Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pan to Soup to Neko Biyori Eps 1+2

Just when I was thinking WOWOW needs to branch out from doing ensemble cover up doramas, we have something very different. Pan to Soup to Neko Biyori is director Matsumoto Kana's third work after Mother Water and Tokyo Oasis both of which I have yet to watch although Tokyo Oasis has been sitting in my list of movies to watch for some time. Sigh, I need to take one month off and just binge on my backlog of jmovies and KFC. It seems like Matsumoto Kana is a director of good repute and she's got a two actors who are always in her shows; Kobayashi Satomi and Kase Ryo.

Pan to Soup to Neko Biyori is a very laid back dorama about this older single woman Akiko, played by Kobayashi Satomi who quits her job as an editor and takes over her mother's store after her mother passes away. The director doesn't have a strong visual style like Koreeda but its similar to Going My Home. The good thing is that its only 4 episodes so it won't drag like Going My Home did. I wonder if Koreeda wanted to do 10 episodes or whether it was studio mandated? If he had done it with WOWOW as a 6 episode series, he would have a smaller budget but it would have been much better.

Pan to Soup follows Akiko as she decides what to do with her life with her mother passing away, reopening her mother shop and the various characters that she interacts with such as the other business owners in the neighbourhood.  I would have liked to see more of the challenges of opening the shop such as applying for permits and attracting customers cause a sandwich and soup for 1200 yen is bit too much. I think this is going to be more about Akiko's journey of uncovering who she is rather than a business dorama. Pan to Soup to Neko Biyori is one of those shows where you can't judge it until it ends. For now, its been an enjoyable and relaxing two episodes but nothing has gotten me excited yet.


Jung said...

This is a pleasant show, but there really is no exciting plot to speak of, even though there were many avenues through which that could've happened.

What impressed me about this show was some of the continuously shot scenes with tons of dialog that went on for 1:30 - 2 minutes. I have a feeling that there was improvisation in many of the scenes.

Also appreciated the attention to details when it comes to food shots. Made me drool.

Anonymous said...

Rootabega sez:
I appreciate this kind of dorama is not the height of excitement, and I applaud your openmindedness in viewing it anyways. I believe the main value in experiencing Pan to Supu is taking a little break from the tropes and production values that dominate even the best doramas. It's a very quiet show. It does require patience, and I doubt there will be any payoff plot or action-wise. However, in a world of loud-ass, look-at-me doramas, it can be like a soothing balm. It's also very rare to see intelligent, self-contained female characters. Pitifully rare, actually. All of the shows I'm watching now have consistently poorly written and acted female roles. Seriously, I'd happily watch all-male doramas than endure the cookie-cutter, chipmunk-cheeked, ankle-biting sidekicks that pass as female antagonists in so many doramas. Like even in LINK -wtf?
OK - the real reason I'm watching Pan to Supu to Nekobiyori is 'cause I need some serious melowing out!;)))

nomuramai said...

i just finished this drama, and i have to say i really adore this type of drama. i never heard of matsumoto kana before but i will look up her films, because although akiramike compared this to kore-eda i liken this style more to ozu and naoko ogigami, both of whom i love. the same actors are in ogigamis films as well, and i guess the familiarity added to my attraction, but as i am getting older i am starting to love slice of life stories, esp this kind, where "nothing happens", but if you are in tune there is so much to see and appreciate. and of course i watch anything with motai in it!