Thoughts On: Kikazaru Koi ni wa Riyuu ga Atte

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Kikazaru Koi ni wa Riyuu ga Atte (There’s a Reason for Dressing Up Love) is a drama I watched quite a while ago but never managed to write about then, despite of how much I liked it. And I did like it a lot! There’s something about slice-of-life jdramas that just seem tailormade for me. πŸ™‚ No high drama just for drama’s sake or convoluted plots, relatable characters who feel like real people with real jobs they actually go to and not one uber rich asshat in sight (yey!). I’ve also come to appreciate characters that are generally really nice, even when they are supposed to be e.g love rivals. Thumbs up for loving, supporting parents as well. It’s all so refreshing after, say… kdramas with all these nasty, borderline basket cases. πŸ˜€ Besides ticking off all the right boxes, Kikazaru Koi put a big grin on my face and that is something I love in dramas these days. If you are looking for a heartwarming, “healing” drama, this might just be it.

To kick off this post, here’s a short synopsis:

Mashiba Kurumi works as a publicist for “el Arco Iris,” an interior design company becoming popular with young people on social media. She’s an influencer and a fashionista who cares a lot about her appearance and what others think. She works hard to gain the admiration of her coworkers and boss, Hayama Shogo. Kurumi is so busy with work she forgets to renew her apartment lease, so her older friend Kouko Saotome, a popular food stylist, offers to put her up in her luxury apartment. To Kurumi’s surprise, the apartment turns out to be a share house with three other occupants — Fujino Shun, a minimalist chef with a food truck, who only wants to live a simple, uncomplicated life; Terai Haruto, Shun’s cousin who works as an online counselor and Hase Ayaka, an aspiring artist who makes contemporary art while working part-time as a delivery driver at a high-end supermarket. And so, these people of different ages, occupations, and values come together under one roof. Kurumi falls in love, deepens her friendships, and learns to take off her “armor” and live as herself. (Source: TBS, translated by heart-ereki at MyDramaList – with a few additions/tweaks from me)

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I guess one could surmise that Kikazaru Koi is a jdrama version of a cohabitation romcom. The overall tone of the drama and the romances (yes, there is more than one) are pretty down to earth, which tends to be the jdrama style anyway and also tends to suit me. I loved all the main characters, each with their little quirks and flaws. They all had their own challenges to tackle and stuff to sort out, some more than others but none of it was overly dramatic. What was also missing was manufactured angst – always a big plus in my books. The couples/cohabitants didn’t always have a similar outlook on things and there were some misunderstandings but none of it took too long to sort out as these people actually talk to each other. Yes, there really are drama characters like that. XD I do like stories about “found families” and this is sortakinda like that, though there are romantic developments later on. Everyone, including Kurumi’s co-workers, are supporting and understanding when mishaps happen, things don’t go as planned or something goes south in someone’s personal life. It’s good to have friends who stand by you, even if it occasionally may take a moment before they get there.

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As the synopsis already suggests, Kurumi is the main protagonist in this drama. She is a hardworking professional and good at her job, which includes handling the company social media accounts as well as her own very prolific account, that is just at the brink of gaining 100 000 followers. To those who are not all that into SoMe (me and Shun, ha), it looks like she is shacled to her phones as she has to post something every day at given times. She seems to really enjoy it though, so all’s good I guess.

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At the beginning of ep 1 Kurumi has a meet-cute with the male lead, Shun when she looses her footing on a bus and lands on his lap. She is on her way to a meeting but unfortunately mixes up the meeting place and is now at a wrong metro station. She keeps passing on taxis to others who seem to be more in the need of them and is already running late. In the end Shun, who happens to be in the vicinity, offers her a lift in his food truck. They don’t exactly agree on certain things but Kurumi is thankful for the help, though finds him kinda flippantly rude and opinionated. First impressions can be deceiving, as we find out. Which reminds me, do watch the episodes all the way to the end as there’s always additional, meaningful info on something that happened earlier. (For better part of ep 1 I kept wondering why “Shun” / Yokohama Ryusei looked so familiar and finally had to look him up. Wadda ya know, he was one of the male leads in ‘Hajimete Koi wo Shita Hi ni Yomu Hanashi’. Looked a bit different palying a rebellious high school senior with pink hair. πŸ˜‰)

