Mondai no Aru Restaurant (2015) poster

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  • Score: 8.3 (scored by 839 users)
  • Ranked: #628
  • Popularity: #1841
  • Watchers: 2,018

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Completed
leahakiko
13 people found this review helpful
Sep 6, 2015
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 5.5
Before I even get into my pros and cons, I just want to say I am in love with the concept of this drama and it's story. I am extremely glad I came across this and decided to watch it before others on my list!

Story | Sexism in life is the main theme. Several women who are in the work force deal with sexism constantly and due to certain circumstances end up working together at a restaurant started up by the main heroine. Just like the title, it is a restaurant with many problems. Exactly like women in the work force. But the restaurant becomes a safe place and a place for them to work without the prejudice and discriminations that are usually used against working women. These are real life issues that real life women (and even men) deal with daily.

Cast | At first I was kind of "meh" about the cast but as the episodes went on and the characters started to develop, I had zero issues with the actors or their acting. Everyone had great chemistry together and it worked out perfectly. Though there is quite a number of serious moments, the actors were able to also give off comedic vibes to keep the drama going and I loved those moments. Maki Yoko was a strong in this drama. She gave her character the perfect amount of courage, sympathy, anger etc. Can I just add how much I loved Yasuda Ken's character. Best. Character. Ever. Anyways, I believe every character had their own unique color and the actors were able to portray that extremely well.

Music | Instrumentals during scenes and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's OST Mondai Girl was the ending theme. I scored low only because I'm not much into that type of music. The song is ok but just not my style.

Rewatch | Not too sure. I think I'll more recommend this people than actually rewatch it myself.

Overall | It's not a bad drama. I actually think it's quite an important drama because these types of issues aren't usually the main theme of a drama. These are real life issues that happen everywhere in the work place and it's disgusting. So many double standards and the following of Confucianism in the Asian culture is a big issue that I wish was talked about more. Unfortunately, I am only disappointed with this drama because 1. it was only 10 episodes long (which is normal for Japanese dramas) and 2. because it was so short, a lot of situations that should (or I thought should have) have been focused on more were only glimpsed at and a lot of big situations in this drama were opened and instead of being closed completely, they were slightly left open leaving me not feeling content.

I can't lie though, the issues and how things were dealt with and positive things that were said, made me happy. I can genuinely say I liked this drama. It's a nice short drama that you can get through in a couple of days or a weekend. Please give it a chance!

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Completed
kate
12 people found this review helpful
Oct 23, 2015
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 4.5
I don't usually watch many dramas like this i.e ones that are about friendship and not romance or food but I have to say this drama went through the motions of everything equally,each character grew and developed,the music was simply amazing and the cameo of Pamyu was just the cherry on the cake.

These women are bonded together in a way that makes you as a viewer intrigued,it goes beyond simply being connected through Tanaka Tamako as we find out in the first episode.Each woman has her own struggles and pain which is uncovered and healed somewhat through the comfort of their friendship with each other.They are united in their struggle against what I think all women struggle with,the male hierarchy in the world.They fight against this to succeed but its not a fame thing its more humble,they simply want to produce nice food that warms people.

And in the end I began to realise I didn't want this to a romance because that would simply ruin a good show and break such a beautiful friendship between 7 women..

Ken Yasuda's performance for me was just the best.. as well as Yoko Maki,I couldnt stop thinking about her performance afterwards.I cried when she cried and laughed when she laughed.She is a superb actress

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Completed
Luly
5 people found this review helpful
Nov 30, 2016
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 10
I've never given a 10/10 to a drama in this site before, but there's no way I wouldn't give this one that rating. I spent some time trying to figure out how to review this properly, I'm probably going to re-watch the drama soon enough and find more specifics that I may miss now, but I decided to go ahead and do a review now anyway, with my first impressions.

The story revolves around a group of women who start a restaurant led by Tanaka Tamako (played by Maki Yoko) to fulfill the dream of a friend who suffered humiliating abuse at work, to the extent of leaving the city and her career because of it. Each woman represents a different story line centered on the struggles of women in Japanese society: Tamako is a great asset in a company but is overlooked and disrespected for being a woman, Kyoko is a divorced mother whose husband, after years of mistreat, wants to take away custody of her son, Nitta is college graduate overachiever whose qualifications never seem to be enough to get her the respect she deserves in a job, Nanami is a retired career woman (whose job I won't say because it's a surprise) lacking incentive to get back to the world, Chika is a hikikomori suffering severe social anxiety with terrible parents, Haiji is a transgender woman facing the backlash of society (note that there's still not a very clear differentiation between gay men, transgender women and crossdressing men in Japanese media but for all intents and purposes I believe Haiji's character is depicted as a transgender woman rather than a homosexual male, although lacking an explicit categorization) and Airi is a young woman facing a severely sexist environment at work and dealing with internalized misogyny.

This drama tells their perspectives while throwing at you unabashedly how much crap they have to put up with from the sexist society they live in. They encounter men who despise them, men who fear them, men whose ignorance they end up mending a bit, and men who support them (though those are rare). But the story, even though centered on this competition, is more about them and how they learn to deal with it by supporting each other. If you're looking for romance, this is probably not your drama, because couple tropes here are turned around. If you're looking for nice looking ikemen with charming personalities, this is not your drama, because men here are not the point of the story. If you're looking for female friendship, girls supporting girls and great food created as a result, this is the drama for you.

