First Impressions on Kinkyori Renai ~Season Zero~ Episode 1

There’s only one reason I decided to see this drama’s first episode, and that’s because of Yamapi. I couldn’t care less about the story because I don’t think that Haruka’s teenage life is that interesting. Unexpectedly, “Kinkyori Renai ~Season Zero~” is light and breezy with our main characters tailor-made for their roles.

Here is a quick recap of Kinkyori Renai ~Season Zero~ : Episode 1

The episode starts with the suave-looking 27 yr old Sakurai Haruka (Yamashita Tomohisa) entering the main building of the school where he teaches, which is also where he graduated. He sees a hair clip with a cat design and wonders who drops it. He keeps it in his pocket and starts walking along the corridor as a stream of girls greeted him with delight and flirtatious giggles.

It’s not just along the corridors, one student in Haruka’s English class asks him if he’s seeing anyone special. Haruka answers in English and says that, “yes, I’m seeing someone special”. When the student asks what is she like, Haruka says that she’s cheerful, sweet, enjoyable, and enough for me to get psyched-up when I’m with THEM. Well, you might think that Haruka has lots of girls, which is technically yes. However, those someone special happens to be the entire girls population of his school. How sly, sensei.

After class, one of Haruka’s male student (Okayama Amane) came-up to him for advice as one ikemen to another. LOL, what?! Well, Haruka goes with him and he tells Haruka about his girl crush and asks if he must confess to the girl. He adds if it’s okay for him to stay that way because he might not be able to take it if he gets rejected and might not go on living. When Haruka still ignores him, he says that he must be an idiot. That’s when Haruka reacts and says that love is something that you can’t get into unless you’re an idiot. Something like the line of the song, “…only fools rush in.” Haruka says that someone told him that 10 years ago, back when he was in his student’s age.

The student loves what Haruka says and asks him for more of his “word of wisdom” when a text arrives for Haruka. His text notification says, “Ririko-sama” and Haruka gives his student another quote, “There is today when tomorrow won’t come, that’s why you have to convey what you’re feeling today.”

At Haruka’s faculty room, he reads the text from Ririko, who is announcing that she’s getting married, and tells Haruka not to cry at her wedding. Haruka thinks it was a weird way to announce about your wedding. Nevertheless, with just a single text, memories from a decade ago came flooding in…

10 years ago,

17 years old Sakurai Haruka (Abe Aran) is just as popular as his 27 yr old self. Girls would greet him as he walks to school and Kanata (Kishi Yuta) loves to tease about his popularity. Suddenly, two female classmates stops them and says that Takizawa Mirei (Ishibashi Anna) was called by a guy from the nearby all-boys school and he might confess to her.

True enough, Mirei is not at all disturbed that a random guy from a different school suddenly asks her for a date. While she pretends to think about it, Haruka and Kanata arrives to put an end to the confession. Haruka says that he and Kanata are Mirei’s childhood friends and asks the guy if he can like Mirei more than he [Haruka] likes her. Haruka also adds that he won’t hand Mirei to any guy and Kanata strongly agrees with him.

Well, the random guy decides to excuse himself and makes a running exit. Haruka and Kanata gives each other a pat in the back as the guy got scared easily. Mirei pretends to be angry, but she can’t really do it, especially when Haruka says that he’ll be the one to decide who will be Mirei’s first kiss. Borrowing Mirei’s line, “just who do you think you are?” and the guys unabashedly answers that they are “Kanata-sama” and “Haruka-sama”. LOL.

The three best friends arrives at class, and Mirei was met by the two girls earlier asking what happened.  Mirei’s girlfriends concluded that the guys got in her way and tells her that she won’t get a boyfriend as long as she hangs-out with those two. Mirei reasons-out that Haruka and Kanata doesn’t see her as a “girl”, which is always the dilemma with every girl and guy friendships, and her friends tell her that the problem is that any guys will look like nothing because she hangs-out with two ikemen guys. I won’t argue with that description. XD. They also add that Haruka hardly talks to any other girls but talks normally when she’s with Mirei.

Little did they know, Mirei actually likes Haruka. She always like Haruka and she can only write her feelings with texts, which she never sends anyway. She knows that Haruka doesn’t see her that way, but sometimes, she can’t help but hope (cue to earlier scene with the random guy) that Haruka will also returns her feelings. Even though she can’t voice-out her feelings for Haruka, she just want to stay by his side, so close but yet so far, and see the Haruka’s many sides.

