My drama slump is deep everyone. So deep that it’s very unlikely I will complete my drama and movie challenge. Sigh. It wasn’t meant to be it seems. On a positive note as I stray from my original goal, mostly because 45 minutes feels like 2 hours at times, there seems to be an abrupt uptick in short form dramas. Love Distance (love⇄distance) is one such drama, ten episodes, barely ten minutes each, and a swoon worthy cast? Let’s talk about it.
Love Distance is the story of an apartment complex. We have main couple, Miwa (Mizukawa Asami) and Akira (Kiyohara Sho), a young couple finding themselves spending more time together due to the stay home campaign that came with the summer of 2020 and COVID-19. There’s their next door neighborhood, an out of work photographer Chiaki (Watanabe Keisuke), who is spending his time social distancing and photographing from his balcony. Lastly their is a trio of ‘Newtubers’, Anna (Baba Fumika), Minato (Itagaki Mizuki), and Sho (Nakano Misaki) who not only are a Newtuber channel, but also living together and producing daily content for their fanbase. In this time of uncertainty and limited outings just how will this group end up interacting and responding to one another?
At 10 episodes, barely ten minutes each this feels less like a drama and more like a visual stream of consciousness. The camera tends to drift from scene to scene, giving us a vague idea of what the circumstances of each apartment is. At times there are quick cuts for the more ‘intense’ moments, showing just how drastic these neighbors and their circumstances are. If there was ever a drama where you would be the fly on the wall, or invisible person watching; this would be it.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t conflict. Given how neighbors who never took notice of one another, now are leaving home less and less, habits and curiosities are bound to appear. Perhaps even… romantic tensions? Don’t get your hopes up too high, the line between love and simple infatuation is made fairly clear even if it’s pastel colored.
The drama despite the circumstances, stay home, quarantine, however you would like to phrase it, the drama does a good job of showing it in a positive manner. The colors are bright and upbeat, and each apartment is relatively open with colorful decor reflecting the circumstances of it’s inhabitants. The outside sets, mostly consistent of the corridors and balconies, are open and bright. Even Miwa remarks that she had taken her home, specifically the scenery of her balcony for granted until she met Chiaki. He demonstrating that someone as simple as a camera lenses verses your own eyes can change your perspective.
Given the cast is a tight group of six, each member gets a chance to shine in their own circumstances. I found Chiaki’s circumstances most relatable since he’s a photographer. I enjoyed the chemistry of Miwa and Akira since it’s the type of relationship I aspire to have one day. However, don’t count out the Newtuber trio! Anna is a great character, a bit simple, but earnest and incredibly supportive of both Minato and Sho. Minato is the kind of guy where you know someone like him in real life, and while a bit annoying, oddly endearing as well. My favorite is Sho. Not just because his actor was Kazuma in the Cheer Danshi!! movie, but because my gosh he’s just so sweet. The few times I will use the fandom phrase, a pure cinnamon roll. You’ll see if you watch.
When it comes down to it, Love Distance is a short drama doing it’s best to show us that “stay home” isn’t all bad. That like how Studio Ghibi has shown us how to fall in love average life events, Love Distance is showing us we can fall in love with moments in the new normal. At barely an hour long, it’s worth watching. It’ll take your mind off your own life, and let you be the fly on the wall in someone else’s, a form of escapism desperately needed in times like these!