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[personal profile] mec
Title: Zettai Kareshi
Genre: Based on a Watase Yuu manga, making it fluffy, angsty, romantic and funny all at once, guaranteed to break your heart but give you good eye candy at the same time.
Episodes: 11 (+ 1 special, unseen)
Cast: Hayami Mokomichi, Mizushima Hiro, Aibu Saki, Maya Miki, Sasaki Kuranosuke
Plot: Cute-but-clueless wannabe pâtissière lands up with devoted and gorgeous (if slightly life-challenged) boyfriend whose greatest desire is to make her happy. Is this a dream come true? Not exactly…

Izawa Riiko (Saki) is a temp working for a company that makes the yummiest-looking junk food since Antique. Not that she gets to make any of it herself. Riiko's got talent but not much confidence in her own cooking skills, and her dream of becoming a pâtissière has taken a backseat to being just another temp in the big city, working to support herself and just get by. She's sweet, eager to please, innocent and something of a romantic, but other than a faint crush on her boss, gorgeous young son-of-the-boss Asamoto Soshi (Mizushima), there are no prospects on the horizon. Besides, where would Riiko find a man who meets all her romantic ideals?

Kronos Heaven, that's where. When Riiko is persuaded to fill out their 'ideal boyfriend' customisation form, she has no idea that the company makes robots for customers - robots programmed to fulfil the customer's every desire. And if you think that sounds sleazy, you'd be right, because Namakiri Gaku's (Sasaki) current project is the 'Nightly Lover' series and "01", the robot customised for Riiko, is fully functional.

Not that he ever gets to use it. Thinking she's just filled in some stupid survey, Riiko goes on her way, only to find a large pink box in her hallway the next day. Worse yet, the box contains a dead (not to mention, dead gorgeous) man. Fortunately, he's a dead man with instructions, and can be activated by kissing him. Through this, he "imprints" with Riiko. She's his girlfriend, he's her ideal boyfriend (so he keeps telling people) and they are made for each other.

That's not how she sees it, though. Riiko has 'Night' (named by her for his product line) on a free trial run, but if she wants to buy she'll be in debt for the rest of her life. Robots don't come cheap. Not that Riiko wants to buy him - he's just an appliance, right? Like a kettle, albeit a kettle who makes her breakfast, does the housework, protects her even at the cost of his own safety and charms almost everyone he meets with his complete and utter cluelessness and slavish devotion. Her landlady adores him, her work colleagues are envious (Night gets a job as a janitor at her company so he can help pay the bills - including his own bill after Riiko decides to buy him), and even though it's strange sharing her tiny apartment with a man who doesn't need to eat and recharges himself by curling up in the bathroom, Riiko soon gets used to her unusual roommate.

Which isn't to say he gets to share her bed. Night's a robot, and as much as Riiko might like him, she knows she's got no future with him. There are all sorts of complications involved, too. Jealous, back-stabbing co-workers, internal strife at the company (particularly at management level), the growing attraction between Riiko and Soshi, Riiko's own dreams (which Night would do anything to help her achieve), problems at Kronos Heaven…and Night himself.

Night is closely monitored by Kronos Heaven by means of a bracelet, which feeds back whether or not he's succeeded in making his owner happy. If he doesn't, he's a useless product who should be scrapped. But in learning how to make Riiko happy, Night learns how to want something for himself, not because he's programmed to want it. The more involved in the human world he becomes, and the more his new life causes him to deviate from his programming, the more he evolves. Machine becomes man - inside his head, at least. Night exceeds both his own limits and those of his relationship with Riiko, but there's a terrible price to pay.

Okay, I admit I'm not much for romances, especially ones involving love triangles, but I actually do quite like the Soshi-Riiko-Night interaction even though I knew, going in, that my heart was going to get ripped to tiny shreds by the end of the series. Other than heartbreak, the show's got a lot going for it. Cute girls, hot guys, desserts which will make your mouth water, Mizushima Hiro speaking French, fluffy comedy, dorky romance, sci-fi, Hayami Mokomichi's incredibly scary smile, and Maya Miki playing a bartender. What more could you want?


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May 2017

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