Best Dramas of 2020

BEST DRAMAS OF THE LAST YEAR

AMERICA

Never Have I Ever

This show from Mindy Kaling and found on Netflix is soooo funny. It’s about the life of an Indian-American, very smart, slightly lewd high school girl in California. I laughed through every single episode and am extremely excited that there is going to be a second season. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/668

CHINA

Lovely Us

The show is called Lovely Us and it really is lovely. I enjoyed it a lot. It was less of an addicting marathon and more like sips of hot cocoa with marshmallows. It’s a drama about friends, family and first love. This show is funny and sweet. The leads are five high schoolers. Three are underachievers, two who squabble all the time. The other two are top of the class and much more sedate. All of them love each other completely and are loyal to the core. The show is also about their families, many who are struggling in various ways. Marcus Li who played Tan Song stole the show.

Twenty My Life On

This show is about girls in their last year of college who share a dorm together, straddling youth and adulthood. Three of the girls are close friends and one is less than friendly. All of the characters personalities are very different and interesting. The script is great and has one very unique and refreshing quality. Parts of it are far more realistic than most dramas, making it less formulaic and more relatable. I really enjoyed this show and looked forward to every episode. I highly recommend it if twenties slice of life dramas are your thing. Also, I just learned they are coming out with a season two. Yes!

Nothing but Thirty

This show started slow, but then it picked up speed and got interesting. I ended up invested in the characters and watching it through to the end. The story is about three women in and around age thirty and the trials and tribulations they face in their work, home and love lives. And the blessing that friendships can bring. Like Twenty Your Life On, some aspects of this show are more realistic than other dramas. Not all people, including the leads are selfless, not all choices are fair and not all endings are perfect.

I liked Twenty Your Life On better, if I had to choose, but both shows are good and worth the time spent watching them.

KOREA

World of the Married

This is my favorite show of the year. I wasn’t even planning on watching it. But I gave in and watched one episode. Then I was completely hooked. This show is the definition of drama. It’s crazy. But it’s a well written, well acted crazy that makes it a fun ride to go on. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/715

Love Revolution

I adore this show, which is based on a webtoon. It is light hearted, quirky, funny and sweet. The actors, some of whom are amateurs, did a great job. There is no show I looked more forward to watching in 2020 than this one. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/746

Kairos

This may be the best scripted Korean drama I have watched. Mr. Sunshine and This is My First Life were also very well written, so it’s hard to say for sure, but the dialogue and the twists and turns are ingeniously written. The acting was also phenomenal. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/735

Nobody Knows

This is a show about a serial killer and the police officer tracking him. I am not normally into shows like this, but it was so well written and acted that I watched it anyway. I still don’t like shows like this, but I have to give credit where credit is due. It was a truly good drama.

THAILAND

2Gether

This BL is a sweet college romance, with a few surprises in the plotline that make it a little less formulaic. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/677

BEST OLD DRAMAS I WATCHED THIS YEAR

Money Flower (2017)(Korea)

I LOVE this show. It’s about someone getting revenge on a Chaebol family, how they do it and the consequences it has on them and everyone around them. I didn’t watch it before now because I am not always in the mood for a makjang, and when I am, I watch Thai Lakorn’s, which are always waaaay over the top. But the show was on my watch list for a long time, and I was in the mood, so I put it on while I worked, and got completely sucked into it!

The acting is great and the plot is intriguing – and infuriating. This has all the makings of a good makjang including cheating, murder, embezzlement, and revenge. By the end of the show I hated the male and female leads and did not wish them any happiness, but this didn’t make the show itself worse. I don’t think I was supposed to like them both. I ended the drama liking it even more then when I started it and will probably watch it again.

Game Sanaeha (2018)(Thailand)

This is my new favorite Lakorn. It has all the things Lakorn’s are famous for. It has rich versus poor, hatred and revenge, slap kisses, misunderstandings and some really, really stupid decisions. It is also unique because some of the characters are fairly mature and others gained some self awareness, learned from their mistakes and had personal growth throughout the course of the show. It was really refreshing and very entertaining.

