Chugakusei Nikki (中学聖日記)

Drama Review

Staring Okada Kenshi, Arimura Kasumi, Machida Keita, Yoshida You

Where do you even start when a show makes you experience so many things all at once? This show was a huge surprise, right from discovering it in the clips on youtube when I only started watching it because the couple looked cute. That time the show had aired only 2 eps and I watched both of them the same night I discovered it on youtube. The show had such a strong pull starting from such innocent beginnings to exponential development over the course of 2 months. The pull of this drama is no exaggeration when I say that every single Tuesday I waited for the episodes to release and watched them over and over again and posted summaries (lately there are handful of dramas that I completed till the end) , discovering my passion for writing about Drama/Movies. The show was an obsession from start to end. Even the MVs make me feel the pain.

Story/Emotions: Such a controversial topic was handled delicately and realistically and still represented the positive possibilities which one person should pursue when caught in the harshness of life. It is not just a love story, but a pure and beautiful life changing one at that. You quickly forget the age difference between the main couple when you look at their characters and their process of falling in love with them. At first one might question their beginning of love, but what this drama does make you realize is that you never quite know what exactly makes you fall in love with one particular person and why that one person is the only one who holds that special spot in your life. Other people even though having the same specs or even better ones still don’t make the cut in your life. Their love story from start to end remains realistic at best. It is the love that empowers them to discover themselves . Their is a perpetual question of whether you give in to the love or realize your personal dreams; especially when faced with such a difficult love. But this drama beautifully shows how love gives them the motive of achieving other things in life as well. The opposition is all expected , yet you ride this roller coaster begging some understanding and happiness for the couple. Their journey is a long one and this drama will tug at your heart. It is an extremely incredible feat that the director and writer managed to make a love story even more interesting than a thriller. And this is a story you are not bound to forget for a long time.

Characters: Not one character is such that you wouldn’t empathize, Even the most difficult of characters are still the one who you will warranty your understanding. Both Akira and Hijiri’s characters undergo a growth that is otherwise only superficially shown in other dramas. Full marks to all the characters , even the minor ones. No character in this drama is dull or stupid. The highlight being Akira’s character who grows from a boy to a fantastic and extremely capable young man who doesn’t give up even in the toughest of times. His is an astoundingly clear-headed character. The depth of the awareness of his own emotions is displayed right from the beginning. Even his childishness which is often the part of your first heady days of love (couple it with his adolescence) is hardly blamable. But the transition that he undergoes post the first half of the story is a real piece of cake. Akira’s mother also has a very strong character and is also one of the strongholds of the story. Yoshida Yo’s character is a brilliant one and one that will have a lot of impact on the viewer throughout the story. Her depth of character reading of the people around her is a personal goal.

Acting: This a department that elevates the drama to the all time lists in my opinion. This story commanded exceptional acting due to the complexity of each of the characters and the story line anyway. Even the minor characters are made memorable by the respective actors. Akira’s mother, the renowned middle aged actress does the mother’s part exceptionally well. You would hate her persistent opposition throughout the drama and yet understand her protective heart for Akira. She is fiercely portrayed and has some of the toughest scenes in the series. Yoshida You gives another brilliant performance as Haraguchi. You are bound to like her character the best in the series and it is all thanks to this great actress. This also gives you a rare example of a fierce and extremely outspoken Japanese woman that is hard to come by in Japanese society.  Arimura Kazumi is a little shadowed due to other stellar performances but by no means is her acting lacking. She plays the naïve and kind hearted teacher to the best and you empathize with her hardships and even with her initial confusion over Akira and her fiancé. It was a pretty tight spot to pull without making her character hateful but she still manages to display the precise emotions. Machida Keita is also decent although his is the only character that you would find less attractive in spite of having the perfect high specs.

The real gem of this Drama is and will always be Okada Kenshi.  I can pretty much write another full article on his acting. Enough has been said about no one believing this to be his debut role and having a huge potential and everything is 100% true yet I somewhere think it still doesn’t do him enough justice. To begin with he clearly steals the show every single time he is onscreen. You will not get over his smile, the slightest twitch of his lips, the slightest change in his expressions and light in his eyes and the body language which is all so powerful that before even Hijiri falls in love with him , you will find yourself spiraling down that lane unknowingly. It is crazy how many emotions he can make you feel through his character. It seems that the role was written just for him and there is not one scene where I can pinpoint that he needed improvement.  His looks already make you wonder if he is the handsomest man out there and to top that those acting chops are sure shot lottery to stardom.

Music: The background music has never been so apt and fitting. It played with my feelings big time. Some of the scenes while already memorably written and acted out , became absolutely ten fold phenomenal because of the background score. This background score will always remain on my playlist and still makes me go through a 100 emotions , all that I cherished while watching the drama. The Prologue by Uru will also remain etched in your memory.

Re-watch Value: Anytime! And every time it will make me feel sadness and happiness on a new level. For a love story it has amazing re-watch value for you will have new found appreciation for all the symbolism, dialogues, acting and cinematography. You are bound to discover something new every single time.

In gist, this was an extremely impacting and emotional drama that will grow on you with every passing moment until it becomes an obsession for you. It is bound to play with your feelings big time and yet inspire you throughout the journey that you live along with the characters. To each this will be a personal journey. The drama satiated all my drama expectations and made me reevaluate all the other dramas I had watched till date and mentally I deducted at least one star from all of them. In a world where kdramas rule the roast, this will make you hungry for Japanese dramas and leave with very big shoes to fill in it’s wake.

Koi wa Ameagari no Youni (Love that feels like after the rain)

( somehow this title (of another hit anime/movie) fits the Chinese poem featured in Chugakusei Nikki the most)

A good rain choose the right time to fall and so it falls.

When it comes to spring, the rain is certainly falling

It follows the wind and secretly enters the night

While the wind is blowing, the rain continues to fall until night

And moistens everything softly without any sound

Silently, almost making no sounds at all, it makes everything wet

4 thoughts on “Chugakusei Nikki (中学聖日記)

  1. I so appreciate you writing this review. Being in the U.S., I would not heard of it otherwise, and I won’t be able to watch the series, obviously. I am watching the clips now on You Tube. There is such a BIG world of film and TV out there that we’ll never know.

    This type of movie, that is, the teacher-student romance (and damsel-in-distress) movie, is de rigueur these days on the Lifetime cable channel in the U.S. And they’re usually trashy and clumsy.

    But Chugakusei Nikki looks above and beyond. Even just by the clips, I can see it’s masterfully edited and the cinematography is well-done. It’s “beautiful” in the way it’s lite and shot. Amazing for what is a TV series? This is nothing like the U.S TV movies with this type of story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, I can’t agree more. I can totally relate to this from my experience of other dramas. I am glad you found this to your liking. The thing about japanese stories when beautifully made (because as is in every industry, there is a lot of below average stuff as well) is the rawness of emotions. It’s not over the top but makes you choke and speechless. I am glad if this introduces you to a totally different industry and grows on you over time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. Thank you. I love the work of Takashi Miike. He is very underground in America, but very much loved by those who know him.

        Like

  2. Oh! Pardon me, I was totally unaware of Takashi Miike. I ran a google search and he has very interesting line up of films. A lot of catch up to do. 🙂 Thank you for bringing him up.

    Like

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