Fragile (フラジャイル)

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Synopsis:
The drama centres around pathologist Kiichi Keishiiro (Nagase Tomoya), an eccentric pathologist who is rude and seemingly self-centred but renowned for his 100% accurate diagnoses. Rookie neurologist Miyazaki Chihiro (Takei Emi) decides to transfer to the pathology department after witnessing an incident where Kiichi stood up against her superior regarding an inaccurate diagnosis.

So after finishing all 10 episodes of this series, I’m pretty disappointed. I’ve read reviews raving about this drama and being a huge fan of J-dramas, I had some pretty high expectations of this one. Especially since it’s my first medical drama, I was hoping this one would be good. But unfortunately, it fell flat for me and I was practically forcing myself to push through with every episode. That being said, it’s not so bad that I would drop it but it’s not a drama I would be raving to my friends about.

However, the series isn’t that bad as it explores some pretty interesting themes and controversies pertaining to the medical field. Though it wasn’t always relatable since I’ve had little experience with hospitals (thankfully) but the themes explored piqued my interest and made me question my own ideas and perspective.

Each episode explores a different theme, with one of the dominant theme being hospital politics. It’s actually quite scary watching them fight since it’s the patients’ lives on the line yet these doctors refuse to budge all because of their pride. I’m actually quite wary of doctors now after finishing this series. lol. It seems as if every episode there is a case of inaccurate diagnosis which is terrifying since doctors are the ones who have the authority and power over our health. Maybe this is what the drama is trying to explore, that we as patients should start taking control of our own bodies rather than trusting in our doctors blindly.

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One of the most memorable quotes, and episode of this series

Of course it also touches on the patients and their illnesses. The humiliation and discomfort of endoscopy (where a tube is put through your anus to check for abnormalities in your intestines(, the sorrow of knowing you’re not going to have anymore children, the fear prior to a cancer diagnosis and the hopelessness of finding out you have cancer. Then there is the impact on the patients when a hospital has made a mistake. The importance of a full, accurate diagnosis, even if it means putting in extra tests and spending more. The series really changed my perspective about doctors and the medical field. I’ve always thought diagnosis is the easy part and the challenge comes during treatments.

But turns out even the diagnosis itself is hard to differentiate since so many illnesses have overlapping symptoms and cells even at the molecular level. Despite my complaint about the holes in the logic and how unrealistic some parts are, I’m now quite scared of hospitals and the doctors. I mean like there’s a misdiagnosed case in every single episode. And the doctors are always insisting on cancer when it’s something like an infection or something. Like wth?? Chemo is not something you trial and error with, lol. Of course this is probably an extreme exaggeration but it’s terrifying if you think about it. Makes you rather diagnose your own illness than go to a hospital. But that would take you at least 13 years, as explained by Kiichi-sensei.

And one more thing before I move on to my rants. Love the soundtrack. It’s effective, sets the mood, especially with the humour and I love the theme song of the same name omg, performed by TOKIO. Really good use of the soundtrack and audio. And guess what, the song was written and composed by Nagase Tomoya himself. Wowwwww.

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feels feels and feels
(love the framing though

And now on to my complaints. The main character, Kiichi Keishiiro seemed interesting enough. Your typical sharp-tongued doctor who’s also excellent at his work and strict with his morals. Then you have your innocent, rookie who’s hardworking and shows immense potential. The characters were likable but I never really got into them. There were some funny moments and all but I just never go into them. With Kiichi-sensei, half the time I was left wondering what was wrong with him or what’s his bloody problem. And his catchphrase…omg…it just doesn’t make sense.

“As long as you’re a doctor, my words are absolute.” – Kiichi Keishiiro

Erm…okay…it sort of made sense at the start since he’s the boss. And putting it into context as a pathologist…I guess you can sort of stretch it? But it just becomes weird and redundant as the series goes on, becoming a phrase that’s only filled with contrived machismo. The catchphrase just hit rock bottom in the scene when he said it to the Deputy Director. Erm…I get that he’s all rebellious and has no care for authority but still, that phrase just isn’t something you would say to your boss. LOL. It just made his character seem too egoistic to be likable.

