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Yasuko to Kenji Ep 1-10 (complete) November 11, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Drama, TV.
Tags: , , ,

Yasuko to Kenji promo

Yasuko to Kenji promo


I recently finished watching the drama Yasuko to Kenji. Of course, most of the drama I watch are comedy romances based on manga and this is little different. This one’s based on a manga by Aruko (ok, I hadn’t heard of it before the drama aired…) and really enjoyable.

The story is about an ex-biker gang leader Kenji, who gives up his old ways to look after his younger sister Yasuko when their parents die in car crash. Kenji becomes a best-selling shojo manga artist (!) to support them, but finds it hard to control a younger sister now well into her rebellious teens and itching for romance. The series follows their relationship, tested by the appearance of a romantic interest for Yasuko and an old rival of Kenji’s.

(Spoiler alert: Some spoilers in the discussion, so don’t read if you don’t want to know).

I really like this series. First off, it’s really really sweet, which earns its first thumbs up from me. Second, it’s very funny (thumbs up x2). Kenji, being a hot-headed ex-biker, often loses his temper in a strop of epic proportions. The running gags are the family’s maligned coffee table and Kenji’s constant macho posing, in the form of ridiculous facial expressions, done extremely well by Masahiro Matsuoka (from the pop group TOKIO). As stupid and repetitive as this is, I couldn’t help but laugh every time!

Being a typical Jdrama, it does suffer from some repetitiveness besides the gags. The first half of the series follows a pretty standard formula: Yasuko dreams up some plan to spend time with her object of affection Jun, Kenji tries to stop her, someone gets in trouble and Kenji/Erika come to the rescue (to the sound of TOKIO’s Amagasu insert song). The general plot moves little during the first half, and hten gets pretty random through the second half, but it’s still enjoyable and the series does pick up some momentum, and new stories, toward the end.

That lack of decent pacing probably stops this from being a really great series for me, but it’s definitely sweet and enjoyable enough to have worked it’s way into my affections. I really liked the Sakuraba Reika Keni-is-secret-shojo-mangaka angle. And as an elder brother myself, I can really identify with a brother wanting to look out for his sister, and the problems trying to do that as your sis gets more independent.

I am definitely a big fan of the ErikaXKenji pairing and Erika’s struggles to marry her angry ex-biker self with the sweet, infatuated girlie side of herself and her love for a guy who’s just too thick-headed to see it. But whilst I did like that I was also a little disappointed that they softened the independent side of her character so much. Although Erika is intended to be a tough, independent woman, and starts out that way at the start, by the end of the series she’s pretty much portrayed as a girl who just wants a strong, confident guy to rescue her. I guess that’s pretty much what a lot of us want (though not necessarily a guy…) but I do feel she could have done more to capture Kenji’s attention without resorting to cliched girlie acts. At the end she’s  left to the captured princess role, when I was really hoping she’d bust herself out of those ropes and take part in the ass-kicking!

The YasukoXJun pairing was more boring. I can’t say I see the attraction of Jun myself; he’s a bit wet for my tastes. But, as readers of this blog will know, I’m a huge Tabe Mikako fan and will watch pretty much anything with her in it. No-one does spacing-out-into-her-own-dreamworld-talking-to-herself-whilst-everyone-wonders-what-the-heck-she’s-doing like Mikako-chan.

The music of the series is also worth pointing out. I really liked the score and as far as insert songs go, Amagasu is very catchy and appropriate. I’ve pretty much had it on repeat since I finished the series. Altogether now, “待って…”

The end of the series is also worth a shout. Whilst Erika’s role did disappoint me, the overall ending was all a fan could ask for, particularly the epilogue. I cried myself silly once Yaskuko started reading “私の兄ちゃん” (My older brother is…), which is of course how the whole series kicked off. Overall, if you like sweet comedy manga like I do, Yasuko to Kenji really delivers. I wonder what the manga is like and if there’s a scanlated version available?


1. bane - January 1, 2009

by any chance, do you have a link to yasuko to kenji’s OST…?

2. ayasawada - January 3, 2009

Unfortunately no. I’ve also been looking for one, but I find dorama OSTs are quite hard to find. If you come across a link do let me know please!

3. Japanese film at #LFF 2012 « Canned Memory - October 21, 2012

[…] the ever-reliable Teriyuki Kagawa and Ryoko Hirosue, who I’ve had a soft spot for since Yasuko to Kenji) and so full of heart you’ll be smiling your face off, it was a wonderful way to finish off […]

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