A Clinic on the Sea

Every once in a while, mediaphiles come across things they decide to watch just on a whim. Usually it’s something that falls generally outside their typical viewing genre. At the beginning, they may question the decision, only to keep going anyway and eventually discover that it was entirely worth it.

This week’s subject is A Clinic on the Sea (also known as Umi no Ue no Shinryoujo), which I had specifically started watching because I saw that Shouta Matsuda (Hana Yori Dango, Liar Game) was in it, playing the desperate doctor Kouta Sezaki. I had seen him previously in Sennyuu Tantei Tokage, which is a whole other conversation, and figured this story would at least be interesting if he was in it. The female lead, nurse Mako Togami, was played by Emi Takei (Rurouni Kenshin, W no Higeki). There was also a third actor I was not expecting to see, who caught me completely off guard, and that’s Sota Fukushi (Kamen Rider Fourze, Starman – This Star’s Love), who appeared in a supporting role.

Clinic-on-the-Sea-Umi-no-Ue-no-Shinryoujo_9475_poster

At the beginning of the series, Doctor Kouta (because that’s what he insists on everyone calling him) has taken a job on a floating medical clinic that travels between the various small islands of an inland sea. His goal, aside from professional duty, is to find a woman who will marry him, who he can take home to meet his mother. Every time they pull up to a dock, he meets someone, and proceeds to tell the crew that he won’t be coming back to the boat, much to their collective disgust and eventual frustration. Each time, the woman has some story or another as for why they can’t be together, or he’s able to come to that conclusion on his own. As the story proceeds, though, he starts to make connections with the other doctors, nurses, and members of the boat’s crew.

Like most series of this nature, every episode very much has an “A” story which relates whatever medical event is being dealt with, and a “B” story which connects the episode to the main over-arcing thread. The ending is incredibly predictable, but it doesn’t detract from the journey.

What’s great is that every supporting role is fleshed out, and the viewer gets to see what Doctor Kouta sees because it takes place in such close quarters. Please be sure to watch the ending sequence of every episode, since most of them have unique animations that illustrate various other things about the characters that aren’t necessarily shown in the main story lines.

That all being said, your mileage will probably vary on this one, because it takes some patience to get through the first couple episodes.

Rating: 3rd Gear

[If you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future article, please don’t hesitate to email me at Sara at otdt.net.]

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

In taking a story from manga to anime, to live action, there are bound to be changes that make it more format- and audience-friendly. As we saw a couple weeks ago, it doesn’t always come out successfully, but in the case of today’s subject, the combination of writing, acting, directing, and the rest of the crew has come together to put out a truly excellent product.

RK Kyoto Inferno

This time I’m looking at volume two of the Rurouni Kenshin film series, “Kyoto Inferno”. With Takeru Sato and Emi Takei reprising their roles as Kenshin and Kaoru, respectively, the story picks up not long after where it left off at the end of the first movie. The audience is introduced to Makoto Shishio in all his insanity, and it becomes obvious to newcomers that he’ll be the primary antagonist going forward. The movie covers the section where Kenshin is egged into going to Kyoto out of a responsibility for resolving the fact that Shishio even exists in the first place, up through the encounter on the ships in the harbor. Fans of the source material will hopefully recognize the new character brought in at the very end.

Rurouni Kenshin fans will also probably pick up on the fact that even though this second movie follows closer to the original story, it is still constrained by the changes made to it in the first one. Sanosuke’s loyalty is established, so that’s not such a big deal, but we don’t see as satisfying an explanation of the level of motivation associated with Aoshi Shinomori’s obsession with Kenshin as we’re familiar with because he wasn’t part of Kanryuu’s crew this time around. That all being said, everything fits well within the existing parameters of this modified version, and it’s a beautiful ride all over again. The only story element I was truly disappointed in was that Kenshin’s departure was so close to the beginning. I felt like we didn’t have enough of a chance to get back into the right emotional head space, to have it hit as hard as it did in the manga and anime.

This movie could exist in a vacuum if it wanted. Viewers don’t necessarily have to be familiar with the first installment or the source material to get something out of it, and that’s definitely a good thing. You will be left wanting for part three, though, and that’s a good thing too. If you have any feelings about the story, actors, setting, or any other relevant element, I highly recommend checking this one out. I know I’m eagerly waiting for the ‘end of the legend’.

Rating: 5th Gear

[If you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future article, please don’t hesitate to email me at Sara at otdt.net.]