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Synopsis:

The story revolves around a young woman named Mei, who was rescued as a young girl by someone calling himself her “butler.” With only a vague memory, though, the experience seems like just a dream. But one day, after her parents’ accidental death, he appears: Rihito comes from a line of outstanding butlers, and he has been appointed to serve her! Now her ordinary life has completely flipped, as she discovers that she’s actually the heiress to a fortune, and is forced to transfer to St. Lucia Girls’ Academy, where all the students have butlers! As a result, her childhood friend Kento decides to enroll in a butler school so that he can stay close to her. –Tokyograph c/o DramaWiki

Directors: Ishikawa Junichi (石川淳一), Kinoshita Takao, Joho Hidenori (城宝秀則), Iwata Kazuyuki (岩田和行)

Screenwriter: Furuya Osho (古家和尚)

Based on the manga, Mei-chan no Shitsuji by Miyagi Riko

Main Characters:

Eikura Nana as Shinonome Mei
Mizushima Hiro as Shibata Rihito
Sato Takeru as Shibata Kento

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

No. of episodes: 10

Broadcast Network: Fuji TV

Airtime: Tuesday 21:00

Broadcast Period: 2009-Jan-13 to 2009-Mar-17

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

I watched this dorama mainly because I kept seeing this title every time I take a look at some of my favorite Japanese actors and actresses. It got me really intrigued that they all actually worked in the same drama together. Great feedback were also scattered all over the internet so off I went and looked for a way to watch it.

Please do take note that by the time I got to write this review I was already halfway through Atashinchi no Danshi (another jdorama with Horikita Maki as main female lead. *winks*). I’ll do my best not to mix the dramas I’ve watched and, of course, to remember as much of what I felt the entire time I was watching Mei-chan no Shitsuji.

I feel that my review for this drama is going to be veerrryy long so in a nutshell, allow me to give my final opinion about MnS:

Mei-chan no Shitsuji is a feel-good drama with quite an unrealistic plot. Stay with it until the end simply because the last few episodes are the best parts. 🙂 I’ll say that I have a love-hate relationship with it. I absolutely love the supporting cast and subplots, but I am still not too convinced of the main characters’ chemistry with each other–I have a really big problem with Eikura Nana as Mei. She’s pretty and apparently a good actress but as Shinonome Mei, she seemed really awkward to me. :/

Now, you may continue reading from here or you may choose not to. As I’ve said, I think this will turn out long.

To make it more organized, allow me to start with the drama’s strengths:

The Supporting Cast. As was mentioned above, I found this drama through the cast profiles. I had no idea about the actress for the titular role (Eikura Nana), but I do have an idea about Mizushima Hiro (Zettai Kareshi, Hana Kimi) and the numerous other supporting cast.

Allow me to comment on each of the familiar people first (Sheesh, everyone in Mei-chan no shitsuji surprised me):

  • Mizushima Hiro as Rihito. I adore him and his acting and I was pleasantly surprised at how ‘serious’ his character as a butler was. I mean, hello, he was Nanba-senpai in Hana Kimi–a total playboy–and Asamoto Soshi in Zettai Kareshi–a happy-go-lucky younger brother. Then come Rihito, the ever so prim and proper butler whose actions were almost robotic in their ‘precision’. I really applaud Hiro-sama for pulling off this ‘hot and mysterious’ kind of character. I would have to suggest less squinting next time, though. But seeing as he’s now a writer, I guess that suggestion could go to the trash.
  • Oomasa Aya as Rika. This is only the second drama I’ve seen her in (excluding Hana Yori Dango 2 as her role there was completely minor), and her performance as Nakahara Sunako in Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge Live Action was admirable enough that I’m not too surprised to end up loving her role as the initially bitchy and spoiled brat but is actually a kind and loyal friend. In this drama, I really ship her with her butler, Aoyama. I swear.

'Cause I can't find a bigger picture. 😦 But they look cute, ne?

