Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meoto Zenzai eps 2-4

First thing I want to say is that I'm glad Avallac'h uploaded the 720p version cause Meoto Zenzai is a visually exquisite dorama. From costumes to the lighting and camera, its so beautiful to look at. After episode 1, I was approaching this show with trepidation. Can they keep a show where this geisha turned mistress who sticks by her lazy and spoilt lover interesting? 

Watching episode 2, I was thinking the cycle of Moteki's character screwing things up and Ono Machiko's forgiving him is just going to continue. Why am I watching this? Cause of the acting the atmosphere. The heartbreaking scene where stupid Moteki tells Ono Machiko to choose between him and her dying mother was painful to watch. 

I hated Ono Machiko's character for choosing him then Moteki's insecurity. Ono Machiko works like crazy for Moteki when he gets sick and in the end of episode 2, she catches him spending her and his sister's money on women. I hated the story but everything else was good.

I didn't feel like continuing on. This was an award winning movie back in the day, so there must be something good to the story. Surely, it won't turn into Enka no Jouou? Ep 3 was where the story really became interesting for me and perhaps I had been watching the first two through the wrong lens. The story and character suddenly clicked for me and I realised my preconceived notions and fears had been clouding my judgement.

Meoto Zenzai is not your typical hardworking woman in love with useless guy. Its about the mistress snatching away a rich married useless son who was disowned because of her and their inability to get married Moteki's father did not approve of their relationship. Its about Moteki losing, not only his station in life and society but also his fortune and his daughter for this former geisha.

It certainly put that hospital scene with Ono Machiko's mom dying scene in a slightly different context and Moteki while spoilt was not a useless character nor was he one dimensional. He was a character with flaws and emotions being pulled multiple ways. 

Ono Machiko's relentless drive for Moteki and her to be the best couple in Japan is the heart of the show. Actually the heart of the show is their hardship and suffering to stay together and be together. Its what makes this story great. This is not good looking guy with lots of gel in hair meets girl with surgically enlarged eyes dorama and they must be together because they are the most attractive people in the show.

Meoto Zenzai is about paying the price to be together in a relationship that is frowned upon. It is through their hardship that we come to know these two characters and learn to enjoy watching them. The became more than just the archetypes I feard they would be. Brilliant dorama and must watch for me. The old kansai-ben and business stuff was really difficult for me, but it got easier once I started getting used it. 

Hats off to NHK for this brilliant production. You can tell the people who made this really put their heart and soul into it and there's no stunt casting. Ono Machiko and Moteki show why they are two of the best actors in Japan today. Why NHK decided to use the no talent A-chan as the main actor in a jidaigeki is beyond me. Anyways, contender for dorama of the year IMHO.

Forgot to mention the 'sold the rights to the cafe' scene at the end of ep 3. That was a huge 'wtf not again' moment.


dgundam said...

quick question, who is this A-chan you speak of?

also call me shallow, but i think ono machiko's nose is huge XD

and i didnt like her from mother so havent rly tried her other shows but saikou no rikon is in my to watchlist

Anonymous said...

Rootabega here:
Yay! Glad you agree this production is a veritable feast for the senses. There's craftmanship in even the smallest details. And the voiceovers were used so judiciously here -Ono's musical Kansai-ben inflected musings at the beginning of each episode put me in exactly the right mood to enjoy the story.

On another note, if I could be ruler of the dorama universe, himbos would never, ever be cast in jidaigeki as lead roles. I had to stop watching Taira no Kiyomori, even though it was an exquisite production set in my favourite era, thanks to the sad joke of a decision to cast Kenichi Matsuyama as the lead. WTF - forever!!

Kenji said...

A-chan = Atsuko Maeda, AKB48 ex-member

dgundam said...

ah kk thnx. ya i noticed a new show with her and when i saw that it was an akb48er i didnt even try it. just automatically lost my interest XD

i HATE anything to do with mass produced large bands like AKb48 SKE girls generation and such (and johnnys boy bands).
if they cant survive as a singer solo that means they arent even that great of a singer in the first place. theres other better solo artists out there to support.
also most of them cant act.
sad that the japanese and even koreans are crazy for them >.>

anyways, gonna give this show a try. sounds interesting.

Arthur said...

Thanks for recommending this!

It's a beautiful dorama (I especially liked the street scenes in Osaka and Beppu), I really enjoyed watching it and I think your review is a very good summary.

Like you, I was afraid that this was going to turn into a 'woman is slowly killing herself because she's fallen in love with a piece of shit' story, and I was pleasantly surprised that it turned into a different direction.

I agree that it wasn't easy to get used to the Osaka-ben, but it did get easier after a few episodes and it definitely adds to the 'couleur locale'.