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Proposal Daisakusen

Proposal Daisakusen

by Rinoa on January 7, 2009 · 15 comments · AddThis

Proposal Daisakusen
Proposal Daisakusen Promotional Photograph

Proposal Daisakusen“, otherwise known as “Operation Love”, is a Japanese television drama series. This series started being aired in April 2007, with the season finale at the end of June on Fuji TV. A total of eleven episodes were recorded, which is the standard in Japan. In March 2008, a special was aired to conclude the whole series.

This drama was extremely popular in Japan, with an average rating of 17.3%. Consequently it has won a fair amount of awards. At the 53rd Japanese Television Academy Awards, it won the award for Best Drama, Best Theme Song and the Special Award. Furthermore at the 11th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix it won the award for Best Drama and Yamashita Tomohisa and Nagasawa Masami won the Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. Hamada Gaku and Eikura Nana also won the Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress awards.


Before reading this review, I wish to give a word of warning for those who haven’t watched the drama yet. This review has some light spoilers ahead.

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Synopsis

The plot focuses on Iwase Ken, a young man who is attending the wedding ceremony of his childhood friend, Yoshida Rei. The whole ceremony seems to be a typical joyful celebration, almost perfect in every way. The wedding ceremony seems to be the dream wedding of any girl, with a beautiful church, a stunning wedding gown and a sophisticated celebration after. However on this day, Ken is overcome with this overwhelming feeling that he has lost Rei forever and realises that he has always been in love with her. He spends most of the day feeling miserable and regretting the fact that he held back and never took a chance to confess his feelings to Rei in all those years that he had known her.

“The majority of humans don’t understand the reality of something till it’s over.”
- The Fairy

While Ken is feeling sorry for himself, Rei entrusts him to give a speech at the wedding, which makes matters even worse. Ken becomes even more miserable when a slideshow of Rei’s life is shown. He begins to remember all the chances he missed and is not proud of the way he treated her in the past. With that thought in mind, he wishes to himself that he could relive his past and somehow manage to be the person marrying Rei today.

Promo Photo
Promotional Photo
Magazine Photoshoot
Magazine Photoshoot

Coincidentally at the same wedding, someone notices how pitiful this young man looks. This happens to be a fairy who has never seen anyone have such strong feelings of regret towards the bride. This fairy decided to give Ken a helping hand to win over the girl he loves by returning to the past. Ken is given the chance to go back to the past with the help of photos from the slideshow.

However this is not as easy at it seems! Ken is has zero skills in love and despite his best intentions, he always seems have wrong timing or do the wrong things. Also most of his efforts at confessing his feelings to Rei end up being thwarted! Both him and the fairy know that the chances of winning the girl he loves are very slim. Nonetheless Ken is stubbornly set on winning Rei. Can Ken finally capture Rei’s heart and change his fate?

The Characters

Yamashita Tomohisa as Iwase KenYamashita Tomohisa as Iwase Ken
Iwase Ken is the protagonist of this drama. His nickname, Ken-zou was given to him by Rei. It is fairly clear from the start that Ken is the opposite of every girl’s dream. He’s slow, indecisive, insensitive and lacks any kind of a romantic spirit. Ken wasted most of his youth stubbornly avoiding his feelings for Rei, which was a cowardly act in itself. Instead he foolishly chased after superficial girls, only to get rejected. Ken is also quite childish, believing that buying Rei coffee milk would make her marry him or getting excited over something silly as compatibility over the love calculator.

Despite his shortcomings, anyone would sympatise with him and cheer on his impossible quest. When he returned to the past, Ken tried his best to amend his mistakes and stubbornly keeps persisting until the very end, despite of the odds being against him. In many occasions, Ken would fail to summon his courage to confess his feelings to Rei or secretly sacrifice his happiness in order to make Rei happy. In the end it is clear that Ken would go through great lengths for his friends and Rei. All these aspects make Ken a very realistic character and someone who any guy can relate to.

 

Nagasawa Masami as Yoshida ReiNagasawa Masami as Yoshida Rei
Rei is Ken’s childhood friend. She has a cheerful, calm and sweet personality, which makes her well-liked by everyone. Her observant nature makes her considerate of other people’s feelings and she always thinks of her friends before of herself. Unlike Ken, Rei takes school duties very seriously and always scolds Ken for skipping his duties. Rei is very serious in whatever she does and she has never given her parents any trouble.

Rei also has a vulnerable quality, where she holds back and keeps her emotions bottled up when she is heartbroken or upset. She usually doesn’t say anything but a person who knows her well would notice these slight changes in her expression. Ken seems the only person who manages to make Rei feel this way, especially when he doesn’t keep his word or he lets her down. Rei fell in love with Ken when she was very young but Ken never seemed to notice her feelings and never took her seriously. When Rei grew up, she slowly gave up her love for Ken and rather than taking a risk, she decided to date Tada instead.

