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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

ランチの女王 / Lunch no Joou


Lunch Queen


2002, 12-episode, Fuji TV drama that stars Tomohisa Yamashita - but, not as the leading fella - he's just in this one, and that's why I chose to watch.



Lunch no Joou is about a girl with nothing much going for her other than the strange (but viable) love she has for the noonday repast known in some parts of the world as 'lunch'.

Mugita Natsumi (Takeuchi Yuko) is so into lunch that she even keeps a diary with information about each of the places she dines - which in and of itself seems like a totally cool thing to do, yet something I never think to do in real life.

Natsumi has been at it for so long that she can tell whether or not a place is worthy based solely on the way in which they display that day's lunch set, or by the layout of the joint, and more obviously, by the number of folks waiting in line to be served.

The drama starts out with her finally coming to the best part of her day - lunch - and as she sets out to find the perfect place to dine, a stranger happens upon her just as she is about to take her first bite.

He is the eldest son of a restaurant owner and is less than filial, actually running away several years earlier after having robbed the till.

He's heard that his father is struck ill, and he wants to return to check on him, but as a born coward, he can't do it on his own, so he enlists the aid of Natsumi, begging her to pretend she is his fiancé.

The restaurant, Kitchen Macaroni, is a mom-pop joint that specializes in (yep) LUNCH!

Natsumi is naturally intrigued and enters the establishment first, ordering their house specialty: an omelet stuffed with rice and drizzled with another house item, Pop's special sauce.



There is no 'Mom', but there is a 'Pop', and the cowardly eldest son, a second son who is head chef, a third son and budding sauce king, and the baby of the family entering his senior year of high school, along with two sous-chefs and a chick who delivers fresh veggies to the 'raunt.

The second son, Eguchi Yosuke as Nabeshima Yujiro, is pretty hot:


Eguchi Yosuke




Yujiro has a hot temper, too, and is quick to snap at anyone who messes around in the kitchen, who doesn't take their job as seriously as he does, and pretty much anything else that pisses him off will also set him off.

We learn later, however, why he is that way and what his real ambitions were prior to his being in charge of the kitchen.

Not sure if he's a super tall fella, or if the leading lady is just really short, but it seemed obvious what was what based on this shot:



... which added to my attraction of the dude with long hair, great bone structure, and nice eyes.

My calculations say 185cm is just over six feet, which makes this guy one, tall Japanese man, and that's cool.

(sigh) he practically embodies everything I like about Asian men, too!

Okay, okay - enough with the (sigh) distractions ...

The third child and budding sauce master is Tsumabuki Satoshi as Nabeshima Junzaburo, and he's the guy all the girls (and the ladies) visit the Macaroni Kitchen to see, too.


Tsumabuki Satoshi


Well, actually, a majority of the regulars are there to gaze at, admire, and fawn over ALL of the boys in the kitchen (with the sad but true exception of the overweight sous-chef), but it is Junzaburo most of the ladies come to giggle at and eye while dining on his older brother's delicious fare.

Personally, it took me awhile to warm up to this guy, but he's a mighty fine actor, and the 'awhile' didn't take quite as long as I first assumed it would, either.

Again, I was there to see Yamapi, Yamashita Tomohisa as Nabeshima Koshiro, and he is the baby of the Macaroni Kitchen family, but he had an important role in that he was the one who acted with childlike innocence while also pointing out faults, flaws, and misconceptions in order to set the elders straight.


Yamashita Tomohisa as Nabeshima Koshiro








At this stage of the game, its hard for me to believe I once had no type of attraction, even mildly, for this guy, and even if he still comes off as an aloof bastard with no heart, I've come to accept that part of his personality and hope to see more of him in the future.

This is a part of his personality in the show:






So anyway, Natsumi makes her way into the family after the eldest son again runs off with the family's income, and she makes herself useful by taking over Junzaburo's front-of-house position serving the customers, though Junzaburo continues to wait tables when things get really busy.

Both second and third sons end up falling for eldest brother's so-called fiancé,



and Natsumi has this secret she isn't divulging to anyone until way, late in the twelve-episode show.


Morita Go


Every episode bounces off the previous one, and the plot continues to thicken like Pop's famous sauce, which simmers for weeks before being used, and I had a hard time trying to decide which of the handsome brother's was most worthy (or, actually, if SHE was worthy of any of their affection), but regardless of my personal opinion, I liked this drama a lot.

Here are more images I'd like to share.


they get a kick out of seeing the delight on customer's faces




hot dude, pretty etched mirror background, and funny subtitles



Yamada Takayuki plays Ushijima Minoru, the other sous-chef and someone familiar with Natsumi's past



I just love this mirror frame



Ito Misaki as Shiomi Tomato - Tomato-chan is in love with Junzaburo



Koshiro confesses his love for Natsumi




and Pop, who reminds me of Milton Berle

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