International Dramas: Good Morning Call

Promotional image of (left) Shunya Shiraishi and (right) Haruka Fukuhara. Copyright goes to Fuji TV and Netflix.

Hi! It’s Annie!

This drama has been on my list forever and I don’t know why I kept pushing it off. The show is conveniently on Netflix and has an adorable premise. It is literally- “And they were roommates”. Maybe it’s because I was learning Korean and for a while I’ve been focusing on watching K-Dramas so that I could pick up more of the language. But I’ve even had friends recommend this one to me and I figured it was about time I watch it! The premise is adorable and it was described to me as a nice and lighthearted drama. And it is that! But I also had a few issues with it, maybe because it’s an older drama and maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many dramas now. Anyways, I’m going to go into all of my opinions about season one of this drama. I didn’t choose to watch season two as that one has a different storyline of their college years and can be watched separately. MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for ‘Good Morning Call’! If you are at all interested in seeing it, go ahead and watch it. It isn’t offensive in any way! But I’m not going to highly recommend this show this time.

Summary: Nao Yoshiwaka is a poor High School student who decided not to move with her parents when they decided to move to the country in order to stay with her friends. Hisashi Uehara is the most popular and most attractive boy at her school, though known for his stoic stature. When the two of them are caught in a lease scam, they must become roommates in order to afford the apartment they were both assigned to. But if their school finds out, they both could be expelled.

The Good:

The Best Friends- I loved Marina and Yuichi! I often find that the main character’s best friend can be an unsupportive character for the most part in dramas like this. Marina wasn’t like this at all! She has to be one of the most supportive best friend characters I’ve seen in a long time. When she becomes angry at Nao for keeping her roommate situation under wraps, it isn’t because Marina has a crush on Uehara; though this is what Nao assumes at first. Marina is quick to point out that her issue stems from the lies that Nao had been telling her. She actually becomes really supportive over Nao’s need to live with Uehara and continuously sticks up for and lies for Nao. When they first announced that Yuichi had a crush on her, I couldn’t see it. But when they did end up getting together, they were my favorite couple in the entire series. They’re both hilarious and the best wing-men you could ever hope for. I loved every moment these characters were on screen! Especially when Marina and Yuichi decide to date in the middle of chaos. Like going to the noodle shop while Nao is working while Uehara looks at her longingly and Isei does the same though attempts it more subtly. And of course they comment on it, making everyone uncomfortable to a hilarious degree. The best parts of the show right there.

Isei- I loved the character of Isei so much that he has to be my favorite character hands down. I thought he was the best choice in love interest from his introduction, even though he doesn’t really come into the story until later. And when we first meet him, I wasn’t even expecting him to eventually come into the main cast. He gives Nao a job at his Father’s noodle shop and acts as a big brother character for much of the show and to many of the characters. Not only is he an amazing chef, but the characters from the High School go to him for advice often. I always love a big brother type who cares for everyone else! I was not expecting for Isei to become the third piece in the love triangle after Daichi left for college. And though love triangles aren’t always my favorite, I loved that it gave Isei more screen time. He was also completely unselfish throughout the love triangle. He knew from the off that Nao wasn’t interested in him, but was definitely interested in Uehara. So in order to see her happy, he tried to get them to realize how much they cared for each other despite his feelings for her. Completely unlike Daichi who also knew this information and instead decided that he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. But seriously, how do you not choose Isei??? He cooks, he cares for everyone, he’s attractive as hell. I know that I often suffer from second lead syndrome, but it was insanity to choose Uehara over Isei in my opinion.

Santa- Are you confused? So was I! But I laughed hysterically when Uehara had to wear a Santa suit, beard and all, for his part time job. And then raced home with cake in hand, still in the beard, for Nao. Yes, it was kind of cute! But I absolutely laughed.

The Bad:

Female Lead- Just like most female leads from dramas when this was released, she’s a bit of a wet blanket. She doesn’t stick up for herself usually, a lot of the time her friends do that for her, and she is constantly pushed around by any of the guys who like her. The only time she sticks up for herself is against her Father, but as soon as Uehara tells her to make up with him she immediately does that without argument. She will literally do anything that Uehara asks her to, and I wasn’t a big fan of that. I also wish she would have told off Daichi, who constantly was attempting to emotionally manipulate her on his behalf. Of course, she never seemed to notice this or get angry at him for not taking her “no” for an answer. Even though she gives him that answer multiple times. She even has a moment when he asks her on a date and she goes with him because he insists that she owes him a favor, and then won’t believe anyone when they tell her that Daichi will take it the wrong way. The show is quick to call her stupid, justify Uehara when he calls her stupid, and declare that she is bad at every subject in school. If you’re looking for a strong and intelligent lead, don’t look here at all. She’s written almost pitifully. And to make things worse, she’s also constantly passing out for no reason because the show has to have its ‘damsel in distress’ moments.

