In a time of J-drama drought, the TV channel WOWOW comes to the rescue. This is a charming drama about a man who, after a failed suicide attempt, finds seven letters from years ago and decides to deliver them.
Despite the heavy themes of suicide and alienation, it retains a sense of humour. Each letter has its own little story and I did enjoy episode two, with its tale of hero-worship and adversity. But I do worry that there’s only so many times you can argue about whether there’s a point to life before it gets repetitive.
The music is interesting, too. Mostly trumpet and accordion. It seems like the director is a fan of Mitani Kouki or perhaps European arthouse cinema. It certainly made a change from bland, licensed J-pop and it added to the drama's jolly but slightly unsettling atmosphere.
Also there is one character, a doctor, who is perhaps the first character in a J-drama to react to the beautiful lead actress (Kuriyama Chiaki) in the way any normal person would: with a big old comedy double take. Viewers of Japanese TV series often have to suspend belief and imagine that Inoue Mao or Karina are ugly because everyone keeps calling them that. Finally, there’s someone in J-dramaland who’s noticed how good looking their co-star is.
Plus, for some reason, I really liked the fact that it was snowing in episode one.