Don’t be fooled by the title, Rich Man, Poor Woman, is a quality drama that has recently come out from under my drama radar! This dorama stars Oguri Shun and Ishihara Satomi, who play their characters pitch perfectly, so much so that I decided to start a blog to write about it!
Now, let’s get started shall we?
Episode 1: The worst way that the man with 250 billion yen in assets and the woman in employment search hell met
We start the show with a man lying on a wooden floor typing the name Sawaki Chihiro into his phone with no results. For what reason, we are not given an answer quite yet.
This is our first introduction to the main male lead, Hyuga Toru (played by the very handsome and charismatic Oguri Shun), and through a rather refreshing video promo for the IT company Next Innovation, the company that Hyuga founded along side Asahina Kosuke (Iura Arata), we find out that he is only 29 years old but is already worth 2.5 billion yen (thus the “rich man” in the title). He actually earns 60,000 yen/hour! The truly interesting thing about Hyuga is that he has a medical condition known as prosopagnosia, wherein he has difficulty recognizing faces and thus the name that goes with the face (unless they are of utter importance to him). Next Innovation is a rather high-tech and fashionable company that has a gym, a cafe, and wait for it…oxygen capsules!
Next we are introduced to the very relatable and adorable female lead of the drama (we don’t know her name at this point), a college student who is struggling to find a job in these tough economic times. She has gone to numerous interviews but being a little socially introverted, she is having difficulties getting herself job offers. By chance, a friend who is flipping through a magazine with Hyuga on the cover of it suggests that she goes and apply to find a job at Next Innovation since they are currently hiring. Interestingly, when the female lead sees the picture of Hyuga she has a showing expression like she knows him on a personal level.
The female lead decides to give the Next Innovation job application a chance and Hyuga is there to talk to the applicants about what the company is looking for in its employees. He proceeds to pick on random applicants who are sitting in the front row (see, this kind of spotlight is why I don’t sit in the front row during lectures) and our female lead happens to be one of them. He asks her how many job offers she has been given and when he hears that she has had zero offers, he says that she probably goes to some obscure university. Proudly, she counters by saying that she currently attends the prestigious University of Tokyo but to her dismay, Hyuga says that in today’s world, going to a well known university will not mean that you will get a job and he goes on to say that those who want to apply to NI will have to have had at least two job offers. Only then are they suitable to apply. As our female lead walks away, Hyuga continues to rub salt on the wound and says that it’s not her fault, rather she’s simply a victim to Japan’s flawed educational system. No longer able to control her anger, our female lead decides to use her amazing memory and begins to list off a slew of things relavent to NI which doesn’t seem to impress Hyuga very much since he sees her as only memorizing useless details. When he calls her Miss Science Graduate, she corrects him and says her name is…wait for it…Sawaki Chihiro, which makes him take pause.
Watching this scene unfold is Asahina, who owns half of the company but prefers to stay away from the limelight and instead be Hyuga’s right hand man. Asahina also has a sister, Asahina Yoko (Aibu Saki), who is a chef at a restaurant next to the Next Innovation building and has a crush on our boy Hyuga.
At NI, Hyuga is working on an idea of creating a system to maintain a nationwide census that will not have any flaws and ensure that the citizens will have access to their pensions without having to deal with the corruption or slowness of a bureaucracy. The problem, however, is that to get this project going, they will have to obtain a government contract and first of all meet with the vice-director of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Fujikawa Masako, who Hyuga dislikes. Hyuga thinks that if he brings in a person similar to Fujikawa to appeal to her tastes, they will have a better chance at succeeding, and who better to do that than the bookworm he recently met, Sawaki Chihiro.
He calls her into the company and surprises everyone when he is able to recognize her and call her by her name. He offers her a short-term job of going over binders worth of material and meeting with Fujikawa with him.
On the day of the meeting, Chihiro shows up in her not-so-flatttering dress suit made for seeking employment which leads to a hilarious take on a makeover sequence.
At the garden party where Chihiro and Hyuga meets with Fujikawa, everything goes smoothly, and Chihiro even steps up to the plate when a man approaches Hyuga but he has a difficult time remembering who that person is. As Fujikawa leaves the party, Chihiro has a slip of the tongue moment when she brings up the fact that with the new record keeping system, there won’t be anymore errors with the pensions. Fujikawa, clearly unhappy about that statement, says that it’s partly her fault since she use to work at the Social Insurance Company, but maybe through this project, she can relieve some of her guilt. Although Hyuga manages to smooth things over by saying that it must have been difficult to keep track of so many records, as soon as Fujikawa leaves, Hyuga lashes out at Chihiro and walks off when Kosuke says that Hyuga is going overboard.
As he is driving away, Hyuga notices Chihiro’s shoes lying on the ground of the front seat and feeling bad about yelling at Chihiro, Hyuga decides to turn back to praise her on what she actually did well during the day. Once he arrives at the nice little chateau that was holding the party, Hyuga happens to witness Kosuke comforting Chihiro. Angrily, Hyuga drives off in his fancy car.
Kosuke offers to take Chihiro out to eat but once in the car, he asks Chihiro, “Who are you?” What?!?!? I was not expecting that!
I have to admit, this was the first Japanese drama that has managed to pull me in within the first episode! The acting is superb and currently there are no characters that I dislike which is rare! The directing is nice and the script is fantastic!
The make-over scene was also a welcome change! The show managed to turn something so cliche into such a hilarious moment! The twist at the end was also unexpected but yet so exciting!