Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Imouto Yo (1994)


Imouto yo was one of the earliest jdoramas that I started watching but unfortunately, I could only get my hands on a few episodes. This was back in the day when it was mostly streamload, mirc and jem was the biggest jdorama site around. Thanks to toyotaku for uploading the torrent of the whole series so I can finally watch it to completion!

Ah, girls were much more understanding in the 90s.

If you're watching Fumo Chitai, its fun to watch what is probably the first pairing of Karasawa Toshiaki (Kenji from 20th CB) and Wakui Emi. Imouto yo is your classic OL fantasy show. Yukiko (Wakui Emi) is your typical nice country girl working in Tokyo. She has a chance encounter with Masashi (Karasawa Toshiaki) while picking up her brother Kikuo (Kishitani Goro) from the train station. Instead of the poor girl meets her prince, we have poor country girl meets rich kid working for mega corporation.

Classic 90s beauty.

There's your typical class divide issues, arranged marriages and evil employees getting in the way of their relationship. Its interesting to compare this archetypal 90s love story with say Hana Yori Dango to see the difference between the 90s and 2K jdorama era. The nice, demure girl next door has been replaced by the tsundere. The ideal girl is not longer passive and fights all the time with the guy. In Hana Yori Dango, the girl has more suitors whereas in the 90s, that would be blasphemous! It would have been inconceivable to have a story about pure love and have a wishy washy heroine trying to choose between different guys.

Was the 90s really such an innocent time?

I guess the one big difference between the two eras of jdorams is that in the 90s its the girl getting the guy to choose her while in the 2K era its the girl making the choice herself. Personally, I miss the girl next door character. Sakai Noriko would not have been as successful had she started in the 2K era. The nice girl is a more difficult character to write compared to a tsundere but these type doramas are more story rather than character based anyway.

Hopefully he didn't mean this two?

To be honest, the relationship between Yukiko and Masashi isn't that good anyway. I find Karasawa Toshiaki's acting really lacking in this one. They've got chemistry but he is just too wooden and can't emote well with his eyes. The best part of the series is the relationship between Kikuo and Hitomi (Tsurata Mayu). Kishitani Goro is funny as the overbearing but earnest brother. I love watching Tsurata Mayu in Cheap Love and Satorare and here she plays the rich girl who abandons her life of luxury to live with some struggling musician. Obviously, her character is not totally sane.

Too bad Toyohara Kosuke is reduced to playing a one note baddie. His Sakurai-san in Densha is one of the best supporting roles ever.

For all its faults, IMHO Imouto yo is still better than most of the boy meets girl jdoramas today. Yes it is flawed and cliched but they kept it simple and very watchable. I'd rate it higher than Virgin Road but not as good as classics like Love Generation and 101 Proposals. If you've enjoyed the 90s classics, I'd recommend Imouto yo. If you haven't, there are a lot of better shows that you should check out first. For me, Imouto yo is straddling the line between watchable and good because of the ending. One could see it coming a mile away and it was a bad pay off for the best character in the show.

6 comments:

Keiko1981 said...

Thank you for the wonderful and entertaining review Mike! :D

Anonymous said...

oh, Tokyo Cinderalla Story, where every girl wanted to meet their prince charming while waiting under the red umbrella...

This could be the drama to watch for those who want to reminisce about those 'innocent' times. Not so innocent actually, they did imply they're sleeping together. But I have not find the same implication in OL romance nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Akiramike, thanks for the review and suggestions. Now, I know what my homework for this weekend is. That is.... to look through the synopsis for 101 Proposals, etc...

Oh yes, thanks too for other writeups and reviews which you had posted earlier.

Have a nice weekend.

Akiramike said...

Innocent times is a good description for 90s doramas. Even Koukou Kyoushi 1993 with all the issues seems more innocent.

qwinkan said...

where can i download the torrent from? this was the first jdrama i watched as a youngster and i'd like to watch it again with a new perspective 16 years later! =P

Keiko1981 said...

@qwinkan
Here: http://www.d-addicts.com/forum/torrents.php?search=imoto+yo&type=&sub=View+all&sort=