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Derailing Fate in Proposal Daisakusen

Proposal Daisakusen

Proposal Daisakusen is a 2007 drama I sometimes find myself rewatching, usually for clean, enjoyable entertainment. The story is about Ken Iwase (Tomohisa Yamashita) and his regret in being unable to properly secure a relationship with childhood friend, Rei Yoshida (Masami Nagasawa). I have previously mentioned the premise is fairly unimaginative, but the drama’s strengths lie in the attention to details and a good execution of various genre.

An important mechanic of the story features Ken slipping through time in order to remedy his lack of romantic effort towards Rei in the past. But this element turns out to be more fantasy-based than science-fiction, placing it closer to the 2004 film, Be With You (いま、会いにゆきます, Ima Ai ni Yukimasu). Though dissimilar to Be With You, where the time slip is the fate of Takumi’s family, a mobius in Mio’s life, Proposal takes a naive approach exemplifying the futility of tampering with the past.

Ken’s episodic slips are the story’s primary means of exposition and follow a simple set of rules, which intends to minimize the audience’s speculative efforts. Each episode brings Ken back through a photograph, and in that way, the story proceeds from past to present but always originating in the present. While some viewers may have desired more details on the fairy’s magic, I believe time-travel is a trapping of fiction where many stories lose focal balance. That is to say, time-travel is highly captivating in culture, an easy grab at attention, but must be used wisely.

In that sense, Proposal nearly subverts the element of time-travel because the mechanics are dealt with in a fabulously frivolous manner involving a fairy (yousei) and focuses purely on the consequence (or not) of changing an impression in the past. I find this contrary to the typical usage of time-travel, steeped in egoism, where a character’s variance in the past has a profound effect on the present. And this story explores sliding as a triviality in light of fate.

The story teaches us that fate is difficult to derail even when assuming an advantage in time. Such fate is not fragile nor delicate, but unwavering, momentous. Yes, fate carries such momentum as it advances and plays trickery on the fool who looks back in regret, thinking “if only.” Returning from the final slip, Ken realizes that his advantage over fate was a mere illusion. To have lived each moment twice and failing all the same, he is left with a greater finality to his sorrow.

We come to understand that fate is often unchangeable in retrospect, yet there is more to the story. Ken ultimately decides his fate in the present, and I feel it’s an important highlight of the message. Despite a longing to manipulating the past, our greatest leverage over the future exists in the present.

Categories: Drama.


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12 Responses

  1. Have you watched Proposal Daisakusen Special too? I vividly remember that one was as good as main episodes.

    What I liked about Ken was how he was in conflict with himself whether to change the potential relationship in the past between the teacher (Tatsuya) and Rei. Even though he holds power that can change the past, he feels guilty against his own actions that affect other people too, which is showing his kindness.

    “the story proceeds from past to present but always originating in the present.”

    This perspective is a great way to tell how Ken has become more mature and to share his regrets in the past, which gives us empathy towards him.

    I love this drama.

    • I have, and it was a nice way to finish the story.

      His conflict, I believe, is what drives him to find confidence in his own feelings, helping him to act in the end.

      Definitely one of the best dramas I’ve seen, though I haven’t watched very many.

  2. I haven’t seen this one but I’m always interested in discussion about time travel. Though I think it’s a questionable device to use in sci-fi much of the time, it’s fascinating as a metaphor and it has lots of potential in stories like this. It’s easy to obsess over the idea that you can change the past so I like stories that try to debunk it by showing the many ways in which–surprisingly, and with no supernatural interference–fate persists.

    • You might find this enjoyable. I seem to further appreciate the lack of scientific detail with each encounter, but most of all is the likable story and characters.

  3. This is one of my higher rated dramas, not only because of the cast, but because I’m a hopeless romantic. I never really put too much thought into the specificities of time travel, so for someone of lower-brow like me, this’ll do just fine. Have you tried Korean dramas? There’s a Korean version of this.

    • I have delved into Korean dramas, mostly featuring Gong Yoo; his rather good Dandy-style is attractive. And I almost prefer them, zealous emotion aside.

      I’ll look into this, thanks Os.

  4. This movie is amazingly touching. I do have some expectation before I watch the movie. When I finished it, it is clear that, this movie is way better than I expected. The casting is excellent. Every character live in the world of the story. The actors are not acting in the movie. They live in it. The actor who play the role of the son , Yuji, is especially good. Some scenes with him are actually heartbreakingly good. The movie might be a little slow for some audients. But I find it helps to build up the mood and draw the whole picture in detail. If you had read the plot of the movie, you might say, “yeah, good old story. I can tell how it ends”. But I had to say, not till the last minute, you would not know the whole story. The director and the playwright do an excellence job. Every detail had been take care of. The ending echoes the beginning. And the plot is as smooth as silk. This movie is not about only about the love between two people. It is also love of family and one’s will to face the fate. It may not be a masterpiece like Godfather. But I am sure this is one of the best Japanese movies I had seen in years, and I seen a lot. All in all, this is a heartwarming movie. It did not resolve the problem but it shows hope for tomorrow. If you ask me if I like this movie. Sure I am. If not I will not spend times to write all this.

  5. Taichi Yamada is what you would call a fan but he is not just any fan, he is a fan of Kokoro Shiina, a gravure model. Maybe it was fate that brought them together that day but Taichi met Kokoro when she literally fell from the sky. Waking up in the hospital, he begins to see Kokoro’s spirit and after roaming the hospital premises a “shinigami” arrives to take Kokoro to the underworld. Is this the end for Kokoro? What will Taichi do to save his beloved idol?!

  6. When I told my mom, she started singing, “Forget about the past. If you keep looking back, you won’t be able to move forward. Walk three steps forward, then two steps back.Life is~”I started to laugh.

  7. This story in set in the Taisho era (1912-1926).Two years after the famous author Uro vanished, his last manuscript is found at the house of competing author Otogai, who seems obsessed with (or is it possessed by?) his supposedly-dead rival. By a strange turn of events, three acquaintances; an illustrator, an editor and a stage performer, end up investigating Otogai’s odd behaviour. They discover that the writer’s garden appears to be haunted by a mysterious camellia bush…and camellia was Uro’s favourite flower.

  8. [From Entropy]: This is a story about aliens. Yes, aliens. Choi Sera houses displaced aliens in her home, where they all pretend to be UFO fanatics in order to explain their eccentricities. Sera’s job is to teach these aliens how to live in human society—not that difficult on the surface, as they ostensibly look like humans (except for the three fingers on each hand thing). They look normal, and they can communicate with earthlings via a translator that looks like a hearing aid, but can they act normal? The answer to that is a resounding no. Watch as Sera tries to school the emotionless twins, Seunghyun and Seungmin (really clones) on dating (with disasterous results), tries to keep Hyunwoo out of trouble, and keep them all from being taken away by the UN alien hunter who’s on to them. And what happens when a translator breaks?! Find out in Safe Again Today!


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