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Manatsu no Houteishiki (真夏の方程式) is a full-length novel in the Galileo series (ガリレオシリーズ), written by Higashino Keigo (東野圭吾). I started reading the book today, found the first chapter interesting and decided to translate it to English to lure people to buy the book and read it (if you understand Japanese)! Read on for the first chapter!

Tsukazaki Kyohei found the correct entrance to the Shinkansen train that he was going to take, and climbed up the flight of stairs to the platform...Collapse )
I predict that no one will bother to read this because the book was released back in 2008 and the drama adaptation also aired way back in 2008, but because I only finished reading the book recently, I decided to write up this post. If you have already watched the drama, but didn't read the original novel, and you're interested in what has been changed in the drama adaptation, read on to find out!

Ryusei no Kizuna (流星の絆) is a japanese novel written by famed mystery author, Higashino Keigo (東野圭吾). The book was published in March, 2008. During the same year, a television drama based on the novel was aired from October to December on TBS, starring Ninomiya Kazunari, Nishikido Ryo and Toda Erika as the three main characters.

Now, on to the book.

[Spoilers ahead]
I admit that the first seven chapters were the most heartwrenching and saddest beginning of any book that I've ever read. I was close to tears all the time while reading what happened to the children -- when they sneaked out of the house to view the shooting stars, coming home to see their parents dead in a pool of blood and their subsequent reactions. Reading the sad fate of the three siblings tore up my heart.


Yet they continued to stick together, connected by their unbreakable bond.

What I love about this novel is that the author makes us feel emotionally attached to the characters. I can never bring myself to completely hate the villain in his books. The drama had some changes from the book. Even though I watched the drama quite some time ago and I couldn't remember the details of the drama very well, here are some differences between the drama and the book.

1) The addition of new characters:
a) Obviously, Sagi (played by Nakashima Mika) was a new, strange character put into the drama to induce comedic effect.
b) Hayashi George (the owner of the food cafe that Koichi worked at in the drama, and the orphanage headmaster) was a new addition. Not a single word was mentioned about their orphanage after they left the place. The teachers there weren't even given names either.

2) Koichi didn't work at a food cafe in the book. He used to work as an assistant at a designing company before he and his siblings started their fraud operations.

3) In the novel, Shizuna and her brothers knew all along that she wasn't their blood sister. In the drama, Shizuna only discovered later when she heard her brothers arguing one day.

4) Her brothers stayed together while Shizuna lived elsewhere on her own in the novel. In the drama, Shizuna stayed with Taisuke.

5) In the drama, there were hints that the brothers may have romantic feelings for Shizuna but there wasn't anything like that in the book at all.

6) In the novel, after Koichi saw the nylon umbrella (which Togami showed him), Kashiwabara was confronted by Koichi alone and he eventually admitted to his crime while talking with Koichi on an overhead bridge. In the drama, Koichi confronted Kashiwabara on a rooftop, and he was joined by his siblings later.

7) In the novel, Kashiwabara committed suicide by jumping over the railings of the overhead bridge and died instantly from his fall (and was possibly run over by the cars on the busy road below). In the drama, Koichi pointed a gun at Kashiwabara initially but he didn't shoot. Koichi told him to live on and repent for his sins while watching the siblings live their lives.

8) Togami Yukinari only knew that Shizuna was considered to be their sister (due to confusion of surnames) when Koichi came to his store to look for him, confessed to him their fraud operations, and begged him to persuade Shizuna to not follow his brothers because he and Taisuke intended to turn themselves in to the police later.

9) The book ended with Togami Yukinari proposing to Shizuna with the ring (the fake one which he bought from Koichi). The drama ended with Koichi getting out of jail and going home to see his siblings waiting for him on the opening day of their new Western food restaurant. :)

I have to say that I like that the drama had a nice closure to the story. For the book, the last scene with Taisuke and Koichi was one in which they were going around and returning the money to their fraud victims before preparing themselves to turn themselves in to the police for their fraud activities. Prior to that, Koichi went to Yukinari to beg him to convince Shizuna to not join her brothers in turning herself in. I really love that part in the book. It made me realise how great Koichi is and how much the brothers love their sister despite not being related by blood. Of course the last chapter in the novel (when Yukinari proposed to Shizuna) was a happy ending too but it didn't have that closure which the drama provided.

If you ask me which do I like better, the drama or the book? I'll struggle with the answer for a long, long time and eventually say "the book wins very slightly". That's because I felt that it captured the essence of the story well. For the drama, I felt that Nagi's role was unnecessary and overexaggerated. We don't really need such frivolities just to inject comedy into the drama, that's what I think.


Overall, I think the drama did a good job with compressing a long novel into a span of 10 episodes. It's just that I may like the book slightly more, when it comes to telling the story.
HY – Ichiban Chikaku ni
Lyrics: Shinzato Hideyuki, Nakasone Izumi
Composition: Shinzato Hideyuki, Nakasone Izumi
Arrangement: Tamai Kenji
This is the theme song of Jun to Ai.

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Winter dramas 2013 first impressions

Even though first impressions are often wrong, and that what makes a good drama depends mostly on the subsequent episodes, I just felt like writing this post anyway.

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Summer dramas mid-season impressions

- Rich Man, Poor Woman (ep 1 ~ 5)
I love the first episode instantly from the first 15 minutes. Oguri Shun's character is very interesting. He's charismatic, intelligent, a high-flyer, and yet he has prosopagnosia (the problem of remembering faces). Ishihara Satomi's character, on the other hand, is a fresh grad from a prestigious university but has failed at job-hunting at dozens of times. They meet in an unusual way and Chihiro is whisked away into his world to help with a business deal with a government official.
The subsequent episodes didn't turn out to be as intriguing as the first but there's plenty of hinted romances and love-triangles that can keep fanshippers craving for the next episode, I guess. (I'm not one of them though.) 
Miwa's Hikari E is the best drama theme song of the season, period.

