Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jdrama Review: Kimi wa Petto (2003)

Kimi wa Petto

Out of desperation for something to watch, and with the loom of an approaching drama slump (I had just finished watching School), a friend recommended for me Kimi wa Petto. Two minutes later I started it. 24 hours later (after only 3 hours of sleep and a 4 hour work day) I was done. Can we say, most marathonable drama I have watched in months?

So what’s the story? Girl finds injured boy in a box; girl takes boy home and adopts him – as a dog. I’ll give you a second for your eyes to stop rolling. It works! I promise you, the story actually works! – Once you can get your mind wrapped around the premise that a 28 year old woman would actually be ok taking in a 20 year old homeless boy and in every way possible treating him as a master to its pet. 

Kato Koyuki plays Iwaya Sumire, a career woman so successful that she intimidates all the men around her. Matsumoto Jun is Godo Takeshi, or Momo the obedient dog.  Together they are one of the cutest onscreen couples I’ve ever seen. And when I say cute, I do mean cute as in ‘puppy dog’ cuteness.

So cute it’s downright awkward:

Yet the strength of the show lies in this very strained and awkward relationship. On one hand, the players are perfectly happy to pretend like it makes sense.  He needs a home and someone to feed him, she’s lonely and likes the companionship, especially at the end of a hard day. To come home from work to find a happy pet waiting anxiously for its owner? Tail wagging, happy and desperately giving out the mixed signals of ‘I love you - Feed me!’ No questions asked, no stressful conversations, and no obligations.

It’s a borderline perfect friendship, laced with a dangerous hint of sexual tension. Especially once Sumire begins an actual dating relationship with another man, and neglects to tell him about the ‘pet’ she keeps at home.  Tanabe Seiichi plays the ideal boyfriend Hasumi Shigehito, tall and even more career bound – perfect for the haughty Sumire whose shorter ex-boyfriend suffered an inferiority complex. Yet the person that begins to melt Sumire’s cold exterior is not the boyfriend she’s crushed on for years, but the warm and huggable stray living away tucked up in her apartment.

In case you’re worried that this isn’t enough conflict already to see this plot through to the end, fear not. Despite the wtf-premise of boy acting like dog, not everything is always fun and games with this couple, nor is the real issue behind their mutual farce completely ignored.  Takeshi/Momo may act like the perfect dog, loving and obedient, but behind the antics is a real human being, sadly cognizant of the reality of the situation. How long can they keep this up and how long he can keep his own feelings hidden drives the plotline of the latter half.  

Do I recommend this? Absolutely. Just shut off your brain for a tiny bit and roll with it.  It’s a unique romance story adapted from a manga – but unlike others of its origin, the drama’s characters are rarely overdone or overly dramatic. Even MatsuJun as the dog exhibits some depths of character as he switches between the happy-go-lucky puppy and the lone artist, dissatisfied with himself and his life.  Kato Koyuki’s Sumire is the real face-palming mystery of the show, unsure of herself and her feelings even as she practically two-times her boyfriend with a dehumanized dog. And yet, her strange behavior could not dampen how fun the drama is overall.  I’m already in a re-watching mood, and at 10 episodes, this seems eminently doable. 


  1. Yup, that "pet" thing is what has kinda keeped me away from it. Somehow it just sounds so wrong to me that a woman takes in a homeless guy as her personal pet. It kinda sounds like a plot for some artsy-fartsy film-festival movie, rather than a romance drama.
    But the chances are that if I finally decide that I'm okay with the pet thing, I promise to watch the Japanese drama with Matsumoto Jun not the Korean film version with Jang Geun Suk.

    1. It is sort of creepy.. Funny, how the only real problem I have with this drama, is the part that gives this drama.. well, its main plot. Lol. Certainly not for everyone.

      I've heard horrible things about the Korean movie version - and nothing will ever tempt me to watch something with JGS acting like a dog. I kept coming across pics of the movie while searching for some good screenshots of the Jdrama. Made me shiver..

  2. That sounds like one kinky show.

    ::looks around innocently and immediately adds to list of things to watch::

    1. Hahaha. I'm so glad I could point you in this infinitely interesting direction. ;)

  3. This 'pet' thing was, was kept me away for so long. But i decided to watch it because of your good rating. Thanks for that. ;)
    Shortly after I started it, I had to watch it till the end. I just spend two days of watching this drama and I'm so happy! I'm going to start to read the manga shortly because I love it so much! <3
    I just wanted to sometimes punch Sumire because of not being able to tell her feelings. Especially in the end. I mean, Momo-Chan told her the whole 'love story' and she still thought that it was only 'in the heat of the moment' and left. T__T
    But all was well in the end. Looove the dorama. ♥

  4. Rosie has it right on the button. Just go with the absurdity of the premise and allow yourself to be swept along. The show says a lot about human vulnerabilities and our unwillingness to be "real"; willing to be vulnerable, knowing it could all just be thrown back at you and really hurt. This is an absolute charmer with wonderful acting by a very strong cast. A gem.