Proposal Daisakusen: Operation Love

Title: Proposal Daisakusen: Operation Love
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Director: Narita Takeshi
Format: 11 episodes
Dates: 16 Apr 2007 – 25 Jun 2007

Synopsis: Iwase Ken is late for the wedding of his childhood friend, Yoshida Rei. Luckily it’s not his wedding. Unfortunately, the shy Ken is going to watch his childhood love marry another man. At the wedding reception, after downing a couple of beers during a Rei-themed slideshow, a fairy comes to his aid. This fairy (who looks nothing like Tinkerbell) gives him a chance to go back into the photographs of the slideshow not only to make Rei smile in the photographs but also to tell Rei his feelings. Ken goes back in time to relive the moments so that he can right wrongs, but there are only so many photographs and only so many chances…

The Highlights
Yamashita Tomoshisa: All around excellent performance.
Music: Awesome. Ending song is great. The insert “Chiisana Koi no Uta” is amazing.
Story: Insanely cute moments, is both predictable and unpredictable, never boring, great writing of the relationship between Ken and Rei.
Characters: Great cast; only thing I would tweak is Tada-sensei.

I laughed! I cried! I looked at the screen in indignation!

Something I look for in a Japanese drama is a scene that, even when the drama falls below “great,” I can remember that scene and keep going with the series. “Proposal Daisakusen” is full of them—right from the first episode. I knew this series was right for me when I read the summary on D-addicts on Wikipedia.

Where to begin? I’ll start with Yamashita Tomoshisa, the triple threat otherwise known as Yamapi. I first saw him as the comical Akira in Nobuta wo Produce and was instantly a fan. In Proposal Daisakusen, Yamapi takes to the character of Ken wonderfully. I knew he was fit for the role when he first did the memorable “Hallelujah…chance!”. I was in a state of giggles afterwards because all I could think about was his performance in the video for “Seishun Amigo”. No, that pose was not rooted in those dance moves (end sarcasm). Random thoughts aside, he was a charming choice for the role for the lovesick

The rest of the story was a nice balance between comedy and drama. And it produced laughs in response to everything from slapstick to some awesome impersonations, such as the Winter Sonata one, to just plain humorous moments, such as the first episode’s Ina Bauer joke (I’m a figure skating fan, so maybe that magnified my like of the silly punch line). In addition, there was a plethora of insanely cute moments. And there were also many dramatic moments that, along with the comedy and cuteness, bridged this series above the idea that it was simply a ho-hum “blueprinted” series.

And even though there was a plain as day “blueprint” to the series, it was never boring. I never got tired of this show. There was a fair amount of unpredictability throughout what seems to be a predictable show. And even the “blueprint” for the show was classy. It was not a simplistic “monster of the week” device. Each photograph had its own story that resonated throughout the series. In the end, however, doesn’t every series have some sort of “blueprint?” For Proposal Daisakusen it is just more explicit.

While the entire cast is a great overall ensemble, the only thing I would fix is the character of Tada-sensei. The only thing is that I could do without was that creepy (in theory) relationship of a faculty member and his student. Even though there was not a great age difference, there was still that implicit title difference that I could not shake. However, something I read on IMDB (the reviewer is radiotheater-1) not too long after finishing the show made a good point. The reviewer mentioned that Tada is never revealed as the super villain who has an ulterior motive. It’s true—he is never two-faced. He comes into the series with everyone hating him because he is the “antagonist who is in the way of the hero.” But I think he was written as a good guy who just happened to be the character we were supposed to dislike. Maybe “respectable bad guy” should have been his title.

The music of Proposal Daisakusen needed no tweaking. It was perfect! The end song, “Ashita Hareru Kana” by Kuwata Keisuke, is wonderful and the accompanying sequence is a melodious marriage of cinematography and editing. Then there’s the insert song by Mongol800, “Chiisana Koi no Uta.” I don’t think I can think of a more perfect song for this series. It’s bloody brilliant by itself too.

This series was like a drug. I was hooked from first use and I was still on a buzz long after I finished it. I don’t think I can gush about this series enough. There is just so much to love about it!

The Rating: 9
9/10

Reviewed by: Genkisakura

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