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[upcoming] [drama Japan 2007] Utahime / Song Princess


Guest t3n5h1_chu_k015h173

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Guest t3n5h1_chu_k015h173

NAGASE TOMOYA, AIBU SAKI, SATO RYUTA, OHKURA TADAYOSHI

Title: ??

Title (Romaji): Utahime

Also known as: Song Princess

Genre:

Format: Renzoku

Broadcast network: TBS

Broadcast period: 2007-Oct to 2007-Dec

Air time: Friday 22:00

Theme song:

Synopsis

The drama is a comedy set in Kochi prefecture and Nagase will play two characters - father of a daughter who's called 'utahime' and son of the 'utahime'.

Cast

Nagase Tomoya

Aibu Saki

Sato Ryuta

Ohkura Tadayoshi

Saito Yuki

Furuya Ikko

Fubuki Jun

Takada Junji (????)

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Guest jade_frost

Official website: http://www.tbs.co.jp/uta-hime/

Set in 1955 (Showa 30), Nagase plays a frivolous, belligerent man suffering from amnesia due to the war who drifts to Tosashimizu in Kochi prefecture and ends living there. Tosaben (dialect used in central and eastern Kochi) will be spoken every episode.

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Guest jade_frost

The official website is finally up. http://www.tbs.co.jp/uta-hime/

The first episode will run an extra 15 minutes. Nagase Tomoya plays two roles: Koizumi Asahi in the present day and Shimanto Taro in Showa 30 (1955)

Episode One Synopsis

In autumn 2007, Koizumi Asahi travels from Tokyo to Tosashimizu at the behest of his mother, Koizumi Sakura (Judy Ong), who is also a big singer called the diva of the Showa era. Sakura makes her son go to the distant Aichi movie theatre in order to let him watch the movie "Utahime" which her father loved greatly. Asahi sinks into his seat at Orion as he waits for the last screening of the day to start ... ...

The period changes to the rural town of Tosashimizu in the year Showa 30. Movie theatre, Orion's cinematographer Shimanto Taro, lives together with Orion's owner, Kishida Katsuo (Takada Junji), his wife Hamako (Fubuki Jun), and daughter Rei (Aibu Saki). Ten years ago, Katsuo had rescued Taro who had collapsed at Tosa's beach. He narrowly escaped death but has absolutely no recollection of his past, and was given the name Shimanto Taro. Taro and Rei always say spiteful things to each other, and always quarrel. However, Rei has a secret crush on Taro.

One day, Taro has a caustic exchange of words with the Yamanouchi family that heads Nakamura town and comes back. "From now on, leave the movies to me", he had heatedly told them. Katsuo is surprised beyond words when Taro proudly relates the incident to him. In this town, it is a terrible thing to defy the Yamanouchi family. Sure enough, Yamanouchi Oyabun (Furuya Kazuyuki) and a hooligan who goes by the name Kurowassan no Matsu have a secret meeting regarding the future of Orion.

On 15 August, the town holds a singing contest. Taro and Katsuo talk about the three-wheel vehicle that's the top prize of the contest. Jinguji (Okura Tadayoshi) who is forced to put up at the inn next to Orion that is run by Sabako (Saito Yuki) is also very interested in the prize. Rei decides to appear in the contest when she sees that Taro wants the three-wheel vehicle as he says that it isn't fashionable for a man to sing in front of people

On the other hand, Kurowassan no Matsu and hooligans begin their harassment of Orion ... ...

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Guest jade_frost

is this drama nice jade frost?

It hasn't started airing yet so I don't know. The first episode will be shown on 12 October at 10.00 pm. There are great expectations for it given the credentials of the production staff and the fact that Nagase's acting.

It sounds like it will be a bittersweet tale to me, seeing the lines on the main page of the official website.

Utahime_banner.PNG

In the meantime, here are some links.

Production announcement: http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=s0x5yiH8Kzc

14s spot CM: http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=eNSEIwmQFFc

30s spot CM: http://youtube.com/watch?v=S6_4ibPY_NE

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Guest strawberrynkiwi

Barely anyone knows about this drama at Soompi!!!

