Hotaru no Hikari: A Review for the Endearing Hotaru-chan.

Hotaru no Hikari (2007, 2010)

picture credits to:

Late last week, I found out (from the multiple blog sources on J-entertainment I follow, I don’t know why I’m still such a sucker for gossip heh)  that a certain Jdrama entitled Hotaru no Hikari is getting a movie special that’s set to air next year, wherein the two leads have been married for 2 years. What in the what, marriage? (Totally my cup of tea when it comes to rom-com dramas) From those same sources, I found out that there had been 2 seasons – the first in 2007 and the second just last year. I racked my brain, remembering having briefly read about it. I looked at the main cast and my first thought: why didn’t I watch this?

I clearly am familiar with both actors – Ayase Haruka, I’ve seen her in plenty and Naohito Fujiki basically had me at Love Revolution when he played Suga-san – but somehow this slipped past me. …Okay, I’m fibbing. I let it slide by on purpose because as much as I am such a sucker for younger man-older woman relationship (especially those depicted in Kdramas), I’ve to admit I’m not so cool about a younger woman-older man pairing. Hotaru no Hikari gave me this same concept … but surprisingly however, also gave me a whole different perspective about it post-show. Well, sort of. It’s TV land and that’s why it works – but for the parts that worked, I like it. I appreciate the execution, that sense of realism in their relationship – not shown as much in Season 1 as in Season 2 since the first season was mainly about her growing out of her ‘himono-onna’ self – in terms of the age gap and therefore the social status, common perception, idealisms and the like. There’s a nice balance they strike out everytime and the one thing I love the most about their relationship is that sense of ease. This is clearly not a romantic relationship in the ‘rabu-rabu’ (love-love) aspect that Hotaru fussed over in one of the episodes in season 2 – it’s more like an old(er)-school relationship where more than gibberish love, what sustains it is ease and security. Stability. I love it, because for all her immaturity, Hotaru is damn lucky to be in a mature relationship where there’s that right amount of trust and communication. Again, I understand this is TV-land and therefore of course things seem more smooth-sailing that they really are, but for some reason, in Hotaru no Hikari … I dig it. I’m sold on it.

And 22 episodes later (in 3 nights, mind you) – I’m filled with such giddiness for this cute show.

I have seen Ayase Haruka in plenty dramas, especially those she starred in with KimuTaku – and word has it he really likes her that’s why he always chose her to be cast with him – I always personally thought its kind of creepy but now I kind of see why… she’s endearing. Hotaru is endearing yes, but I think more than simply the character written to be that way, Ayase Haruka nails it by putting in a little bit, if not all, of herself into making Hotaru the girl we root for and relate to in the drama. When I think of Hotaru, the first thing that pops to mind is how incredibly relatable she is – more common that society thinks, heh! – and that yes, how immensely endearing she is. There’s that certain sense of innocence, naivety if you will, that she captures so well without any pretentiousness in her acting. So as I root for Hotaru and I was – plus being incredibly proud and satisfied that this show, in true Jdrama-fashion, centered lots of Big Decisions onto herself for her own self to decide on her own future (and she does, satisfyingly) – I also found myself rooting for Ayase Haruka.

Hotaru no Hikari may seem like much too offbeat a show and I read that it’s also supposed to originate from a manga, hence (I think) explaining that random tone the show carries sometimes … but it’s not all sugar-coated candy or empty manga-fluff. It is a show that’s not entirely memorable, but it’s also not one I’d just chuck away and forget. However small, however inconspicuous, Hotaru no Hikari truly has heart and displays it with such carefree spirit in the best aspects that 22 episodes later, while not a keeper in my personal hard drive – it’s definitely a winner in my drama-watching scrutinizing eyes(heart).

I loved it and I’m glad I watched it now – it’s such a summer drama, perfect for this season. There’s still a little time before summer leaves us so give this a go while you can!

P/S: this show made me realize just how different present Jdrama and Kdramas are from one another. Where Big Decisions aren’t exaggerated in this show, for example – in Kdramas I can practically imagine how those same scenes would’ve been depicted, subtle or major scenes. For instance, First or Second Lead fainting while at work or the dilemma of having to go away for awhile due to work. The Jdrama sorted it out with no frills – short, concise and nothing over-the-top in terms of emotion – whereas I can see where the Kdramas would totally twist and turn those same situations… It’s an interesting realization.


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