Japanese: 笑顔の法則 (2003)
English: Living Today for Tomorrow, Always Smiling
I admit that I haven’t finish watching the entire series and I don’t know if I will (can) ever finish it. I read good reviews about this drama as this is actually one of the few where Abe Hiroshi plays a ‘normal’-person role. However, upon watching the first 3 episodes I am still clueless what the story is about. The plot seems simple, manga artist Sakurai Reijiro (played by Abe Hiroshi) was hired by a publishing company to draw for them in a secluded vacation inn. He will be accompanied by baito-jin and assistant Yumi (Takeuchi Yuko).
If it turned out to be a love story between the two then I will be raving about this and even posting on my Social Networking pages. There were instances when Sakurai seems to be flirting but I doubt if there will be anything that develops more than sheer amiable professional relationship between these two.
Anyway, best thing about this drama is Abe Hiroshi’s boyish looks and the first time I have seen him relaxed in his role. One of my girl friends told me that even if he is a very attractive man, she find Abe-san to be too tensed and the personality is too-Japanese, that’s why she gets tired watching his shows. Anyway, I think this drama shows Abe Hiroshi’s other side.
“This is the drama that you should watch to ENJOY Abe Hiroshi.”
(UPDATE:) I just finished the 12th and last episode. Overall, I’m giving this a passing mark. Nothing spectacular, it’s not the the type that will keep you engrossed and glued to your seat for a weekend marathon but rather the old-school type which you’d watch one episode per week, just like the way we do before the era of dvds, torrents and streams.
(SPOILERS:) Episode 9 is my favorite episode and I’m sure a lot of fans would agree. It’s when Abe Hiroshi and Takeuchi Yuko had ‘rabu-rabu’ moments and even almost confessed their feelings towards each other. I even thought they looked good together and there was a tinge of chemistry in there, which is very rare for an Abe Hiroshi drama.
Most fans were disappointed with the “handshake” ending but I guess, it’s just the lack of overall coherence and the failure to convey the crux theme that bothered me while watching this. I swear, on the 2nd episode I thought there would really be a horror subplot.
Lastly, just an advice – the actor who played the role of “Kazuya” should probably think of changing careers. Clearly, the entertainment industry doesn’t suit him at all!! May I suggest doing something which doesn’t involve too much communication with other people because TBH, I have never heard anyone with such a degree of apathy on his voice.