I love how this drama is causing such insightful discussions. I don't think any other drama has ever done that in d-addicts.
I was actually much, much worse for HanaDan.
I don't know . . . as much as I enjoy the story itself, ProDai for me really has been about watching Tomahisa and Masami play off each other again. The junai story is done well, and particularly they kept the tone light and happy. This probably would have done better in the winter time, because it very much feels like a "Christmas" drama. Fun, fun show. Plus the music makes me wanna dance.
My hunch is the story structure will significantly change in the last third of the show. I don't think the "see a photo, eat a shrimp, Hallelejah chance!" plot has enough legs for 11 episodes. And, uhm, isn't asking an actress to fit in a tailored wedding gown for 2 months unnecessary torture?
I agree that there might be a creep factor. But, it's conventional wisdom that men mature slower than women emotionally. So, I suspend my disbelief and assumed the premise of the story. Given more time, Ken might have caught on without the wake up call, but they'd probably be 40 by then.
The age gap in the story -- if not the "loli teacher" implications -- is fairly acceptable. Rei's about 23 or so, and he's probably around 30. The casting
itself is what makes people go "huh?!?" Naohito is 15 years Masami's senior, and she isn't even 20 years old yet. And in fact, two of his recent shows involved him playing a decidely nonromantic, sempai/oppa role against other idol actresses like Erika Sawajiri and Toda Erika. Now he's in love
with one of them? Could you see Naohito paired with a Maki Horikita?
I think, so far, it's worked because the casting has pretty much put Junai princess against #1 Johnny Boy vs. Former Top Eligibile Bachelor. Both guys make heats flutter, albeit in almost mutually exclusive demographics. If anything, ProDai, like Hana Yori Dango, is a little self-conscious about its idol billing. The show's been really generous about its connection with previous Yamapi shows, as if it wants to wink at the audience "yeah, OUR show is the first one where you'll see Yamapi go kissy kissy woo woo!"
Well all I'm saying is that Rei's actions in both pasts (old ken, new ken) is the same she did the same thing, and why would you half blame her for doing something like that?
I felt it was unfair for Ken too. Rei's little Easter Hunt was cute, but a little contrived, and even her friend Eri told her as such.
And in a way, episode 2 also revealed Rei in the same way Episode 4 reveals Ken. She gives Ken hints, but it's also like she -- at this point in her growth process -- wanted Ken to climb the castle without telling him that she's been locked away. Because, she in her own heart, is not sure what a relationship with Ken is what she really wants. At that time, she doesn't even know what a romantic relationship is.
I feel Eri and Rei probably saw relationships the same way. Where Eri treat it as an extension of her most popular girl shtick, Rei kinda wears it with a passive-aggressive groove. Eri tells her to be more proactive, to help Ken out. But Eri is not mature enough to help her sort out her feelings, which is what Rei really wants somebody to do for her.
As high school Rei said, Ken and Rei grew up in the same classrooms, but they were not bonded to the hip like most idealized childhood "couples." That's important to emphasize; Ken and Rei ALWAYS squabbled and had problems understanding and communicating with each other; Ken and Rei ALWAYS saw the same things in a very different light; Ken and Rei were never serious or vulnerable around each other. In Rei's eyes, they were neither here nor there; Ken was her oldest friend, but not her closest friend.
And in fact, their neither nor there quality is pretty strong grounds for romantic attraction. They know each other well but not that
well. They misunderstand each other a lot but they seem well aware of their misunderstandings. Their grey ground is their romantic bubble.
Ken does not so much script events as much as events still happen to Ken. When Ken's story is finally redone, he will still have to attribute authorship to the divine.
But, Ken has been perpetually editorializing himself through the entire show. His wedding chatter about "wishing to do it all again" was probably itself a habit he's carried on for awhile about her, perhaps indulging the "if I can do it all again, this is exactly how I would do it." And when he fails to do exactly that, he's already thinking about the narrative thread of his misadventure against that picture.
That itself fits the Walter Mitty model of writer fairly well. When it came to Rei, he had the rich inner life, so much so, that he didn't expend much energy in her daily interactions with her. He cries about the grief, but he himself stole away his own chances.
That said, I only started to think that way because the first episode seemed to hint that writing or public speaking had become part of present Ken's vocation or reputation. When they asked him to deliver his speech, there was some anticipation among friends of it being actually good
(a wedding toast that doesn't go on forever, what a concept!
) And, so, I partially interpreted Episode 4 as foreshadowing Ken's talent burgeoning in his college years.
