Material Girl Dematerialized
Blimey… this drama is so damn bipolar. One moment it makes me looooove it with all my heart and colon; the other moment, I hated it so soooo much it gave me a ferking ulcer. One moment it served us cute fuzzy romantic squee-worthy scenes, the other moment it makes me cussing and clenching fist in agony. Seeing how it managed to make me emotionally invested like that, can we call this drama as a success story??? Huh???(Spoilert: Perfectly spilled and uncovered! Haha!)
In a nutshell: Jinno Sakurako (Matsushima Nanako) is a 27 years old woman who only loves money, money, and money. Her materialistic trait appears due to the suffering life she had when she was little, growing up in a poor fisherman’s family with many siblings. Sakurako determined to be rich and get married to a billionaire so she doesn’t have to feel the pain of poverty anymore. And fortunately, she was blessed with a divine beauty, she uses it as her ultimate weapon by working in the airline to become a stewardess in order to look for the oofy men who board in the flight.She’s also joining and conducting thousands of group date or goukon with various rich guys; looking for a richer and richer one, even though she already has a money loaded boyfriend, Higashijujyo Tsukasa (Azuma Mikihisa) at the moment.It is until one day she stumbles into one guy at the doctors’ goukon named Nakahara Osuke (Tsutsumi Shinichi) who is a rich surgeon that owns and loves horse racing, or so she thinks. Cos little did she know that Osuke’s too-good-to-be-true appearance is made of nothing but a bunch of lies; for Osuke is just a simple-life guy, who was this close to be an accomplished mathematician in the U.S, but in the halfway, had chosen to go back to his hometown in order to help his mom running the small family fish shop, ever since his father passed away.Though being a renzoku/renai, Yamato Nadeshiko feels more like a three chapters kind of dorama. Cos that’s how they play with my emotion, by chopping it in three parts. Hahahaha… *cynical laughter* The first two episodes were so cute and endearing, I could call it as “the detached chick flick” chapter. Heh. That being said, these pilots seriously put on a strong foundation for the whole drama.Ever since the scene where reluctant for goukon Osuke walked pass Sakurako and he got this sudden jabbed in his lonely vacant kokoro cos she looked exactly like his ex, Yukiko, who had left him seven years ago and he still can’t move on, this dorama clearly become the dorama that manage to make us as viewers ‘feel’ something, cos Osuke’s awestruck face when he sees Sakurako makes me like “ugh, I totally know how you feel, bro!” and it given us a legit reason to sympathize with our main dude here. While on the other hand, the misunderstood Sakurako’s next action becomes the major reciprocation to move the plot in a giant leap.Soon after, the subsequent development of the story itself was going soooo smooth like a baby’s butt; cos Sakurako, who felt finally she meets the one who ticks all her rich hubby criteria boxes, compelled to make the first move by giving Osuke her phone number; something that she had never done before. And so, the power of assumption keeps working its charm away, as it manages to blunt Sakurako’s usual materialistic judgement skill by keep feeding her own mind with “he has the pin! he’s uber rich!” assumption, despite Osuke himself has shown her lotssss of hints of his poor man-ness (get my pun here? lol…) like why he’s taking the bus if he’s damn rich like she thinks he is? Though Osuke is not lying by telling her that he left his car at home, mind you; but still, why she didn’t even bother to ask what car that he ride, like she always ask to many other guys before? And Sakurako matter of fact blindness has taken a new level of she’s being so sure about Osuke is really her ‘Mr. Right’, she dumped her bona fide pukka rich boyfriend, son of the luxurious hospital owner, Higashijujyo, like a booger on the tip of a finger, even though he already proposed to her with a giant Africa cut diamond engagement ring. Uarrgh, so much for a bling bling. Heheh…One thing that I like the most from these episodes is the sense of genuine feeling and sincerity that radiates not just from Osuke, but from Sakurako as well, though she takes a little more time to warm up to him. The first episode ends with a very very verrrry ugly platonic slash