The hottest romcommy story from Japan this season…you either love it to extreme or hate it and drop it..These are a few points about the drama that I thought are worth debating, as even though the drama overall heavily relies on familiar plot elements and schematas, it is in fact enjoyable and likely to be rewatched.
Rich Man, Poor woman on MDL: Rich Man
The overall theme is interesting, but it’s pushed to the background and remains rather underdeveloped because there are other things to fit into the story. The drama tried to do several thing in its short span. Usually, it works of Japanese dramas. Consequently, it sometimes feels like they are skating over several things just to get the viewer where the viewer wants to be.
+modern story about a modern business venture and being entrepreneurial, which I thought is a nice idea, as it sort of follows the success of films like “The Social Network”, which are trendy and very current. It is not, however, the only entrepreneurial story out there. Try Koi no Chikara for an entrepreneurial story with romance in it. Or Tsuki no Koibito perhaps.
However, Rich Man, Poor Woman decidely updates the formula to modern times and as such caters for the generation of IT-related product users much more than any other drama so far-in it lies its originality. as far as Japanese dramas go.
+friendship part Asahina and Huyga. The reason I liked the special more than the actual drama as it explained how they both pulled through. Most of it is to be seen in flashbacks throughout the drama, but it would have been nice/interesting to have this part developed much more. I wish that background of Asahina and Huyga was explored more, as well as the business/whole IT world part. I think with this they drama missed out on its potential.
+very likeable Asahina and Yoko. Yoko is an independent woman, smart, clever, knows what she wants. She should have been the main character perhaps. Asahina was having difficulties because he felt left out, but is overall a very needed partner for the duo.
+the female lead is clearly not as weak as she is able to manhandle the male lead if needed, but she is sooo silly it hurts sometimes.Her beaviour is that of a five year old at times and not an adult woman. She continously chases after the male lead and is star-struck, later acts ss if she didn’t know how to handle the man. It gets on my nerves and it was the major gripe I had with the drama. I can accept it sometimes, but if this drama aspired to be modern, then have Yoko as the lead girl, not Makoto.
+the cast pulls it off well as they are all good actors and somehow make the story more fun to watch, if it’s them. Oguri Shun is a popular actor and he somehow always manages to capture the sense of introvertism of the characters he plays. Arata was just so fitting as the quiet supporting guy here, he has something in his physiognomy that matches the character. The ensemble cast collected for the “IT crowd” ere also likeable, especially Yasuoka. Yasuoka is just a “this guy”: kind of character- he has a familiar face and it seems like he was seen somewhere before but I can’t pin down where.
+Huyga is a kind of modern Zuckerberg-type character. Therefore, he is a trendy character type. A bit neurotic, introverted, self-centred, reserved, clumsy but entrepreneurial, a modern entreprenur, a computer whizz kid, but with an attiude that brings success in buisness, doing what he likes for money, and it is a valid and interesting idea to do a drama focusing on such a character. At the same time, he is impoverished in emotional sphere, while Makoto isn’t. Moreover, Makoto oes not belong to the same successful environment as Yoko and Asahina. She is different and she can teach Hyuga the value of struggling, which he previously didn’t kno. So the argument partly against my evaluation is that Makoto is the rich girl coming to save the poor man.
+lovable chemistry between leads-no matter how much I may protest against the typical heroine that Makoto is and her overall silliness, the chemistry with Huyga is good.
-departs from lovely japanese productions and becomes more korean like in its rhythm and pacing- whether this is good or bad is a matter of perspetive, for me personally it is not what I look for in Japanese dramas.
+the same pattern as in buzzer beat (another j drama from the same director, also a romance) it has this buzer beat feel to it that bugged me.
-the music is mediocre-it quickly gets old because it’s repeated all the time. It’s very annoying when they repeat the same song over and over again, at least it is for me. And they do it in the same way that Buzzer Beat did. That’s partly why I had that annoyingly nagging sense of ‘buzzer beat”-ness.
-there are some continuity errors sometimes. Maybe not major ones. In general the drama feels as a dished out fan service at times, despite the freshness it adds due to the setting and some ideas.
It is a fresh romance in some ways-but i really think the drama missed its potential a little-the story about an IT company and facebook-like inventions is very intereting and up to date, especially when partnership like with Asahina is involved.
All in all, most viewers will likely love it. It has all that is nowadays expected from a flashy love story. Some viewers will even needleslly bash Asahina an Yoko- both good people, but they will bash them because they will think they stand in the way of romance. I find this bashing a worrying trend, especially considering what sort of people Asahina and Yoko are.
All in all, however the cast did a wonderful job, the acting is natural and it does make the drama enjoyable. I liked the friendship parts and the overall feel of the IT/modern business venture but the drama could have been better overall, done more to develop the theme, but it was an overall good mix. So if you look for a modern love story which feels more like a standard korean drama in its feel and pacing more than like a japanese drama and you like or don’t mind the typical elements I’ve mentioned, this is one to watch.
It’s a story where the self-centred and insecure lead changes somewhat thanks to the help of a ditzy naive heroine. In thos respect, it reminds me of another drama, Hotaru no Hikari, except Hotaru has much more determination than Huyga. In both cases we are dealing with people with some issues who need to work it out in order not to lose not only themselves, but the most important thing they have gained. They are both slow on the uptake in this process and have to deal with their own self-centeredness.
But Yoko and Asahina deserve more understanding, they do not deserve the immature bashing as they are modern characters. Especially Yoko: such a strong, decisive, wise woman, Asahina too deserves some credit and he didn’t get it, which consequently lead to what it has. How is it always living in someone’s shadow? He knows well. This partnership has some issues to resolve as a result, but again this doesn’t go too deep (unfortunately) and is shown from just one perspective most of the time, that’s why I wasn’t too happy, aside from the typical characters and plot twists types used. Perhaps because it was just one perspective, viewers find it easier to bash such a character instead of trying to understand him..it’s like the drama creators want this character and Yoko to be bashed until the very end, and that is precisely what I mean by a worrying trend. It also relies on some typical twists and turns..however, the conventions actually work for these two characters, it may have been clumsy otherwise.
In short, Rich Man poor woman ends up being a trendy romcom, with some gimmicks that create a sense of freshness, but it is enjoyable.