There is a flurry of love stories this Spring 2016, or shall I say stories about love relationships, marriage, dating, and “Love Song” is one of them. This is Fukuyama Masaharu’s Getsu 9 comeback after his marriage last year that broke a million hearts. Okay, that was an exaggeration.
Anyway, “Love Song” gives us an odd pairing with more than 20 years age gap that Fukuyama can be considered a cradle snatcher. What kind of chemistry this senpai–kouhai (they are from the same agency-AMUSE) team will give us?
Well, here is a quick recap of Love Song : Episode 1
The story starts with Kamishiro Kohei (Fukuyama Masaharu) getting a slap in the cheek and having to moved-out from his latest girlfriend’s pad. He may look like a freeter but he’s actually a clinical psychologist who moonlight as a company psychologist in a certain motor company.
At that motor company, Big Mobile, our heroine Sano Sakura (Fujiwara Sakura) works as one of the technicians. Who would have thought that she has so much skill in car repair? Well, Sakura smiles a lot but talks too little, or none at all. Her taciturn attitude is becoming a bane of his boss that he’s almost at his wit’s end.
Well, Sakura may be super quiet at work but she can speak at home, although she stutters, which I think is the main reason she chose to be silent. Sakura, or Sasa, is quite confident to talk to Nakamura Mami (Kaho), her childhood friend and roommate. Sasa asks Mami to reserve a restaurant on her behalf for their company welcome party but Mami seems to be distracted over something else.
Elsewhere, Kohei finds a place to crash in after spending sometime in a cyber home. Shisido Natsuki‘s (Mizuno Miki) offers her couch for him, and she fondly refers to Kouhei as “Kou-nii”, which I guess eliminates any probable love angle. Their relationship is not too clear except that they must have been in the same band some years back with Haruno as their brightest star. Speaking of Haruno, her memoriam is coming soon and Natsuki prods Kohei to attend.
Back at work, the company’s newbie Takahashi (Sakamoto Shogo), almost got himself injured if it wasn’t for Sasa pushing him to safety. It would have been cool, but Sasa was reprimanded by her manager for failing to warn Takahashi by simply shouting. Fed up, the manager brings Sasa to Kouhei and asks him to “cure” Sasa.
Inside, Sasa still refuse to speak, or rather, she can’t speak even though she want to. When she finally started talking, she ended-up crying out of tiredness in exerting too much effort with just few words that she needs to let out. In the end, she walks-out of the room out of embarrassment when Kouhei wiped her tears and called her pretty.
At home, Sasa excitedly tells Mami about the guy she met at work and that he called her pretty. They have a visitor at home and that’s Amamo Soraichi (Suda Masaki), a friend of the girls, and whom Mami invited because she has an announcement to make. The door bell rang and Mami asks Sasa to open the door, but Sasa ends-up crawling back because she thought she’s gonna be fired. It turns out that Mami’s boyfriend, Nomura Kenta (Sugura Taro), is also one of Sasa’s bosses and the reason she got into the company.
Anyway, several drinks later, Mami drops the bomb that she and Kenta are getting married. Soraichi is happy while Sasa is a bit vague. To add awkwardness to the situation, Mami asks her if she can do the wedding speech for their wedding. Seriously?! Speechless more than ever, Sasa volunteers to buy additional drinks.
Sasa ends up consuming the drinks on her own as she reminisces about her friendship with Mami. The two goes way back when they were still in an orphanage. Sasa was already having stutter problems and became an object of mockery. In fact, her nickname Sasa came from her childhood. Due to her stuttering, she can only say “Sasa” instead of her whole name.
Mami and Sasa eventually became friends when Mami defended her from orphan bullies. Later on, the two became high school classmates and until Mami moved to the city for work.
Sasa goes back home, the visitors are gone, but she was left with some leftover dish for on the table. Sasa sneaks in quietly but Mami knows she has arrived and drops another bomb; she’s pregnant and that’s the reason for the hasty marriage. Mami is not that confident in becoming a mother but she fell in love with the “tiny dot” inside her womb. She also apologizes for asking the impossible to Sasa while Sasa drinks her worries away.
The next day, Sasa has a new resolve and that’s to be able to speak properly and give a wedding speech for Mami. She heads to Kouhei’s hospital clinic but Kouhei must have misunderstood Sasa’s desire to get cured because he told her not to rush and that its okay if she wouldn’t be able to speak yet. He tells her that he’s recommending her to a speech therapist and this frustrates Sasa more so she ran away.
Back home, Sasa tries to make a reservation to the restaurant where they will be doing the welcome party for Takahashi. Sasa tries and tries to call but she always get cut-off since she’s so slow to form her next words that the receiving end would hang-up.
Elsewhere, Kouhei was forced to attend the memorial concert for Haruno. Judging from the pictures, it looks like Natsuki is also part of Haruno’s band and that she also happens to be Haruno’s little sister. Haruno’s dad arrives to greet and pour drinks to Haruno’s former bandmates but you can see the strain when Natsuki sort-of force her father to pour drinks for Kouhei. There’s no eye contact or whatever, just a mere ounce of civility.
