Here is another short Japanese drama, Coffee & Vanilla, which is based on a very steamy josei manga. The manga targets young women and is more explicit when it comes to sexual and adult themes. To be frank, the manga is very beautiful with wonderfully drawn characters, and yes, it’s full of a lot of smut.
The show itself is about 10 episodes and does have a bit of implied adult themes, more so than your typical Japanese romance and dramas.
The show follows the premise of a shy, reserved college woman named Risa who is so beautiful she is constantly leered at by any male who encounters her. Sometimes men get aggressive bordering on assault.
She is basically almost assaulted in the first episode at her favorite coffee spot by some random dude (stalker) who insists she go out with him. Luckily she is rescued by a gorgeous businessman named Hiroto Fukami who manages to scare off the flies buzzing around her and save her from possibly being raped or dragged off by men who don’t take no for an answer.
The problem with Risa is she is very meek and does not seem to have the backbone or agency to successfully ward off dudes on her own.
Enter Hiroto, who comes to her rescue and in the end, asks her to dinner. It’s okay though, he’s rich and handsome so he poses no threat, right? It helps that he’s played by Dori Sakurado, Japanese heart throb with a smoldering gaze that would make a table swoon.
Risa is predictably smitten, they have dinner and he’s so incredibly sweet and caring he convinces her to stay the night with him (oh, and she also gets drunk at dinner because she cannot hold her liquor).
I mean, as much shit as I’m talking at “I-have-no-agency-Risa”, I would bang him too. Not gonna lie. No alcohol is required.
The story after this is filled with misconceptions, Risa’s unending insecurities, other men who try to swoop in and break them up and just sugary sweet romantic scenes.
At one point Risa gives up on Fukami, only to come back to him easily which just makes you wonder in the end if she could actually live her life without him. He dries her tears, makes grandiose business plans for her, and gives her this comfortable little “cage” to keep her protected from the big scary world.
I didn’t care for the story itself, but I admit I didn’t mind watching 10 episodes of Dori Sakurado, sometimes shirtless. Okay so I’m trash. I did indulge in the whole series and enjoyed the romance and any scene Dori is in, even when he’s being possessive of Risa. I just got annoyed by Risa’s meekness, which I guess if you could get over, this is a show for you. I just prefer strong or quirky female leads (like Makino from Hana Yori Dango).
I kinda feel bad for the actress Haruka Fukuhara, who played this wet rag of a role. I know she’s awesome after her work on Good Morning Call.
Still worth the watch if you have time to kill and love pretty boys.
You can find Coffee & Vanilla on Viki.