Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Jdrama Review: Majo no Jouken (1999)

Majo no Jouken 

Prepare yourself for a ridiculously young Takizawa Hideaki. I’m not kidding. The man I fell in love with in Orthros no Inu was indeed once a baby – 17 at this time playing high school student Kurosawa Hikaru who, falls in love with his homeroom teacher Hirose Michi played by the 26 year old Matsushima Nanako. Is the love returned? Would it be a drama if it wasn’t? 

If you’ve been around Kdramas long enough, you’ll know that younger man/older woman genre dramas are there in plenty. There’s also no lack of on screen student-teacher relationships, whether they’re played up just for added storyline, or if we’re talking about the main OTP. Where Korea fails in its depictions though are in the specific, gritty details. Lots of denial, skirting around the problem, and random time jumps are the norm (Biscuit Teacher Star Candy, Big). Japan spares no details apparently. Majo no Jouken, or Forbidden Love, is a fully fledged love story that jumps right into the story, the romance, and all the icky taboos and consequences. 

In some ways, Majo no Jouken was a predictable roller-coaster ride as the ‘forbidden’ couple struggle to find acceptance in a society that doesn’t legally forbid their love, but certainly doesn’t know how to handle it. However, a variety of side characters add to the battle, including Hirose-sensei’s one time fiancé and Hikaru’s young and possessive single mother. And between these two, we get the feeling that there are some things even sicker and twisted than the relatively innocuous age difference of our show’s main lovers. 

On a Technical Note:

This drama had me asking questions I never thought I'd worry about. The amount of time I spent surfing the internet studying Japanese legal age of consent; wondering if Japan really does consider it a psychological disorder for a woman to love a high school age boy; curiosity if Japan would really go to such lengths to depict one of the creepiest mothers ever before hinted at; confusion as to why I could care so much about a couple that seems so destined to suffer one crisis after another...

All fruitless efforts, really.  Half mushy, half gritty, Majo's romance was a hot whirlwind of a mess, and not afraid of delving into serious life questions.  What does a woman do when her boyfriend is uneducated and unemployed, and how does said boyfriend take care of a woman 9 years his senior? There is no instant maturity, no immediate solutions, and not every expectation will be fulfilled as first it was conceived. Kind of like... life.

I almost find it hard to recommend this, because unless you’re in the mood for a torturous road of almost Kdrama level proportions (though at least not in length), Majo no Jouken is a painful drama to watch. Even the initial sweetness of the romance is very nearly spoiled by a traumatic second half. However, if you love seeing actors portraying their characters well, and those characters being well-handled over the course of the drama, or if you just want to see Tackey back when he was young and adorable (as opposed to the older version which is just plain hot), then I guess you should watch it sometime. ;) And hardships aside, the characters really do make a sweet couple. I say that even remembering just how young he is here. At least that much is quite believable. 

P.S. Tackey getting hotter as the years go by...


  1. I've heard so many things about this show over the years - I'd tried watching it once, but never managed to get through to it. MIGHT give it a try sometime this year, you now have me intrigued...

    1. Yup. Like I said, it's hard to recommend this even though I personally enjoyed it. It's just so dark at times.

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  3. Omg,I'm watching this right now, and I've just hit the part where it tips over from sweet and torturous to almost absurd melodrama.

    1. Yeah, I wasn't too happy when it made that switch - then again, it was bound to happen. Hope you get through it all!