Saturday, February 9, 2013

JDrama Review: Sprout

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The Gist: Highschooler Miku, played by Aoi Morikawa, thinks her life is over when her parents decide to turn their home into a boarding house. Her opinion quickly changes when one of the three new borders is her "fated" man, her classmate Sohei (Yuri Chinen). Miku only knows Sohei is her fated man by the touch of his hand, remembering a time when someone helped her while she was feeling sick at school. Still, sure of this discovery, Miku is determined to make Sohei her boyfriend. That decision is complicated slightly by the entrance of Sohei's longtime girlfriend, Miyuki, portrayed by Fujiko Kojima. Trying to leave the two of them be, Miku turns her attentions towards Sohei's best friend Hayato (Jesse Lewis).  However, Sohei turns out to be a hard man to forget, considering he's living in the room next door. Miku's stuck between the two boys, hoping to find her love without hurting too many people.


1. The Simplicity:

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Sprout is the quintessential summer hit, an easy flow of problems that never become to heavy punctuated by glasses of tea and slices of watermelon. Sprout doesn't depend on large shocking events and surprising plot twists to keep the story moving. It really is a feel good drama, whose story is as warm and relaxed as a Japanese summer. That doesn't mean the story is bland, however, but embraces its soft aspects for enjoyable watching.

2. The Music:

It's a rare thing that when watching a show, I stop and have to look up the music. However, when Grouplove's "Betty's a Bombshell" played, I immediately hopped over to YouTube to find the song. When I got there, all the comments said that Sprout brought them to the video. That song is just one example of how the music on Sprout matches it's easygoing tone and will probably have you listening to it on repeat for a few days. 

3.  Sohei Narahashi:

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Sohei is one of those rare characters who I find to be just genuinely likable. It's obvious why Miku has a difficult time forgetting about him as he is kind and sweet. Even though he is going through a difficult time with his family, he never comes across as moody or mean. Thumbs up, Chinen! Your character is awesome.


1. The Other Boarders:

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Honestly, I had to Google the names of the two college kids that move in when Sohei did. Mayuko Kawakita plays Kiyoka Taniyama, a bubbly girly girl, who's very involved with her boyfriend. Ryosuke Hashimoto as Naoji Takigawa is a nerdy otaku type. Honestly, they both seemed like stereotypes and less like well developed characters. I would have liked to see them get more screen time to supplement the man story line. That said, there were a few scenes that played them up nicely and sometimes used them as mentors for our leads.


1. Miku's Reasoning

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Ok. Miku's totally obsessed with Sohei because he held her hand once and took her to see a nurse. This does not warrant the level of solitary fascination that Miku develops. Any normal person would help someone who's sick. Since Sohei is actually a nice guy, I feel like at some point she should stop focusing on his hand. I get that it's supposed to be a metaphor for deeper feelings, but when she's with Hayato and doesn't feel all excited about his hand, it just bugged me. Hayato may not be as extroverted as Sohei, but he's just as nice which brings us to...

2. The Other Halves

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As much as it's obvious our Miku and Sohei are working towards each other, the worse you feel for Hayato and Miyuki, who are both stellar people. It would be one thing if there were obvious reason the Hayato/Miku and Sohei/Miyuki pairings wouldn't work, but the show instead seems to show just how well those pairings work and still insists on being hung up on Miku/Sohei. I guess I give Sprout credit for making their decisions difficult, but I still didn't love it.


So... Sprout is a good choice if you're looking for something light. It's definitely focused on the romance, with little else to hold your attention. The focus isn't bad, however, and it is good at being the kind of show it is. Warning: if you watch this show in the winter, it will make you pine for the summer.

Final Grade: B

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