Posts Tagged ‘Kinkyori Renai’
It’s quite natural to set a teen romance like Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛) in the summer. First of all, there’s summer vacation, which the class celebrates at the start of this episode:
Well, all except for Haruka (Abe Aran), who seems a bit less enthusiastic. He and Mirei (Ishibashi Anna) are both concerned about Ririko (Adachi Rika), who is planning to go back to New York, but hasn’t managed to tell her two-timing boyfriend Tachibana (Nagayama Takashi) that.
The second reason is, of course, the obligatory beach scene (or scenes). Kanata (Kishi Yuta) is the one who proposes the beach party in this series, but it was bound to happen somehow. He also wants to make it a farewell party for Ririko, but it sounds like that’s just a plot from the basketball team to get Ririko to the beach.
After Mirei (Ishibashi Anna) confessed her love for Haruka (Abe Aran) by kissing him at the end ofthe previous episode of Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛), I’m looking for some follow-through on the relationship in this episode. Will Haruka reject the sentiment, afraid of the implications like Mirei was before Kanata (Kishi Yuta) talked to her? Or will the writers spare us that sort of awkwardness and instead bring us more unexpected sources of conflict?
For now, Haruka is in a pensive mood . . .
. . . and Kanata is horrified that Mirei actually followed his advice. He wanted them to come up with a plan together, but didn’t really communicate that. All this talk from Kanata has Mirei worried. We still don’t know how Haruka actually reacted immediately after the kiss.
We find that out when Mirei tells Kanata. Turns out that Mirei saw Haruka looking troubled after the kiss, and she turned “suki” into “sukiyaki”. Right. As if that’s going to convince anyone.
Things seem to be getting smoother between Haruka (Abe Aran) and his stepsister Ririko (Adachi Rika) in Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛). Sure, Haruka is still trying his best to keep some distance between them, but he’s smiling around her more often and speaking to her civilly. I guess getting mad at her in the previous episode and then worrying about her sort of broke the ice.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that she’s a good cook, and tasty food smooths social interaction tremendously.
It doesn’t keep Haruka from napping in class, though, and thereby giving Kanata (Kishi Yuta) a chance to sneak up on him and shock him awake. Kanata is such a great character so far – really brightens things up.
But then his stepsister Ririko (Adachi Rika) returned to Japan from America and ever since then, Mirei and Kanata can’t stop talking about her.
They begin this episode by noting that Ririko seems to have quickly recovered after being dumped by her boyfriend. When Haruka points out that Ririko and Tachibana (Nagayama Takashi) have actually gotten back together, that throws the other two for a loop and they demand answers.
At the conclusion of the first episode of Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛), Ririko (Adachi Rika) asked stepbrother Haruka (Abe Aran) if she could stay with him after getting into a fight with her boyfriend. Considering Ririko moved all the way from New York back to Japan in order to be with this boyfriend, she is necessarily confused and distraught.
Also at the end of the previous episode, we saw a preview of scenes involving adult Haruka (as played by Yamashita Tomohisa-kun) which I took to be part of this series. Thankfully (since those scenes deal with issues I don’t find entertaining), that’s all going to be part of a movie that I’ll never watch (not my kind of thing). This series is actually the prequel to that movie. That relieves the worry I had about Yamashita-kun’s part in this series – he in fact has no part except in the intro.
So, that leaves us with these three fun-loving characters:
This installment begins with Mirei (Ishibashi Anna) and Kanata (Kishi Yuta) being concerned after hearing how Ririko had to seek refuge at Haruka’s place. Even though they just met Ririko, they’re worried about her and the possibility that, after falling out with the boyfriend she had done so much to be with, she might do herself harm.
Kishi-kun was especially brilliant at injecting over-the-top dramatics to this possibility to keep it from being too morbid.
Time to start the Summer 2014 drama season!
It was an interesting coincidence that I started this blog in the season where NTV began a long string of late-night dramas featuring Johnny’s juniors with Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou. Since then, I’ve made a point of covering that time slot through strong dramas and weak ones. This season, the new drama in that slot is Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛), which is a romance drama, and that’s the one kind of story I have the most trouble with. That’s for a number of reasons, including the culture gap between my concept of love and that often found in dramas based on manga (as this one is).
That fair warning aside, there are some reasons I’m looking forward to this drama. Abe Aran-kun proved to be an engaging personality in the otherwise dismal SHARK Season 2, and I would like to see if he is as good an actor as I (and whoever decided to give him his first leading role) think he is. I expect Kishi Yuta-kun, Takahashi Fuu-kun, and Tajima Shogo-kun to bring a lot of energy and humor – something that was sorely lacking Sprout, the only other pure romance in this time slot. This will be Tajima-kun’s first foray in a drama, so we can make an initial assessment.
The drama begins, however, with a much more famous member of the Johnny’s agency – Yamashita Tomohisa-kun. He plays Sakurai Haruka at the age of twenty-seven while Abe Aran-kun plays the same character at seventeen.
We see Haruka as an adult – and an English teacher at that – first.
He seems to have the complete attention of one half of the student body of the school he works at, which should be a bit uncomfortable . . .
. . . but then when one of this students asks him – in English – if he’s seeing anyone special, his answer seems to be one of those doki-doki responses. In other words, it appears like he cultivates the attention of girls. Already I feel my stomach churning.