Piece Review

I’m back!  I realize I haven’t posted a regular update in quite a while (excluding my recent feminist rant), so I’m attempting to get back into my normal type of blogging by giving a short review of the Japanese drama Piece.  I have very conflicting emotions on this drama, so please bare with me.  Also, this review will contain spoilers, so if you’ve not watched it, beware!

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The plot of this drama seems a bit confusing at first, but really isn’t as the episodes progress.  Basically, a girl named Mizuho Suga, played by Tsubasa Honda, is a university student who suddenly gets a call from her friend saying someone from their high school, Origuchi Haruka, has died.  While at the funeral, Suga is confronted by the mother of the deceased girl, and discovers that Haruka had fabricated a friendship between the two of them.  Suga is intrigued, and decides to help Haruka’s mother find out more about her dead child, especially the mystery surrounding who Haruka’s boyfriend was in high school, and why she got an abortion at such a young age.  While Suga attempts to uncover more about this mysterious past, she begins to remember her own high school days, and the people she spent her time with, most notably Narumi Hikaru, played by Nakayama Yuma.

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The first few episodes of this drama seems to be an exploration of human character, and at first focuses on Narumi, who is a fascinating character.  Yuma plays a charismatic playboy who harbors a much darker past.  Raised in isolation by a house-keeper, monitored at all times by his psychotic mother who uses his life as a case study in her psychology experiments, and constantly flipping between the polar extremes of violent anger, hostility, gentle depth, and charismatic sarcasm, Narumi is one of the most layered and interesting characters I’ve seen in quite a while, and I loved the relationship between Suga and Narumi in the first few episodes.  Both of them are flawed characters, but they seemed to complement each other.  Narumi forced Suga to come out of her cold disinterested world, but Suga forced Narumi to confront his inner problems and darkness.

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As the drama progresses, we find out he has a brother, who looks exactly like (and is played by the same actor) Narumi.  This character is the less interesting, meek and timid version of Narumi, who paints but occasionally breaks and becomes violent.  We eventually find out that this brother is the boy who was dating Haruka.  However, as hinted in the very first episode, it was not Haruka who got the abortion, it was Suga’s friend, the cheerful Remi.  This revelation comes as absolutely no shock to any of the viewers, but it seems to be a chance for the two main characters, Narumi and Suga, to reconnect their past flame.

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However, like so many Japanese dramas, the romance that was so beautifully portrayed in the first few episodes is ignored throughout the later ones.  What began as a layered portrayal of human emotions quickly turns into badly acted sobbing and a very vague, unresolved ending.  There is a hint that Narumi and Suga may end up together at the end, but it seems to be an attachment wholly on Suga’s part, rather than Narumi’s, which ignores all the other hints the drama dropped throughout the beginning episodes that she had affected him just as he had affected her.

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I think what annoys me so much about this drama is just how much POTENTIAL it started out with.  After watching the first episode I was ridiculously excited for the next one.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve been so impatient for a Japanese drama in about a year.  The first few episodes were fascinating, dark, romantic, and had an awesome soundtrack.  This song, by Nakayama Yuma, called Piece (shocking, I know, what a great original title), is actually really quite good, and echoed a lot of the intense feelings of the first few episodes!

Honda Tsubasa was really bad at acting, however her character was winning enough to make up for the actor’s deficiencies.  On the other hand, Nakayama Yuma was so good at portraying his character’s depths that despite my own age difference with him, I was melting every time he showed up on screen.

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Let’s face it, the guy is pretty frikkin sexy.  And he’s legal.  Just.  He’s just barely legal, but as long as the law is fine with it, so am I.  I’m not generally a fan of Johnny’s boys who get inserted into dramas just for the idol name, however I am officially a fan of Yuma’s now.  His performance was spectacular through to the end.  He managed to show the differences between Narumi and his brother’s character adeptly, and he was so insanely charismatic that I kept rewatching some of his early scenes.  The first few episodes of this drama are some of my favorite episodes ever, which is why I’m so disappointed at the failure of the last ones.

However, what originally was a romantic thriller quickly turned into a badly acted sob-fest (from the rest of the characters), which ignored Narumi for episodes and attempted to focus on this ‘epic mystery’ which I had guessed within the first few episodes.  Honda Tsubasa’s character quickly went from winning to just plain boring and, frankly, annoying.

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Her ‘revelation’ that she was in love with Narumi, had it been acted by a good actress, could have been spectacular, however, because of Tsubasa’s own deficiencies, quickly escalated into ‘pathetic’ territory, and she became borderline obtrusive when it came to finding out about Narumi’s family history.  Let’s face it, while Tsubasa is a very pretty girl, she does not have the acting chops for any sort of real emotional depth.  Quite a few of the times she was attempting to act ‘intense’, she just ended up looking wild-eyed and crazy, like a cyborg trying REALLY hard to feel something but just being incapable of doing it.

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What is this feeling I’m supposed to have right now!? CANNOT COMPUTE!

Overall, therefore, I’m extremely disappointed by this drama.  What started out so awesome turned into a boring snooze fest that didn’t use it’s best character (Narumi) as well as it could have, and focused on stupid trivial plot points instead.  I wish they had kept with the vibe of the first few episodes, because those were truly spectacular.  But, they didn’t, and instead left us with a vague unromantic ending that left me at least banging my head on my desk so hard I almost managed to knock all memory of this disappointing drama out of my brain.

I am now going to go look at pictures of Nakayama Yuma and watch some fanvideos of the first few episodes, when the drama was awesome.  If you guys have similar feelings to me, here’s some pictures that might make you happy.

