Review. Love Shuffle is cleverly written with surprises all along the way.
Love Shuffle is a 10 episode 2009 jdrama that is a mix of romance, comedy and melodrama when four top-floor apartment dwellers decide to shuffle their love relationships (with their partners agreeing to participate in the shuffle). The writing of this drama was very good, every episode had surprises. The production of the drama was also good with clever, consistent use of two songs – Earth Wind and Fire’s Fantasy and Eternal Flame by the Bangles. The acting was the weakest aspect of the drama. The twisting story trumped some flat performances. At the end of the drama I found that the main couple didn’t interest me as much as the seconding pairings.
What I liked about the show
a) standout character was Usami Kei played by Tamaki Hiroshi. Kei starts out dull but ends up refocused and on an interesting future path. He was the energizing character of the show.
b) second favorite character was Sera Ojiro played by Matsuda Shota. I remembered Shota from Hana Yori Dango. Ojiro’s insights when taking pictures were riveting, forcing the subjects to speak their own personal truths. This character had most emotional variations in the series.
c) writer Nojima Shinji crafted 10 episodes of intrigue, interwoven characters with plenty of surprises along the way. I plan to check out other jdramas from this writer.
What I did not like about the show
a) limited emotional range from lead female character Aizawa Airu played by Karina. Airu was a likeable, tough, independent character but the actresses’ flat portrayal did not draw me in so I did not care who Airu ended up with.
b) lack of passion from most of the characters. Most of the cast came across flat. So while I was intrigued and wanted to know what happened next, the flat acting kept me at and arm’s length and I did not emotionally invest in this jdrama.
It appears there is NOT an OST for this series. Two songs were featured throughout the series:
1. The theme song for the series was Fantasy by Earth, Wind & Fire (one of my favorite songs by this group).
2. Eternal Flame by the Bangles