Thursday, June 12, 2008
Osen eps 1-3
Shows about nice people are hard to do. Most of the time they come out as too nice, overstepping the boundary into the realm of stupidity. Either that or they end up being real bland, generic characters. Thus, they are usually not the heart of the show. Take for example, your typical shounen harem story. Its all about the chicks cause the main generic nice guy can never be interesting. Or your typical shoujo story where its the nice girl who has to face unsurmountable odds, ie having difficulty plus the kitchen sink thrown at her. Of course shoujo stories rely on love or an irritating villain to keep things interesting. In order words, nice characters are usually faceless boring characters so that it is easier for the viewer to imagine themselves in the character's place. Anti heroes are so much easier to write and cool villains are always in danger or turning the audience against the protagonist.
So what happens when a show like Osen comes along where there's no villains, no romance and no harem? Where the show basically relies on food and a nice protagonist to keep the audience glued to the screen. First step is to give your nice character a few idiosyncrasies to help define the character. In Osen's case, its her penchant for drinking and buying expensive antiques. Mostly, it relies on the actress' ability to actually make a nice character compelling. And Aoi Yu is such as actress.
I love a woman who loves to drink. :)
The only show I've seen Aoi Yu in is Tiger and Dragon. She didn't impress but neither did she stink up her role. I saw her in Hana and Alice long time ago but can't remember anything about the movie. I have the applaud her performance in Osen as the main character, who is the okami of an old fashioned restaurant. Everything about Osen screams furui yori jidai no onna. (woman from last century)
If she said that to me, I would die of happiness.
The way she nods, the way she speaks and moves are traits which are no longer present in Japanese girls today, or so I have surmised from Japanese tv. It fits in very well with the theme of the show, which is mainly that people living in the fast world today have left behind the old traditions of cooking. Like in ep 1 where she does a cooking battle against a cook who only uses microwaves.
Aoi Yu reminds me of Suzuki Anne, not really idol looks but absolutely shines onscreen.
It is such a funny yet symbolic scene. It really spoke to me how we don't have time for cooking anymore. Although most of us would choose speed and convenience over effort and taste, deep down inside we wish we were able to spare a couple of hours in the kitchen. While I'd rather spend any extra time on gaming and doramas, Osen allows us to dream or a simpler life.
And probably the second most important trait Osen has is that while she is too nice, she is far from stupid, thereby saving her from the usual downfall of the audience getting sick of too much idiotic niceness. She is so innocent yet, not without guile, though always in consideration of others. The best compliement I can give this show so far is that it makes me happy. Not in the Hachi-one Diver sukebe happy but rather happy to see Osen happy.