Nazo no Tenkousei: Eps 1-3
At first I was trying not to get my hopes up for Nazo no Tenkousei since I didn’t really know what to expect from it. Also I’m a wimp so I was very apprehensive about the mention of ghost appearances in the synopsis, LOL. Anyways, fear not! The drama isn’t scary (it’s not supernatural, actually more slice of life & a bit of a sci-fi) and it actually turned out to be a really pleasant surprise! 😀 I’m loving it so far!
First of all, I just want to clarify that Nazo is not ‘just another alien drama’ and it’s for sure not a spin off of other alien dramas. In other words, no, it is not another Man From the Stars. T_T Nazo is actually based off of an original novel Nazo no Tenkousei which was written by Mayumura Taku. So do not go into Nazo expecting it to be a rom-com with a hot alien roaming the earth & falling in love with humans. 😛
Nazo actually has more of a slice-of-life feel to it along with some sci-fi elements mixed in. The only way to describe its pacing and storyline is that it’s kinda off-the-wall. Eccentric even. O_O It is also very slow-paced since it takes its dear time to linger on each scene. For these reasons alone I think that most people will not instantly take to liking Nazo. It may be too slow & weird for people’s tastes. But so far I really love the way Nazo is paced & the way it portrays the story because it is more unique than the typical jdrama. Its style reminds me A LOT of Sprout, especially since it seems to use more saturated colors, shaky camera movements (this effect makes it feel more intimate almost), long periods of silence, etc. In fact I was so convinced that it was like Sprout that I checked to see if the producer/directer was the same. They weren’t. O_O But I really thought for a moment that it might be the same director, heh. Anyways it also has a short 30-minute episode format as well as an awesome peaceful soundtrack! As for the differences between Nazo & Sprout, I’d say that Nazo is more bizarre and it is a much more different genre. It still has the elements of school life and such, but it has more of a mysterious feel to it rather than the bittersweet nostalgia of Sprout.
So the beginning of Nazo starts out with two of the main characters witnessing a strange shooting star in the sky. The shooting stars are going upwards instead of downwards. Obviously it has something to do with the ‘alien’ that will appear later on. 😉 One of these characters is Koichi (Nakamura Aoi) who is also stuck with the funny nickname “Mu-kun”. He is kinda a sci-fi geek who loves reading sci-fi and speculating about UFO’s. He’s also pretty easygoing and tends to go with the flow. I guess the simplest way to describe him is that he is a really nice and cute dork, LOL. I’d say that Koichi is kinda on the borderline between being super smart and gullible. O_O He is fascinated by sci-fi theories & UFO’s, but at the same time he is also slow to pick up on some of the odd behaviors exhibited by the alien later on.
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve seen Nakamura Aoi in a drama, although he was in the remake of Hanakimi as Sano. O_O I think he’s portraying the dorky sci-fi nerd pretty well but I also wonder how he’ll do later on in darker scenes!
The other person who witnesses the odd shooting star is Midori, who is Koichi’s bestie and potential crush. The actress for Midori, Sakurai Minami, is a newbie but she’s doing a great job so far. She has this kind of ‘effortless’ feel to her as though she is just naturally becoming Midori, rather than forcing herself to overact. Somehow Midori just exudes this sort of cool, laissez faire aura around her. She is generally unfazed by things and is quite perceptive of the people around her. The awesome thing about Midori is she is assertive & in control without having to be the usual super spunky loud & over the top heroine.
Midori’s relationship with Koichi is kinda ambiguous because both of them sorta acknowledge that there is something more between them than just friendship but nothing ever becomes of it. Midori will even assertively bring up the topic of their relationship status at random, (YEAH! NO WISHY WASHYNESS HERE!) casually asking Koichi whether or not he likes her or whether or not they are a couple. I was surprised by this openness between them because usually this is not the way things happen in dramas! Usually it takes FOREVER for an OTP to even utter the word “LIKE,” HAHA! I think the two of them do like each other but have never gotten out of the friendship zone. Midori obviously knows that Koichi likes her, (she’s really perceptive O_O) but Koichi has never directly affirmed it. 😉
The last character in the OT3 is, of course, the ‘alien,’ who goes by the name Norio (Hongo Kanata). Apparently Hongo Kanata has lots of fangirls, but I’ve only seen him in a supporting role in Nana 2 & Seigi no Mikata. So I don’t have a really good feel for his acting range yet.
