It’s quite rare that you see something on TV or a movie that really strikes a chord with you – that has an effect that you won’t forget. I got that recently when a friend sent me all 12 episodes of a Japanese drama called Hana Kimi (also known as 'Anazakari no Kimitachi e').
Basically, it’s about a girl who enters an all-boys school – and it’s not a normal school it’s a ‘hotties’ school – where only hot guys can study (lol!). No, keep on reading, please!!
Anyway, Ashiya, the girl, has her own reasons for wanting to be in the school, and a love triangle soon develops around her, involving the object of her affections Sano (who becomes her room-mate) and friend Nakatsu (who starts to fancy Ashiya and gets very confused, thinking he might be gay).
Hana-Kimi has got everything – drama, romance, sadness, and comedy. And above all, it has characters – tons and tons of characters. We get to meet a lot of the 32 school-boys in Ashiya’s year, plus the teachers and staff too.
One of the best things about the series is that the year is split into three ‘Dorms’ - Dorm 1 is martial arts, Dorm 2 is sporty and Dorm 3 is Performing Arts. Dorm 3 is led by Oscar, a hilarious luvvie who tends to get possessed by demons and female spirits - he starts off a bit daft, but gets insanely funny. Dorm 1 – they all wear karate outfits – is led by Tennouji, who is adorable and slightly insane and aggressive, prone to outbursts and attacks!
Characters from Dorm 2 include the leader (a womaniser), and the leader’s gay friend, who has a cute crush on him.
The school scenes are a joy to watch, with lots of over-acting from everyone involved and plenty of stupidity. In fact, the whole thing in places reminded me of Rentaghost!
Some parts are hard to sit through - it does occasionally get too silly, and also there is a slight air of homophobia in places (one of the love-triangle lads shouts “I’m not a homo” when he realises he still likes women). And yet, the other gay character is lovingly portrayed.
But the episodes are completely worth sitting through for the final half an hour. I tell you, I was weeping non-stop. No, nothing horrible happens, nothing major – it’s just a very very touching moment which involves all the characters we’ve got to know over the episodes (and even the ones that barely said anything). It is absolutely beautifully done. It goes on for quite a long time, and I didn’t think I was going to stop crying.
Speaking of which, I actually don’t know how they managed to make this show. With so much going on, it could so easily have spiralled out of control, but the tone is always maintained – whatever it happens to be at any given moment. I’d love to see this show be adapted for UK TV, but somehow I don’t think it would work. There’s a certain naïve innocence about Hana-Kimi, the actors don’t mind making fools of themselves, and I think many people are just too cynical for it these days, sadly.
Anyway, if you fancy it, all of Hana Kimi is on Youtube with subtitles! Highly recommended! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2S1KAZ9GL0