Fuben na Benriya: Eps 1-2 [First Impressions]
For those of you who are looking for a really good laugh, I’d highly recommend the spring 2015 jdrama Fuben na Benriya. It’s a comedy–and a good one at that–so yes, it’s really funny. To me at least. 😛 Also, it’s really off the wall and “out there” which is right up my alley!
^Okada Masaki as Jun
So, the first episode starts out showing a young man, Jun, (Okada Masaki) who is stranded in the middle of nowhere due to a heavy snowstorm. Jun tries to look for a motel in town, but instead he stumbles across a cosplay bar. The moment he enters, a group of guys accidentally mistake him for the long-lost son of Soichi (Endo Kenichi), also known as Batsu-san. They even have a “Welcome Jun” sign all ready for him. Errr WHAT!? Note that this all happens within the first three minutes of the episode! Talk about fast-paced!
Of course, Jun is totally shocked and has no idea how to react. I felt the same way, haha. Are these guys playing a prank on him? How do they know what his name is? Or are they being totally serious here?!? Well we quickly find out that it’s no joke: Batsu-san and everyone else seriously believe that Jun is the long-lost son they’ve been looking for. Since Bastu-san has not seen his son in decades, of course he can’t recognize that Jun is not his real son. All he has to go off of is his son’s name…and Jun just so happens to have the same first name as Bastu-san’s son. Talk about jumping to conclusions! Jun later clears up the misunderstanding but continues to stay with Batsu-san due to various circumstances. He helps out at Batsu-san’s benriya (A business that does odd-jobs. Basically a handymen service.) and gets caught up in some very strange (and funny) scenarios.
^Jun’s WTF moments
Jun is an aspiring script-writer with a wild imagination who has yet to make it big. He generally has a “why am I here” / WTF expression on his face because he has no desire to stay in this small town. Also, Jun believes that he’s the victim of ‘a series of unfortunate events’ (just look at the screencaps above and you’ll get a hint as to what I mean…LOL..) which only makes him want to run away from the place even more! Unfortunately, we have to hear Jun complain about his predicament for two episodes straight. His frustration is understandable but please, just let the whining stop soon! I find it hard to warm up to Jun because he’s so busy complaining that he doesn’t realize that this is a great opportunity for him. Jun believes that he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if you really think about it, the timing of events here is totally perfect. Jun is still struggling as a script-writer and doesn’t have much going for him in his life at the moment. This is the perfect chance for him to get good material for his scripts! A blessing in disguise, really.
Okada Masaki (as Jun) is likely to be a big attraction of the drama since after all, he gained popularity due to his role in Hana Kimi…and he’s still got his good looks. 😛 I’m not very familiar with his works, so I can’t really comment on his acting yet. Okada nails Jun’s WTF expressions, but he hasn’t had much of a chance to delve deeper into Jun’s character. Also, Okada is acting alongside some long-time veteran actors so I don’t think we can totally compare him to the other more experienced cast members.
3rd pic from the top: Batsu-san (Endo Kenichi), Jun, and Hideo (Suzuki Kosuke).
Rounding up the cast, we have the old-timer Endo Kenichi who is pretty much in EVERY single jdrama. Ok, maybe not every one, but it sure feels like it. I’ve mainly seen him in detective roles as of late, so it’s really refreshing to see him in this unique role here. His character Batsu-san is a mysterious guy; all we know about him is that he has a long-lost son who he’s been trying to get in contact with. Already it seems like he’s grown quite fond of Jun (even though he’d deny it). The last main cast member is Suzuki Kosuke, who plays the role of Hideo. Virtually all we know about him is that he’s Batsu-san’s coworker, and he has a mellow personality. Anyways, I’m looking forward to finding out more about these characters and seeing their unlikely bromance develop. 😛 These three combined = GOLD.
There are plenty of funny moments in Fuben na Benriya. I laughed all throughout eps 1-2. But sadly, I can’t really explain what makes the drama so funny because it won’t really make sense out of context! So here’s just a quick list of funny moments I enjoyed. If you’ve already seen the episode, you will know what I’m talking about.
- The guys at the cosplay bar telling Jun to call Batsu-san “Dad”.
- Whenever Jun wakes up and finds that he’s in some kind of weird costume (that he put on while drunk at the cosplay bar).
- The hospital scene, when it shows someone on crutches slipping on the ice outside. LOL. A super small detail but so funny.
- Batsu-san, Jun, and Hideo discovering a body in the snow. Their reactions are priceless.
- Batsu-san looking longingly at a superhero costume; he wants to dress up as the superhero, not the villain.
- Batsu-san picking a fight with the “heroes” during a performance because he’s so bitter over not getting to be the superhero.
I would recommend that you give episode 1 a quick spin and see if you like it. The nice thing is that each episode is about a half hour long, so you don’t have to make a huge time commitment to the drama. 😉 IMO episode 1 is the best, whereas episode 2 is funny but not as good as the pilot episode. I think ep2 was a bit less epic because the acting of one of the side actors (the officer) was too over-exaggerated. Hopefully episode 3 will keep up the momentum though! And this is random, but one other thing I like about Fuben na Benriya is its setting in a small rural town. There are plenty of jdramas set in the big city, but what about the countryside? Not so much, right?
Lastly, some may be wondering whether Fuben na Benriya is similar to another jdrama about a benriya, Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi. I have to say that they are nowhere alike. The only similarities are: 1) They’re about a benriya. 2) They’re weird. 3) Bromance? (but there’s not much bromance in this drama…YET.). The tone and style of the two dramas are totally different. Mahoro is much more laid-back and classy whereas Fuben is a more fast-paced and aims to make you laugh. Mahoro is a bit more slice-of-life whereas Fuben is a straight up comedy. I would recommend both though! 😉
Have you seen episodes 1-2 of Fuben na Benriya? Yay or nay?