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  • Join Date: April 24, 2019
Jun 19, 2021
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 9.0

Colorful Love is everything it needs to be and more

I started watching this because I was looking for more josei manga to read and it was easier to find information about the show than the manga - which was because it was actively airing at the time. I didn't expect much and was blown away by how this show succeeds at every single thing it sets out to do!

MINI REVIEW: Colorful Love is a light-hearted, fun-loving celebration of differences. The 'hook' is that the main male lead dresses and acts without regard for typical gender roles; stylist Meguru enjoys wearing frills and dresses and bright nail-art and makeup, while model Kira prefers long sleek skirts, see-through blouses and an occasional harness. This is not the only area in which the show feels fresh and progressive, and it handles much more than simple romance, without ever keeping you on your toes too much - it mostly remains upbeat and harmless. Besides that, the actors are all skilled and/or charismatic, the characters are all likeable (flaws included!), and the directing, lighting, styling and even the editing are all incredibly well-done and perfectly tailored to the tone of the show.

FULL REVIEW (some spoilers here, but nothing big):

Our main couple is Wako and Meguru. They were two high school besties who have always liked each other but never really said anything. Meguru endured a lot of bullying due to his "feminine" appearance and interests, while Wako thought he was just the cutest thing ever and stood up for him - helping him to become confident in these aspects of himself as an adult. They accidentally reunite at a photoshoot - Wako works as a member of a josei manga magazine editorial team and Meguru is, among other things, a stylist for absurdly self-absorbed model Kira. Kira is half of our secondary couple; Wako's more serious but not unkind boss and editor-in-chief Asahi is the other half. The show revolves around these couples, their trials and tribulations in their blossoming relationships (some sooner than others) and the struggles they face personally and at work.

STORY
The story is clear, set up very well through fun, brief flashbacks and there's nothing wrong with the pacing. One or two episodes may be spent elsewhere, outside of our main storyline (mostly surrounding the characters' jobs and the developments that occur professionally affecting them personally and vice versa), but as they tend to further develop relationships between characters (including platonic ones!), I find it hard to deduct points for that.

It was an incredibly smart decision to add a secondary pairing that was essentially invented for the show (scroll down for some notes on the source material). Firstly, because a fair share of romance drama viewers prefer to see the pre-relationship will-they-won't-they development, and Wako and Meguru's mutual enthusiasm for each other was never going to let them stay apart for more than a few episodes. Asahi and Kira's relationship fills this void, slowly and convincingly developing over the course of 9/10 episodes. Secondly, because this is where this drama, the script, and the performances really truly shine. Kira-"sama" is turned into this confusingly charming clown of a man, so self-absorbed he can't tell he is absolutely 100% embarrassing himself, to the point where you can't even question it and find yourself unironically enjoying everything about this man, even as he winks at the camera and throws his jacket onto an assistant's head to invite more pictures of his chest. Then, having established this bizarre figure, we introduce realistic, older boss lady Asahi who won't allow him to get away with shit-talking staff or trying to flirt with/intimidate her, so she punches him in the stomach and he is immediately struck by cupid's bow. He's not the brightest though, so it takes him a bit to catch up.

