007. ⎡パパドル!⎦/ “Idol Papa”

It’s been a while!  I’ve been pretty busy with work, but now I want to hunker down and get a post out.

So, first I want to say that I recently watched the first episode of Nishikido Ryo’s latest drama, “Papa wa Idoru” (a remake of “Mama wa Idoru”, a 1987 drama starring female idol Nakayama Miho).  But first let me tell you a little story…

Ryo says, “Let’s go!”

I first started getting into Johnny’s because I had watched “Hana Yori Dango”.  It was a cheerful-looking drama, and I really liked Matsumoto Jun after seeing it, despite his awful, awful hair.  I then watched “Kimi wa Petto” and “Gokusen” and found out that he was in a boyband called Arashi.  So I started watching their variety shows and decided that I liked Nino a lot, too.  I watched “Letters From Iwo Jima” and some of his dramas, namely “Stand UP!!”, and saw Yamashita Tomohisa (YamaPi).  I thought he was adorable and found out he and I were the same age AND he was in a boyband from the same company as Arashi called NEWS.  So I started following NEWS.  NEWS was fun, though a little on the young side.  Then Nishikido Ryo caught my eye.  He seemed pretty sarcastic and intelligent (not to mention arrogant), and somehow a bit set apart from the rest.  I watched “1 Rittoru no Namida” (“1 Litre of Tears”) and loved him in it.  Then I found out that he actually straddled two groups, and the other group was called Kanjani8.  Kanjani8 was something seen as a comedic, outlying group of Johnny’s…like an indie version of a Johnny’s group.  They weren’t polished idols, but almost obnoxiously loud and boisterous guys.  And they are hilarious.  Ryo is a completely different person when he’s with them…more of what feels like himself.  Gone is the arrogance, and in its place is just plain quiet confidence.  K8 easily became my favorite group, and my all-time Johnny’s ichiban (that is, #1) is their Maruyama Ryuhei.  I went to so many of their concerts during my 3 years in Japan that I no longer remember how many I saw >_<.  And yes, they are just as awesome live, haha.

Kanjani8 in their “Eight Ranger” concert costumes

Anyway, I thought this post deserved that preface with my history of Johnny’s-love in it.  I like other Johnny’s groups, too (namely Tackey & Tsubasa and TOKIO), but Arashi and Kanjani8 hold special places in my heart.  And while I say I’m not a Ryo fan anymore, I indeed was one at one point in time and can remember it well…  Ryo is easily the most popular member of K8, along with Ohkura Tadayoshi.  That’s why I thought it very fitting that he was chosen out of the group to play the lead role.

Kanjani8, minus Ryo

The backstory of the drama is that while Nishikido was getting a bit worn down from being an idol, he met a convenience store worker who didn’t know who he was but was kind to him just the same.  He begins to visit her regularly at the store during her shift at night.  She finds out who he is and avoids him from the shock.  Dating an idol would be difficult, and she has her kids to think about.  However, both of them suffer from their separation and they eventually become serious about each other, leading up to Ryo’s proposal. But we are reminded that in the idol world, boyfriends/girlfriends/lovers/husbands/wives are a big no-no because an idol’s job is to create dreams for their fans – to be the ideal boyfriend/girlfriend.  At the end of the first episode, Kanjani8’s strict and fearsome manager lays it out for Ryo – he has 3 months to either break up with the girl or quit Johnny’s.

Ryo and “Haru-chan”

I actually thought the first episode was well executed.  Rather than just giving us the backstory verbally with a montage or something, they showed us.  They explained the relationship and the feelings behind it, and we are expected to see that there was indeed some character development for the two main stars.  While the situations and some of the dialogue are far-fetched and unrealistic, the emotions feel pretty real, which makes up for the mediocre jokes.  Plus, as a Johnny’s fangirl, I’m TOTALLY excited to see that both Arashi and Kanjani8 members make regular appearances in the drama.  AND we have Joshima from TOKIO playing Ryo’s senpai/friend/advisor!

I recommend watching at least this first episode to see if it’s your cup of tea.  I have this theory that you can tell whether a drama will be good or bad by the 4th episode.  If the 4th episode blows you away, you should definitely watch the rest of the episodes and they will be worth it, even if episodes 2-3 were only so-so.  However, if the 4th episode is pretty lacklustre, it’s probably not worth it to watch the rest of the drama.  We’ll see!!

But I give the episode a B/B+ – a good first episode that does a reasonable job of explaining as much backstory as necessary, while being charming and setting in motion on the point of the story as well.  Dialogue is mediocre, but acting is relatively well done and the episode did not drag, but felt well-paced.

Ryo’s happy with my assessment!

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