Timeout: Naoki, You Did It Again!

Did you think I was talking about this?

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HAHA! You’re welcome.

That was lovely, definitely, but I’m talking more about this –

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In other words, in which Naoki of Mischievous Kiss ~ Love In Tokyo finally became a full-fledged human. Let’s all spare a minute of silence in appreciation of this turn-of-event.

Credits must be given where it’s due – Furukawa Yuki is spell-binding as Naoki and I don’t mean it in a “he’s so hot” manner – okay, partly – but more the fact that he has, in my opinion, a very commanding presence onscreen. To me personally, Naoki isn’t a character that requires much acting – he’s pretty much a robot the past 10 episodes – because there’s not much emoting or over-the-top acting required. Plus, everything he says, when he does, is done in this incredibly flat and deadpan tone that’s hardly attractive, what more flattering. In other words, not at all difficult.

However.

And to be honest, I can’t say if it’s fine acting per se because I’m not an actor but as a viewer, here’s exactly where I find Furukawa Yuki to be so fantastically awesome: he’s able to subtly portray not through words, but through body language, screen presence and depth, the changes that Naoki experiences which affect him as a person. All these things are happening around him and outwardly, he acts coolly – as if he doesn’t care, as usual – but inwardly, he’s a jumble of thoughts and emotions. His stoic demeanor doesn’t give any of this away, yet there’s a certain kind of shakiness that breaks this facade, shown in quiet beats like the above. I love this particular scene, because he looks like he’s in deep thoughts, mulling over yesterday and last night and as if admitting, even if it’s only to himself, that his emotions aren’t only stirred but that perhaps it’s timely he makes it known.

I don’t know how to quite explain this, but I sense all these through all that’s unsaid. Furukawa Yuki showcases the inner turmoils of Naoki – as he learns to be and feel like a human being, eventually growing into a real person – with such finesse. Again, I don’t know if he’s really a good, strong actor because for all of Naoki’s maybe-inner turmoils which I’d stated at length, in truth Naoki really isn’t an expressive character that it’s therefore equally hard to gage if much is required of the actor. Personally, I do think Furukawa Yuki does have it in him, albeit being somewhat wooden at times, because I think it’s harder to emote scenes without any dialog as opposed to open, verbal confessions and the like.

So I love that conversations-in-the-dark scene, because finally Naoki is externalizing some of his thoughts and therefore, communicating. I appreciate that he admitted his fear about the entire situation with Yuki and more than that, the perplexing feeling that must’ve been weighing on him about feeling like he’ll never be freed from the overbearing protection of his mother. Not only that, I really, really appreciated the fact that he admitted that he realizes that not only has he been pampered all this while, all his life, but that it finally dawned upon him that although he feels perplexed when he thinks of his too-laid out future of his, he’s equally aware that he’s not really in a position to be complaining because it isn’t like it’s anything bad. Personally I hate it when kids who grow up privileged, well-sheltered and taken care of like him whine about the smothering they receive and their secure future – do they not realize how fortunate they are, over plenty others who are trying to make ends meet, having to literally take it day by day? – so when he admitted to also realizing this, I breathed a sigh of relief; maturity and over time, motivation to do right with his decision for his future, I’m sure.

As for the kiss above, would you say it’s a cop-out because he did it while she was asleep ergo does it count, or does it not? I’m mulling over this right now and to be honest, as much as I wish she was awake and thus, fully aware and consented to the kiss, I do admit there is a certain kind of sweetness to the entire encounter. Not so much magical but so, so sweet because it’s Naoki, man of few words and again, because it’s Naoki, trying to be sneaky. Cute.

Finally, a shout-out is also in order to the character of the week – Kin-chan! I admit to not thinking much of Kin-chan in the early episodes, but he grew on me during that transition between high school and college. I love the fact that he’s a secondary lead who’s well aware he’s not gonna get the girl, but continues to be there for her anyway because they’re friends first and that friendship is valuable to both parties. More importantly, I love the fact that as the show progresses, he’s showing positive signs of maturity in both thought and action.

In this episode in particular, I love his little speech to Naoki at the hospital; my favorite part was that one about understanding Naoki’s desire of wanting to be independent by moving out of the house and living alone – which Kin-chan did too, when he made his way to Tokyo from Osaka by himself years ago – but there’s a significant difference between wanting to live like a(n independent) man and being an inconsiderate one. I love it that he told Naoki this straight to his face, no frills and cover-up because Naoki, as much as I love this guy, needed to hear this.