fake kisu scene that makes me go “what the…”; But actually that hammy scene serves a hidden purpose, which is to become a comparison to the second kiss scene in the lake on the second episode.If on the first episode’s, Sakurako is the one who makes the first move, it intends to show that she did it only for the money, cos she thinks that he’s the billionaire, the big fish (hey, another pun! Lol…) and she doesn’t want him to slip out from her grasp, so sealing the deal she is, and she managed to make herself unforgettable to him. Not to mention she added a bunch of pressuring words, telling Osuke that she ditched Higashijujyo for him, and he’s the one who can make her happy. And somehow, Sakurako hits the right spot by telling Osuke the answer that he’s been wanted to hear all this time, the answer that he never had a chance to hear from Yukiko.While the second episode’s, Osuke was the one who moves first, but the difference is that the way he looked at her sincerely before he comes closer; and we clearly can see some spark added with a itsy-bitsy-mini of passion in their kiss, cos Osuke kissed her for real, he’s indeed fall for Sakurako and yowza! She subconsciously felt the same way, cos she kissed him back, and yowza! I was shrieking like a trapped mouse inside, while saying my gratitude to the dorama universe for giving me another chance to feel this kind of squeeness again, cos this scene is so romantic dammit!!! Teeheeheeeee… Thank u! domo, arigatz-gatzzzz… LolAs much as I love the first two episodes, I won’t dubbed the next batch of third to seventh as something sweet and heart-warming. In fact I may as well name these as “You Can’t sit with Us” cos heccckkkk, all Sakurako do here is basically being a mean bitch to Osuke by degrading him on every. Single. Chance. She got. And Osuke always bears all her bully and keeps caring about her obviously and secretly, which makes me so GAHHHH!!! in agony over his stupidity. I mean like, seriously, how can someone put on a poker face, let alone give a little smile when the other keeps calling you poor and shoving her snotty snobby attitude onto your face?! Huh??!! There’s even one scene where Sakurako goes all the way bitchy by telling Osuke that he’s a pathetic poor blablablahhhh, without knowing the whole truth that he’s the one who helped and stayed with her all night in the hospital.
But nothing irritates me more than the scenes that appeared on the fifth episode where Osuke busting his ass to save Sakurako’s branded clothes when her apartment caught up in the fire. He managed to save only one clothes, which is the one that she wore when they first met at the goukon, cos it holds a nostalgic value. After seeing Osuke looking roasted and almost die inhaling smokes for her, Sakurako didn’t even bother say ‘thank you’, for instead she nags at Osuke for why he didn’t save her other newer clothes. Watching that scene, I was like, “what?! What?! WHATTT???!!!” O. Mai. Gawt. Dear Lord gives me strength, cos I feel like I want to slap this woman back and forth. HominaHominaHomina…And sadly for my ulcer, this shitty debacle is going on… and on… and on… like a damn vicious cycle. Not to forget, this drama also slipped in the oh-so-90s cheesy plot contrivance as the additional crackpot pissy moment (Sakurako: “Were you holding my hands all night?” Higashijujyo: (lying) “Yes, I was.” Durrrrr….!!!) Plussss, the downfall period for Osuke who almost lost all he has, despite he doesn’t have much to begin with anyway; it finally makes him take the last resort in order to protect it by going on his knees, begging to Higashijujyo. And to make matter worse, this humiliating moment was also witnessed by Sakurako.Honest to the maxes, I am so blah at this point cos this whole thing started to kill my interest in keep on going to watch this. If I finally manage to get through it all, it’s simply because I was watching these five episodes while doing my grandma-ish hobby which is cross stitching. Yesssss, I’m multitasking; that’s how I get by. Lol… And to spice the whole shit up, the fourth episode also creating the final line of creating the love rectangle, in the form of unrequited love between Osuke and Sakurako’s junior, the girl next door, Shiota Wakaba (Yada Akiko).Thankfully, Wakaba’s existence becomes a salvation for Osuke after having a hard time dealing with Sakurako, cos Wakaba is a sweet cheery young girl, who likes Osuke dearly