I like Japanese dramas. They are usually short stories with real characters dealing with unrealistic situations. Second Love is a drama about two people who fall in love in an unexpected way. They want to stay by each other’s side but their circumstances just won’t let them be. I went into this drama without reading its synopsis. At first, I was confused with what was happening in the show. In fact, by the end of the first episode, my jaw dropped to the floor seeing the speed at which things were progressing for the two drama leads. It could be because I am too used to watching conservative K-dramas, where having a kiss scene in the first episode is rare, let alone an intimate scene.
I do not mind dramas having too much of skinship as long as it is meaningful and has some significance in the story. In Second Love, our two lead characters are lonely and are looking for a breakthrough in life. The male character Taira Kei is looking for a job worthy of his talent while Nishihara Yui wants to get married and live an ordinary life with a husband and family. They both want different things from life but their unison as a couple changes them and staying together becomes challenging with each passing day.
Second Love (2015)
Taira Kei (Kamenashi Kazuya) is a contemporary dancer who is currently out of a job after being ousted by his previous German employer with whom he worked for ten years. In the past, Kei was a popular dancer known as a ‘prodigy’ and won several awards in his field. Sadly, he was replaced by another talented dancer, and since then he has been struggling to gain a foothold in the field of dancing. He works part-time with a loading company while looking out for opportunities that will do justice to his talent. But things just don’t work out for him. On the verge of giving up on life, Kei happens to see Nishihara Yui (Fukada Kyoko) and is instantly drawn to her alluring beauty. He gives her his number asking her to meet him.
Nishihara Yui is a Chemistry teacher who is frequently bullied by her students for having an affair with an older married teacher. At home, she lives with her mother who seems disinterested in finding her daughter a suitable groom. When Yui is suddenly accosted by a complete stranger who calls her a ‘goddess’ she is intrigued by him and decides to meet him. Meeting the talented and famous Kei makes her want to get out of her mundane existence and she decides to follow her heart by living in with Kei.
Let’s weigh this uncomplicated love story on the show beam balance and see if it is worth your time or no.
Realistic Scenarios: People high on Korean dramas will know how refreshing it is to watch a show that doesn’t have a super-rich guy fighting with another rich guy for the attention of a so-so clumsy girl. (Jeez! I just gave away the plot of 80% Kdramas ;)) In Second Love, the male lead is a passionate dancer who has seen his career high and is struggling to make it out of a bad phase while the female lead is tired of a monotonous life and is desperately looking for some change in life. The pace at which the two hook-up may be a little hard to believe but considering their respective situation it isn’t impossible. Time changes and so do people. With an increase in work offers, Kei is on his way to finally achieve his dream, which makes him pay less attention to Yui. It is a true scenario where a man often neglects his woman as soon as his career starts to move forward. The fact that all the scenarios in the show are relatable makes me like the show. I have seen creative people struggle, I have seen teachers being disrespected (not the way they do in the drama…that was a shocker for me…but I have seen students behave rudely with teachers), I have seen men change in relationships, so whatever was shown in the drama was not over-the-top but very true.
Realistic Characters: There is a scene in the drama where Yui wants the light off before the two of them get close, but Yui insists on keeping the lights on. They both fight for the switch till Kei has his way. The scene may seem like just another one in a drama but there is depth to it. Yui is a woman in her early thirties who lacks confidence in herself. She probably is not confident of her body and insists on undressing only in the dark whereas, Kei is a passionate man who would like to appreciate his lover in every way, which is why he wants to see her in the most intimate way. This scene actually goes on to depict the nature of the two characters. Yui is lonely and when a man much younger to her calls her a ‘goddess’ she feels desirable and is easily tempted to give in to his request. Her heart yearning for love is the reason why she sees nothing wrong in living with a man completely unknown to her. Little details like this always impress me. I like it when the characters have a soul and portray real emotions.
Stone Faced Kame: Kamenashi Kazuya is a popular Japanese idol-actor. I guess he may be popular more for his singing because acting-wise he did not look impressive at all. This is all the variation he had to offer in expressions.
Contemporary dances usually have a story to be conveyed through dance movements and facial expression. But even when dancing Kazuya looked pale and inexpressive. I have seen him in Nobuta Wo Produce where he has acted decently. I don’t understand why playing a disappointed, struggling character made him do away with his expressions. Also, there is something off about his eyebrows. I was too distracted by his eyebrows most of the time.
Japanese doramas are usually 10-11 episodes long but this drama had only 7 episodes because of its poor ratings. Going by the first 5 episodes I found the drama engaging and interesting I do not understand what was so bad about it to have it cut short.
The show beam balance has more good weights because I really enjoyed watching this drama. To me, the characters were very real which is why their actions seemed justified to me. Of course, this isn’t the best romantic J-drama but it is a decent love story focusing only on the two main characters.
I give the dorama 3 out of 5 rating. Second Love is a simple love story of two people driven by lust and desire. If you like romantic shows with less of complications and more of love (making) then go for this one.
You can watch Second Love with English subtitles here.