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Fruits Takuhaibin
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by Mertseger

7 days ago
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed
Overall 4.5
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
Fruits Takuhaibin is the story of a call-girl agency seen from the POV of a middle-manager, Sakita, who returns to his home city after losing his job in Tokyo and falls into the opportunity to learn how to run a call-girl operation. The series is fairly anthologistic (though not to the same extent as say, Midnight Diner) with each of the first nine episodes focused on a story about a different women working at the agency. Sakita renews his friendship with a couple of people from his high school and their story serves as a wrapper for the other stories and is the basis for the last three episodes.

The agency is presented as a quirky and mildly dysfunctional little family that works pretty diligently to keep the business going and the girls safe. The characters at the office are reasonably likable and the actors do a decent job with the material they are given. The story of the day-to-day operations of the agency seems to be a reasonably sober and accurate if slightly gritty depiction of this side of the sex industry in Japan. There is a bit of humor that does land throughout the series, and rather more banjo in the soundtrack than one might expect.

The show is fairly sex-positive but the tone of the production is definitely not approving of the call-girl business in general. Nor is there any fan service here: the women and what they do with their clients is presented in a matter-of-fact manner, and while several gorgeous actresses are part of the cast, they are not presented for the male gaze even in scenes with their clients.

The failure of the series is inherent in its set-up: the show is about Sakita coming to terms with his new job. The arc of the series centers on his repeated failures to be a white knight for the woman at his agency. And so while two of the women he works with are almost certainly raped (trigger warnings for episodes 3 and 12), two of them are kidnapped, and one is physically abused at a rival agency the story only focuses on how those incidence affect him. I think we're supposed to be cheering the fact that Sakita genuinely cares for the women he works with but the series itself really does not.
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