Male Lead- I know a lot of people like Uehara, but I couldn’t bring myself to like him at all. He was stoic to a point where he never really showed that he cared in any outward way. He felt like he was just kind of there in their relationship. And whether or not he would stand up for his relationship or just let Nao flounder for the hell of it was always up in the air. Sometimes if he did stand up for their relationship, he would sulk afterwards like he wished he hadn’t done it. Like after he won Nao (this aged very badly), in the tennis tournament against all of their friends. Not to mention how most of his interactions with Nao were him calling her stupid. He really liked to call her stupid! But I do think some of his failings were because the writing almost seemed to want him to fail at points. When Nao really needed someone to be there for her emotionally, he was never there. The show gave her an emotional comfort moment with almost every character except for Uehara. There’s even a point where she’s in the hospital on her birthday and he doesn’t visit her for either occasion. The show tries to explain it off, but one of their explanations is that he didn’t know that it was her birthday. Which doesn’t make the situation better. At all. Uehara is the worst boyfriend and the writing never even gave him a chance.

Daichi- The first second lead in this show is one of the worst I’ve seen in any show. Not only does he ignore every “no” from the female character, but he’s also a master manipulator. He tries to manipulate Nao into going out with him on multiple occasions on account of him saying that she owes him “favors”. Which ends up sounding just as creepy as it seems like it would. He’s also not consistent at all! At one point he tries to emotionally manipulate Nao into going out with him by giving her an ultimatum. Either she goes out with him or he won’t be her friend anymore; despite the fact that the two have been close friends since they were kids and practically grew up together. Nao, thankfully, continues her rejection of him. Instead of honoring her choice in the ultimatum, he decides to throw away the ultimatum altogether. He instead declares that he’ll still be her friend until the day when she will ultimately say yes to him and tells her that he’s good at waiting. Apparently he isn’t, considering it only took him about a day to decide against the ultimatum he already gave her. And way to, once again, not take her own answer into account at all. What’s funny is that I was watching this one with a group and we all agreed that Daichi was the most attractive of the main characters. But he was also all of our least favorite. Attractiveness doesn’t make a character likable, which seems to be what this show was trying to rely on.

The Romance- It feels so one-sided that it isn’t even funny. She makes him all of this food and constantly tires herself out to make life easy for him. And he calls her stupid. I genuinely hope that I never find myself in this kind of relationship. Every time he actually shows he cares are in moments that are inconsequential to the plot. And she slaves away for him like the show means for her to be a house wife. She even yells at him about this once, in a rare moment of strength for her character. But it doesn’t seem to really get through to him except for him making one dish for her one time and then things go back to the way they were before.

Other Side Characters- I found that none of the other side characters were consistent. They all seemed to change personality traits dependent on what the plot wanted. When Uehara’s sister was first introduced, I appreciated her strength and carefree personality. But she quickly crumbled the next time we saw her because of her husband; who the plot was quick to point out that she wouldn’t crumble for in the plot line before. Isei’s Father was sweet up until an uncharacteristic moment where he turned extremely violent and then the show almost pretended like it never happened. I wish these side characters would have felt like fully fleshed out characters rather than whatever the plot points felt they should be at the time.

This wasn’t my favorite of the dramas I’ve watched. There were things that I liked about it! I liked having something with low stakes to watch and I liked the atmosphere of the noodle shop! It was one of those places in a show that you wished you actually had in your life. For both the food and the company! And it was also one of those shows that made you want to be a part of the friend group because of a few of the friends in it. Like Marina, Isei, and Yuichi. But the main point of this was the romance and I couldn’t get behind either main character and definitely not the romance itself. Isei is such an obvious choice between the three love interests too! The main character choosing any character that wasn’t him felt like the writers had no idea what they had written. Over-all, there are so many other dramas I’ve seen that were so much better. This was cute in some ways, but I wouldn’t watch it for the romance. While I might return to some of the characters, this one isn’t going on my favorites list any time soon.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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