K-Drama: Love Revolution (9/10)

Love Revolution is a light. fluffy, teeny bopper webtoon-based web series, full of idols, that has an overall rating of 8. I don’t know if anyone else will love it as much as I do, and maybe I shouldn’t love it so much, but I do.

I LOVE IT SO MUCH! FOR SO MANY REASONS.

Here is a short(ish) summary of the show:

Gong Ju Young is a 17-year-old high school student who thinks he has found love at school when he falls for Wang Ja Rim at first sight. But winning her heart won’t be easy. Wang Ja Rim has earned a reputation for being cold and aloof – and, at first, seems totally unimpressed by Gong Ju Young’s garish displays of affection. But Gong Ju Young won’t be deterred so easily. Persistence is the key, he thinks – and, over time, Wang Ja Rim starts to open up to her classmate.

Gong Ju Young’s best buddy since elementary school is Lee Kyung Woo. Will he prove to be a help to Gong Ju Young in his quest for Wang Ja Rim’s heart – or a hindrance? And could Wang Ja Rim’s closest friends, including the popular Oh Ah Ram, also play a role in bringing the duo together? (Source: Viki/mydramalist.com) e

The reasons this show gets a hard-to-earn 9 rating from me:

It is addicting. I haven’t been this excited for a new episode of a show all year. The last time I felt like I absolutely couldn’t wait to watch the next episode was World of the Married.

It is unique. The lead male and female roles are essentially gender reversed. The girl Wang Ja Rim, played by Lee Ruby, is aloof and not into public displays of affection, while the boy chases after her adoringly, acting cutesy, giving her terms of endearment and hoping to confirm that he is as liked by her as she is by him. The lead boy Gong Ju Young is played by Park Ji-hoon of the now disbanded group Wanna One. He plays the role perfectly. I don’t know what methods he used to practice, but I assume it was observing girls trying to get a guys attention and commitment, and mostly failing at it.

It is very cute. Ju Young and his obvious crush is pretty adorable. The episodes are also very cute. The characters feelings stay the same throughout the show, but each episode is a new story. My favorite is one where Park worries about his height relative to his crush’s since she is growing faster than him.

It is very funny and quirky. I have laughed every single episode. There are so many funny moments.

The romance is sweet — and a little angsty. It is so easy to root for most of the characters to get their happy high school ever afters.

The characters are great. Second lead Yang Min Ji is my favorite character, followed by second lead and a half Oh Ah Ram, played by Im Da Young of Cosmic Girls. Min Ji is thoughtful, even while making a wrong decision, and a good friend. Ah Ram is funny and a boxer who can beat up all the boys, if necessary. She loves to eat and nothing stands between her and food. I like all the second lead boys too. I may have swooned a little over character Lee Kyung Woo, played by Kim Young Hoon of the Boyz. He is sarcastic and slightly thoughtless (sadly) and is a better looking version of the very charming eighties star Andrew McCarthy who stole my heart in Pretty in Pink. The other boys, Kim Byung Hoon, played by Ko Chan Bin and Ahn Kyung Min played by Ahn Do Kyu are slightly nerdy besties, and also very likable.

A lot of credit goes to the director Seo Ju Won and writer Kwak Kyung-Yoon.

The worst things about this show are:

The pink lip gloss Ji-hoon (yes, Ji-hoon, you heard me right) wore in every episode. I know kpop boys love them some makeup, but it was so distracting, and not his color.

The fact that it’s over (tears 💧💧💧). I wish there could be a hundred, no a thousand more episodes or shows just like it.

Th-Drama: 2gether (8.4/10)

If you haven’t watched a Boy Love (BL) drama but love dramas, you are missing out. Honestly, throw you pre-conceptions out the window. They are truly some of the greatest dramas out there.

