Fishbowl Wives (2022) JDrama

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Drama: Fishbowl Wives (金魚妻)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 8
Release Date: 2022
Country: Japan

Plot: This is a story of six wives living in the same condo tower and their marital issues that resort them to having affairs.

Main Cast:
Ryoko Shinohara – Sakura Hiraga
Takanori Iwata – Haruto Toyota
Masanobu Ando – Takuya Hiraga
Shizuka Nakamura – Yuka (Outsourcing Wife)
Yuki Kubota – Yuka’s ex boyfriend
Saori Seto – Noriko (Lunchbox Wife)
Shingo Fujimori – Noriko’s husband
Anna Ishii – Saya (Chaperone Wife)
Atsuhiro Inukai – Soto / Saya’s husband
Wakana Matsumoto – Hisako (Headache Wife)
Hidekazu Mashima – Baba / Hisako’s husband
Kyoko Hasegawa – Yuriha (Renovation Wife)
Yasuyuki Maekawa – Yuriha’s husband

Review:
This is not the usual wholesome Jdrama since this is Netflix-produced so there are a lot of nude bed scenes. But I like that the scenes didn’t look awkward but very natural and sexy. Affairs are supposed to be racy and that’s what we got in every episode.

This drama didn’t glorify affairs but shows us why women would have affairs, not that it’s okay to have an affair. Also, since the focus is on the wives, the husbands are always at fault or lacking here. I wouldn’t say I agree with the wives but I get where they are coming from. They’re not happy with their husbands but they don’t want to get divorced since that would disrupt their lives. They also don’t want to get together with the other guy – it’s really just a temporary thing. So they have an affair while still staying with their partners not knowing their naughty deeds. To some people, their logic may be weird and selfish, but I’m very sure these scenarios do happen in real life. I like that there was no preachy tone in the drama and one year later, the wives were definitely happier but still engaging in their affairs.

My main issue with this drama is the main wife’s story was so boring and took up most of the time. It was obviously rebound for the girl and she needed a safe space to stay while she hides from her husband. She probably fell in love/lust because finally there was this guy showing affection to her. And while I feel bad for the younger guy, I think he also took advantage of her. After recognizing her as the woman who helped his sister years ago, he has been looking for her and he believes he’s in love with her (very unrealistic). I think somehow they really did love each other, but I just thought it wouldn’t last. It was just odd that they stood up against the criticisms of their affair, yet in the end they broke up (they had to get one last sexy time before breaking up though haha). I’m very happy they didn’t end up together, which was for the best.

I like the side stories of the other wives (more than the main fishbowl wife) and if I had to rate their stories I liked Lunchbox wife the most. The coworker was so cute and he appreciated her cooking more than the husband did. I didn’t expect that the wife will leave her husband. I actually thought they will enjoy a threesome relationship haha. My next favorite is the Outsourced wife. Girls love bad boys, especially hot ex-boyfriend bad boys. The Renovation wife was annoying at first, for rubbing it in to the fishbowl wife that she is having an affair with her husband, but I felt bad for her when her husband always put his mom first over her – oh well, she’s got a sexy carpenter guy by her bed so she’s happily ignoring the mom.

Next is the Headache wife – the prettiest wife in the drama. I guessed it right away that she is having an affair with her own husband, and I’m glad they made up in the end. Last is the Chaperone wife – I didn’t like the wife because the husband tried to give her everything and she didn’t appreciate it because she felt left behind. I think it was mostly her self esteem issues although the husband could have been more attentive to her.

Rating: 8/10

Pretty Proofreader (2016) – JDrama

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Drama: Jimi ni Sugoi! Koetsu Garu Kono Etsuko (地味にスゴイ! 校閲ガール・河野悦子)
Network: NTV
Episodes: 10
Release Date: October 5 – December 7, 2016
Runtime: Wednesday 22:00-23:00
TV Ratings: 12.4%
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan

Plot
A girl who dreams of becoming a fashion editor at Lassy magazine ends up getting a job as a proofreader at Keibon Company.

