Japanese Drama: Hold My Hand At Twilight

Hold My Hand At Twilight is a show that is gently humorous without being slapsticky. It’s about two people trying to succeed in challenging careers, and how they encourage and inspire each other. There’s no candy girl with a rich guy here. Do you think there will be any childhood flashbacks, water fountains, piggyback rides, bandaging of scrapes, or running into someone several times in one day instead? Come find out!

Lively main characters

We begin with a preview scene from a year before the main story. Soramame (Hirose Suzu) is a spunky girl who was raised by her grandmother in a small town in Kyushu. (There’s a story behind that.) Notice her knit vest, because you’re going to see it again a lot! Oto (Nagase Ren) is a composer, and is traveling around looking for inspiration for new songs. They happen to visit Fukuoka on the same day, and bump into each other crossing the street.

A year later, Soramame visits Tokyo. She has a pretty rough start in the big city, beginning with some little kids she meets on the bus, continuing on through a meeting with her boyfriend, and then in an incident with a water fountain.

Pay attention to what happens to her shoes and how she gets this pair, because they are going to figure into her fashion statement later in the show!

A wealth of secondary characters

Oto is having his own troubles. Rather than getting a job after graduating from college, he’s trying to live by his composing. This tactic has cost him his girlfriend, who’s already found someone else with a steady job. Worse than that, his manager complains his music doesn’t show any emotion. Manager Isobe, by the way, is rather quirky and is one of my favorite characters.

The lady with the gray braids is Kyoko-san, who is wealthy and owns several buildings, including a public bath where Soramame goes that first day. Kyoko-san is somewhat of a free spirit and I love her. She has been renting a room to Oto, who is her son’s friend, and now she takes Soramame under her wing.

We learn a little about Soramame when Kyoko-san’s son Sosuke takes her to a posh party. She’s put off by everyone bragging about their high-powered jobs, and bluntly tells them she delivers for a soba place. When someone tries to introduce himself, she snaps, “I deliver soba” and stomps off. Sosuke talks flippantly to his mom about marriage, and she asks, “Do you get married like you’re buying radishes?”

Oto meets Seira at his part-time job, and she makes trouble from time to time. I like the way he handles her, especially at that first confrontation. She’s one of the more complicated characters, but not always likable.

The fashion

The story takes a big turn when Soramame gets exposed to designer fashion and becomes obsessed. She talks to a clerk, gets a list of brand names to look up, and immerses herself in research. One of Kyoko-san’s dresses takes her fancy, and the story of how she studies it and learns about dressmaking is a little bit of a shock and the foundation of the rest of the story.

Soramame’s and Oto’s stories come together when they hatch a plot to get the attention of the CEO of the music company. Manager Isobe rounds up someone to sing Oto’s song, and Soramame throws a costume together in about an hour by draping long lengths of fabric. After that, she is asked to design more costumes for music videos.

After seeing some of Soramame’s designs, Kyoko-san collects some of them and arranges an interview with a friend who owns a high-fashion house. This is where Soramame meets Shin, the boss’s chief assistant and pattern cutter. He is impressed by her talent, and gifts her a defective blouse that can’t be sold in the store. She patches it up and wears it ALL THE TIME, pairing it with some of her other favorite pieces.

Here she wears that blouse with her knit vest (recognize it?) in a meet-up with the man who owns the soba shop where she works. One thing I noticed is that rather than having new outfits every episode, as happens in so many dramas, Soramame has a coordinated wardrobe and mixes and matches everything.

At the end of every episode, there’s a cute little dance interlude featuring all the characters. Even after the melancholy episodes near the end of the drama, I got cheered up watching these dances. Here Soramame shows off her favorite yellow sweater, which appears in a lot of episodes. It is interesting to note that Nagase Ren is a professional musician and composed several songs for the show, including the one for the dance interlude.

Final thoughts

This was an enjoyable drama; the first half especially was very amusing. It was predominantly lighthearted, with intermittent teasing and a lot of fun character moments. There were also some serious themes, such as people contemplating suicide, parents abandoning children, and same-sex attraction. Most of these had some resolution, and I especially enjoyed the successes Oto and Soremame had in their careers. I love it when people have success rather than getting beaten down all the time!

This drama can be found on Viki. It’s my favorite of the newer ones that have shown up there. Let us know in the comments if you try this one, and if you are enjoying Japanese dramas!


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

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