This post will explore the story of Koizora which translates to Sky of Love
The story follows the high school life of Tahara Mika as she experiences her first love during the summer after first year. Rather than the pure approach most Japanese dramas take (ie: innocent love with no physical activity until the very end or after marriage) this takes a contemporary approach that accurately reflects the current time period.
Themes explored in this story are:
- teenage pregnancy
which in itself is also quite different from the run of the mill Japanese drama which try to avoid such heavy taboo topics.
The rest of this post will compare the movie and drama in terms of acting, and story progression - so if you have not seen the drama or movie and would not like the basic plot to be spoiled, DO NOT READ ON
Aragaki Yui as Tahara Mika
Mizusawa Elena as Tahara Mika
Both actresses capture Mika's sensible and down to earth personality very well. They both also masterfully portray her development and changes as she falls in love and starts to act on her heart's feelings. What I do feel that Mizusawa Elena achieved better was the ability to show Mika's sensitivity and her dependence on Sakurai Hiro. During both the movie and drama when Hiro says "I won't wipe your tears anymore." I felt that it hit home more so during the drama because Mika cries more. Of course the drama had 4 more hours to develop the story so this may have been why.
Miura Haruma as Sakurai Hiro
Koji Seto as Sakurai Hiro
Firstly, I feel that Miura Haruma had bigger star power than Koji Seto at the point they both starred in this role. Though currently both are pretty much on par (Haruma is in Bloody Monday S2 and will be part of the Kimi ni Todoke movie while Koji Seto is in Tumbling and Rinne no Ame.) As for the silver hair, I always felt that Seto's was a wig. It always looked way too ridiculous for me. As for the role itself, I felt that Haruma's had a hint of manliness while Seto's had a child-like demeanor. Both pulled off the chalkboard scene really well. And as with the statement above, I felt that Seto's Hiro was able to achieve his jealousy much more effectively than Haruma's.
In terms of initial development, I liked the way the movie had them get to know each other via phone during the summer. The drama on the other had reduced this for just a day and even had Hiro try to set Mika up with Nozuma. In the drama's defense, there was the book and cell phone dangle side-story that the movie did not mention. It wasn't necessary but it did make the overall story more cute and added more strength to the title since this book showed how much Hiro loved the sky.
The movie was more subtle in its cinematic devices. We did not know Hiro was at the library for sure until Mika started caring for him at the hospital. We also never find out that Hiro asked Nozuma to kiss Mika at the party. A scene both drama and movie could have gone without was the hose and rainbow scene.
Both actors did this scene terribly and it was just overall stupid and hard to bear.
In conclusion, I think both movie and drama have certain aspects that they did best but at this point in time I can not pick one over the other. I started writing this entry with the initial thought that the movie was better but I really do prefer Koji Seto's Hiro and feel that those 4 extra hours really helped develop the characters. So I guess if you have time, watch both. If not, either or would get the story across well.
After reading a few reviews on this story it seems that there are two very strong parties for and against the storyline. Many female viewers love this series and will watch it again. Many male viewers found it extremely dumb and painful to watch. I suppose to other Shoujo-like stories, it was refreshing to see imperfection. Hiro is not your perfect prince. It's almost impossible to always be there to save the girl. And I didn't think Mika was stupid at all. Many girls lose their virginity in high school. Albeit it was a little weird in the movie because we never felt that the relationship got to that level yet.
In retrospect, I think we can all respect Mika's determination and courage in standing up to her parents, wanting to have the baby and still going to school. Even after being raped, she took it with grace (this was a bit unbelievable because I would expect trauma) and when Hiro died, though she felt like committing suicide at first, she still found the strength to go on. For those guys who took this badly, I would like to see how they view "Kaichou wa Maid Sama", "Dengenki Daisy", "Faster than a Kiss" and other stories where the girl gives off the idea that she's capable but still needs to be saved by the man in every possible aspect. I suspect that they're just pretty much anti-shoujo to begin with. But I welcome them to prove me wrong =).