This is my first Japanese drama in a LONG time. But since I was on a roll with all those Japanese shoujo movies, I figured I would watch a shoujo drama too.
Disclaimer again, I haven’t read this manga before. Honestly, majority of the reason why I started watching it was because of Dean Fujioka, who I first saw in the Taiwanese drama, Miss No Good. That man is TOO FINE. Asians seriously don’t age. Like seriously, he looks exactly the same as he did almost 10 years ago.
Anyways, back to our drama, Please Love the Useless Me is actually a pretty good title for this show/manga series.
The drama revolves around our main character, Shibata Michiko, who starts the drama off jobless, poor, with no prospective husband in sight. For a 30 year old in modern day Japan, apparently she ain’t doing too hot. Even though she was seeing a college student on occasional “dates”, it definitely wasn’t anything serious or anything healthy. Michiko was practically this kid’s bank, getting her to buy things for him like food and even a new bag, leaving nothing for herself.
It’s because of this that we learn right away that Michiko has this desire to want to help anything that looks like it might need it, animals and people alike. It’s sweet, but in her current financial situation, it’s definitely not the best.
On her way home one day, she runs into her old boss, Kurosawa Ayumu, who she calls “Shunin” or “chief” in Japanese. He picks up on her desperate situation as he cooks a meal for her back at his place and hires her to work part time at his new cafe, Himawari. He also offers her a room in the upstairs residential area that he also lives in. All free of charge. With a deal this good, Michiko accepts, kicking off our drama.
Of course along the way you also have the budding romance between her and Shunin coupled with all the friendships that she makes with literally everyone she meets. It’s obvious that Michiko needed a lot of guidance to find herself and that’s exactly what each person did for her, with a different person offering her advice on separate aspects of her life. With their help and a bit of self searching, Michiko learns how to stand up for herself, shedding her image as a doormat. She learns what it means to truly become an adult, along with realizing the painful realities that come with adulthood. Michiko starts off the drama as literally a useless 30 year old, skimming her way through life and ends the drama knowing who she is and how to live life, embracing her age and everything that comes with it.
Honestly, this drama didn’t WOW me, but I still very much enjoyed watching it.
It was cute and fluffy and everything that I wanted out of a shoujo adaption, but there was nothing too too special about it, other than the fact that the main character was in her 30s instead of the usual high school girl.
Though I think for me, it made it all the more relatable since I’m just starting my young adult years. I feel Michiko’s struggle 100%.
Dean Fujioka, of course, was adorable as usual, though his acting in here was a little drier than what I’m used to from him in Taiwanese dramas. I mean, it’s a totally valid thing for a person to be more comfortable with acting in one language over another. I’m not sure which one Dean is actually more comfortable with but from the looks of it, I’d say his acting is a bit better when speaking in Chinese (something we also got to see in this drama for a few minutes). His character, Kurosawa Ayumu, also had issues of his own but you can see the character development and the progression of healing and growth by the end, although the final result came a tad bit abruptly.
Fukada Kyoko was definitely on fire as Michiko. Her cute, lively smile reflected Michiko’s bubbly personality and her acting was probably the best I’ve seen from a Japanese drama/movie. There were changes in her vocal tone and facial expressions while still maintaining the persona of Shibata Michiko. She made the character seem more relatable and realistic. ESPECIALLY when it came to all those scenes where Michiko would stare lovingly at meat.
I FEEL YOU.
Fukada Kyoko gave Michiko such an amazingly developed 4D personality. It definitely helped the drama along in that it made it easier to digest, take in, and immerse as the viewer. A bit of good acting definitely goes a long way in the whole viewing experience.
And this cast was FULL of amazing actors, not only just the two mains.
My personal favorite character (besides their kitty, which Michiko fondly names after Grade A beef – Eigou) would have to be Ikushima Akira, who’s played by Nonami Maho. Amazingly headstrong yet down to earth, this lady comes storming in during her first scene and smashes the plate Shunin was holding. Her first impression might not have been the best but redemption is made later on in the drama as she befriends Michiko and constantly helps her through all the issues that pop up in her life. Her ability to keep Michiko stable in times of uncertainty made her such a strong supporting character. One of the best I’ve seen so far out of all dramas I’ve watched.
And what would a shoujo drama be without romance right?
And what would romance in a shoujo drama be without “interference” from the second male lead?
I have to say, Mogami Dachi wasn’t too difficult for me to approve of. Right away, this guy had an award winning personality with a cute face to match. Though it was hinted in the beginning that he was a bit of a playboy, I appreciate the fact that he changed his ways after meeting Michiko. I could totally see why people would enjoy their love line rather than the main Michiko-Shunin love line, but to me, something about Mogami’s interactions with Michiko, especially after they got engaged, seemed a tad off to me.
Their relationship was EXTREMELY rushed with little to no time to actually get to know each other. I feel like he was just riding the honeymoon period train all the way to the engagement and even during it’s short time. To me, that’s not really a solid foundation to start from.
Shunin and Michiko obviously appealed more to me, not because they’re the main couple in this, but because their chemistry in the context of the drama was always on fire. They way they interact and talk as friends, they fact that they live together and know each other’s habits, likes, and dislikes, and the sacrifices they made for each other all were too cute. From all the little knocks on the forehead to their final kiss at the end, Michiko and Shunin’s attraction was obvious from the first episode but developed more as the drama went on.
All in all, Please Love the Useless Me was a good but not spectacular coming of age, rom-com shoujo drama. Watching this made me appreciate my newly found young adult life a bit more and has definitely made me want to read the manga. Though it wasn’t mind blowingly amazing, it was still the feel good drama that I was looking for so this is a win in my book.
Rewatch: Probably not