Overall, not the best episode – Kotoko was much too bumbling in this episode, albeit still endearing because you know that while she’s not the brightest bulb she’s obviously trying – but definitely a winning one, because Naoki took pivotal leaps from being Naoki-bot to Naoki the human being. That back hug outside the hospital surprised not only Kotoko, but me too (and okay, made me all gooey) and the second half of the episode was simply well done – above all else, it was tonally thoughtful and sincere.

Yay, Naoki! So proud of you.

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11 thoughts on “Timeout: Naoki, You Did It Again!

    1. Me too!!!!! Seriously my heart skipped a beat and then some when he hugged her, soooooo didn’t see that coming. But the kiss scene is very pretty haha, hence it won dibs to appear here. But you know I’ve a thing for back hugs so ahem, this one was just omg-squeeee :p

  1. With each episode aired a week, I keep on saying that’s my favorite one! lol. Naoki really opened up to Kotoko, like she said in her note, “we talked alot last night”. Could that have been the most they talked on a one to one basis? Also thinking, Kotoko challenges Naoki to act; Kin seems to get him to think too. Would Naoki had spurted all that info to her if Kin hadn’t told him off? (Go Kin!!!) I love how the supporting actors are used to motivate and encourage the main actors. And fangirling time: love, love the backhug – how his cheek timidly rested on her head briefly! And the “shhh – this kiss is a secret!” look at his little bro. whoo! They did this so much better than the other versions. Thanks for a place to swoon. :)

    1. Helloooo :) Ah, you summed up EVERYTHING I had in mind – so yes and yes to both Qs posed about Kotoko and Kin respectively. That’s the thing I love about this show where Naoki’s growth is concerned: that all these situations, turn of events – basically externalities – truly do affect him internally and Furukawa Yuki really captures the subtlety of this shift in Naoki. So much love and amazement.

      I totally agree as well about how the supporting actors are encouraging because even the supposed evil one (Matsumoto) isn’t even anywhere near Cruella deVille level haha. Fangirling time: ack, you said it! I friggin’ LOVE the backhug :)

      So happy I’ve (unintentionally) created a space to swoon! ;)

  2. Loved all your thoughts here. I will say I think Furukawa Yuki is a very good actor because this sort of role is actually harder to do well. He’s got nothing to fall back on — lines, physical acting, prop handling. He can’t even give big reactions.

    He has to let juuust enough through to show that he’s actually present in the scene, has thoughts, hint to the viewer what those thoughts might be, but also maintain the aloofness of his character. It’s really hard, takes a lot of skill (and also good instincts) to let that sort of thing play across your face and body without overacting.

    I’ll also give the director props. He gives Yuki space to react — keeps the camera on him, sometimes goes for the tight shot. The way scenes are shot — the way quiet scenes are allowed time to grow without being rushed or over-edited or filled up with music (Kotoko settling into bed in Naoki’s apartment, for example) says he trusts his actors. Which probably means his actors trust him. So Yuki probably gets good feedback and direction on how big or small to go.

    And wow — long comment is long. Just, I’ve really been enjoying Yuki’s acting. So I had thoughts. ;)

    1. Hello Betsy! Happy to see back around here :) I know I’m going to sound like a broken record player at this point but an, I totally agree with what you said! Love your points about him being a good actor, was nodding along as I read your comment.

      I think the director is a lady btw, came across a BTS video once. You’re totally dead-on about her understanding the characters and actors, though! Completely agree.

      Don’t worry about long comments, I love it hehe ;)

      1. Oh, I love that it’s a female director! (And I hesitated over using “he” then thought, “I’m sure it’s a guy — it’s always a guy”. Glad to have been proved wrong!)

        I’ll be sliding back out until the last episode airs — this drama is the kind that I’d get frustrated catching only one episode a week — but I very much enjoy sharing the love! (Best part about blogging is finding other fans of the show you’re adoring. :))

  3. Love all of your coffee shots. Every time Kotoko makes coffee, and Naoki drinks it, I breathe a big sigh of relief that small things really can be shot and filmed so that they make every other scene take a slight breather while we sit and enjoy the good life. :)

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