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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bambino! / バンビーノ!

2007, 11-episode drama from Japan that is based on a Manga by the same name about a young, brash college student named Ban (Matsumoto Jun) who lives in Fukuoka Prefecture and works at an Italian restaurant.

This means he thinks he's the greatest chef alive, so when his boss gives him a chance to spend spring break working at a high-class Italian restaurant in Tokyo, he jumps at the chance to show off his mad skills.

Turns out he's not so great after all, and our cute but clueless, high-energy Ban is suddenly pitted against some of the finest, most skilled professionals in the business, making poor Ban look bad and ridiculous at the same time.

Sato Ryuta as Katori Nozomi kicks Ban's ass rather early on,

I really like Sato Ryuta!

and then Karina as Hibino Asuka steps in to dump on him further still.

It's for his own good, though!

Poor Ban ...

Matsu Jun looks great in pink!

For me, though, the highlight of this drama was the head waiter and a familiar actor from the Galileo series ...

Kitamura Kazuki as Yonamine Tsukasa

This is a prime example of why I'll always prefer a man with long hair.

Anyway, some of the 'complaints' at included the fact that Ban was so gung-ho about his career when ... excuse me, it wasn't simply PASTA he wanted to make, but ... yea, you guessed it ... a CAREER.

If this had been about a guy working his way up the corporate ladder and he had the same gusto, would they have said the same thing, I wonder?

The cooking portions actually made me hungry until I ended up trying to make Asuka's broccoli & Italian sausage pasta, and I must admit it came out rather well and tasted as good as anticipated, too.

Ok, after spring break ends and Ban is out of the chaotic kitchen now, the young, impetuous fool decides he wants to be a famous chef, so he drops out of college and returns to the high-class restaurant in the big city.

However, reality smacks him in the face (with Nozomi's help), and instead of getting the head-chef position as he hopes, he is first relegated to the dining hall, where he has to wait tables and greet customers.

Ban is as crushed as he was after finding out to his utter dismay that he isn't quite so great as he first assumed, and now he has to struggle with the task of learning how to be someone he doesn't want to be.

Naturally, this is all done by the owner of the restaurant and the best friend of the guy Ban worked for in the tiny prefecture outside Tokyo so that Ban can learn, grow, and mature into the person he wants to become.

It takes him a really long time to figure that out, and even longer for him to perfect the waiter job, but once he realizes the importance and connection between the front of house and the kitchen, things begin to go his way.

At last, he is assigned to the kitchen after a year, and again, Ban is crushed to find out that it isn't to cook his favorite dishes, but to assist the 'dolce' pasticcere.

Again, it takes him some time and effort, but Ban figures out after making batch after batch of nasty-looking and heartless-in-effort meringue that is always dumped in the garbage until he stumbles upon the mute pasticcere's recipe book and Ban learns what it means to be a serious dolce maker.

Like his love for pasta, Ban waits every morning for the shy, mute pasticcere to leave his apartment so they can go shopping together for fresh ingredients, and they become friends.

Eventually, Ban ends up in the kitchen again, and still not as head chef, but with a new understanding of his role in life and the necessary steps he needs to take in order to realize his dream.

I liked Bambino! and I enjoyed watching Matsumoto do his thing, too.

Give this one a chance as I'm sure it'll impress you.


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