A blog about C-drama, K-drama, and the food in them that makes me hungry!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tenno No Ryoriban (J-Drama) Episode 1 Recap & First Impression

9:59 AM Posted by ninja , No comments
Drama:Tenno No Ryoriban (天皇の料理番)
Airs: Sunday

Synopsis: The story follows the life of a man who lives his life by jumping from one thing to another, finally finds his true passion in cooking and becomes the chef to the emperor by the age of 26. This show is based on a book of the same name. 
Tokuzo Akiyama, the baby of of his family... and the frustration of his parents. Alarmed to see their son dumped off at the front of their house by the monastery monks that Tokuo suddenly joined not too long ago, Tokuo's family breath a sigh of relief that he is only sleeping and not dead.

Furious that Tokuzo's latest obsession ended with whimper ... like all his other ones, Daddy Akiyama decides to marry Tokuzo off to another family. (I use the word marrying off because Tokuzo is actually marrying into his wife's family and becoming their son.)
At first severely disappointed that his wife is just a homely girl, Tokuzo seems to quickly adjust to his lot after realizing his wife Toshiko is beautiful when she smiles. A shy and quiet girl, Toshiko starts to flourish as her life with Tokuzo is filled with laughter and warmth.
Filled with happiness as a newly wed, Toshiko nonetheless starts worrying when she realizes Tokuzo has the habit of leaving whenever he finds a new obsession. Sure enough, when Tokuzo meets a military cook, Chef Tanabe who shows him a glorious world of delicious western cuisine he has never knew existed, Tokuzo's obsession takes over and he begins to skip work to learn cooking from Chef Tanabe.
It doesn't take long for Toshiko's family to catch on to what Tokuzo is doing and orders him to stop spending his day cooking. Instead of treating Tokuzo's cooking as a joke like her parents did though, Toshiko only offers him understanding and asks him about the food he is creating.
Unable to stop thinking about the world of food that is still waiting for him to discover, Tokuzo gets up in the middle of the night and packs a bag. Pretending to be asleep, Toshiko couldn't help but tear up after Tokuzo whispers an apology to her and leaves.
Arriving in the big city of Tokyo, the first thing Tokuzo does is to show up at his brother, Shutaro's apartment. Thinking this is another one of Tokuzo's latest obsession that will end in no time, Shutaro assures his father that he thinks Tokuzo will be going home soon.
Back at home, Tokuzo's parents can only hang their head in shame in front of Toshiko's parents and is even willing to give compensation for the marriage's annalment. However, Toshiko surprises everyone when she gives the brightest smile and tells them that she will wait for Tokuzo to return home. I feel so bad for this girl, Tokuzo better stay faithful to her! 
Determined to become the best chef in Japan, Tokuzo goes to a fine dining western restaurant to "do research". Totally unfamiliar with the food that is placed in front of him, Tokuzo doesn't even know how to cut the steak that is on his plate. Smiling an assuring smile at the waiter, Tokuzo shoves the piece of steak he was able to cut with great difficulty into his mouth... with the knife's sharp end. Gasping in dismay, the waiter watches as blood starts to dribble from Tokuzo's mouth. I was cringing the whole time when I was watching this scene. Ouch. 
Knowing no other way to get the fancy western restaurant to let him work there, Tokuzo starts to camp right outside of the kitchen entrance rain or shine. Surprised by his baby brother's determination, it finally occurs to Shutaro that maybe his brother is serious this time. Paying a visit to Tokuzo who is still squatting outside of the kitchen door, Shutaro tells an extremely grateful Tokuzo that his teacher has agreed to introduce his brother to one of the finest western dinning restaurant. 

Shutaro warns Tokuzo that he will need to start working as the lowest grunt employee but Tokuzo is just overjoyed to get into a kitchen in anyway.   

First Impression

What an interesting story. I will admit though that while our hero Tokuzo is a intriguing character I am kinda mad he just abandoned his wife without even having the guts to tell her that he is leaving. Now, Tokuzo's action is hardily surprising since the show has established that his mind seems to able to focus on little else other than the thing he is obsessing about. Unfortunately, I personally find it hard to be emotional invested in a lead character who seems to spare no thoughts on how his selfish action is affecting those around him so it makes it difficult for me to muster up the desire to keep watching it. However, I do think this is well made story and I am sure Tokuzo's path to greatness will come with life lessons that will teach him to start caring about others. So, if you are one of those that loves the coming of age kind of story I think this one is a good fit. 
Shutaro sneaking food to Tokuzo when his angry father hangs him on a tree
One more reason that I am hesitant to put Tenno No Ryoriban on my watch list is our hero's brother Shutaro. What an awesome character! Shutaro is everything one would wish in a brother. A wise and capable brother who obviously cares very deeply for his baby brother. BUT in the very first episode we are already seeing signs that Shutaro is probably serious ill and is hiding it from his family. Sigh... I am too scare to watch it now. 


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