The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

婚カツ! / Konkatsu!

Marriage Hunting!



I just finished watching this 11-episode 2009 drama from Japan, and while it received mixed reviews at aznv.tv, I thought it was fabulous and I recommend it!

In all fairness to the show, a lot of the lukewarm reviews had to do with the fact that Ueda Tatsuya as Amamiya Kuniyasu had a bit-part and wasn't the lead actor.
Another thing some people did was to assume this was a food drama when its title clearly represents itself as Marriage Hunter material, nothing more.
I blame this confusion on the dramas billboard that has all of the actors holding chopsticks with tonkatsu on them.

Nakai Masahiro as Amamiya Kuniyuki is the son of a tonkatsu owner, and he hates the fried pork meal almost as much as he hates his life.
He's a bad-luck kid in the sense that everything he hopes will go his way doesn't until he ends up not even trying anymore.
At 30, he's become a drone who ends up making one, last seemingly bad decision to quit his job when the economy crashes the very, next day - leaving him unemployed for awhile.
His baby brother is Kuniyasu, a hair dresser who pops in and out of the show from time to time, and granted, the boy has a very, pretty face and awesome hair but - I think it was a wise decision to give him a bit part, because he needs more experience before he tackles a lead role.

Sato Ryuta as Fukazawa Shigeru nearly stole the show, but not quite.
He's one of Kuniyuki's buddies and works as the proprietor of a liquor shop directly across the narrow alley from the tonkatsu joint.
He's big, loud, and upbeat, always insisting that to smile is the answers to a majority of the worlds problems.

The konkatsu topic arises when Kuniyuki applies for a part-time job with the city planning commission in their 'low birth rate' department - with one of the conditions for being hired that he be married.
Needing the job, Kuniyuki tells a fib and makes everyone think he's currently engaged but in need of a job & money before taking that inevitable, final step in his life.

This is where we meet a few, more key players in the show: namely, Tanihara Shosuke as Nihei Takumi and Kohinata Fumiyo as Amamiya Kuni0.
Takumi grew up in the same neighborhood Kuniyuki ends up trying to save and he's been relegated to the 'shameful' position of head of the low birth rate department.
Kuniyuki and 60-something Amamiya Kunio work for and with Takumi to find ways for their prefecture to increase the number of marriages in that area in order to increase the birth rate.
It's a tiny area on the Tokyo border, and its also a dated place with a majority of the businesses already shuttered due to lagging foot traffic in the area.
Kuniyuki and Amamiya bump into each other at a konkatsu, where they both hope to find a woman to marry before their boss (the city president) discovers their lie.
After attending several of these arranged get-togethers for single men & women, the two begin to learn the strategies involved in that, particular business while also becoming closer in work and friendship matters.

As it turns out, the President hired another man, Kitamura Yukiya as Ito Masaru to find a way to revitalize the section of her prefecture in most need of a face-lift, and that happens to be the neighborhood where Kuniyuki grew up.
Masaru is a cold-hearted man with $$ for eyes, and he uses people to get what he wants as well as to move up the corporate ladder of success.
He cares less about the three, hapless men in the storage room low birth rate department and turns down every request they make of him to halt, slow down, or at least hear their side of the story about why its important not to go ahead with his proposed plans to level the area and replace it with a bunch of new, improved shops.

There are some interesting and unusual love stories, there is a lot of food, though most-often tonkatsu, and there is also just as much comedy in this drama.
And though I wasn't, too excited about the leading man, he still managed to capture my interest enough to want to see his plight through to the very end.
His hair style reminded me of the top of a soft-swirl ice cream cone.

Does she get the man of her dreams?
Does he manage to win her heart?
Will the bad guy see the error of his ways in time?
And, will the town be saved or demolished for renewal?

These questions can be asked of more than just, one character in Konkatsu, and without giving anything away, there are enough twists & turns involved to keep the story from going stale.

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