Review: Strawberry On Shortcake [2001]

S.OAlternative Title: S.O.S. / SOS
Format: Renzoku
Episodes: 10
Broadcast network: TBS
Broadcast period: 2001-Jan-12 to 2001-Mar-16

Opening song: Chiquitita by ABBA
Ending song: S.O.S. by ABBA

Production Credits:

Screenwriter: Nojima Shinji
Producer: Ito Kazuhiro
Directors: Doi Nobuhiro, Matsubara Hiroshi (松原浩)
Music: Senju Akira

Cast:

Takizawa Hideaki as Irie Manato
Fukada Kyoko as Misawa Yui
Uchiyama Rina as Sawamura Haruka
Kubozuka Yosuke as Saeki Tetsuya

Plot: (TBS)
At some point, Irie Manato (Takizawa Hideaki) began to withdraw himself from the world. Even when picked on, it’s not the real Irie, but an act. However one day he meets a strange girl – Misawa Yui (Fukada Kyoko). Yui, who finds the tedium of everyday life unbearable, teases Manato with her almost too upfront and honest manner. Alone and afraid Manato wavers but finds himself drawn to her. But his feelings for Yui are doomed to be unrequited.

I Say…

It was like I just watched Honey & Clover and Wicker Park…it was torture. You know, I can’t imagine falling in love and hurting has all sorts of forms and instances. Strawberry on the Shortcake now belongs to my growing list of weird love stories done for TV/Movie.

S.O.S is not so new to me for I have known about it for ages. I just purposely restrained myself from reading reviews & synopses so as no t to spoil my longing to watch the drama. When my chance finally came, I thought that it was worth the wait. The moment I got to the middle (episode 5), I started tor read the comments and some of the synopses just to give myself some more suspense. It turned out that S.O.S also had quite a number of critiques.

Now I’m actually one of them. I had second thoughts of proceeding with it because at some point I was already beginning to feel sad for Manato. Then I reconsidered and said that how it will end matters more than how it began. (I learned that after watching Wicker Park long ago.) Now that I’ve finally got myself out of the tortuous viewing, I can slowly absorb S.O.S’ happy ending. Manato was always ending his narration with the phrase ” And because of that I will never forget you…”. You can’t blame me for guessing that maybe Yui might die or end up with Saeki or someone else in the end! OK, so much for spoilers… Just bear in mind that it was still Manato & Yui during the few seconds remaining on the display (I always display the number of seconds/minutes left every time I watch DVDs).

Despite negative comments about the entire story and calling it useless, I’m still convinced that it was intentional to deceive the audience, letting them share the sadness and then leave them feeling satisfied in the end. There are worse plots if you would ask me, and I think S.O.S is just fine. I personally do not think that it’s senseless in any way, because it actually opened my eyes to endless possibilities or ways of falling in love, discovering one’s feeling for another and letting the person know how you actually feel.

Although Yui succumbed to a painstaking strategy, she and Manato were still able to pull it through. So, being a writer myself…hail to the people who gave life to such a good story. I just hate the part when Yui pretended to be dead… I felt like someone toyed with my emotions when she opened her eyes and gave Saeki and Haruka a peace sign. She’s my least favorite character in the story.It was Sawamura Haruka who acted the real heroine, remaining a faithful friend and a real person in love. (Uchiyama Rina kind of looks like Megan Lai, don’t you think?) As for the two guys…well they did great too. Takezawa Hideaki & Kubozuka Yosuke were convincing actors.

S.O.S is really a “creative” love story It’ll surely leave you feeling like you watched suspense instead of drama. Interesting, isn’t it?

Credits to: JDorama.com: Strawberry On Shortcake

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