Friday, December 17, 2010

[Rambling About Drama: RAD] Kami no Shizuku: Ep 1 - 4

I have a preference for manga-based jdoramas. Add that to my mania about wine and my crush on Kame-sama, Kami no Shizuku is a perfect blend of several things I adore.

The plot is predictable.. I pretty much could guess who wins the challenge up to Ep 4 (yes.. even the result for the first try on the 3rd Apostle), but the characters make it a compelling story. And instead of finding the heroine annoying, as I find most jdorama heroines are, I keep squeeing over her cuteness that at times I even forgot to look in Kame's direction. I can even appreciate Tomine Issei's psychotic madness over his wine. The scene with him tasting the 2nd Apostle mixed with his own blood was fascinating (somehow, my own sentence reminds me of Sunako of Perfect Girl Evolution.. LOL). The only person I have this "urusai naaa" feeling for is Maki. Even though I know it's impossible, I wish she'd go away from Ep5 onwards so I can concentrate better.

Since this is, as I've said... my RAD corner, there won't be screencaps of the dorama. And since it gets such violently bad reviews on pretty much everything from the cast to the plot (what plot?) to pretty much everything, I doubt you can find screencaps of it anywhere either. I'm one of those (probably rare) people who enjoy the super-boring Bartender anime so perhaps that will help explain where I come from when I talk about how much I love the drama so far. Because the story was built on such a fantastical premise, it helps that I refuse to try searching for logic or rationale at every turn and accept it as it is.

Despite not being able to drink wine, something about it has always attracted me to it.. whether it's the shapes of the bottles, or the many rules people have to follow in order to consume it, or the obnoxiously high-sounding names that they are told to memorize in order to appreciate it, or the history of each wine production that differentiates one harvest from another... I think if one asks me for a comparison, I'd liken it to classical music. They both seem to induce similar complexes in the hearts and behaviour of their lovers.

I've read a bit on the manga, and maybe this is blasphemy.. but I find I can connect with the live action better. Maybe because I feel like I can understand the motivations behind the changes they made.. tatoyeba, the scene in Ep 1 where Shizuku declines to explain why he switches glasses. I also think that even though the Shizuku in the live action is as childish and innocent as in the manga, he is also more dignified and reckless and thoughtful.

Shitsumon desu.. do all parents treat their children this way? At least in the dramas, anyway. I've just come off a drama where a mother tells his son that he's a mistake (You're Beautiful), I'm in the middle of a drama where 3 parents literally scramble over each other to win Worst Parent of the Year with the mother also telling her son that he's a mistake (Mary Stayed Out All Night)... and now this? There's a lot of parent-to-children: "I made this mess and I want you to clean it up coz it's your fault" theme being used in drama plots, isn't it? Too much of this stuff and you'll start doubting humanity's ability to propagate.

One little thing, did you know that the drama was nearly adapted to a Korean version starring Bae Yong-Joon? Too bad Korea is rather kibishii with product placement in drama/movie so the plan was dropped... but not before Keyeast bought the rights to the popular wine-themed Japanese manga though.

Story summary:

Ep 1 - Shizuku goes to his late mother's grave on the anniversary of her death only to find his dad there bearing a bottle of wine instead of a bouquet of flowers. The kid blows up at the sight of it and his dad goes away in silence. Enraged, Shizuku smashes the bottle to pieces, when suddenly the fragrance of the wine wafts towards him due to the strong wind. He is clearly affected by it. Later on we learnt that he has always been sensitive to smells.

Cut to Shinohara messing about with a bottle of wine for the customers at the place where she works. She's the type who thinks that stealing gulps of expensive merchandise from your employer is considered an effort to learn on the job. The customer is not pleased with her presentation and challenges her to a drink. Of course she won't pass up the opportunity... but what is this? The wine she selects with care tastes so bad it shocks her out of her wits. If she has any, that is. Then we found out that one of the 3 customers is actually Shizuku who immediately offers his assistance. Apparently decantering is not an easy task, despite Kame making it look so simple. I wonder if our 'teh tarik' guys can perform it with ease too. The techniques certainly look similar. The customers are pleased and Shinohara gets to keep her job for awhile longer.

Shizuku turns out to be an employee in the beer division of his company. So he hates wine but still wants to work in an intoxicating environment, eh? That's denial for ya. He finds out that he's been transferred to the wine division,, much to his annoyance. He takes a phone call from his dad's lawyer and is told that his dad has died. Apparently he's been sick with liver cancer for 3 years and he is the only one who isn't told about it, courtesy of his dad's specific instruction. Nice work, daddy-o.

Suddenly he's crammed with all the info on his supposed inheritance...bla bla bla... and oh, you have a brother who's just got adopted a week before your dad died. Huh? Your inheritance? Technically it's not yours yet coz you have to fight your onii-chan for it. Hello? Not interested, capiche? But his dad's lawyer and, for some reason I still can't fathom, his adopted brother (Issei) can't let him off the hook, despite him protesting about how he won't ever ever ever ever drink wine ever, and forces him to drink the wine his father has prepared for Round 0 of the quest: the winner will get to live in the gloomy mansion all by himself. Shizuku takes a sniff and the glass falls from his hand to break into a million pieces on the floor, splashing the precious liquid in all directions. With that, he just runs the heck outta there, straight into our resident irritating biatch, Maki-san.

Issei, in his arrogant way, explains the wine to the lawyer and writes down the name and year of the wine he has just drunk.. and of course he's right on the money. He's the genius wine critic after all. Shizuku, being young and curious, is naturally intrigued with the terms of the inheritance. Even the name invokes a sense of mystery and the promise of deep fulfillment: Kami no Shizuku. Hence the title of this drama.

Shinohara, like all the jdorama heroines before her, stalks Shizuku and pesters him to teach her the decantering technique he previous employs. Then, most probably because a jdorama heroine must be a scatterbrain in order for the hero to shine, she forgets all about her request to study from him as soon as she sees a restaurant that serves delicious food. Likely she's gone there before. They find that it's closed for 'preparation' but that won't stop our duo. Anyway, I find it icky that the father and daughter can show their animosity so openly in front of strangers.

So Issei and Maki-san have a kinky relationship, in which he pours wine into her mouth until it drips right into her bathrobe-wrapped cleavage, and Shinohara, in her scatterbrained way, pesters Shizuku to help save the restaurant. Why? Why would you care if the restaurant is going to be closed down, Shinohara-san? You don't even know anyone from there. She's a good-hearted girl who is carelessly stepping over the boundary to become a meddling do-gooder, dragging Shizuku with her. Shizuku is in on the plan for a different reason as the person whose lethal review on the restaurant in his regular column is none other than Issei. So you've been hiding your combative spirit under that boyish smile of yours, Shizu-kun? Shizu-Shino find an eccentric old man (or rather, he finds them) who lives in a tent and survives mainly on the wine he has buried around the place.

The decantering technique is used once again and it's happy-ending for the daddy-daughter pair with her immediate employment as the sommelier-in-training. Wine brings people happiness.. THE END.

Ooops, apparently it's not over yet as they still haven't solved the mystery of the wine in Round 0. Am I seriously going to summarize all the episodes despite knowing that no one would bother reading any of it anyway? *THINKS* ... na ah. From now on... I'm just going to concentrate on the part where I'm very interested in. The wines.. and Kame-sama, of course. Later.

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