Last Friends is one of those shows that I keep seeing mentioned, but never got round to watching. Well, finally, I’m making the effort to fill this gap in my J-drama knowledge. Released in 2008, it tells the story of five young Japanese adults and their difficult relationships. Eita plays a hair stylist, Takeru, who everyone thinks is gay, but he secretly loves Ruka. Ruka (Ueno Juri) is a lesbian motocross racer who loves Michiru (Nagasawa Masami) but she has an abusive boyfriend. That’s the backbone of the story, but there are other issues branching off from that.
First thing to note is how nice it is to see Ueno Juri in a role that really stretches her. She was okay in Nodame Cantabile and Sunao ni Narenakute, but it’s good seeing her really getting into under a character’s skin the way she does here. Nagasawa Masami is also great as the abused girlfriend, displaying the right amounts of neediness, guilt and affection for her husband so that it’s clear she always wants to give him a second chance.
I also liked having just the one storyline around which the others revolve. While it might be nice to know more about the other people, that would take away from focusing on the main plot. Recently I've seen a couple of shows which didn’t seem to know what they were about. No such problems with this drama. And the mix of light hearted scene with the friends together makes the darker more violent stuff more powerful and more uncomfortable to watch. I’m four episodes in and it’s really starting to pick up momentum. I’ve already read on the internet about the conclusion to one particular relationship, but I’m keen to see where the others go.