OP: 「オトメの心得」 (Otome no Kokoroe) by (GARNiDELiA)
「夕月 来タル」 (Yuzuki Kitaru)
The characters are very run of the mill-your gloomy, spoiled rich boy and the obligatory genki girl counterpart. Yet, in spite of that, something about the story still draws me in. The narrative dove right into the melodrama from the start. Shima Tamahiko (Kobayashi Yuusuke) was raised in in an insanely wealthy, but loveless family (wealthy enough for the father to casually buy a bride for Tamahiko as if it were no big deal). Then, a fatal car accident kills his mother and permanently damages his dominant arm. If that weren’t enough, his father banishes him out to the countryside, and sends him a bride, the cute, energetic Tachibana Yuzuki (Aizawa Saya). As the cherry on top of this slice of melodrama, the MC even languishes on a bed of skulls.
Intriguingly, the song that is continually hummed or played in the background and which Tamahiko’s mother sings to him is actually a Japanese children’s song that was set to the tune of an English hymn in the early 1900’s. It is also a song that is supposedly popular at some Japanese weddings- quite appropriate for a series that will culminate in a wedding at some point in the plot.
Tamahiko is quite off-putting, sounding like a spoiled kid crying about his life being over at the ripe young age of 17 because he can no longer use one of his arms and has to live in the countryside. That’s not to say that what he went through wasn’t a big deal-losing his mother, a working arm, and a place in his family is a lot to go through all at once. Understandably, he would grieve that. But, the fact that he comes across as spoiled does nothing to endear him to me.
However, he has a hidden, kinder side that peeks out, like when he is concerned about Yuzuki catching a cold and throws his coat over her. A positive note of this premiere is that this hints at some engaging character development that will take place in Tamahiko when his softer side is drawn out by Yuzuki. There is nothing original about a morose guy opening his heart in the bloom of a fresh romance, but it can be heartwarming just the same.
Which brings me to not-so heart-warming (more like heart-burn painful) issue I take with the premiere-the sexist treatment of Yuzuki. Yuzuki falls into the category of the female who is only good for her domestic abilities and supporting the male character, rather than existing as a character in her own right. She has no personality outside of cooking, cleaning, and cheering up the MC. They portray her as a saintly woman who endures everything with a smile, including the very difficult fate of leaving school and friends early to be sold off into marriage to a spoiled rich boy in the boonies.
I personally find it irritating that they allow the male MC to give vent to his darker feelings, while denying a darker side to the female MC, who is only allowed to be happy for the sake of the man. This is unfortunately, a common trend I’ve seen, where the female is more like a love doll than that of a fully-fledged character. Yuzuki has the potential for being an intriguing character, if they gave her more of a 3D personality. For example, if they were to show her struggle with being uprooted and thrown into full time maid duty, diving into how that played into her relationship with Tamahiko and how she overcomes that.
While I hate how they place the main female character in a small domestic sized box, I do enjoy the time-period it is set in and will continue watching it for the sake of that (and also for the hope that maybe they will add another dimension to Yuzuki’s character). I would recommend this for fans of romance, so long as you are ok with a show that other than the setting, seems to be run of the mill.
ED: 「真心に奏」 (Makogoro ni Kanade) by (Shunichi Toki)