Tuesday, May 19, 2015

天皇の料理番 レビュー (Tennou no Ryouriban Review - mainly my thoughts, expect nothing professional)

As I prepared my dinner, (two waffles smothered in butter and sprinkled with some brown sugar, and a big juicy orange) I thought happily about finally being able to watch 佐藤健 (Satou Takeru) acting again. Then, as I made my way up the stairs to the attic that is my room, I quickly found the first episode and prepared to be blown away by awesomeness. But-
let's just say, this drama is not what I initially thought it would be.
I will now present to you, my review and thoughts about the first episode of 天皇の料理番 (Tennou no Ryouriban - The Emperor's Cook)

Guess who's who!

Right, first off, apologies for any spoilers.
Second, this episode is over 94 minutes long - rivaling a Sherlock episode. I've not checked the length of the second ep, so this one could just be long because it's an introductory episode (more like a mini movie. heh).

Adorable Vicious manslayer
Look at this cutie

佐藤さん plays as Tokuzou, the bumbling village idiot.

Yep, you read it right. The famed and vicious 非村剣心 (Himura Kenshin) is now a good-for-nothing fool.

Talk about drastic.



Initially, I was expecting Tokuzou's character to be ...  how should I say it, decent, or at least mildly idiotic - but I had definitely not expected him to be yelling and throwing tantrums and peeing in his pants in his sleep at  16 years old (spoiler alert!). However, this goes to show how brilliant 佐藤さん 's acting is. To be able to pull that off, one can only be Mr. Bean, and I can say, Tokuzou very much reminds me of Mr. Bean (I often find myself cringing from his stupidity every time I see him on screen. Sorry, Mr. Atkinson.) Only one reason kept me going through the whole 94 minutes, and that was 佐藤健. Okay, that's pretty shallow, but I did say I very much wanted to watch his new drama right? Of course I have to watch the whole thing!

Though, to call me a fan of his, I'd say you've hit the nail on the head, but I don't feel as worthy to call myself that, especially when I'm comparing myself to those who have devoted their waking hours to uncovering bits of information on him and saving all his pictures into a secret folder somewhere - I don't really have the time (or translating expertise) to do so. But, I am a fan of his skills as an actor and his face.

Right, moving on - we find Tokuzou to be in trouble, as always, as it is revealed. (Spoilers!!) He got kicked out of the monastery. Wow, can't get any worse than that. Even more, apparently he frequently 'gets bored' of all the other dreams that he has chased over the past few years. I keep having to
What did I tell you?
remind myself that Tokuzou is 16 years old and not a twenty-something.
Long story short, in order to straighten the poor bloke up, (Spoiler!!) his parents marries him into another family. Here, we meet his wife, played by 黒木華 (Kuroki Haru. Man, I had a difficult moment trying to spell 'Haru' - it's actually another deviation for flower/hana).
She has this strange resemblance to 蒼井優 (Aoi Yuu).

Look at the cute couple sharing a moment
together. Nope, not jealous at all.
Anyway, they get along pretty well and I might just be a tad jealous and everything goes as planned - he's working for his new family, his in-laws are happy, his parents are happy, his wife's happy - until he stumbles across the wonderful world of cooking. Here, we see him gradually transform from a useless idiot, into someone who can peel a potato with a knife better than I can. Not to mention his expressions when he eats the food - priceless. Not gonna spoil this one here. Go watch the drama yourself!

Throughout the episode, we are shown the beautiful countryside of Osaka and the bustling city of Tokyo during the Meiji era (1904) - yes, expect lot's of traditional speech and clothes. The crew have done a marvelous job in re-creating these sets (one brief scene (of the set) even reminded me of the brawling scene between 剣心 and 佐之助 (Kenshin and Sanosuke) on the bridge.)

As a person who is very interested in traditional Japanese culture (日本の伝統文化 - did I get that right?) I was exceptionally thrilled to see pieces of ancient Japan play out before me and indulged myself by trying to take in as much of it as I can.

At the end of the episode, we are hinted a few things: (MAJOR SPOILERS)
1) His brother's health
2) The harsh reality of working in a kitchen as a scallion
3) The relationship with wife (possibly?)

While I was watching, I found myself gradually relating to Tokuzou's personality - not that I'm a ridiculous fool, but rather the way he gets bored with things very easily, even down to the very reasons he gives so. At a couple of moments; one, where his brother lectures Tokuzou in his room, and two, where they were conversing over a fence, it struck me - I'm in the same situation as Tokuzou. I've had many aspirations; being a chef was one of them, ironically, and being a singer as well. Hah. Similarly, I had pursued various skills and hobbies; piano, guitar, art, Japanese language (still working on that one), but many of them I've just stopped halfway through, having gotten bored of them, or feeling that I've not accomplished or am not accomplishing fast enough and given up. And it's somehow even eerie to think how I just watched a part of my personality being played out by someone I admire.

All I can say is, I can't wait to watch the next episode after I finish my final assignment and end my undergraduate studies foreverrrrrr  and I look forward to more of 佐藤さん's wonderful acting!

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