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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Last Cinderella


2013 Fuji TV JDo that starred Fujiki Naohito as Tachibana Rintaro, an aging hair designer who returns to the salon where he once worked alongside and became lord over (more successful than) Shinohara Ryoko as Toyama Sakura, an aging hair stylist with a bubbly personality who always knows the right things to say to her clients.

We're made to believe right from the start that there is bad blood between these two for reiterated reasons, but things are never as they would seem, and we are never privy to such insider information until at least half way through these dramas - which would be around episode 5 - in the case of this 11-episode romantic mystery melodrama with dashes of comedy and reality tossed in the mix.

Along comes the anticipated curve-ball in the form of Miura Haruma as Saeki Hiroto

He's fifteen years younger than our Toyama Sakura, a twenty-five year old BMX'er and the son of a wealthy businessman but estranged from the blended family yet not from his psycho step sister, whom he innocently harmed when they were little.

She is mental, deranged, and scary even if the writer attempted to make me feel sorry for her and failed.

She makes Hiroto do her bidding, and because she 'loves' Rintaro, Hiroto has to come between him and Sakura.

In between this interesting plot, we are told and shown in so many ways that women over age 40 are actually old men in training. Slobs, too lazy to care about appearances, give up on maintaining the body but becoming increasingly aware of the importance of health, grow beards, pluck facial hair, and clip toe nails in front of the opposite sex. Oh, and they lounge in sweats drinking copious amounts of canned brew, too.

Still, one of Sakura's friends was a health instructor, fitness guru, and an avid fan of the one-night stand, so good for her, the old bag with a flabby body, sagging boobs, and too unattractive to score ... wait a second.

Sakura's other friend is the ubiquitous married lady with two shiftless offspring, an unreceptive husband, and a nagging busybody for a mother-in-law. Not much I can say there, except that it's stereotypical and not that interesting. If the writer had decided to have mothers-in-law unite somewhere along the way and revolt, but that didn't happen so ...

Heck, they could have even had HER decide on an extramarital fling instead of always the husband, but maybe that would be pushing the envelope Japan-wise, who knows.

Young girls poked just as much fun at our Rintaro as they did at Sakura for being 'old' and 'smelling old' and 'talking old' and 'wearing old' and so on and so forth - heck, they even made a few of the characters poke fun at themselves for being 'ancient' and 'over the hill' and 'halfway to the grave' at the astronomically, dinosaur-breath and dust-fart age of 40.

At the same time, though, they had younger women wanting to get with the likes of fossilized Rintaro, who gave a surprise performance as close to realistic human as I'd ever seen him portray before.

He wasn't a wealthy snob hell bent on destroying everyone in his path, and he wasn't an arrogant fool with a one-track mind start to finish, either. This time he had character, a heart, brains, wit, and the ability to shift gears when necessary. In other words, realistic and human.

Personally, I think he's still got it going on for a guy who has a good 40 more years to go before the dust farts and fossilization actually begin to take effect. Then he can portray the FATHER of someone in their teens or twenties, right?


Or, he can wait another ten years to become the LOVER of a TEEN CHICK in another drama. See, that's like what you might call ironic or even bipolar script writing there. In one story being old is a disease and in another its nonexistent because young girls apparently dig seeing old men in bed. Never the other way around, of course, especially if the script is written by or directed by a man, then ... we just get same old same old.

Look, I don't give a crap that women believe they felt pressured to do something besides stay home and raise families. I care less that these women are suffering because of that choice, and I sure as hell don't care that they suddenly want or find out they can't have a child so late in life.

I didn't order them to live the way they did, and just because they let the media and society in general dictate their lives has zero to do with me or my own emotions, feelings, etc. Who am I to judge or say anything?

All it proves is that women apparently suffer. When they were stay-at-homes they suffered, and now that they aren't they're still suffering.

Boo Hoo

I'm all for the woman in the middle who tried marriage/babies and lost so she got rid of the notion and set out to entertain herself until she's too old to be appreciated anymore. She stays fit through her job, which keeps her in contact with eligible bed hoppers for the duration, and in between she visits with her school chums at the local pub and listens to their whining about how pathetic they are.

I'm all for older women getting a piece of younger ass, too, but not this time around. Not with this particular drama anyway.

I gave this only 3 hummingbirds because of the way it ended, too.

What I did like, though, was the incredible and surprising amount of near-misses in the sex department that were offered.

This could actually be labeled as an action-packed romance, it had so many bedroom scenes, kissing scenes, and near-misses here and there.

Just enough to boost the libido and make me want to see more, but again, I wasn't at all pleased with the outcome of this drama, but I did so appreciate the soft-core, arigatou!

I don't like, either, that the writers push and push their message about 'well, this is just the way it is' and then they have their characters do 'well, there's no way in hell this is possible' things that go completely against the message.

If women 40 and up are useless piles of shit with zero worth, are mouthy, witty, and caustic because of their vast array of knowledge then why oh why would said madam turn into a total teen twit asshole just because some guy young or old, new or used, fresh or stale, takes notice of her? Is this a part of the female mystique, too? We're tough as nails and capable of surviving on our own until the biological clock starts to wind down, our parents start to die, or ... a hot guy comes along and then we're suddenly back to being 1937 retarded stupid? Is that the message?

I think even if a woman has been out of the dating scene for ten years that at age 40 or thereabouts she would carry herself with far more grace and aplomb than these writers would have us believe. Reverting at that age to a clueless teen idiot means at 40 she never grew up, which would indicate an INability to survive on her own, wouldn't it? 16 meets 40 in a split second is just as impossible as 40 meets 16 again at lightning speed.

Sakura behaved with the boy the way she should have behaved with Rintaro and vice versa. Sure, she was completely at home and totally familiar with Rintaro and therefore they bickered, drank together at odd hours, shared personal secrets and did indiscreet things in front of each other but still ... if baby boy comes at 40 with a hard on then 40 pretty much has it covered while having 40 come at 20 with desire might yield the opposite reaction. Sakura didn't need to act so coy, elusive, and virgin-like. It wasn't at all believable or necessary.

Yamamoto Yusuke as Masaomi showed up for two episodes in the middle of the drama. He worked in a sex club that isn't called a sex club. Male entertainer for wealthy female clients who live in fantasyland and want fantasyland males to cater to their every fantasyland whim. 

For cash.

His Masaomi was mean, too. Snot-nose, heartless and brutal kind of mean, too, but only for a glimpse and then he was gone.

Baaad boy.

 If you haven't seen Last Cinderella yet, I would recommend that you do, but don't get sucked into (or away from) the story because of the title, which is a tad on the misleading side. Sakura is far from poor and neglected, but she did mention a childhood fantasy about wanting to be a girl who meets and marries Prince Charming. 

That's about as Cinderella as it got - except when the segments were broken up by images of Sakura sliding a bare foot into a glass slipper.

Neither guy is Prince Charming, either.

Plenty of eye candy, interesting dialogue, quirky sub-plots, and memorable moments in Last Cinderella, but I don't know that I'd ever watch it again. What I'd rather do is rewrite this one entirely, and maybe I will.


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