I was desperately browsing recent titles of Japanese drama to watch for this vacation from my stressful work, and meanwhile, my lil sister interrupted me just to tell me I shouldn’t waste my time to look for a good one, however, she eventually recommended a series titled Good Morning Call to be watched on Netflix which she believed I would get ecstatic for it because she knew my taste very well.
This is all about your average-minded student in the name of Nao Yoshikawa who lives by herself because her family runs a farm in the countryside. One day, she moves to her new apartment and to her surprise, it is also rented by Hisashi Uehara, a popular handome guy in her school. Due to whole renting fiasco as to pay a cheaper rent, they end up living together without a choice. But, of course, they are young and they need to keep this secret in their school, or else…
Good Morning Call is another live action adaptation of an old manga series created in 1997 by Yue Takasuka. The manga title does not ring a bell at all, but browsing it further made me realized that it was actually rated with high star, with at least good plot for readers who love to read an average story about youngsters in romantic stage of their adolescence. I love the genre though I must be honest and proud to say that I’m about to reach the quarter stage of my life and still love watching the cliche part of a shoujo romance. There’s nothing wrong about it, so live young.
Romance, comedy, drama, slice of life – a complete package that I am actually looking for when it comes to a shoujo series. Much more, the spice of this 17-episode live action can be already seen in the first episode and there is the whole thing that speaks for the plot – your typical baka girl who meets the popular, genius, handsome guy in their school, and every positive attribution falls for this young man, except for one thing, he is cold-hearted towards every fangirls around him and he rarely, or rather never smiles, rejects love letter and does not accept gifts from his admirers, but for them, that’s his asset. As I watched this character playing the flat affect look on his face together with this easygoing dumb looking girl, it made me remind of another live action adaptation Itazura na Kiss: Love in Tokyo, plus the two main leads also live in the same roof which feels like Irie-Kotoko story. So, I thought, I would totally love the shoujo feel of the live action adaptation since Itazura Kiss has been always my top favorite when it comes to romantic comedy.
Due to Uehara’s cold personality towards Nao, the hate-to-love thing is quite expected in the series and I could have already guessed that their disastrous relationship in one roof will turn out into something different, and expect the cliche part of a love polygon. While Nao gradually realizes he likes Uehara, in the other way, Uehara still cares for this beautiful girl named Yuri whom he has liked for a long time and who is also his brother’s wife. The storyline mostly revolves around this conflict and this is the point where strong emotions are depicted in the story. However, as it reaches the second half of the series, a lot of events in their lives will happen, different story will prevail and the excitement to watch the series further is still at its peak.
Generally speaking, the romance part does not give off much idea for a new world of shoujo. There are a number of scenes that are already used in other series, and some events are already predictable which doesn’t offer that hyped feeling. However, this live action drama tries its extent to show the reality of young romance which give you the thought of “I want to be in love again.” Since the manga started at late 90s, I guess there were small variety of shoujo manga during those times that young ones were into it, and everyone must have enjoyed a typical young romance, and until these modern days, everyone enjoys it. That’s the magic, I think. Because most of us tend to watch a series that can easily mirror the daily world, and the main leads, Nao and Uehara, are just like those real couple that we love to watch.
What I also like about the series is that, it is simply entertaining. Watching school life of Japanese setting amuses me a lot and I could already imagine if I were one of the characters in the series. Their school life simply depicts the reality of being about to reach the late period of adolescence such as experiencing sleepless nights for major exams, being with friends whom they consider as the primary significant others, conflicts with parents arise, and everything that associates with this stage of life. The series makes me want to enter their world, and I badly want to go back to that period of life. (But hey, I am not that old enough and I’m just 20 something.)
The female protagonist is played by Haruka Fukuhara. Forgive me if I say I’m not familiar with this young actress and I’ve never seen her in a drama, but she has a little resemblance with the well-known actress Yui Aragaki. Despite her unpopularity in my own world, the actress herself easily grabbed my attention because she knows how to handle the role, she appropriately delivers the role of a typical airhead girl, her gestures are perfection and I simply love watching her throughout the series. She is effortlessly entertaining as a character in a shoujo manga. Perhaps, I could ask for more role for this potential young actress.
The overrated genius handsome student, Hisashi Uehara, is also played by a handsome actor, Shunya Shiraishi. His character in the series is quite challenging for him because he needs to maintain a disposition of a total cold-hearted guy, and what I love with regards to his acting performance is that, he can easily portray his emotions through the expression of his eyes. He doesn’t only give you that sharp looks, but his eyes simply speak for his feelings, and I was able to convey that. He has a lot more to offer, so I hope they will give him more major roles with his career.
So, is this live action adaptation highly recommended? Yes it is, if you love typical shoujo romance. But if you’re that type of audience who easily gets annoyed of too much lovey dovey scenario because you think you are matured enough, then I tell you, you do not need to force yourself to watch it. What is good in my eyes is not always good in your point of view. Better not to hold your expectations too high. But for me, yes, I enjoyed watching it.