Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kimi wa Petto

It's a somewhat liberating feeling to realize that I can blog about any random subject in the world now! So let's talk about Japanese dramas!

I like Japanese dramas--Jdrama for short--I've been watching them for the last three years or so. Unlike American TV, they're not long-running series; instead, they're usually 10-12 hour-long episodes. Knowing that a TV show is that short actually changes the focus quite a bit from what we're used to. The dramas tend to be more compact, focused on one main plot and several small plots, and they wrap everything up by the end, usually. It cuts down on the anticipation factor that you get with American TV, but it also makes it sort of sad when the show comes to an end so quickly. Think well-acted miniseries on non-serious topics like romance and you've pretty much got Jdramas. They're not all fluffy and they're not all romances, but a good proportion are.

And the one we're going to discuss today is a romance as well. It's called Kimi wa Petto, which literally translates to "You're a Pet". It's sort of a twisted drama too, but I really wanted to watch it because the main actor Matsumoto Jun is in it, and I like what he does. To my utter shame, I actually liked the drama though.

Kimi wa Petto is a set in a not-quite-real Japan, where female journalist named Sumire decides to keep a younger guy, Takeshi, as a literal pet. She finds Takeshi unconscious and bleeding on the street, brings him home to patch him up, and he manages to convince her to let him stay. She dubs him Momo, after her childhood dog, and Takeshi takes up the role. They end up developing this relationship which is half-platonic and half something else, as they live together (but never sleep together) in Sumire's apartment.

What makes it a good show though is that you realize that the characters are doing this because they are so deficient in certain things. Sumire can't ever reveal her true emotions to anyone but Takeshi; she's so buttoned-up that she refuses to show anyone who she is, and adapts to who they think she should be. But when she can pretend that Takeshi is a not a guy that she would ever be attracted to (although she is), she's able to relax and be herself. To cry and to laugh and to not be so painfully, painfully shy. Takeshi, on the other hand, is a modern dancer who needs a place to stay for three months before he goes abroad to Germany. He takes up the role of Momo to avoid having to return to his family, and face things he doesn't want to face. At first it's just a role to him, a way to get free food and housing and hang out with a beautiful woman... but then he makes the mistake of falling in love. And realizing that he can be himself around her too.

Because the chemistry is so good between Matsumoto Jun (who plays Takeshi) and Koiyuki (the actress who plays Sumire), you actually end up rooting for them to end up together, despite the twisted nature of why they're living together. Which is either a mark of a good show or just good acting, but whatever it was, I actually liked it. It's worth a watch, if you can get past the premise, which is completely not as bad-porn-movie as it sounds. =)


Ash. Elizabeth said...

Speaking of japanese, you have to go to youtube and search for the portapotty prank. i'm pretty sure you'll get a good laugh out of it : ) they even had it on VH1

CKHB said...

I'm going to have to check these out! Some of my favorite shows of all time are in the extra-long-miniseries categories, I think it's an excellent length for storytelling.

What's your source? Rentals from somewhere, or online?

pj schnyder said...

I liked Matsu Jun in the first season of Gokusen and in Hana Yori Dango (2 seasons and the movie). I even have a recent compilation of Arashi's best singles. :P

I never saw Kima wa Petto, though. I didn't realize he'd done it. And I've read the manga and enjoyed it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I'm definitely going to look to watch it.

Sabrina said...

I'm sure there is a manga with this same premise (whether the drama is based on it, I don't know). Unfortunately, I can't recall the title right now.

There were also some pretty good J-dramas a few years back, 'Heaven Cannot Wait' and 'Private Actress.' The former stars the drummer from Tokio, Masahiro Matsuoka, who was also in 'Yasuko to Kenji,' a J-drama about a former gang boss who becomes a mangaka in order to look after his younger sister, but still has those gang tendecies/behaviors. Funny stuff.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

CKHB, sore wa himitsu desu. =)

pj, I haven't seen Gokusen yet, but everyone I know tells me to watch it.

Sabrina, I actually have seen Yasuko to Kenji, but I wasn't thrilled with it. I like Tabe Mikako, but the whole premise was overdone. I've seen the Tokio drummer in Manhattan Love Story though, and I liked him in that. =)

It is indeed based on the manga of the same name... Kimi wa Petto.

cmartell said...

J-Drama, eh? I bet you love Crunchyroll!

I've been looking at some of it lately because my documentary film on Crunchyroll is listed among them. I like the comedies; they have some great physical acting and the facial expressions are like cartoon characters. It's great.