and loves to help out at the shop as well. And Wakaba’s good-girl attitude makes Osuke’s mom takes a liking on her and gives her an indirect blessing for her to be with Osuke. Not to mention, it makes the situation between Osuke and Sakurako become tad a bit more balance, and Sakurako can’t act high and mighty anymore, since Osuke now has another girl to love–if he wants to–beside her. Hah, in your face, woman! Lol…But don’t get me wrong, cos this crossroad part were not all crappy and vain. There are couple saving graces (aside my cross stitching) that keep me in the mood, enuff to tuned in. Like Osuke’s speech on the fourth episode about love, math, and soulmate–Whew, somehow these words rhymed, lulz…–which I thought really nice and quite romantic in a geeky way, as quoted: “The Physicist Richard Feynman once said; Maths and Physics are a test given to us by God to discover the rules and laws of the Universe. No field of study comes with established laws because the Universe is full of mysteries waiting to be unraveled. If you think no issue requires in-depth study or exploration then you are just reacting to events and your life becomes meaningless… This rule of perseverance is necessary in any relationship. If perseverance is lacking, even if two people are meant to be together, they will just brushed pass without ever speaking to each other. Did it occur to any of you why we’re gathered here today ? We’re all happy today because Okamoto has met his fated person. Destiny; The most difficult enigma; Okamoto has unraveled it.” D’awww… Osuke, you romantic lil math poet… *sniffle*But then, there is one pivotal scene that happened on the sixth episode, where Osuke finally grows a little back bone to express his thought; and Sakurako, for the first time ever, saying something that actually really making sense by pointing out his quitter attitude and bad habit in making lame excuses of actually running away from reality by the time he got his heart broken.This scene is awesome cos I love how Osuke managed to utter the brutal honesty to Sakurako by not letting her trampled on his pride anymore, and yet at the same time, this scene is also the game changer, especially for Sakurako, as it marks the start of her character’s growth to become a more sensible person, and moreover, to realize that she indeed loves Osuke, even she keeps denying it over and over again in front of everyone.But also, let’s not forget Osuke’s mama intriguing words to Sakurako on the seventh episode–roughly translated–saying “Osuke may be poor but he can give you happiness cos he has this one thing that money can’t buy. You’ll know what it is when you’re together with him” And these words stuck in Sakurako’s head for a long looooong time, which in the end creating another get-together opportunity for these lovebirds in a cute low budget date. Aha, way to go Osuke’s mama!!! Woohoo! *waving lightstick*After all the high and mostly lows in the bitchy middle chapter, we finally arrive to the juicy final batch of the last four episodes. OoooohhHHhh… Why is it juicy? Well, cos it’s simply just so damn juiceeehhh! With the massive relationship development between Osuke and Wakaba, Sakurako’s mental crisis in denying her own feelings, the kokuhaku, yadayadayada, and the runaway bride, I repeat, THE RUNAWAY BRIDE!!! Geez… you don’t know how much I looove this final four episodes, cos finally the tables are turned! Starting from a little noble idiocy by our dude Osuke in escalating Sakurako and Higashijujyo relationship’s level, which makes Sakurako realizes that something’s fishy (lulz…) for she doesn’t feel happy despite she is one step away in realizing all her dream. This annoyed feeling haunts her, up to the point it became a nightmare. Well, truth be told, the nightmare is actually kinda funny and cute, with all the dancing guests and money-shaped Higashijujyo. Haha… But, the juicy part hasn’t fully happened yet, for Sakurako is showing her one last bitchiness. And this time, it was directed at her father. She’s nagging at and telling her father to wear all the branded clothes, and making him to remember her handmade scripted book of ideal daddy, before he goes to have a dinner with the Higashijujyo family; cos Sakurako happened to be soooo embarrassed by her dad who looked homely. Never mind the fact that she had stood him up the day before at the airport, or the fact that she hasn’t seen or even