I love them because a lot of them remind me of 90’s American high school and college movies like She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You and Never Been Kissed. The kind that are so fun to watch and always have happy endings, but have mostly disappeared. Thai Bl’s are helping fill this void.

2Gether is about a freshman college boy who is basically being stalked by a guy that has a crush on him. At this point the lead is sure he is straight and can’t seem to get the guy to leave him alone. He tries a fake girlfriend and when that didn’t work, he and his friends decided he needed a fake boyfriend instead. It is a little unclear why they went this route or why they picked the guy did, but it was a plot point they had to forward, so I guess it’s ok.

The guy the lead picks to be his fake boyfriend is a school heartthrob who plays in a band but is otherwise quiet, cold and introverted. The heart throb repeatedly turns the lead down until eventually giving in.

The fake relationship turns into real love, as it should since this is what dramas are all about. BUT this evolution isn’t formulaic, which is something I really liked about this show. The person doing the running after the other is unique, and the story behind it and the responses they get are mostly unexpected. There is also some time spent on the lead character trying to work through whether they really like their fake boyfriend or if they are just infatuated with having someone so hot and sought after next to them,

I should mention that the fake boyfriend is PRETTY. Every episode he got more and more attractive to me. Some study found that the humans that people find universally attractive are the ones with symmetrical features and this guys are pretty perfect. The character also turns out to be adorably shy versus conceited so it is too easy to ship this couple.

There are reviewers out there who didn’t love this drama, but I think that it depends on what a viewer is looking to get out of one. I loved it. It was light-hearted, sweet and romantic, I didn’t get too invested in the second lead love triangles, and I ended the drama feeling even happier as a person than when I started it. THAT is what I watch dramas for.

I highly recommend giving this show or other BL’s a try because they really can be adorable and sweet and funny – basically the perfect pick me up. Love by Chance, 2 Moons and Scotus 2 are my fav, and 2gether just got added to that list.

A-Drama: Never Have I Ever (10/10)

Never Have I Ever on Netflix is my new favorite show. Too bad I finished it (insert very sad face). Now I have to hope beyond hope that they have a sequel on the way. Or I can impatiently twiddle my thumbs until I forget most of the plot line so I can watch it again (my personal rule for re-watching movies and shows).

The show is great because it’s really, really funny. I wouldn’t expect less from producers and writers including Mindy Kaling, a guy who wrote for The Onion and a guy who worked on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who is America. I laughed through every single episode.

It’s also heartfelt. And it’s a teeny bopper rom-com, which is where my heart lies entertainment wise a lot of the time – probably because I enjoy them. but don’t get that personally invested (except for Dance Academy, that was a 150% investment lol).

Never Have I Ever starts off with a dramatic scene where the main character Devi’s father dies in front of her and she becomes paralyzed for months after that. This is definitely not the way a comedy usually begins, but it shares just enough of Devi’s heartbreak for viewers to understand her angst and empathize with her, even when she’s in the wrong.

Devi is a funny, loudmouthed, first in her class teenager who swears and says indecent things on the regular. She is an Indian American that relates a little more to American culture and considers her mom to be overbearing and overly critical.

Every episode is Devi trying to find her place in the world, more specifically her high school and the LA valley where she lives. Devi is also navigating friendship, how they work and how they survive with her two multicultural teenage dork friends.

What Devi wants more than anything is the school stud Paxton and she does some crazy things to try and get him. She also has an arch nemesis, her rich, obnoxious, academic rival Ben.

What sets this apart from other teeny bopper shows is definitely the humor. It’s a little raunchy, so if you’re under 16 be aware. And there are scathing jokes thrown in that are completely nuanced, so I don’t know how many people will get them. One of my favorites is when Devi tells someone that her volunteer experience includes reading Bill O’Reilly books to veterans. This is hilarious if you know that some American veterans love the former Fox News Host and his bestselling novels even though the books are trash and he is a total perv and %$&@#.