CHARACTERS/CAST
- From what I can tell, Yoshikawa Ai (Wako) is the most talented and emotional, giving a very accurate performance of a young working woman who escapes into entertainment media the second she's done with work, without allowing herself to become completely engulfed by it (her apartment, however, is mostly merchandise). Besides that, her comedic chops are amazing, from drooling over cute boys to hissing at Meguru's bullies. I wish every #relatable jdrama protagonist could be like this, instead of the fumbling embarrassing mess they're usually made into.
- Itagaki Rihito (Meguru) is perfect for the role, definitely the standout in terms of how he seems to have jumped right out of the manga.
- Mizuno Miki (Asahi) was perfect for her role too, a very convincing and occasionally conflicted straight man to Kira and a mentor figure for almost everyone else. I just love her. I love cool 40+ year old main female characters in romance dramas. Someone quick rope her into another role like this! Except she's the main character this time!
- Kira's over the top antics stealing almost the entire drama makes it a crime to forget about Kiriyama Ren (Kira) - I have no clue how he kept a straight face during any of that. The comedy alone would have sufficed, but the more genuine moments were completely believable too.
- Oda Oideyasu (Sakai-san) is hilarious and he constantly corrects everyone on language, without being particularly mean-spirited (except towards one character LOL). He gets a special mention for not only being hilarious, but displaying such an earnest sensitive side surrounding his single fatherhood and his daughter. That got to me.
- Nagato Takato (Yuu-tan) is the perfect children's TV show host - his switch into someone who was poisoned by the bullying during his upbringing, who was desperate to see Meguru fail, super believable. I was kind of worried he'd be a gay villain, but he's just gay! A bit of a villain for two episodes, but he joins the gang. I love to see it. Him and Meguru connect over being bullied for being gender non-conforming in different ways! It was handled well imo.

The MUSIC is cute. Does what it needs to. The OST did not change my life. But I don't think this is very important.

In terms of REWATCH VALUE, I have literally already rewatched several episodes multiple times. By accident! I am already planning to make different friends who don't usually watch jdramas watch this one with me - it's so easy to recommend because it's funny and light-hearted but never in a cheap, vapid way.

SOURCE MATERIAL ('My Androgynous Boyfriend').
- The manga has gorgeous art and pretty much the exact dynamic we see between Wako and Meguru. They've already been together for several years when the manga begins, while the show follows their accidental reunion after going their separate ways as close friends in high school.
- Kira exists in the manga, to be beautiful and vaguely arrogant, but not much more. In the show, Kira steals the spotlight everywhere he goes; he's a bizarrely self-absorbed comic relief character who doesn't really care about anyone at first, but changes and grows into someone you can almost take seriously sometimes, because he's so, so serious about initially-uninterested Asahi.
- Asahi does not exist in the manga. Wako has a boss, but she's quite different. Asahi is the closest the show gets to a true straight man, but she never feels like a buzzkill.
- The show's structure, pacing, and the addition of Kira and Asahi, the creative liberties that were taken to improve the show (as opposed to blindly sticking to the manga), really elevate the show, while Meguru and Wako feel perfectly in-character, making it a faithful adaption in spirit AND an improvement from the source material.

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Completed
My Teacher
5 people found this review helpful
Apr 28, 2019
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 10
I initially gave this a 7/10 when I watched it. As time passed and I recalled some of the scenes and had time to think about certain aspects of the movie over the course of a few days, I decided on a 7.5/10. As I kept rewatching, I eventually landed on 8.5. I can confidently say this is my favorite student/teacher media - and I'm pretty sure I've seen almost every single one listed on mydramalist.

STORY: The story is quite simple, but what elevates this above many others in the same genre is you can completely understand why and how the two characters fell for each other. It's structured very meticulously and gives the characters ample time (for a movie) to get to know each other and interact in something that slowly and organically increases their feelings for each other over time. It's very easy to line up the scenes between our main characters and track the relationship alongside it. A lot of the time, in student/teacher movies, I'm almost confused about why they like each other in the first place, but not here. I do have some gripes, like how I would like to see *even more* scenes to build to and take place before the kiss, but it's a movie and has limited time, so I can't fault it too hard there.