  • Iwasa Mayuko as Izumi. I would always remember her as Hibari from Hana Kimi, doing her pose with the Hibari Four. She was able to act out the silly and ikemen-obsessed Hibari and although I’ve seen hints of seriousness in that role, I was still at awe when I see her act as the most ladylike among the ladies in their class.
  • Kyo Nobuo as Nezu(chii). Remember Oscar aka Masao in Hana Kimi? Or the guy office mate who made a fool out of Riiko in Zettai Kareshi ep1? Yeah, he was the sensual and manly butler here in MnS. And for the life of me, every time I see him in a drama, I wouldn’t recognize him until I read the comments and see his name and his previous dramas. His face was that easily changeable. Someone should give him a standing ovation for all the extreme roles he could pull off. @_@

This guy is Oscar (Masao). *I died*

  • Nakabeppu Aoi as Fujiko. This girl is Nezu’s mistress and she’s equally sensual and/or liberal in her role. Little did I realize that she’s practically Jounichi Ayame in Ouran High School Host Club Live Action. You know, Haruhi’s tutor in ep 3 who wears glasses and was infatuated with Tamaki? You know, her? And then I see her in Mei-chan with no hint of a nerd in her and definitely no glasses.
  • Yamada Yu as Lucia-sama (Hongo Shiori). The first time she appeared in MnS, my first thought was that I know her. No name resurfaced when I tried to recall who she was. Then, after seeing her again, it hit me. She’s Kazama Ren’s (Miura Haruma) older sister in Gokusen 3. I keep remembering her as the girl who knew that Vice Principal Sawatari visits clubs at night. LOL. She was really kind in Gokusen then hello, she’s gone bitchy and crazy in Mei-chan no Shitsuji–being the main antagonist as she was. And don’t get me wrong here, she’s a brilliant antagonist, you know. I wanted to strangle her to death so many times.

Bitch.

  • Takagi Shinpei as Sakon and Takagi Manpei as Ukon (butlers of Mei’s grandfather). Need I say where I found out about them? The famous Hitachiin brothers of Ouran Live Action gone serious, mysterious and black-haired. Totally hotter, if you ask me. Hohoho! They didn’t have too much screen time but that’s fine. It made me treasure every moment they’re on screen. :”)

Couldn't find a screencap. Found a scanned page of the photobook instead.

  • Kutsuna Shiori as Rin. She didn’t get her own subplot in MnS but among those who didn’t, she had the most screen time. She sported a very similar hairstyle to her role as Ran in the latest Detective Conan Live Action installments but in MnS, she was more of the ‘believe in the power of the paranormal’ type than the ‘kick-ass, karate expert’ type.
  • Kojima Haruna as Nao. She had a minor role in this drama but easily noticeable if you know her as the bitchy Nana in Ikemen desu ne. 🙂

Now on to the other supporting cast that I love but never really got to watch before (or if I did see their previous dramas, I never got to notice them):

  • Sato Takeru as Kento. I got to know him because I found out that he’s going to be the Live Action Kenshin Himura/Battousai of Samurai X. That being a really popular manga/anime, it must be a real pressure on him to get even more public attention than before. Anyway, every time I see him, I can’t help but see Kamenashi Kazuya in him. I think they have very similar facial features (and probably creepy is that even their facial expressions sometimes look the same). I think he did well as Kento (he won as Best Supporting Actor, after all), the loud and rambunctious younger brother to Rihito and childhood best friend to Mei. I just wish they managed his messy hair better and that he wasn’t the exact same height (or probably shorter) than Mei. Yes, yes. Height shouldn’t matter that much but they were already having quite a difficult time with the chemistry and the height difference (similarity?) did not help at all.

See the heights? It may not be easily seen here, but really. Despite the acting, an air of awkwardness was there between them.

  • Mukai Osamu as Shinobu. He’s the best part of this drama. Period. Haha! No, really, he did well as an antagonist/protagonist depending on how you view the ending. He’s most likely an antagonist, though. I love how ‘almighty’ he looked in his all-white ensemble. His ‘I’m-always-observing-your-actions’ role was creepy and so was his evil smile but all throughout the drama, I keep feeling as if he wasn’t as bad as his creepiness suggested. I mean, he seemed to be dropping off those challenges to help Mei out more than just causing trouble. Anyway, I find him really hot and cute and handsome so I’m not going to damn him at all. XD

His white hair really made him seem god-like. Or is that just me. XD

  • Mayama Akihiro as Aoyama. He’s a cutie and I think he and Oomasa Aya should do a drama together (They might have done that already, I don’t know). He did well during the subplot for him and his mistress. The chemistry was there and more potent than the main love team, I swear. Haha!
  • Yuki Jutta as Kiba. He is so adorable! He reminds me so much of a puppy. Hehe! Not only that, he also reminds me of my KAT-TUN ichiban, Nakamaru Yuichi. They are both dorky and funny that I just want to hug them. I love his relationship with Izumi here. 🙂

