Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi

mahoro_eki_mae_bangaichi

Japan is the land of the weird and wonderful, so it’s no surprise that this quirky characteristic is also present in some of its dramas. When a drama goes all out and actually delivers on the kooky, it deserves all the appreciation it can get.

Tada Keisuke (Eita) runs a small benriya business Tada Benriken in the fictional town of Mahoro. His only “employee” is Gyoten Haruhiko (Matsuda Ryuhei), who seems happy to sponge off Tada. As the pair work through some of the oddest job requests they can imagine, their relationship and clients’ backgrounds come to the fore…

I went into this knowing nothing except that it was supposed to be quirky and starred Eita and Matsuda Ryuhei. In retrospect, this was probably all I needed to know, since the actors were the biggest selling point. Whoever had the brilliant idea to cast those two in this franchise adapted from the novel of the same name by Miura Shion – the drama is a sequel to the 2011 film, and there’s also a 2014 film – should get a raise pronto.

mahoro2mahoro3

Most of the requests were fun to watch and downright weird – it’s almost as if the drama delights in seeing how far it can go, but doesn’t do things just for the shock value. There were a couple of requests that were fairly sexual, with a life-sized naked wax figure to boot, but at the end of the day it’s all about the customer and what little life lessons Tada and Gyoten could draw from as they go about fulfilling the requests. I thought most of the cases were depicted well and liked that the drama showed various ordinary characters who may occasionally have an extraordinary day or request. There was plenty of humour and also some unexpected pathos from a couple of stories, which I thought was a really nice touch. Keeping the requests contained in 30-minute episodes (except for the last two cases, which took two episodes each) also meant the writing was tight and pacing was solid. I will pretend the last request doesn’t exist because 1) Maki Yoko was in it and 2) it just seemed unnecessary and rather OOC. I didn’t need a near life-and-death situation for Tada to come to realisations that I felt were inorganic to the story.

mahoro1mahoro4

Eita (and his hair) could be anything you wanted him to be, such is his versatility, while Matsuda’s whole get-up personified slacker so well that it wouldn’t be surprising if you did run into a Gyoten on the streets and he looked like Matsuda. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two and thought they brought out the push-pull dynamics in their oddball relationship very well. Mostly, it was just a pleasure watching two talented actors inhabit their characters as easily as they slip into their benriya overalls. I also enjoyed seeing a variety of actors, and while some of them might not usually be among the leading lights, here they got their chance to shine in their respective stories. The theme song, Beautiful Dreamer by Flower Companyz, is lovely and laidback, and guaranteed to stick in your head even after you finish the drama.

Highly recommended, even if you just want to notch another style in your “Trials and tribulations of Eita’s hair” list.

junny@1.32am

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi

  1. Oh, I loved this one! It was so quirky and fun, I found myself guaffing out loud so many times. 😄 Eita and Matsuda were just perfect on the roles. Such a strange but fun pair, ha. I’ve said it before, but when a jdrama is good, it really IS good.

    One of the best features of jdramas is that the characters generally look like anyone you might meet on the street. I’m not averse to The Pretty but not everyone has to model gorgeous.

    Like

    • Yes, totally agree. When they get the casting spot-on, it’s really spot-on. That’s what I like about their slice-of-life/human dramas, they always manage to bring across that down-to-earth, realistic vibe, right down to the little details.

      Like

  2. hi, just blog-hopping, but I can’t help commenting on this post as I am a big fan of this drama. it’s weirdly entertaining hehe. My favorite episode is the one which Kuroki Haru guests, it’s so hilarious. I became Kuroki Haru’s fan after watching this drama, turns out she’s an awards winning actress.
    I also like the episodes about the schoolgirl who stays at their place. I can’t forget the way Gyoten imitates her saying, “sabishi yo sabishi yo”
    anyway, keep writing 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks for stopping by! I also liked the Kuroki Haru episode and thought she did very well, I enjoyed that storyline and the ending was hilarious. And it’s brilliant how Gyoten figured things out just from that “samishi yo” phrase.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s