 

Eikura Nana as Oku Eri Eikura Nana as Oku Eri
Eri is Rei’s best friend and confidante. Initially Eri is portrayed to be a vain and self-centered girl, whose sole interest is to date handsome men. In high school Eri was extremely popular and attracted the attention of all the males in her school. For this reason she was nicknamed the “class Madonna”. Tsurumi was also infatuated with Eri and he persistently kept on trying to win her affections. Eri ignored Tsurumi whenever it happened and pretended it never happened.

Despite of her high opinion of herself, Eri is yet another likeable character. She has a bubbly personality and is constantly energetic. Although she may appear carefree and unreliable, Eri always stands by her friends and keeps her commitments. As an adult Eri kept trying to find the perfect guy but unfortunately she kept falling for men who treated her badly. However due to an intervention by Ken, Tsurumi stops Eri from going back with her ex boyfriend. In the end Tsurumi and Eri finally get their own happy ending.

 

Hamada Gaku as Tsurumi Hisashi Hamada Gaku as Tsurumi Hisashi
Tsurumi is definitely the funniest character in the series. His boundless energy and his undying enthusiasm are infectious. Tsurumi always puts his heart in whatever he does, even though he fails many times. Because of his loud and energetic nature, he is frequently seen as annoying and a lot of people tease him for this quality. Also since Tsurumi is quite short, he is frequently teased for “not growing up”, which ignited his obsession with drinking lots of milk and his job as a milkman.

He is madly in love with Eri but unlike Ken he makes no secret of it. Throughout the whole series Tsuru goes through countless unsuccessful attempts to make Eri love him. These demonstrations are frequently over-the-top, like writing a gigantic confession on the baseball court. Despite of all the rejections, Tsuru persistently kept on trying and with a little help from Ken he was successful.

 

Hiraoka Yuta as Enokido Mikio Hiraoka Yuta as Enokido Mikio
Mikio is the smartest and most mature person in the group of friends. He frequently teases Ken and Tsurumi when they act childish or when they foolishly chase after girls. Mikio is very sharp and he quickly caught on the fact that Ken came to the future and tries to help him. He is also very ambitious and aims to be a movie director.

For these reasons he is perceived as being rather cool and a lot of girls like him. Unlike Ken and Tsurumi he seems more skilled into dating and relationships although he seems to be quite reluctant on committing fully to his girlfriend, Yuko. For this reason, Mikio had a lot of arguments with his girlfriend. Tsurumi is impressed at his skills and frequently calls him “Master” when he needs advice on girls.

 

Fujiki Naohito as Tada Tetsuya Fujiki Naohito as Tada Tetsuya
Tada is the antagonist of the series, since he’s Ken’s competitor. He happened to be the teacher for Ken’s class when they were high school seniors. He is rather shy and reserved. In the beginning he seemed to focus simply on inputting information into the students’ brains, making him quite boring to the majority of the students. He never bothered to talk or understand his students. Somehow Tada seemed to live in his own world making him quite unlikable.

Tada realises only too late that his mathematical explanations are too complicated and that he’s so distant from his own students. Despite of the fact that he knows that it’s in his interest to distance Tada from the students, Ken decides to do the right thing and shows a paper that Tada designed for his students. In it Tada had written down the qualities of his students and drew an image of each of them, showing that deep inside he cared a lot for his students. Despite of his awkward personality, Tada is a kind-hearted person and always tries to do the right thing.

The Music

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Message
Mongol800's Message
The ending theme song, “Ashita Hareru Kana” is performed by Kuwata Keisuke. Kuwate Keisuke is famous in the Japanese entertainment scene for being a record producer, a movie director and a musician. He’s also the lead vocalist and guitarist of the popular Southern All Stars band.

The song is quite romantic and melancholic, accompanied with a choir of children, a piano and a guitar. It was perfectly suited for a wedding. With this theme song he won the award for “Best Television Theme Song” at the 53rd Japanese Television Awards, in 2007.

The insert song “Chiisana Koi no Uta”, was a rock song performed by the indie rock band Mongol800. In the drama, it was Ken’s favourite song and it also happens to be their most loved hit. The song can be loosely translated as “Small Love Song” and the lyrics fit the relationship between Rei and Ken perfectly.

The lyrics narrate a love story from the beginning till the end. It starts with the meeting of these two people and how his feelings simply kept growing since he met her. At one point, he realised that the most important person to him was the one standing next to him. In the end this person cannot forget his loved one and his feelings will never change towards her. However knows that expressing these feelings into words is not enough. Only his actions and emotions can truly explain how he feels. Ken has shown on countless times how he couldn’t express his feelings in words and only through his actions he showed Rei that he cared about her. In the end what matters is the memories he cherished with her and he knows they shall be imprinted in his heart forever.

