A still from Netflix's "Hibana: Spark"
A still from Netflix's "Hibana: Spark"Netflix

Netflix has added its first original Japanese series "Hibana (Spark)" and it became a hit in just a couple of days. Centred on a couple of straddling Manzai comedians, "Hibana" is based on the novel written by comedian Naoki Matayoshi.

Matayoshi, one half of the comedy duo Peace, won the 153rd Akutagawa Prize — one of Japan's most sought-after literary prizes — for his book "Hibana." The show has captured the spirit of the book, with the high-definition 4K technology, which is a first for a local Japanese series.

The series shows Hayashi Kento as the failing entertainer Tokunaga, who, after a chance encounter with more experienced entertainer Kamiya, played by Namioka Kazuki, seeks to be his apprentice. Kamiya agrees but demands that Tokunaga write a biography for him.

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The duo become inseparable as Kamiya attempts to teach Tokunaga his approach to comedy. However, in time their paths deviate and while Tokunaga gains success, Kamiya begins to lose his. "Hibana" is the story of these two comedian friends and a genuine story of their friendship and hardships.

The other characters and actors in the series are: Yoshii Masao as Yamashita Masato, Murata Hideaki as Obayashi Kazuya and Murata Hideaki as Obayashi Kazuya.

Reddit user oriental_lasanya reviews "Hibana" thus: "The show seems to have dispensed with all the typical Japanese drama tropes and is taking a more realistic tone. Like the other Japanese Netflix originals, Japanese subtitles are available. I'm not sure what other countries it's available in."

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