Main Cast
Satomi Ishihara – Etsuko Kono
Masaki Suda – Yukito Orihara
Tsubasa Honda – Toyoko Morio
Munetaka Aoki – Hachiro Kaizuka

Review:
Yay! Absolute gem of a drama! I love Japanese dramas because they are short and sweet, but sometimes there are dramas where I wish was a little longer (or maybe with the special or season 2). This is one of them.

I love Kono, she was a happy little ball of optimism and energy that brought sunshine to everyone around her. I love how she is always smiling and passionate with her work despite the challenges, and not having a lot of experience. I also liked what she said that she is really learning a lot about proofreading, and it will help her in honing her skills when she gets to be the editor of Lassy someday. I like that she is able to see an opportunity even though some people may think her job is not what she really wanted.

You weighed your work as a proofreader and the chance of being transferred to Lassy, and you chose proofreading. And that’s because you know that you belong to the Proofreading Department. If you had treated your job as a proofreader as a filler until you could become an editor at Lassy, I would have looked down on you. But even though you have another dream, you still put everything into the work in front of you.That’s why everyone in the Proofreading Department took you in. You aren’t half-hearted.

Kaisuka to Kono, episode 10

Kono was also not afraid to speak up and do more than the work requires her to do. I didn’t really know what a proofreader’s job really is aside from checking for mistakes. I didn’t think and most certainly her colleagues also didn’t think to do fact checking and recommend if the plot or the book didn’t make sense. At one point, I was wondering if she was crossing the line and doing an editor’s role. But I guess if I were the editor like Kaizuka, instead of getting angry or jealous at the proofreader, I would appreciate her frankness and her suggestions because it will also make the editor learn and do a better job. I particularly liked the episode where Kono helped Ms Fujiwa shine. She’s the typical strict, stick in the mud colleague who hates change, but Kono was able to melt her heart and inspire her.

Since Ms Kono came, our PD has been changing bit by bit. This dark basement room used to be so dull, and you used to feel inferior and lacked confidence in your work. But little by little, you have gained that confidence…Our job is to find the mistakes in books and correct them, but when it comes to our colleagues, we find their strengths and learn to accept each other, instead of looking for faults.

Mr Takehara to the Proofreading Department

I loved each episode since they showed different types of writers and books. The first case opened with Mr Hongo’s book. I thought that was it, but he ended up being a significant character in the latter episodes. I also liked the episodes about the aspiring writer (episode 6), Takehara’s story (episode 8), episode 9 where they showed how there are some jobs that we take for granted but are necessary to our daily lives.

More than the story of Kono and her proofreading journey, this drama also tackled about dreams. We see Yukito, a writer who’s having a writing slump and trying to figure out what he wants to write about. We see Morio who used to be jealous of Kono and half-heartedly doing her role as assistant editor of Lassy Magazine. Then we hear the Japanese restaurant owner’s story of wanting to pursue this passion. I love the message of this drama, that we are allowed to have a lot of dreams, some may happen, some may not. As long as we keep doing our work well, while pursuing our own dreams then we can still have a happy and fulfilling lives.

You just said that you couldn’t make your dream come true, but you’re still writing novels, aren’t you? Then you’re still in the process of pursuing your dream.

Kono to Ishigawa, episode 10

For the romance, at first I was expecting Yukito and Kono to end up together. I thought they were so cute together. But as the drama progressed, I kept wondering that Kono liked about him, other than he’s handsome. He seemed boring and didn’t know what he wanted, so very different from her. Kono seemed to have more fun (less puppy love look) when she and Kaizuka are together. They are both cheerful and passionate and they matched well. Likewise, Morio and Yukito’s energy seemed more matched. They were more reserved and calm, and understood each other more. So while I’m surprised that the 4 leads didn’t end up together I’m actually happy about it.

