Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Madonna Verde eps 1-3

Madonna Verde has a very interesting premise. Rie (Kuninaka Ryoko) had her uterus removed because of cancer. However, she had her eggs frozen so that they could be joined with her husband's seed in a petri dish and implanted into a surrogate mother. However, surrogacy is still very new to Japan and the laws do not recognise it. In other words, Japanese law view the surrogate mother as the true mother.

Rie is an emotionally detached person but she has this strong desire to have a child. Desperate, she convinces her mother, Midori played by Matsuzaka Keiko to carry the child for her. Yup, this is a story about a grandmother who is going to give birth to her grandchild or one could look at it as a story where a woman is going to legally get a sibling who is actually her child. Its interesting stuff and what makes it fun is that Rie is this obsessive in her single mindedness to have her mother be the surrogate and her emotional detachment prevents audience empathy and sort of casts her as a sort of antagonistic character.

For Matsuzaka Keiko, this has to be a dream role for her, playing this mother who would risk pregnancy at 55 in order to grant her daughter's desire. Nagatsuka Kyozo plays this haiku dude, Toshi who's infatuated with Midori, finds out about the plan and has to stand in as the child's father. He is in the other dorama that I really want to watch from this season, Kazoku Hotei. I wonder which dorama was shot first cause he appears frequently in Madonna Verde. Speaking of Kazoku Hotei, no one has uploaded it to d-addicts. The last episode is airing today so hopefully it'll show up at my local dvd shop HK translated.

Hello hot mom to be..

Minami Akira has a supporting role as a 20 year old pregnant gyaru who's boyfriend has left her and she has an admirer who wants to be the father. She's got no future, blah blah blah and is unsure whether to keep the baby. Yawn. Its probably an uplifting story for a country with low birthrate but raising a child costs a lot of $$$ or in this case yen. In the end, its filler plotline and as long as the main story is good, I can't complain.

Katagiri Jin from Quiz Show plays Rei's husband but there's little room for him in the story so far.

With Rie's personality and the illegality of the act, you know its not going to be long before things go crazy. Its got two fun characters in the center of it with Midori and Toshi and I'll be interested to see when a rift forms between Rie and her mom. Come to think about it, what makes Madonna Verde fun is how unlikable Kuninaka Ryoko's character is. If this had your typical idol in the main role, her character would be nice, there would be lots of pop songs and the story would be boring. With nothing else really worth watching right now and the upcoming season being barren of any potentially interesting shows, Madonna Verde is an oasis in the jdorama desert. I leave you with a Matsuzaka Keiko singing Ai no sui chu hana.


MN said...

I really, really hate to comment with something off topic, but have you thought of watching/reviewing Shiawase ni Narou yo? I read the premise and it sounded vaguely interesting, and I'm 5 episodes in and it just... wasn't what I expected at all (in a good way).

Jung said...

^haha I'll join the off topic bandwagon.

That's the only show I kind of enjoy watching this season...

I think the show might be too mainstream for Mike.

Akiramike said...

MN, if you finish watching it and tell me why its a good show, then I might give me a go.

Jung, how would you compare it to Konkatsu?

Anonymous said...

How about Namae o Nakushita Megami? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

MN said...

Shiawase ni Naruyo ("Let's become Happy") is a drama that, once you read the synopsis, you're sure you've got it figured out. But you haven't.

Takakura Junpei (Katori Shingo from SMAP) works at "B-ring" -- a arranged marriage agency. This agency is mostly full of socially inept, occasionally overweight, argumentative customers who can't find love. So surprisingly, one day walks in beautiful Yanagisawa Haruna (Kuroki Meisa), clad in expensive clothes and sunglasses. She places the money on the table and says she wants to get married. Her requirements? The guy is rich. That's all. It doesn't matter about his personality.

Takakura, who prides himself on being able to make his clients happy and make their heart go "doki-doki" is quietly outraged. He tells her he can't do that -- that instead, he'll surely find some one to make her happy!

Super rich lawyer Yashiro Hidehiko soon joins the agency there after, and asks for something similar -- an absolutely beautiful woman. Nothing else matters. He takes one look at Yanagisawa and decides that he's hers.

Sakuragi Marika (Naka Riisa) is Takakura's kouhai (sorry to use a Japanese word, but "junior" doesn't sound right) at B-ring and she's after him. But Takakura is still in love with his ex-girlfriend, Matsushita Miyuki, who married his best friend from University.

The story seems straight forward: beautiful Yanagisawa will get together immediately with Takakura, right?

What if there's a connection between beautiful Yanagisawa and rich lawyer Yashiro? Why is he chasing her so much? What about socially inept customer Mr. Komatsubara, who can't talk to women? What about Sakuragi-kouhai, who is desperate for Takakura and will do *anything* to get him? Is Takakura's ex really happy in her relationship? And worst of all, what if one of the B-ring customers was married with a child on the way? What about Takakura's mother, who is widowed and Yanagisawa's father -- a rich, divorced man fallen on bad times -- what is their connection?

With Katori's slow, clear, and almost haunting narrative, Kuroki's natural beauty and grace, Naka's "get!" personality, socially inept Komatsubara, the lead character's lonely parents, plus several other random characters, each show brings something... different.

It's hard for me to tell if the acting is good (I watch dramas for entertainment value and story mostly) but the writing is amazing. Inoue Yumiko loves for you to think that you know someone based on a stereotype (I.e. 14 year old mothers are whores from bad families when that was simply not the case in her drama "14 year old mother") and then changes your opinion and brings not sympathy, but understanding and a touch of empathy to her audience.

Give it a shot AkiraMike, you never know. :)

MN said...

Having wrote that long review, it's not done yet lol but those are my feelings for now. :)

Akiramike said...

MN, your articulate review has convinced me to give it a shot and to try to block all my prejudice against Kuroki no talent Meisa.

michi said...

Hey, have you got any luck finding Kazoku Hotei DVD in local stores yet? (I assume you're living in MY?) I see that the JP boxset has already been released but the price made me jawdropped OTL Wanna watch the drama soo baaad

Akiramike said...

I live in Aust but I have had no luck finding Kazoku Hotei at my local j/k/c entertainment shop.

Perhaps the fact we can't find it in shops has to do with it not even up at d-addicts.

The price for original Japanese dvd set is killer. Even if one could get second hand for half price, that's still $100!