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30 October 2009 @ 03:40 pm
A Non-Soragumi Review OMG! -- Fifty-Fifty  
Life is being annoying and trying to keep me down in a funk.

I defy you, life! I am going to talk about something happy!!

Fifty-Fifty

Summary:

Jonathan and Victor are two best friends who grew up in an orphanage together. Now as adults they both make their livings deceiving people -- Victor as a gigolo, and Jonathan as a real estate consultant who takes a generous sum out of customers' transactions. Thanks to their "good friend" Morris the gangster they get caught up in a homicide and, having never dealt with anything so serious before, flee the scene of the crime.

Meanwhile, in the small village of Benson, residents are worried that the young people keep leaving for the big cities and no one's getting married to produce the next generation. Kirk, one such young person seeking his fortune, becomes a highway patrol officer. Having been given grief from his elders for leaving town, when he comes upon the two fugitives on the road he coerces them into going to Benson.

There Jonathan is reunited with his childhood friend Clara and is made to work as a farmhand under her grandmother Helen. Victor does an amusing turn as a parson and, though he's made his life on empty relationships up until now, starts to develop genuine affection for a world-weary bar owner named Pamela. In the village the two men discover their true selves and feel their hearts begin to change... as they change the lives of the people around them as well.

Thoughts:

It's your average love comedy / feel-good-movie kind of story.

That being said, I adored every second of it. I mean, it starts out with the two otokoyaku leads in opposing black-and-white suits sexing up the stage, accompanied by dance music and a narration about "The Internet! Modern Technology!" and such. WHAT COULD BE BETTER.

Plus, THE COUNTRY ACCENTS. I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF JAPANESE HICK ACCENTS, YOU HAVE NO IDEA. And and, there are babies in cow costumes. And cute country dances. And various hijinks, and one of those omg-plot-twists-although-you-probably-could-have-figured-out. And the ending isn't "yaaaayyyyy, we got away with everything!!" but "okay that was fun, now we need to man up and take responsibility for our actions" and then it's semi-happy and semi-wtf. ^^;;;

But I must note that the poster was false advertising, because at no point do they get tied to a tree and shot at. ;P

The actresses:

Jonathan (Hanagata Hikaru): Mitsuruuuuuuuuu ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ I won't even try to hide my Mitsuru bias here; you should know that all she has to do is stand around with her fluffy hair looking smirky and I'm happy. ;) But hey, there was some depth of character there. Jonathan's Angst Point™ is his inability to forgive his mother for drinking herself into the grave and ruining his life. Eventually he gets punched in the face by Victor, who's like "at least you knew your mother". And then Jonathan goes through the typical "I love you, Clara, but I don't want to ruin your life as well". But despite his inner turmoil, he still manages to help the village leader's son from becoming a shut-in. Aaaawwwww. Mitsuru gets the girl in the end and all is happy happy. (For those curious, I did feel like Mitsuru got the more standout role in this double lead.)

Victor (Mano Sugata): On the other hand, as biases go Meo has never really thrilled me. She was capable, I guess I can almost see the appeal, but to me it was kind of "shining because she's playing off someone else I like". Anyway, Victor's growth comes from his time as an unwilling preacher actually making him turn toward God... And, instead of going for the girl he has feelings for, reuniting her with her estranged ex-husband (you'll never guess who... or can you? ;)

Clara (Shirahana Remi): Pretty typical stuff musumeyaku-wise and love-comedy-wise. Clara gets to have that conversation with Jonathan about "you have to forgive your mother, or else you'll never live a truly happy life / be able to love someone / etc." It was sweet, just not very original. Oh, and her inner angst is having gone to the big city for love, then getting used and dumped. But it's not really explored, because they never explore the musumeyaku's feelings as much. :P

Pamela (Kayou Kirari): I definitely liked Kirari as the older woman who's seen the world and has secret demons and all that fun stuff. She doesn't seem to be star-tracked anymore, but if she gets to do this kind of thing more often then I won't mind. :) Pamela has to deal with taking care of her "little sister" while also trying to open up her heart to Victor. Again, typical but sweet.

Kirk (Nozomi Fuuto): Daimon with a thick country accent and a highway patrol officer's uniform. CAN I SAY YES, HALLELUJAH AND AMEN TO THAT. Sooooooo much fun. I don't remember much of what she did other than be meddling, apologetic and really hick-ish. But I loved her to teeny tiny bits ♥ ♥ ♥

Billy (Yuugiri Rai): Nerds in Takarazuka are always cute ♥ Billy's Angst Point™ is wanting nothing more than to hear that his father is proud of him... But he loses his job (not knowing that it was because of one of Jonathan and Victor's schemes) and so decides his only choice is to become a shut-in. After Jonathan talks him out of life as a recluse, Billy becomes a cartoon voice actor. CUTE.

