From The Heart review

In this series there are two primary people with psychological disorders; Shinichi suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, caused by witnessing the death of his girlfriend in an accident, and Mayuko, who has what is referred to as high functioning autism, or something along those lines.

Trying to find a definition of high functioning autism that is clear and concise is rather hard. In fact, when I inputted "adult high functioning autism" into a search engine it came up totally blank. I did manage to find this, even though it's not specifically tied to adults:

High Functioning Autism: HFA is the traditional diagnosis for individuals with severe social interaction and communication deficits. Although the distinction with AS is blurred and indeed AS is often considered a subset of HFA, people diagnosed with HFA tend to have a much higher Performance IQ (P-IQ) than Verbal IQ (V-IQ). HFAers tend to avoid social contact more, but are less likely to feel embarrassed in social situations, being relatively unconcerned by other people's opinions.

Asperger's Syndrome is another form, which some sources I consulted said is a totally separate disorder, and some sources said it's basically the same as high-functioning autism. In either case, I looked up the "diagnostic criteria for 299.00 autistic disorder, and found that it was like a stereotyped Chinese menu; pick one from column A, one from column B, etc.

There seem to be three major things the person with any autism must have:

1. An impairment in social interaction. This can be shown primarily in peer relationships. The person doesn't really develop peer relationships, might have problems with looking people in the eye when talking to them, preferring solitary play to interacting with others, and not really getting involved in the interests of others.

2. A "qualitative impairment" in communication skills. This can be shown by a developing language skills later than they "should," not being able to sustain a conversation with others, and/or a lack of "social imitative play."

3. "Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities." This can be shown by having an "abnormal" interest in something ("too much" of an interest, so to speak), ritualistic behaviors that are nonfunctional, "stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms" and/or "preoccupation with parts of objects.

This is a very intense series with a lot of ups and downs. Tomosaka Rie does an incredible job as Mayuko, and the other actors and actresses also deliver excellent performances. The first six episodes of the series sort of form one kind of program, but with the second half the series things really begin to get very, very intense.

This is an extremely good series, well worth watching.

From the Heart synopsis and stills

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