Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Currently watching: Shimokita Sundays

Between Liar Game 2, Boss and Bloody Monday, it occurred to me that I ran the risk of overdosing on po-faced looks and tense undercurrents so I decided to look around for something lighter to break the mood.

So I dug around on an old hard drive, and decided upon Shimokita Sundays as a nice antidote. It’s based around a university student who stumbles upon hapless theatre group at a happening they organise at her university (which involves sawing the lectern into pieces). Intrigued, she goes to a play of theirs and is so enraptured that she then joins them.

At its heart, it’s a fairly typical story of how youthful innocence can win the day. What sets it apart is the strong ensemble cast of oddities and outcasts. While J-dramas often have these misfits, they tend to be in the background ready for the occasional comedy prat fall. In Shimokita Sundays, they’re given enough space and time to become proper characters, with each one given an episode in which they feature. Every one, of course, carries a terrible burden which is overcome with the help of their friends, but although it’s predictable, it’s still entertaining.

The final episode is a bit of a shame, involving old friends finally reconciling in pretty unlikely circumstances, and a fairly artificial race against the clock to get to the theatre on time, but the eight episodes leading up to that are all little gems. God bless its little optimistic socks.

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