Episode: Episode 1/10 of completed JDrama series adapted from a Josei manga series (English sub version)
Other Names: Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai
Online: Wikipedia (Re: Manga), MyDramaList, AsianWiki, IMDB, KissAsian, DramaCool
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Drama
I first came across Please Love the Useless Me via the manga version mid-July of last year. It was a quirky little tale of a 30-year-old woman looking to change her life after spending much of her adult life making bad if good-hearted, decisions. I had to stop reading because I was up-to-date with the chapters available online and look forward to catching up with the last few volumes that recently became available. If you aren’t already familiar with the manga, I highly recommend that folks check it out online.
When I first heard that there was a live-action adaptation of the manga series Please Love the Useless Me several months ago, I brimmed with anticipation at the possibilities. After all, I really like this good-hearted, quirky, romantic comedy. The first episode well and truly surpassed my expectations.
Michiko Shibata has some problems. On top of being fired from her last job, she is also unknowingly being scammed by a younger, attractive man. With funds quickly running out and debt growing due to her poor decisions, Michiko comes across her former boss, the stern Ayumu Kurosawa whilst attempting to steal cat food from under a park bench. And with a simple noisy declaration about her desire for meat, Michiko is taken under the wing of her old boss in his newly purchased family restaurant. So begins a grand adventure for a woman, wherein she meets new friends and learns a lot about Ayumu in the process.
From the outset of the show, I was extremely impressed with how closely it follows the manga. Many of the scenes are nearly word-for-word and play-by-play. Apart from a few irrelevant scenes being chopped, this first episode does a really good job of conveying the style and emotion of the manga.
The casting is spot on, with the leads of Dean Fujioka as Ayumu Kurosawa and Kyoko Fukada as Michiko Shibata. Some of you might be familiar with Dean Fujioka from a number of other dramas and full-length films. He also has a lengthy music career, recently having his song History Maker popularised in the anime sporting drama Yuri on Ice!!!. Yes, that was him. After seeing Kyoko Fukada’s role in this episode, I will likely track down more of her own work as well.
As for the other roles, I was very impressed with the other choices, with a special place in my heart for Takayuki Suzuki who plays the tall and gruff former Yankee Manabu “Terii” Terui. In the first scene that he appeared, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how well he channelled the character. I doubt that there are many actors that could have managed the character’s posture, vocal mannerisms and expressions anywhere near as well as he did.
All in all, I really enjoyed the first episode and look forward to watching the remaining nine instalments of the series. I highly recommend this series to anyone that enjoys comedies with a slight romantic bent, that feature characters that are in their late 20’s to early 30’s. If you do check out the series, be sure to let me know what you thought of it.