Sunday, March 10, 2013
JDrama Review: Mei-chan no Shitsuji
The Gist: Shinonome Mei (Eikura Nana) is devastated when her middle-lower class parents are killed in an accident. The blow is compounded when her estranged grandfather steps in and reveals that her family is mega rich and she is heiress. To groom her into a proper young lady, she is sent to St. Lucia's, a school where every student has a butler. Her butler is the revered Rihito (Mizushima Hiro), handsome and kind, who supports her as she integrates. Problems arise at St. Lucia's as the girls flirt with breaking the number one rule: romance with your butler is strictly forbidden! The students can't help but bond with the boys who work with them so close everyday, but the appearance of a mysterious girl threatens Rihito's place with Mei.
For such a bizarre idea MNS does a great job of showing how much the students and butlers depend on each other. Many episodes takes an in depth look at the different relationships between the girls and their butlers. My favorite is probably the episode focusing on stellar student Izumi (Iwasa Mayuko) and her bumbling butler, Kiba (Yuki Jutta). Kiba is so happy to have Izumi as a butler and their episode shows the longevity of their friendship, not to mention how much they need each other. MNS almost has you believing that it's a good idea to give all teenage girls butlers.
Rihito is supposed to be totally irresistible, hence the problem for Miss Mei. But I think Hiro goes beyond just being good looking and plays Rihito with such sincerity that he is my favorite character by miles. Hiro is a popular actor, but I just love him in everything he touches and this show is no exception. You can see his attachment to Mei beginning to be a problem and his vexation over it makes him that much more likable. He wants to be honorable, but his dedication to Mei is the highest priority.
I love how well developed the students in Mei's class are. Rather than just being an undefined blob of women, I felt that by the end of the show I knew each character well (their butlers too!). Her class is really a stand in family for Mei and the bonding between the girls is just as important as their bonds with the butlers.
Played by Sato Takeru, Kento is Rihito's younger brother and Mei's childhood friend. I feel in every show there's at least one character that gets shafted and Kento is one of them for MNS. Not nearly as good looking as his brother, he doesn't have Rihito's skills either. No matter how you look at it, Kento is pretty much inferior. He's also known Mei for much longer, but he doesn't really stand a chance at getting her. You have to appreciate just how hard he tries though.
This is pretty much a problem for most dramas, but the premise for MNS is almost kinky. Let's get some high school girls and stick young men next to them as servants. It's so unrealistic it hurts, but at the same time, the show is so compelling that you can't help but enjoy it. It also leads to some fabulous comedic moments. This is one of those times where you have to look at this show like a cartoon.
1.The Obvious Problem
How can you stick young men in rooms with young women (yes: they LIVE together) and then forbid them from messing around? It's just not practical. Isn't that entrapment? It's essentially setting the girls up for failure. I get that there has to be something stopping that to make their situations work, but the girl's closest relationship is with her butler. Unless your butler is mean and ugly, I'm just not seeing this as smart. This is one of those times where the setup is too far, even for a drama.
Final Grade: B-
Picture Credit: dramacrazy