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And if you’re interested in some fanvids… these are really good.  Let’s console ourselves with some of the pretty!!

Anyways guys, lemme know what you think.  Did you like this drama?  Did you hate it?  Did you like the ending that I despised so much!? Comments are truly loved!!


5 thoughts on “Piece Review

  1. Thanks for posting this. I have enjoyed reading your review on Piece drama, especially on Yuma’s part ^_^. and totally agree with the overall of its drama. I’m repeatedly watching Episode 1-3 and then skip to later ones that Narumi has shown off. I really love this character. As you said, Yuma’s performance was spectacular through to the end.
    By the way, I personally think that there is an amazing chemistry between Nakayama Yuma and Tsubasa Honda and that make me very much enjoy watching the first few episodes. As you may know that this drama is from Japanese manga call “Piece” and I have a chance reading it from 1-9 episodes referring to the drama, they follow the plot of the manga and add some additional parts of Narumi to be more interesting so I understand that the producer might not want to change the plot to be much different from original manga.
    Unfortunately, comics publishing company in my country stop producing more translation of the remaining episodes of this manga so I don’t know what’s going on for the later ones.
    Back to the drama, like so many Japanese dramas, the ending has turn out to the unexpected way but it seems like a culture of J Dramas to me so I can stand it for some reasons :D. Piece has an awesome soundtrack for both “Missing Piece” (Nakayama Yuma’s Single) and songs from Matchbox twenty, I love all of them especially for Missing Piece and 水の帰る場所 (Mizu no Kaeru Basho). Yuma’s voice is so fascinated to me and I love his Osaka accent ^_^. I’m also the one who have become an official fan of Yuma because of “Piece”.
    Overall, I love post-production of this drama and they can perfectly use 30 minutes of each episode to tell the story and of cause I love Yuma’s performance and will definitely looking forward to his new dramas in the future. I hope he will get more drama offers and get more fans from now on. He’s just 19 so a long way to go. Please keep on supporting him ne 😀

    • Thanks so much for your comment! ^.^ I appreciate it. I agree Honda Tsubasa and Nakayama Yuma had great chemistry, which is why I didn’t find her annoying until the drama ignored Narumi’s character and just focused on her. I also hope Yuma gets more fans and drama offers because he really did do a great job with this drama. I’d never even heard of him til this show, so I was really really impressed. I’m still overall disappointed with the show. I wanted to have a concrete ending, even if it left the romance open-ended. I didn’t feel the ending confrontation was enough resolution, and I feel like the drama had built it up to be some sort of epic realization and just let it fall. However, I loved the first few episodes so much that I might have held the later ones to a too-high standard! No matter what I still love the beginning and Yuma’s performance.
      Again thanks for your comment!

      • To be honest, I can’t imagine how happy I am if the drama keep focusing on Narumi’s character and totally agree with you that they let us fall, I wish I could repeatedly watching all episodes of this drama over and over again BUT I couldn’t.
        Nevertheless, still love and enjoy watching the beginning and Yuma’s performance very much ^___^

  2. Ohh God.. This drama made me loose sleep.. because I was worried about the characters all night long.. I’ve been a fan of Asian cinema/TV for a long time and have really seen it all,so it takes a lot to impress me xD Narumi in particular is one hell of a character. Extremely well written and portrayed. I don’t think that I will ever forget this drama.. especially Nakayama Yuma as Narumi Hikaru.. where do I even begin?? Superb acting I didn’t even realize that he is the same guy who played in Koishite Akuma .. I didn’t like him in that drama and frankly thought that his acting wasn’t all that good .. and maybe it wasn’t who knows.. people improve,but I’m leaning more towards that the wooden character didn’t allow him to show off his acting chops (also much depends on director),but his portrayal of Narumi cemented him as a brilliant young actor in my eyes. Narumi is a complex character and requires a lot of emotional depth. I would love to see Yuma in some very serious films playing complex characters. He and Kanata Hongo are my favourite young Japanese actors.. they are the once to watch out for.. if only the industry would stop ignoring them and give them some serious acting work.. this may Happen for Hongo (he already had some great roles in Goth and Gantz)but I’m worried that being part of Johny’s could stop Yuma from getting serious acting roles because they care about maintaining none threatening image for their boys a little too much. Yuma was very lucky to get the part of Narumi. . Actually I’m quite shocked that Yuma is even in Johny’s .. he doesn’t look like a Johny AT ALL. He’s kind of the odd one out O.o
    After the drama was finished I naturally wanted to know who sings the songs that my ears grew so fond of.. and my jaw hit the floor when I found out that it is Yuma.. I honestly did not expect that low, warm toned,mature, melodious voice out of him. At that moment I was completely sold on Yuma.. he truly is talented.. I looked up NYC and was not impressed and if I didn’t know what he’s capable of I would have written him off as a bad singer which would be a huge mistake. I think that NYC is a slap in the face of his vocal talent.. I think that in NYC he can’t show his voice because he has to hold back for Yamada and Chinen .. who in my opinion Medicare singers at best.
    Well I liked the drama overall and liked the plot.. it really kept me on my toes,but I did feel like they kind of dumped Narumi all together at some point which is a crying shame because he really is the best character. The way the drama ended.. makes me hopeful for a second part.. ohh who am I kidding? .

  3. This is a veey good drama. Yuma’s acting was very good. But the rest, not really good.
    I love Hokuto’s character here. He is really good at acting as a cool person. I love his looks.
    But I’m not really satisfied with the ending. I want to see Yanai, that he is realize his feeling for Origuchi. Wether he truly inlove with her or not back then.

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