Hibana: Spark: Season 1 (2016)


Season 1
Hibana: Spark

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Critic Ratings: 1

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User Ratings: 60

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Episodes

Air date: Jun 2, 2016

Comedian Tokunaga (Kento Hayashi) of the struggling comedy duo Sparks meets senior comedian Kamiya (Kazuki Namioka), of the comedy duo Ahondara, while performing at a fireworks show in Atami during the summer of 2001. Tokunaga becomes fascinated by their comedy routines, in which the audience calls out "hell" repeatedly. After work, the two venture forth to an izakaya in Atami. When Tokunaga asks Kamiya to teach him his ways, he agrees on the condition that Tokunaga write his biography. From that day forward, Tokunaga begins to write about the days he spends with Kamiya.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

Ahondara relocates from Osaka to Tokyo. Tokunaga and Kamiya meet up in Kichijoji and spend quality time together, joining in on a street performance at Inokashira Park and talking over coffee made by the cafe owner Watanabe (Kaoru Kobayashi) at Musashino Coffee Shop. Meanwhile, Sparks auditions for their first-ever shot at performing on a proper stage. Later, Yamashita (Masao Yoshii) goes home with his girlfriend (Maryjun Takahashi), and Tokunaga goes out to drink with some other comedians.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

In the fall of 2001, Sparks performs on a proper stage following their first audition. Meanwhile, Ahondara's Kamiya hasn't caught his big break yet and moves in with a woman named Maki (Mugi Kadowaki), living on her dime. When Tokunaga misses the last train out of Kichijoji after their usual night of drinking, Kamiya brings him home to Maki's place. Tokunaga, Kamiya, and Maki spend a wonderfully giddy time together. Later, Sparks and Ahondara face each other at a big audition.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

Tokunaga continues performing on stage with other young talent while working part time. He and Kamiya go to their first mixer, but end up going drinking afterwards as usual. One day, Tokunaga receives news of the death of Itoshi, his childhood idol from the comedy duo Yumeji Itoshi Kimi Koishi. In agony, he calls up Yamashita, but they get in a fight after he gets mad at Yamashita for not being in the mood to rehearse. Plus, Tokunaga's street musician friend Onodera (Daichi Watanabe) decides to move back home.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

Sparks and Ahondara enter the Shibuya All-Star, a comedy contest in which the winner is determined by audience vote. Both duos give near-flawless performances, but the top prize is awarded to a solo act who stole big laughs from the audience by accident. Later, when Tokunaga lets his beautician friend Ayumi (Eri Tokunaga) practice on him, she gives him the silver hair that becomes his trademark. One day, while drinking with Kamiya, Tokunaga lambasts beige corduroy pants. They continue drinking at Maki's place, but Kamiya is acting strange.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

Tokunaga and Yamashita prepare for their first standalone show. It's the same old deal with Kamiya, but Tokunaga invites him to drink in the park out of concern for his financial situation. Kamiya attempts to make the fussy baby they come across at the park laugh by reciting his own poetry, but it only makes things worse. Later, Kamiya tells Tokunaga that he and Maki have split up. Tokunaga accompanies him to get his things from Maki's place, and they drink and cry together. At last, the day of Sparks's standalone show arrives.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

In the winter of 2007, Sparks has become popular enough to perform on the radio. Meanwhile, Ahondara remains at the bottom of the food chain. Kamiya spends his days getting into debt and drinking. As Tokunaga starts distancing himself from Kamiya, Kamiya's partner tells Tokunaga that their mutual friend is drowning in debt. Both Sparks and Ahondara will be appearing in a young comedians' competition that could lead them to bigger success.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

Sparks wins the comedy battle and even gets an offer to appear on TV. Bigger earnings means moving to a bigger place for Tokunaga, meanwhile Kamiya faces desperate times as his debts pile up even higher. Tokunaga and Kamiya see each other for the first time in a while after Sparks wraps up a successful standalone show at an even bigger venue than before. Kamiya shows up dressed in black with silver hair in an obvious attempt at copying Tokunaga's style. When Kamiya shows no signs of addressing the matter, Tokunaga keeps his mouth shut.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

The talks for the TV deal fall through for Sparks. Their popularity takes a dive just when they were thinking they had finally made it. Tokunaga desperately tries to cheer his heartbroken partner Yamashita. After moving to a cheaper apartment, Tokunaga meets up with Kamiya again. Kamiya comforts Tokunaga after learning what happened. Then one day, Yamashita visits Tokunaga's place with his girlfriend to announce their pregnancy and marriage, saying he now wants to retire from comedy. Tokunaga also decides to retire since he can't imagine performing with anyone else.

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Air date: Jun 2, 2016

Sparks announces their final performance after their decision to split. On the day of the show, they see Kamiya, Tokunaga's mother, and the brewmaster from the Musashino Coffee Shop amongst the audience. Sparks takes the crowd on a whirlwind journey of laughter and tears during their final act. One year later, Tokunaga finds himself working at a real estate agency and is informed of Kamiya's disappearance by his partner. When Tokunaga gets back to his work, he receives a call from Kamiya.

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Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Hibana: Spark Season 1

All Critics (1) | Top Critics (1)

Making people laugh is no joke in "Hibana," a profoundly reflective and achingly tender look at Japan's vibrant yet cutthroat comedy scene.

Jun 24, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hibana: Spark: Season 1

  • Aug 03, 2017
    Exquisitely cinematic. A lot of character development, bringing wells of emotion that I did not expect, from characters I did not expect. A touching, nuanced take on these young men in a unique industry. Makes you fall in love with Japan.
  • Nov 22, 2016
    A moving story that delves into the nature of the entertainment industry and humanity itself. Effortlessly touching and frequently hilarious, and insightful look into art and relationships.
  • Sep 09, 2016
    Even with its rough edges, Hibana shines with the power of its two leads. Kento Hayashi (High & Low: The Movie, Arakawa Under The Bridge) is absolutely captivating as the angst-riiden but determined Tokunaga. When he’s not performing, he says little, but you can always see the wheels turning behind his eyes. Hayashi subtly plays double meanings in his lines, without telegraphing his intent or overplaying dramatic moments. His few unreserved outbursts are earned and truly effective. Kazuki Namioka (Why Don’t You play in Hell?, 13 Assassins) is magnetic throughout. From his first moments on screen to the challenging final scene, his energy is inescapable, and he smartly know when to keep it below the surface. He forms Kamiya into a loveable puppy dog: once you adopt him, you’re going to love him no matter how many times he shits on the rug. There are countless opportunities in the story for a character like this to go over the top, but Namioka nails the bullseye on one tricky moment after another. Full review on Drama-MAX
  • Sep 03, 2016
    Beautiful and simple.
  • Jul 24, 2016
    You don't have to know a lot about Japanese stand-up comedy to watch this. It's a really good story. Largely dialogue-based, the show is slow going but worth sticking with. It explores failure, loneliness and something you can't really describe in words. Great show.
  • Jul 04, 2016
    Fantastic series as long as you give it a few episodes.
  • Jun 08, 2016
    I loved it this is my first actual Japanese show I have ever watched and I loved it so much I watch the whole first season in a row
  • Jun 05, 2016
    The worst drama i ever seen, it's pitty. The picture is great, the shaky cam is anoying. And the story is really anoying too.

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