Kimura Takuya fandom

Kimura Takuya in Ando LloydI’m over two decades late to the party, but I’m now firmly on board with the Kimura Takuya fandom. Along with the other folks in the k-drama watching group, we decided to jump to Japanese drama for a mini break from Korean dramas. We had the option to watch one of  three Kimura Takuya TV shows: from his 20s A Sleeping Forest, his 30s Pride, and his 40s Ando Lloyd. We chose Ando Lloyd: AI Knows Love.

Ando Lloyd turned out to be a sci-fi romance and it was entertaining. I think I enjoyed it more because I was watching with a group and the discussions and analysis were interesting. I wouldn’t have stuck with it on my own. It still hasn’t sold me on J-drama. I was happy there was some romance and it wasn’t tragic so that was a win for me. It was nice that there was deeper meaning a than just a sci-fi adventure.

Kadoshiro teddy bear from Ando LloydAnd, hey, I also found a new favorite drama creature —Kadoshiro.

As far as making me a solid Kimura Takuya fan, because he played a robot in this, it was difficult for me to see why everyone was drooling about Kimura Takuya. I kept thinking  More Kadoshiro Hajime, one of the supporting characters, would have been better. But still there was something about the intensity in Kimura’s eyes that led me to want to see him in something else. Since this Kimutaku in his 40s is a hottie, I decided to check him out in his 30s and watched Pride.

DING, DING, DING, DING!! SOOOOOLD!

Yep, this was the show that placed me firmly into the Kimutaku fandom.

It’s a sports story. It’s a love story. It’s hot, untamable star athlete being “tamed” by ordinary, nice, office-worker girl. The whole soundtrack is Queen music. Queen! He has a friend named Hotta. What could be hotta than that? Okay, I know.  Ignore that. Kimura as Halu by episode 5 half confessing to Aki on a bridge in the first snowfall. *heart*

***SPOILERS***

Halu smilingHalu. Oh Halu you heartbreaker. Full confession and lovemaking all in episode 6. BOOM! By episode 7 I was already steeling myself for heartbreak, because this rosy pink love was ripe to be hijacked by the past. Sure enough Aki’s mothafucker absentee boyfriend (M.I.A. for 2 years) shows up right as Halu is about to say “game over,” move in with me to Aki on their favorite bridge. All I could do now was hang on until ep. 10 or 11 when we all can finally say game over, love on.

My biggest complaint with Pride was focusing entirely on Hotta and Yuri in ep. 5 and Aki totally losing her mind in her decision-making toward the end. And the case of last centuryitis that Halu and Aki caught one evening. I mean sure this show was made in 2004, but cell phones were pretty widespread at this point. They waited outside each other’s homes all night, but no one thought to just use their cell phone to call and say, “Where you at, yo?”

I was on a roll after Pride. Trying to consume whatever I could find of Kimura Takuya. I started A Sleeping Forest and promptly put that freaky thing on hold. Then watched Long Vacation a quirky Noona romance when Kimutaku was in his 20s. I followed that with Love Generation another 20-something romance, this time featuring a love/hate OTP relationship. Both were okay, but neither rose to the level of carving out a special place in my heart like Pride did.

Love Generation certainly had some memorable moments. One featured the brother of Kimura’s character, Teppei. His older brother is about to marry Teppei’s ex-girlfriend from high school. But, he’s having an affair with a woman from his past that has Yakuza ties. And boy is she a cuckoo bird especially when older brother tries to break up with her. She turns into crazy stalker of him and fiancé. And just when I thought this lady was crazy enough, she pulls out what I think is a switchblade to stab him. Okay, but no, it’s actually either a permanent red Sharpie or lipstick and starts writing on his chest goodbye in Japanese.

What I remember most about both of these dramas is Kimura was always running, running, running everywhere all the time. And he was so young. And seems to specialize in playing the awkward, almost nerdy guy. Except in Pride.

He must be good for me to watch shows that aren’t in HD. My brother was right. Once you go widescreen, HD or retina display, you never go back. But for Kimutaku I did. And now I’m fangirling all over the place. Considering my usual group is k-drama focused, I even had to find another group that focused on Asian dramas that aren’t Korean, but I probably need one specific to Kimutaku.

I started his current drama I’m Home, but my Korean drama watching groups suddenly got busy with several really good shows so it’s on pause for now, too. But I’ll definitely go back. It has an interesting premise. I recommend watching Pride and Ando Lloyd. If you can handle shrill female leads then go ahead and try Long Vacation and Love Generation, but they’re skippable unless you are truly a new fan.

One worth remaking: Liar Game

Liar Game is the first Asian drama I’ve watched that I think could easily be successfully adapted as a remake for American TV. Yep, I am all about the Liar Game universe right now.

Currently I’m watching both the original Japanese and the Korean versions of the show. The Korean Liar Game is 12 episodes and is just about to end. It slightly alters the original Japanese manga storyline by making Liar Game and reality TV show that’s broadcast and emphasizes the psychological aspects of gamesmanship. The Japanese show has two 13-episode seasons and a movie. It’s far more creepy and mysterious because Liar Game is not happening in public, but being run by a (so far) nameless organization operating in the shadows, toying with the desperate or greedy participants.

Whenever I hear of a western network or production company planning to do a remake of a K-drama or a J-drama, I’m always skeptical or flat out adamantly against it. Mostly I’m against these remakes because some of the things K-drama fans enjoy about the TV shows and some of the conventions unique to them just don’t work for an American audience. For example, when the jokes or story hinges on use of formal and informal speech, or other customs specific to South Korea and it’s key to moving the story along…it just doesn’t work well. Liar Game doesn’t have anything culturally specific driving the story so that’s a huge issue removed. It would be cool to blend the scariness of the Japanese show and the reality TV show take from the Korean version. I’m picturing a crazy Orphan Black vibe.

I would be really excited if Liar Game was remade for BBC America. Hey, BBC America let’s make this happen!


Side note: So far the following Korean dramas have been acquired by American networks or production companies to remake:

  • Nine Times Travels
  • Good Doctor
  • Reply 1997 (as Answer Me 1999)
  • 3rd Hospital
  • Vampire Prosecutor

There was an attempt to remake Boys Over Flowers late last year by a small production company, but lack of funding caused it to crash and burn. I applaud the earnestness and the passion the company had for the show, but without Gossip Girl type funding and a solid plot, it was doomed from the start.