Ever heard of partner –swapping? Well, partner swapping is a choice of lifestyle where couples consensually agree to switch partners with someone else. Actually, I am giving you a very boring description of the actual concept but it is more or less what I just told you. But, Japanese dorama, Love Shuffle is exactly what I explained. Here we have four strangers who are unhappy in their current relationships and decide to exchange partners till they find their best match. Sounds like a story of a bunch of promiscuous people, right? But it is not. Remember me mentioning that Japanese dramas have a lot of depth? This drama is not as superficial as the snippet may make it sound. Every individual involved in this experiment (Yup! that is what it is called in the show) has something to learn about himself and his partner. Love Shuffle is one helluva interesting dorama and here is what I liked and disliked about it.
Love Shuffle (2009) (10 Episodes)
Image Courtesy: TBS / Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc
Usami Kei, Aizawa Airu, Sera Ojiro, and Masato Kikuta are neighbours sharing the same floor of a building. One evening, they all get stuck in an elevator together. Left with no other option, they start interacting with each other for the first time. While talking they start discussing their love lives and wonder if their current partners are the ones that they are meant to be with. When no one has an answer to this question, they decide to shuffle their partners and try dating someone new to see if they can find their perfect match.
Let’s weigh this dorama with an interesting concept on our drama beam balance and see which side weighs higher.
I enjoyed watching Love Shuffle because…
…of its intriguing plot. There have been concepts or incidents I have never heard of in real life but seen in a drama. Love Shuffle is the opposite where it is the first time I am seeing a drama on partner swapping after reading so much about it in the papers. The concept of partner-swapping may sound amoral but the drama writer has shown it in a very responsible and matured way without giving any wrong ideas to the viewers. Neither does the dorama promote ‘shuffling’ nor does it condemn it. It presents the idea in a neutral way while trying to show how it was much needed by the characters.
…every turn had a jaw-dropping twist. A big twist is revealed in the latter half of the drama series which had my jaw touching the floor. Similarly, there are a lot of revelations in this drama that will catch you off-guard and keep you asking for more.
…all the characters in the drama were well-written. Usami Kei (Tamaki Hiroshi) works as a manager of a company owned by his fiancée Kagawa Mei’s (Kanjiya Shihori) father. But he is about to lose his work and house as Mei has suddenly decided to call off their marriage. Aizawa Airu (Karina) is a trilingual interpreter and in a relationship with Oishi Yukichi (Naito Daigo) who is a wealthy businessman. The more Yukichi dotes on Airu the more she wants to get away from him. Sera Ojiro (Matsuda Shota) is a professional photographer having an affair with a much older and married, Kamijou Reiko (Kojima Hijiri). Masato Kikuta (Tanihara Shosuke) is a psychiatrist who agrees to swap his partner in the shuffle. What no one knows is that the one he is presenting as his partner is actually his patient Hayakawa Kairi (Yoshitaka Yuriko) who is suffering from a personality disorder. When lives of characters with varied backgrounds and personalities get intertwined it becomes one hot mess. I like every character in this drama. Each one has played his or her part commendably. I have absolutely no complaints in the acting department.
…I loved Ojiro and Kairi’s love story the most. Let me make it clear that this has nothing to do with the fact that Ojiro is the best-looking guy in the drama. Or…maybe it does? I don’t know. 😛 But I would really wait to watch Ojiro and Kairi in the drama. Ojiro is a flirt while Kairi is a naïve girl with some serious daddy issues.
Screen Grab Courtesy: TBS / Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc.
I was curious to know who will be the one breaking Kairi’s shell and when I got to know that Ojiro is her mate in the drama I was even more excited to see how he would be making Kairi speak and laugh. Ojiro and Kairi looked so good together that I wished they could have a separate drama for themselves. Their screen-time together was less but they still won my heart over the other couples. There are several MV’s dedicated to this couple on YouTube. Here, have a look at one.
I did NOT LIKE Love Shuffle because…
…naaah. I liked it a lot. A lot more than I thought I would. This drama is not perfect and there were moments where I was like, “Whaaaaaaat? Really?”. But I am overlooking these minor flaws because I thoroughly enjoyed the drama.
I give Love Shuffle 4 out of 5 rating. This dorama has love, suspense, comedy, tragedy, drama and just about everything you can find in a good show. Please do not miss this unique drama. Go watch it NOW!!!
Feature Image Courtesy: AsianWiki.com