Said by yet another awesome Asadora Obaachan, this summarizes perfectly what this drama is really about. This is my second Asadora, so I'm definitely new to this platform of drama. Still it was yet another enjoyable ride. You might think the overall rating doesn't average out, and that's because my enjoyment has also been taken into consideration despite a bit of criticism here and there.
Gochisousan is about the hardships faced by our spoiled and outspoken heroine, as she gets married and gets accustomed to her in-laws and the city where she's about to start her new life. The hardships doesn't only come from the cultural differences, but also the different baggages the people who surround Meiko carry, including her husband. In that sense, we get to explore many deep human agony and darkness. The main constant theme is how having a meal together makes any agony seem small compared to the joy of eating. In that sense, food is definitely overstated in the drama, but there definitely is truth to this message.
The story follows Meiko through the different stages in her life, as she lives through challenges during a stable era to as she goes through the chaotic era, as she insists on savouring every moment in life, and sharing her bliss. The childhood portion was too adorable, to the point I kept thinking of it throughout the drama. By the time we meet older Meiko, the thought "So soon! I haven't had enough of little Meiko" it felt depressing really. However a couple of minutes of seeing more of teenage Meiko (Anne), and I'm sold that this is the same person as the child I watched earlier. Her Story with Yutaro (Higashide Masahiro - Anne's future husband) was a sweet, albeit typical romcom style one. The setting though, and the pace makes it a pleasant story to watch. Then she moves to Osaka with her husband, and that's when the real challenges begin, with an extremely difficult sister-in-law and unstable family life, Meiko cannot accept defeat. I have to say there are times that the in-laws get on my nerves, but Meiko's hard work eventually pays off.
There are two things that makes Gochisousan a great watch. First is all the colourful characters, from her family, to the people at the market, her in-laws, and eventually her children. The life-long friendships and the quirkiness of the characters really had an everlasting impression in me. Early on I loved every scene of Meiko's father. He was stubborn, but always put his loved ones first, which makes her a great father. The most noteworthy is, of course, Noriko, Yutaro's younger sister. Honestly the drama was as much about her relationship with Meiko. As she retains her thoughtful spirit and delicate character, her growth was evolutionary. Other characters to look out for are Genchan, Sakurako, Muroi, and the greatest Takemoto Yuzo. Later on we have Meiko's children, as each get into the spotlight and forever make a place in our hearts for them. Fuku was inspirational, Katsuo was joy, and Taisuke was everything good on this planet.
Second is the depiction of the the gradual hardship during the war, from the different ingredients that kept on disappearing to the scattering of families, and even the corruption of powerful people making life even harder. And also the realization of what the country has become after the war. As light as a morning drama can be, the portrayal was still unnerving, and at times, shocking. I was also impressed how food was successfully used to convey the characters' feelings and the message of the drama overall. It remained a constant theme that symbolizes the legacy she inherited from her family, and how she changed it, the relationship between her and Yutaro, and eventually all the people that become an important part of her life. The bad thing here is that you will constantly feel hungry while watching this drama.
There were many Laugh Out Loud moments in this drama. Even problems that get to our nerves at one point, become a great topic to laugh about later on. Don't we all have moments like those? It made me change my mind about what an **ideal relationship** is and accept that it doesn't have to be ideal in order to be PERFECT.
As I said earlier, I do have some criticism of this drama. Yes food is overstated. If you're not a foody you might have a problem with that. However if you look passed it you'll come to appreciate the messages there. Another is really how the post-war was shown through rose tinted glass, and of course the Americans dialog were too cheesy. Nonetheless there was a beautiful and truthful message successfully relayed here. Finally, and that was the same issue I had with my previous Asadora, which is not bothering to age the actors to suit the characters. I've come to a realization it's all about keeping them pretty enough for a morning drama. This shallow reason really ruins the art of story telling.
Honestly acting wise, I was mostly impressed with Anne, Takahata Mitsuki, Muro Tsuyoshi, Wada Masato, Yamanaka Takashi, Kimura Midoriko knew how to make herself hated, and Suda Masaki. The rest varied but well fitting for the role. Higashide Masahiro has yet to convince me that he deserves all the leading roles he's been getting. I mean I totally loved him here, but mostly because it suited his characters. And looking so great at it too. I get the appeal, I just don't see him that great as an actor.
Honestly this was a fun ride. There were times that were difficult to watch but was well packaged to make it overall inspirational and joyful to watch. The episodes went by so fast it even felt short. I left it wanting more, which, in my opinion, is a sign of success.
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