“Time have passed since I first met you. The letters with my feelings grow in numbers, without us realizing, it is already echoing between us.”

Themes

This drama contains a lot of themes, giving it a whole new dimension. The predominant theme is naturally that of love. Love is frequently defined and portrayed in a restricted way by society and the media. Yet Rei and Ken manage to overcome all the clichés of love and show that love can be expressed in a different manner. Despite the fact that they always seemed to back down at confessing their feelings and that they were not an official couple, it is clear that Rei and Ken know each other extremely well and they always do special things for each other, without expecting anything in return.

“You said you wanted it. So I dealt with the responsibility of getting it.”
- Ken

Message
Don't Knock New York
Ken would always try to make Rei happy and would sacrifice anything when she asks him to do something for him. When he returned to the past, he urged her to speak to her grandfather, knowing that he would die a few months later and she would regret it for the rest of her life. He also spent a lot of money and time to win “Don’t Knock New York” bag that he knew Rei wanted so much. On the other hand, Rei was always noticing everything about Ken and would do little things to make him happy. This is clear when Rei bought him a figurine of Randy Bass for his birthday and hid it in the library, since she knew he admired the baseball player so much. She also noticed Ken had hurt his arm so she included a band aid. Rei supported Ken’s baseball dream and even became a manager of his team, despite the fact that he wasn’t so good at it. Those little special moments were much more meaningful than the typical love stories in books or movies.

 

Randy Bass
Rei's gift to Ken
Ken's birthday
Ken's holding Rei's gift.

The fairy believes that loving and being the right person will lead to a miracle since love can change a person’s destiny. However such a miracle is rare, since few people are happily married for the rest of their lives. He also strongly believes that marrying the person you love second best is not going to make you truly happy. Despite of that, many people accept their own fate passively and would be content with simply that.

The themes of fate and human will are quite strong. The fairy frequently makes reference to how people often explain the unfavourable turn of events to be “unexpected” or “accidental” but they do not take responsibility of their actions or try to change the course of events. They would prefer to find excuses and complain about how fate is unfair. However the fairy thinks that things happen for a reason and that humans should work hard at reaching their own dreams rather than blaming fate.

“Humans… One thing you have gotten very good at throughout history is making excuses.”
- The Fairy

Throughout the eleven episodes, Ken complained and found excuses for his cowardly nature and his inability to confess to Rei. However his efforts didn’t go to waste and some of his actions in the the past, managed to have a huge impact on the future. He somehow managed to give Rei a lot of happy memories and helped Tsuru and Eri to become a couple. Ken also became more mature and realised that important matters as relationships need a lot of work and simply wanting them isn’t enough.

The concept of going back and changing fate is quite unimaginable. However I’m sure that several people have a very strong regret in their life where despite of the fact that life keeps moving on, these people would keep wishing they could go back and change their life. Nonetheless, even if they were given that chance, some people would be unable to make a difference and overcome their fears. The series proved that this is extremely difficult. In the end Ken realised that the most important thing was to change his present self rather than living in regret for the past. At the end of the day, the present is the most important time of a person’s life.

“Those who say they’ll do it tomorrow are idiots.”
- Rei’s grandfather

Several events, things and people occur both in the past and the future, which make the audience think of fate. The brand “Don’t Knock New York” is featured twice, when Ken gets Rei a bag as a present and when Ken gives up on proposing to Rei and leaves the engagement ring on a cardboard “Don’t Knock New York” stand. Months later, Eri would discover this ring and give the ring to Rei. The marathon runner, Geru is often seen practicing in the past. On Rei’s wedding day, he finally achieves the world record. Also the taxi driver present in the final episode was a faculty member in Ken’s university.

Eri discovering a ring...
Eri discovering a ring...
Engagement
...Ken's ring to propose Rei

The theme of friendship is also quite strong. It’s amazing how a group of five childhood students managed to remain good friends after all those years. Together they went through the ups and downs of life. As they grow older, their lives become busy with work and they drift apart. However they always seem to stick together and help each other in the most difficult situations. It was only thanks to Ken, that Tsurumi and Eri got together. Also without Mikio and Eri, Ken would have probably failed to do anything. In the end all of them seem to strongly wish that their friends would have a happy future.

Conclusion

This drama manages to steer off from the typical drama series. Rather than focusing on one era only, the audience is taken through a time machine which goes through Ken and Rei’s life. The audience see how Ken and Rei share a lot of special and meaningful moments together as they grow up. Just for this single reason, one can clearly see how they were made for each other.

