Drama marathoning leaves little time for blogging about them. One after another, I keep picking em up! I know compiled review may seem like a lazy way to do this, but this time, there is a similarity between both drama. One is a bodyguard falling in love with the celebrity rom-com while the other features a Japanese Devil wears Prada aura. What similarity would this two dramas have in you may ask? Nishijima Hidetoshi is the answer!
A screencap from Strawberry Night with him as Kikuta
This all started from Strawberry Night, the awesome drama with him and Takeuchi Yuko in it. Unfortunately, I have not uploaded my review on Strawberry Night yet because I’m still downloading it’s movie, Strawberry Night The Invisible Rain. Apparently, Takeuchi Yuko and Osawa Takao had sizzling chemistry there so I’m only posting the review of the whole series after I watch that. With that said, it does not stop me from digging more Nishijima goodness although they may date a few years back. Currently, I’m watching him in Team Batista 2 as well but found that I’m more prone towards the drama for the medical goodness than the fact that Nishijima is in it.
Boku to Star no 99 Nichi
A Korean-Japanese collaboration brings Nishijima Hidetoshi and Kim Tae Hee together in this hilarious and really nonsensical drama. Kim Tae Hee is Han Yuna, a celebrity from Korea, who arrives at Japan for the filming of a drama with Takanabe Yamato (Sasaki Kuranosuke). So it’s like they film a drama within a drama kinda thing. Our bodyguard, Namiki Kouhei, has always been fascinated with stars (as in the Sun, Polaris and etc) and was pushed to work with Yuna for 99 days. We see chaos in each episode which comes in this order: Yuna runs away, Kouhei finds her, then they have some kind of spark together. This is followed and interruption or scheming by Yuna’s manager or the evil reporter or Takanabe ( who has a crush on Yuna but he really fails as a rival not because he is incapable, he just doesn’t have the heart to break them apart really).
Poor Nishijima, all in patches in this drama. My heart bleeds for you!!
Every episode also features bandaids on our fragile bodyguard who can’t seem to defend himself using some form of martial arts. He seems more like a physical shield than a bodyguard honestly. There are many moments where some sad Korean-ish OST is inserted and I feel more like laughing than feeling the moment. It’s just hilarious to have that in a Japanese drama because it feels dramatic in a funny way. There are also many instances that I feel the Korean influence on the script but felt like it stood out a little awkwardly. Kim Tae Hee is great in this genre as proven through My Princess with Song Seung Heon while Nishijima has some astounding movies he has scored in his pants. It shouldn’t be an acting problem that makes me feel disconnected with them but I guess their chemistry together isn’t dazzling or anything. I still persisted to finish the whole thing but I still wish they have done better.
The drama is trying to achieve Korean and Japanese flavour at the same time and for me, it fell flat. Although so, it is still watchable to a certain extent. Just keep your expectation real low here.
This drama dating back from 2009 brings us what I consider as the best drama revolving around the world of fashion. Reviews that I have read hails it as the Japanese Devil Wears Prada. For me, I think it’s more like Devil wears Hermes here. Hermes is their main sponsor so we’ll be able to see a lot of their products popping out which is NOT a bad thing given the genre and focus of this drama. Hermes is also one of the most prestigious not to mention expensive brands out there so it’s really cool to see it making appearances so often. If I’m not mistaken, the ending credits feature Karina and her 2 real life sisters (also acting on set as Jinbo Miki’s assistants) modelling Hermes scarves and other various brands. By the way, they model different clothes for the ending credits of EVERY episode. Like most fashion drama, Karina plays the underdog Amano Kinue who is transferred from the bedding department to the ladies clothing department. Jinbo Miki (Kuroki Hitomi) is the new chief manager of the department and she plans to reform it in order to increase sales in Echizen-ya. Her most prominent quote,
If you wear boring clothes, you’ll lead a boring life.
We see Amano grow along the way, find her own style, get a makeover and make valuable friends. We also see how Amano, Tabuchi (Nishijima Hidetoshi) and Miki made choices to prioritize work over their private life. As Tabuchi says,
If you enjoy your work, you’ll enjoy at least half of your life.
Tabuchi is a buyer, one who buys the stock they would sell in their store. He makes contracts to preferably get brands that have not been seen in Japan yet and tries to secure contracts with designers whose items are hot among consumers. Tabuchi works efficiently although he does complain to Jinbo Miki and gets the STARE. It’s so cute when he tells her it’s impossible then gets the stare and then quickly smiles sweetly and promise to get it done. He also trains Amano as she becomes a manager and of course sparks fly between them. Then, it simmer away as ambitions and careers takes precedent in their lives. The lack of a romance plotline here is fine by me because it would not fit the trajectory well, neither would it show how serious Amano is about her work. She broke off her engagement with her boyfriend because of work and I don’t see how she could make it work with Tabuchi as both of them are very engrossed with their work. Despite that, they do have really cute and funny interactions together so it really isn’t a loss.
On the other hand, Kuroki Hitomi as Jinbo Miki is amazing! How she emits pure elegance and not seep with a proud aura is just … kakkoii (cool). She is frank and direct with her subordinates and her most used word would be ‘Kekkou‘ (fine). Her words of wisdom are enlightening as well, even for me. I really like one of em:
In order to not regret, shouldn’t we properly walk down the path that we have chosen?
If you are afraid of people leaving you, it just means that you can’t do anything alone.
In five years, in ten years… where do you want to be and what do you want to do?
I think the first one is one that I could relate to the most. Making difficult choices and to not regret is hard but in order to really not regret, we’ll have to act upon our choice properly. Jinbo Miki is inspirational, even more than the optimistic Amano. Although the drama accentuates on appearance, I think that it’s quite true and people do judge you by your dress. Appearance is not EVERYTHING but it makes up a big part of someone’s first impression on you. Your style may tell people a lot about yourself and dressing well is a kind of discipline as well I think. Of course I’m not saying that this should be the basis for us to spend our money on Hermes and other branded luxuries. I do believe that moderation is important. Many people may think that the drama is overdoing it by making it seem like appearance is all but I think it’s just sticking to reality. What Helena Rubinstein would say here, “there are no ugly people, only lazy people”. There is a certain amount of effort required to put up with appearance and people who look good and feel good about themselves shouldn’t be labeled shallow. Sasaki Ryo (Amano’s first fashion guru) tells Amano that fashion is a pain and discipline is needed to bear with it. Imagine wearing 4 to 5 inch high heels and stand all day at work. It’s amazing to see how Karina had to run numerous times in high heels throughout this drama as well.
On the side note, I got confused with some poster depicting Real Clothes in 2008 and 2009. Apparently, they aired one stand alone episode in 2008. The success of it spurred a full-fledge drama in 2009. Basically they have the same plot but obviously 2009 has a better fleshed out one with 11 episodes to spare.
My recommendations, WATCH. If you want to love yourself or love fashion or already do both, watch this. I learned LIFE from this drama. That speaks volumes.
Now, I’m off to watching Team Batista 2. As much as I love Nishijima there and all the medical wonders (makes me revise and go ahhhh at things I’ve forgotten), Toru Nakamura’s character is really annoying. I get that he is a crucial character in the Team Batista series but really. I DON’T CARE. He isn’t needed. I don’t need some hospital bribery mystery. I think the medical contents are quite good already. Sometimes, I just don’t get why Japan has to overdramatise their medical dramas with other non-medical plot lines (see Dr. X, DOCTORS Saikyouu no Mei).
Ending this post with eye candy, having his candy.
Can I be that chocolate bar??