In this world, some people’s dreams come true, but others don’t. Some jobs stand out, but others don’t. Among them, there are those whose dreams have come true, but the reality is not what they imagined. But no matter how they feel about it, or what kind of job they’re doing, giving everything to the work in front of them is the only way to turn the ordinary and repetitive daily life into something truly irreplaceable.

Yukito’s monologue for his non-fiction book.

Overall I loved this drama. I think Kono really suits being a proofreader than an editor but I’m rooting for her whichever career she chooses!

Rating: 9/10

This Guy is the Biggest Mistake in My Life (2020)

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Drama: This Guy is the Biggest Mistake in My Life (この男は人生最大の過ちです)
Network: TV Asahi, ABC
Episodes: 10
Release Date: January 18 – March 21, 2020 (TV Asahi) / January 19 – March 22, 2020 (ABC)
Runtime: Saturday 26:30 (TV Asahi) / Sunday 23:35 (ABC)
Country: Japan

Plot:
Sato was mourning the loss of her dog Chocolate when a guy hit on her in a bar. She gets angry and scolds him. He was shocked and immediately fell in love with her. The next day, he turns out to be his boss and calls him into her office. He tells her to treat her like her slave and follows her everywhere.

Main Cast
Mokomichi Hayami – Kyoichi Amagi
Airi Matsui – Yui Sato
Michiko Tanaka – Sae Mishima
Jingi Irie – So Natori
Yuta Hiraoka – Koshiro Aida

Review:
I really liked the first 5 episodes (or up until their trip to the ryokan.) The drama was laugh out loud funny and light. But the second half felt different, with the addition of Sae and Aida and got a little boring.

This is a manga adaptation so i threw all logic and real life out of the window. The guy is creepy and stalkerish but he sounds sincere and seems to really like Sato. He just needed to tone down his obsessive ways or learn to control himself and listen to Sato. Moco was so good at portraying Amagi. He never got angry or raised his voice. He loved her for who she was, gave her everything she wanted and more. I think if he actually stopped stalking her and treated her properly, Sato would have fallen head over heels for him too. I know it’s wrong, but I laughed every time Amagi holds on to and smells her ankles. And that episode where he brought a whole feast to her office so she can have dinner. The food spelled out her name and the dessert was a cake with her face. ROTFL!!!

I wasn’t really sure how Sato really felt which was disappointing because the show kept emphasizing that people need to be honest with their own feelings. Half of the time, it felt like Sato liked him back but just got creeped out of his behavior, sometimes it felt like she was pitying him, then she would burst and slam him to the floor. “Stop following me!” But she kept joining him for dinner, talking to him, cared for him. When Sato though Amagi died, she laid out her honest feelings to Amagi but when he woke up, she denied it and beat him up again. Between the two, I actually felt bad for Amagi and wished he wises up and leave Sato to find another nicer woman.

Good thing this drama was short. 10 episodes at 20 mins (or less) per episode. So this was a breezy watch. There’s not much character growth though and nothing really happened story-wise. The guy just kept pursuing Sato. Sato will feel bad, think that maybe she likes him, then will beat up Amagi And stalk off. Amagi gets turned on and continue to pursue her. Repeat 10x.

I didn’t like Sae. I thought she was an unnecessary nuisance to the story – meant to make Sato feel jealous. And she didn’t. or so I think. It felt like she was jealous or is it more like being possessive because Amagi’s affections are not centered on her?? (But she still won’t accept his feelings).

A part of me thinks she should have just chosen Aida then Amagi will stop chasing her. (But Aida is also a little bit weird).

I didn’t expect the ending (is that it???). I thought the time alone would have made Sato realize that she likes Amagi but when Amagi showed up and gave her the curative medicine, she just got angry again and beat him up. I saw the medicine and thought “Awwww. he really likes her!!” It was the sweetest proposal I’ve seen. Can’t she appreciate his efforts even if she turns down his affections?

