Last Cinderella: Ep 1

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

Am I watching to drool at Fujiki Naohito’s handsome smile?  NO!  Am I watching to ogle at Miura Haruma’s hot butt body?  NO.  I am watching for Shinohara Ryoko.  And yes, I am a girl.  I admit it, I have a major girl crush on Shinohara Ryoko that even rivals my girl crush on Amami Yuki.  AH WHY IS SHE SO GORGEOUS?!?!?!  So of course when I heard about her newest drama Last Cinderella, I HAD TO WATCH.  And it does not disappoint!  (And, by the way, having Fujiki Naohito & Miura Haruma in the show doesn’t hurt 😉 )

Shinohara Ryoko is charming as Sakura, a woman in her late 30’s (or early 40’s?  not sure) who is unmarried and has lost her feminine touch.  She is a himono-onna but the show doesn’t emphasize that concept–instead it calls her a “ossan joshi” or an “old man lady”.  It is a bit like a himono-onna but..more extreme? O_O  One day Sakura finds one lone hair on her chin.  She freaks out thinking that it is the start of a beard aka facial hair, and is convinced that she is doomed.  Her two best friends decide that she is just like an ossan because of her old guy-like behavior and her lack of romance.  So, in case you are wondering what the difference is from Shinohara Ryoko’s character in Anego, it’s that Sakura is not very refined at all, and she seems to have less experience with romance. 

Just with episode 1 alone, Sakura’s character is very well-developed (she is after all, the main character!).  She is cheerful and super cute, and despite her “ossan joshi” status she is very comfortable in her own skin.   Thankfully this is not the kind of drama where the heroine has to get a make-over.  She is fine the way she is!  However the episode also shows how Sakura isn’t fully satisfied with her life, especially since she failed to get promoted at her hair salon.  She decides that her work has failed her, and she doesn’t want to live like an ossan joshi for the rest of her life.  She is determined to find herself a MAN! 

Enter love interest #1: Fujiki Naohito as Rintaro, the new manager of Sakura’s hair salon.  Get this–they are coworkers, childhood friends, and bickering enemies.  (GEE I WONDER WHERE THIS IS HEADING…)  Rintaro & Sakura are a fun pair because they are always making jabs at each other and they know each other like a book.  Sakura is also comfortable enough to splat a cake right in Rintaro’s face.  AHAHA.  I am already kinda shipping Rintaro & Sakura because I have a thing for the ‘platonic friendship turns into romance’ plot.  The only thing is that it has already been done before.  Hopefully the drama can take it beyond the cliche and put a fresh spin on it.

Already though, the love triangles that are forming (or love square?) seem a bit cliched.  Sakura’s love rival, Chiko, is definitely gonna be a pain in the butt.  From the moment I saw Chiko’s pink, sparkly, overly pretty self, I knew something was up.  Of course Chiko senses the good chemistry between Sakura & Naohito and is determined to meddle with them!  She invites Sakura to a goukon and then gets one of her friends, Hiroto, to seduce her. T__T

So, we got the platonic friend, the meddling love rival, and…….THE YOUNGER GUY!  Not much is known about Hiroto except that he is somehow connected with Chiko, he is good with the ladies, and he is a biker.  = PLAYBOY.  At first I was way too distracted by Miura Haruma’s hairstyle which looks like an utter fail in comparison to Fujiki Naohito’s.  I really did not understand why people were raving over Miura Haruma when (IMO) Fujiki Naohito is so much more handsome!  (YES I AM BIASED)  BUT THEN………….THIS HAPPENED:  (YES YOU SHOULD WATCH IT..)

OMGGGGGG.  The scene when he epicly walks towards Sakura in SLO-MO to some epic music………….  *MELT*  I ADMIT IT………..HE WAS HOT.  COME ON RINTARO YOU GOTTA CATCH UP NOW! 

Long story short, he seduces Sakura and calls her his Cinderella.  The episode ends when she wakes up in the morning to find herself in bed with him….and he confesses and asks her out.  Omg, I hope that Sakura isn’t gonna get her heart broken!

