I have seen all kinds of drama heroines. Crazy, lazy, annoying, stupid, innocent, smart, and loving. But rarely have I come across a slob in a drama. Hotaru No Hikari is based on a Japanese manga of the same name and is about a young woman, Amemiya Hotaru who is very prim and proper at work but at home, she transforms into a sloth bear that lazes around all day without caring to clean or cook. She likes to sleep under newspapers on the porch after sipping some beer. I watched this drama because I fell in love with actress Ayase Haruka after watching her in Tatta Hitotsu No Koi (my FAVOURITE Japanese drama. If you like romantic dramas then you will surely like this one). I was supposed to watch the thriller dorama, Journey Under The Midnight Sun which also has her in the lead, but after reading the book, which the drama is based on, I decided not to. I like Haruka a lot and do not want to see her in a negative role as yet. So, I picked this rom-com hoping to see the funny side of Haruka and she did not disappoint me a bit. Here is what I felt about her and this funny drama.
Hotaru No Hikari (2007) (11 Episodes)
Amemiya Hotaru works in an interior designing company where her colleagues depend on her for all kinds of petty work. She works hard and ensures that she looks her best at work. But at home, she is completely the opposite as she behaves like a ‘himono-onna’ or ‘dried fish woman’ who has no other interest in life except lazing around at home in her worn out track pants and stained jerseys. Her smooth and easy life gets disturbed when the son of the owner of the house, Seiichi Takano, who is also her boss at work, decides to share the house with her.
Takano has recently divorced his wife and has no place to live except his father’s old house. He is in a shock when he discovers that his father has rented his house to Hotaru who works in his office. At first, he is disgusted by her way of living but later gets accustomed to her lack of cleanliness.
Life is cool for Hotaru till she finds herself in a fix when she falls in love with Makoto Teshima who also fancies her. After she confesses her feelings for Makoto, he asks her out but she is worried if he will ever accept her the way she really is. Takano helps Hotaru understand herself and Makoto which brings the two of them closer and Hotaru finds herself falling for the much older boss.
Let’s weigh this story of a slob on our drama beam balance and see if it is an interesting watch or no.
I enjoyed watching Hotaru No Hikari because…
… Amemiya Hotaru, who is at the centre of the drama, reminds me of my sister who also hates cleaning and cooking. Hotaru is honest in all her dealings, sincere in her work, and naïve like a little child. She is also very optimistic and is seldom bogged down by an adversity.
Her highly positive approach towards life makes her a typical charming drama lead. She is innately amusing and does not mind making a fool of herself to see others smile.
Ayase Haruka has played this character with ease and grace. She looks gorgeous even in Hotaru’s worn-out clothes.
…this drama is more about respecting and accepting oneself. Hotaru is aware that she appears like an ideal lady at work but if a man were ever to see her the way she lives at home then no one will think of dating her. She is apprehensive about her habits but Takano helps her love and accept herself and eventually confess to Teshima.
I did NOT LIKE Hotaru No Hikari because…
…Teshima has just re-joined Hotaru’s office and he kisses her while she is sleeping at a café and she does not mind it at all. She is startled by the kiss but she never questions his action. OK, she too has a crush on him but I don’t think any girl will welcome such a kiss.
…the story takes time to catch pace and slowed down several times. I even jumped through episodes because I felt a little bored by it.
…neither of the two main leads are interesting.
Teshima is decent looking but has absolutely no expression on his face.
Takano acts well but not outstanding enough to have my attention.
Our drama beam balance feels heavy with bad weights which makes Hotaru No Hikari not the best Japanese dorama to watch. Hotaru is the only reason I could finish watching this drama. If you too are a fan of Ayase Haruka then you will not mind watching this drama.
I give Hotaru No Hikari 2.5 out of 5 rating. Hotaru is innately funny and entertaining but her story lacks conviction. Would recommend it only for those looking for an absolutely light watch.