Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) Drama Review

Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) – Drama Review
Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) is a six volume Japanese manga series by Yuu Watase, which was adapted into an eleven episode live-action Japanese drama series. And it has been confirmed that a Taiwanese version will be filmed.
Plot – Riiko Izawa has never had a boyfriend, and has been rejected by any male she has a crush on. Then one day she meets a salesman named Gaku Namikiri who gives her his card and invites her to his place of business to participate in a little study. His company has developed the idea of creating a robot that will be the perfect boyfriend. Riiko thinks that she is participating in some type of game, but she accidently customizes her choices into the company’s computer and orders one of the robots. The next day the robot is delivered with the instructions to wake him with a kiss. Riiko kisses him and then goes off to work. She is in for quite a surprise when she goes home that evening and finds the robot alive and standing naked in her apartment.
Riiko works as a temporary employee for Asamato, a company that specializes in creating desserts, and it is Riiko's dream to one day to be a pastry chef. She is a temporary under one of the sons of the owner named Soshi Asamoto who is bit of a slacker and who would rather have fun than work.
Riiko names the robot Night, but later learns that she only has him for a 72 hour trial. The salesman, Gaku Namikiri is in fact the creator of Night (or Number One as he is originally named) tells Riiko that she must pay 100,000 yen for Night if she intends to keep him for a while. Riiko doesn’t make that much money working as a temporary and she has other bills like rent to pay. So she takes on a series of temporary positions in order to raise the money. Night, sensing her dilemma hires himself out and helps Riiko raise the payment.

Meanwhile Riiko bakes some crème puffs for a guy at work she is interested in, and like all the other guys he thinks she’s a bit too serious and talks about her pastry without sampling it. Soshi comes along after Riiko discovers that the man does not like her and samples the crème puff. He loves it because it reminds him of something his grandfather used to make for him when he was a child. Soshi comes up with an idea to have Riiko make some more of the crème puffs so that he can get his family’s business to back him. But his brother Masashi, who’s actually the vice-president of the company thinks the dessert is too plain and will not fit in to the Asamoto line. Soshi doesn’t give up so he decides to go directly to the bakeries to try to market the dessert but Masashi finds out and wants to not only fire his own brother but Riiko as well.

Soshi eventually steps down from his position as chief and starts to work in the office with Rikko. Night also gets a job at the company as a janitor just to be near Riiko and watch over her. The women at the company all fall for Night, including Rikko’s best friend Mika Ito. Rikko tells everyone that Night is her cousin, including her landlady who frowns on young women having their boyfriends stay in their apartments. But every now and then Night lets it slip out of the bag that he is Riiko’s perfect boyfriend.

Soshi and Riiko began experiencing feelings for each other, but each time Night is there to put an end to things. Another one of Soshi’s female friends appear at the company. She is a trained pastry chef and also an ex-lover of Soshi. She has come back just in time to enter her dessert design in a contest that Soshi hopes to enter with Riiko. Meanwhile Mika has fallen for Night and accidently kisses him which erases Night’s memories of Riiko and reprograms his feelings for Mika . Once Gaku Namikiri finds this out he tries to convince Riiko that she must kiss Night again and get him away from Mika. Riiko doesn’t want to do it at first and then she kisses him once Night is trap in a restaurant that is on fire. He then forgets about Mika and starts following and adoring Riiko ago. He also calls her by her name when he awakens which isn’t supposed to happen since his memory is supposed to clear and reset every time he is kissed. Toward the end it is discovered that Night has taken on human emotions and may be a danger to society if the designers can’t control him. The company creates a second computer that is supposed to be a better model than Night and sends him to win Riiko away so they can capture Night and turn him off.

Review – It wasn’t until the tenth episode that I started liking this drama. It wasn’t that it was bad, it just progressed too slowly and wasn’t what I imagined when I read the premise.

I thought Riiko Izawa played by Saki Aibu was cute but it took a while for viewers to discover that she wanted to create pastries.

Night Tendo played by Mokomichi Hayami can only be described as a living doll. He is tall, gorgeous, muscular and definitely my idea of a robot lover. Night’s innocence shows through as he experiences his new found emotions, but he has a dry sense of humor that makes the character a bit cartoonish.

Soshi Asamoto played by Hiro Mizushima is really cute but dissatisfied by the way his family’s business has turned from customer service to just creating desserts that make money. I found his character refreshing but thought he used Riiko more for his benefit that for hers.

The drama is a bit childish but it definitely picked a handsome looking cast. Mokomichi Hayami and Hiro Mizushima are two gorgeous men that women can’t help but fall in love with. On the flip side the developers send in a second robot that is supposed to be better than Night. No way. He’s really short and he’s not good looking, so if you going to improve on Night the robot should have been taller and more gorgeous than the original one. Heck, the second one was almost shorter than Riiko.

I found the secondary female characters to be funny. The landlady was always trying to get Night to take off his shirt, and Riiko’s own mother had the hots for Night. I didn’t like Riiko’s reaction toward Night through the first nine episodes, and it really pissed me off. In some instances she acted like she hated Night but then she had not problem working her butt off to make the payments for him. She should have just given him back after the 72 hours was over. But then there wouldn’t have been a story, now would there?

If a six foot, gorgeous robot is delivered to my house you better believe that I’m going to do more than just kiss it. I’m going to take him out of the box for a test drive.

The other part I didn’t understand is why introduce another love interest for Riiko? Why not just have her eventually discover that Night was the perfect man for her. After all it is a fantasy story. And what woman wouldn’t want a man who cooks, cleans and adores her? The strong points about choosing a robot over a real man…no disease, no pregnancy risk and he’s programmed not to cheat. More strong points are he’ll remain gorgeous, he won’t develop a beer belly and he’ll never need Viagra.

They also threw in a couple of female rivals for Riiko. After Mika (Ueno Natsuki) falls in love with Night she goes out of her way to make Riiko's life miserable by not only sabotaging her job, her dessert and her relationship with Night but also about going online and insulting Riiko publicly when the crème puffs do not do well in the bakeries. Then in the end she gets a revelation that maybe she was wrong and then wanted to be Riiko’s friend, and Riiko forgave her. Ladies, this doesn’t happen in real life. Don’t be friends with this type of woman again. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

Also, there is another female who is an ex-lover of Soshi who just shows up and is working back for the company. I couldn’t make out if she was actually still in love with Soshi or his older brother. She was the one who also discovered that Sochi was actually in love with Riiko and encouraged him to ask her out. This was a total waste of a character. I found her lukewarm and didn’t advance the story a bit.

Then there was this man/robot love relationship between Gaku Namikiri and Night. I finally figured out that Night or Number One was created in his image. Apparently, some woman cheated on him. And he didn’t want his creation to be deactivated once it took on human emotions. But dude it is a robot. If you’re intelligent enough to design such a thing you know it will never be human no matter how hard you try. I figured he would have been better off if he had found himself a girlfriend and treated her the way Night treated Riiko.

All in all Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) was okay. I didn’t hate it but it probably won’t be one of those dramas I’ll watch over and over again. I give it 3 Fleur De Lis.

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