TBS has spared no expense for it’s 60th Anniversary production Nankyoku Tairiku (Antarctica), a dorama that from the first frame tells you this is going to be a eyeball enriching period piece. I watched episode 1 yesterday, leaving me at times bemused, at times awed, and most of the time emotionally engaged. Which is to say: this dorama is geared 110% towards milking your emotions and then collecting your tears to water the plants. NT manages to take the true story of a broken post-WWII Japan’s journey to Antarctica as part of a worldwide scientific expedition and highlight every single dramatic element of this rousing quest.
It’s an underdog story of a loser nation uniting in pride and joy behind something groundbreaking, and an adventure yarn telling of how a group of men venture into an inaccessible part of Antarctica and live to tell the tale. The dorama is so darn earnest that the word might as well be tattooed on every character’s forehead. Raggedy gap-toothed children, packs of cute dogs, and a determined Kimura Takuya are all combined together to metaphorically shout: we are here to do our best to turn you into a blubbering mess of emotions so all you can do is cheer on the good guys in their battle against nature and the derision of the rest of the world. Done and done. NT manages to be both maudlin yet so sincere about it, you end up munching on all the cheese and then feeling rather satisfied with the entire meal. Continue reading