BUT HE CAN PLAY THE PIANO!
So the thing I like about Norio is that we don’t really know where he came from or exactly what he is. Of course, I call him an alien but it’s actually not clear yet if he really is an alien. Is he an android, an alien being, or a human that lives on another planet? Did he come from another dimension or from the future? Is this human form even his true self, or is it a borrowed body? Questions abound! All we know so far is that he came from a technologically advanced world called D-12 that is in dangerous conditions. He also mentions that he is on Earth because he needs to help save the ‘princess’ in the other world. So far I think Norio is from another dimension & world. There are plenty of hints all throughout ep3 that there are many parallel universes & worlds and that Norio comes from one of them. Whether he is alien or human or android though, remains unknown. I am leaning more towards him being an android/cyborg, since in the beginning, he claims that he is ‘installing files’. Also there are some…erm..lasers in his eyes or something O_O.
Anyways what makes the parallel universes theory so interesting is that we don’t even know if the earth that is portrayed in the drama is supposed to be ‘the original’ or if it is just another parallel world. For instance, Norio finds out that no one has ever heard of Chopin and that Chopin actually did not exist in this world. O_O So maybe something happened to change reality and the earth is actually a parallel copy of the original earth!?!? Also Norio knows things that will happen in the future. Or at least, he knows what happened to earth (not sure which earth this is…it could either be earth in the future or another earth in a parallel universe) and it hasn’t happened yet to this earth. Ok I know that just sounded really confusing. >_> It’s just me speculating about the mystery, hehe.
Of course, Koichi is the first one to befriend Norio in ep2. The two of them together are really amusing because Koichi is kinda unsure whether Norio is some crazy guy or whether he’s just another sci-fi geek like him, HAHA. This is why I say that Koichi is both smart and gullible–he has heard Norio say some questionable and bizarre things but he doesn’t think there’s something too off about him. I think it’s because Koichi feels like he has finally found someone who can talk on the same level as him in terms of his sci-fi obsession & theories. I wonder what he’ll do when he finds out Norio is actually an alien, it’ll be like his dreams finally came true or something. 😛
There’s a really hilarious scene in ep2 with Norio & Koichi, when the two of them play baseball together. The best part is when Koichi grabs Norio’s hand and leads him to run across all the bases for a home run. This all happens in SLO-MO with
romantic piano music in the background. Also note that Koichi is holding a flower in his other hand while running with Norio. Omg, I totally cracked up at this part. I think I’m liking the bromance! On the other hand there are some other moments in ep3 where it seems like Koichi is also a bit jealous & wary of Norio whenever he gets close to Midori!!
^Top 3: Koichi & Midori / Bottom pic: Norio & Midori in ep3
I feel like Nazo no Tenkousei is the only drama this season so far (at least, from what I’ve seen) that is not just scratching the surface & fulfilling the bare minimum of drama requirements. None of it feels ‘meh’. It’s a great change of pace from the usual dramas & it also feels refreshing to have a younger cast. Overall, love the raw feeling I get from this drama! Looking forward to the next episodes!
I also LOVE the opening & ending MV’s! The OP is especially my favorite because I can watch it over and over again. I have no idea how they managed to make themselves look so graceful while covered in……goey white stuff. 😛 And if you’re wondering why they’re covered in the white stuff, I think it actually has a meaning because Norio is first shown in the drama with this appearance. Also there is symbolism behind the flowers, (there are lots of flowers everywhere in this drama) but I’m not sure what they represent yet.
Update: I rewatched episode 3 with subs (I initially watched it raw) and I’m so glad I did because it cleared up a lot of parts that I didn’t understand before. I love it even more now since the sci-fi elements are even more complicated than I thought they were!!!