Saturday, April 23, 2022

QuickReview #07: Hiyama Kentarou no ninshin (Netflix drama)

: Hiyama Kentarou no ninshin (ヒヤマケンタロウの妊娠)

Season: Spring 2022

Broadcast by: Netflix

Rating: 7 / 10

Recommended for: those who want to watch a quirky and thoughtful story where traditional gender roles are reversed in this modern fantasy about pregnant men

- The premise of the story was interesting where traditional norms were projected from the opposite perspective and offered lots of food for thought. For example, many men think nothing of women having to "interrupt" their careers and lives for marriage, pregnancy, childbirth and childcare and they go to the extreme of belittling their peers who try to do their share in shouldering such responsibilities which they see as the women's job. I was really angry to see how they mocked a colleague for having to go home to take care of his kids and that he was useless for not asserting his authority at home to make the wife do his bidding and not affect his work. As such, it was refreshing and very gratifying to see Hiyama Kentarou himself suffer in the beginning when he got pregnant and I couldn't help but think "serve you right". 
- Clichés like how men love to question the women if the baby is his when told of their pregnancies turn out to be really amusing when seen from the opposite perspective even though this is usually very offensive. When men ask this question, it shows how they think that the women are promiscuous so this can be downright insulting. However, when Aki asked Kentarou if he was sure that the baby was hers, the fact that he actually indicated in the calendar who he slept with on which day and which time made me chuckle.
- The drama which consists of 8 episodes lasting less than 30 minutes each, comes across as a 2-part movie and is very easy to get through. The pacing of the developments is rather fast so the touch-and-go approach makes this serious topic of male pregnancies a lot more palatable and easier to watch.
- The chemistry between Saito Takumi & Ueno Juri or rather a slight lack of intimacy between them on screen, is actually just nice since Kentarou and Aki are not lovers in the first place but merely sleep together at times. As such, you don't get to see many lovey-dovey displays between them even as they decide to raise the child together and they don't rush into marriage just because they have a child. To them, their relationship is a work-in-progress and there are issues which must be worked out between them so I'm glad that the drama does not try to force a happily-ever-after ending for them and these actors have managed to show the right distance in their characters' relationship.

- On the contrary, the short length of this drama may not satisfy those looking for a more in-depth story as the key points are brought up briefly but the viewer will have to do the thinking and come to their own conclusions about the issues raised rather than be fed standard answers by the drama.
- The most obvious missing piece in this entire story is, how does a man get pregnant and how does the pregnancy develop in the absence of a womb? What are the odds of a male pregnancy happening? Perhaps the original manga does give further insights on this but the lack of such background information in the drama and diving straight into Kentarou's pregnancy may make viewers feel lost from the start and gradually lose interest since this part is never addressed properly and comprehensively.

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