|Title:||Smells Like Green Spirit (スメルズライクグリーンスピリット)|
|Original work by:||Nagai Saburou (Manga)|
|Release date:||2014年03月28日, 2014年05月30日|
|Cast:||Matsuoka Yoshitsugu (松岡禎丞), Hatano Wataru (羽多野渉), Yoshino Hiroyuki (吉野裕行), Yusa Kouji (遊佐浩二)|
|Genres:||Drama, Psychological, School Life, Slice of Life|
|Synopsis:||A story about boys growing up, finding love and finding themselves.|
I know it might be a turn-off for some people when you don’t see the name x name, but it was Matsuoka’s name which made me download this drama, even though it isn’t really the normal BL drama with a seme, uke and H scenes. With such a weird-sounding title (sorry, Nagai sensei), it was on the lowest of my priority list. However, when I started listening to this near midnight, there was something about it which kept me listening till 2am and even the next morning when I woke up just to finish this story. It might be the whimsical plot, the fact that we had an okama Hatano using feminine speech, or the fact that the story was very different from the usual BL we’re always seeing around.
Introduction to Mishima
The drama opens to the scene where Mishima’s hair is being cut by a group of bullies who call him a “homo” and gay. In fragments, we’re introduced to Mishima who is an extremely effeminate guy with long(?) hair. He caught the eye of a group of bullies, namely Kirino, Yumeno and a few other guys, who have been picking on him for quite some time. While sometimes, the claims made by the bullies are totally untrue, it became apparent after a while of listening that Mishima isn’t your normal high school boy. He secretly used his mother’s makeup at night and is actually quite proud of how much cuter he is, compared to other girls. After hearing Matsuoka Yoshitsugu in Senaka Awase no Koi where he played this role which was gentle, pitiful and self-sacrificing, I thought the character of Mishima will be just another repeat of Fumi. Mishima was definitely different and I enjoyed listening to Matsuoka turn the egoistic and slightly condescending switch on occasionally. I have to admit that I was a little sceptical about Mishima’s character at first, but wait, Kirino hasn’t even come into the picture yet.
Mishima soon realises that the ringleader, Kirino, is always looking at him weirdly. One day when Mishima was running an errand for his mum, he carelessly wore his mum’s lipstick and got mistaken for a girl by some punk from the city. Just when he was about to get forced onto the punk’s car, Kirino appeared and saved him. At this point in time, I thought that Kirino liked Mishima. After the incident, Mishima realised that he dropped his mum’s lipstick, which was picked up by Kirino. Things took an interesting turn when Mishima chanced upon Kirino at the school’s rooftop, putting on the lipstick he found.
From then on, Mishima became close friends with Kirino, who has discovered another side of his after applying lipstick on his lips – the okama side. I cringed on several occasions when Hatano Wataru was going all feminine because it wasn’t his usual at all, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me and I continued listening. After befriending Mishima and discovering a friend whom he can let loose in front of, Kirino stopped the rest from bullying Mishima and school life was finally pleasant for Mishima again.
Yanagida-sensei’s true nature
Yanagida-sensei is the teacher in charge of Mishima’s class, who has been giving off the creepy vibe for quite some time (kudos to Yusa Kouji for being able to do so much over the earphones), and he turned out to be a divorcee. His ex-wife divorced him after finding his stash of gay child porn and he seemed to have been eyeing Mishima for quite some time. The show of concern for Mishima while he was still being bullied should have set alarms ringing and when he threatened Mishima with the punishment game, it was obvious that something was about to happen. Even Kirino sensed that something was wrong and he warned Mishima to be careful. Yanagida’s idea of punishing Mishima by striking his butt sounded both strange yet reasonable at the same time. However, things started to get really creepy for Mishima when Yanagida got a hard on during the punishment. After that day, Yanagida set things up in such a way that he would be able to kidnap Mishima and have his way with his student. Fortunately, Kirino and Yumeno realised that something was off and together, they rescued Mishima from Yanagida. From then on, Yanagida disappeared with just an apology. Despite his short airtime, Yusa managed to sound so creepy that right from the start I could tell that this teacher, who was strangely concerned about Mishima, wasn’t going to be just a normal supporting role.
Since they became friendly with each other, Kirino has been telling Mishima that Yumeno holds a flame for him. I wasn’t so ready to believe that, although it was rather clear that Yumeno was very conscious of Mishima. During the Yanagida incident, Yumeno had been the one who found Mishima in the nick of time and from then on, Yumeno became more accepting of Mishima. He started to send Mishima home every day and one day, one thing led to another and the two started kissing. However, after Yumeno stripped Mishima of his pants and saw the very something which made Mishima a male, Yumeno ran off. Mishima wasn’t one to hold things against Yumeno, and the two started to ignore each other after that incident. It turned out to be that Yumeno was indeed in love with Mishima, but he hadn’t quite accepted the fact that Mishima is a guy.
Unfortunately for the both of them, a few rather gossipy oba-sans of the neighbourhood saw Mishima being close to both Yumeno and Kirino. These women who didn’t like Mishima’s mother started to talk about what they saw, or what they think they saw rather indiscriminately. Before we knew it, rumours have spread to almost the entire town and people were hearing things that were the rather exaggerated and untrue versions of what really happened. Everyone had to deal with their parents; while Mishima and Yumeno had very understanding and accepting parents, Kirino’s mother couldn’t accept what she heard or how her son isn’t denying anything. On impulse, Kirino decided to go to Thailand so that he could be in an environment where his personality is accepted without question. Mishima decided to go along with him, but as they realised that they couldn’t exactly fly over to another country without money or passports, the two settled for Tokyo instead. On their way to Tokyo, a phone call made Kirino change his mind. The news of his mother’s deteriorating health made him realise how important his mother’s smile is to him. With that in mind, Kirino decided that he had to continue protecting his mother’s smile. He handed Mishima the lipstick which started everything, the key which opened the Pandora’s Box in his heart, and entrusted it to Mishima. When I was listening to this scene, I didn’t quite get what had happened. But now, just recalling it brings about a wave of sadness.
In some sort of epilogue, we hear Mishima talking about how things have changed and how he doesn’t meet Kirino on the school’s roof anymore. Upon graduation, Kirino asked for Edogawa-sensei’s second button because he has always looked up to sensei like a father. Remember how Kirino and Mishima talked together excitedly about how manly Edogawa-sensei was, during one of the first few times Kirino opened up to Mishima? Sad as it might sound, those days are far out of reach for the current Kirino, in view of the path he has chosen to take.
Years later, Mishima is living in Tokyo with Yumeno. Mishima is studying in a beauty school and he’s since been rather open about his sexual preferences. Seeing how Yumeno has come to accept his feelings for the male Mishima made me so happy too. Meanwhile, back in their hometown, Kirino is married with a daughter and we got to hear a really heart-warming scene with Kirino, his mother and his daughter. So that’s the path he chose and it’s great that everything works out fine in the end, not just for Kirino, but for everyone. I loved the happy ending we got and the sense of closure this drama gave me.
Smells Like Green Spirit was indeed a very interesting listen. If you like dramas with plot, go for this. If you like dramas for the H, this definitely isn’t the drama for you.