Saturday, June 30, 2012
Cleopatra no Onnatachi
I wouldn't have tried Cleopatra out without Jung and bframe5's recommendation. I remember seeing the posters on JR trains with the characters looking at their own mirrors thinking no way I was watching this dorama. The first thing that hit me when I started watching was the eye candy. Kitano Kie in tight pink nurse uniform? Yes please!
The second thing was trying to figure out what the dorama was about. Poor doctor Mine sensei (Sato Ryuta) comes to a cosmetic surgery clinic from a University Hospital for money reasons and he is appalled by the perfectly healthy people having surgery done on them for the sake of looking better. I spent too much time in the first two episodes trying to figure out what Cleopatra was trying to say about plastic surgery rather than enjoying the eye candy, I mean story.
Mine sensei is not a full blown idealistic character which is good. In the first episode, we get a range of patients including ranging from very vain to girl who just wants a mole removed to husband who thinks his wife is too beautiful after cosmetic surgery. It was uncomfortable viewing in that there is a lack of cynicism in the dorama for a subject matter that is controversial but I suppose for the staff, it is a fact of life for them.
Episode 2 is basically setting up the characters' backstory especially Mine sensei with his if he isn't gay why is he staying with his gay friend who's making advances on him all the time? There's also the story with the mom wanting her 'ugly' looking daughter to get double eyelids. WTF. Basically the whole episode was setting up Mine sensei's mother complex.
Episode 3 is basically when Cleopatra finally finds it voice with the story of a twin sister who wants to change her appearance so she doesn't look like her sibling. The dorama is most fun when its about the quirky patients, not when its about the staff. We've got the hair transplant episode, the funny Ashina Sei breakdown episode, Kitano Kie suicide episode and then the final two episodes to wrap things up.
The humour is what makes Cleopatra go. Its a dorama that shouldn't take itself too seriously. The ending was a head scratcher though because surely Ichii sensei can fight for at least 50/50 care. She's the one with the bloody money or does Japanese family law not have room for shared care of a child? I don't get the correlation of divorce = mother abandoning her child. It felt like a forced tie-in to Mine's mommy issues.
In summary, Cleopatra no Onnatachi is a surprising very watchable dorama once you get past the first two episodes. One of those rare doramas where the middle part is actually the strongest. Could have been a must watch but its I see Cleopatra as a case of glass being half full rather than half empty like the recent Wowow doramas.