Monday, October 03, 2016

Review of "Kodoku no Gurume Season 1" - Winter 2012

I know, I am a very late adopter of the "Kodoku no Gurume" series which already has 5 seasons to date. Much as I had heard of this series a long time ago, I was never really keen to check this out. Honestly, the storyline of watching an ojisan eat wasn't that appealing. Even Matsushige Yutaka said that he had doubts whether viewers would want to see a middle-aged man like him eat on TV. Well, I have been proven wrong. In fact, I am kicking myself for not discovering this gem much earlier.

To put things simply, there is only one main character in this drama i.e. Inogashira Goro played by Matsushige who snagged his first leading role through this drama. Goro is an importer of miscellaneous goods or sundries who often goes to visit his clients. As his is a one-man-business and he has no physical office (the reason why is mentioned in this season), Goro would go to various places to eat alone and enjoys discovering new and unique restaurants and eating places. He has his own philosophy on what to eat depending on what his stomach is craving for and would sometimes order more than he intends to. There is very little known about him other than the fact that he used to have a girlfriend named Sayuki who was an actress. In contrast to the real Matsushige, Goro is a big desserts lover especially wagashi and doesn't drink so Matsushige did mention in an interview that he found it tough at first to eat like Goro during the filming.

The drama operates in a more-or-less standard formula where Goro visits a town/area for business and goes for meals before or after the business meeting. In each episode, one restaurant or eating place is featured with a number of dishes showcased. At the end of the episode, the manga's author Kusumi Masayuki would visit the real restaurant featured and try the dishes introduced or those which were not mentioned.

I made the fatal mistake of watching the first episode past midnight on an empty stomach and was trying so hard to fight the urge to grab a late-night supper. As such, I strongly advise you not to watch this while you are hungry or in the middle of the night. Due to the timing when the drama was aired, it earned itself the nickname of "supper terror" for inducing viewers to eat when they aren't supposed to be.

In terms of the story, there really isn't much to talk about other than highlighting the quirky delivery of its plot which can be rather flat and boring if not done properly. Matsushige turned out to be more interesting than I thought even though you wouldn't imagine watching an ojisan eat could be that fun to watch. I guess the fact that I do eat alone quite often due to work and other reasons made it easier for me to understand why Goro went to so much trouble at times to find something which could satisfy his palate and stomach. To people who can't stand the idea of eating alone, they may find it hard to fathom but I actually find it more liberating and therapeutic than eating in a group. When you are with others, the tendency is to compromise on a mutually agreeable choice which sometimes isn't what I want to eat at that specific moment. As for the time spent deliberating on what to eat, I find myself doing that often too so I can understand Goro's thought process for something as simple as deciding where and what to eat. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed this drama more than I expected at first. Coupled with the delicious-looking food featured in each episode, I really can't find a reason to give this drama a miss and will continue watching the other seasons from now on.

Before I end this review, here are the dishes which I particularly liked from this season. Maybe you can compare your list with mine to see if we have the same preferences? ^__^

The yakitori featured in Ep 1

The yaki gyoza featured in Ep 3

The pork ninniku yaki in Ep 6

The napolitan pasta in Ep 7

The yakiniku in Ep 8

The tori no nikomi in Ep 11

The salt-grilled agu pork in Ep 12

1 comment:

butanixinju said...

Glad you like this drama! So many (many..) episodes lie ahead for you to enjoy. What I like is that the food is not at all fancy or expensive, nor are the places he eats refined or gorgeous. Yet the food looks absolutely more delicious than at any Michelin-star restaurant! I also like the fact that, despite the title of the drama, Goro is not at all 'lonely' -- he is completely comfortable eating alone, concentrating on the food, and thinking his own thoughts.