“If you’re here with me, I’ll become strange.
But if you’re here, I can change.
So… can you give me a chance to change?”
I swear Reiji has the gift of the gab, which will surely melt your heart, it’s a crying shame these instances are few and far between. It is those moments that make me take him seriously and thus like him as a character. Those are the moments that could be the signs of character growth…or so i thought.
His antics are fun to watch, for the most part, yet they can easily go overboard that whenever he switches to that mode, i can’t help wishing it stays around longer, or for good. That’s the kind of acting i like from Ohno, because he can do subtle very well. I definitely prefer him in that ‘normal’ role any day.
I mean, who has the heart to say no to that request when he phrases it that way?
That’s how he won the head chef over for Gosuke or won Misaki back in the last episode. Or when he approached her at the concierge. Or when he asked if he could see the plot of land she’s building her dream hotel on. It’s touching because you can feel the sincerity, and there’s no hidden agenda behind it. Shachou is as vain and petulant as ever, he’s also pretty much dependent on others to tell him what to do next, but aforementioned, his thoughtfulness is his best trait.
Having seen his good sides probably makes his manipulative means to get his way the more offensive. Like how little has changed regarding the coupleship, the same goes for the father-son relationship. Reiji’s a lot friendlier toward his dad, but still not that welcoming. Therefore, it’s terrible of him to use Oyaji to get Misaki to come over, stay the night, and ultimately live together, then quickly get rid of him when the method no longer works. He does say a few nice things to Oyaji at last, though that doesn’t really make up for his previous high-handedness.
Misaki eventually agrees to move into Reiji’s house due to the above quote; alas, the giddiness is as fleeting as ever. The number of differences between them piles up in no time and becomes too much for him to endure despite promising to restrain himself. A week is more than enough time to make Reiji out of it that Misaki feels the need to confront him about it. It’s easy to see that the biggest gap between the two isn’t bridged by accepting the other’s flaws or fixing own shortcomings but by communicating. With cool heads.
I thought that wasn’t a big problem as they managed to reconcile twice in episode 6 via phone, yet addressing misunderstanding indirectly won’t work in the long run. We also know what happened when they discussed the situation emotionally. Reiji’s woes are easily overcome by talking it out as they stem from different personal preferences. The easy way out is Misaki following Reiji’s liking — firm rice, runny yolk, stirring nattou prior to pouring soy sauce, folding only the top part of the socks — though i loved it that they agree to divide the chores (and hopefully compromise. The girl doing all housework and the guy having everything his way don’t sit well with me.)
Giddy Rei-san is back and we cut to a year later.
A wedding is held in Gosuke Restaurant, and we’re led to believe its our couple, especially since the camera pans to Samejima Hotels’ staff clapping happily for the newlyweds. But of course it’s Wada/Lilico’s instead. I’ve gotten immune to Reiji’s bluffs, yunno. When Shishou brought forward his plan to hold the reception at the French restaurant, his hate-to-lose disciple announced that he’ll be the first to tie the knot at there. But even Ishigami and Muraoki are aware that it isn’t up to him to make the call. Hee.
There are these amusing beats of the usually-lordly Shachou becoming all meek before his woman. Like in the closing scene where he orders the chauffeur to drive straight home…until his phone rings. Misa-san asks him to do mini grocery shopping and Rei-san whispers quick “yes, yes, yes” to the receiver. Ishigami knowingly repeats the question of whether Shachou wants to drop by somewhere before going home, and sure enough, he says yes. Hahaha.
So…of course SekaMuzu ends happily. Nobody’s starting a romcom expecting a sad ending, right? Well, i guess it isn’t the ultimate happy ending without the wedding bell; they’re only a step away from it since they’ve lived together in harmony for a year. I don’t need to see the union though now that they’ve gotten this far, i am curious as to how Reiji will propose (through shiritori? lol) and convince Misaki to say yes. Given their history, it may not come easy — we’ve witnessed the great lengths he went to ask her out, confess, or kiss her.
[“Target, full speed, two months! WITH LOVE~”]
Speaking of which, one would assume Ohno’s first onscreen kiss with a female costar would be the finale’s highlight, but i guess Sho’s cameo as his newscaster self created a bigger hoo-ha. I mean, Reiji and Muraoki were arguing about yama (mountain) in the opening minutes and in the end we got the real Yama combi moments!? It was great =)
In retrospect, SekaMuzu doesn’t offer much in terms of plot. It isn’t slice-of-life, but nothing is overdramatized either. Some elements are obviously overplayed, the hotel setting is for background purposes only, supporting cast do exactly that: supporting the leads to be together, the leads are pretty conservative. I still don’t get why it’s dubbed the world’s most difficult romance* till the very end. Is it because Reiji is a somewhat herbivore male and Misaki an independent woman? It’s probably the first time i watched multiple bed scenes wherein the couple just sleeps side by side.
(*Won’t the complicated relation between Shirahama Buchou and Mahiro-chan fits the bill better? His sexual orientation serves as the final twist, yet after admitting to nursing a crush on Wada for 20 years, he’s back to liking girls? Hmm…)
In the end, i think i’m enjoying the banter between Shachou and his secretary better than the push-and-pull between Shachou and his love interest. Muraoki is my favorite character in the drama. Her quips are so spot on and refreshing to hear every time. That’s why it kinda pains me that she remains single at the end. I didn’t like Wada at first, and didn’t appreciate him taking a dig at the venue’s owner on his D-Day. What does thank-you speech have to do with Samejima Hotels failing to reach Top 10? Geez. However, i didn’t expect the womanizer to settle down that soon, with his ex-girlfriend at that. What that made Muraoki — a fling? To be fair, i still can’t wrap my head around her reasoning, either. How does dating him equal to betraying Samejima? It’s not as if she gonna resign right away. Oh well…
All in all, SekaMuzu is an okay romcom that’s neither too engaging nor frustrating. It was fun while it lasted, albeit the draggy last few episodes. Check it out if you need something to unwind and can stomach a moderate amount of ludicrousness. For me, i started this for Ohno and if he weren’t the lead, i would drop it early on.
Director: Nakajima Satoru, Sugawara Shintaro
Production: NTV, 2016
Cast: Ohno Satoshi, Haru, Koike Eiko, Kitamura Kazuki, Sugimoto Tetta, Shimizu Fumika, Kotaki Nozomu (Johnny’s WEST), Miyake Hiroki, Maruyama Tomomi
Genre: Romantic Comedy, J-dorama (10 Episodes)