Asian Drama Synopsis Fail: Iki mo Dekinai Natsu
Welcome to another addiction of Asian Drama Synopses Fails. There are so many really when you think about it long enough. The first that came to mind was last week’s fail Bachelor’s Vegetable Store. This week’s is another that also exhibits a plot synopsis fail and one that I did want to watch based on the intriguing plot premise. The drama is Japanese drama Iki mo Dekinai Natsu (Breathless Summer).
So, here’s the synopsis as presented by Fuji TV:
It may seem like most of us in modern society live the ordinary life: Wishing for the happiness of self, family, and loved ones. Some, however, live an unimaginable life, with a past that could only be understood by few, and carry a fate so vast upon them. The characters that appear in this story each carry such deep scars or secrets, and are burdened to their destiny.
“Breathless Summer” picks up on a rather rare social situation where a girl grows up without a family register. In other words, without citizenship to her own country. As she uncovers the truth about her identity, she comes across an older man, most likely as old as her father, with a scarred heart. Amidst crossing paths and being torn apart from their surroundings, the two become inseparable to each other, what becomes a shocking but bittersweet summer love story.
Tanizaki Rei, the girl without a family registry is played by Takei Emi. Rei is an innocent 19 year old girl, one that you may find anywhere else in the world, excited about what her forthcoming future might bring. Coincidentally, she finds out the truth about her background, that she isn’t recorded as being born in the legal books. The truth shocks her, brings her down in thinking that she does not truly exist in the societal world.
The older man that she meets, is a 41 year old former newspaper reporter Kiyama Ryuichiro. When Ryuichiro was still a news reporter for a major newspaper, his inherent composure and sense of justice in saving the weak led him to uncover exclusive scoops. It was not until a twist of fate involved him in an accident that he is forced to leave the firm. Now he lives quietly in the suburbs working night shifts at the ward office.
Japan’s civil code 772 states that if a child is born between a couple where the wife had been in a prior marriage less than 300 days ago, the child will be registered under the prior husband’s family register even if DNA tests prove that the child is that of the new couple. This questionable law was in effect for over 110 years without ever being amended, thus creating children who grow up to be without a family registry. One may think; “What are the chances?” But the incident portrayed can happen to anyone, and it is a fact that such children exist in this country.
How will Rei face her destiny and overcome it? Will Ryuichiro be able to admit to his sins to find meaning in his life? What will become of their love? Brutal as it may be, the drama will shine light on how wonderful it is to live and love through a complicated family relationship. Expect nothing less than a sensational social entertainment drama this summer! – Fuji TV
I think the main thing that is gotten right is the fact that Tanazaki Rei is a bright young girl looking forward to the future. She is an aspiring pastry chef and eagerly looks forward to becoming full-time when it’s this very desire that allows her to discover the long-hidden family secret – she’s not on the Tanazaki family registry, thus to her own country she does not exist.
This does send her spiraling down, but it surprisingly takes awhile for the breakdown to occur. It’s really not until she truly starts learning just what it means to live without a register that she becomes depressed and realizes even more that she is outside of society.
It’s also true about essentially every character carrying scars and secrets. I don’t think there’s anyone in this drama without one or the other or both.
A major fail in this plot is the toted romance. Rei comes across Kiyama who is indeed old enough to be her father. He is the person who has to give her the bad news about the needed paperwork to become a full-time worker and apply for a Paris study abroad opportunity. There is a bond between them after everything they go through, but the synopsis makes it seem like there’s this great love between them when there really isn’t.
Kiyama does desperately wish to help Rei who is sometimes levelheaded and sometimes more like a petulant child. While I did get that she was going through quite the ordeal, she seemed unjustly angry at so many people all of the time. They eventually start talking more and more and do have meetings outside of the ward office.
Kiyama, yes he has a checkered past. He published an article which led a man to commit suicide, leaving behind a wife and child. He then ends up moving in with them and needless to say the woman is a little cray cray and possessive. And while Kiyama does need to face his past to a certain extent, his situation isn’t as serious or in the limelight as much as Rei’s and ended up not being all that big of a deal.
There were moments. Very few moments where you might have been able to read something along the lines of romantic love, but it always seemed to fall just a little bit short in that department.
A cheerful young woman with a bright future ahead finds her dreams crashing down around her when she learns for the first time in 19 years that she is not on her family’s register which means she does not exist to her own country. She cannot get a full-time job and cannot get serious medical help and cannot even apply for a passport for her dream of studying abroad in France.
Tanazaki Rei begins the long and arduous task of reclaiming her identity while uncovering shocking truths about her family’s pasts while her family tries to endure the strain this situation is putting on them all. In doing so, she meets local ward worker Kiyama Ryuchiro, a former newspaper reporter who quit his job due to a tragedy his article caused. Together these two lean on each other and slowly begin to heal.
No mention of love. If love was there, and I think it was to an extent, it was strictly platonic. This was a drama I think I’ll always be on the fence about. Sure, the May – December romance was a bit of a draw, but I really wanted to watch this for the intriguing plot, but sometimes the serious subject matter at the heart of the drama took a back burner which is hard to believe given the whole basis of the genre has to do with that ridiculous law.