Enter the unexpected visitor, she goes to school wearing short-shorts, hanging blouse, and high heels while she pulls her luggage with her. The school is abuzz with their visitor and Kanata almost fainted upon seeing such a cute girl, not to mention, upon seeing her bellybutton. Their admiring glances turns to shock when the girl rushes to Haruka with a big hug.

Haruka doesn’t return the enthusiasm seeing his sister Ririko (Adachi Rika), a sister he gained from her mother’s marriage to his stepdad. In short, they are not blood related. Ririko says that she came all the way from New York to his school to give Haruka something from their mother. Aside from that, Ririko just wants to see how handsome Haruka have become and she likes what she sees.

Well, the gift from their mother happens to be an “I love New York” t-shirt and I share Haruka’s disappointment. Haruka asks Ririko how long will she be staying in Japan and Ririko says that she’ll be staying forever. As it happens, Ririko is in a long distance relationship with someone from Japan and maintaining the relationship can be such a pain. Before Ririko leaves, Ririko asks Haruka if he actually hates her; Haruka didn’t admit or deny anything, and she tells him that she likes Haruka’s type. She also adds that she’s thankful that they are siblings, or she might have fallen for Haruka. Okay, so one minute she’s talking about her boyfriend and now she’s flirting with her stepbrother.

Mirei is at a burger joint where Kanata works as a part-timer. He lends her “Evergreen” DVDs to watch while at the restaurant and while he sets-up the DVD, Mirei tells him how pretty Haruka’s sister is. Mirei and Kanata haven’t met Ririko since Haruka have only lived with his mom’s new family for a month and he chose to live alone after. Kanata says that it’s nice to see that Haruka’s sister is such a cool person so she won’t be put-off if Haruka tries to distance himself from her. Mirei even teases Kanata if he’s jealous because they are the only one who can get close with Haruka, something that Kanata denies.

Soon enough, Mirei is crying while watching those “Evergreen” DVDs and she calls Haruka since the third DVD is missing. Haruka tells her that he doesn’t have the third DVD since he lent those to Kanata, which surprises Mirei since Kanata has been acting like he owns the DVDs. While they were talking on the phone, a doorbell chimes, and Haruka wonders who could be at his door at that time of the night. Mirei jokes that it might be a girl, and Haruka tells her that she’s the only girl who have been at his house.

This tidbit makes Mirei’s smile and little did she know that the one outside is Ririko. Looking downcast, she asks Haruka is she can live with him, she says that she has nowhere to go now (uhm, you can go back to New York), and when Haruka asks her why, she goes to Haruka and hug him as she cries.

Whenever I remember that summer, even now, my heart still beats fast. My unforgettable summer of 17 started that night…- Sakurai Haruka


That was a feel-good first episode. I’m not swooning over it but watching this episode is like eating a cotton candy, all fluffy and sweet, and definitely good for you once in a while.

Abe is good with a bit of awkwardness as I observed with his posture. XD. I ‘m not gonna comment on his looks because I know the kid have received a lot of comparisons in look with Yamapi. He fared well with his first lead role and given the range the emotions he needs to show for the first episode, it was okay.

I like Kanata, all jolly and free-spirited. Mirei looks mature than the two guys, must be her lousy styled hair which I don’t know whether it should be wavy or straight or both. Looks aside, I like her acting as the bestfriend who can’t tell her feelings. As for Ririko, well, I’m not really her fan for this episode. haha.

What I like more from this episode is their cinematography (wow, I’m commenting on cinematography now!). I love how they made use of filters, light streaks, and bokeh particularly during Mirei’s scene when she’s writing her feelings for Haruka in her cellphone. I really love that scene, it really describes a girl in love.  Some of the backgrounds are pretty scenic as well. Speaking of love, the first episode sums-up the premise of the entire drama, a teenage love story with all the ups and downs and Haruka in the middle of it.

For first impressions, unrequited love is always a good conflict to start with and I would love to see more of Haruka’s teenage love story. However, it doesn’t change that Haruka didn’t end up with Mirei or there won’t be Kururugi Uni, which I think is the ultimate downer of this drama. I mean, why should I continue to watch Haruka fall in and out of love knowing full well that he won’t end up with Mirei? Oh well, irregardless of who Haruka ends-up with, let’s just enjoy this love story just like how we tolerated seeing Peter Parker with Gwen when we know that he ends-up with Mary Jane.


Download raw at d-addicts

Screencaps : mine


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