Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

5-ji Kara 9-ji Made: first four episodes

Even prior to checking what this drama is all about, the poster alone is enough to catch my eye:

Ishihara Satomi and Yamapi (Yamashita Tomohisa, in case you aren’t aware of the nickname) — talk about pretty leads…
…in a rom-com Getsu9 drama…
…wherein he plays a monk…

That’s gotta turn a lot of heads, yes?

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Okay, the Getsu9 bit doesn’t matter much to me as majority of my favorite j-doramas didn’t air on Fuji TV on Mondays, but the monk male lead bit got me. As far as i know, monks abstain from marriage (as well as meat) so i wonder how this will play out. After some googling, however, i found out that in Japan, Buddhist monks and nuns can actually marry after being ordained. This somewhat nullifies the unusual setup of this drama since his monkness then only serves as the gap to bridge between him and his love interest; another way to show that the two are living in different worlds instead of re-treading the rich-poor path… ermm maybe not really? cuz he’s still filthy rich and she’s coming from a humble family, and he’s the typical aloof handsome guy while she’s a spirited soul.

What’s refreshing is then the part where the 29-year-old heroine (Sakuraba Junko) has her eyes fixated on her dream to move to New York instead of fretting over her single status. Love/marriage is the furthest thing from her mind, even if that aspiration may have something to do with her former English lecturer (Kiyomiya Makoto, played by Tanaka Kei) who’s currently residing there and is in town for a short while. We soon see that she’s surrounded by not one or two but four admirers, so she’s boyfriend-less ain’t due to lack of interests but because she’s harboring a crush on Kiyomiya. She lights up upon seeing him and so does he, who keeps things friendly yet professional between them… whereas the monk (Hoshikawa Takane) is persistently dogging her and forcing marriage down her throat.

Another contender is her colleague Mishima Satoshi (Furukawa Yuki) who keeps intending to confess yet keeps either being dismissed by her or missing his timing although i won’t consider him a suitor. I doubt he’ll cause much ruckus or shake things up because even though he made a move on her in episode 3, there’s no follow-up. Satonaka Yuki (Takada Hyoga) is her last admirer, but (s)he’s just a kid, and her student at that, so (s)he can’t do much despite being oddly obsessed with her. I have no idea what will happen to the character after his ‘coming out’ episode.

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The first four episodes mainly revolve around the budding relationship between Junko and Takane. Despite the slip-up beginning (or rather the cringe-worthy first meet, where she accidentally sent a bowl of ashes flying toward his head in a funeral service he headed), Takane seems to fall for Junko at the first sight and asks for an omiai (formal matchmaking meeting) to be arranged between them. She isn’t the least bit interested, he isn’t willing to budge. Cue an endless rounds of stalking (he shows up at her academy! he follows her everywhere! he stops by her house!) wherein he reiterates his resolute intention to marry her at every possible moment until she agrees to take part in bridal training for a week from 5 to 9 AM, after which it’ll be decided if she’s a good fit for the temple and therefore his wife.

I’m not clear with the measures used to determine her suitability; she’s just doing all the housework in which she fares pretty well. She also establishes good rapport with everyone there except Takane’s grandma (Kaga Mariko). Nevertheless, Takane promises to stop stalking Junko after that yet continues to stick to her like a gum even after she fails the training. Junko also keeps showing up at the temple despite knowing Grandma favors another girl from their kind (Ashigaka Kaori played by Yoshimoto Miyu) over her.

