Thursday, June 27, 2013

Un-reviewable Dramas 3: Last Cinderella and Otomen

Oh please save me from these boring dramas... 

Just so I can say I’m done with these, I bring you two more “un-reviewable” dramas. Translation #1 – I didn’t like them, and I briefly want you to know why. Translation #2 – I need a soap box for a moment, and an audience to rant to. Translation #3 – I don’t actually need to rant, because neither of the dramas really got to me emotionally, but still, here I am. 

On the chopping block this week: Last Cinderella (2013) and Otomen (2009)

Last Cinderella
ラスト シンデレラ

Last Cinderella stars one of the first Jdrama boys I ever fell in love with, Miura Haruma for his bloody spectacular performance in Bloody Monday. Now, I haven’t exactly been at pains to watch everything he’s been in since that time (and in fact I’ve watched none yet), but when I heard he was to appear in a new drama and mostly naked, a fangirl switch turned on. Can I say I came to screeching halt though once the storyline began to unfold?

The drama’s leading lady Sakura-san (Shinohara Ryoko) is a nearly 40-something woman who generally acts and dresses like an old man, then acts like a 13 girl when Miura’s character Hiroto “falls in love with her.” And there you have in a nutshell, one of the worst examples of the older woman-younger man romance stories. It’s weird, bizarre, has practically no chemistry and I never quite believe anyone when they say they’re in love. Well except for Fujiki Naohito, whose broody character Tachibana plays the best friend who never figures out how to admit he’s in love.

Sadly though, I had no investment in his role either. Nor was I attached to plotlines of Sakura’s besties, nor any in Hiroto’s or Tachibana’s love rivals, nor in any of the overly stereotyped side characters throughout. It’s a simple plotline with no surprises, and is boring to top it all. Had I not watched this at it aired, and had sympathetic like-minded friends to discuss it with for a whopping 2 minutes each week, I wouldn't have bothered.

Dropped at ep. 7

I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with Otomen, except that once again I found it dull, unentertaining, and uninspiring. Okada Masaki as Masamune Asuka was my main draw, but apparently a single pretty face was not enough to make up for his overall lackluster performance here as an otomen aka a man with girlish hobbies. In a sense, this is a reverse rom-com. Our hero (contrary to his perceived image as a manly man and martial arts extraordinaire) really prefers baking pretty cakes and sewing, and his lead girl Miyakozuka Ryo (Kaho) is a macho tomboy-girl thanks to her dad’s upbringing, who longs to be able to cook and do other girly things, but can’t to save her life. She’s also forbidden by her father to do such feminine tasks, and likewise Masamune’s mom forbids him to reveal his girlish nature (lest he turn or people think he’s gay).

What’s the plot of this manga-turned-drama? Not well laid out, and even with some extra intensity from rivals and friends, there’s not much going on other than watching the cast getting into one episodic mishap or another, with a few bouts of lame-ish humor. The high school plotline too feels almost like a knockoff of other, better school dramas (Hana Kimi, not to name drop).

It wasn’t enough to keep me interested, especially as the premise of these two oppositely-stereotyped characters was so lackluster that not even reverse psychology can do the trick. I don’t even mind that the girl acts the part of the normal male lead, and the boy the part of the female lead (though to be honest it is a bit weird). It’s just that either the story’s or the actors’ portrayals of such characters isn’t well handled.


  1. I think we talked about this briefly a while back, but I kinda hated Otomen when I watched it. Jdoramas try my patience to begin with because they tend to be episodic more often than not (ain't nobody got time for that!), and then to make the overarching story as boring as Otomen's is just shooting yourself in the foot, really.

    I had been meaning to watch Last Cinderella since it premiered and then never got around to it... now I'm kind of glad I didn't. Naohito Fujiki was my main draw for it, but when I found out he was going to be the second lead, that put me off a bit anyway.

    Next on my Jdorama list is Share House no Koibito. Tanihara Shosuke ftw!

    1. I find that Jdramas are rather polarizing to my tastes. Either I like/love them because they explore something different-interesting-unique about life, or they're just shallow as heck. The only one that hasn't fit either of these standards is Hana Kimi. I'm starting to think it's just an anomaly, but I tend not to like shows that are 'like' that. Oh well.

      And episodic.. has never been my thing. Unless I'm just in the mood for it. But since I'm always tempted to marathon things, it just doesn't work for flow.

    2. Yeah, exactly. I think ItaKiss is the first Jdorama in forever that I've watched live, but I generally marathon them too. It gets difficult to watch when you're doing one episode after another.

      I've noticed, though, that romance-centric Jdoramas are the least likely to be episodic, but they're always SO hit or miss for me that I hardly ever pick one up.

  2. I don't think i'd recommend Last Cinderella to anyone, but I didn't really mind it. I couldn't stand Sakura sometimes, but I did really like Hiroto (largely due to my loving Haruma), and I thought they had some chemistry. At least, more than Sakura and Tachibana did, anyway. I liked Tachibana, but the ending was too quick, and he realised his feelings too late. At least it was a short-ish drama, so it wasn't really a waste of my time.

    Otomen - I thought it was quite cute, although it didn't really have a point. But again, not a show i'd recommend, but also not a show I feel like i wasted my time on.

    1. Last Cinderella was a bit rushed. I almost thought they could have taken longer to really develop some real character - and maybe Tachibana might've had a chance? (Lol). Had it been much longer though I probably would've dropped it. I just wanted to see how it concluded.

      Otomen was a whole lot of cute. Maybe if I'd stuck with it it would've been better? (Tbh I was in a huge drop mood the weeks when I started watching it - and was watching too many other shows at the same time.)

  3. I'm so bummed that Last Cinderella crashed and burned...I was really looking forward to it, but now I guess I'm not going to bother watching it at all. I'll just have to wait to get my noona-romance high off I Can Hear Your Voice when it finishes its run.

    1. The noona romance in ICHYV is killing me!! killing me!! (but in a super awesome good way..) <3

  4. I was planning to watch Last Cinderella because I heard people raving about it. But then I heard that Fujiki Naohito was probably not going to get the girl and I lost interest. I mean, I like Miura Haruma a lot, but I had this sneaky feeling that I would probably love Naohito's character much more. And so I never watched it. After it ended I read people's comments and most of them were disappointed that the heroine didn't end up with Naohito's character. I also heard that the female lead was kinda furstrating, so I guess I made the right choice not to watch it.

    1. I probably could've tolerated a lot more if it weren't for the female lead. She just made no sense, and was annoying. Bad combo. As for the guys, it wasn't clear at first who she'd end up with. I liked that suspense for a while, but of course, things will get more stereotyped and clear cut. It's unfortunate. The show had potential.