There is also a lot of mainstream humor. Usually it’s when Devi says something without meaning to, like saying “damnnnn” out loud when her school crush sits down in front of her in class (damnnnn in the catcall whistle you’re pretty hot kind of way) or a scene with a coyote that I won’t give away. I especially loved Devi’s cousin Kamala mentioning that all the Riverdale actors were really the same age as Devi’s mom since I rant during the shows and on this blog about how old high school and college age actors really look, example: Noah Centineo who has to be at least 35.

Also the show has narrators, including Andy Samberg and someone totally unexpected. Listening to them do crude teeny bopper talk is hilarious.

Here is a preview:

Truly, this show is sooo good. As mentioned above I give it 10/10 and recommend it 100%.

Drama Burn Out? Please Help

K-Drama, C-Drama, J-Drama, T-Drama, Th-Drama, A-Drama, UK-Drama burnout?

I am genuinely wondering if I am having drama burnout. I usually watch in the moments when I am home after a hectic day or week (which is every day and week) to relax and be entertained. I watch a lot of Asian dramas but really I watch shows and movies from all over the world. As long as they are interesting, fun and/or funny I’m in. I have a long My Drama List list of plan to watch shows, but somehow I haven’t been able to settle on a show. Maybe I am burned out or my attention span has become so small it’s invisible or maybe the shows I have left to watch just aren’t as good. I’m not sure.

This week has been a little crazy because I was sick and now I am working to make up for the work I didn’t do while I was sick and there is nothing I would like more than a great drama I can kick back too. Maybe one I can watch on the weekend since we have a house rule that Saturdays are lazy days where we don’t get out of our pajamas if we can help it. But I HAVE NOTHING TO WATCH 😲😲😲

I am currently watching one great Taiwanese drama which is a billion episodes as usual. I love it but am not always in the mood for it. I also have another half dozen shows I have been shuffling between that are varying degrees of good.

One show I want to watch is Itaewon Class, but I know if I start watching before the final episode I may get addicted and I am a complete fail at waiting patiently for new episodes to air, same with the Thai BL drama that is ending in March. So what else is there? New? Old? Asian? American? European? Australian? African? South American? Anarctican, I’ll even take that.

For reference my fav (type) shows are comedies al a Arrested Development, Coming to America and The Big Boss, competition shows and movies and dance dramas like Dance Academy and Dirty Dancing, slice of life dramas like Fight for My Way, romance such as This is My First Life and Some Kind of Wonderful, Romance slice of Life’s like Coup de Foudre, K-Historicals like Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Mr. Sunshine and Rebel and any good action movies with obvious villains and badass good guys/ladies.

If you have a show you recommend PLEASE tell me because I’m dying here.

TY,

Rachel

K-Drama: Just Dance

I held off on watching this drama for YEARS because there is nothing I love more than a dance competition story. For instance, Dirty Dancing is my favorite movie of all time I also adore stories about kids who accomplish more than most adults expected of them. Especially when they are based on true stories. My very favorite is Stand and Deliver. Just Dance combines both so I was basically saving the best for last, or at least for a moment when I could reward myself.

Now if only I had known it would be a darker look at the human condition… I still would have watched it, but maybe I wouldn’t have been expecting lighthearted montages of dance practice and memorable lines a la Bring It On like “It’s already been broughtin.”

Instead, I think I went through a whole box of tissues while watching Just Dance. And that’s because it focuses on life in a small town full of what people in Seoul consider “hicks” where shipbuilding is the major industry. The lead, Kim Shi Eun is a girl with good grades and big dreams, constrained by her upbringing. She is the daughter of a widow whose husband died under dubious circumstances. Her mom continually tells her not to strive for too much, pushing her to graduate from her technical high school and get a job on the island.

I could relate so much to the lead. I was born to parents who have little in the way of ambition and though they love me, they have not been interested in assisting me in meeting my goals, which have always been loftier than their own.

My experience is also laid out in this show which lays out its theme very clearly in the last four or so episodes. The theme is happiness and whether it is tied to achieving dreams or simpler than that. Basically what does it mean to be happy, is it attainable and will it be lasting.