Overall
Last Cinderella is a more ‘adult’/mature drama so some people might not like how it is more explicit than some other Japanese rom-coms.  But to me it is fun and fresh, and a nice change from other rom-coms that tried to be all mature but ended up being fluffy and idealistic (*COUGH* KEKKON DEKINAI RIYUU).  Don’t worry there’s nothing R rated or anything.  O_O   Even though Last Cinderella has its share of cliches, it executes the storyline really well with its fast pacing, awesome music, and quirky scenes.  Put everything together and we have a really enjoyable drama!

Anyways is it just me or…..does Shinohara Ryoko look even younger in this drama?!?!?  At first I thought it was just because of her new hairstyle but now I really feel like her face is a bit slimmer or something.  How in the world does she look even younger when she’s getting older?  HOW DOES SHE DO IT!?!?  AHHHHH. 

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heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • OMG how did I not know this was happening? Haven’t read the whole review but will come back once I’ve watched. Although, I’m already not sure how I feel about Fujiki’s pedophile trucker facial hair. We’ll see how his character pans out.

    • OK, now that I’ve watched it… it seems really fun! I’m glad that it’s more risque; I’m glad to see a more realistic take on things from a j-drama. I was a little bummed that we have SPOILERS>> cheating so early on, and I was also royally pissed at the husband! His wife was trying to get it on, and he blows her off, wtf. Shima cracks me up and I kind of love her, but I’m sad she’s the one to expose the issues in her friend’s marriage. I don’t blame Shima as much as the husband for the cheating. It takes two to tango, but he’s the one who’s already married. Anyway, hopefully she doesn’t degenerate into “I was a confident, autonomous woman but now I’m ready to give up my evil, evil ways for baaaabiiiiiiiies!”. (hint: having control over and confidence in your sexuality is not evil) It seemed like her expression in the hotel was hinting at that.

      I actually like that Hiroto is not your typical naive younger man; I think it gives the character more depth and believability. It will be an interesting reversal, to have the jaded person by the younger in the pair, and the idealistic one be the older, but it already looks like it’s even more complex than that, so yay.

      To continue your comparison with Anego, I think there were rumors of the younger guy’s exploits, but if I remember, it was sort of informed playboyness, and he was more naive and idealistic. With Hiroto, though, I’m trying to figure out what he gains by seducing her… is Chiko paying him to distract her from Rintaro? Is Chiko blackmailing him? It’s not like Sakura’s got a ton of money for him to swindle out of her, but if it’s not that, it still didn’t look like his initial impression was that positive. I don’t buy his confession at the end of this episode, it’s still too artificial (although her crawling around to get away from him was pretty hysterical). I’m sure he will come to love her and get his comeuppance, but it’s hard to tell at this point who the main lead is. It could go either way, but I guess checking the order on the Drama Wiki page will give me the answer.

      Speaking of, I’ve always been on the fence about Fujiki Naohito. He’s always seemed sort of bland to me, but that could be because the first thing I saw him in was Proposal Daisakusen, in which he played a really flat character. He’s good-looking, but it’s always seemed like the plastic good looks of a Ken doll to me. I love his bickering relationship with Ryoko, but I would like it more if he hadn’t already played a similar relationship in Hotaru no Hikari. You see my dilemma.

      Shinohara Ryoko is vibrant and charismatic as usual. I don’t know the secret to her lack of aging. Hopefully it’s the good ol’ fashioned Japanese diet, and not plastic surgery or botox. Although I guess there could always be a Picture of Shinohara Ryoko stashed somewhere to absorb her age…

      • Strangely enough, I feel like the side story of the Miki/husband/Shima ‘love triangle’ won’t have too much drama. (HOPEFULLY) But I agree with you I actually really like Shima’s character. O_O She is really fun!

        In Anego, the younger guy Kurosawa is not a player. (if my memory is correct) He does not have ulterior motives when he goes out with Naoko. (Shinohara Ryoko’s character)

        I think it’s pretty obvious that Hiroto’s confession was fake, like you said he is supposed to distract Sakura by making her fall in ~LOVE~. I also wonder what he stands to gain from it, but it seems like he’s used to being with a lot of girls. O_O I didn’t quite get the feeling that he is less idealistic, but more like he is living it up (LOL) and is seducing women without the consequences. I guess that sounds quite pessimistic, HAHA. But I hope Hiroto proves me wrong! On the other hand, I don’t want Sakura to be the more idealistic one in this relationship, mainly because I don’t want her to be taken advantage of. T_T Judging from the previews it seems like she is falling head over heels for Hiroto…meaning she will get hurt in the end!

