Soredemo, Ikite Yuku / Still, Life Goes On ~ Review ~ Dramajjang
“I hope that,
When the feelings i held in my hand reach you,
You will be on the other side of sadness.
And you will move forward.”
Soredemo, Ikite Yuku had been a part of my watching plans for a very long time now, but I kept waiting until I felt emotionally prepared to face a colossal wall of feels crumbling down on me. Truth be told, you’re never really ready for such dramas. It’s just that, at some point, a moment arrives, a moment that feels more suitable than before. Regardless of how prepared you are, once you enter this grieving labyrinth there’s no turning back. You can only move forward, episode by episode, to find out what lies at the end of the road.
15 years ago, the younger sister of Fukami Hiroki (Eita) was murdered by one of his friends and the traumatic descent of two families started taking place in the wake of that eerie event. 15 years later, Toyama Futaba (Mitsushima Hikari), the perpetrator’s sister, met Hiroki and a multifaceted universe of interactions was born, not only between them, but also between the members of both families, as everything was being filtered through the past while the future was being sketched out in an even more unclear way.
Soredemo, Ikite Yuku; Still, Life Goes On. A title doesn’t always reflect everything the drama may be standing for, but this one is highly representative. Despite everything that may appear along the way, life will keep going on even if there could be a sense of stillness binding you to the past. One way or another, life will go on whether you’re a palpable part of it or staring at it through the looking glass.
Soredemo, Ikite Yuku is a journey amid scars and open wounds with the starting point being the moment time stood still while the clock kept ticking; mercilessly. Nurturing the pain by avoiding to face the truth in a straightforward way may lead to deeper emotional chasms instead of trying to fill the void within by accepting the facts. The character development was masterful as it was depicting each and every character’s forward and/or backward steps, including all the temperamental eruptions and feelings drowning in silence along with all the emotional pieces coming together in order for the human puzzle to feel complete.
Throughout the drama, we get to witness every character’s course and the way his/her life had been and/or kept being affected by the ongoing flow of events. While the drama was maintaining a panoramic view when it comes to society’s manifold approach and the harm it may cause, everything was becoming more distinctive when it was being filtered through our main and secondary figures’ shattered prism aiming towards the cage where these dislocated rays could meet.
The sense of loss, the masks of guilt that may conceal reality to a wider extent, the alienation process through pain, the absence of oblivion and the grieving burden of remembrance, the dehumanizing contours of revenge, the disheartening “what if” parameters and the omnipresence of the past are an essential part of Soredemo, Ikite Yuku. But pain doesn’t only estrange people, it can also bring them closer together and the more they take into consideration one another’s feelings the more human they remain as they struggle to move on with their lives.
To forgive is to forget, but when forgetting will never be an option forgiveness becomes more complicated, but also more meaningful. The drama lays emphasis on sincerity no matter how hurtful the truth may be. At the end of the day, it may appear more relieving than a seemingly redeeming facade. There are feelings that may blossom under the sleepless stare of the abyss and the drama preserves the preciousness of life over the futility of being throughout its healing process from the weeping quietude to the emotional eruptions and from the gray stillness towards a more sunlit state of mind. When it comes to the two sides of the same coin, Soredemo, Ikite Yuku walks hand in hand with the Japanese psyche and culture while visualizing the different yet intersecting struggles of the victim’s and the perpetrator’s families.
The storyline is realistic and raw while maintaining a lyrical and often poetic but non-exaggerating approach in perfect combination with the cinematography that visualizes Soredemo, Ikite Yuku’s world through a more natural prism that often surrenders to a more artistic touch making the drama look like a painting in motion. The drama balances between indoors and outdoors shooting making its canvas more diverse with the lighting factor always doing justice to the surrounding environment, the characters’ internal world and the scenes’ vibes. You have to appreciate the sense of distance between a variety of characters throughout the drama, the presence or absence of warmth between them, the way the lenses adore the landscapes amid heavy feels, heartfelt smiles or emptiness and the use of angles and closeups that enrich even more the overall ambiance.
All of the actors and actresses who structured Soredemo, Ikite Yuku’s world were remarkable in the way they brought to life their characters, but Eita and Mitsushima Hikari were the drama’s leading brigade with their soulful testimonies, solely and together. They were surrounded by a transparent cloud of chemistry and through their characters’ development we were able to witness them glowing together through gloom and interstitial delight. Demanding roles are for actors and actresses who won’t only live up to expectations, but they will also leave their mark on their characters making them their own forever. Eita and Mitsushima Hikari were stellar and the key to success was no other than their natural acting which was inhaling sincerity and was exhaling a variety of emotional horizons from utter tranquility to emotional outbursts. Their shattered smiles and volcanic tears possessed their own dynamics and scarred gently the drama’s canvas once and for all.
Among others, Jun Fubuki as Takami Toyama and Shinobu Otake as Kyoko Nomoko were magnificent as devastated maternal figures, Shunsuke Kazama visualized in the most representative way his dreadful character’s lifeless world, Eriko Sato and Kana Kurashina filled my sight with ponies of love, Mayuko Fukuda as Akari, Futaba’s sister, was remarkable in the way she was trying not to break apart and Saburo Tokito as Shunsuke Misaki, the perpetrator’s family’s paternal figure, was living up to any expectations trying to protect his family despite his own struggles.
Realistic and agonizing but also lyrical and heartening, Soredemo, Ikite Yuku isn’t only threnody in motion, but also a heart’s journey throughout the longest night in search of the dawn.
PS. Quoting another drama: “Some people are like that, like a drop of pitch black ink on a snow white sheet of paper, there must be a case to stimulate the potential monster in you.”