Monday, August 6, 2012
Otomen is a drama adapted from the manga by Aya Kanno. It covers the story up to volume 9 or 10. I have read the manga too and it is currently ongoing.
Otomen centres around Asuka Masamune- a high school boy who looks manly on the outside and is also the captain of the school kendo (a type of martial art with wooden swords) team and kendo champion. However, his real personality is nothing like this. He likes to cook, sew, read shojo manga and loves sweet things (I don't think this is a feminine attribute though) and sparkly and cute stuff in general. When he instantly falls for the transfer student Miyakozuka Ryo, his secret is in danger of being exposed. Since the name of the story is Otomen and not otoman, strangely all of Asuka's friends are otomen. Juta Tachibana, his close friend and playboy is in fact a shojo manga writer who writes the love story of Asuka and Ryo. The manga is a superhit and both Ryo and Asuka are fans (they don't know it is about them). His kendo rival Tonomine is an otomen with interest in makeup. Another member of his kendo club is also an otomen with a feminine appearence.
I have to say, there is hardly any romance in this drama. Ryo does not feel romantically towards Asuka until very late in the drama. There is no kiss and the one hug that happens is in the last scene of the last episode. (Sigh) This drama is mainly about friendship and the problems affecting otomen in Japanese society and in a sense, Asuka, rather than Ryo is the main character.
I really loved the characters who have so much depth. Most characters also look like their manga counterparts (especially Tonomine- perfect casting). They stick together with each other and you find such unlikely friendships blossoming (like Tonomine-Tachibana). The episodes are quite interesting and it is difficult to get bored, just don't start watching expecting a drama with a lot of romance. The relationship between Ryo and Asuka for most part remains friendship.
The main thing was that while these guys have some slightly unusual interests, they did not seem girly to me in any sense. I mean how can cooking, makeup and liking sweet things classified as girly? So many cooks, makeup artists and pattissers (okay, I don't know the spelling) are men. No one accuses them of being girly.
There are funny parts and touching parts in this drama. This is a great watch is you want some light comedy or just something interesting. The episodes are short and there are not too many.
Short episodes and tight storyline
Kaho was a really bad choice for Ryo (there is no physical similarity and she was just too feminine to be a tomboy. I didn't think she acted too well, either)