  • Hello,do you by any chance know where I can download English subtitles for this drama? I’ve download the raw version of the first episode and am still waiting for the English subs,or even any Chinese subs for that matter. Thank you!

  • Oh, I have a major girl crush on Shinohara Ryoko, too. I like how she plays strong female characters with that lovely undertone of vulnerability. While her and Fujiki’s roles are somewhat in character for them, they always seem to bring something fresh to the table, which I enjoy thoroughly.

    I am also amazed by how young she looks. I think she’s approaching her 40s or maybe in her 40s now, but she looks better now than she did in 1999 drama Pure. And this is after marriage and 2 kids…that’s just amazing.

    Yeah, this drama plot is not wholly fresh with a lot of stuff that’s been done before, but it is highly entertaining and not too trite at the moment. Hopefully it won’t end up disappointing like some other dramas that start strong (even with overdone plots) and fizzle out in the middle and end.

    • Nicely said, I like how her characters are strong and confident, but they still have their weaknesses. I admire Shinohara Ryoko’s ENDLESS BEAUTY. OMG!

      Yes I am hoping that it will continue its strong momentum all the way through!!!

  • Shinohara Ryoko is awesome, as always. =P I actually liked Haruma MIura a lot (I have a thing for younger guys). To be frank, I used to ship Fujiki Naohito 10 years ago but now, he’s an ojiisan really (not that I’m that young either, LOL~).

    I found Iijima Naoko really hilarious as a nymphomaniac. She practically ATE that young guy in the toilet. ROFLMAO~!!!

  • “Thankfully this is not the kind of drama where the heroine has to get a make-over.” I hope you are right. I’m kind of put off by the opening clip where she is all prettied up, as if to suggest that’s how she will be in the end (so much more glamorous and womanly). I can’t say I’m enjoying how people talk down to her, Fujiki Naohito’s character’s view on women is depressing (and other characters dismissing it, including Sakura’s friends) – I guess they are going for extremes, but I really hope that this gets totally picked apart so that we aren’t left with some sort of message in the end that women should beautify themselves and marry and that’s it. Or a half-baked message like in Kekkon Shinai, which was supposed to challenge that deeply ingrained notion that marriage is the only way for women to be happy but never fully achieved that IMO.

    I can’t say I’m too fond of Sakura’s girlfriends at this point (their conversation in the onsen, Shima’s selfish behaviour), or some of the other characters (Chiko will be trouble indeed, and annoying as hell), the cheating husband, etc.

    I know it’s early in the drama and I’m being super-critical, but I really hope that this drama can give us something fresh and a power-woman character (more than one preferably!). Even more so because Shinohara Ryoko is awesome.

    “I really did not understand why people were raving over Miura Haruma.” I’m with you. Never paid much attention to him, but he certainly got my attention here. In that goukon scene, on the stairs, etc.

    I’m kinda hoping that Sakura ends up being the girl that’s nothing like his other ladies (well, we know she won’t be) and, being the cool girl she is, that she goes biking with him. That would be hilarious.

    • Wow, Alua, I totally agree with you on all counts. And what’s really annoying is I’ve seen so much of this before. I suspect the married couple will get into that evaluation/re-evaluation mode (Why are marriages always subject to adultery in j-dramas?) and married woman with no life outside the home will find herself again…and worst of all, I really think they will do a makeover of Sakura. I might think she’s okay but in j-drama terms…the screenwriters will think she’s in need of help. I’m shipping Haruma’s character…so am already getting second lead syndrome. Will see what happens.

      • Hi Carole! We’ve agreed on this before, haven’t we? 🙂

        Now that you mention it, so true about adultery… even in the dramas that I enjoyed, like Himawari no Osozaki they all had a second storyline involving adultery that was pretty much resolved unsatisfactorily.

        I really hope we don’t end up with a make-over, I would not be happy with that at all. I mean, that thing she was wearing at the goukon it was hideous but it sure takes guts and confidence to wear something like that, and for that Sakura is just brilliant. And she’s right – she cared about an old woman’s feelings more than people’s shallow opinions.

        Haruma’s character… we don’t really know anything about him yet, so I really hope he’ll be an interesting character. So far I get the impression he really doesn’t care about the women he sleeps with, that it’s a playboy act rather than anything else. There could be a really intriguing story behind – we’ll have to wait and see. If that relationship actually stood a chance, it could be really interesting.

