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Japanese drama (J-dorama) starring Horikita Maki and Kitagawa Yujin

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Innocent Love: 10 Episodes of Heart-Warming Drama

  • Apr 18, 2009
  • by
I have to admit that I feel a bit weird, being a manly man, writing a review of a romantic drama, but I have to say that I really liked this J-dorama (Japanese drama). Yes, admittedly, I have a bit of a crush on Maki-Maki (Horikita Maki), having seen her in other J-doramas like "Nobuta wo Produce" and "Hanazakari no kimi tachi e," but there's something really special about the way this show affected me as well.

Well, first, I should give a bit of a review of what the show is about, hopefully without spoiling it for you. Akiyama Kanon, played by Horikita Maki, has had a very difficult life. Her parents died in a fire that consumed her family home when she was 12 years old, and her brother (Fukushi Seiji) was thrown in prison, convicted of the murder of his parents and arson. Several years have passed, but the community still shuns her as the sister of a "paraside" (someone who murdered their parents).

Since she is unable to keep a job, due to this societal shunning, Kanon adopts a new identity and moves to Yokohama, far away from her hometown, where she continues to try to prove her brother's innocence. Unfortunately, her family history follows her to Yokohama, as does a reporter (Toyohara Kosuke), who relentlessly pursues her and her brother to get to the truth of the Akiyama family tragedy.

As Kanon tries to rebuild her life and discover the truth for herself, she runs into Nagasaki Junya (Kitagawa Yujin), a man who is willing to look beyond her past, and she falls in love with him. However, he is fighting his own battle, as he cares for his comatose fiance, who attempted to kill herself on the eve of their wedding. Both Junya and Kanon will learn of betrayals neither of them could expect.

I won't say anymore, because, even though this is a packed 10-episode story, all of the minor subplots help tell the overall story.

I will say that there were some rather cheesy moments in this series ... almost to the point of feeling like I'd just eaten a spoon full of saccharine. The last episode, while it ended well, really kind of irritated me. These are the reasons I didn't give this a +5 rating. In fact, I probably would've given a +3 1/2, if that rating was possible, due to the last episode.

Overall, however, this drama inspires a nearly constant surge of emotions in the viewer throughout. I'm not normally an emotional guy, but that changed with this story. I truly felt for Kanon as she tried to maintain her optimism through some very difficult times, and I could relate to her when that optimism finally broke. It doesn't hurt that Maki is such an effective actress and that the soundtrack, which includes Utada Hikaru's "Eternally-Drama Mix," is so emotionally evocative.

So, grab a box of tissues and give this J-dorama a try. Don't say I didn't warn you about the last episode though, but don't let that deter you either.

Some online resources for this show include D-Addicts wiki and JDorama.com.

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April 21, 2009
I can't say I'm a huge fan of romantic dramas/comedy but I do appreciate them when they are well-executed. I have such an infatuation with Japanese and korean actresses; I would watch anything with Son-Yi Jin and Soyi-Yoon. Japanese Actresses, I like the women in Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogies. Now before I begin drooling thinking about those actresses, I have to say great review! Have you seen "Tony Takitani"? Sounds like you would appreciate that film...
April 21, 2009
I loved Tony Takitani. Ordinarily, when they adapt a great story into a screenplay, filmmakers screw it up. But not in that case. And this is coming from a huge Haruki Murakami fan. ... Thanks for the praise on the review. I wasn't a huge drama fan until I started watching J-doramas. And surprisingly, it's not just because I'm so easily infatuated by Japanese actresses. The storylines are very compelling and meaningful. ... I'll have to check out some of the works of the Korean actresses you mentioned. Are they in K-dramas? I'll see if they're on the d-addicts.com wiki. ... Thanks again!
About the reviewer
Keith Goode ()
Ranked #460
I'm a man of varied interests, ranging from good literature to social media, anime to Internet technologies. I'm a self-described Allogenes (stranger), as I tend to always feel like an outsider, … more
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About this tv show


An arson took it all away from Akiyama Kanon seven years ago. Her parents died in that fire, her brother was arrested as the prime suspect and her carefree life disappeared from that instant. She was shunned by the town as the sister of a murderer, yet she believes in her brother's innocence and often pays him visits with words of encouragement. As life gets harder when nobody is willing to give her a job, Kanon decides to try her luck in the city and there she meets the man of her destiny...

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Premiere Date: October 20, 2008
Description: J-dorama, starring Horikita Maki, aired on Fuji-TV between October 20, 2008 and December 22, 2008. (10 episodes)
Genre: Romance, J-dorama
Original Air Date: October 20, 2008
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