I know I haven’t been updating much lately. Life is getting busier and I’m finishing up my thesis etc. That said, this season, I’ve only had time to pursue one or two dramas. They are Tenshi to Akuma which I’m loving so far, the acting from Gouriki Ayame has its ups and downs in different episodes but she’s hanging on. Afterall, it’s inevitable since she’s being paired up with such veteran actor like Watabe Atsuro. Anyways, there’s not much detective dramas this season so you might want to give Tenshi to Akuma a try. I’m currently just collecting I’m Home (Kimura Takuya) so I haven’t watched any of it. Algernon’s not really attracting me enough at the moment but I might give it a go at a later time. There’s also Dr. Rintaro, put on hold just like I’m Home.
Back on topic, I saw this was being subbed and while I wasn’t particularly interested at all initially, if you remember, I did a brief post on the upcoming dramas and what to look out for, this one didn’t make it on the list. Probably a mistake, my bad. Now that I’ve begun watching, it’s actually quite pleasant, especially on your free time.
Mother Game is basically a formulaic and generic drama about a middle/poor income single mother getting entangled in the battle with rich and luxurious mothers all because her son was invited to enroll in a prestigious school. At first glance of the poster, you might or not recall any of the actresses. Well, I know and have watched quite a lot of Fumino Kimura’s shows but she was never the lead or main character in them. She’s mostly always the side character in the background and appears every now and then, nothing major. Some of the dramas she’s been in were Ashita, Mama ga Inai, Ataru and Dr. Ume Chan.
Because of that, she has never really appealed to me. I’m not sure how she lands herself a lead role this time, but I have to say, this is the right choice. If anything, this might just be her breakthrough. I personally think it has to do with the role itself. When an actor/actress is given a good and strong character, it shouldn’t go wrong., unless the actor/actress screws it up big time. In Fumino’s case, upon watching the first episode, I’m convinced she can pull it off.
I’m not going to go into great details about the first episode itself, maybe just a brief summary of key plots. Kiko Kanbara (Fumino Kimura) is a single mother who has a 5 year-old son, Haruto. We were led to believe that her husband has passed away right from the beginning, but at the end of the episode, the estranged chef husband made a surprising return. She didn’t seem to quite like it. That aside, despite being an average class of the society, the director of the prestigious school invited Haruto be to be enrolled after a brief encounter at the ward office. Kiko was looking for daycare for Haruto as she just started a bento shop on her own. Later on, they moved in and live with Haruto’s grandfather. At the school, it was immediately revealed that Haruto and Kiko were like aliens trying to mingle with say…humans? The higher class mothers all look down upon Kiko. This is the beginning of mothers’ politics.
Out of the mothers, Dan Rei (Marie Odadera) definitely stood out because she’s a great actress. I thoroughly enjoyed her detective drama, Fukuie Kebuho no Aisatsu. Give that a go if you’re into police shows. There’s also Kanjiya Shiori, another great actress, underrated, for the most part. Here she acts as Kiko’s childhood friend who desperately tries to get on the good side of the rich mothers, although barely and at some point, almost sacrificing her friendship with Kiko.
Yes, I admit the premise for this drama is basic, nothing refreshing and hasn’t this been done like a zillion times? But I’d still watch it because I love to watch women who bitch about others and put on fake smiles, hiding behind facades and sharing dirty little secrets. And amidst it all, Kiko being the outcast is just great.
As far as the acting goes, Fumino is currently oozing with a shred of Mitsushima Hikari. I know it’s almost blasphemy to even put such a versatile and strong actress like Mitsushima together on the same sentence as Fumino, but I sincerely quite enjoy her acting so far in this and I admit, sometimes she reminds me of Mitsushima. I have a feeling Fumino might have taken notes from Mitsushima’s single mother drama, Woman (which I highly recommend) and incorporate some of those in her own character. Woman is a much more mellow and depressing show though. Fumino can somehow handle slight comedic moments in Mother Game.