The "meta-present" which only Ken and the fairy can perceive is just a place holder, a temporary way station outside of time-space where Ken and the fairy (and us) can get real-time feedback as Ken repeatedly rewinds reality and makes things happen or unhappen.
Oh I agree -- and I know a lot of us are discussing the disconnect between Ken's "false present" and the story's butterfly effect implications -- BUT I think the show has taken Rei as a blackbox of inarticulate desire anyway. We don't know what and how Rei feels for Ken, because we don't know her side of the story. But, for now, we can establish a baseline for her behaviour, and then discern changes
from that reference. We see Rei seems more uncomfortable around Tada as the new photos come out. We see Rei look more pensively toward Ken's direction. We don't know how she felt now, but we can sense whatever she's feeling, it's -- angry, happy, frustrated, curious -- is becoming more for
That would, in my mind, reduce this entire operation to a pointless excursion in masochistic nostalgia, would it not? What redemption or meaning is there in re-experiencing a shared past bereft of a shared future?
Masochistic nostalgia is the basis for a lot of junai stories, and it's a common trope of time travel stories involving family or romance. At this point, we don't know whether the Angel wants Ken to change the future, or to recognize his present. We know that this wonderful opportunity is wearing on Ken heavier and heavier.
Ken wants to substantiate his desire. He assumed she shared in his desire. As the episode go, he is starting to question that, because now he has to put himself in her shoes, and to really understand where Rei was coming from. After all, present Rei told present Ken that he still
didn't get it.
Likewise, Rei wanted somebody else to articulate her desire. She assumed if Ken felt the same way, she wouldn't have to put herself out there. As we watch each episode, we see that Rei was not sure what she wanted either, and that probably she also complicated her friendship with Ken too. Tada may be the wrong guy for her,
but she went into that without the same doubletalk.
And that's what ordinary folks like us do when we have trouble moving on, don't we?
It's deeply, deeply painful. And I feel bad for Ken, because when he's been reliving the past, he still struggles to move beyond the past. He sees how they are and it hurt him a little. He sees how he screwed up, and it takes awhile for him to get out of that mental funk and actually right the ship.
But, part of his pain is also in not fully accepting or understanding where the other person stood. Rei never met him halfway, and had that heart-to-heart about her feelings and frustrations with him. Instead, it looks like, she tried once, but it turned into a her putting the blame on him, and her trying to absolving her guilt over marrying somebody else. As if to say "you screwed up Ken, and now I'm spending the rest of my life with somebody else." It doesn't looked like she ever told him her
history with him.
I think what I see in the last 4 episodes is that of a man, not limited by the practical circumstances of Angel's gift but his own limitations as a human being and her limitations as well. Ken isn't Hishashi; Rei isn't Eri. Ken has a gift for words, but he cannot say the simplest three. Ken pines for Rei in the dark, but he also seems curiously lax when they're actually alone. Ken deeply loves Rei; Ken doesn't understand Rei.
The beauty of the story, for me, is how he's struggling
to move outside of his comfort space, out of what he thought he could do. He'll never be like Hishashi and throw sheets to the wind, but his efforts in being more open like him speaks to the sincerity of his love for Rei. He's struggling to change just a little bit -- and realistically, it can only be mere shades from her familiarity of him -- in order to make her love him. It's like Nobuta in that respect; Nobuta doesn't become the most cheery, outgoing girl at school by the end of the show, but the progress she moved from her previous disposition spoke to her personal courage and the effect of her friendships.
Hopefully we'll see Rei start some kind of transformation too. It'll be a shame for Ken to walk 500 miles for her love whereas Rei not even stand up from her wedding seat.
do you think Rei said anything dishonest to her husband at the end of Epsiode 4, and if so, how big a whopper do you think it was?
Believe me -- it's not uncommon to kinda "white lie" to guys about one's love life.
Ken is frequently in the wrong during their moments of trouble, but I'm not about to blame him for Rei's mistakes too.
Yeah, and I think it miscolours the story to think Ken x Rei will (can?) be solved by Ken alone, divine goatee guy or no. And, see, Ken in believing that it was 100% his fault, also believes that it was 100% in his hands to make their relationship happen. I don't think he ever had that kind of say with her, not as much as he pretends to be.
Actually, I probably still would make the same mistakes. I was thinking, what kind of wedding pictures did Eri choose. Who would choose so many pictures of the bride being angry?
Eri is not the sharpest girl, ne?
But then again, she's pissed Rei stole her man. Ahem.
I'd like to believe she was always looking for the possibility of Rei and Ken too. And it might have crept into the photos.