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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dokushin Kizoku

A Swinging Single

2013 Fuji TV 11-episode drama that I found just yesterday and watched straight through with only a few bathroom/food breaks in between it was THAT good.

Stars two all-time greats:  Kusanagi Tsuyoshi as Hoshino Mamoru, the President of a production company and Hideaki Ito as Hoshino Susumu, Mamoru's younger brother, a playboy producer.

The English title for this one is a misnomer in that while Susumu is in the process of a divorce at the start, he has to move in with his aniki but entertains a new woman every night. Mamoru, (the lead) on the other hand is a solitary man with refined tastes and zero interest in relationships, commitment, love, or even women as a whole. He's not gay, just reclusive and stubborn, and he has convinced himself that the life he leads is far better and far more meaningful, without the stress, agony, heartache, headache, and mundane of having to deal with the opposite sex.

The reason I gave this one such high marks ~ believe it or not ~ has nothing at all to do with the handsome men involved. 


Even if Ito was a lead, and I think that Tsuyoshi has the greatest facial features of just about ANY man I'll ever see in my lifetime. AND even the fact that while it was too little too late, Yamashita Tomohisa made a few appearances as well.

These are all asides when it comes to something this novel, this refreshing, and this enticing a drama.

Sorry KDo fans, but, when it comes to real love stories with semi-realistic pretense and dialogue ~ but most appreciative and best infused emotion ~ JDo's can't be beat.

Also, it is extremely rare to get that "...this is gonna be good" feeling prior to watching, and my sixth sense didn't let me down again.

I just knew I was going to like this one, and I did. A whole lot.

This is the story of a guy who doesn't believe in commitment, and a girl who hangs on to the  thinning thread of a dream in the form of wanting to write scripts for movies.

She's a lot like our Mamoru in that they are both relatively shy, introverted, and emotionally attached to their ideals. They share the same notions about life in general, the same work ethic, and even enjoyed the same hobbies and movies, which gave them something to talk about even when Mamoru wasn't the type who made himself available to anyone for things as useless as chit-chat.

Every day Kitagawa Keiko as Haruno Yuki checks (google) to see if anyone has accepted her script. Don't ask me why, that's just the way it went, and after watching this drama, I kind of had to wonder if (google) didn't have a hand in that one. Why would anyone check a search engine to find out if they got accepted or rejected? Wouldn't it make more sense to check the publishing house's or the production company's website instead?


Yuki is down for the count and ends up having to help her friend do house cleaning work to help out with the bills.

They clean Mamoru's apartment a few times a week, and they think he is a 'swinger' or

the girl with the (deliberately?) bad accent

This one claims 'he' has 8 women a day, which would likely put a huge dent in any guys wallet/lifestyle/work/ etc. eh?

Anyhow, it isn't the homeowner who lives this way but his little brother, Susumu - the guy in the process of a divorce living off the homeowner.

Yuki eventually figures out that the yamato no orochi is the owner of a production company and sets her script on his coffee table with a sticky note asking him to please read it and get back to her.

The brothers are actually in a bind, though, because the 'famous' author (who hasn't written anything in ten years) has bailed on them.

Yuki ends up getting a job at the company, and no one likes her at first because she's new and doesn't know anything about the business. But, Mamoru continues to help with her script, and though she thinks that he is mean and heartless with his criticisms and doubts about her talent, she soon realizes what a terrific help his no nonsense and blunt critique of her work actually ended up being for her.

While it seems as if Yuki and Mamoru are starting to hit it off, the brothers aunt (a woman of botoxxx extreme) steps in to mess things up for Mamoru. She keeps threatening to sell the production company if he doesn't get married, and then she quickly sets him up on a blind date. She's homely but extremely wealthy, which is all the aunt really cares about since Mamoru 'seems' to be ruining the company with his high quality standards.

She is annoying as hell, too, with her helium voice grating on my last nerve and proving that Mamoru's theory about women in general is true.

Women with marriage on the brain are boring, chatter unceasingly about mundane things, and care less about anyone other than themselves and their ultimate goal of snagging a man to drag down the aisle.

His father taught him a rude but kind of funny trick when in the presence of such women, and Mamoru employs this trick every time he is forced to have to meet with his 'intended'.

He is falling for Yuki, but so is Susumu, and when Mamoru finds out, he backs off immediately.
Instantly. Like, the very next day. How he found out was heartbreaking to have to watch, and it made me root for him 100% up to the very end.

There were a lot of nail biting moments that nearly gave me a heart attack, too, but that was part of the reason why I enjoyed the story so much and gave it 5 hearts.

Who will end up with whom, will I see more of Tomo? and PLEASE don't let it end this soon kept running through my mind. I didn't want this one to end as quickly as it did. Sometimes 11 episodes just aren't enough for me the same way that sometimes 16 KDo episodes are far too many.

Speaking of the 'adults' ... I am in a quandary once more as to the age of some of these characters.

Honestly, the boys father when they were 'little' looked like he was in his late 60's, and the blind date chick's father? Holy crap! Dude had to have a foot and a half in the grave already. HAD to be in his mid to late 80's for sure.

Great grandparents with children in their late 20's and early 30's.


I need to do some research. Shouldn't their parents be in their mid to late 50's?
Do people in their mid to late 50's look like they are in their mid to late 80's?
Is it a big, fat lie that Asian people don't age as gracelessly as us Westerners do?

Total confusion.

The chemistry between the two leads was awesome. Right away, too. It was as if they were made for one another off-screen as much as on.

Comments at the website where I watched this ranged from the ridiculous to the curious.

A few mentioned that it was refreshing to see Kitagawa Keiko star in a realistic and non caricature role for a welcome change. I wouldn't know the absolute value in that remark, only that she did a great job as Yuki, the struggling script writer who loses her way on the road to love.

I wasn't as surprised about the comments made regarding the soundtrack, though. I'm sure a lot of kids aren't familiar with or have ever listened to anything older than they are, which is a shame, but I don't care. My music taste is narrow yet broad in that I love everything from classical to jazz, 90s new wave to R&B and ambient. However, I am just as familiar with the Big Band era, Frank Sinatra, and the like because like our two leads, I grew up on black and white movies from the 30's, 40's, and 50's, too. I still watch them when the mood strikes. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir has a fantastic soundtrack.

The Moon River version played throughout this drama, though, was pitiful.

In the drama, they referenced Sleepless in Seattle but not the movie that movie was bounced off of that starred Debra Kerr and Cary Grant, An Affair to Remember.

Neither of these references, though, had much to do with the drama, so don't get all worried like I did. The comments were just dopey (again).

The movie I kept harking back to throughout this drama was actually Sabrina (the Humphrey Bogart/Audrey Hepburn version), but I could be wrong as well. Not entirely, but it had the same elements - more so than sleepless or an affair at any rate.

Throughout this drama, they kept showing the hood ornament on Mamoru's Rolls Royce being lowered in park and raised in drive. Toward the end of the eleven episodes I started to hope that they would show one, last scene where the hood ornament is raised and that Empire State Building with the heart would rise up.


You have to watch the show in order to get the meaning behind that remark, though.


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