“For 14 years, during happy times, during difficult times, during times of suffering, the one who always spent time with Rei, the one who would be able to make her happy, I seriously thought that I am the only one who could do that.”
- Ken

Furthermore the characters are easy to relate to and manage to be quite funny at times. The strong bond of friendship between Rei, Ken, Tsuru and Eri is heartwarming and entertaining without going overboard with drama. Despite the fact that the drama wasn’t extremely romantic, Ken and Rei manage to create a lot of sentimental and touching scenes, where they manage to show how much they care for each other in their own awkward way. At the same time, there are many occasions where Ken and Rei act childish and silly together, showing how comfortable they were around each other.

The concept of the time jump, gave the four friends the opportunity to grow up, giving space for character development. Therefore they are seen at their best and their worst, with all their strengths and flaws, making them even more endearing for the audience. Ken also grows up from his time travel episodes and rather than despairing he takes control of his fate.

The other supporting characters have also done a great job, especially at providing a comic relief to what could be a serious and depressing drama. Socrates, the homeroom teacher and the hamburger chef have been constantly present in the drama, providing some hilarious scenes. The fairy was also a powerful presence in the drama. He provides a lot of philosophical observations about the nature of human beings and continually offers Ken advice on relationships and the hearts of human beings.

Despite the fact that this drama is predominantly about the lost love between Ken and Rei, the writers managed to include a lot of different themes and personalities which gave a lot of life to “Proposal Daisakusen”. The best aspect about this drama was that it achieved the perfect balance between being too serious and ridiculously funny. My only gripe was that the ending was quite short and open ended. Luckily for the audience, the Special managed to provide a sense of closure to Rei and Ken’s story.

Rei missing her chance again
Rei missing her chance again...
Ken smiling at Rei's voice
Ken's second chance

One very important lesson which derives from this drama is that everyone should live their life without a single regret and they should never give up. Ken and Tsurumi were a perfect example of this, in their own way. Despite of knowing how slim their chances were, they still persisted and put their hearts into their efforts. Both chose the hardest road, knowing it was easier to move on but couldn’t forget their loved ones. Knowing that, it is better to try and have failed, rather than not trying at all!

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Torrent: Fansub by Love Song
Purchase: Proposal Daisakusen
Quotes obtained from Song Stories

Pages: 1 2

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About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

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プロポーズ大作戦: I’m so happy for Ken and Rei, Tsuru and Eri!.. « MIV. 僕のブログ
October 2, 2009 at 11:48 am

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Marlon August 27, 2012 at 7:41 am

love this series!

and the soundtrack is just amazing. please check out my piano cover of ashita hareru kana.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9CtbjVODwo&feature=g-upl

Reply

Jean February 22, 2012 at 8:15 am

this drama is full of lessons. It made me realize that time is valuable for us.

Reply

Vhanz UNITED STATES May 20, 2011 at 10:49 am

i love this series…facts about human beings are shown here, their weaknesses and strengths makes me realize things about life.

Reply

mamik March 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

The Best Dorama i’ve ever seen :)

Reply

yuna-san PHILIPPINES March 13, 2011 at 4:12 am

i’ve just finished watching this movie…and it’s so awesome….i saw this on otaku-streamers….you’ll never regret it if you watch this…

Reply

nadz425 AUSTRALIA March 2, 2011 at 5:08 am

how i love this drama, it inspire me every day.
how i wish i do have some courage, that ken have!

Reply

rhonita INDONESIA January 3, 2011 at 3:58 am

i like your review. thank God i have finished this drama. hehehe
i noticed the same lesson you shouldn’t regret the past, the important thing is how your effort now!

Reply

manda September 30, 2010 at 11:38 pm

hm, I’m cry after watching this film, Like this^^

Reply

hikikomori September 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I think many of the viewers can relate on this drama, maybe not d life of the character but the aspect of regret and love that keeps ones self vulnerable to pain…

Reply

hellangel May 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm

it a kawaii drama
skiya

Reply

Nurshairah binti Ismail March 1, 2009 at 8:22 pm

I love to watch this movie.I willing to use my pocket money to buy this cd movie.This is the best japanese movie.

Reply

remblue January 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I’ll be honest I only glanced ^_^ Because I’m currently watching the series :) I first heard about it from Yunchen

Anyhow I plan to come back and read the full review once I finish I didnt want to have anything spoiled for me :P

Reply

Rinoa February 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm

It’s better this way because there are some rather big spoilers in this review. Hope you enjoy watching the series!

Reply

whirl January 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

Nice review :)
True, the open ending is a little unsettling at first, but I think it was a very befitting choice. As if they were making their point by saying, what’s to come is not written in stone, and now is the time to change your future self’s past for the better.

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