There are lots of other side characters but none is interesting enough to warrant a special mention — oh wait, i cannot NOT mention Terada Kokoro! I first saw Kokoro-kun in the latest Baba Nuki/Arashi installment — he’s uber cute there — and i didn’t look his projects up or anything, so it’s really nice to see him here. I light up whenever he appears on the screen albeit not having much to do besides being super adorable ^^

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What i’m trying to say is, all attention is pretty much on Junko-Takane that i’m not sure how Kiyomiya’s gonna fit into the picture. I expected him to play a bigger part as the other love interest early on but he squarely stays within the status quo and supports her goal as her boss. Now that Takane has gotten on the good side of Junko, Kiyomiya’s eleventh-hour move may come a bit too late. Furthermore, i never suffer from a second male lead syndrome in a j-dorama (i almost did with Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu though) so… Okay. That move isn’t exactly a confession but i hope it causes some ripples, yunno, to spice things up a bit. Because i totally loved how they play out episode 4’s ending scene, showing us three suitors calling her and teasing us as to who gets through to her. I totally expected it to cut off right before the reveal, but the way it ends is even better…

…maybe i’m biased because i like Tanaka Kei whether he’s the good or bad guy Junko-Kiyomiya look good together.

Yamapi on the other hand… i honestly don’t recall him being this stiff and blank. It’s been years since i last watched Proposal Daisakusen and i was probably too swept up in the story to scrutinize his acting then. It doesn’t help that i never finish any of his works before or after ProDai. And i don’t think it’s the writing. Here, he’s mostly a deadpan even while running, it’s crazy! Well, at least he’s better than Furukawa; i still can see a flicker of emotions when Takane dining in with Junko’s boisterous family, when he finally flashes a faint smile after four long episodes, or when he’s about to kiss her (thrice thwarted!). Not gonna lie, i think my heart stirs as he leans in for the kill. BGM‘s fault? Hee. That said, his straight-faced works a comedic bit too — e.g. during the sleepover scene where Junko turns to check on her roommates and screams upon meeting Takane’s wide-eyed eyes, only to learn that he sleeps with his eyes open, hahaha.

As for Ishihara Satomi, i’ve seen her more in variety and always get an impression that she has an upbeat personality, which translates well into her characterization here. I love Junko’s spunk and hope she stays that way.

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So far, 5-ji Kara 9-ji Made ~Watashi ni Koi Shita Obousan~ has been a breeze to watch. Nothing’s too over-the-top despite it being a shoujo manga adaptation. Well, the moteki premise and some elements do feel manga-ish. I mean, being pursued by a popular handsome rich DoS-ish guy is possibly every girl’s fantasy…? If that’s the case, then this drama feeds that reverie in a harmlessly fun and mildly addictive way.

This doesn’t mean there’s nothing infuriating about it. I admit to flipping out at Takane by episode 2’s ending because using one’s power/connection to hamper someone else’s dream, let alone his loved one, is unforgivably selfish. I might jump the gun because it’s later revealed that the one requested that ‘favor’ is actually Grandma, which is perplexing because 1) why fail Junko if that could separate Takane from her? and 2) i don’t see a need for him to cover for Grandma, as that would only lead to misunderstanding and unnecessary angst early in the game.

I don’t need it to be overly dramatic. Neither do i need the loveline to have so many branches — a simple triangle or square shall do. And if the story manages to stay light, moderately funny, and occasionally squee-worthy, i’m good 🙂

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I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

2 thoughts on “5-ji Kara 9-ji Made: first four episodes

  1. wait, I can’t get past the Sakuraba Junko…LOL.

    I’ve watched the first half of episode 1. Yamapi’s stiff acting really makes me curious. is that his interpretation of a monk? LOL And same, I haven’t finished a Yamapi drama since ProDai.

    how’s Mokomichi Hayami doing?

    Like

    1. Oh! are we having the same thoughts about “Sakuraba Junko”?? I thought i’m the only one cuz i secretly giggle whenever her name is mentioned haha.

      I am not familiar with the manga so i’m not sure if Takane’s supposed to be like that. His disposition really seems more like a smug heir than a poised monk. Or maybe that’s just Yamapi. *shrug*

      Hayami Mokomichi is a tease here. He has yet to do or show up much, but he’s totally on Takane’s camp 😉

      Like

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