1 Litre of Tears ~ Hours of my life (reviews)
I’ve been wanting to watch 1 Litre of Tears years now, but I never actually knew the story of the drama…
Having watched Boku no Ita Jikan (Hours of my Life) this year, I was talking about it with my friend and co author on dramajjang, Kwon Sang Seung, and while we were discussing Hours of my Life, he realized that I had never watched 1 Litre of Tears.So he told me straight up “You have to watch it”. I realized it was a similar story to Boku no Ita Jikan, except it was first and based on a real story.
1 Litre of Tears
So I started watching 1 Litre of Tears… In my life, I haven’t watched something more beautiful and sad at the same time. Every episode was simply a masterpiece, I cried to every single one and it was so worth it. The point is everything was exactly on spot and the acting was simply wonderful… A lot of times “based on a real story” doesn’t really affect the viewers or they don’t keep it in mind. In 1 Litre of Tears the spirit of real Aya was shown in the show and her real words in it, made the drama so realistic. Aya’s pictures at the end of every episode helped me keep in mind, this is a story of the beautiful person who suffered so much and went through a lot, so this is not a drama about simply somebody…It’s a drama dedicated to Aya Kito who suffered from an incurable disease, spinocerebellar degeneration and wrote her diary which was later published with the name , “1 Litre no Namida” (1 Litre of Tears or A Diary with Tears or A Diary of Tears)
– the rest contains spoilers –
The drama starts with Aya Ikeuchi at the age of fifteen. Aya with dreams to go to high school, succeed there and then go to university. Sawajiri Erika playing Aya, had a really hard work to do, taking the responsibility to play such a role is really tricky. Only two choices exist, disaster or success. 1 Litre of Tears was the second one. I know that Sawajiri Erika’s carrier right now is a bit controversial. But I’m not here to talk about it , since “1 lite of tears” was filmed years ago. So Erika’s kind smile and pure image as Aya made you like the character automatically. A young energetic girl with a good heart and many dreams. “How is everything gonna develop?”, I wondered. Knowing a lot about the disease in real life and having met with people who have it, I was nervous from the beginning since I knew the progress and the ending.
The drama gives a love story from the first minutes of the show. Aya in real life didn’t have a love interest and unfortunately didn’t have the time to experience love, so as I read in an article after the request of her mother a love story was given in the drama, that was even more heartbreaking.
Aya meets Haruto Aso (played very well by Ryo Nishikido), while she experiences the first symptoms of her disease.That’s how they’re starting to connect. What I loved about the drama was that there was no space for the viewer to think “well that doesn’t look very realistic”… As In the family’s reaction (which I will be taking on later), in society’s reaction or in friends’ reaction, the realistic perspective was strong.It could be seen, in the love line too. Since Aso was a fictional person and there was no Aso in the real story, the writers made the perfect character.
You can’t expect people in Aya’s age, to be so understanding about her disease, but Aso is not a normal kid. Having his own past and his own dark place, he is the only one who can stand by her side while her disease is getting worse. In the begging they’re not in good terms since Aso is a bit antisocial, step by step though, he discovers what a great person she is and they get closer.
As the drama goes on Aya’s condition of which she isn’t even aware of in the start, gets worse, that’s when her mother goes to the hospital with her and through books and everything realizes what exactly her disease is like. I personally applaud the drama for not only showing Aya’s life but also describing how family, friends, doctors and society coped with the situation in a detailed way.
The mother (Hiroko Yakushimaru) who can’t accept the cruel reality and waits for a miracle, the father (Takanori Jinnai) who also tries to stay positive for the sake of his daughter. The siblings who are shocked and affected by the situation. Especially Aya’s younger sister Ako who is a bit in the rebellious side , when she realizes her sister’s situation , she shows her mature self and becomes a different person, a responsible sister, who tries her best for Aya’s sake and to make her proud. Not only the family but the doctor also, he spends a lot of time with Aya and gets affected by her , a doctor (Naohito Fujiki) who is supposed to be more realistic and knows what the end is gonna be, he finds himself doing everything that’s possible to save a patient like Aya. It was shown in a beautiful way how a desperate situation can help, for people to become better.
Not in every case though, there is the other side of the society. I myself have realized how cruel can children be, especially at a young age. So the classmates wanting Aya out of school because of her condition becoming worse and not being able to function well at school, never once seemed, too much to me. I can totally picture the same thing happening to any school. People turn into judges as long as something bad isn’t happening to them. So since Aya was not able to keep up to school’s life she transfers to a different one for disabled people.
That’s when Sawajiri Erika once again delivers an excellent performance. First it was when she found about the disease, you can see her despair , but since the doctor’s words haven’t become reality yet, Aya is hanging in there… Even when she can’t walk well, when she gets out of the basketball team, when she can’t write, when her classmates have to carry her, still, deep inside she thinks she can turn the situation around. But the final strike comes when she has to go to the disabled people’s school. That’s when reality hits her and that’s when she realizes things are not gonna be the same way anymore. Staying at the old high school she still belonged… That’s the first time we see Aya loosing her spirit and her smile…
Step by step she gets her fighting spirit back. Aya after all is the strong person who has survived so many things taken away from her, people’s unkind stares and her life changing rapidly. But she has a great family by her side and she has Aso-kun, when he’s around she forgets about her situation. Aso also becomes a better person because of her. I don’t think Aso-kun had a bad character in the beginning of the drama, it’s just Aya was the only one who could bring, his warm side on the surface and also help him get out of his dark place. The dark place for him is very confusing, cause it’s full of memories of his late brother. That’s why Aso has a different perspective of life, “people are greedy and want to live more than normal”, that’s what he thinks. After getting to know Aya he changes his mind, finding out a person dear to him might not have the chance to live, he reconsiders. That’s when I think he finds his dream of becoming a doctor for Aya, who also wanted to help people as much as she could, as well for his brother too, who wanted to become a doctor.
