Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kekkon Dekinai Otoko ep 12

The first time I watched ep 12, I was a bit underwhelmed by the ending. I couldn't believe it when the show ended and the dvd ad came on. Now, after the subs came out, I'd have to say it a very fitting ending.Well, that's the beauty of this show. Watch it without subs to enjoy the general story and dialogue then watch it with subs to enjoy the nuances of dialogue.

I love the way they just killed off the Michiru storyline. Michiru feeling like a stranger in her apartment as Kuwano and Natsumi do their fufu kenka. You feel sorry for her as she suddenly wakes up to the awful truth. And the look that Natsumi gives Kuwano when the donkan asks her why Michiru was pissed was priceless. The sadness of perhaps 'betraying' her kohai? The realisation that Kuwano may never get it? Actresses who can potray such mixed emotions are rare.

And I believe there's a homage to Natsukawa Yui's past hit; Aoi Tori. After Michiru asks Hayasaka sensei for help, Hayasaka sensei was lying in bed and then a nurse showed up and she sorta checked the bed and did the finger pointing that train conductors do.

Still, I would have loved for them to milk the Michiru storyline. I would like to believe that her crush is not so shallow. That she gave him up for Hayasaka-sensei and that she realised she had not chance in hell. Or maybe she realised that her crush was cause Kuwano resembled Ken-chan, her one true love. Its her relationship with Kuwano that makes her relevant to the story. Now they don't really need her if they do a special or second season.

The best part of the show is the dodgeball - catchball conversation. The dialogue is a work of genius. Hayasaka sensei's metaphor of dodgeball so aptly describes their relationship throughout the series. Well, its always Kuwano hitting Hayasaka and then she'll storm off. And Kuwano couldn't help saying that he'll work within her budget, lol.

Has any kokuhaku scene been more touching? We've seen so many in doramas and movies that it just all seem the same. But the way this show plays with metaphors and double meanings is so refreshing.

And when Kuwano goes to play catch ball, its both so moving and funny. Especially his kekkon dekinai line. Its so in tune with his character and I'm glad he didn't betray his principles so easily. It wouldn't be entertaining if he did so.

Although the final scene denotes a happy ending, everyone knows that the road won't be easy. Most of the series has been about Kuwano espousing the virtues of living alone, the need to be in control and the importance of familiar routines. However, Hayasaka and Kuwano are more alike than they think and if there's anyone who can change the dekinai to dekiru, its her.

Still haven't figured out Kaneda's rolestoryline wise. Maybe I should just make a blog like his and see how many girls I'll get.

Hiroshi Abe's acting is a big part of what's so good about KDO but I have to give props to Natsukawa Yui. (everyone knows he's a fucking brilliant actor from Trick, Dekichatta Kekkon, Dragon Zakura etc) There's a bunch of hot looking 30+ actresses in Jdorama but none can hold a candle to her. She's not really that bijin but her great acting makes Hayasaka sensei the most desireable milf ever. Yes hotter than Kuroki Hitomi and Ishida Yuriko.


Anonymous said...

Your comments/reviews of KDO are right on. I thoroughly enjoyed this series... sorry to see it end, but I thought the finale was excellent. The "playing catch" conversation was great, as well as the followup, when the tears were flowing. I wish there were more doramas of this caliber. I really loved the Kaneda scene in the last episode. It was so refreshing to see a "rival" like that who did not turn out to be a dirtbag.

joeboygo said...


As usual, I agree with your observations and would like to pick your brain on this point: the show's writers presented Kuwano with the affections of three different women, each of whose feelings differed from the other. They all liked him, but each liked him differently from the other. The beauty of the dillema the writers constructed for Kuwano was that there was no obvious wrong choice. However, by going with Natsumi, the writers have indicated that, as far they were concerned, her love was truest.

My question is, do you agree or disagree with their value judgment?

tUrtleAE86 said...

I liked the ending. I thought that the writers gave the audience just the right taste of what will become of Kuwano's relationship with Hayasaka.

And, it's bloody hilarious that there is actually a Kaneda website.. lol


aldaran said...

lol nice find on the kaneda's website
there's only 10 updates on his website that means that we're missing 2 updates (considering theres 12 eps)??

I also agreed by what joeboygo said regarding the three women and their journey of love towards Kuwano. I guess the author can still milk Michiru's storyline if he wanted to, but it's not necessarily done, since she's just the supporting actress. I think Kuwano and Hayasaka sensei's love progress further each times they quarrel, that's why the director always point that in every eps.

As for Kaneda, I think he's just there for the funny factor and well it shows that having lots of money or chicks can't really fulfil a man's life, since in the end he sort of admired Kuwano's way of living :)

Akiramike said...

joeboygo: Its more of a case of Kuwano having feelings only for Hayasaka-sensei. Did Sawazaki like Kuwano? Certainly. Did she love him? Hard to say, we can only speculate based on the fact that they worked together for many years and they're both single.

But she was the first to notice that Hayasaka had a certain influence on Kuwano. Did she step aside?

Same with Michiru. Was her crush on Kuwano a mere infatuation or did she just abandon it after realising the futility and out of friendship. I would say that her 'love' never really had a chance to develop. (they should have milked it for at least 1 episode)

Though Sawazaki was the on who understood Kuwano the most, Hayasaka was the one that Kuwano wanted to argue with. In ep 9 as Michiru and Natsumi were spying on Kuwano and the cabaret girl, she remarked that they were showing their love by fighting.

Regardless, Natsumi was the only one who could make Kuwano happy. Goddamn, I'm not ready to say goodbye to this show as I thought.

joeboygo said...

