Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Orange Days--still worth watching after 20 years.

 I never saw Orange Days when it was released 20 years ago.  I glanced as some customer reviews and was intrigued.  Netflix probably didn't carry the series when it came out, but lately they have picked up some more current series, some of which I have enjoyed.  Still 20 years is a long time for films as a lot of details have improve.

"Orange Days" has a plot very reliant on misunderstandings, but believable.  A lot of likable people who are also capable actors make a  viewer very sympathetic to the problems of young relationships.  

We are introduced to Sae and Kai when they first meet.  She was playing a violin and caught his attention.  He approached her to thank her for the music, but she countered that she expected some cash reward.  He didn't have any cash, but had just picked an orange from a nearby tree and offered it.  She was not impressed, but over a short time they encountered each other and he learned that she was deaf.

From there connections are made with three others that form a group of senior college students.  A few others get involved to cause a few complications.  There are lots of misunderstandings (and mistrust).  A complication is the deafness of Sae who used to be a top notch young violinist.  She is still able to play the violin and after that is considered impractical she switched to the piano and was good enough to get a job playing at a hotel lounge.

Misunderstandings and mistakes are similar to what you have seen elsewhere, but they are well done. 

Although some of the cast and crew are still active I don't know much about them.  The result does actually hold up twenty years later.

Here are some of the contributors

Nobuhiro Doi was the director.  He was born in Hiroshima  He has 37 credits.  He is still active.

Eriko Kitagawa was the writer.  He has 24 credits and is still active.

Naoka Sato wrote the music.  He has 132 film credits. and is still active.   He wrote music for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Santoshi Tsumabuki plays Kai.  He has 93 film credits and is still active.

 Ko Shibasaki played Sae.  She is barely able to speak about two words, but in reality she is an established singer and lyricist who had been discovered at age 14.  She has 71 film credits and was in the first English adaptation of "47 Ronin" (2013) with Keanu Reeves.  She is still active.

Hiroki Narimiya played Shouhei, a close friend of Kai. He has 87 film credits, but in 2015 he was caught up in a drug scandal and retired.

Miho Shiraishi played Akane, a close friend of Sae and romanced Shouhei.  She has 54 credits with her last film released in 2018.

Eita Nagayama played another close friend of Kai and a member of the Orange Days gang.  He was the odd man out, a nice guy, but never able to couple up.  He has 88 film credits and is still active.

I have seen numerous Japanese films, but have not yet encountered any of these cast and crew.  They made a strong impression and will be looking for their other films.   I have enjoyed listening to some of Ko Shibasaki's music.

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