Aso becomes bad again after the date incident. It’s something I found so cute, I mean a person like Aso… if there was a person like that in real life staying unconditionally by her side and not worrying about what people think of him being with a disabled person, most importantly him not treating Aya differently and looking at her, as nothing has changed from the moment they met…how nice it would be if that person actually existed in Aya’s real life… The drama goes on and after the date not turning out well in the end, Aya finds herself not being able to talk anymore, another strike comes to her. Then she says Aso-kun how their words have become different. Aya’s condition becomes worse and worse, she can barely walk, speak or write. That’s when on her teacher’s wedding day, she gives a letter to Aso, saying goodbye to him and that they can’t meet any longer. Having Aso by her side was always her strength but at the same time it was her weakness, since in his eyes she could see the life she couldn’t have… Aso goes back to depression.
Aya’s life comes to real danger when she starts choking or being unable to breathe properly. That’s how we get to the heartbreaking last episode… “How many tears?”, I wonder. The drama once again continues with its realistic side and step by step we are getting to Aya’s final moments. One of the best scenes, of the last episode is when Aso visits her and reads her diaries after her request, so many tears at this scene since it’s the last moment they spent together. Then Aya falls asleep smiling, we see her dream, being happy while playing basketball and being with her friends like in the beginning… She sleeps for a long time and she finally leaves surrounded by flowers…
In the end, the drama shows how much Aya’s words affected the world and how she helped people get through, what a great inspiration she was to everyone.
Writing about Aya Kito, I really feel so little that’s why I believe everyone, through her words, have to discover her on their own…
Being such an inspiration to everyone she became the person she wanted to….
Aya Kito ~ “1litre of tears”
The special episode of “1 litre of tears” it mostly consists of flashbacks like a recap of everything that has happened. Also it shows again the great effect of Aya’s books on other patients. The only story line that continues is Aso-kun’s. After Aya left, he once again becomes confused, he looses his way and still hangs to his past with her. After communicating with a patient with the same disease and talking to Aya’s parents, it seems he goes on with his life as a better doctor and by having Aya always in his heart.
Boku no Ita Jikan (hours of my life)
– contains spoilers –
Boku no Ita Jikan wasn’t based on a true story yet it was a good drama. Haruma Miura as Sawada Takuto who suffers from ALS, did a very good job. Although I watched it first, I couldn’t help, but compare it to “1 litre of tears”. Many things are similar from the story line to the director’s tricks. Like when sometimes you can hear the clock ticking in the background, it happens in both dramas, showing how time is the enemy in both cases.
The family background in “hours of my life” is complicated.A mother only paying attention to the younger son,an indifferent father,a younger son with many issues.I can’t see the reaction of the family as realistic as in “1 litre of tears”. Also it seems like there are no financial problems or a lot of society problems, that’s how this makes it a bit more fictional.
The love story also is a bit rushed and a bit “typical”.Megumi becomes Takuto’s girlfriend.After Takuto finds out, about his disease, he becomes distant.She thinks he doesn’t want to be with her, when in reality he pushes her away because he can’t be with her,due to his situation. Then she finds out the truth, returns to him and stays by his side. Unlike in “1 litre of tears” where Aso-kun knows about the disease from the beginning, which I like it a lot better to be honest. It’s way more realistic and it saves time from the unnecessary drama.
Surely Takuto’s family isn’t the most supportive and he finds the warmth he needs, at his best friend and Megumi. But of course a somehow “broken” family comes closer, as Takuto’s situation gets worse. His brother who has his own issues gets inspired by Takuto and finds a dream, he becomes a better person.His mother and father become, more thoughtful parents.
“Hours of my life” is more focused on Takuto & Megumi’s love story and how that develops through the hardships. That doesn’t mean that we don’t see Takuto suffering through the changes or having his own ups and downs. He breaks down too, a lot of times but, unlike in the beginning, where he suffers by keeping everything to himself. When the disease progresses, he tries to get through this, mostly with Megumi’s support.
Also comparing both dramas is not so easy, since the one is based on a true story and the other one isn’t. Also the leads have different age and gender, makes it a lot different.
About Boku no Ita Jikan’s ending. It’s not a happy ending nor a sad one. Takuto decides to use a breathing machine and live as much as he can not only for himself but for everyone. I can see how this ending can be inspiring to people with the same disease showing them that life somehow can still go on even at this situation.
Both dramas are lesson learners. People are leaving their lives without appreciating things. A walk with friends, a date, a dinner with family, simple living we all take it as given. To some others all these seem like a dream. It doesn’t mean we have to live our lives by not enjoying it, but if we spend some time appreciating the small things or see life through those people’s eyes , we’ll find the beauty and the meaning we’ve been missing… Most importantly, people who suffer from such diseases and have so much will to live and fight, that’s the people we should look up to.. If we get some time to see that, each one of us will have become a little more of a better person… that’s what I think.
♫ In the middle of this drifting season , I suddenly feel the length of the days …. ♪