Rich Man, Poor Woman – Review

Japanese doramas are just not of the fantastic caliber of the yesterdays.

Which is why I picked up the currently ongoing series starring Shun Oguri and Arata. It’s got Shun in it. My mum adores Shun Oguri. It’s got to be good!

So far, it is.


The plotline is pretty simple and I’m up to episode 3 as of today, episode 4 is downloading as we type! J

I could probably just say Shun Oguri plays Japanese Mark Zuckerberg and be done with it. But heaven forbid: I must write review! SPOILERS AHEAD, TURN LEFT AT THE NEAREST EXIT!

“29-year-old Toru Hyuga (Shun Oguri) is a wealthy man. He first started to run an internet website from his small room and his hobby began to make Toru Hyuga a lot of money. He dropped out of high school and formed software company Next Innovation with his friend Kosuke Asahina (Arata). The company became very successful. Today, Next Innovation is the top tech company where young people want to work the most.” –

Add to this a typical, by the book, university student on her final year (Satomi Ishihara). She sucks at the art of job hunting but has a formidable memory capable of filing away enough unnecessary information to flood the sewers. Toru Hyuga, searching for his long lost mother, Chihiro Sawaki, asks this girl, who stands against his every principle, her name.

The girl answers, “Chihiro Sawaki!”

And the drama begins!

What I loved the moment I started watching this drama is the presence of technology. The opening sequence shows Toru sprawled on the floor searching for his mother on a search engine and in the first few minutes, he conferences with his partner and CEO and then ends up buying shares, all on his smartphone. I don’t know about you, but I just squee at handsome guys paired with tech gadgets! (>-<)

The characters in the story, especially the questionable relationship between Kousuke Asahina and Toru are played out beautifully. There is a tendency in Japanese dramas of today to have the actors or actresses, most of them fresh out of Johnny’s or STFU48, to overact! Their emotions are overemotional, their anger will burn your retinas and their lovey-dovey faces will have you running for the hills. (Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou!) But I guess for the masters like Arata and Oguri, overacting was never the problem. I didn’t like Saki Aibu in any of the two dramas I watched with her and although I have the feeling she’s gonna take rivalry to the tooth and nail arena battle these girl-fights in dramas usually are, I can’t help but like her more here. I’m sure I’m going to hate her once she gets in the way of the romance, but her playing Arata’s kid sister Yoko is just so cute! And she’s a chef so there’s bound to be lots more food scenes!!

Another reason why this might turn out to be an epic Jdrama? Shun and Satomi’s chemistry. All they have to do is look at each other and suddenly the whole room lights up and I start getting hot under the collar. I haven’t watched another drama with Satomi in it but I adore her! Maybe it’s something to do with how much I have in common with her?

Her vast memory contrasting with Toru Hyuga’s medical condition which makes him completely forget people and faces makes for an interesting premise. For a good character to evolve, the supporting characters must fill an aspect that the character lacks. Make a character whole. What better way for them to depend on each other? Satomi’s character doesn’t have a job and he can give her one. He needs someone to help him remember all the people he usually cannot.

It’s fantastic how Shun brings this weird, reclusive millionaire into the light. As Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Zuckerberg made him out to be someone rather bizarre, Shun Oguri gives Toru Hyuga many dimensions. There is the little boy craving to find the mother that he lost, there is the brilliant programmer who wallows in code and creation. There is the disturbed young man, out of touch with his humanity, unable to relate to the people around him and there is the million dollar playboy who doesn’t give a damn what you think!

The drama has really twisted around in three episodes and each is better than the rest, starting from the end of the first episode when Asahina says, “Omae Sawaki Chihiro ja nai!”

I can’t wait for episode four! Hopefully they’ll give it more than 10 episodes because it’s so good and surely even the producers can see that?

EDIT: – So I watched episode four! The reestablishing of the relationship between the two protagonists was faster than I expected the advantage of having one who can’t recognize names and faces! Also, Toru has started to remember people around him. It takes him some effort. Meanwhile, Yoko Asahina is taking the full advantage of Toru’s condition and her brother is going through a weird phrase considering betrayal.

Now I wish Japanese drama’s would go on for seasons like Smallville. I suffered through that and I don’t mind watching Shun and Satomi as the unlikely couple for the next decade! J

Here is a link to the teaser for Episode Five!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!


5 thoughts on “Rich Man, Poor Woman – Review

  1. Well, we start out the same, my mom loves Oguri Shun too. (but she calls him Rui, hey she’s 77yrs old). I like him too.

    But unfortunately it ends there.

    1. I hate the love triangle, one’s innocent and sweet and lets people walk all over her, the other is confident and walks all over said people. Not my cup of tea, I like a strong lead female character that doesn’t let people walk all over her, but yet isn’t mean to the lead male character just because the writers want antagonism between the characters. I think it’s good writing to build the lead in without using the “I hate him/her” storyline, there are way to bring them together without having them hate each other for childish reasons.

    2. I have a huge dislike of whiners, and Chihiro Sawaki is a whiner big time. I disliked her before she even started to whine. In her first scene she babbled on her interview, one shouldn’t talk unless it’s to answer your interviewer but she runs at the mouth about how un-hireable she is and it’s embarrassing. Plus I cam into this drama already disliking the actress, I’ve Satomi Issihara on variety shows and 1 other dramas. Didn’t like her acting, she does the deer in the headlights look all the time and on variety shows she is a total airhead. I find airheads cute for about 3 minutes then they start to work on my nerves.

    3. I find the partner character sneaky…there’s just something there that makes me think “don’t trust him”.

    4. And I’m still trying to figure out what the hell he is selling…”he said his product doesn’t exist in the linear world”, doesn’t make sense to me for people to pay good money for nothing.

    I’ve only watched 2 episodes so far, and I will finish it, I always finish whatever I start, whether it’s books, TV or movies. Plus mom just wants to watch Rui.


    1. Yeah, you’re right on all counts!
      Love triangles where it’s obvious that two people are meant to be together but then, this third person is introduced for no other reason but to prolong the ‘getting together’ is as old and unglamourous as the infamous Bella-Edward-Jacob!
      I have episode 5 but I’m waiting for Mum to join me when we watch it and judging by the preview, this is the episode where the Asahina siblings will start to show their true colours – Yoko has already shown up her own.

      The ‘product doesn’t exist in the linear world’ I think, is a rather poor description of selling software, though the whole creating product demands blah-ti-blah made no sense to me either!

      😀 Hehe, my Mum calls him Rui too. But she fell for him after seeing him in Gokusen – the first and the only one worth watching!

      Thanks so much for taking time to comment.


    2. The corporate espionage angle was fascinating, but the romance failed to score. I enjoy the bickering flirtations in Asian dramas. When a male lead calls a female lead ugly you know he actually means she’s adorable. But it went over the top here. Toru incessantly calls Natsui idiot, stupid, and rants about her inadequacies. She shuffles behind him hunched over like an appeasing dog waiting for his commands. Actress Ishihara Satomi (or perhaps the writers) confused irritating fan-girl gushiness for love. No real chemistry developed here and I predict this relationship will tank in a few (fictional) years, when Natsui’s immature crush wears off and she tires of Toru’s inability to express his feelings and how he minimizes her work (a la the final scene), while he gets fed up with her unexplained emotional neediness.

Let me know what you think :)

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