“Marriage is when, even after 50 years, you wake up in the morning and still think the person next to you is good. It’s a tough job.”
In romance or rom-com, it’s almost 100% guaranteed that the two on the poster are the OTP and thus will end up together. Likewise, in Boku Unmei, whether or not Makoto and Haruko will have a happy ending is a no-brainer. Moreover, we can be 100% sure that they’ll get married in the end. God says they’re fated partners after all! And the world needs their kid!
This doesn’t mean the road to marriage will be a smooth one. Homeboy still needs to get on homegirl’s good side, win her heart, propose, etc. He may not need God’s help to do all these if the latter doesn’t keep reminding him about the impending deadline. At first he says Makoto has a year, but then it’s ‘shortened’ to one more month if he wants to make it. Yes, Makoto needs to rush things but at the end of the day, the process matters more than the outcome; he’ll want to build a bond that lasts a lifetime and not just getting married for the sake of delivering the baby in time to save the world. *Cue: the above quote*
Despite the deep notion, the drama hardly becomes serious or complicated. Everything stays the same: tone, pace, characterization, even the step-by-step progression of the plot. Not to mention the bromance. Makoto has become frenemies with God along the way; he remains inherently annoyed by God’s freewheeling and flippant nature, but he has definitely grown fond of him. He’ll forever secondguess any given tips and pointers yet follow them dutifully anyway, regardless of the level of ridiculousness: be it responding to Haruko in three syllables or fewer, doing wood carving, or draining the onsen’s water. And as always, the good results never come from those things directly, and he (and we) will only know why they’re necessary after the fact.
The 3-syllable rule leads to probably the funniest sequence and yields the most impactful effect. Because it’s really something for the usually-chatty Makoto to suddenly keep responding to whatever Haruko is saying or asking at the bare minimum (for which he often stops to count his reply and blurts the shorter, sometimes weird, word choice), to everyone’s bewilderment. I’ve watched those scenes many times now and i still chortle at ’em every single time.
Entering the drama’s second half, Haruko agrees to date Makoto, although she doesn’t really require a lot more convincing to accept him. She’s hesitating because of her own insecurities and eventually breaking down the wall upon learning that a string of coincidences they share[d] goes beyond merely passing by each other. At the lowest moment of their life, the other person was there and gave words of encouragement. Simple yet affecting. She may not believe the whole ‘fate’ thing, but she allows herself to give another relationship a go, and who knows (WE know), she’ll win in this one.
The OK means Makoto can finally hand the birthday present he bought for her a month ago: a vinyl umbrella. God, however, is up to put a kibosh on his gleeful mood, readily bashing his simplicity. Something else could’ve added on top of it to make an impressive gift, a chance Makoto gloriously missed. When he defends himself by saying he can give it at the next chance, God quickly jumps on it and declares the item: a ring. The hurdle is to figure out the correct size (though God tells him to know the size of all of her fingers), selects the design (not too flashy yet not too simple, since he’ll gotta give another one for proposal soon), and finds the right way and timing to present it. Everything goes smoothly during the rehearsal (for which God acts her part, lol) but the execution isn’t. The expectation vs. reality is so real.
Next hurdle to overcome is getting the parents’ approval. Which i thought would be easy because Haruko’s dad in particular already knows and likes him in person. Plus, the girl’s parents in J-doramas are the friendly, supportive, and effusive kind there’s barely any family drama or opposing-parents trope in doramaland. Haruko’s parents fall in this category as well, until Boku Unmei uncharacteristically goes there and makes Dad retract his support over a trivial thing — because Makoto dated a scammer.
[Ending discussion ahead]
Once the ‘misunderstanding’ is straightened out, however, he rewards the new couple with an overnight onsen trip, outwardly pushing them in that direction *wink wink* Always a step ahead, God starts preparing baby clothes and fishes for a name. Heh. When Makoto picks “Ichiro”, God throws a confetti (“Masaki Ichiro is the correct answer!”) and drops the bomb that HE is Masaki Ichiro. EH? Makoto thinks God — i mean Ichiro — shares the same surname, but Ichiro clarifies that he is the son who time slipped from the future. WHA–T!? I honestly didn’t expect a twist this late in the game! Or at all, even!