I think the show's primary theme is the central importance of passion (or whatever they call it in Japanese) in a relationship. It's what set Hayasaka apart from the other women. Arguably, Michiru or Sawasaki would have been more practical alternatives. Sawasaki would have been a great professional and personal match (when she pulled his wallet out of his ass pocket because his hand was injured, it spoke volumes about how familiar and comforatble they were with each other-pure genius). Michiru was the better cook and the type of domestic presence his designs are tailored for. Had he let either into his life, they would have adjusted to him, thereby leaving him essentially the same person. Hayasaka, on the other hand, was the most disruptive and transformative choice, because she was just as willful as he, and would sooner have him change his ways than put up with his crap. For her part, he was the ultimate Mr. Wrong as well. However, they stirred such intense emotional reactions in each other, so much so that their mutual fondness was most apparent not when they were lovey-dovey, but when they were fighting. Ultimately, the intensity of their mutual feelings overruled all of their preconceived ideas about what makes an ideal mate, or if one is necessary at all. True, passion cuts both ways. It can bring intense pain as much as intense satisfaction. I find it difficult to re-watch the scenes where Kuwano cuts her deeply. But that is the nature of this beast. It's the lesson Mitsuya Yoko taught Kuwano when she decided to marry her boyfriend despite their similarly tempestuous relationship: you can't rationalize falling for somebody if it's the real deal, and you can't expect guarantees either, so throw all caution to the wind and ride the wave wherever it takes you.

This isn't an appropriate thing thing to say to young people, but a more mature audience may need such a reminder, so it's no coincidence that the lead characters are both in their forties. It may not seem like a big deal to a western audience, but in Japan, where a conservative, almost transactional attitude towards marriage persists, the notion that passion trumps all practical considerations is probably nothing short of radical.

Akiramike said...

Interesting way to look at it joeboygo. I think passion is too strong a word in the sense that neither of them went full steam ahead. Instead they beat around the bush, throwing subtle hints at each other.

But the only thing missing from Sawazaki is passion. The ability to make Kuwano compromise. Perhaps its not a problem of passon. Perhaps its a problem that she knows Kuwano too well to challenge him.

As much as I'd have loved to see Kuwano get with Michiru, at least for an episode, she is too self centered. In a way her back handed comments about Natsumi's age are similar to Kuwano's.

I like your point on the purpose of Mitsuya Yoko's character. The more you talk about it, the more layers that we see in the show, not only in the dialogue but in terms of characters and situations that Kuwano.

And Natsumi's rejection of omiai although she is pushing 40 is a sign that she didn't believe in stuff like compatibility, money and looks despite what she told Michuru.

Rewatching this series, I just find the scenes where Kuwano pisses her off to be hilarious. I look at it as a positive note in the sense that Kuwano is so comfortable around her that he has no regards about looking good or saying the right things.

Or maybe Kuwano has rationalised his decision to remain a bachelor and he just can't stand Natsumi for holding out and just wants to break her into accepting his view of the world.

The third possibility is that he just wants her to pay attention to him. He's not going to give her flowers and sing songs to her. Pissing her off is his only way to make her think of him all the time.

joeboygo said...

Actually, I too enjoy most of the scenes where Kuwano presses her buttons to get her goat. But there is one scene that's just painful for me to watch - the fight they had on the Hato Bus tour. For some reason, I didn't find it funny at all, and felt awful for her.

I'm sorry to clutter your blog with my musings, but this is the one place I can get a guaranteed intelligent and well thought out response. I've despaired of getting any kind of thought provoking exchange going on the other forums. As you've seen, with a few notable exceptions like yourself, most folks on d-addicts can't be bothered to think a bit more deeply about what they've just watched. I can't really blame them, because Kekkon is built so one can choose to enjoy it either as light entertainment or as an occasion for somewhat deeper reflection. But when a great majority of the audience can be satisfied with superficial "shits and giggles," is it any wonder that a show like Kekkon is sooooo rare?

Aldaran said...

So far I haven't seen any other dorama on par with kekkon in terms of the wittiness in comedy and very well thought in-depth script for every episodes too.

I think what makes it difficult to get a show as good as kekkon would probably be the storyline/script and also actors that are quite caliber to be able to pull off the comedy part without trying to obvious.

I am yet to rewatch kekkon for the third time!

Akiramike said...

joeboygo: Hato bus? The way Kuwano treated the tour guide was so cruel. If I remember correctly he said that Natsumi was taking the tour to cure her loneliness while he was doing it for educational puporses.

Yes, unfortunately there's not much discussions at d-addicts. I get random thoughts and ideas about the show all the time but not enough to justify a blog post. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to collate them all into one coherent post.

Actually KDO is the only show I've seen where there so much depth. Most of the time, the dialogue is either cool or not. For KDO, a lot of the dialogue has deeper meaning.

Aldaran: I only wish more people would appreaciate the show's greatness.I doubt we'll see anything as good anytime soon.

moon said...

i'm really glad to have found this review of kekkon dekinai otoko. wondering why it's not in jdorama's top 50 list, and why it's not as popular as the more youthful series. anyway, i loved this series among all the other japanese series i've seen. aside from the great actors, the story was really well written. i didn't feel any dragging moments anywhere in the 12 episodes, and the humor just came very naturally.

i found this series so refreshing because the love story is sort of a side-light... it progressed in a meandering way, and the focus was just kuwano: the single guy who was unapologetic and unworried that he was still single. the single guy who loved being single and who relished his solitude.

anyway, i wanted to ask if you have any more recommendations re japanese series, as i seem to have come up with slim pickings after this jdrama. what other series are just as good as this? they don't have to be comedies or romances, just plain good. your suggestions most appreciated.

Captain Glorious said...

Kuwano's relationship to Kaneda is a metaphor for his view of people, i think. He disliked Kaneda so much throughout the series but when he actually got to know him they became good friends. It happened around the same time that he realized he didn't want to be alone forever.