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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Renai Jidai (J-Drama) First Impression Episode 1

11:17 AM Posted by ninja , No comments
Drama: Renai Jidai (J-Drama)

Synopsis: Based on a Japanese novel of the same name, this story is about a divorced couple who are frustrated that they keep eating meals together despite their divorced status. After another their usual fights, the couple decides that the only way to end their unusual relationship if they set the other person up with a potential mate.

Sitting in a fancy restaurant, a server presents a couple with a bottle of champagne to celebrate their anniversary. A rather awkward silence falls when the woman tells the server that they are not married but divorced after two short years of marriage. A short argument immediately ensues as the man argues with the woman that they only lasted 1 year and 5 month not two years.
Haru Eto and Riichiro Hayase met four years ago at Riichiro's bookstore. The couple quickly fell in love and got married. We are not told yet of the reason why their marriage ended up in divorce but Haru and Riichiro both agree that they can hardily be near each other without arguing.
Despite having been divorced for over two years, Haru and Riichiro still meet each other for dinner... even when they don't plan to. After another unintentional dinner meet up (since their taste in food is so similar) that resulted in the usual familiar argument, Haru and Riichiro decide that the only way they can stop their weird association with each other is for them to help the other person find a spouse.
In a flash back we find out that on the day of his wedding Riichiro was so nervous that he poured out all his uncertainty to a staff at the reception hall. After patiently listening to a freaked out Riichiro who feels like he is being boxed into a trap, the kind staff, Shohei vehemently tells Riichiro that he is the luckiest man to be so loved by a girl. Thanks to Shohei's words, Riichiro calmed down and was able to go through with the wedding.
As Riichiro is having flash backs to his wedding jitters, he suddenly finds none other than Shohei standing right in front of his bookstore.

After the necessary polite chats, Riichiro admits to Shohei that he is already divorced from Haru when she comes up during their conversation. Once Shohei processes the news of Riichiro's divorce and receives the answer from him that he has no feelings for Haru anymore, Shohei eagerly asks Riichiro to set him up with Haru. Apparently Shohei couldn't stop thinking about how beautiful Haru was on her wedding day even after all these years. 
In the mean time Haru is having a difficult time figuring out who she can set Riichiro up with. Grasping at straws, Haru decides to call in to her father's love advice radio program to ask for advise. Disguising her voice, Haru tells her father of her dilemma. It doesn't take Daddy Eto (Haru's father) to figure out from Haru's words that she still loves Riichiro but just has no idea how to stop fighting like children whenever they are together. Daddy Eto tells Haru "Instead of introducing someone new to your ex-husband why don't you introduce the new you to him? A new matured you."
Making up her mind that she is going to follow her father's advice, Haru is just about to tell Riichiro her decision to introduce herself to him when Shohei walks in. Ignorant of how upset and hurt Haru must be, Riichiro introduces Shohei to Haru as his choice for her date.

Swallowing her hurt forcefully, Haru tells Riichiro to leave them so she can get to know Shohei.
Hesitantly, Riichiro proceeds to leave the restaurant at Haru's request, but couldn't stop himself from looking back at Haru before he walks away.
Haru shows up to work as the swimming instructor at the gym and is thoughtful when an old schoolmate asks her "Do you know any good man around here?"

First Impression:
For those of you who are veteran K-drama watcher you are probably familiar with this show Alone in Love (2006) 
Renai Jidai is based on the exact same Japanese book so if you have watched Alone in Love then you should be familiar with Renai Jidai's story. I only watched two episodes of Alone in Love back when it aired so I can't put in my 2 cents on how the two shows compares exactly. However, from what I remembered, Alone in Love had a more serious tone while the Japanese version definitely has the trade mark Japanese humor going in it. Alone in Love has long been one of those K-drama classics so I am sure it is well done, but I am liking the quirkiness in the Japanese version. 

As far as the story goes, the premise is certainly an interesting one. Two people who divorced because they can't stop fighting but after two years are still very much involved with each other's life. Moreover, it is obvious that despite the fighting the two enjoys each other's company and even separately admits to those close to them that they enjoy the fights in a way. It is the classic "Can't live with you but can't live without you" kinda relationship. 

It will certainly be interesting now that our two leads are going to start meeting other people. It begs the question if the personality problems they have with one another will exhibit themselves in other relationships. However, what happens if their immature action with each other is the direct result of the tendency to be at your worst with those you love the most? Hmm... but aren't you suppose to be with those who bring out your best side? You know the K-drama famous hero line "You make me want to be a better man"? 

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