Love Shuffle (ラブシャッフル)
Synopsis: Usami Kei is a salaryman who has risen in status due to his engagement with Mei, the wealthy daughter of his company’s president. Shortly after she breaks off the engagement, a power failure leaves him stuck in the elevator of his apartment building. Trapped with him are three others living on the same floor. While waiting, their conversation hits upon their love lives and the question of whether there is truly only one fated partner for everyone. As a result, they decide to try “shuffling” their relationships with each other.
Episodes: 10 episodes
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Casting: Tamaki Hiroshi, Karina, Matsuda Shota, DAIGO, Tanihara Shosuke, Kanjiya Shihori, Kojima Hijiri, Yoshitaka Yuriko
I had not watched a japanese drama for months but I think Love Shuffle was a good choice to get back into the swings of things. On the whole it was a good drama. I really loved how it managed to mix at once romance, comic and psychological. I was facing a bunch of character all more different than the last ones and I learnt to know them little by little through a love shuffle. It was interesting to see how each of them were interacting with the other one and funny to try to guess who will end up with who. Some outcome were predictable while other were brainstroming. Each episode held secrets that were progressively revealed to us, thickening the plot. That’s the first reproach I could make about this drama. The secrets allowed my imagination to run and build crazy scenarios in my head but some were eventually too hard to believe. In the last episodes we even lost the lightweight dimension of the first episodes because of it. The play on words were still there but not as numerous as before and the drama tended to take a more dramatic turn. The scriptwriters, tried in the final episode to fix it by concocting a botch happy ending for everyone and I think that was the second mistake of the drama. They didn’t take the time to give us good explanations about how some characters had finally ended together (>>>SPOILER- Reiko and Kikuta / Mei and Yukichi. Both couple were a bit far-fetched -SPOLIER<<<)
Airu was my favourite character. I liked her personality the most. Comfortable around everyone, she didn’t mince her words (without being really mean for all that). I liked her chemistry with all boys and how she nagged them. She didn’t let herself be crushed. In my opinion she was even the “man” in her original relation with Yukichi. As for her story I was quite surprised to learn it. It’s not really original but I didn’t expect that.
Kairi was fascinating. In my opinion she was the one who carried the drama. She didn’t shine by her presence but indirectly influenced every twists and stories. At first I really thought she would be a character that I wouldn’t like. She was always mute during her date and never moved of an inch. Let’s just say that it wasn’t really thrilling. But after a few episodes I started to really like her. She helped builiding some suspense and the mystery around her character rubbed off on other character (like Kikuta for example…even though in his case, his mystery was finally disappointing). The other reason (actually the main one) that made me like her was her cute attachment for Ojiro.
Mei was boring, boring and boring! She was constantly changing her mind for crappy reasons. I couldn’t stand her. I have nothing else to say about her. Next!
Reiko was at first the female character I liked the less cause in the first half of the show she didn’t experience the slighest change in her behaviour. No matter with which partner she was, they always ended up sleeping together. She seemed to have changed after having been with Kei, to have taken in account his critics (as her being too much of the easy girl type). But in fact, not at all. We finally learn about her true motives but I wasn’t really amazed by it. She didn’t stand as much as the other and her absence in some episodes didn’t affect me.
As for the male part the best character was Ojiro. Sexy, handsome, smart, playboy…hmm I like everything about him (well I was a bit disappointed to see him calling a woman a pet…I know, I know it was just in order to hide his true feeling but still). His dates were the ones I was the most impatient to see (he had chemistry with everyone!). I liked how he could unveil the girl’s deepest secrets throught his questions and camera. I was really happy to see him ended up with this woman and not any other. Under his cool look, he was a sweet and caring guy.
Kei was too present to my taste. I would have liked to see more of the other character instead of always focusing on his misfortune. His attachment to Mei was as much a pain as his long moralizing speeches that we could hear in almost every episodes. I didn’t hate his character but he didn’t interested me.
Kikuta was the most disturbing character. I can’t tell if I liked him or not. On the whole he was a discreet character and I would have remained quite indifferent to him if his story had not took some unpredictable turn. There were 4 stages of twists. The first one was not surprising at all (>>>SPOILER– I’m pretty sure everyone had also guessed that his former love was in fact a man– SPOILER<<<) but the other ones made me speechless. It was really hard to grasp his character and that was the tricky point: did I like those twists? Yes cause I always like to be surprised. Did I like its “contents”? well….I’m… not sure (?). It was a bit too WTF in my opinion. And his change of personality were too rapid.
Yukichi was the less interesting on the male side. He qualified himself as boring and I could not have been more agree with him. He had some illogical reasoning. According to him he accepted to participate to the love shuffle only because he thought it was the only way to regain Airu’s heart…then why did he sleep with Reiko? We can say it was the same with Kei. He also claimed to only love Mei and also ended up in Reiko’s bed but the difference between both of them was that Yukichi was the one who wanted to sleep with Reiko whereas it wasn’t the case of Kei. Unlike other character he didn’t have an interesting story to support him neither did he undergo any kind of twists that could have aroused my curiosity. He ended up with a partner as boring as him which delighted me (I couldn’t have bore to see an interesting character being “sacrificed” for him).
On the whole I would say that Love Shuffle is a really nice drama. I had lot of fun watching it! But it won’t be enough for me to rewatch it, I think.
Note de Dushbadou: 7.5/10
Note de Whoovy: 7.5/10
Note finale: 7.5/10