Usually I prefer waiting for a drama series to finish airing in its entirety before starting to watch it. This way I don’t stuck halfway through the season, waiting for weeks hoping for somebody to post subtitles. However, subbing teams are so on the ball nowadays that during this summer drama season, I’ve been following two series as they air. They’re so quick and reliable that you can download both the newest episode and the accompanying subtitles within a couple days of the Japanese airing. As always, check out the community at D-Addicts for details on the hottest dramas, new and old.
Coincidentally, I caught the premiere episodes of both these series “live” on TV while I was in Japan. One show is called Papa to Musume no Nanokakan and stars Aragaki Yui. I’ll talk about that one next time.
The topic for today is the comedy Yama Onna Kabe Onna, which stars Itoh Misaki, probably best known as the elegant Hermes lady in the drama Densha Otoko. She plays a luxury bag saleswoman named Aoyagi Megumi who works in a premiere Ginza department store. Unfortunately, her work attire isn’t very flattering; for that classic Hermes / Itoh Misaki look, you’ll have to wait for the scenes when she’s not at work.
Anyway, Aoyagi is a top selling bag saleswoman, but she has one small problem: she’s quite self conscious about her chest. That “A cup complex” is compounded when a new girl, Mariya Marie (played by Fukada Kyoko), with an enormous bust is transferred into the department store. She just so happens to be an excellent saleswoman as well, which makes Aoyagi feel even worse.
If you know Japanese, the title of this show now makes perfect sense. Yama Onna = mountain woman. Kabe Onna = wall woman.
As you might expect from the premise, breast related humor is very prevalent in Yama Onna Kabe Onna. On the serious side, the focus seems to be on Aoyagi struggling with her insecurities, though there’s also a little lecturing on what it means to work in a department store and to offer premium service. If you’ve ever been to a Japanese mall (or even a Japanese-owned mall in Taiwan or other Asian countries), you should be quite familiar with that level of service.
But for the most part, the show is about:
And what the heck, for good measure:
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Yama Onna Kabe Onna is funny and Itoh Misaki is charming as always. However, four episodes have aired so far and it’s been pretty one-dimensional up to this point. I don’t expect that’ll change much, but stay tuned for a post-mortem when the series is finished in a couple months. I think there’s eight episodes left.
Other characters of note:
Ooyama Haruka (played by Koike Eiko). She is Aoyagi’s hostile rival, both professionally and romantically. She doesn’t miss an opportunity to get a jab in about Aoyagi’s chest. Quite evil looking, I must say. In real life, Koike Eiko is a gravure idol with plentiful assets.
Yoshino Kanako (played by Uehara Misa). She is a co-worker of Aoyagi and a supporting character who’s there for comic relief. You might remember Uehara Misa from the drama Nodame Cantabile, where she played Chiaki Shinichi’s ex-girlfriend.
Airing Summer 2007