“I cried so much, my whole body turned into tears” – Oumi Mitsuru, ‘Eien No Kinou’.
Inoue Sora plays Oumi Mitsuru, a quiet introvert high-school student who falls in love with Yamada Koichi (Komiya Rio), a bright lively talkative popular kid in the same class. The two strike an awkward friendship, which includes having lunch every day without much conversation, without realizing their mutual affection, the two finally begin a relationship after an unexpected confrontation. Just as the two fall into the rhythm of the blooming romance, Koichi tragically dies in a road accident, but in an even bigger twist, he wakes up from the dead as if nothing happened. “He isn’t dead, he is a walking corpse” insists Oumi to his classmate who can still see Yamada, even though he clearly doesn’t have a heartbeat, it’s as if his body is frozen in time. But sooner or later, the two young lovers will have to accept the truth – the bizarre miracle of Koichi’s walking corpse won’t last long.
Directed by Kobayashi Keiichi, ‘Eien No Kinou’ is an eccentric supernatural romance based on a novel of the same name. Its English title is ‘Eternal Yesterday’, which sort of summarizes the theme of the eight-episode series. Even though Oumi can spend time with his dead lover in the present, he is actually stuck in the past. While the story could’ve been a weird exaggerated comedy drama, it’s got a surprisingly poignant plot about young love and loss. There are obviously some things that don’t make any sense in the series, but hey, it’s about a dead guy walking around town, so you’ve got to keep all logical questions aside and just enjoy this strange story.
The cinematography is simple yet captures the mellow mood of a slightly tragic summer romance between two young students. Inoue Sora is ardent as the serious, introspective Oumi Mitsuru, who unlike is calm exterior, holds a storm of emotions within, too scared of letting his feeling be known. In the first few episodes, you get a sense that Sora looks too grown-up to be playing a high-school student, and sure enough, the actor is a little older than the other cast members playing his classmates. Perhaps someone like Suzuki Jin from ‘Given’ would’ve been more convincing as a school kid; or someone other actor who was closer to Komiya Rio’s age. Komiya on the other hand is perfect as the sunny Koichii, and even capture the character’s dual traits – on one hand he is a carefree optimistic student, on the other hand he also burns with a strong desire to be with the person he loves and can be intimidating. Together, the lead actors make a fantastic onscreen pair, their chemistry is on point and their romantic scenes are ripe with sexual tension and love. As the episodes progress, Inoue Sora also grows on you as the ruminative Misturu, who struggles to come to terms with the grief of losing his beloved.
Soft, emotional, low-key comical and totally quirky, ‘Eien No Kinou’ is an offbeat series that will have viewers invested until the end. The background music is an essential element in the series, the accompanying tracks blend beautifully with the mood of the scenes without causing any distraction. The support cast do their job of moving the story forward, and unlike many romantic shows where a side character upstages the protagonists, in this series they are all a cog in the wheel. The series could’ve had an extra episode or two, because the climax leaves you feeling a little empty, like we deserved some more of Oumi and Koichii, if not in their romantic journey, then just them hanging out with their classmates at school. That said, the last episode doesn’t feel rushed, it’s the kind of end Oumi had been dreading from the beginning and the viewers too are subtly warned of. If you are a crier, grab some tissues and be prepared for a heart-breaking wistful ending.
It’s 8.5/10 from me.
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