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Kurumi has been having a longstanding crush on her boss, the charming Hayama Shogo, who’s not as unaffected by her as it seems. The company is in the process of launching their first physical store and the staff are all busy getting ready for it. Out of the blue Hayama asks Kurumi if she would like come to watch cherry blossoms with him once the opening event is over. She’s quite surprised but happily agrees. Alas, on the day of the event the staff are infomed that President Hyama won’t be coming as he has suddenly resigned. Everyone is shocked, especially Kurumi. Hayama doesn’t reply to any messages and can’t be reached as his phone is turned off as well. He seems to have disappeared. Kurumi holds on untill the opening festivities are over, then runs around checking all the places Hayama usually frequents but there’s no sign of him. She finally has to face the fact that she’s been stood up, without any explanation. A bouquet of flowers she later receives with a note saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t do much to lessen the hurt. She can’t even find joy in finally reaching her 100 000 followers. She looks so sad that Shun offers her his special curry, which she accapts. He quietly watches while she eats and cries, then leaves to give her some privacy. Yup, our boy is not so bad after all.^^

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Several months has passed when Kurumi suddenly bumps into Hayama on the town. All his luggage got stolen and he doesn’t have a place to stay, so she invites him to bunk in the sharehouse for the night. Saotome then graciously tells him to stay untill he gets everything sorted out. Shun isn’t too thrilled but seems to get along just fine with this new addition to the household, which Kurumi finds rather confusing. If you are expecting a kdrama style love triangle, forget it. It isn’t happening. These guys are too levelheaded for that sort of tomfoolery. We eventually get an explanation for why Hayama quit his job and what happened after.

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I freaking loved the ending! Everyone had a satisfactory conclusion for their stories and even the “last obstacle” for our main couple was cleared in a blink of an eye. And how cute was that “5 years later” tag on. Squee?! πŸ˜€

One thing worth mentioning is the cinematography. Jdramas ain’t all that famous for their look but I really liked what they did with Kikazaru Koi. There were several beautifully shot scenes that highlighted what was happening on the screen. Sometimes they even framed a mood, or a specific bit of a scene that told us more than just mere words, and sometimes it was just a shot of lovely scenery that fit the spot perfectly. TPTB seem to really have internalized that old adage “show, not tell”. I took several screencaps but decided to use only few of them as most seem to give too much of the plot away, ha.

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A small word of warning — don’t watch this if you haven’t eaten! There’s absolutely delicious looking food in just about every episode. I was downright salivating and green with food envy, LOL!

Here’s a sweet but VERY spoilery vid for the main couple. Click at your own discreation. 😜 https://youtu.be/SULsDUpzdSE

11 thoughts on “Thoughts On: Kikazaru Koi ni wa Riyuu ga Atte

  1. Pingback: July 2022 Monthly Favorites – Phoenix Talks Pop Culture Japan

  2. This drama wasn’t on my radar at all, but I think I saw some buzz around it when it was airing. It sounds really really wholesome, when I’m finding to be more to my taste these days then anything else. Slice of life live actions really are a strong suit in Japanese productions. Your review was wonderful too! Glad to see you back in writing at least for a bit!

    • It would probably have gone under my radar too, if I hadn’t seen it featured on one of the blogs I follow and decided to give it a go. So glad I did. πŸ™‚ Well, I’ve been on my summer vacation all July, so no work related stress and more time to do as I please (not that I’ve actually done much more than laze about, ha). I’ll try to keep posting from time to time from now on, but we’ll see how it goes once I’m back to the grind again.

      • Lazing about is a blessing and I’m glad you’ve been able to do that! No worries about posting, as you can and as you like with posting!

  3. Ah, so you watched and liked this drama too! It is one of my fave j-romcoms. For me, it did have a love triangle angle, which also frustrated me because it came late in the game and Shun tended to close up, but like you said, thankfully it wasn’t dragged out as the characters did talk it out. I loved the cinematography and like your screencaps — you should post more! πŸ˜‰

    • Yup, this was a true winner. It’s one of my faves too. Compared to the convoluted kdrama love triangles, this was a breeze. πŸ˜€ I was never in doubt about who it was that Kurumi preferred. Shun’s tendency to disappear inside his head was a bit frustratiang, but as it never lasted too long, I didn’t really mind. Well, that YT vid has all the Kurumi/Shun moments, so…

      • Well, it could have been worse, especially the dinner race, but hats off to Kurumi for always getting through to Shun whenever he started retreating. They balanced each other really well πŸ™‚

  4. So glad to see you enjoyed Kikazaru Koi! It is still one of my favourites of the recent years, and I really like Yokohama Ryusei’s portrayal of Shun. Cinematography is nicely done, and the OST is great too.

    • It’s one of my faves from recent years as well and not just among jdramas but overall. Not that I have watched much in the past few years. With the RL issues affecting my drama watching, I try to pick dramas that truly appeal to me, so not many duds these days. πŸ™‚ I forgot about the OST! It was good too.

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