This makes my third Japanese Asadora that I’ve watched. Massan was the first and was followed by Hanako To Anne. Mare, the 92nd Asadora released by NHK Television Network, has continued my love down the Asadora Road! Read on….
(cast is numerous so I won’t mention everyone)
Tsuchiya Tao as Mare
Yamazaki Kento as Kontani Keita, Mare’s classmate and husband
Oizumi Yo as Tsumura Toru, Mare’s father
Tokiwa Takako as Tsumura Aiko, Mare’s mother
Hayama Shono as Tsumura Ittetsu, Mare’s brother
Takahashi Rai as Tsumura Tetsushi
Tanaka Yuko as Okesaku Fumi
Tanaka Min as Okesaku Ganji
Kadowaki Mugi as Teraoka Minori, Mare’s classmate
Tsukaji Muga as Teraoka Makoto, Minori’s father
Fuse Eri as Teraoka Kumi, Minori’s mother
Shimizu Fumika as Kuramoto Ichiko, Mare’s classmate
Sasai Eisuke as Kuramoto Koichi, Ichiko’s father
Suzuki Sawa as Kuramoto Haru, Ichiko’s mother
Itao Itsuji as Kontani Hiroyuki, Keita’s father
Fujiyoshi Kumiko as Kontani Naomi, Keita’s mother
Nakamura Atsuo as Kontani Yataro, Keita’s grandfather
Takahata Yuta as Kado Yoichiro, Mare’s classmate
Guts Ishimatsu as Kado Shinichiro, Yoichiro’s father
Watanabe Taichi as Futaki Takashi, Mare’s classmate
Kohinata Fumiyo as Ikehata Daigo
Ryo as Ikehata Wako
Yagira Yuya as Ikehata Daisuke
Nakamura Yurika as Ikehata Minami
Episode Count: 156
Episode Length: 15 minutes
Mare is an elementary school student. She lives with her family in the city, but, right before her father goes bankrupt, they run away and settle down at a fishing village in Noto. The family rents a couple’s home who run a salt pond. Mare’s father starts a new business, but it also fails. Her mother supports the family by working at the salt pond. 8 years later, Mare, about to graduate from high school, decides to work for the Wajima local government. She wants to have a steady job, unlike her father. Her job is to support people who move to Noto.
I especially liked this one because it was a modern day story. We watched as Mare and her family grew up from childhood, moving from Tokyo to Noto. We watched as the children and the parents blended into the community that was full of traditions and villagers that had lived there all their lives. We watched Mare and her brother Ikketsu go from young children to teens; Mare, with her first experience of love and missed opportunity in the form of Keita. Why? Because of Mare’s aversion to people having dreams. Her father Toru was a big dreamer. You constantly see it in dramas where there is, on occasion a parent that strive to be the best at whatever. They are constantly changing from one thing to another, always looking for the better thing. Unfortunately, Toru wasn’t a good planner when it came to his dreams so what his two children always saw was his failures. But, it was in those failures, it shaped both Mare and Ikketsu into the adults they became.
The slow, back and forth romance between Keita and Mare was a nice evolution of a relationship. While Keita aspired to continue the family tradition as a great Wajima lacquer specialist, Mare’s dream (when she finally realized she could have one), was to be great Patisserie! I loved how we got to see her shape this career from start to finish. As she left for Yokohama, in search for that taste she remembered as a child to her experiences as she learned the cake making craft from the crafty and sometimes strange Chef Ikehata Daigo. Eccentric would definitely be one word I would use to describe him. Her days (and years) in Yokohama at the Bake shop were well shown as well as the trials and tribulations of Keita as he learned his craft culminating in the eventual marriage of the two. I liked how the writer didn’t have Mare abandon her dreams once the two got married but actually showed how the two could continue to pursue their lifelong hopes with a commuter/long distance marriage until finally 3-4 years later, Mare decided to come back to Noto.
Love triangle, of sorts. While well crafted and I noticed that there were definite lines drawn in the drama sand by us viewers, on which guy Mare would end up with, I loved how the drama’s depiction of both Keita and Ikehata Daisuke was such that I didn’t care in the long run which guy she ended up with but in the end was happy with the results. Good job, writer!
Friends. I liked that some time was spent on the various friend relationships in the drama. While the main focus was definitely Mare and later Mare with Keita, the drama spent a lot of time showing you the conflicts (both personal and familial) that the friends had. And what great friends they were. Even Kuramoto Ichiko, who was at one time in love with Keita and held animosity towards Mare because of him, that story line was worked out well before the end of the drama. Thank you again writer for not dragging that story line into the mud.
What a pure joy it was to see Mare and her family; Keita, Ayumi, and Takumi! Wouldn’t it be great if we all could celebrate our anniversaries and birthdays on one date?! Yes, that is actually what happens in the story. Talk about 2 cute and precious children?
The story took us into the family life from first finding out Keita and Mare were expecting, the shock of finding out that they were having twins, and finally to the birth of these precious bundles. Again, it is not often you get to watch a drama so complete.
The final week couldn’t have ended more perfect than with the wedding that these two; Keita and Mare, never took the time to have. Again, on the shared birthdays of their family. Once again, NHK and its Asadora, has left a smile on my face and another great drama experience. It is sad that the next drama, Asa ga Kita won’t be picked up by Heiwa Fansubs. I know. Asadoras are time-consuming and long. None are less than 150 episodes but I must admit, the story telling is one of the best I’ve seen. My love for Asadoras will continue and instead of getting to watch the 93rd, I’ll just go backwards. Stay tuned.
MDL Rating: 8.5 for an interesting and thorough story (MDL Refers to MyDramaList Website)