Nagase Tomoya is so awesome. I am not very into dramas that take place in the past, but this is totally working for me. I loved the first episode. I was kinda confused in many of the parts, like the relationship between people, but I am getting the hang of it now.. Some parts are so funny.

*Sigh* Finally a jdrama that I am satisfy with... for stress relief. lol

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bump?! :P

I just finished the first episode. sigh. it was breathtaking. it sounds like im exaggerating but i really loved the first episode. it was really smooth-flowing for me. it's a plus for me since i really love the lead actors. also, Nagase looks really good with this type of haircut.

like jade_frost mentioned, it seems it has a bit of a bittersweet atmosphere. hopefully it's not something of a "tearjerker". Aibu and Nagase do have good chemistry, nee?

anywayz, looking forward for more eps.

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Guest jade_frost

Utahime_banner.PNG

It's definitely bittersweet because this is how it goes,

"A man who lost his memory in the war,

has a woman who loves him.

Their love would go well,

so everyone thought."

Introduction to Utahime courtesy of TBS:

This drama is based on the legendary theatrical performance of Tokyo Seleccion Deluxe, led by Mikio Satake, the screenwriter of “Hana Yori Dango”. Taking place in the warm atmosphere of the Showa era, this drama depicts people who lived, loved, and dreamed with all their might. The setting is the late 1950s in Tosa Shimizu, a country town in Kochi Prefecture.

Ten years ago, Taro Shimanto (Tomoya Nagase), a projectionist at the movie theater “Orion-za,” barely escaped death when the theater owner, Katsuo Kishida (Junji Takada), found him lying on a beach in Tosa. Having lost his memory, he was called “Taro Shimanto” and has lived with Katsuo’s family since. Katsuo’s daughter, Suzu (Saki Aibu), is constantly quarreling with Taro, but is actually secretly in love with him.

This is the story of a man who lost his memory for 10 years due to the war and a woman who never stopped loving him. When it seemed that their love would reach a climax, a woman appears who claims to be Taro’s wife. What is Taro going to do? This is not only a domestic drama filled with laughter, but also a sad love story about people whose lives were torn apart by the war.

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Guest jade_frost

From Japan Times' Media Mix

Losing the plot and ratings when jumping on the Showa bandwagon

In order to keep people watching a TV drama series every week, it helps to have a loose plot thread — an overarching mystery that remains unexplained while the various story lines develop over time. The protagonist of the Friday night TBS serial, "Uta-Hime (Song Princess)" (10 p.m.), is Taro Shimanto (Tomoya Nagase), an employee of the Orion-za movie theater in a small Kochi Prefecture fishing town in the mid-1950s.

Taro was discovered lying unconscious on the beach at the end of World War II by the theater owner's young daughter, Suzu. He was dressed in a pilot's uniform and, when he regained consciousness, had no memory of who he was or how he got there. The theater owner essentially adopted Taro, making him the movie house's factotum and a member of the family.

If this plot sounds familiar, then you probably saw the 2001 American movie "The Majestic," starring Jim Carrey as a screenwriter who, in 1951, crashes his car in a California river and awakes with amnesia, after which he is taken in by the owner of a small town movie theater. "Uta-Hime" is based on a popular play of the same name that was first staged in 2004 by the Tokyo Seleccion Deluxe theater company. The company's leader, Mikio Satake, wrote the play and adapted it for television, and, as far as I can tell, he has never acknowledged his script's debt to "The Majestic," which was an original screenplay.

But "Uta-Hime" and "The Majestic" differ in fundamental ways. As hackneyed as the amnesia device is, it works better in "Uta-Hime." The main problem with "The Majestic" is that the theater owner believes the screenwriter is his son, a soldier who was missing in action in World War II, and the townsfolk incongruously end up believing he is the son, too. No such collective delusion afflicts the characters of "Uta-Hime," who aren't outwardly concerned about Taro's background and quickly accept him as one of their own.