ACTING/CAST:
SUPPORTING - the ultimate highlights were the protagonist's best friends, Chigusa and Kousuke! Great banter between them, a source of humor and happiness in the slightly somber moments, with love stories of their own! They really feel like friends, and like they care about the protagonist. The actors definitely captured the manga characters.
MAIN - Maybe this is a strange thing to say, but Ito-sensei in this movie feels realistically attractive? When I started the movie I wasn't sure if I would like it because he wasn't handsome to me and looked a bit old, but as the movie went on I found myself liking the fact that he wasn't immediately gorgeous and that his appearance grew on me as his character did. I like it better this way! The actor did a really wonderful job at keeping a teacher-like distance as well as accidentally forgetting to keep that distance.
Shimada Hibiki is slightly peculiar, in that I didn't really know what to make of her after my first watch. I found her a bit weak and childish because the latter half has a lot of sad moments, but upon further review I think the more accurate evaluation is she's simply quite honest with her feelings and doesn't hold back too much. The best word to describe her is probably 'pure'. Her feelings are relatively open and honest, despite her more reserved nature. If that seems contradictory, a good example is her facial expressions: they're the opposite of theatrical, but she doesn't hide her feelings; they're just... subtle, sometimes. I watched the movie before I knew it was based on a manga, and at multiple points I thought she was the perfect image of a pure/first love type manga protagonist. I've read a few chapters now, and the actress did a great job.

MUSIC: When it comes to movies like this where a standout soundtrack would feel out of place, I think minimal, mood music works better. It works for what it is.

REWATCH VALUE: Liked it at first, but liked it better after a rewatch, so I'm giving it a 10 for rewatch value. Will probably want to rewatch specific scenes later. In fact, I already have! Good stuff. I'm editing this on 20-06-2021 and I can confirm I still rewatch specific scenes sometimes, and I'm always trying to goad my problematic shoujo loving friends into rewatching this with me.

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Completed
Furenabaochin
5 people found this review helpful
Oct 13, 2019
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
The synopsis for this show isn't quite correct. It should be something like "Kamijo Natsu has devoted her life to her family. Her husband's young subordinate, Saeki Ryu, has heard the chief mention his plain, unremarkable wife many times. However, upon meeting her, Saeki is instantly charmed by her good-hearted, earnest nature. His outspoken affection reminds her that she's not just a mother, but a woman too."

The husband never actually invites Saeki to seduce his wife, he's just convinced his wife would never waver from him and family life and wouldn't even attract anyone in the first place that he feels confident joking about it. Saeki falls in love without any push, probably from the first time he sees Natsu.

(SPOILERS FROM HERE)

ACTING/CAST:
The acting is fine. It's bad in some scenes, but it's good in enough other scenes. The leads have very little chemistry. I was a little frustrated at how PG this was - the kissing scenes suffered from the typical Female Lead Is Frozen and Shocked and Stiff and it was awful.

(BIG SPOILERS FROM HERE)

STORY:
I actually love the fact that Natsu prioritized her family to the degree that she did, because usually in ~forbidden relationship~ drama characters seem to forget that what they're doing isn't right all too quickly, BUT I still would have preferred Saeki to 'win'. Mostly because her husband, even as he got better, never seemed to appreciate her as a woman. He was too comfortable and he deserved to have that comfort shaken up more than he did. Or this show should have focused into him realizing what he's been doing and treating her better and learning to see Natsu as a woman he loves again. I would have felt robbed of Saeki, but at least that would have made for a satisfying narrative. The way it happened, it was frustrating.
Also, the implication that Saeki killed himself without her - fucking awful. I mean, I kind of like that he was that serious about her, but I wish they'd have shown a more unstable side of him more often, or had them be together and interact or be more physically affectionate, because the way it happened was so confusing that I, like the other reviewer, spent some time checking to make sure this show actually had 8 episodes instead of 9, 10, 11.
I think the most frustrating thing was that nothing changed. She didn't get with Saeki, her husband didn't learn a lesson about appreciating her more, she just got to experience the rush of love one more time only to have it snatched away from her. In fact, we ended at a lower point than when we started, because Saeki's suicide probably traumatized Natsu and I bet she blames herself.

