|Title:||Senaka Awase no Koi (背中合わせの恋)|
|Original work by:||Suzufuji Miwa (Novel)|
|Cast:||Terashima Takuma x Matsuoka Yoshitsugu (寺島拓篤×松岡禎丞)|
|Related drama(s):||Rakuen no Uta|
|Drama translation:||Vol. 1, Vol. 2|
Nikaidou Fumito had to forsake his dream of being a professional ballet dancer when he was fourteen due to a minor bone fracture. Just when he thought that life has lost all meaning, he found a new lease on life when he joined MBO entertainment as a dancer. Besides reviving his ability to enjoy dancing, joining MBO led him to his fateful encounter with Fujisaki Ichiya. As the two close friends set off to achieve their goal of emerging at the top of the industry, Fumito started to develop feelings for Ichiya. While it seemed like unrequited love at first, Ichiya’s behaviour seems to be hinting otherwise. Will the two find happiness with each other?
Thanks to my recent (and very belated) exposure to Sword Art Online, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu came to my attention and since then, I’ve been hearing him in quite a few places, including in a Drama CD Akatsuki introduced to me (thanks so much Akatsuki-chan ^^). Initially, I was rather intimidated by the length of the drama, but after listening to it, it didn’t seem that long after all. Well-spaced out emotional scenes gave it the push when it was about to get boring.
Senaka Awase no Koi is about two idols, Ichiya and Fumito who met at an entertainment company, MBO. Fumito was exceptional at dancing but due to his average looks, he has never been given much media exposure. Their relationship started developing when Ichiya took the initiative to ask Fumito to teach him (and Shion) how to danc. I guess that’s what they call opposites attract when quiet Fumito start to fall for bright and cheery Ichiya as they start to hang out together more often.
It got to a point where Fumito couldn’t keep it in anymore and he confessed his feelings to Ichiya. Although he was met with a rejection, life goes on as per normal and soon, Fumito gets his break when he was offered a role in a promising drama – as a gay lover. Despite Ichiya’s protests, he took up the role with the determination to “get to the top” of the entertainment industry. Cue entrance of Ryosuke, Fumito’s co-actor in the drama. In every drama, you will have a guy to take the place of the third party in the love triangle. Although Ryosuke doesn’t really love our Fumito in the lover’s sense, he added the bit of healthy competition I was looking for in this drama and challenged Ichiya in the right way.
Ichiya’s feelings for Fumito starts to become painfully obvious to us listeners as he grows increasingly jealous/uncomfortable with Fumito’s seemingly close relationship with Ryosuke. He finally reached the breaking point when Fumito ignored his advice to go to Ryosuke in the heat of a media uproar over Ryosuke’s ex-partner. In response, Ichiya started to sleep around with different partners. What was that, a cry for attention? Well, he got the attention he wanted but not from Fumito. The media got wind of his promiscuous lifestyle and he nearly had to quit Numero. In an emotional scene where Fumito desperately tried to pull Ichiya back from his path of self-destruction, they reached a compromise – Ichiya will stop sleeping around if Fumito “satisfies” him. I shall stop narrating the entire drama out, but you can be sure that things didn’t go smoothly for them even after they’ve established that connection. After a string of misunderstandings which arose from their naivety, Ichiya finally confesses to Fumito at his birthday party and happily ever after~
It’s a really simple and sweet love story about how the two teens discover and accept their feelings for each other while growing up together (note: this drama spans over a period of 5 years). I absolutely loved the entire atmosphere throughout the drama and it couldn’t have been achieved without the beautiful background music. Not sure if I’m imagining it but the music used was of quite high quality, it wasn’t the normal midi-ish common music that you would be sure you’ve heard it a million times before in other dramas. It actually sounded special. The combination of great music and excellent voice-acting made this drama quite a remarkable 2.5hr listen.
If I had to choose between the two leads, I would prefer Fumito to Ichiya because he’s Matsuoka. I might be giving biased opinion on this but I sincerely felt that his voice-acting was fantastic in this drama, more on this later. And there’s something endearing about Fumito’s awkward/timid/introvert personality that made me feel like he’s my little brother whom I have to protect. Other than that, I think he was more of the protagonist in this story so it’s quite a given that listeners would like him more.
Moving onto the seiyuus, Matsuoka’s virgin attempt at this kind of role was… an admirable shot, but I couldn’t help wincing during the H scenes. It’s his first time so I guess some things can be overlooked. Besides those scenes, he did an amazing job with his portrayal of Fumito as a gentle introvert who got surprisingly stubborn at times. Fumito’s emotional/hysterical scenes was heart-wrenching and not the least bit annoying, like how some seiyuus sound when they start raising their voices. He definitely has potential in this field and even as a top role, I think he’d do quite well.
Though I’m sure this isn’t the first time I’ve heard Terashima’s work, this is the first time I’ve heard his voice with his name in mind. His performance was on par with Matsuoka’s, both talented seiyuus have incredible chemistry between them and they sound like they were really teens who grew up together as best friends. On a side note, I thought Terashima made more uke-ish noises than Matsuoka; during the H scenes I was like, who’s the top and who’s the bottom here huh?
In general, this is one long drama full of drama but I truly enjoyed every minute of it (minus the H) and I do recommend everyone to force yourselves to sit through the whole thing even if you don’t finish it at one go. Just hit the play button and absorb yourselves in the world of Ichiya and Fumito brought to you by Terashima and our flavour of the season, Matsuoka.