This is told through the stories of Kim Shi Eun who wants to get out of her small town and direct films and the ragtag group of girls who ended up on their schools Dance Sport team. Girls who were the children of people with big ambitions for them, no ambitions, alcoholics, grandparent guardians and parents who were worried that their kids would leave for the big city and never be back.

It was also about Mr. Lee the dance sport teacher whose purpose was to help as many girls as possible in whatever ways he could, although he was a supporting character throughout.

There was also a love story between the lead and a boy whose dad was her moms superior at work whose families had drama between them (because it wouldn’t be a k-drama if that wasn’t in it lol). In my opinion the lead boy was adorable. He was sweet and kind and loved the lead as much as any teenager could love someone. Kim Shi Eun, on the other hand was awful to him a lot of time. It is something I loved and hated about this show.

I really appreciate that Kim Shi Eun was not a typical character in a drama. She wasn’t particularly nice or fun to be around. She was sometimes depressed, an elitist, a bad communicator and made some really stupid decisions. I think this was a unique approach and welcome it for its uniqueness and its tru-to-life’ness. It was definitely better than having a lead character who the plot says is amazing but in actuality is not.

On the other hand I was basically yelling at the screen when she was at her worst. Even though I knew it was a show I was so mad at her for the way she would treat her friends and a boy who so clearly loved her despite all of her flaws.

Overall I really liked this show. The theme really resonated with me since I think we all struggle with what happiness is and whether we are truly happy, and if so how happy. I also liked the underlying themes around class and the issues facing people who are just trying to get by since as a single parent that has absolutely been me. It is also the vast majority of the worlds population.

The dance practice and competition parts were nice, but it really was more the glue that held the story together rather than the main theme. As a result, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the thing that kept me watching. I watched to see what would happen next with the characters, especially Kim Shi Eun, her mom, the boy who loved her and the outcast rebel Park Hye Jin who I would watch a whole show about on its own.

Overall, Just Dance was pretty depressing, definitely not the Christmas cheer I was expecting, but it was because it was so realistic. This show was also interesting, sometimes funny, unique, thoughtful, and very, very smart. If you don’t mind that it’s not sally sunshine than I wholly recommend it. Sometime soon I will be watching the original documentary the show is based on, assuming I can find it with eng subs.

Thai-Drama: Great Men Academy (8.6/10)

Y’all I highly recommend this show. I had no idea what to expect when I started it, and to be honest, during the first episode I wasn’t sure if I should keep watching. This is because there was strange mix of the realistic, girl wants campus hero and gossips with her girlfriends -and fantastical – she finds a unicorn who grants her a wish, to be with her crush, but the unicorn puts its own spin on it and turns her into a boy.

Thank God I pushed through to episode two because I got to watch a show that I really enjoyed.

Summary:

The main character Love has always been a fan of the popular guy Vier of the famous Great Men Academy but has never had the chance to meet him. One day, she sees the mystical unicorn rumored to fulfill wishes and wished for her love for Vier to get a chance. Unfortunately the unicorn interpreted her wishes in a different way and Love wakes up to find herself… as a guy? (c/o of MyDramalist)

What I enjoyed:

The actors were great

The plot had a little of everything: thoughtful moments, comedy, fantasy, action and romance.

The way the love story played out was both unexpected and very sweet. I won’t tell you what made it unexpected, but I will say I have been hoping so hard that a drama would do what this one did. And it worked!

The story was engrossing and dealt with some interesting dilemmas and ideas around love. The main one was about the capability to love someone no matter what gender they are since the main character transformed back and forth from a girl to a guy. It’s a very Thai theme that I appreciate since I wholeheartedly believe that #loveisloveislove and that everyone deserves to be loved.

What I didn’t like:

There were some moments where I was confused about how something happened, mainly about the unicorn wishes and a contest that students participated in and would have liked some more clarification.

Freaking love triangles. I hate them. The heartbreak of some second and third leads – or sacrificial lambs as someone once ingeniously called them – made me sad.