The most significant difference between the two stories, however, is the way they each exploit nostalgia. In both, the movie theater stands for a simpler time when people partook of entertainment as a community. In "The Majestic" those days are already fading, thus setting the stage for the advent of television, which is a private entertainment. The movie palace has closed down. The amnesiac screenwriter reopens it and in doing so revives the town, which had been depressed over the loss of so many of its sons in the war.

The nostalgia of "Uta-Hime" is strictly a function of marketing. The producers want to cash in on the current "Showa boom" and do so by dropping as many signifiers as they can into each weekly episode. Every week there's a meal that features some emblematic 1950s dish, like "rice curry" (as opposed to today's "curry rice"), and popular products of the era, like Lotte Green Gum and three-wheeled motorcars, are positioned prominently.

Still, the producers also seem to be aiming the series at a demographic that doesn't have any nostalgic feelings for the era depicted since it's members weren't even born yet. The most important consideration for a commercial TV drama is its cast, and this one contains the usual mix of young idols and topical comedians, though it also includes a few of the actors who appeared in the original stage play. Some 1950s melodies are used as incidental music, but the theme song, "Seishun," was written by 1980s (late Showa, as it were) rock god Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi and performed by boy band TOKIO, of which Nagase is the lead singer. Then there is the totally gratuitous inclusion of Eric Clapton's 1996 hit "Change the World" anytime the story calls for a wistful mood.

As with most TV dramas, the production design is better than the writing or the acting. Re-creating the look and sound of a Showa Period (1926-89) small town requires close attention to detail. It's mainly a technical challenge. However, nobody watches a TV series solely for its production design, which brings us back to that loose plot thread. Halfway through the series, the subject of Taro's past is finally brought up with the arrival in town of a woman from Tokyo who speaks with a strong Tohoku accent. She seems to have some connection to Taro's past and is complicating the budding romance between the amnesiac and Suzu, who has grown into a young woman with a huge crush on the big, dumb lug.

But that's not the only loose thread. Basically, the entire series is one long flashback told through the experience of a hapless young man (Nagase again) whose mother, a famous Showa Period pop singer, has ordered him to visit the Kochi town where she grew up and whose one movie theater, the Orion-za, is about to close down. He goes there and learns that the last screening will be of the Showa Period movie "Uta-Hime," which the late owner requested be shown when the theater shut its doors for good.

The implication is that the story we are watching is the "real life" basis of the story depicted in that film, and there are plenty of clever clues that, taken together, start to explain why the singer insisted her son see the movie, which has something to do with his grandfather. The movie's screenwriter, for instance, is named James Taro, and one of the characters in the flashback is a student who affects the look and attitude of James Dean, whose "Rebel Without a Cause" played at the Orion-za. Is he James Taro? Or is Taro James Taro?

There are many problems with the script, the most glaring one being that much of the story is advanced by means of overheard conversations, a plot device as trite as amnesia. But some of the most popular TV series have had worse writing, so something else has to explain why "Uta-Hime" has earned the lowest ratings of all the fall drama series. Perhaps people's memories of Showa aren't as fond as the media think they are. Or maybe Nagase isn't such a big draw. Or maybe the loose plot threads that demand the viewer stick with the series until the end are a little too loose. Or maybe, like me, everyone is already sick of that Eric Clapton song.

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Guest Maia-chan

Nah. I think the most think that turn Japan's viewers from this dorama is its use of Tosa-ben, which only a handful of people can understand. And that's only in Kanto. I heard this dorama is pretty popular in Kansai, in which the author of this article apparently failed to mention.

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Guest strawberrynkiwi

I finished it. Definitely best dorama this season. Too bad only a few watched this.

Tomoya Nagase became one of my favorite actor because of this drama.

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I finished it. Definitely best dorama this season. Too bad only a few watched this.

Tomoya Nagase became one of my favorite actor because of this drama.

ditto! i watched this drama yesterday and i couldn't stop watching it till i finished it. this is also one of the best jdoramas of 2007 for me. i watched other nagase's dramas (except tiger and dragon) and for me this is the only one i fell in love with. totally underrated jdorama...

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