Autumn J-dramas: Nazotoki wa Dinner no ato de

So the next drama I’ll introduce is ”Nazotoki wa Dinner no ato de”. Before the autumn dramas aired, people were asked which drama they were looking most forward to see and number one on the poll results for both men and women were “Nazotoki wa Dinner no ato de”. Also the actual viewer amount has kept this drama very high in the overall autumn season drama ranking. But what is it all about and does the drama live up to its’ popularity?

Plot overview:
When I started watching this drama, shortly after the first episode had aired, I actually didn’t know what it was about and I could only base my ideas on the promotional pictures, which mostly just showed a rich girl and a butler. Nazotoki wa Dinner no ato de turned out to be a murder-case drama, with very few main characters and reappearing supportive characters as well. You’ll meet three characters, who are:

Hosho Reiko (Actress: Kitagawa Keiko)

Hosho Reiko is the female lead character who works as a novice, murder-solving, detective. What she doesn’t tell her fellow work colleagues is the fact that she is the only daughter of one of Japan’s most powerful companies, therefore a very rich heiress, who despite her wealth has chosen a righteous path as a detective.

Then when she returns home, she can then put on her fancy dresses, her expensive jewelry and continue her princess-like life style, where her work peers can’t see her.

Kageyama (Actor: Sakurai Sho (Arashi))

Kageyama is Hosho’s trust-worthy butler. His job is not only to make delicious dinners or select the perfect wine. He is also Hosho’s protector and follows her around, unseen, while she’s on the job. And when Hosho can’t figure out her cases, she relies on Kageyama, who has an amazing eye for details and understand what is in people’s hearts, to help. His explanations are easy to understand, but also sometimes followed by sharp words.

Kazamatsuri Kyoichiro (Actor: Shiina Kippei)

Kazamatsuri is the work boss of Hosho, which she certainly doesn’t find fortunate. He is a character who has high confidence, when it comes to everything about himself. Especially when it comes to his ability to solve crimes – even though he always only manages to state the obvious. Which causes much annoyance to Hosho, who has to obey her boss, very much against her will.

Opinion:

Despite being a drama about solving murders, the cruelest of crimes, this drama has no intentions of being a serious and realistic police drama. Nazotoki wa Dinner no ato de, is a light hearted, borderline silly drama, which also have cartoon-like elements, when a case is being reviewed or a “strong” emotion is being shown, such as “failure”.

That Nazotoki wa Dinner no ato de is taking the humoristic approach to solving crimes is not something drama viewers haven’t seen before. And when it comes to originality this drama unfortunately doesn’t have much to show – not even within this drama alone. Each episode is pretty much a repetition of the previous one and it’s easy to predict the events, even in chronological order.

Hosho Reiko will go to the crime scene, she’ll be annoyed about her narcissistic boss, they’ll talk to a lot of people with connections to the crime, Hosho will then go home feeling clueless, talk with her butler Kagayama over dinner who has been following her all day and he will then have all the answers she seeks when it comes to solving what seemed like an impossible case. Hosho then hurries to the murderer’s house and makes her arrest.

The fact that this drama uses the same storyline frame for each episode gives it a very generic feel and it can’t manage to come up with any surprises.

Like mentioned in the beginning, this story only has three main characters throughout the drama, but despite the low count of people to affiliate with, there is pretty much no connection between the drama characters and the viewer. The rich heiress, her butler and the know-it-all boss are all portrayed like bad examples of a stereotype caricature.

Even though I don’t have much positive to say about this drama, it shouldn’t stop people from giving it a try. Since, regardless of my opinion, this drama keeps pulling in a high count of viewers each week, which shows steadily popularity. I guess, I just never liked repetitive dramas, despite their popularity. I was probably one of the only drama-fans who never quite understood why Gokusen needed three seasons and a movie, since each episode pretty much seemed like a replay. Though, you can’t deny the fact that the popularity of Sakurai Sho and Kitagawa Keiko probably helps getting a few extra viewers.

Overall a rather bland drama among the many j-dramas of this season.

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