A bizarre, strangely cute, yet oddly relatable… this drama.
Kahogo no Kahoko (Overprotected Kahoko), as the title suggests, tells the story of Nemoto Kahoko (Takahata Mitsuki) who lives an exceedingly sheltered life. Thus, despite being in the last year of college and in the phase of (endless) job hunting, she is the furthest thing from being independent.
We can say she has helicopter parents, especially Mama (Kuroki Hitomi) who still wakes her up every morning, selects her OOTD, drives her anywhere, prepares daily lunch box, tells her to chew properly, and drags her to bath. Papa (Tokito Saburo) is aware his wife is being overly protective of their only child but cannot muster the courage to speak his mind when push comes to shove. A permissive father and pushover husband he then becomes.
Things begin to change when Kahoko meets this art major guy, Mugino Hajime (Takeuchi Ryoma), who naturally leads a complete opposite life to hers. Parentless and a multiple part-timer, he’s flabbergasted to learn the extreme case of mama’s girl she is, and how insouciant she is about her future.
Kahoko is basically a big baby. Her mentality seems to stop developing past grade school years that she still acts like one. Not childish, but childlike. She doesn’t realize that she’s been living in a bubble all her life or dependent of her parents. She never walks to the station so i doubt she ever takes public transportation, she has Mama or Papa top up her card for her that i wonder if she ever buys anything by herself — heck, i bet she never does any chores.
Is that purely her parents’ fault, for not preparing her for the adult world? Because both sides of the extended family are obviously doting on her. They still throw birthday parties, shower her with gifts, and treat her like a little princess (she celebrates her birthday thrice every year). While there’s nothing wrong with having (frequent) family lunch/dinner, wearing triangle hats and putting up decor are way too old for her age, yes?
Well, at least her younger cousin, aspiring cellist Ito (Kubota Sayu), knows how sick the family tradition is and gets fed up with the special treatment Kahoko receives. Ito-chan’s breakdown stuns Kahoko greatly, most likely because that’s the first time she’s been yelled at. Mugino has been snarky and knocking some sense into her, but it’s not until someone dear to her does it does it get to her head. We’ll have to see if she truly gets it, but it does affect her emotionally and eventually launch her into a sobbing jag. I gotta say the latter is entirely Mugino’s fault. Why would he offer his chest for her to cry on, knowing her credulous head takes everything at face value? Heh.
I find KahoKaho bizarre since we basically has a naive, pampered, immature girl as the heroine and a dysfunctional family, which on paper are surefire turnoff, but unexpectedly not that annoying on screen. Takahata Mitsuki portrays her with enough subtlety despite the exaggeration that Kahoko doesn’t come off too caricature. So, while i can’t really sympathize with her, i’m ready to root for her. She may be clueless about the whole adulting thing, like why people need to work, but she’s taken the first step toward it: trying to figure out what she’s good at and possible career path she could take as well as inquiring her family members about their line of work.
And i think this is something many people can relate to. Don’t we all have a cousin who’s the star of the family, an acquaintance who is full of dreams and has his/her life plan mapped out, or a moment where we feel lost? Don’t we all know someone whose personality changes depending on the surrounding? KahoKaho covers a lot of characters and personalities that you’re bound to find someone you can identify with or have encountered in real life. It’s also interesting to have everyone likened to an animal, courtesy of Papa. He can be frustrating at times, but his narration and commentary are so spot on. If only he voiced those thoughts out loud…
Mugino has the potential to be a jerk, too; however, despite his sharp tongue, he’s never rude or condescending toward Kahoko. He kinda plays around her with that work trial, but he gives her her share. He seems irked by her wide-eyed naivety yet doesn’t avoid her like the plague; he in fact ends up imparting wisdom (“what you truly want to know in life can’t be found online.”) and giving her advice left and right.
I started this drama because of the leads and they don’t disappoint. Takahata Mitsuki is among a few Japanese actresses whose acting i enjoy whereas Takeuchi Ryoma has steadily grown on me the more i saw him, be it in dramas or variety shows. They have nice chemistry and i’m digging their interaction a lot — him reacting to her every move and/or expression; her adhering to his every word, closing in on him, and eventually ‘attacking’ him. Their height difference is cute too, because she really looks like a kid next to him. Takahata’s round eyes and petite frame certainly help in selling Kahoko’s innocence.
Above all, i’m excited at the possible character development (which is somewhat nonexistent in J-doramas), to watch her grow up, to see the kind of job she’ll be doing as well as the kind of person Kahoko will become following Mugino’s influence.