care enough to visit him or the family for nine freaking years. Geez, no wonder she got the bitch slap from Osuke, though she quickly retaliates by slapping him back… lulz…Bitchiness aside, Sakurako also utter her last denial to Osuke, claiming that her ‘prince’ that she has been dreaming of from little girl up until now is not him, even though the warmness of his hands and the comforting words that he says to her resonate the otherwise. But ain’t no more deny she can give, cos finally Sakurako realizes the real meaning of “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone”, with the peak reach at the tenth episode, where she becomes the runaway bride bcos of Osuke. Holey guacamoleyyy… that running scene, mixed up with the flashback montage and the background song… Ugh… perfect! just dramatically purrrrrfect-O!The thing that I love the most from this whole thing, is the way Sakurako reap her own snobby attitude and mean words that she had sown all this time. She finally realizes that even though she hate to admit it, Osuke has already gotten her heart from the very beginning. But when she finally swallows her pride and gather up her courage to confess her feelings toward Osuke, Osuke surprisingly–but not unexpectedly– decided to go William Thacker by turning her down. In that moment Sakurako realizes that she had crashed and burnt; back to square one. Well to be honest, I got no hate towards Osuke for rejecting Sakurako here, cos I think she kinda deserves it after all this time she had treated him like crap. Not to mention that he rejects her with a subtle sarcasm by telling her like, “You see, I am NO WAY your freaking ‘Prince’, cos I have no princey material whatsoever”. Lulz… And honestly again, I’m so excited to see Sakurako falling out of love for Osuke, cos I think this chick needs a little lesson of appreciation first before she can get what she really wanted and dreamed of, literally. But yet at the same time, I feel sorry for her by the time we see the way she admit her defeat in front of Sakuma and Mariko, with teary eyes, telling them that her life is basically a mess of a big zero, for she wanted so many, she didn’t get anything at all in the end.Moreover, another ugly news comes out as Osuke is decided to give another try to go studying math in New York, leaving everything and everyone behind for good. Uwauwauwa, in this kind of shitty situation, how you’re gonna recuperate, Sakurako, my child? Lulz…
When talking about a drama, the characters are definitely the inevitable and integral part that have the same importance with the plot itself. And Yamato Nadeshiko‘s characters happened to be equal with a seesaw, for each and every 2D character, there is the 3D one as the balance, with an extra ‘D’ for ‘Depth’. For example is in Osuke’s circle of tomodachi. Among the five, Kasuya Shinichiro (Kakei Toshio) and Hanabusa Reiji (Oshio Manabu) are the duo hammy, for Kasuya is just like another cardboard character of every must-have comic relief in a drama, and he’s not even that funny. While Hanabusa… errrr… Hanabusa practically looked stoned for at least 90% of his screen time, and appeared like he’s memorizing lines instead of talking to his friends.And putting these two into a romantic sub-plot with the other stewie, Okuyama Nami (Sudo Risa) is somehow not really helping much to make the drama become more interesting, imo. So, yeah… *shrug*On the contrary, I really love the characters of Tamehisa Sakuma (Nishimura Masahiko) and his wife, Mariko (Moriguchi Yoko) for despite having a quite weird and almost platonic marital life, they’re complementing each other as a couple; yet, they are also really supportive and protective–in a good way–towards Osuke. These three have been best buds ever since their college years, and Osuke is shown used to carry a torch for Mariko back then, but he decided to give up, since he knows that Sakuma also harbors a feeling for her. What I like the most from their friendship is how frank and cozy they are with each other, it almost feel like they are a family, with Osuke being their brother in law or something. Lulz… While Mariko also gives the biggest contribution in making the relationship between Osuke and Sakurako to work, by never cease in motivating and pushing Osuke to not give up over Sakurako; even when the other guys, including her own hubby, are against the idea for those two to be together.Other things that