Random Trivia:

The cast is part of a company created ensemble group 9×9 that also stars in Family We Trust.

Overall:

This drama is fun and interesting and it’s easy to root for the lead. I give it two thumbs up.

K-Drama: Extraordinary You (1st Impressions)

I breezed through the first four episodes of Extraordinary You and I love this drama so much! It’s really going to hurt to wait for new episodes, but luckily I’ve got a busy couple months ahead which will hopefully help.

There are so many things to adore about this drama. Here is a list:

It is unique. Even though it’s about a girl who finds out she is actually a comic book character, which is similar to W (k-drama) and Unexpected (c-drama), the plot line and camera angles are very different then any drama I have watched.

The plot is very interesting. See summary below. The way it’s executed is fantastic and there is something for everyone since it’s part fantasy, mystery, school plot and romance with some humor thrown in.

The main character Eun Dan Oh played by Kim Hye Yoon is hilariously adorable. She is a tad bit whiny but I forgive her because she makes the unbelievable believable.

I have zero idea what’s going to happen next from episode to episode, so it leaves me hanging, but excited to see what comes next.

SUMMARY

What would you do if you found out that you were, in fact, a character in a comic? And an extra character on top of that? Change the course of the story, obviously!
Eun Dan Oh is a 17-year-old high-school student from a wealthy family who suffers from a lifelong heart condition that inevitably means she will not live past her teenage years. However, when Dan Oh realizes she is experiencing long gaps in her memory as well, she comes into the unhappy inheritance of another fact in her life: she is a character in a Korean webtoon and all of her actions are predetermined by the artist who draws her. To make matters worse, she discovers she is only a supporting character in the cast. With her newfound understanding of the world she inhabits, she is determined to find true love in her own plot-line and circumvent the author’s plans for her character by utilizing the flashes of storyboard she alone is able to see.
(Source: onehallyu)

C-Drama: Go-Go Squid (First Impressions)

I have no idea how to rate this series because there are things I love about it, things I kind of hate and even some things I love and hate. I’m halfway through and can’t decide whether or not I want to go on.

WHAT I LOVE

The acting is great. Especially Li Xian because he seems to have immersed himself in the character completely. And it looks like Yang Zi is following the character as it was written in the script to a T. I say that without having seen the script, but it sure seems that way.

I like that there is a plot line with a unique theme. It’s about competitive hackers and refreshingly, they actually show some competitive hacking, unlike those business dramas where you never see the business or anyone actually working.

The characters are also all fairly likable, and multi-dimensional. And for once, no one is all bad. I also like that the show looks at past experiences and how they develop people into who they are and how they handle things.

WHAT I LOVE AND HATE

Full disclosure. I ship Li Xian or his character for myself. He is exactly the intense, muscular stocky guy with amazing bone structure that I love to look at. Half of me thinks this show is great because I get to look at him to my hearts content. Half of me hates this show because it reminds me that my glory days (twenties) are over, so I have zero chance of having a Lu Xian/Gun of my own, which is a little heartbreaking to think about.

WHAT I HATE

I can completely understand why the lead female, Tong Nian, falls in lust with “Gun” because… see above, but I just can’t seem to get past the way she handles it or the fact that she thinks she’s in love with someone she’s never had a conversation with.

I have an eight year old girl who I’m trying to raise to be smart, self-reliant, confident, and thoughtful and I would never want her to act like this girl. What makes it worse is that I ‘m assuming she gets the guy in the end after acting like that, which is a terrible message to girls everywhere. Bad role modelling is the worst. I wont give away the plot, but I will say she is very close to being a cyber stalker/real stalker. If she was an older guy acting this way with a younger female, instead of a cute girl, her antics wouldn’t be cute, they’d be grounds for a restraining order.