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One of the main lure of this series for me is seeing Takei Emi as the female lead. I really liked her from You Taught Me All the Precious Things and I wanted to see how she would do in this series.She wasn’t as bad as some of the comments has made her out to be, I mean I’ve seen worst actors that just make me want to dig my eyeballs out *cough* Dean Fujioka *cough*. But throughout the series she somehow just got on my nerves. There were times when I sort of sympathised with her and times when I just want to scream at her to shut up. I don’t blame it all on her though. The character itself isn’t very well-written either.

I think the most likable character is probably Morii-kun but even then, I didn’t think Nomura Shohei did a very good job as Morii. Especially in the early part of the series, he was just…flat. His expressions are all the same and it’s quite hard to really get into his character. I always think that when an actor has failed to make me forget that he’s acting, he’s a bad actor. But his acting improved considerably as the series goes on and by the last episode, he became my favourite character.The chemistry between Morii-kun and Kiichi-sensei is undeniable. Not in the shounen ai way of course. But that bromance is definitely there. Especially in the last episode. And Morii is amazing omg. To think he’s never made a mistake despite doing the job of 5 people, and making mistakes is not something you can just brush off in the medical industry.

Now we’ll talk about the plot. As a medical drama it’s of course, not enough to rely on it’s characters. But as with any drama of this nature, it has it’s weakness and it’s holes. There were so many times in the series where I’m just like, “can they do that?” or “is that even possible?” You may say that it’s a DRAMA and you can’t expect EVERYTHING TO BE REALISTIC but there’s a limit to how far you can push the boundaries, especially when it’s a slice-of-life MEDICAL drama. I’ve read in the comments that there were some inaccuracies in the medical theories and information (as expected with any drama of this nature), well that I can leave aside as long as it doesn’t distract me from the series. And really, it shouldn’t be hard since I’m an arts student with practically no knowledge in the medical field. Well, the closest would probably some basic psychology concepts but that’s not relevant here. But despite that, I find myself questioning some of the logic of this drama. For example the one episode when Miyazaki-sensei sneaked a baby out of an outside hospital to her own, albeit with the consent and help of the baby’s guardian. But still…won’t that create serious issues? I get the drama is questioning hospital policies and rules but isn’t this bordering on being illegal? Or at least it’s a serious breach of hospital policies. Won’t there be legal issues between the two hospitals? I actually thought she was going to get into trouble when that other doctor saw her but nope. They just glossed it over and talked about her potential as a pathologist instead, lol.

The last episode was one of my greatest disappointments with this series, honestly. By the finale, I could barely keep my mouse off the timeline as I fast-forwarded towards the end. Not that I skipped large segments of it, just the more melodramatic scenes where the patient was having a romantic picnic with the saleswoman. Or limping along the bridge so we could all cry about the cruelty of life. Not because I’m not a romantic (I love romance, if they’re good) but because it’s redundant. Or at least they didn’t make it as relevant to the plot as it should be. And also the patient’s motivation behind the decision he made, which actually has an impact on his life span. I shall not spoil it by explaining further but what the hell was that. I just couldn’t understand his motivation behind the decision that he made. The outcome was pretty convincing but I wasn’t convinced with the patient’s decision.

Overall, Fragile seems to be pretty well-received, mostly for Nagase Tomoya’s performance and…yeah. That’s it. It’s also adapted from the manga written by Bin Kusamizu and illustrated by Saburō Megumi. I probably won’t read the manga, I’m not sure. We’ll see. But if you’re a fan of medical dramas, dramas in general and Nagase Tomoya then you’ll probably like this show. If you’re an annoying nitpicker like me then you probably won’t like this series.

 

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