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Completed
Chugakusei Nikki
9 people found this review helpful
Oct 4, 2019
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 4.5
Story 2.0
Acting/Cast 5.5
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
Listen. I love ~problematic~, weird relationships. Specifically, I enjoy it when a good writer convinces me to root for something unhealthy, or to consider something clearly the exception to the rule, if only for a little while. This show only served to convince me that both Hijiri and Akira act like children and have peas for brains. There is no reason for Hijiri to like Akira back. He inspired her to keep going, he remembered her poem, sure, but this show did not give us any sufficient bonding moments, LET ALONE reasons for Hijiri to like Akira. Unless you want to go for the "duh she's a pedophile" angle, but for media (stories and characters) I prefer to assume that it's more of an all-powerful-love thing. Generally, despite personally liking these tropes for the drama of it all, I would prefer to discourage this type of content because it can give young people a skewed idea of how acceptable relationships like this are.

Onto the review:

This show could have been saved if it had, like I assumed it would, carefully built a relationship between these two in fragments over the course of 3 years, where at least the first year would have been completely, undeniably platonic (from Hijiri's side).

Ideally, I would have liked to see them interact quite innocently in the first year, then for romantic ambiguity to show up in the second year - he's working extra hard to convince her, she's flattered but dismissive of his feelings, and as they meet-cute at school and around town and she sees him more out of school she'll start to wonder about her own feelings and start avoiding him from the start of the third year. Things could culminate in the middle of the third year, with Akira feeling heartbroken and rejected and arguing with Hijiri about whatever they do or don't have, and Hijiri having to walk away from that with a similar feeling but remain firm in her denial, because rumors are spreading as their mutual feelings strengthen. Maybe the rumors get out of hand and/or she'd choose to resign because she recognizes these feelings are unprofessional. Hijiri, or any teacher figure in this type of story, should only be allowed one or two moments of impulsive romantic gestures - if she resigns and her reason for resignation is 'proof' of their still-unclear relationship, it should be a romantic gesture initiated by Akira. Anyways, Akira confesses once again after graduation, and it still can't be a very public thing but they can be together.

Instead, they are mistaken for a couple before the feelings (which are there) have properly blossomed, so it feels like Hijiri is rushing to apologize for something clearly undefined, but she falls for him as the apologies and misunderstandings increase. While I feel like, in any other case, that would build some resentment or the determination to put an end to whatever their relationship wasn't yet.

I can't believe this has an average rating of 8.6. That is madness. You are all crazy.

The directing was pretty good, not great. The acting is serviceable. The story and two main characters brought it down so much, but I still finished it.
The only reason I rated it a 4.5 is because of Haraguchi-san. We have decided to stan forever.

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Completed
Kimi wa Petto
3 people found this review helpful
May 6, 2021
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 7.5

Interesting characters with great chemistry and a unique relationship; poor everything else

If you care about lighting, directing, wardrobe, set design, pacing - this is not the drama for you. No, Kimi wa Petto foregoes basic filmmaking necessities to instead bring you one of the strangest and most genuine relationships I've seen in any drama.

This is a story about an emotionally closed-off, serious-minded female protagonist and a main male love interest brimming with love and excitement as he avoids his own issues, depicting maybe the most physically and emotionally affectionate pre-relationship in drama history.

That is enough to make this my favorite drama.

In a kind of abstract sense, Kimi wa Petto is about the loneliness of modern (city/working) life and (social) isolation; gender roles; the difficulty and necessity of emotional vulnerability; the exhaustion that comes with superficial kindness and politeness that's expected everywhere; how familiar comforts may be taken for granted.

In clearer terms, Kimi wa Petto is about a 29 year-old who desperately needs someone who will break down her walls because god knows she's not letting anyone in herself and a 20 year-old who is happy to do so and falls in love with her as much as he falls in love with who he becomes when he is with her. It's not always healthy, but it's comforting and cathartic.

Its only weakness is the second lead, who is much better portrayed in the prettier, cleaner 2017 adaption - but because Sumire and Momo are the heart of this show, and so perfectly portrayed in the 2003 adaption, I just can't bring myself to recommend anything else.

I scored 'Overall' with my heart. I've watched this show several times and I rewatch the first episode like it's my favorite movie.

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