Monday, January 19, 2015

Mondai no Aru Restaurant Ep 1

The premise of Mondai no Aru Restaurant is that a bunch of women and one okama were treated like dirt by a bunch of chauvinistic guys. Episode 1 is a set up episode where all the ladies gather and we learn their connection to the main character Tanaka played by Maki Yoko. At the end, Maki Yoko invites them all to open a new restaurant right opposite her former employers'.

As a revenge story, Mondai no Aru Restaurant doesn't work for me because there are too many characters. The ones who really deserve revenge are Maki Yoko and her former classmate Satsuki. The show is Maki Yoko assembling a team to avenge Satsuki who has gone back to her hometown but only Maki Yoko and Usuda Asami have a direct connection with Satsuki/ Everyone else is just baggage who are along for the ride. Of course, its pretty obvious all the characters will have some special skill that they can bring to the restaurant like the boss's daughter who can replicate the taste of any dish.

In terms of humour, there is nothing really funny except Usada Asami's character laughing at the dirty inferences every time the okama says something. And yes, Maki Yoko does display a lot more facial expressions as the positive, forward looking Tanaka.

If Mondai no Aru Restaurant were written by anyone else, I would say its a 'do not watch' but I'm willing to give it one or two more episodes to see where Sakamoto Yuji is going. Judging from the episode 2 preview, it looks like its going to be such a conventional show.

I think Sakamoto Yuji should have started of with a few central characters and slowly brought everyone else in one by one instead of throwing a crowd of characters at us and expecting us to care about everyone just because a two of them went through workplace abuse. Hold of watching this but the prospects of this being good very low.


Cyberwave said...

I am on the fence about Sakamoto's trial of portraying female discrimination this way. IMO the "nude apology" scenario is too much even for dramatic effect. And I really have high doubts on the effectiveness of setting up a restaurant as a revenge. Would this change those guys' minds just because women can beat them in gourmet competition? I don't think so.

I appreciate the efforts of Maki Yoko in playing such energetic role. But what surprises me most is Nikaido Fumi. It's the first time I see her being ordinary person and it's quite good. And Takahata Mitsuki & Matsuoka Mayu also performs well. Looking forward to those new bloods.

dgundam said...

i was kinda surprised/unsettled with yoko makis acting since im not used to her playing these types of roles (well i did see her acting in different roles in shukan maki yoko, but that show didnt really have her acting like in this one).
will give this a few more episodes, but ya i hate ensemble casts and some of the actresses i dislike.
i dont have high hopes for this show.

Akiramike said...

Cyberwave: Agreed on the nude apology. The bad guys are very cartoony but the purpose was to make the audience want revenge I guess.

Anonymous said...

Rootabega sez:

Maki Yoko is a favourite actor of mine. She is from the naturalistic school of acting, which means her face and body language, while appearing simple and emotionless, can telegraph complex feelings to the viewer (at least in a good role). It's hard to remember this now, but her career was heading into oblivion faster than Ueno Juri's a few years back, which would have been a great loss.

I am also a very big fan of YOU, ever since I saw her handle the "impossible" role of the mother in Kore-eda's "Nobody Knows" with such originality and aplomb. IMHO, YOU being all over the place this season is a pretty good indicator that there's some high-quality shows on offer this season.

Yeah, I also agree that Sakamoto needs to curb the exploitative overly-dramatic shizz just a wee bit. He is a permanent god of writing in my books after "Saikou no Rikon", but usually his fatal flaw is falling headfirst into overheated, gothic drama.

Anyways, overall liking things so far. Just wish the musical score stayed the way it was in the opening minute, instead of turning into the usual melodramatic "tell me how to feel" type music. Doesn't suit the dorama at all, imo.

Shane said...

I've really enjoyed the first three episodes. Parker-chan is turning into the start of the show which is not something I expected! I agree the revenge aspect is underwhelming, but at the end of the day this is a food drama. The script and characters are well written, so I'm looking forward to more!

Shane said...

*Star of the show. (The hooded girl- she's actually very pretty too)