    • Hmm I’m not sure if the opening implies she will get a makeover. I thought since the male leads were also dressed up that they dressed her up too, to go along with the “Cinderella” theme. I agree, Rintaro’s views on women made me feel indignant and I was glad that Sakura stuck a cake in his face AHAHA. I also hope that this drama will take it beyond the cliches and develop the characters more. Considering that Shinohara Ryoko normally plays strong-lady characters, I am hoping that Sakura will also give us some GIRL POWER!!

      • I’m not sure the opening means that either. I haven’t read much about the drama (officially released synopses etc) so I don’t what it is selling itself as, although most dramas that have a clip like that would normally go the makeover way. Fingers crossed this one is going to break conventions!

        Ahhh, the cake scene was SO satisfactory, hahahaha!

        • Actually about Rintaro’s sexist views……I think it will be awesome when he falls for Sakura, just because it will be so ironic that he ended up falling for someone that is the opposite of his “ideal”. KEKEKE.

  • I totally agree with everything your wrote. Gotta say that I kept getting this unsettling feeling all through the first episode, a feeling that all the cliched stuff i feared were going to happen. Horny friend/BFF’s husband, me shipping Sakura and young guy (although there is no chance that relationship’s gonna happen) and me fearing to get really invested in it because the ending will just get me sooo angry. The ending of so many Japanese dramas just hit me the wrong way way too often. The preachiness, the affirmation of the status quo or the “look we’re not affirming the status quo” ending that seems just plain wrong…. Alas, though, Haruma is juuuuuust toooooo cute. .I am hoping there will be more heart than preachiness and pretend cultural enlightenment. Thanks for the recap!

    • Unfortunately the preachy tendencies of jdramas is part of why they are going downhill. BUT..there are glimmers of hope! There are still awesome dramas out there! Also about the adultery theme, most dramas won’t go all the way through with it because they all want the sappy happily ever after ending. T___T

      One jdrama that did go all the way through with the adultery theme was Hatsukoi though..it was a wonderfully written drama that showed a different side of adultery.

  • Great recap! This one is not my ‘cup of tea’ but enjoyed watching the first episode. Haruma’s character is very suspicious for me, I think there is a hidden agenda somewhere. The Sex in the City vibes is also noteworthy, with one of the lead’s friend on the hunt! 🙂
    The encounter at the bar is hilarious! 🙂

    • Hey Jed! Yup Haruma’s character is verrrry fishy. I think he is trying to have more of an adult image in contrast to his previous roles in dramas like Gokusen & Bloody Monday.

  • I jumped in not reading/knowing anything being a blind and shallow Naohito fangirl, Haruma is not hurting and he’s always done things to my hormones, but here I think he’s trying too hard when he doesn’t need to. I could explain it off as it’s part of the character’s veiled insecurities, but it comes across as a bit posturing in overplaying the smexiness.

    What is taking me by surprise is how much I’m enjoying the rapport of Ryoho and Naohito. I’m not putting on my critical caps at all, the obvious cliches are Obvious, but the little nuances of genuine tender care his character is throwing her way in 2 is Delish!

      • It’s weird to see Miura, he’s lost every ounce of his babyfat (not that he has much) face-wise to the point I wonder at times watching LC did he do a bit of subtle chiseling under the knife here and there?!

        It is also a bit unsettling for me to see him trying very hard to sell the smexy, and almost there but not quite yet. He’s a bit forcing the manliness when I’d rather him steadily take his time tbh. And that makes him in certain passing scenes looks a decade older than his 90er age yet you can still see this not confident enough boy inside.

        • I think Miura is hotter in Kimi ni Todoke then he is here. T_T NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE HAIRSTYLE THOUGH! But because his character’s personality in Kimi ni Todoke was just so natural for him, it made him really appealing.

          • AGREE!!!

            It is KnT that truly did me in as his fangirl actually even though I’ve been watching his stuff since he was a baby. (I rem the first time I saw him was in Merry Christmas in Summer coz of myYutaka!) ^^ *I’m beginning to see a trend of us sharing too similar taste in hotties!*

            And also, objectively Harumakun is quite talented but also quite limited an actor, what he’s asked to do in LC is a bit out of his abilities and he’s overthinking methink. Unpopular opinion, I know.

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