|Title:||Hatsukoi no Atosaki (初恋のあとさき)|
|Original work by:||Hidaka Shoko (Manga)|
|Cast:||Majima Junji x Ono Yuuki (間島淳司 x 小野友樹)|
|Related drama(s):||Arashi no Ato (嵐のあと)|
|Drama translation:||None (scanlated manga available)|
Nishina has always drifted along with societal views and norms, but all that didn’t find him anything which he has passion for. After a divorce from his wife, he suddenly sees Miyama working at a café and remembers the only time in his life when he actually enjoyed himself.
The bitter aftertaste of his first love has changed Miyama from an earnest boy to a man who couldn’t fall in love again. All that is set to change as he unexpectedly runs into Nishina, the subject of his first love.
Those works of Hidaka Shoko which I’ve read are usually mild love stories where the two leads don’t have a clear-cut “seme” or “uke” feel to them and it makes them seem more realistic somehow – or you can pin it on my personal preference for that kind of characters. Since I really liked the manga, listening to the drama was a mandate and I’m glad I went through the trouble of searching for and obtaining this drama because it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Hatsukoi no Atosaki, aptly named, revolves around a common issue in most gay relationships – the fear of being rejected by society for being abnormal. I didn’t find Nishina to be the least bit likeable at first; he dumped Miyama (whom I really favor, if you’ve read my review for Arashi no Ato) in the worst possibly way during high school and years later, after a divorce, he went running to Miyama for some ego boost without any regard for the poor guy’s feelings. However, as the story progresses, I slowly start seeing things from Nishina’s point of view and how he wasn’t intentionally playing around with Miyama’s feelings. Well, he might have been just a bit cowardly and selfish. But I can sympathise with his fear of an unpredictable future with someone who seems too happy-go-lucky to worry about how others view them. In the end, he managed to come to terms with his own selfish behaviour and admitted his mistakes to Miyama. I think that was when I started to not see him as the bad guy in the drama; after all, everyone is human and are capable of making mistakes sometimes but not all are capable of admitting it like Nishina.
I sympathised with Miyama more though, having your first love dump you with a “please forget about the time we had and start living a proper life” probably felt like having the most important person in your life deny the existence of the treasured times you’ve had. It was like having your love crushed like an insignificant paper ball and thrown straight in your face. He got so wounded that he started to go out with guys who wouldn’t fall in love with him so that he doesn’t have to get too serious in any relationship and get hurt again. He reminds me of a friend whose terrible first relationship made her lose faith in love, resulting in a string of relationships “for fun”. I’d like to think that unlike Miyama, she would be able to get over her first love and move on. Not exactly sure how Miyama managed to hang onto his feelings for Nishina throughout all these years, but I think he’s definitely a keeper. I’m glad that even though he’s still head over heels in love with Nishina after all the mean things Nishina did, he still had that sense in him to push Nishina away at the crucial moment when he realised that Nishina only ran over to him for comfort after the divorce.
In general, Hatsukoi no Atosaki was a rather heart-warming love story as it explores one of the more realistic issues of gay relationship and reconciles it nicely.
Do listen to Arashi no Ato if you haven’t, since it’s sort of like a prequel to Hatsukoi and they’re loosely linked to each other.