I like from their role as Osuke’s loyal friends is that Sakuma, despite his cynicism and resentment towards Sakurako, always gives her a piece of his mind as a friendly advice–like on the tenth episode–and he’s not reluctant in telling it straight to her face, for he doesn’t want Sakurako to take Osuke for granted.Kay, kay, enough with the buddies. What about the main trajectory itself? Well, appearance-wise, Sakurako may be a gorgeous posh lady on the upfront. But the truth is, her character is so shallow and 2D, it makes you feel like she’s sooo fictional. Basically she’s all like “lots of money = I love you, no money = I hate you”. That’s it. And trust me when I told you that her shallowness is so annoying sometimes; like her fixation on the pin, the way she’s theorizing about an ideal man, and also on the fifth episode when she tells Osuke, “Clothes are all I’ve got ! They’re my life !” Umm… excuse me, are you serious, mam? Really? *rolls eyes*
Not to mention that her relationship with Higashijujyo looked totally fake, it’s obvious that he’s fooling himself all this time for dating Sakurako. But yet, Higashijujyo is not a bright person either, imo, for he always let his money being spent to the extreme level by Sakurako, but he never even passed the first base. Heck, he never even reach the freaking base, or even her house cos he always shooed away in a cutesy manner by Sakurako by the time before he can take the next step onto the ladder. Oh, Higashijujyo, you poor poor soul… lol…
But later on, around the seventh episode onward, Sakurako shallowness and childishness are becoming something that amusingly adorable, for it is shown in the way she literally translated Osuke’s mama words by really really spending time with Osuke to find out about that ‘one and only thing’, and also from the way she tries to cover up her real feeling towards Osuke by mocking him in front of everyone and faking a degrading-as if I care attitude. And every time we hear her say it or act on it, it makes us want to look at each other in a secretive manner and do the “yeah yeah yeah, I know what you really mean” smirk. Teehee…If Sakurako 2D-ness is eye-rolling sometimes, then we got the three dimensional Osuke as the polar opposite. Osuke’s character come out more grounded and sympathetic, it may be due to the factor that he has more complete and complex background than Sakurako. Osuke used to be a mathematician who studied in Boston, but have to come back home due to continuing his father fish shop business after he passed away. Added as a bonus reason to come home, Osuke is also holding up a baggage of broken heart due to his long term girlfriend, Yukiko, had decided to leave him for he always become extremely ignorant of her existence, everytime he’s working on the numbers. But truth be told, Osuke is indeed a sincere and lenient of a guy, he never lost his temper towards Sakurako, even though she’s always bashing him with her mean words. But sometimes his weak determination is irritating, cos he’s a dude, for pete’s sake! Man up, and show some assertiveness, will ya? *sigh*Despite being a softie, imo, Osuke’s character is carefully written with a consideration of his flaws are made to can be only perfectly complemented like two pieces of puzzle, lock and a key, by someone who has the spunk like Sakurako, and not the calm mannered girly type like Wakaba. Most obvious example is from the way the ladies are dealing with Osuke undivided attention when dwelling with his own nerdy world of numbers.What Wakaba do is keep calling Osuke’s name or standing right in front of him, waiting for him to notice her. Upon that scene, I was like, “Oh, Wakaba, honey, it’s not gonna work, sweetie!” cos we know that Osuke is basically a one dimensional dude when it comes to this matter. From this minor thing, it’s very easy to predict that Osuke’s relationship with Wakaba will end up in the same path as with Yukiko back then; she will leave him cos she didn’t get the attention she needs.On the other hand, Sakurako’s way in getting Osuke’s attention is far more blunt and straightforward. If he’s too engrossed reading his book, then just take the book. Easy. And turns out that lil ‘rude’ way proofed to be far more effective and obvious in showing that Sakurako knows exactly how to deal with him. But that trivial matter is not the only factor that makes Osuke and Wakaba didn’t work out. Cos even though