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

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

Second Love (2015)

Second_Love-p1.jpg

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Drama: Second Love (セカンド・ラブ)
Network: TV Asahi
Episodes: 7
Release Date: February 6 – March 20, 2015
Runtime: Friday 23:15 – 24:15
Country: Japan

Plot
Kei is a 28 year old contemporary dancer, who used to win awards and worked in a foreign dance company, but is now struggling to to pass auditions. He is currently working as a loader in a fishing company. One day he failed another audition and wanted to die, but he sees Yui Nishihara in the middle of a bridge, stretching her arms to the sun like a goddess and was captivated by her.

Meanwhile, Yui is in her 30’s and a teacher at prestigious female high school. She is having an affair with an older colleague who has a wife and a child. She also lives and supports her mother. She is not happy with her current situation. Kei goes to the school where Yui works and hands her his name and number. Yui took courage and met up with Kei. What happens next will change both of their lives.

Cast
Kazuya Kamenashi – Kei Taira
Kyoko Fukada – Yui Nishihara

Review
Yay! I actually tried watching different Korean/taiwanese dramas but couldn’t find the drama that will get me hooked. I tried watching Marriage Not Dating – the lead girl was annoying and Hotel King – Lee Dong Wook is gorgeous but i heard the story is bad, so I didn’t continue. I also tried watching 2 other taiwanese dramas but they were too cheesy.
So I ended up watching Second Love. I saw one reviewer totally trash this drama but i actually liked this drama a lot. I have expected japanese dramas to be more fast paced than the korean dramas so while i was suprrised that they were already sleeping together by the end of episode one and moving in together by end of episode 2 (or 3), it was okay for me since i know this show also has 7 episodes.
I think despite the relationship that seems fast forwarded, it was still able to tell the complete story. Boy meets girl, fall in love, move in together, boy becomes busy, girl feels bad, they fight and break up, years later they meet up and got back together.

the story was realistic. the guy is younger and girl is older – obviously they are at different points of their lives. The guy is still trying to jumpstart his career while the girl is settled and wants a family. of course they will clash. I dont blame Kei – he has worked so hard to redeem himself as a dancer and be respected and earn money that if i were his girlfriend, i would have encouraged him too and supported him coz i also want him to succeed. But i also understand Yui – she wants to settle down and Kei can still earn money and dance in Japan, why does he have to go overseas to work and leave her? But i love that both of them were mature and sensible. Even though it was painful, they knew they had to let each other go, especially for Yui, since she wasn’t selfish to Kei and at the same time, she didn’t break like her mother.

As for Kei, sometimes i wanted to shout at him. I dont know if it’s just bad acting but Kazuya had the same expression in almost every scene, i dont know what he is feeling or thinking most of the time. Kei loves Yui and yet ignored her when he became busy. and he kept insisting that he loves her and without Yui he wouldn’t be here right now (is it really love or he is just thankful)? it should not have come as a surprise to him when Yui broke up with him and refused to go with him. When the actor cried, that’s the only time i saw that Kei actually loved Yui too. But alas, i thought it wasn’t the right time for them.
A year later Kei comes back and realizes that work he did was great but it wasn’t meaningful because Yui was not beside him. he found her and begged her to take him back and i’m glad Yui resisted. kei can’t just come back as if nothing happened. Yui has her own life now, one that she is actually happy with and it doesn’t make sense for her to drop it and follow kei. (she didn’t do it before so why should she do it now?) this happened in episode 6 so i was actually scared that they will not end up together. They said their last goodbyes and went their separate ways for the second time. Super happy that by episode 7 they were finally together. at the right time. at the right place. at the right mindset.

There were several side characters that were both interesting and frustrating.

First is Yui’s mother. I hated her for being so dependent on Yui and being so selfish, not wanting Yui to have her own life. but it was nice to see that in the end, when Yui was sad and broken hearted, it was her mother who helped pick up the pieces and protected her.

Second is Naginagi, the older guy Yui had an affair with. First off, what the heck did Yui see in him? He’s not even good looking! Second, while he was nice enough to “hand” Yui over to Kei, i could understand when he got terrifying at Yui. His wife and kids left him and now that he’s free to be with Yui, Yui doesn’t want him anymore. And he sees Yui looking so sad. If i were Nagi, i would probably feel angry too. and i realized he must have really loved Yui that much. I’m glad they became friends in the end.

Now, on the other hand, Kei’s ex girlfriend is an annoying know it all meddling b*tch. I can’t believe the gall of her, talking to Yui like that. and I wish Kei was able to talk to Ayako and tell her to back off. He should know Ayako is ruining his relationship. Though i know Ayako means well, she still does not have the right to break Yui like that.

Fourth, the older lady teacher with the younger boyfriend. I thought she was cool! i’m glad Yui had someone she can talk to. I would also love a cool “sister” like her.

Lastly, the school girl who likes Yui. I honestly think she was unnecessary to the whole story. Like who cares about her?

Oh and i also found out that the two leads are actually dating in real life! That must be why there were sleeping scenes in every episode. Either i have not watched a lot of Jdramas lately or this was an exception.

Overall, this was a simple fast paced story – dont think too much about it and just enjoy the story and romance.