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Marumo no Okite (2011) JDrama Review
Title: Marumo no Okite (マルモのおきて/Marumo’s Rule)
Genre: Family Comedy
Network: Fuji TV
Airing: April 24 to July 3, 2011 (Sundays at 21:00 pm)
Jun-ichiro Sasakura suddenly dies from cancer. He is survived by his children, twins, Kaoru and Tomoki. The children with no parents are being cared by their relatives. For the first time they are separated. They decide to run away to be together.
Mamoru Takagi is Jun-ichiro’s best friend. Since the funeral he cannot take his mind off Jun-ichiro’s twins. To ease his concern he went to look for them when they have gone missing. He then finds them together with a Miniature Schnauzer, Mook.
Mamoru made up his mind to care for the twins and the dog. With lousy parenting skills Mamoru discovers how special and precious are the new additions to his family.
CAST and CHARACTERS
Sadao Abe as Mamoru Takagi
Mana Ashida as Kauro Sasakura
Fuku Suzuki as Tomoki Sasakura
Ryo Oka as Mook’s voice
Masanori Sera as Yosuke Hatanaka
Manami Higa as Aya Hatanaka
Shinji Rokkaku as Hideo Sugishita
Shingo Katsurayama as Jun-ichiro Sasakura
I consider that a trailer/preview grabs your attention and interest, the opening credits get your first impression and the closing credits are made to test your patience. I found that this drama series was a total reverse of order. Here it goes--
A cousin of mine shared a (cute) dance video. I thought their dance song was altered to make singer sound like a little girl. To confirm I sent a message. I got a response that the song is called “Maru Maru Mori Mori” sang by Kaoru to Tomoki, Tamani Mook, respectively a temporary group formed by seven years old, Mana Ashida and Fuku Suzuki. I further learned that the song was from the Japanese Drama (“JDrama”) series, Marumo no Okite and to be exact is the closing credits theme.
Harnessing the power of Google and YouTube, I was able to view the said closing credits. It was too adorable to resist. It surely got a great impression from me. So I move on to the preview that made me more interested. It was the opening credits that tested my patience. Every week, I did look forward to each new episode.
So, the right order should have been attract, impress and test my patience not impress, test my patience and attract.
Let’s do a little bit of backtracking; the last time I got into a JDrama was in 2001 with Star no Koi. This is because I am more of an anime and manga persona. I rarely watch JDramas. I can say that following Marumo no Okite has been a brilliant choice for I got to experience all the best a family drama can offer. Let me tell you why.
First of all, this series is full of warmth. My mother commented that usually JDramas have many stoic characters. This one however begs to differ. I found that characters in this series incredibly warm. They were very relatable. The characters are your everyday people who hold individual charm(s). The individual charm they posses allowed me to treat them as if they are someone I actually know. Starting with Mamoru, he is an average salaried-man, who by status is common in my neighborhood. As I witness his transformation into a superb father figure to the ever lovable and adorable twins, Kauro and Tomoki, I began to realize that there is something special about him. Also, there’s Mook who is witty, reliable and humorous. I have to mention that even Mamoru’s co-workers were appealing in their unique way. The ways they interact with each other made me feel as if I am apart of their circle/world—so warm.
Second, I find this series without a doubt entertaining. If you ask me how entertaining, I will describe it as the feeling you get when you’re at an amusement park having all the excitement and fun. This series gave me the ups and downs of family and kinship. It also pursued the challenges of parenting. The family as the basic unit of the society faces many relationship tests. This drama did not hide the fact that it is not easy being a parent or a child or even as a family pet. It also shares how spending quality time together improves relationships and preserves memories. Furthermore, the series has revealed to me that there are memories we can live in the present and out live in the future. I take delight in the every scene wherein the twins, Mamoru and Mook get to do things together. Importantly this series made me, as a viewer, value and appreciate family itself.
Third, I have to talk about the appealing plot. Story-wise this series is spellbinding. The series start off with an introduction to a “(the) guy”, who is classified normal in the status-quo but by presence is ignorable. This normal-average-looking-guy tries to be funny at a class reunion. When he gets into the groove famous guy enters stealing the show. Unexpectedly, famous guy sits beside “the guy”. It turns out that they are best of friends. This spin in the plot is clever. The co-directors and writers also employed the trick of inserting (a touch of) humor into some of the moving scenes that boosted “recall-ability” of this drama. The plot unravels in an easy but engaging pace which is ideal for a family drama. I also like how each episode wraps up making you eager for the next episode. I found that the somber moments in this drama become inspiring ones. In total, it was profound storytelling. It was a joy to witness such a loss turned into a great inspiration, which is to treasure the people who care for us.
Fourth and last is reserved for my compliments to the actors. It is known in Dramaland that acting with children and animals are never easy. To have both in a series is tough. I have to praise the co-directors and acting coaches for fully utilizing Mana’s and Fuku’s acting prowess. They made me cry and laugh. These child stars have offered so much. Also, there’s Mook who is one adorable talented mutt!
As the series draw to an end, I felt that Marumo no Okite made me a member of their very own family. It has already concluded but the words exchanged by Mamoru and the twins, “we are family even if we are apart” stayed with me. It was a blissful parting with the whole family happily gathered in the kitchen for dinner. I confess of having (positive) weakness towards series ending on a high/happy note.
If you want to assess how important the simple things in life are especially those that we often take for granted, set sometime aside to visit the Takagi’s household and open your heart to a delightful surprise.
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