Hotaru no Hikari: Drama ReviewSeptember 7, 2010
Title(s): Hotaru no Hikari / ホタルノヒカリ/ Glow of the Fireflies
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Broadcast Network: NTV
Aired: Jul. 11, 2007 – Sep. 12, 2010
Cast: Haruka Ayase, Fujiki Naohito, Kuninaka Ryoko, Kato Kazuki
Description: Hotaru (Haruka Ayase) works for a famous interior design company. It’s a glamorous job but Hotaru’s private life is totally the opposite of glamorous. She lives alone, and when she isn’t working she’s mostly lazing about her rented house in training wear. She’s not interested in men. In fact, she isn’t interested in anything. “I’d rather lay around than fool around,” is her motto. Her landlord is a bar owner, and one day his son, who has just separated from his wife, comes to inspect the rental property, not knowing that someone is living there. He is shocked at the mess, but not as shocked as Hotaru. He turns out to be her boss, Takano (Fujiki Naohito). – Japan Times Online
aiko – Yokogao (横顔; Profile)
This was one of my first tastes of Japanese dramas, but sadly I never past the first episode. The story didn’t grasp me as it did with others. Over a span of three years, I’ve always watched the first and half of the second episode and I called it a quit. I decided to try again this year since I was in my Haruka Ayase mode. Luckily this time around, I was able to see why this drama caught the attention and hearts of others. I am proud to say I’m completely smitten with Hotaru no Hikari!
Hotaru no Hikari capture me with Amemiya Hotaru, or Ahomiya (Aho means stupid). Hotaru is a professional in the eyes of her colleagues outside her sanctuary (home) and when at home she becomes a himono onna (干物女; dried-fish woman). I can understand Hotaru’s motto, “I rather lay around than fool around” because the activities she does at home is exactly what I do after a long day of school or on a vacation. Nothing is better than relaxing at home. I absolutely love Ayase as Hotaru, she plays her perfectly, she’s cute and funny! Hotaru is a comical, hard working and endearing character. However, at first, I was a bit annoyed by her character, being so clueless to love. I had to remember she has no experience with love and after all she is a himono onna. Keeping that in mind, I was able to see Hotaru’s perspective and understand her roller coaster ride of emotions.
I would have never lasted through this show without its lovable characters. I seriously grew on everyone in the show from the main and supporting cast even the minor characters. The cast did a wonderful jobs with their characters, I especially loved Hotaru’s colleagues. They were all likable and amusing, amongst them my favorite is Yamada Sachiko (Itaya Yuka), the love doctor! I found that Teshima Makoto (Kato Kazuki) was an in between character for me as his romantic relationship with Hotaru started to settle. Despite being the handsome love interest, his role is weak and rigid. I know he was there to move the plot along, but I would have enjoyed if Makoto had more flare to his personality. Nonetheless, I still found him likable, but not as much as the other characters.
The characters knew how to make me laugh, especially Takano Seiichi (a.k.a Buchou; meaning boss, Fujiki Naohito) and Hotaru. Now that is a comedy duo. I found myself in tears of laughter with their hysterical arguments, conversations, and situations. Hotaru and Buchou’s characters complement each other well, even though they are complete opposites. Their chemistry was great, you can immediately tell by their dialogue with each other. I admire how Buchou assist Hotaru with her love problems although he liked her. He did not make a single gesture for her to figure it out. Buchou just wished her happiness and watched as she went on her merry way. I know I see that all the time in romance dramas, but when its Buchou doing it, its so sweet and it tugged at my heartstrings. Even though I did like Hotaru and Makoto being together, Buchou and Hotaru are my one true pairing!~
Now a romance drama cannot be complete without its love triangle our victims being Hotaru, Buchou, and Makoto. I actually liked the love triangle and was content with whoever she ended up with until around episode 6 or 7. I was rooting for Buchou and Hotaru all the way! However, I did like Hotaru and Makoto together. Once she liked Makoto, there was this charming and pure atmosphere about Hotaru. She becomes completely clueless in the game of love which leads her to be anxious and self-conscious about everything. It’s funny because Hotaru is someone that could care less about romantic relationship and would rather be lazying around drinking beer and reading mangas at her porch. Oh, the wonderful life of a himono onna!
I liked how the show was able to portray its love story. The romance was steady and took it’s time flourishing, it wasn’t rushed and went at a favorable pace that I enjoyed. We also got to see romances around the office. It was entertaining to watch the office love life as well as our Hotaru’s. Now what about that ending? I know plenty of fans were disappointing by the conclusion, but I was content knowing that Buchou confessed his feelings to Hotaru, and in turn Hotaru did too! I admit I wanted the two to share a hug or even better, a kiss! I would have been much more satisfied if it played out that way. I guess I wasn’t so mad at the ending because I already knew there was a sequel. So basically, I kinda-sorta cheated! ;]
OVERALL: I finally understand the buzz about Hotaru no Hikari! It’s refreshing, entertaining, and an enjoyable watch with a fantastic and lovable cast. I wish the writer had worked on Makoto’s character more; he’s stiff and was only there to advance the storyline. The show recovers by having the amazing Ayase and Naohito playing the leads, so I was content! Also, the ending wasn’t too pleasant with its open ending, leaving the viewers to question what happens to Buchou and Hotaru. But, that’s why we got season two! The show was able to engross me in its story, even if the plot is simple, but the plot grasps me with its characters and the humor. I’m surprised how in love I am with this drama. I haven’t been this smitten since reading the manga, Cat Street in 2008. It took me a long time to watch Hotaru no Hikari, but better late than never. Now onward to season two!~
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Loved it? Liked it? Loathed it?