Last Friends screenwriter Taeko Asano

By Yuki Keiser June 2008


ラスト・フレンズ

6. Ruka, Michiru, & Takeru

--Ruka is extremely popular, and has acquired a lot of fans of all sexualities. What in your opinion is so appealing in Ruka?

Well, 'd say probably the way in which both strength and weakness lie within her. There's a gap and Ruka conveys a sense that she's abrasive within herself because of it. Some people say that among the characters in the drama, she's possibly the weakest of them all. She's so easily hurt and guards herself with armor. And yet, right along with that, she tries to live her life with as much strength as possible, so in a sense she's really pushing ahead. That desperation - and determination - is really great.

Also, remember where Ruka speaks about Sosuke's way of loving and contrasts it to her own? She says, "Real love is not just shouting 'I love you, I love you' at someone!...(It's) knowing how to hold yourself back for that person's sake". As the show develops from that point, Ruka comes to act on this kind of love. This heroic side is one element of Ruka's charm.

last friends/TokyoWalker

--How did you plan to depict Sosuke in the drama?

Well, there's a lot to consider, but fundamentally I thought that within someone that is abusive to his or her partner, there must lay an obsession - wanting to possess 100% of one's partner. And I think this obsession, putting aside whether it's good or bad, is a certain form of love. This idea of, wanting to keep the one you love for yourself, because of love. And I feel Sosuke is someone unable to control his feelings, and for that he's kind of pitiful. But of course, abuse is absolutely wrong, I'm not justifying it, and anyone would be misunderstanding me if they took my portrayal to be permissive of abuse in a relationship. But, by bringing viewers into Sosuke's core I wanted to show this sad side to his own existence as well.

--There's a rumor - especially among fans overseas - that Ruka and Michiru's names came from the Sailor Moon characters Haruka and Michiru. Is that the case?

No, not at all. In actuality, we just chose the names arbitrarily. I thought the name Ruka was hot, and it's also pretty ambiguous in that it sounds like either a boy or a girl. Then, you'll see that each of Ruka, Michiru and Takeru have a 'ru' in their names, which I did just to give them a connection with each other. I wanted to give a sense that the three of them were linked in a circular bond. And so, the other names were chosen to keep this same syllable going. Also, later the producer, Nakano said, "Michiru could be taken to be the character Mytyl (pronounced Michiru in Japanese)from the theater story "The Bluebird (of Happiness)". That wasn't consciously part of our naming process, though. Really, it was arbitrary. We just looked at the actors and somehow felt like, "Ah, she must be Michiru," or "She just seems like a Ruka."

--I get the feeling that in several of your works, like in Last Friends and even the film "Nana", there is a certain underlying element which grabs the interest of 'Girl's Love' fans. Are you consciously incorporating these elements of style into your work?

That's actually a culture that I know very little about, so I'm not consciously including it at all.

NANA
(C)2005 「NANA」seisakuiinkai

--Right now, just about all of Japan is dying to know how the drama ends; could you share even just a little with us? (laughs)

The mysteries presented at the very start of Last Friends were, "Who is the father of Michiru's baby" and "Who is going to die," right? Well, I can give a little hint. The ending will be quite happy - More so than how everyone may be imagining...

--You mean, like Ruka and Michiru end up raising a child together? (laughs)

Who knows? Let's see....(laughs).

--We'll really be looking forward to the ending then (laughs). I wanted to ask you, a manga was published in the magazine "Malika" illustrating the story of Ruka and Michiru in high school, predating their story shown in the drama. Did you have any part in the creation of the manga?

No, I didn't. I haven't even read it yet. I left it completely to the creative processes of the manga writer.

malika
※The magazine "Malika" illustrating the story of Ruka and Michiru in high school (June 2008 Issue)
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translated by ^Yuuki and rayna