Firstly, both of these are different adaptations of the same true story. That is, our story’s heroine, Aya Kito (Aya Ikeuchi in the drama) was a real person who suffered from the disease spinocerebellar ataxia. For as long as she was able to hold a pen, she consistantly wrote in her diary. After her death at the age of 25 (she was diagnosed when she was 15), her mother published the diary. Well, I’ve also read that she actually had it published shortly before Aya’s death. Alas! the truth flees from me! Unfortunately, if you don’t understand Japanese you’ll have to search far and wide to find an amateur translation of the entries because an offical translation doesn’t exist. As close as you’ll get for now would be the amazing film and drama.
Friday Review: 1 Litre of Tears
I was trying to decide what I should do for my first Friday Review series, if that name even sticks. At first I thought, “Everyone watches anime, so I’ll do that!” However, then I thought, “If this is going to be unique, I should start out with something other than the usual anime or video game review,” so I decided to do a combined review for 1 Litre of Tears, both the drama and film because they’re both amazing. I was planning on doing GTO, but I’ll have to do that one next time.
15-year-old Aya Kito falls on her way to school one day, injuring her chin. Amazingly, she didn’t try to catch herself with her hands as a normal person would, prompting a series of neurological tests that reveal her condition. Her mother doesn’t want to hurt her daughter, so she doesn’t tell her the name of her disease. The movie and drama depart here for a second, as in the drama Aya finds out the name of her disease on her own while in the movie she is kept in the dark.
Anyway, her mobility slowly deteriorates. She staggers through the halls at school, relying mostly on her friends and teachers to help her get where she need to go. She faces the discrimination of people who can’t understand what she’s going through, and she is unfortunate enough to hear all the hurtful things people say about her behind her back as she slowly but surely loses her indepedence. Eventually, she is forced to leave her high school to enter into a special school for the disabled, but nothing can kill her passion for life and her strong will to help others.
For each individual review, I’ll focus on the film first, as not only did it come first, but it’s the truest adaptation of the story. In the movie, Aya is played by the amazingly talented Asae Onishi, who manages to not only convey the necessary emotions with the necessary childlike innocence of the character, but also the strength of will the character possesses. She also is amazing as a disabled person, being able to portray the symptoms of the disease as precisely as the symptoms themselves. In some ways, it doesn’t seem to be as emotionally powerful as the drama, and I’m not sure what others think, but I had a difficult time with some of the time skips the film presents. It’s a very good film, it’s just difficult to watch after you’ve just finished the drama. It’s best to watch one, take a break, then come back and watch the other adaptation.
With that, I’ll go on to talk about the drama. This time Erika Sawajiri takes the role as Aya Ikeuchi, and she also manages to capture the character very well. She’s not as good as acting disabled, but the story presents itself as being much more involved in the various characters’ lives than the movie did.
One of the things that drew me into this drama was the way all of the major characters had plenty of screen time. Aya’s dad is great in this drama, whereas in the film he was very forgettable and certainly didn’t have the presence that he does in the series. On that same note, Ako is much more developed as a character and her little brother gets plenty of screen time as well. Even the youngest sister manages to steal some scenes! The family is portrayed as being very close-knit which helps the story a lot.
The biggest departure you’ll find from both the film and the actual girl’s life would be inclusion of a potential boyfriend, Asou-kun (Ryou Nishikido). He was included because Aya’s mother requested it, seeing as how her daughter didn’t have a romantic relationship in real life. Does he help the story? People who really like tragic, romantic stories will like it. I take it back, even those who don’t won’t find it distracting to the story. I dislike films like that (can anyone say A Walk to Remember?), but this one managed to keep me interested and rather involved throughout the whole thing, and in the end, I found that even I had cried a litre of tears.
The ultimate would be a cross between the film and the series. The film concentrates more on the disease, which could have been portrayed better in the series. On the other hand, the series concentrates more on the characters and their relationships with one another, which is something that the film lacked in. If the two were combined, it would be one of the most powerful shows of all time! This story touched me in very personal ways, as I once lost a young friend to disease. She was inspiring the way Aya was…
Come to think of it, their names were similar as well!