I was flipping through "The Embalmer" (U.S. title for "Shigeshoshi") at a bookstore, and only managed to read ch. 1. Would buy it, but I'm short of money. -_-
At the first glance, it's the same as the first ep. of drama, about Shiori, who is getting married real soon. But I think there are more differences than similarities:
1. Azuki knows about Mamiya being an embalmer, and call him by his first name (although that might be the translators taking some creative licenses; I have to check which name is used by Azuki in the original Japanese version).
2. Azuki is Mamiya's landlord (her father rents out an old church to him), and at the opening of the story, throws out two girls Mamiya has been sleeping with. (Um...I think I've seen that in the drama also, but I'm not sure about the landlord part, though.)
3. Renji is nowhere in sight,
and I suspect he doesn't exist in the manga
. Mamiya himself, dressed up the way Renji usually does, approaches the distraught fiance and says all the things Renji usually says (wouldn't you leave Shiori in my care? etc. etc.)
4. I really don't see Mamiya goofing off that much in the manga.
5. No hospital headquarter, and by extension, no other characters who are usually there. I can't decide if I like or dislike that there is no central socializing place for the main characters to meet. Azuki isn't a nurse, as far as I know, and is still in school.
6. No Mitsuru. He might show up later, but for now, I don't see him.
7. No scene of Mamiya doing embalming job. I suppose that's happening off-camera for now.
8. The fiance grieves appropriately, but then I kind of suspect what happens in the drama is more of the actor overacting his role.
9. No visible admiration of embalming job. (Well, they do mention that she looks peaceful and such, but no exaggerated gushing or anything.)
10. Mamiya talks freely to Azuki about embalming, and even enlists her help, probably because she is in on the secret.
Style changed and a few contradicting information because I visited the same bookstore again and skimmed the rest of the volume.
Mamiya is asking Azuki out. But I'm not so sure they are really dating.
I like the old guy and his love of watches. One thing I notice, Mamiya is saying or thinking that embalming was more discriminated against back at the time he met the old man. Compared to now, where he apparently tells everyone who listens that he is an embalmer. (Ha ha, way to destroy my confidence in you, Mamiya. I really thought only your closest friends know about your less than sterling career.) To get back a bit on track, the old guy tells Mamiya that he likes his job of restoring dead watches and that in a way, it's just like Mamiya embalming bodies, bringing the dead to live again. Mamiya protests that he cannot make dead people live again, he can only restore their appearances so they seem like they are sleeping.
The Narcissus sort of cracks me up. I'd love to see any actor trying to pull off that 'I'm god's gift to everyone admire my magnificence' demeanor. (I honestly don't think the act will translate well to live-action dramas, unless the actor is very talented.) He seems to think of Mamiya as a rival/competition, which is totally ridiculous, IMHO. The guy interprets everything to his own self-interest, sees every little insignificant gesture to his own advantage. I think I would probably hate someone like him in real life. Either that, or laugh behind the guy's back at his sheer stupidity. Personally, I think this chapter has a parallel to episode 3 of the drama. People are saying he's beautiful, lying there in a casket, after they see Mamiya's handiwork. Mamiya (or Renji(?), who does exist, after all) is remarking that it's a pity that the Narcissus (ironically, I never manage to remember his name) is no longer on this earth to hear those words of admiration he so craved.
(I might have mixed up chapter four and chapter five. As I said, I just skimmed the manga volume.)
Is basically the same as episode 2 of the drama, but with a few differences. Most notable is the son isn't allowed to visit with his sick father at all, because the father is afraid of passing the illness to his son. Dr. Koyuki (gee, she shows up when I wasn't looking) is saying that is the greatest expression of love the father is giving his son, by not hugging the son while he (the father) is sick. Koyuki goes on to
say that by not hugging Azuki, Mamiya is giving his greatest expression of love to Azuki. Mamiya sort of colors up, so I think that's true. (He doesn't seem the sort to be shamed by a teasing which is unfounded.)
(BTW, I think the manga Koyuki is totally hot, and less annoying than her drama counterpart. Mamiya tries to hit on her, and she even flirts back.)
Azuki has an older brother, whose name I don't catch. (They just call him Natsui.) He is acting like a (stereo)typical older brother, fiercely protective of Azuki. Basically, he decides Mamiya isn't good enough for his little sister, so he tries to forbid anymore meeting between her and Mamiya, which set Azuki's back up and have her declared heatedly for her brother to "just drop dead." He is rushed to hospital the next day and Azuki, in tears, is calling on Mamiya to help her. Well, as it turns out, Azuki's brother is fine, just overworked. Since she is worried sick about him, Azuki gets mad and leaves. She chances to ask Mamiya afterward if he would embalm a member of her family, and he flat-out says no.
(I don't know if Mamiya's refusal makes him more vulnerable than his drama counterpart. He does have the same problem of needing an alive body, to touch, to feel, after handling a corpse, a dead body, presumably to reassure himself that he's still alive. He has scared Azuki with that need, I believe in this chapter, when she catches him shivering. In the end, he pushes her away before anything serious could happen and sends her home in his coat, after telling/warning her not to be "near naked" walking around in the night. I think she shots back that he sounds just like her brother, and that he's wearing less than her anyway (ha ha, I don't think he has a comeback for that).)
I decide that I like it more that, unlike the drama, the hospital doesn't have like 80% of the screentime in the manga. Mamiya is not so much of a bum in the manga either. But I still like seeing Wada in the role of Mamiya in the drama version. Only that I wish the script writers stick the storylines closer to those of the manga. The manga chapters are standalone, but, IMHO, they are not as boring/more of the same/formulaic as the early drama episodes. Or maybe I just say that because I can understand the manga where I have virtually no clue as to what they are saying in the drama. I also like the manga artworks. But I think they might not be for everyone. And I'm under no illusion that I'm the only person who has read the manga, but it isn't easy to find who else has talked about it.
Still haven't watched the final few episodes of the drama and hope to remain spoiler-free until I do.
Happy new year to everyone reading this!