You’re Beautiful…on the Inside

Ikemen Desu ne episode 1

Homo ja nee! But for Miori....we can talk

This is a season for traps. I’ve already reviewed the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club and there’s also the AKB-make of Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (which is worthless, skip that crap), but last but not least we have Ikemen Desu ne, so come take the jump and check out the first episode with me.

Ikemen Desu ne is the Japanese remake of a Korean drama called You’re Beautiful, and follows a young nun-in-training as she is plucked from the convent and placed into a rock band. Say what? Yeah, that’s the outlandish premise. What makes it even more outlandish is the reason she’s put into this rock band: because her twin brother, who is supposed to be joining the band, got drunk and got into a fight and needs to recover. I guess dramas, both K and J, almost always have crazy setups, but this is just…wow.

Anyway, besides that, the drama is actually pretty good. I’ve never seen the original, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but just as a drama I’ve picked up, I enjoy it. Takimoto Miori, formerly of SweetS fame (OH GOD SWEETS I MISS YOU SO MUCH!), plays the lead role of Sakuraba Mio (Miko is her real name). While this isn’t Miori’s first acting gig, I haven’t seen her in anything before. I can’t say I dislike her, because she’s adorable. Really, her acting style seems to be very reminiscent of (personal favorite) Ishihara Satomi. She has that same kind of ‘look at me, I’m not a great actress, but I’m not very bad either, and I’m SO fricken cute it’s criminal!’ style, which I suppose is a great kind of acting in and of itself. She’s doing a decent job of keeping me interested, and I guess that’s all she can really ask for. The rest of her band, A.N.JELL, is made up of the newest crop of Johnny’s Entertainment members. Tamamori Yuta is actually quite convincing as dick guitarist and leader Ren. I’ve only watched the first episode and I already can’t stand this guy. Fujigaya Taisuke and Yaotome Hikaru play the other two members, and are rather indistinguishable from each other, character-wise. The supporting cast seems to be pretty strong, though, with veterans Yanagisawa Shingo and Katase Nana, and even star newcomers like comedy sensation Tanoshingo and AKB’s Kojima Haruna rounding out the lineup. I’m especially interested to see how well Kojima does; she has big shoes to fill with her character, and I’m hoping she does a good job playing an utter biatch.

The drama itself plays out much like Hanazakari no Kimitachi e. The guys meet their new member, think she’s a dude, all individually have awkward moments with her that are only awkward for her because she has to pretend that she’s a guy. Several times an episode she will nearly be caught and exposed as a girl, but something miraculously saves her. It’s cool, it’s formulaic, it works (which makes me wonder why the AKB-make of HanaKimi this season sucked so much).  Yaotome Hikaru so far is filling in the Ikuta Toma roll (“homo ja nee!”), but I’m sure all three members will soon be questioning their sexuality. The first episode was funny enough, with the gags I would expect from the premise, and then some.

I’m sure I’ll watch this as it continues. I enjoy watching Miori onscreen, and the premise is bizarre enough and promises enough comedy to keep me interested (until it starts to get stale). While the style of the show is very similar in feeling to HanaKimi, I doubt it can deliver as big as that show did. But perhaps these lowered expectations will allow me to enjoy Ikemen Desu ne that much more. So check it out if you’re looking for something light and funny, akin to HanaKimi, and with an incredibly adorable (I like that word) female lead. And skip that AKB-make. Seriously.

Takimoto Miori as Sakuraba Mio

A.N. JELL