There’s also one scene where “Gun” criticizes Tong Nian’s outfit and she responds that she will wear whatever he wants next time she sees him. It’s one thing to want to please a guy, and dress in something he likes, but that seemed like a step too far. It reminded me of the girl in the movie Coming to America that the Prince was arranged to marry who answered “whatever you like” to every question he asked about her preferences.

I do like that the female character is academic and talented and has her own career, but the chances that she would give all that up to be with him seems way too high. This basically leaves me with the hee bee jeebies so it’s been hard for me to cheer on their love story.

I also hate Yang Zi/Tong Nian’s hair. So much. I know bobs and straight bangs are a trend in China, but American me just cannot get on board with them. Her clothes were a mess too. She’s basically dressed like a kindergartner on every episode that I watched, so between that and her hair she looked like a twelve year old, making their supposed age difference just a little bit creepy. I am blaming her stylist completely because Lu Xian/Gun’s outfits were all that and a bag of chips, almost as good as the leads from Full House (Thai version) who I think has had the best fashion of any male character in a drama series.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I really like the opening song for the series.

I don’t know if it’s age or maintenance or what, but actor Hu Yi Tian seems to get more attractive every show he does. There is a marked difference from Rush to Dead Summer to now. Also, this must have been his easiest role yet since he was paid, at least up to episode 12, which is where I left off, to say ten lines and make a few faces.

My theory, which I will expand on in a later blog is that most guys level of attractiveness correlates with their haircuts, which is proven in Go Go Squid, since Li Xian is cute no matter what, but looks way better once he ditches the younger him flash back hair.

SHOULD I KEEP WATCHING?

I honestly can’t decide.

J-Drama: Chugakusei Nikki (8.8/10)

The leads

I was sick recently and all I did was sleep and marathon some dramas that had been on my list.

The one I want to review for you all most is Chugakusei Nikki because I have so many thoughts on this and ultimately want to recommend it to anyone who is comfortable watching the content, which is very controversial.

It’s about the inappropriate relationship between an adult teacher and her much younger student. Even though every person on earth may have a slightly different take and level of aversion to this idea, I am highly recommending this drama because it’s amazing.

I still don’t know how to feel about the idea. I feel like I understand – to a point how women teachers get caught up in these imbroglios. Many women feel unfulfilled and unappreciated, even while in relationships and the panting puppy dog love and attention of pubescent boys might flatter some of them enough to act on it. But even understanding that, if a 25 year old teacher did anything inappropriate with my daughter when she’s 15, their days would be numbered.

There are also the social ramifications for this behavior, which vary from country to country, city to city. It is generally seen as wrong, although a century or two ago, it typically wasn’t. The current age of adulthood also varies from place to place so what is illegal in one place is legal somewhere else. But despite how wrong it is considered to be in most places, it still happens. Possibly the most famous of these types of relationships was between 15 year old student Emmanuel Macron and his much older teacher, who is now his wife and the first lady of France. Chugakusei Nikki adds to his conversation.

This show is dramatic and very interesting, and some parts of it are beautiful. It follows a young, somewhat demure teacher, her fiancee, the student who falls in love with her, the student who is in love with him, his mom, his friends, the fiancees boss and some other characters as they navigate around the growing feelings between the teacher and her pupil. And shows the many repercussions the teacher, student and their friends and families faced as a result of their feelings and actions.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that watching all this play out kept me captivated. I also rooted for happy endings for everyone, as I always do, but here it felt much more strange to do it. I am not sure I would have hoped that the student, once he reached adulthood could be with the woman he loved if he hadn’t already looked like an adult when he was meant to be 15. If he had been a realistic 15, all gangly arms and legs and pimples I may have viewed him much more maternally. Instead though, Okada Kenshi who played the male student looks like a hot Japanese jock in his twenties so it was a little harder to see the age power dynamic at play with his teacher, played by long time actress Arimura Kasumi who only looked a couple years older. Kasumi did a phenomenal job in the role.

If you don’t mind watching something controversial, watch this drama because the story is interesting, the acting is good, the production is good, and it will leave you thinking about it even after it’s over.