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I recently watched a Japanese drama titled Kyo wa Kaisha Yasumimasu (Something like “I’m going to take the day off”), which aired on NTV in Fall 2014. The drama starred Ayase Haruka as Aoshi Hanae, a 30 year old virgin who has her first relationship. Her first relationship is with Tanokura Yuto (played by Fuskushi Sota), a 21-year-old, part time worker at her company. The drama also starred Tamaki Hiroshi playing the second lead, Asao Yu, who was a mysterious stranger, a wise friend, and the rejected second lead in the drama.
Hanae is an office worker in charge of the administrative stuff in the office. She makes the coffee, cleans and takes care of the office plants. She is quiet and easily overlooked. She turns 30 and that is cause for extreme depression since she has never been with a guy, and therefore her life is worthless. (Deliberate sarcasm inserted here). Hanae goes out with co-workers on her birthday and ends up having a one night stand with the 21 year old college student, Tanokura, who works in her office. The next morning, she runs off, embarrassed to have lost her virginity in such a tawdry way.
Tanokura assures her that he wants a relationship, and the two begin dating. They keep the relationship a secret from their co-workers, although an outsider, Asao, knows about the relationship and guides Hanae through the problems she encounters in her first relationship, telling her things like don’t be a burden, etc. Hanae navigates spending the night with her boyfriend, cooking for him, taking care of him when he is sick, introducing him to her parents (who are understandably flabbergasted by her choice) and meeting his young mother. Hanae then learns about Tanokura’s plans to go to graduate school and getting an MBA, and realizes that she will have to wait years for him to finish up and get a job.
Tanokura sacrifices his education, plans on getting a job and proposes to Hanae, who quickly agrees. She is then brought down to earth by Asao and an old girlfriend of Tanokura’s, who points out that this was Tanokura’s dream that he gave up. Hanae breaks up with Tanokura for his own good, and Tanokura then goes off to study in the USA. Hanae, realizing that she loves him, runs to him and tells him that she will wait for him.
When Tanokura returns a year later, the two meet again, and the plan is to begin dating once more. In the midst of her self-discovery, Hanae rejects Asao’s proposal of marriage, who has found that he loves the Hanae who is in love.
I found myself very dissatisfied with the drama. I have never been one of those people who have liked the second lead better than the actual hero. I have never had any doubt about what the right OTP should be in a drama, but there’s a first time for anything. I truly liked the chemistry that Hanae had with Asao and the person she was when she was with him, and I believe that they should have gotten together. I couldn’t help but think that she was clinging onto Tanokura because he was her first sexual experience, and she wasn’t brave enough to go out and explore and take any further risks. The character’s exploration of this same theory and conclusion that she loved Tanokura for other reasons was not believable.
There are dramas that you watch where there is “love” between certain characters, and you have to wonder ‘why?’ What is there to love? I could not see why Hanae loved Tanokura or when that love happened. I saw like. And the glow of first intercourse. I saw gratitude and comfort. I didn’t see love. Additionally, I do not know why Tanokura “loved” Hanae or whether he even knew the true her. She was so meek when she was with him, and could not allow any true part of her to come out. She didn’t snap at him. She couldn’t tell him what movie she wanted to watch. She couldn’t sleep comfortably in front him, being afraid that she would snore. She couldn’t even express her desire to have relations. He never even knew her, so how could he say he loved her?
I also did not think that they fully developed the “Love” that Asao suddenly feels for Hanae. He was a great character, but suddenly feeling love for Hanae did seem out of character for him. I felt that if we had more episodes, we could have seen a natural progression of that relationship, but then that would have lead to more displeasure that Hanae ended up with the wrong guy. Additionally, an 11th hour revelation that Hanae’s other co-worker may also have liked her was a bit out of left field and felt as if the writer just wanted Hanae to have a male harem, which some mangas tend to do. And since this is based on a manga, that was a true possibility. Even then, with two other/better choices, she would pick the wrong guy!
And finally, the character of Hanae. I did not like her. The perception of a woman over 30, who is still single, as being something sad and to be pitied grated. Even if it was the character herself doing the pitying. Witnessing her desperation and depression . . . to watch her fall in “love” and change herself for that love, to base or hook her emotions and sense of well-being on a man, a man who didn’t even know himself . .. to reject someone else out of fear, and to waffle and break up and then decide to wait after all, after deciding that she was too old to wait, was too annoying to watch. I had no sympathy for Hanae, and still think that she made the wrong choice.
Due to my second lead syndrome, the fact that I like Tamaki Hiroshi way better than Fukushi Sota, and dislike of the main character lead to a disappointing watch. I saw this romance as a “Happily For Now” for the main couple, rather than a happily ever after. I would give this drama a 4/10.