Look at me taking less than four months to write a new J-drama review after my last one! I guess it helped that I chose to only watch four shows this time around. This review is comprised of my selections from the autumn 2021 broadcast season in Japan, plus two shows on Netflix that I felt like watching just because. For part 1, I'm focusing on the Netflix shows:
全裸監督2 (Zenra Kantoku 2/The Naked Director Season 2) - Netflix/2021
- season 1), Muranishi has even loftier goals than before. This includes rebranding Sapphire Pictures as Diamond Visual, getting access to satellite broadcasting rights, and massively expanding his roster of actresses and production staff so as to film and distribute new videos quickly and constantly. (Think of Berry Gordy's assembly line approach to talent development at Motown Records, except it's porn.)
- However, Diamond Visual's frantic pace of production means Muranishi's not interested in creating pornographic masterpieces anymore, and his now-girlfriend Kuroki Kaoru, the former university student whose stardom sustained Sapphire/Diamond in its early years, has been relegated to spokesperson when all she really wants is to make a new video with Muranishi again. Meanwhile, Muranishi finds another muse in one of the newer, younger, more doe-eyed actresses, and Kaoru senses she's about to be replaced. All the neglect drives her to drink. A lot.
- At the same time, the billionaire who owns the satellite channel Muranishi wants access to doesn't take Muranishi seriously and refuses to do business with him at first. Muranishi eventually gets his way, but the bubble economy in Japan bursts, resulting in massive debt that tanks Diamond Visual. (Getting scammed by two fake accountants also doesn't help.) Diamond Visual can't be salvaged, but as Muranishi crashes and burns, he risks also destroying his relationships with all of his friends/staff in the process. Oh yeah, and that same cop from last season (played by Lily Franky) is still collaborating with the yakuza to destroy Muranishi too.
金魚妻 (Kingyo Tsuma/Goldfish Wives/Fishbowl Wives) - Netflix/2022
- Otona Joshi') runs a high-profile hair salon business with her abusive husband. In their ritzy apartment building where social hierarchy is reflected by floor number, they live at the very top. Sakura used to be a gifted hairdresser, but since getting injured, she mostly just does what her husband tells her to do. This includes handling the management and PR aspects of their business, playing up their "perfect couple" image for the press, and not saying anything about him sleeping with other women (one of whom is their neighbor).
- Sakura visits a goldfish shop and becomes acquainted with Haruto (the shop owner) when he accidentally sprays water on her. He's young, kind, and passionate about nursing sick or wounded creatures back to health. Haruto is actually connected to Sakura's past injury, but neither of them realize this at first. Later, when Sakura's husband attacks her one night, she flees to Haruto's place and they carry on an affair while Sakura helps him run the goldfish shop.
- But Sakura and Haruto can't live in their own world forever. While her husband tracks her down and tries to manipulate her into coming home, Haruto's wealthy family pressures him to quit both Sakura and the goldfish shop so he can take over his father's corporation. Meanwhile, five housewives from Sakura's building start having or considering extramarital relationships of their own.