When one mentions J-pop singer Hikaru Utada, one would usually think of her iconic song First Love. Before we start singing “You are always gonna be my love,” it has been confirmed that a Netflix original series titled First Love, apparently inspired by Utada’s songs First Love and Hatsukoi, will star Takeru Satoh and Hikari Mitsushima.
Both First Love (1999) and Hatsukoi (2018) were chart toppers during their respective release years. First Love even became Japan’s best-selling album of all time, while Hatsukoi rose to fame being the tie-in song for the second season of the highly-acclaimed Japanese television drama Boys Over Flowers.
Here’s the classic song First Love, which was also the theme song for the 1999 J-drama Majo No Joken :
Developed and produced by Netflix, the original love story, scheduled to launch in 2022, features Takeru Satoh and Hikari Mitsushima as a couple who “meet their first love in the late 1990s, grow up in the 2000s, and ultimately lead up to the present day”. With a first love that spans about 20 years, “they discover what had made their relationship unforgettable”.
In First Love, pop-idol-turned-screen-diva Mitsushima, who has won a number of awards for her performances, portrays Yae Noguchi, “an aspiring flight attendant who finds out that fate has other plans for her when she is struck by a tragic accident in the midst of realising her dreams.” On the other hand, charismatic actor Satoh portrays Harumichi Namiki, who was “a pilot for the self-defence forces, but no longer pursuing that career path.”
Regarding this new project, Satoh was happy he could work with director Yuri Kanchiku again, whom he collaborated with during his teenage years. As for Mitsushima, who seems to only take up works with a high degree of seriousness, Pokemon Go fanatic Satoh even referred to her as a rare Pokemon, as it was difficult to meet her, much less act with her, saying that this was a really valuable opportunity.
Netflix’s First Love will mark the first ever scripted series directly inspired from Utada’s songs. As the song First Love holds special memories for most people, especially the Japanese, it is curious to see how this romantic drama will turn out. It is a long wait till 2022, but it will be worthwhile.