On this blog, many people review the shows on Netflix. It is a good idea, since viewing habits have changed in the last five years. The only problem with these reviews are that it is for English language movies. There are many shows that are on Netflix that are from different countries. There are three that I have binge watched so far and you should do the same.
Samurai Gourmet (2017)
This was the first show that showed up on the Netflix “To Watch” list. It was very interesting. The series is based on the Japanese Manga of the same name and is produced by Netflix.
Samurai Gourmet is a 12 half-hour episode series about, Takeshi Kasumi, a recently retired Japanese salesman who feels lost. Like many retired people he stays at home, sitting listless. Until his wife tells him that he should go and spend some time out. So, he does what most husbands do…he listens.
He walks around till it’s time for lunch. He looks around for somewhere to eat and he finds a place that he wanted to go, but didn’t because he was too busy with work or was afraid to try it out. Contemplating whether or not he should go in, he then remembers the old Japanese stories of his heroes. The Samurai. Especially, the Ronin (a wandering samurai without a master). But in modern times, a Ronin is described as an unemployed salaryman. Which is what he is. So, like his hero the Ronin, he bravely journey’s in and tries the food – and enjoys it. After this day, he makes a promise that like his hero, the Ronin, he will try out new places and have new experiences.
The movie database, IMDb, labels this series a comedy, but I don’t think so. It’s more a drama. Actually, it was more like “food porn” 😆 .
The three main actors in the series, Naoto Takenaka (Takeshi Kasumi – the retired salaryman), Honami Suzuki (Kasumi’s wife) and Tetsuji Tamayama (The Ronin/wandering Samurai) have done a marvelous job with this project. Takenaka, with his facial expressions, made us enjoy the food that he ate. Even though I wouldn’t eat most of the food that was shown in the series, it still made my mouth water. I hope that they make a second season.
NOTE: The song at the end was written and performed by the lead actor, Naoto Takenaka.
Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (2017)
Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman came to my “What To Watch Next” list after watching “Samurai Gourmet” for the second time. This is a true comedy for the sweet-tooth fan. This show is also based on a Japanese Manga of the the same title. Like “Samurai Gourmet”, “Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman” is “food-porn”.
The premise is simple: Kantaro Ametani was a systems engineer who writes a blog called “Anablo”. It is about his favorite passion – sweets. But because his job was getting in the way of his passion of trying all the sweet shops in Japan, he decided to try something unique. He left his old job and joined the world of sales. Specifically a book salesman for the company Kiccho Publishing. He figured out that if he planned his sales meetings with vendors properly, he could visit the local sweet shops and write about it in his blog before he gets back to work.
His life is perfect, except for a co-worker, Kanako Dobashi. She is a follower of Kantaro’s blog and goes under the ID, Sweets Princess. She has her suspicions that he the mystery blogger and tries in different episodes to try to make him to confess that he the blog writer, Sweets Knight. Sometimes with funny results.
The cast is remarkable. Matsuya Onoe is great and funny as Kantaro. His expressions when he eats sweets is hysterical, almost orgasmic. Ren Ishikawa is both beautiful and naughty as Dobashi. The rest of the cast: Sarutoki Minigawa (as boss Toru Miyake), Hiroyuki Onoue (as co-worker Daisuke Yamaji) and Hazuki Shimizu (as co-worker Erika Sano) also have done a great job with their characters. The series may seem odd, but all you have to do is to just sit back and enjoy.
Now here are some questions that have popped up: Will there be a season 2 on Netflix? Does Kantaro miss a sales meeting because of his habit? Will Dohibashi (Sweets Princess) finally discover that Kantaro is Sweets Knight?
As Kantaro ends many of the episodes, “Only Sweet Heaven Knows.” 😉
WARNING: Do not watch the above two shows on an empty stomach. You will not survive. You may end up eating your hand. 😉
Million Yen Women (2017)
Million Yen Women is a true noir series. Like the two series above, this series is also based on a Japanese Manga series. Netflix and TV Tokyo co-produce this series. This series was truly a surprise to see. Just like the American noir movies of the 40s, this series was dark and held me in suspense throughout the 12 half-hour episode series.
This story is told from the main character’s point of view, who is an author. The author has published several novels, but is not successful. The show starts with the author, Shin Michima, sitting with five women. He talks about how confused he was about his current situation. Michima talks how his life changed six months prior when these women came into his life when they appeared in front of his door one day. And they were all given rules that they must follow:
- Questioning the women is prohibited.
- Entering the women’s room is prohibited.
- Michima must look after the women.
- Every month, the women must pay one million Yen as rent to Michima.
While all this is going on, Michima was receiving death threats over the fax. And this is a running theme through most of the series. In the first episode, we are introduced to the five women:
- Minami Shirakawa (30 yrs old)
- Hitomi Tsukamoto (26 yrs old)
- Yuki Kobayashi (24 yrs old)
- Nanaka Hiraki (20 yrs old)
- Midori Suzumura (17 yrs old).
Their backgrounds are mysterious at first, but in the next five episodes we find out who they are. The following six episodes is where things get serious, where the final episode ties all things together. What really amazed me about this series was how they were able to compress so much suspense into one half-hour episode. I would to tell you more, but I would be spoiling it for you. You will never regret binge watching this.
I hope that you enjoy the series that I recommended above. Tell me what you feel about them.