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.