’m not much for sad endings, but there are a few sad endings that left me satisfied. This one did not. It was sad and wholly unfair to the pitiful Haruo. He tried his hardest, but in the end he didn’t even get to take Sachi as his own daughter. That just really sucks!

PLOT DEVELOPMENT:

Honestly, the development was too rushed; some of it was out of place, and it never came to a definite conclusion. I don’t really know what more to say about it. I was left wanting more in various places, such as Mariko’s story, Mariko’s sister’s story, Yasushi and Mariko’s story, and there should have been much more interaction and connection between Haruo and Sachi.

CHARACTERS/ACTING:

I liked most every character in this drama. The only ones that I didn’t like were Murakami Yasushi and Mariko’s sister. They were both unfeeling, jealous, and ridiculous until the very last episode. They only thought about themselves and never considered the feelings of Haruo and Sachi.

Now for the acting:

Sakura Haruo (Abe Hiroshi)-Abe did a superb job in this drama. Nobody even got close to stealing the spotlight from him. His acting felt so genuine. I could feel every one of his emotions: anger, frustration, sadness, happiness…everything. The agony that he felt every time he would see his daughter’s pictures or see his daughter running into the arms of another man exuded from his very being. I don’t cry very often, but he called forth my tears quite a few times. His performance was so beautiful. He portrayed everything perfectly. In short, Abe Hiroshi is a great actor, and he acted very well in this drama.

Murakami Sachi (Ohashi Nozomi)- This little girl did a very good job with what she was given. She is certainly not among the best child actors/actresses I have seen, but she is certainly not among the worst, either.

The supporting cast, Yoshitaka Yuriko, Endo Yuya, Shiraishi Miho, also did a very good job. They perfectly complimented the acting skill of Abe Hiroshi.

Murakami Yasushi (Endo Kenichi)- He was the weak link of the drama. Although his acting was okay, it was not believable. His emotions as a non-biological parent were not communicated at all, and the emotions he did try to convey were weak.

MUSIC:

There was only one song that was played throughout the drama, alternating between a piano and orchestral version. There reason I gave the music as high as a 5 is because the song was beautiful, and it did not get on my nerves.

PRODUCTION VALUE:

It was definitely not the best, but there was some pretty scenery in it.

Despite it’s many flaws, I really enjoyed the drama. It is definitely worth a watch for Japanese drama lovers.

Overall Rating out of 10: 7.2

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