Another laugh out loud moment was the realization that Amagi was in every picture of her trip. It was so dang hilarious!!!

Do I want a season 2? Not really.

Rating: 7/10

Totsuzen Desu ga, Ashita Kekkon Shimasu (2017)

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Drama: Totsuzen Desu ga, Ashita Kekkon Shimasu / Everyone’s Getting Married (突然ですが、明日結婚します)
Network: Fuji TV
Episodes: 9
Release Date: January 23 – March 20, 2017
Runtime: Monday 21:00-21:54
Country: Japan

Plot:
A girl who wants to get married falls in love with a guy who doesn’t want to get married. And another guy comes in and proposes a loveless marriage but fulfills all the requirements of the girl. Who do you choose?

Main Cast
Mariya Nishiuchi – Asuka Takanashi
Ryuta Namamura – Ryu Nanami
Ikusaburo Yamazaki – Akihito Kamiya
Anne Nakamura – Rio Kiriyama
Yukino Kishii – Momoko Makise
Kanro Morita – Hiroki Ono

Review:
Once in a while i break away from watching kdramas to watch a Japanese drama. I love how realistic most Jdramas are especially on stories dealing with single lives, relationships and marriage. And the episodes are short, it’s easy to binge watch the entire day 🙂

I like how the story tackled different views on marriage. There’s no right or wrong answer. You decide what makes you happy. Be it married or single. You never know, you or your partner might change your mind.

Another critical question that the drama raised, do you continue to be in a relationship knowing you may not end up in marriage? Is it better to stop now before you waste more time? Is it right to hope that the other one changes his mind or will you regret or blame him if he never did?

Asuka wants to get married and be a professional housewife. Until then she works hard in her career so that when she gets married, she has achieved her career goals and can be happy staying at home. When she falls in love with Ryu Nanami and found out his anti-marriage stance, instead of backing away, she held on, convinced that one day he will change his mind. I think in real life, this can really go either way: the guy or girl falls in love so much and will have a change of heart and wants to get married OR the guy or girl will never change his/her mind and the one who has been waiting will get tired, disappointed and angry. There’s no easy answer here, except to trust your heart and love each other well so that there are no regrets in case you break up. And be ready in case you really break up.

On the other hand, Kamiya thinks one doesn’t have to be in love to get married but a win-win situation. We both like each other, Asuka fulfills his requirements of a smart and sensible housewife, and in turn, he will give her dream of becoming housewife. they work well as a team in the office, so why not at home? I think marriage of convenience, arranged marriage or marriage done not out of love is also not bad. I think as long as you have good communication or at least like each other as friends or colleagues is a logical beginning. At least you don’t get easily burdened my emotional issues. And I think once you start living with someone and being with that person 24/7, you will end up loving that person. Or at least get used to him/her and you will be close. So this can also work. Then again, it can also go the opposite way where you end up hating each other and break up. And as you can see, Kamiya ended up with Asaka’s friend, who wanted a cute husband and was okay with the loveless marriage arrangement. and their marriage is working well.

The third couple is the reverse of Nanami and Asaka. The guy pursues the girl through his good efforts and eventually wins over the girl even though at the start she only saw him as a friend. He was even able to convince her to move in with him even if the girl opposed marriage. And they were also happy. So it really depends on what works for the couple.

People shouldn’t judge other people just because you have different views. I loved their friends and family for being supportive and listening to their problems and offering different words of wisdom. Feels like there are so many people who love and care for them.

Something I didn’t like about the show is too much noble idiocy from Nanami Ryu although i understand his hesitation to get married and his reasons for breaking up with Asuka. I appreciated that he really thought about his decision but i hated that he decided on his own thinking he knows what’s good for Asuka.

“There are two types of stubbornness. The cool ones and the lousy ones. Lousy stubbornness is the action of those who are self righteous. Which one are you?” – Mama Kama

“You dont break up with the girl you love by hurting them!” – Yuko

Rating: 8/10