Year End Drama Review 2020 Day 4: Onzoshi Boys
A Japanese drama with 18 15-minute episodes? Why not? Onzoshi Boys aka Noble Boys aired on AbemaTV back in 2019. It’s an over-the-top youth drama filled with lots of overacting, comedy, romance, and even melodrama. The whole basis of this drama is absolutely absurd if you look at the bigger picture. Four wealthy college boys are doing a reality television show to select the woman they will marry. The final three (yes three even though there are four boys) girls are all in high school. Granted, the age gap between them is less than 10 years (possibly even 5 in some cases), but how wrong is it that high school girls are participating in a marriage program?
Since this is a short teen romance melodrama comedy, the acting wavers between being very good and just the typical over the top you get with these kind of shows. That said, I could tolerate the over acting and silliness. When they actually did “serious” acting for the more melodramatic versus comedic scenes, they all did a great job.
Taira Yuna plays Aihara Mugi, a free-spirited 16-year-old (I think) who loves to dance, is bad at studying, and believes that a woman’s future is dependent on the man she marries due to her Tokyo University graduate mother giving up everything to marry a baker and live a basic lifestyle. She decides she might as well marry a wealthy man rather than worry about attending college and getting a job. Talk about a crazy attitude…but it’s not too farfetched because there really are women out there that think like that. Despite this resolution of hers, she’s very down-to-earth and very honest. She doesn’t try to show a fake personality to win over the noble boys or anything…she’s 100% real. At the start she has a crush on model and heir the Saionji Group Taijga (Iijima Hiroki). Later she comes torn between Taiga and Nikaido Riku (Isomura Hayato).
Takeda Rena plays Ono Fumino. She is what you would call Noveau Riche as her parents became wealthy. Due to this, when she went to a school for wealthy children she was outright bullied by everyone. This traumatized her, led her to have stomach problems, a twisted personality, and the desire to marry a “true” noble. She is at first very two-faced showing the other two girls that they are beneath her while trying only to show a good side to the boys. She later faces a scandal which shows her duplicity and the girls and boys stand behind her and tell her to be comfortable and just be her true self. Despite her flaws, she catches the eye of Date Tatsunari played by Yamamoto Roysuke. He is the heir to a sushi empire. He is also a Noveau Riche whose father is against him becoming a sushi chef and wants him to just manage their brand. He loves to cook and loves sports of all kinds. Of course, since he isn’t a noble boy with a history, Fumino is against him, but can’t help but falling for him as he tries to cheer her up and show his concern. I do like how we get to see Fumino grow, earn true friends, find out its okay to just be herself, and also find love.
Okamoto Natsumi plays Shibayama Yu. She turns seventeen during the course of this drama. She joins the program to provide a better life for her mother who worked hard to raise Yu by herself. She’s a positive and talented girl who is always 100% real and who loves manga. She and Fumino constantly butt heads but end up becoming great friends. She instantly connects with noble boy Minai Terunoshin played by Inaba Yu. He’s an insecure and shy boy who works in his family’s pharmaceuticals company but who really enjoys creating manga. We don’t really see Yu change as a person, but really Teru as Yu does her best to be selfless and help him realize his mangaka dreams.
Yamashita Rio has to play the antagonistic female character. You can’t have four noble boys without having a sole noble girl, can you? She plays Fukuharado Tsubaki and she’s such an awful character really. Sure she makes good at the end and gives Riku up, but that seems completely out of character. She seems to think she owns these boys and constantly berates them for enjoying things that are beneath them and seriously developing affections for these worthless commoners. I mean…her character was pretty selfish and dark in this series which was a stark contrast to like the 90% comedy this drama had.
Taiga has a huge inferiority complex and has never faced anyone with honesty. Riku is the golden child who can do everything well that Taiga sets as a measurement and gets vexed easily when he cannot defeat Riku. The big secret of why there is only three girls? Tsubaki has laid claims to Riku. The interesting fact here is that during their childhood, Riku and Taiga both unintentionally start a fire while trying to cook ramen. Tsubaki discovers them running out and Riku sacrifices himself to try to protect her while Taiga is rooted in spot, terrified. The result is that Riku and Tsubaki share the same burn scars and she believes that Riku must make this up to her with his life…so why does Taiga get off from this necessity…? Due to this we see Riku attracted to Mugi but keeping himself in check due to Tsubaki’s existence which has come to kind of terrify him. Yeah. I find this part of the plot stupid.
The first half of the series is everyone getting to know one another while the second part is rife with melodrama, misunderstandings that are vexing, etc. It doesn’t stop me from watching especially since the episodes are all short. When the finale comes it just feels kind of like a trite ending where they had all this angst buildup to have everyone happily pair off…except for Taiga and Tsubaki. Of course the boys all declare they will make it on their own without their families’ respective helps so life will be rough, but whatever, right?
So, if you can get past the absurdity of certain plot points, over the top acting at times, and a maudlin and somewhat boring ending, you can find some really nice gem moments between our seven leads. I recommend for a quick watch when you want something that’s more comedy with a drop of angst. For acting, Taira Yuna shown when she was toned down and more serious and Isomura Hayato as Riku was just excellent overall. I guess you can even say that our antagonist did a good job. She did well fitting into this spoiled princess role who believed the world owed her something.
Also, the true reason behind the Prince of Marriage reality show was just plain old stupid. You think that by having this show where four boys and three girls end of connecting and deciding to pursue a relationship is great image-making material? The whole point of the show was to showcase the strength of the boys and they didn’t bother even taking into consideration that real feelings could develop on the part of the girls…and how is it good image-making to have college age boys doing a marriage partner reality show with three high school girls…honestly? And it’s crazy to think they got their parents’ permission for such a thing.