Morris (Yuuma Rin): Sooooooooooooo funny. Morris is the washed-up gangster who insists on sticking to the iconic mafia image even though it's soooo old-fashioned. ;) There's this one part where he's about to explain to Jonathan and Victor what it means to be a gangster -- backup dancers in sunglasses come out of the woodwork -- and then the music just cuts out and Morris is like, eh? No song? ;______; Omg so great, I loves Marin-san. And I love her interaction with...

Cathy (Amasaki Chihana): AMACHAKI. IS THE BESTEST. Unfortunately everything I've said up until now makes it sound like she's not important to the story, which she kind of isn't, but okay. She's Jonathan's secretary who can't possibly be doing much because she doesn't actually like to get her hands dirty. XDD;; She's also an aspiring actress. And there's this scene. Where she comes back from failing an audition. And Misturu and Meo are like, talking about plot-related things in the foreground, and she's in the background doing all of these DRAMATIC GESTURES I HAVE ANGST AND SUFFERING, SEE ME ANGST. Then when no one notices her she throws herself on the ground into the middle of things and is like WAAAAHHHHH LISTEN TO MY PAIN. Clearly Cathy could never actually be a good actress, but her ham acting is spot on. Which is why she eventually gets a job in an animal costume on a kids' show. XDDDD;;; Amachakiiiii I love you and she actually does get a little moment where she talks with Morris about her dream and stuff. All she really wants to do is make people happy by her performance, so maybe a kids' show isn't so bad. Sweet, sweet, sweet. And love ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

...Longest paragraph so far, yeah, we can tell who Julie actually liked the most. XDDD;; But other people!

Helen (Kuni Natsuki): The busybody grandma who's old but spry. Makes Jonathan do really traumatic farm work like cutting off chickens' heads. Awesome. XDDD (But really has everyone's best interests at heart, awww.)

Mr. Coleman (Mayuzuki Kou): The village leader. Mmmm, cowboy hats.

Trevor (Shiyou Rene): The, um, assistant to the village leader? I could never quite figure out what this role was.

Rebecca (Nana Kurara): Pamela's "sister". Cute, whines about "you don't have time for me anymore and I'm in the way of your romance", causes trouble by running away, etc.

Ayashiro Rea, Kouga Asahi: Mmmm, cowboy hats. ;D

Ginka Sui: Hapless thug. Good times.

Asahi Mirai: "Bull-kun".

Sachika Seira: "Cow-chan".

Final verdict:

A- for lack of originality, outweighed by super fun times and overwhelming cuteness.

(Note because it's oddly relevant: Asahi Mirai was announced to be out sick from Tokyo Berubara. :\)
 
 
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A fascination frantic in a ruin that's romanticshirabyoshi on October 30th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
All right, now I care. ;)

Thank you for writing up the most essential points! But is it my imagination or would this show have been happier to be performed by Soragumisei?
Julie: baby sora otokoyakuwao_wao on October 30th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Do you mean it would have been a better fit with Soragumi, or that I would have said "A++" if it was Soragumi? ;)

I could say "Everything is happier when done by Soragumi", but that's obviously not true because there are many things I'd rather they not do at all. But... well.

You know, I just don't have a good way to end this. It's bedtime, I think. ^^;;;
A fascination frantic in a ruin that's romanticshirabyoshi on October 31st, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Do you mean it would have been a better fit with Soragumi, or that I would have said "A++" if it was Soragumi? ;)

Both! It seems like the kind of whimsical, youthful play that might suit Soragumi in particular, and of course you would have liked it more if it had been performed by Soragumi, because you would already have known and loved Bull-kun and Cow-chan. ;)
quinquinquinquin on October 30th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
The play summary put me in the mood to re-watch Hopscotch.

Sounds like great fun of the lightweight variety. I'm glad Mitsuru got a lead role, hopefully a good sign for the future.

I think "Bull-kun" and "Cow-chan" has very good potential as nicknames :-)

Hopefully Bull-kun gets well soon.
econneconn on October 30th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
Cows! Cowboy hats! Gigolo!Priest!Meo (snort)! INTERNETS!

This show wins.
ruderal_species: Osa by Forceruderal_species on October 31st, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
You have succeeded in making me really want to see a show in which I know who exactly two people are (Kuni Natsuki and Hanagata Hikaru in that "Her hair always makes me think of Yumiko" way. ;) )

Must... See.... Underclassmen cows.... *dies*
Sskyinhim on November 2nd, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
Thanks for this summary!!! I've been longing to know more about Fifty-Fifty forever xD

Who is the father though? Billy? I'm being creative ;)