In this post, I mentioned that the actors for Souji Tendou (a.k.a. Kamen Rider Kabuto) and Mirai Hibino (a.k.a. Ultraman Mebius) had been in the same internet drama called Hatsukare (though not at the same time). Since I still haven't managed to find much information on this shoujo drama in English, I thought I would write a little about it.
A few months ago I ordered the DVD boxset for Hatsukare from Amazon.co.jp. The boxset contains a total of twelve episodes on three DVDs. Hiro Mizushima was super hilarious in it, which I found to be such a refreshing departure from his super cool character in Kabuto. There were also a few more familiar toku faces on this show such as the heroine's friend Chacha-chan (this actress was in Sh15uya, but I prefer not to say which character because some might consider that a spoiler), who was also hilarious (and the story seemed to pair her with Ibushi (Mizushima's character), making their scenes together double hilarious) and Rina Akiyama (Mana in Kamen Rider Agito; Naomi in Kamen Rider Den-O). Akiyama also played the heroine's friend.
Hatsukare is a slow going series, with not much happening in the first few episodes. It is mostly about first love, as the title says. The hero (Hashimoto) and heroine (Chiro) seem to be new to dating. The drama follows their stumble through trials and tribulations of that newness of romance. In the process, the couple suffers quite a few misunderstandings (and a few separations) along the way.
As far as the acting is concerned, I found Hashimoto's actor to be kind of stiff in a few scenes. I had no problem with the performances from the rest of the cast however. In fact, I thought Mizushima and Chacha's actress were outstanding. Chiro's actress was also quite good. Sadly, everyone else was too much in the background to truly shine.
Shunji Igarashi's character first appeared in episode 2, and lasted only through the beginning of episode 6. This character whose name I never once catched (edit: according to the cast list, his name was Tabane) seemed to be a stock character, thus unfortunately had zero development. (Teach me to do some research before buying DVDs sight unseen next time.) However, Mizushima's character, Ibushi, whose first appearance was in the middle of episode 6 and was in every episode until the end, more than made up for it with his over-the-top antics.
Sorry for the lack of pictures. I can't find a way to take screencaps without first ripping the DVDs onto my computer, and it's running low on space at the moment. In lieu of that, here is the Hatsukare promo on YouTube.
If the above is not working for some reason, here is the direct link:
Hatsukare Promo on YouTube