Cast & Credits
This review may contain spoilersWhile this drama precedes Chuugakusei Nikki, some people may migrate towards it to find something similar. Other than the ages of the main male character, it is a completely different drama. If you do not want to see explicit sexual scenes, then you may want to skip this one.
Given the short nature of the episodes, this drama can be viewed in one sitting like a movie. It is very much like a movie with the artistic direction, atmosphere and music, and movies play a big role in the drama as well. The age gap in this drama is much larger than Chuugakusei Nikki. The woman is 32, while the boy is only 15. She could very well be his mother. With that in mind, the existence of this drama is morally questionable to say the least. Engaging in a sexual relationship with a minor is a crime in most places. In fact, it is Wako (the woman) who actually feels an attraction towards Iko (the boy) and makes the first move on him. Unlike other dramas with age gap relationships, this one gets explicit rather quickly. It can be quite cringey and disturbing to the viewer to see such an adult woman freely engage in a sexual relationship with teenager despite the appearance and actual ages of the actors. I can say that as someone close in age to Wako, I could not possibly imagine myself doing such a thing with someone so young. The drama does raise the question of morality in regards to the relationship. If two people like each other, should age matter? It certainly leaves you pondering the answer to that question and questioning your own beliefs.
Apart from that, the drama also addresses the same trope we have seen again and again: a woman who is around 30 years old who is under great societal and familiar pressure to get married and have kids. In Japanese culture, this pressure is quite extreme. The drama shows Wako struggling with deciding whether or not she wants to marry her long time live in boyfriend, and why she should even want to do that. In her internal monologue, she continuously tries to convince herself that she should stay with him and marry him because he was the one who chose after she had various failed relationships. I feel like her affair with Iko is her attempt to escape the societal pressures and experience freedom in her romantic and sexual life.
I have seen quite a few dramas that feature "older" women on the crossroads of life being pressured to settle down, and in many of those dramas the women are portrayed as virginal and void of any sexual experience or desires. This drama is quite the opposite, and it was a bit refreshing to see a realistic portrayal of an adult woman who has a varied past with relationships and actually experiences and acts on sexual desires. Many people who watch Asian dramas may scoff at this, but I quite liked this aspect, even if she the morals behind her desires are dubious. Many Japanese dramas tend to gloss over this aspect or pretend like it doesn't exist at all. Instead of an awkward kiss or limited hand holding, there is much more, which a realistic depiction of natural human desires.
This is definitely not a cute, sweet innocent love story. It actually portrays the consequences of such a relationship and the differences in maturity and mindset in the couple. While Iko has many years ahead of him to do as he pleases with his life without having to worry about settling down, Wako's time is limited (at least according to societal standards). The reactions of both when confronted with this reality is quite accurate. Also, movies and film making are a prominent theme and there is even a short movie woven into the episodes.
The only thing I did not like is how the drama sort of glossed over the gravity of the actual crime that Wako is committing. While the couple do face shunning from their peers due to their relationship, there aren't many real consequences. Iko's parents are barely present and their reaction to the relationship is not shown at all. Also, with many people around them knowing of the relationship and it's sexual nature, they seem to disapprove of it but not to the point of taking action. But it's a drama so it doesn't have to completely realistic. I found the ending to be quite decent and *spoiler* it is devoid of any tragedy.
Was this review helpful to you?
Was this review helpful to you?