I watched the first episode of a new drama called Koibumi Biyori yesterday night. It’s broadcasting on Nihon TV with a really late Monday-night time-slot(technically Tuesday morning). Koibumi Biyori is based off a manga by the same name and its unique in the sense that it’s what is called an ‘omnibus’. I wasn’t actually familiar with this term myself in English or Japanese so I had to look it up. It’s where a story is split up into parts that are each separate from each other and have their own characters. This is pretty original for a drama, I don’t think I’ve seen one until now that does this. Unfortunately the actual content and acting in the drama wasn’t very good, I’d even go so far as to say that it was awful.
This drama, like Tokyo Toybox, has short 20 minute episodes. As you can imagine, it would probably be pretty difficult to fit a lot of content into 20 minutes but this drama in particular should have been saved from that handicap by the fact that, like I said before, it’s an omnibus. Think again. The story shown in Episode 1 was a typical high school love story. There’s a boy and a girl in the same class and the girl is a transfer student from another school. Because of this she’s a bit of an outcast and doesn’t have a lot of friends(actually none). The boy has secretly had a crush on her for awhile but lacks the courage to talk to her. This changes one day, when she sends a letter addressed to him to his house and tells him that she doesn’t want him to “forget her” because she might “disappear”. This is another reason she doesn’t have many friends, she’s kind of weird.
He realises that the girl he had a crush on wrote it so he writes a reply back. The next time he sees her at school nothing as changed and she completely ignores him as usual. He then assumes that maybe it wasn’t her who wrote the letter to him after all. When he goes to leave school that day he runs into her near a park and she’s talking to a guy that looks over twice her age. He tries to pretend he didn’t see it and walk past but she stops him and uses going home with him as an excuse to get away from the older guy. They then walk what seems like only a few hundred metres and she stops and says she’s fine(The guy you just ran away from is still like only hundreds of metres away?). He asks her where here house is and she says “here”, sits on a bench, pulls out a book and starts reading, ignoring him again. He takes this as a hint and goes back home.
While at home it’s getting dark and he remembers that he overheard some of his classmates talking about his crush, joking saying that she had been “living” in a park. He finally puts two and two together and runs back to the park to try and find her. She’s still on the bench, but this time she’s trying to sleep. He questions her about it and she decides that she wants to wash herself in the fountain nearby. He tries to stop her but she doesn’t listen to him and gets in it. After which, he tries to pull her out but she pulls him into the fountain instead and they both get saturated. So yeah, he invites her back home and they take a bath together(fully clothed) and she stays the night(he lives with his mother and older brother so no they don’t fuck). She leaves again the next day.
So some time passes and he receives another letter from her, in which she confesses to having being raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She feels extremely guilty about this. This seem kind of strange to me but I’ve never been raped so I’m not sure if it’s a weird reaction or not. It turns out that she’s always being transferred around to different schools because her mother has bad man-habits and ends up chasing guys all around Japan. Anyway, after finding this out he runs back to the park again and finds her telling her to come live with him and to never go home again. They end up kind of arguing and then kissing in the end, but it’s the last time they ever meet. She ends up moving to Hokkaido to live with her actual father soon after and she sends him a letter about it again one day. The end.
Admittedly they fit quite a lot into 20 minutes. But I think that might have been the problem. It all felt extremely forced and the plot just seemed well…Ridiculous. I’m sure there are people that get raped by their mother’s boyfriends in real life and I’m not making fun of that, it’s just that the acting and they way they portrayed the story made it all very hard to believe. I know that it’s a work of fiction and I’m not saying that dramas or movies should follow the guidelines of reality strictly. However, I do not want to feel like I’m watching a drama when I’m watching it. I at least want to be pulled into whatever world they’re trying to portray inside the work a little. I want some sense of immersion. You really just can’t enjoy watching something if every couple of minutes you think “okay I’m definitely watching something right now”. If you’re considering watching this one give it a miss. It’s definitely not worth 20 minutes of your life.