Wakaba is such a sweet girl with a good wife material and sincere love towards Osuke, she doesn’t have the most important thing which is, lo and behold! A supportive attitude towards Osuke’s precioussss mathematician dream. At every moment, Wakaba always looked doom and gloom every time Osuke starts talking about his professor or the university, and she always encourage him to stay working at the fish shop, cos it has been a fun experience for her and she wants everything to stay the same. While Sakurako, despite her irritating personality (sometimes), dares to call Osuke a wuss for quitting halfway in Boston. And she indirectly motivates him in a harsh words, that if he wants to try again, he better make it work till succeed this time, once and for all. Oho, tsundere love… isn’t that what all Osuke need, eh?But one thing admirable from Wakaba is the way she’s dealing with rejection that was allusively given by Osuke. She knows from the very start that Osuke is not in love with her, no matter how hard she tries to make him to, and she can draw her own conclusion when she’s listening to Osuke telling her that what makes him want to try again to pursue this math research thingy is thanks to Sakurako, and so on. I really like the moment Wakaba told Osuke after that, “Osuke, what you had said is the same as you tell me that you love Sakurako. That was the news flash informing that you’re in love with her.” Aha! Boom baby! Straight to the guts! Lol…By the time the situation is turning one eighty with Sakurako realized that she had lost it all, she finally comes to her senses that money is not everything. But it’s all too late, for Osuke had been gone for good to Murica. But hey, hey, hey, duncha cry ma child! Cos uncle Sakuma and auntie Mariko have the perfect gift, by giving Sakurako Osuke’s address in New York. Not to mention that they give it to her on her birthday as a ‘present’ along with a handmade cake. Awwww, don’t you love them for being the nicest besties that Osuke could ever asked? Teehee…And this time Sakurako is wasting no time as she jumped into the plane right away to the NYC, along with the rustic chameleon toy that he gave to her as a present (due to a lil cute misunderstanding between literal meaning and zero knowledge of fashion brands, lulz…); and then waiting for him in the park in front of his apartment like some kind of pigeon woman (lol). And when Osuke finally shows up, he was so effing surprised, cos he never thought that the Sakurako, the woman who has high pride, willing to go halfway round the world for only to find him. It then makes Osuke too finally learn not to running away anymore, for he able to utter those three small words that he always wanted to say to her all this time.Holy crap, my kokoro is DYING at this scene!!! Uargghhh!!! too many feels!!! Not to mention the way Sakurako tells Osuke, “I can see it, 10 years or 20 years later that I’m still by your side.” which shows a stark contrast with the way she told him the same thing back then when they first met, cos at the present moment she says those words to him sincerely in the name of luv. Aiyaiyaiyaiyaaaa… my fangirl soul, my fangirl soul!!! Gyaboooo!!! *clutching own chest* Oh, and spoily alert, the last two minutes of the final episode is pure golden, babyyy!!! 24K of squeeness.!!! Awwwwwwww…. ❤ ❤ ❤ Ooh, ooh, one more thing. Aside from many cutesy moments, Yamato Nadeshiko also has a killah soundtrack, which is Everything by MISIA. First thing first, MISIA song never fails in giving me a necessary melancholy feel, for her voice and melody really build the whole nuance of the concern dorama. Heck, it can even give a meaningful layer to a shitty crap one like Second Love. Hah! And luckily, this song was always played at the right place and the right time in almost every episode. And the remix version is also used in a couple occasion, and that, my friend, is working smoothly into the whole sequence as well. Woohoo!!! (You can listen the original and remix version here and here)Overall, Yamato Nadeshiko is a pure classic dorama with a classic plot development and contrivances that still manage to make you have this emotional rollercoaster. The way this drama executed the whole story until the very end will leave you with nothing but warm fuzzy feeling of genuine old-fashioned romance; something essential that probably had already missing from dramas nowadays.
Final Score: 85/100