Later on, the band starts playing, they are all waiting for Kouhei to do his part, and that’s being a guitarist, but he’d rather spend the night drinking. While the mood is getting better, Kouhei decides to leave and heads to a restaurant where he has a coupon for a free beer. While he is there, he sees Sasa entering the place to personally make the reservation for the welcome party. He can see that she’s struggling a lot to talk, and she keeps on punching her leg as if to give herself a strength. Fortunately, Sasa gets to do the reservation and leaves the place with a relief.
The next day, Sasa contentedly goes for a smoke as she hums her favorite song. Kouhei listens to her humming and for some reason, he thinks that Haruno is alive again. Ohhh. He leaves the rooftop place without Sasa knowing.
Sasa’s friends arrive at the place to get their smoke as well. She shows them the cut-out of the place where they will be doing the welcome party when one of them says that she found an Italian place to do it since they can get a discount for huge group. The girl immediately call the place while the other girl does the cancellation of Sasa’s reservation. It looks so innocent but for Sasa, it’s so cruel. After all, her efforts for trying to reserve the place have all been for nothing. Not to mention her efforts to speak!
Anyway, the manager got to talk to Kouhei and tells him that the young ones are becoming a huge problem to the company, most especially Sasa whose communication problems are becoming hard to deal with. He’s sure that she’ll get fired and this was heard by Nomura. Nomura heads to Kouhei’s clinic and talks about Sasa and later on informs Mami on what might happened to Sasa.
Mami goes home to find Sasa playing a video game and lectures her if she’s even aware on what’s happening with her life. Sasa acts like she doesn’t care since she doesn’t really want the job and that forces Mami to slap her. Mami asks how Sasa will be living her life when she can’t even order an iced coffee or water. Sasa got fed up and tells Mami that she talk big for a hostess and the two got into an argument where Sasa tells Mami not to get married. She also ended pushing Mami on the floor (she’s pregnant) and ran away after she realizes what she did.
Sasa continues on walking and running when Kouhei spotted her. Seeing Kouhei approaching her, she makes a stupid decision to jump on the rail, when there’s still a passing train, which forces Kouhei to struggle in getting her to come back on her wits. Soraichi sees this and thought that Sasa is being bullied especially when he learn that Kouhei is that “psycho” who told Sasa that she can’t change anything (with her problem) so he gives him a punch. haha. Kouhei shouts to Sasa that he’ll be introducing her to that speech therapist and that’s where they ended.
Natsuki looks half-amused with the situation that Kouhei is in while Soraichi looks at Kouhei with menace. Natsuki invites Sasa inside the room and while she thinks of a way to slowly make Sasa speaks, Kouhei suggests using music since he heard her beautiful humming a while back. Natsuki starts playing the piano but Sasa is still slow in the upstart so she goes looking for other materials. While Natsuki’s gone to look for other materials, Kouhei hears Sasa softly humming some words so he picks up the guitar, guides her to listen to the sound until she can fully sing the song “500 miles”.
Her song number ends up with a clap from Natsuki and Kouhei, Sasa got too overwhelmed and embarrassed that she leaves the room without much thanks. Natsuki is also happy that she sees Kouhei playing the guitar again and tells Kouhei that Sasa reminds her of Haruno. Kouhei responds with a question, “just where?”.
That was a slow and mellow episode. I don’t want to comment on looks but Sasa looks too young if she will be in a romantic entanglement with Kouhei. Gahd, even her smoking makes her look among those doing underage smoking. I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable to see them all sweet and romantic so let’s just hope that this relationship will be that of mentor and student. After all, Kouhei is not just a psychologist with Sasa as the patient, he’s also the musician with Sasa as his singer.
Sasa’s stuttering is a surprise, I didn’t know that tidbit, so I guess it would really take a while before the two will make the music flowing. I can’t say that I like her singing, there’s nothing really special for now, but I’m sure she’ll improve as she get better with speaking. It would be nice to know why and how she started stuttering. I guess that has something to do on why she ended as an orphan.
Kouhei’s past is also a big question. He obviously has bitterness and angst somewhere in the past and that’s stopping him from growing. Isn’t it weird that a psychologist like him don’t even have a decent roof over his head? Though in the last minutes of this episode, he went house-hunting so I guess he is starting to mature, like 20 years too late. haha. Haruno is obviously the key in unlocking Kouhei’s past and that’s something that I would like to see.
As for side characters, I really like Mami (Kaho), she’s like Nishiuchi Mariya. haha. While Suda Masaki (Soraichi) is always a good actor so its such a waste to see him relegated with supporting roles.
Overall, I’m not really looking forward to the love story angle of this drama but I would love to see the character developments particularly that of Sasa in overcoming her life’s biggest hurdle. I’m also looking forward to more of Fukuyama’s guitar sessions because he looks too hot with guitar. haha. Seriously, I just want to take a look at his past.
For first impression, “Love Song” starts slow with lots of questions that needs to be answered so a follow-up is definitely needed.