Set within the fictional city of Mahoro, Keisuke Tada and Haruhiko Gyoten are two thirty something divorced men who run a “benriya” (odd jobs for hire) business. The drama series depicts their interactions with clients in their agency, which is located across the street from a station.
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Read here for CheerfulSoul's introduction to 2013's underrated Japanese and Korean dramas.
CheerfulSoul's Japanese dramas picks of the year
Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi is simply one of the most underrated dramas of this year. I am sure that most people didn’t even hear about this drama. I call it lack of intention for these types of Japanese dramas and it can be somewhat understandable.
- Overall 8
- Story 8
- Acting/Cast 10
- Music 9
- Rewatch Value 8
So what is this about? It’s a story about “Benri-ya” which literally means “handy men”. The two main leads are given certain jobs to accomplish and they get involved in various adventures through their clients’ requests. It’s a concept that’s not very unique since I am sure that many of you saw dramas where the main leads are “problems-solvers” where they get into contact with many characters and go through various situations to achieve their missions.
However, what shines in that episodic
pattern is that our main leads don’t get involved in their clients’ lives to be sacred savers, heroes or creators of happy ever after endings. Even the side characters are Mahoro’s ordinary people and job requests don’t demand anything heroic to pull through. In this drama, the situations are handled quite realistically than any other non-detective episodic drama I saw, it deals with some of the life’s dark cases such as prostitution, stalking, AV’s, Yakuza, alcoholics, etc. I was actually surprised in a good way with its pattern.
Another point that attracted me about this drama’s screenwriting is the great slices of humor; I always appreciated Japanese style of comedy and silly hilarious situations so during this drama, I always had to pause and laugh out loud for a while.
The acting is realistic and very believable; I wouldn’t choose any other actors over Eita and Matsuda Ryuhei for the main roles; they did great jobs with their characters’ portrayal. Even guest actors delivered good performance although I am not familiar with half of them.
The characterization is top-notch. As a stated above, the main characters in this drama aren’t sacred saviors; they’re actually anti-heroes without dreams, ambitions, a real life or even families and friends. In short, they have nothing so they need to take job requests that allow them to eat meals even if many of them are hard to accept. Although Tada is a straight gentle character, Gyôten is a real slacker who’s always hanging around in pajamas pissing Tada off just for fun. He’s also a rudely honest character who throws his words without counting the consequences but everything he says is practically pure joy and he always make me laugh whether it’s the way he runs, the way he talks or the way he imitate zombies. That guy is surely going to get a spot in my “favorite characters list”.
The music managed to catch my intention although I don’t really focus on drama’s music but the “Happy Janai, Lucky Janai” and “Matomo ga Wakaranai” songs were really enjoyable and perfectly suited for this drama’s theme.
Watch this drama if:
-You like Japanese style of comedy.
-You like to watch light-hearted drama with great life-like situations.
-You like Eita, Matsuda Ryuhei or both.
Do not watch if:
-You dislike Japanese silly sense of humor. I know that many people don’t appreciate it.
-You dislike Matsuda Ryuhei.
To make the long story short, Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi is an enjoyable piece of Japanese humor with greatly chosen life-like situations and realistic acting skills that deserves to be watched by the fans of this genre. It’s definitely one of the best dramas made this year.
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