I have been hearing about One Liter of Tears ever since I’ve started the habit of watching Japanese dramas. Before, it was all Korean dramas for me but then again, my ever shortening attention span and my interest to see the Japanese version of Meteor Garden otherwise known as Hana Yori Dango pulled me into watching Japanese dramas.
I’ve put off watching this because I know it’s going to be sad, sadder than Stairway to Heaven for that matter but curiosity got the better of me and I started watching this in advance when GMA7 started promoting this drama.
It started airing tonight and I must say, I was surprised at the accuracy of the translation of the dialogues. I am also quite happy that they maintained their Japanese names although I don’t like the voice of some of the characters. Ako, who is Aya’s younger sister, had a mouse-like sounding voice when the actress in real life had well, a more rounder one. But looking beyond the flaws, I’m quite happy with tonight’s episode and I hope it continues until the end. (I noticed though that there are a lot of commercials for a drama that is airing for the first time.)
So what happened tonight?
The drama opens with a scene of girls playing basketball. During this time, a voice over is heard explaining how the body moves. It is the doctor explaining that the cerebellum, brain stem and the spinal stem of the nervous system are the ones controlling body movements. He looks through a set of CT scan plates and says to the mother that her daughter’s cerebellum is shrinking, which means that she is losing the neurons which controls her body. Slowly, symptoms will appear such as unsteadiness while walking, failure to measure distances and difficulty in talking.
We then see the mother, 10 years after, browsing through her daughter’s diary and she sees her entries.
“Why did this illness choose me?”
“Can I marry someday?”
Aya Ikeuchi, the oldest daughter, opens her family’s tofu shop. It is her examination day for high school but she cannot sleep. Her father is surprised that she is up so early and tells her to go sleep or study but she refuses. Her mother agrees.
Aya’s whole family helps in the tofu shop business, her grouchy sister Ako, brother Hiro and youngest sister Rika. Because it is exam day, they didn’t want to use the word drop (or fail) but then, when Aya drops a block of tofu and her father drops the mixing paddle, they say the word drop which elicits a smile from Aya.
Aya is now ready to go to school but her mother runs after her to give her the examination card. Meanwhile, her father gives her a lucky charm… for business.
On the way to school, Aya sleeps in the bus and misses her bus stop. She gets off on the following stop and runs back but she fell twice. The second time, she stumbles through parked bicycles causing all of them to collapse. Haruto Asou is there and is not happy with what happened. He still assists her and brings her to school when rain starts to fall. Haruto and Aya are still allowed to take the entrance exam even though they are late.
Aya approaches Haruto after the exam and thanks him but Haruto ignores her. That night, Aya tells her parents that a guy helped her and her dad panics because he doesn’t want her daughter to be near guys.
Aya passes the exam to Higashi High School where her middle school crush Kawamoto also studies and is part of the basketball team. He invites her to be part of the team as well. Knowing that Aya has a crush on Kawamoto, Aya’s friend encourages her to confess her feelings to him but she refuses. Aya also wonders whether Haruto also passed the exam.
Aya’s family is happy that she could now go the Higashi High School which is a good school and gives her gifts. Her father crafts a watch specially for her since he worked in a watch shop. To celebrate, Aya pleads her mother to let her dad drink beer but she spills some while pouring. Her mother sees it and becomes worried.
Haruto also passes the exam but he could not care less. His parents congratulate him for being accepted at Higashi High which is also the former school of his father and older brother.
It is the first day of school and Aya’s dad takes a picture of her to remember. The whole family also joins in. As Aya bids goodbye, her dad tells her to be careful. A little later, she stumbles but recovers immediately.
Their attendance is taken at homeroom class. Their adviser thought Haruto is absent but he arrives late. He said that he helped a woman who fell down and brought her to the hospital. When his friend asks him if its true, he tells him straightforward that it’s a lie. Aya thinks he’s weird.
Aya and Haruto are chosen to be class representatives and they are given the task prepare for the choral competition. Aya is elected to be conductor and at the same time, she will choose the piece that they will be singing.
That night, Aya tells her first day experience to her parents. While talking, she has a hard time getting a piece of meat using her chopsticks. Her youngest sister Rika mentions it to the whole family and her mother becomes worried again.