If you’re one of those who wait until a drama finishes airing to see whether or not it has a happy ending before proceeding to watch it, then you can safely start 5-ji Kara 9-ji Made now. Provided that you want to, that is. I don’t think this is spoilery in any sense, because who couldn’t have guessed that Junko would’ve ended up with the monk? But before we get there, this drama put us through the last round of groan-inducing and eye-rolling chapter that is episode 9.
What happens there is essentially a rehash of episode 2, down to the end result, only unfolding in a way less hilarious and much more exasperating version of that. In an attempt to be on Obaasama’s good side, Junko readily shelves both her job at ELA and her dream to go to New York in favor of slaving away at Ikkyouji, quite literally i must say. Even after lowering herself down to a kowtow and doing all of the templework not only from 5 to 9 as if she’s the only person staying and ‘serving’ there, Junko is still scoffed at by Obaasama who finally makes it clear that she simply hates her. Period. Without any elaboration.
Ugh, one of the things i like about Japanese dramas is the nearly non-existence of purely evil characters, but here Obaasama breaks the tradition by depreciating Junko AND Amane for no apparent reason. She eventually explains her reason for treating Junko that way but never Amane, her own family after Takane, not even a word following his explosion! That’s a glorious untaken opportunity to mend the severed bond between them that i couldn’t fault Amane for hating Obaasama, Takane, and Ikkyouji so much to the point of wanting to destroy them — he’s been exiled, unvisited, and uncared-for for years, only to be used then discarded as she sees fit! So, props to him for being the bigger man in the end, even when his character doesn’t have a proper development and closure, or amount to anything, really.
Amane however isn’t the only pawn in Obaasama’s petty game of playing favorites. Kaori is the other one although neither is given special treatment; Obaasama merely states that Amane is gonna be the next chief priest and Kaori Takane’s bride-to-be without doing much to get her way that when both scenarios go down the drain, as both back down by their own volition, she doesn’t even lift a finger to prevent that. Which got me to think what’s the point of all this when the opposition — and thus the angst — is very much manufactured with barely any effort to see to it. I can’t fathom this drama’s logic at all.
Included in the penultimate episode are the clear-up regarding Kiyomiya’s circumstances that comes way too late (again, what’s the point?) and his highly observant and caring personality which continues to shake our hearts at the wrong timings. I still think Kiyomiya and Junko are on the same wavelength since he could tell what’s going on with her on one glance or when they aren’t even face to face. He even says “you’re perfect the way you are” despite not knowing what happens, whereas Takane just sits still during the incident! Tanake may be bold and frank, but Kiyomiya is sincere and considerate *sigh*
Like what happened in any other drama with separation angst and noble idiocy, the only way to bring our main couple back together is for all barriers to extract themselves from the picture and inform either that they’re now out of the way, so that’s what i was waiting to take place when all else fails. When that eventually happens, the guy wastes no time to pop the question, and as if to make up for all of the series-long thwarted kisses, we’re given lots of them in one go.
In the end, neither Junko nor Takane needs to sacrifice anything for the relationship, which is good, although there’s nothing memorable about the two. I was more interested in the secondary couple and was thus disappointed that Miss Momoe/Arthur-sensei didn’t get enough screen time or even a proper story of their own. They could’ve been more than just comic relief or middlemen for the main couple. I wanted more of the brothers or familial bonds, but those too fell short of potential. Maybe i just expected too much from a super simple rom-com that’s all about Junko and Takane.
5-ji Kara 9-ji Made as a whole is a pretty easy watch if silly and cartoonish at times. Too bad my interest grew cold pretty quickly as for a romantic comedy, there wasn’t enough romance to make me swoon or enough comedy to make me laugh.
Director: Hirano Shin, Tanimura Masaki
Production: Fuji TV, 2015
Cast: Ishihara Satomi, Yamashita Tomohisa, Tanaka Kei, Takanashi Rin, Hayami Mokomichi
Genre: Romantic Comedy, J-dorama (10 Episodes)