- Summer Rescue ~Tenkuu no Shinryosho~ (ep 1 ~ 5)
The first episode is written in the recount format where it starts off with the climax of the episode and then it moves from an earlier time to show how things built up to the climax and then the resolution thereafter. This drama is unique in that it focuses on medical treatment in the mountains. There are plenty of medical dramas around but I've not seen one which is like this.
However, the subsequent episodes follow a very similar pattern.
(1) Some random person gets injured on the mountains.
(2) Difficulties occur.
(3) Some people become emo.
(4) The episode ends safely.
The biggest problem with this drama is that it tries to drag out parts which aren't that interesting and tries to make it seem exciting by playing some BGM which conveys fear and anxiety. I would have dropped this if not for Mukai Osamu.

- Beginners! (ep 1 ~ 5)
Too bad Thursday 9 pm dramas on TBS are always doomed to mediocre ratings. I actually enjoyed the first episode as it's funny, light-hearted and had its dramatic moments at the same time. Also, I ship Fujigaya with Gouriki Ayame so badly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fujigaya's acting is quite natural while Kitayama's doing an okay job so far even though it's his first time in a drama. :)
Plotwise, it's not particularly exciting. I'm mainly enjoying this drama for the youth.

- Sprout (ep 1~2)
I read the first four chapters of the manga in preparation for the drama and I find the manga average. But then I watched the drama and found it to be much worse. There are so many things that are so, so wrong.
1) It's very different from the manga. They shouldn't name the drama "Sprout" and give people the wrong impression that it's based on the manga. That's the extent of how different it is.
2) Besides the Johnny's boys, I don't recognise a single cast member in the drama at all. It's filled with C or D-grade actresses. Their acting doesn't appeal to me either.
Dropped after the second episode because I can't stand dramas which focus on wishy-washy teenage romances as the main plot. Too draggy. I'll rather have that as the sub-plot, thank you very much.

Spring dramas update

- Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (ep 5 ~ 9)
Love triangle turned into a love square. Or do you call it a love rectangle? I hope the last three episodes wrap up the story satisfactorily before the movie.

- Kagi no Kakatta Heya (ep 5 ~ 9)
Still my favourite drama of the season. Now that I've listened to the soundtrack, I can honestly say that I really like it. My favourite tracks are PINK KILLS, Split Personality and Ping Pong Beep. Ping Pong Beep is unlike anything which I've ever heard before yet it manages to make me laugh. Oh, the story is progressing really nicely. I still ship Enomoto and Aoto a lot even though I'm guessing that nothing will ever happen between them. It's those little actions and excellent chemistry that makes me ship me even harder.

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Mou Yuukai Nante Shinai  (Winter 2012 TV SP)
Finally watched this. What can I say? I love it!
It's very enjoyable in the amusing way. Even though there were clearly some bad guys in the story, you can't hate them because they have their own reasons for committing those acts. Like what Yamabe said "The emotions of adults cannot be divided cleanly into feelings of either hate or love". The twist towards the end was rather unexpected. I ship the main characters now but too bad that it's a one-off TV special. The story may not be outstanding but overall, it's still enjoyable.

Spring dramas so far

- Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (ep 1 ~ 4)
Takaki-sama and my favourite Johnny's Jrs are in this so obviously I watched this only for them. I like the first three episodes, but the appearance of a possible love triangle in the fourth episode dampened my enthusiasm for this show. My favourite scene so far is the unique fighting scene in episode 2 which was shot continuously with one camera, in one take.

- Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri (ep 1 ~ 4)
Aiba + cute cat = death by cuteness. I'm trying hard not to flail while watching this show. The cat is too cute. Anyway, I picked up this drama because the story sounded like it would be interesting and I really found it interesting. It's rather different from typical detective dramas in that the male lead here is rather useless, yet he still manages to solve the case somehow. I'm hoping for some character development and I wonder whether he'll ever overcome his fear of heights, blood and women.

- Kagi no Kakatta Heya (ep 1 ~ 4)
Leader + obsession with locks = very cool. I wonder if he's thinking about fishing when he looked genuinely interested in the locks in the drama. This show follows the episodic format with each episode focusing on one mystery. The different cases are rather interesting in that it combines law and the concept of a locked room mystery, but what caught my attention wasn't that but the chemistry between the three main characters. I think I ship Ohno and Erika's characters now and I hope to know more about Enomoto.

- 37 sai de isha ni natta boku ~Kenshui Junjo Monogatari~ (ep 1 ~ 4)
Watched 4 episodes so far. It's a nice change from the detective/ mystery/ law/ romance dramas that are airing this season. I like the direction and execution of each episode. Seems like this series will follow an episodic format, which I like. I started on this because I wanted to watch Hikaru, but during the first episode, Tsuyoshi's character caught my attention instead. The main character is already 37 but he's training to be an medical intern and he encounters some hardships along the way. His way of handling things is rather... unique. I can't say that I agree with his reckless decisions sometimes but I still cheer for him and hope that things will turn out to be alright.

- Papadoru! (ep 1 ~ 2)
Some people are complaining that this show seems to be like a fanfic written by an amateur. All I can say is that... it's difficult to act as yourself and I give credit to Ryo for trying. I enjoy this drama for the humour and surprises (like the crazy musical at the sushi restaurant in episode 2). This show is strangely intriguing. It makes me wonder if there's any reality within fiction and whether there's any fiction within reality. I wonder how many idols are actually secretly married without the fans knowing? We can only guess.