Friday, October 25, 2013

Living life the Summer Nude way

Titles can be so misleading, posters too. Because despite its vibrant beach setting, the show feels sepia in tone. Yamapi's retrospective narration at the beginning and end of each episode lends a tinge of melancholy and nostalgia to this slice of life gem. It's no melo, but it's certainly going to wring the same emotions out of you.

I was sobbing like a baby by the third episode and it came as a total surprise. Why the tears? The characters weren't talking about anything of particular importance (and it certainly wasn't a sob moment), but upon reflection I realized that I was crying precisely because it wasn't a sad moment, when it clearly should have been. The heroine had just been dumped by her fiance on her wedding day (which fyi is not that much of a spoiler since that's the premise of the show), but no, we don't get to see the waterworks and episodes later, she's talking about it in a cavalier manner.

That's not to say she's a cold fish, because you can tell that she IS hurting, and if you think about it, that's just how life is, isn't it? Life does not provide you with Adele songs for your tragedies, nor opportunistic scenes that pop up for you to lament. People around you ask about your well being, when really, they just want you to pay lip service - reassurance that you're okay, that you're moving on, and so you do, but damn if you weren't scarred from the experience. 

I've never fully realized how structured dramas were until I watched this series, which is jarring because this show has absolutely no dramatic gravitas to speak of. Mundane scenes of everyday life comes up regularly, and it may not seem like it's doing a favor to the story, but strangely enough, it does. Here's a snippet from an interview with acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, in which he explains this way better than I do:
"We have a word for that in Japanese," he said. "It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally. He clapped his hands three or four times. "The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness. But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.
Word. Whatever this ma thing is, it's pretty dang awesome since Summer Nude made me cry, like a whole lot. And I didn't even need prompting. This show just gave me room to care.

It starts off with Karina's character getting dumped after her wedding ceremony (he ran off in a taxi LMAO), and Yamapi witnesses this because he's the cameraman for the event. Some time later, Karina receives a letter from him (Yamapi, not fiance) telling her that while he's sorry for what happened, he really needs to get paid (lol). But he wishes, from the bottom of his heart, that she'll find happiness again.

Karina is moved by the letter and proceeds to call him, and due to a turn of events, he calls her back later and asks her for a favor: Could she come to this town and help manage a restaurant? They're in dire need of help. Her colleagues had sung high praises of her during the wedding video, and he thought she could use a job since she quit hers in preparation for marriage.

She arrives only to find that the "restaurant" is actually a hut by the beach, and not only does she have to manage the hut, it's basically a one-man show that requires her to cook as well (hence her chef experience). Yamapi shrugs. Details, details.
About the town - there's Yamapi and the gang, and they're at a stalemate, relationship wise: Toda Erika's character has been in love with Yamapi since forever, but he won't return her feelings because he's still hung up on Nagasawa Masami's character (the latter whom just packed up and left one day, without any explanation whatsoever. I know right? So cruel). He staunchly believes she will be back one day though. And then there's Kubota Masataka's character, the bespectacled geek who stares with such intensity @Toda when she isn't looking, one can only conclude that he is deeply in love, or he has her in mind as his next victim (he just has that serial killer look about him).

Karina's presence in the town shakes things up a bit, and she becomes a catalyst that sets the narrative in motion.

P.S: While the love lines may seem a tad messy, let me assure you that this is one fine piece that manages to subvert all the love triangle/rectangle tropes out there. It doesn't feel contrived in any way, all the pieces come together - literally and figuratively - in the end, making it one of the best endings I've seen in a romcom. Highly recommended with a side of happy :)


  1. I really enjoyed this drama but I got annoyed by the pace of the main OTP in the last episode. When the secondary couple get more action than the main OTP, grr!! lol
    But I really did like it overall. The only thing I disliked (but not enough to care, just enough to roll my eyes) was that one couple with the brother wanting to get married? Wierd comedy relief, I guess.

    1. no worries man they totally got their smooches off-screen! There's still the awkwardness between them and i guess they opted for the physical intimacy of a hug. Or maybe Yamapi's fangirls are just super vigilant.

      2NDARY OTP FTW oh my heartstrings oh~ i loved their story so much, it was gr8 how they manage to make the transition of toda erika's affections so believable

      ikr the comic relief was BIZZARE - i have been fast fowarding all their appearances so i have no idea about their storyline lmao

    2. The secondary OTP really was adorab;e. I liked them. I just got jealous they were so cute while our main OTP were so awkward.

      I actually suffered through the comic relief but every time they came on screen I just sat there thinking, "this is so stupid!!" lol