This drama has probably ruined dramas for me. In a good way, if that makes sense. I've had my fair share of dramas in which problematic tropes and social themes get discussed (Hanawake no Yon Shimai and, in a smaller degree, Five Star Tourist, are some examples), but this one did not hold back at all. It reads Japanese social standards for filth. Before this drama, I overlooked overused tropes with problematic notions because "that's how jdramas are" and "I guess that's how society is", even if I was against them and sometimes downright turned off by them so much to stop watching or avoid some dramas for it, but I somewhat expected them to be that way. I expected the toxic relationships being romanticized, I expected the submissive lead to hold her head down, I expected the good-looking-bad-tempered man to treat the lead possessively and make her swoon for that aggression, I expected the use of the "nice guy" as a way to excuse behavior and do outright stalker-ish things which were seen as "romantic", I expected the "crossdressing man trope" to be used for comic relief or fanservice rather than talk about the problems of actual transgender people in Japanese society, I expected the lead to find her place in life by either exceeding in a company and cutting all links to emotions or leaving it all for a husband, I expected all that stuff. This drama showed me they don't have to be like that. You don't have to expect that kind of stuff anywhere. There are better ways to tell a story, more empowering ways, well written and well performed ways. You should ask questions and get upset and demand more. This is the kind of drama I want to see more of and the fact that it didn't get even considered in last year's poll here makes no sense to me.

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Completed
Rin
5 people found this review helpful
Jan 14, 2016
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This might be the first drama (or even first show, in general) where sexual discrimination is clearly the main theme. Although I would have liked it even more if they included more diverse body types in the main cast, considering how fat-shaming is in east asia, I think they did have a pretty good variety of backgrounds. It's also nice that they had an actually human crossdressing character, as most of the time when crossdressers and homosexuals appear in Japanese shows they are painted as caricatures. The males' storylines are not very well-developed, but I guess there's not much space for that and the lack was not too distracting.

The acting is impeccable. I think everyone in the main cast delivered their roles spectacularly. I was most impressed by the Heisei girls: Chika, Nitta, Kawana. Their acting had a lot of subtle but powerful moments, and that really brings out the gravity of their problems as they are in real life and helps you understand the complexity behind these characters' sometimes seemingly annoying behaviour.

Recommended to a fellow actively feminist friend, she loved it. Not sure what the response might be if it wasn't a particularly strong feminist watching this, they might get bored by the slow real-time plot progression (due to flashbacks to explain characters' backgrounds). I guess for feminists the digression parts are actually interesting. But I think anyone watching with an open mind would enjoy this. People only looking for something fluffy should wait for another time to watch this.

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Completed
MysteryMel-Bookish
5 people found this review helpful
Mar 27, 2015
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
This was a quick, relevant and entertaining gem that depicted the clashing workforce of women & men with the backdrop the food.
STORY: not new, except the opening scene creates the catalyst for the 4-5 women who have been tossed, jostled/abused and or harassed band together to open a boutique type restaurant, going up against the odds & good old boy establishment.
ACTING - CAST: Well matched to the characters portrayed. The centerfold lead served as the fulcrum to keeping the others balanced as they attempt to right -side their worth in society and selves. This was the heart of the storyline!
Music: quirky yet catchy
RW: No... too many to catch up on...

Summary - If you are looking for completely subbed, quick 10eps, and light, no romance and not depressing yet a poignant storyline with lots of great looking food, give this drama a try - you'll might enjoy as much as I did.

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Completed
Aaron
1 people found this review helpful
Jan 25, 2019
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 7.0
A quirky drama of a group of 7 downtrodden souls from vastly different backgrounds and characters who are united by a charismatic restaurateur in setting up a rooftop cafe in Tokyo. The acting is spot on, from the anti-social to the too-social, from the amateur to the wrongly-overqualified. What is most poignant in this series is the gross unfairness faced by these women as they try to carve out a living, and ultimately, purpose. The gradual camaraderie is heartwarming, especially the opening up of Chika, the anthropophobic cook.
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Completed
ramen2011
0 people found this review helpful
May 3, 2019
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers
I would say this is a character driven drama. The premise seems straightforward. Tanaka-san's bestie gets fucked over by her boss. Think Harvey Weinstein bad. Her friend quits her job in the restaurant/food business & Tokyo altogether. Tanaka-san gets fired for dumping ice water on those assholes at her job. She then starts up her own restaurant and recruits a bunch of girls you'd think would never be friends. This isn't really a family drama. There is none of those cliches you tend to find in romcoms/dramatic in-laws. This drama tonally gets heavy sometimes due to the initial set up/premise from episode 1, like Misaeng heavy. This drama started off really slow in the beginning, but then the character development kicks off from there. There's actual chemistry between the cast. The girls seemed real and relatable.

I definitely liked this way better than Umimachi Diary (basically Japan's Gilmore Girls). The main cast were way more fleshed out.

I felt it was a little bit dramatic/dragged on a little at episode 9. There is the main overarching story that does get wrapped up in the end. Romance, I'm glad isn't the only thing the girls breathe and think about. (coughShoujo/Josei manga) I'm glad that the way romance is depicted is way more realistic. That things aren't simply I like you, let's date or how entering a relationship means all your needs will be taken care of: I'm looking at you josei manga! I liked how it debunked romcom/kdrama/jdrama cliches and revealed to what can actually happen when you're dealing with guys.

Tonally I felt this is a more upbeat/girl's version of Misaeng. The cast have dealt with heavy misogyny within the places they have worked in, whether in the office, in the restaurant business, or even romantically, in marriage for one of them. I felt the obstacles the girls dealt with was fleshed out in depth more than the disappointingly bland Umimachi Diary. (Really didn't feel complex enough.)

I did like the cast. I liked how organic the girls bonded. The character development was done really well. I managed to finish through the drama without being bored out of my mind!

I thought balance wise the drama was able to balance the Misaeng heavy tones with nice chemistry between the girls. This drama really handled female friendships really well. It was a little heavy at times, hence one star off the ten. I am actually glad I watched this. There could have been a season 2, but I think this ended off well.

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