Aww... So cute! I told you, he's really like a puppy. 😀

  • Horiuchi Keiko as Sister Rose (M) and Suzuki Kosuke as Sakuraba (B). I love how the director (Sister Rose) will always be seen reading One Piece manga. And I think these two embodied the Mistress-Butler role the best. I mean, everyone else looked either as love teams or brother-sister. Well, maybe except for Izumi and Kiba.
  • Yoshida Riko as Mamahara Miruku (M) and Suzuki Ryohei as Daimon (B). They’re the most brother-sister like in the drama, mostly because Miruku is practically a kid and Daimon looked like the bad-ass, gangster yet dorky older brother. I totally love the subplot dedicated to them. 🙂
  • Tanimura Mitsuki as Yamada Tami (M) and Abe Shinnosuke as Kanda (B). They’re the only other original Ombra (Shadow) rank in the school and I love how they would suddenly appear out of nowhere. They also have the most surprising development in the story so go ahead and find out what that was. 😀

The Story. The cast part must have been really long so for this one, I’m going to make it a bit short. I try my best. 😉

The story is about mistresses and their relationship with their respective butlers. Every lady should have one and each shall be loyal to their mistress. The entire thing was a bit complicated and I had a hard time differentiating the ‘love’ parts and the ‘loyalty’ parts especially between the main leads. If not for the explicit hints, I would have been totally lost.

All in all, I think that despite the story’s initially ridiculous plot, the production still managed enough entertainment value for their viewers. If analyzed, the drama even had some life lessons embedded in each of the episodes. This is what makes a Japanese drama different. 🙂

This was really a refreshing story, something I’ve never encountered before, and I honestly like the premise. I also love the lessons learned. A butler is loyal to their chosen mistresses but it takes the trust of their mistress to actually make their relationship better (disregard the butler and mistress factor and you get what they want to say). One must learn to fight for those important to him/her. And ultimately, one must be careful when dealing with wealth (and love). It could lead to insanity. :/

If there’s anything wrong with the story, I think it’s that sometimes, it seemed like they can’t decide whether to make it a total comedy or tone it down a little into something a bit more serious. But, that’s alright. 🙂

And then, here goes the weakness:

The Main Character and Plot. I had no idea who Eikura Nana is so I was reserving judgment until I watched this drama. I think she’s a really beautiful actress and her acting actually reminds me of Aibu Saki (Zettai Kareshi).

First and foremost, I really wish her hair was a bit longer than that bob cut she sported throughout the drama. I mean, something as long as Horikita Maki’s cut in Hana Kimi. Second, she’s too tall for her hairstyle and for her second male lead (Sato Takeru aka Kento). You may find this complaints silly but I think Eikura Nana knew of these problems as well, because she really seemed awkward moving around her supporting cast, seeing as how she towers over everybody else.

When she has the screen all to herself (or with Hiro-sama who’s definitely taller than her), I can see no problem at all. Those two have chemistry, I’ll give them that. Too bad, there was always some awkward stuff when she had to be with the other casts. But when she’s with everyone else, things begin to feel awkward. She also seldom stands straight when her supporting cast was around if only to avoid making her look too much of a giant. I guess it’s good that the friendship part was developed well. Else, the entire thing would really suck.

Find out which episode this is. I gave you this just because I'm so frustrated with the nonexistent "Mei and Kento" chemistry. At least in my opinion.

I went on to see some videos of her that wasn’t related to MnS and I think she did well with her acting. I guess it’s just that the drama required her to always have a lot of people around her and it was weird that she’s the tallest among everybody else. At least among the women. Now if only Sato Takeru was taller than her. :/

It was hard to see the chemistry as well because for some reason, I keep feeling that Mei’s character would accept the feelings of both Rihito and Kento one minute then disregard them the next. Then they had to work on the chemistry over again. It may just be me, though.

Mei, as a character, was sometimes really irritating. Most of the drama portrayed her as someone with no backbone and I am only thankful for the last few episodes that allowed her to develop one. At least, she’s kind. And I mean, really kind. 🙂

So, there. Sorry for making this too long to read. 😦

Over all, I think this drama is good but it isn’t the best one among them. 🙂

P.S.

You gotta love the duel parts. XD

Note:

The photos are not mine at all. Check Google images please. That’s where I found these. 😀

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