It takes Makoto a longer time for the news to sink in. Cuz as a time-traveler, Ichiro shouldn’t be allowed to reveal his identity, right? He never believes his “I am God” claim to begin with, and goes along with his words since he knows things no ordinary human could know. Also, Ichiro is too conversant in the 2017 stuff for someone who comes from the future.
Ichiro: “That’s because when you weren’t home, I was watching TV every day.”
Makoto: “So that’s why my last electricity bill was so high!?”
Ichiro: “I’m sorry. I vacuumed twice a day, too.”
Makoto: “Ah, well… thank you for that.”
To answer the burning questions: Ichiro knows about what will happen from the real God, and he’s sent back to 2017 because Makoto is taking his sweet time with Haruko that baby Ichiro is delivered much later than it’s supposed to be. As a result, he isn’t able to complete his teleport invention in time to save the world from destruction. Eventually, if everything Ichiro said is true, the one thing Makoto takes issue with is his speaking in tameguchi to him and demands to be called “otousama” after clearing the onsen test.
The point of the trip is supposedly to get to know each other better and decide if they are each other’s right partner, but the plot revolves around ‘it’. Honestly though, the bed scene is possibly the least sexy one ever thanks to Sadaoka/Mitsue’s joint inception. I really can’t take this drama seriously.
Despite Ichiro’s claim about the onsen trip being the last test, the final test really is the proposal — if Makoto is able to gauge the perfect timing and strike while the iron is hot. Problem is, coincidence doesn’t work in their favor in the last hour, hence the two missing each other at every turn and Makoto experiencing a string of bad luck. But let’s not worry about the writer pulling the plug on these two. I’m not really sure what’s so important about the piano girl, but things fall back into place once Makoto makes it up to her.
(Speaking of Sadaoka and Mitsue, they become the secondary couple although he’s always one step ahead of Makoto that our boy seems to copy his every move. I’m not sure i would be pleased if i were Haruko because she could predict what’s coming by seeing what happened to Mitsue.)
For a rom-com, Boku Unmei has more comedic than romantic beats. The romance lacks the tension or giddy moments; the trajectory is kinda flat. So, those a sucker for romance may be disappointed. The plot also feels rather episodic — a subject matter is introduced and settled within the episode — and while the story ain’t that exciting, it’s a breeze to watch. I don’t care about the officemates, despite liking both heads, and the drama can do without episode 8 or the turn in the finale. Like, if they wanted to insert a conflict, they could’ve allocated the last two episodes for a fuller arc.
Performance-wise, most of the cast are decent. Like in SekaMuzu, all of the facial expressions and emotions are worked by the male lead since the female lead is tepid and dull. I wonder if it’s the writing, directing, or the acting, but Kimura Fumino is wooden. I couldn’t feel any emotions from her even when she’s crying. Kame is good, but the most memorable character/performance gotta be YamaPi. He was fluid as the wacky faux-god though the crack shows as soon as he went serious. He should stick to comedy! Seriously, his enigmatic scenes were stiff.
I don’t know why he became sulky all of the sudden, or why he said proper goodbye to Sadaoka and let him remember him but did the complete opposite to Makoto. I was probably more confused by Sadaoka’s non-reaction to the farewell, though. He readily accepted the ‘see you around’ as if their next meeting wasn’t in 30 years. He didn’t even question what took ‘Sabu-chan’ so long. I mean, what kind of work keeps you away for thirty freaking years? Nevertheless, there’s a hint of Makoto remembering him, so all’s good?
Nope. An ending without the wedding, pregnancy news, or baby Ichiro is a letdown. It’s pivotal to the premise, no? His ID shows he’s born in May 2018, and if his purpose of time-jumping to the past is to expedite his birth, i need to know if the goal is achieved. Although really, even if he’s conceived now, he will only be born a couple months earlier. Not much of a difference, i think?
Nitpicking aside, Boku Unmei is a harmless, lighthearted rom-com that’s mildly entertaining. It isn’t exactly a keeper, but i’d rewatch it again if only for KamePi’s bickering and Pi’s shenanigans. Those are enough to make me happy.
Director: Sakuma Noriyoshi, Inomata Ryuichi
Production: NTV, 2017
Cast: Kamenashi Kazuya, Kimura Fumino, Yamashita Tomohisa, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Nanao
Genre: Romantic Comedy, J-dorama (10 Episodes)