You thought that I had completely given up on the Johnny’s Jr’s didn’t you? I never did that but my coverage of the groups has dropped of significantly since Snow Man’s debut. That’s neither here nor there. When I saw that Naniwa Danshi, Aえ! Group, Little Kansai, and more of the Kansai Jr.’s were getting a drama… I knew I would be watching.
I had my hopes. I had been sincerely impressed with both Michieda Shunsuke and Nagao Kento with their respective roles in “Ore no Sukkato; Doko desu ka?” last year. So I was hoping that of the 20 episodes that were slated at least their two episodes would be good. Relooking at the title, “Toshita Kareshi” which literally translates to “Younger Boyfriend”; I realized I probably had put a bit too high of an expectation on them already.
“Younger Boyfriend”, is a compilation of 20, 13-15 minute episodes of light romantic situations featuring one of the Johnny’s Jr’s and an older woman. Not exactly a premise that screams high brow drama, but it does it’s job if you’re the target demographic.
Of the 20 or so episodes, I’d say most of them fit in the cheesy, slice-of-life style of atmosphere. 10 episodes focused on college age and up style romances, which was a welcome change of pace. Two episodes were kinda non-categorizable, but were very interesting. Five focused on high school romance, and the remaining three fit into one of the previous categories, I just don’t happen to remember which. I’m more familiar, and they left a bigger impact were the high school age shojo stories. The premises were all standard, kohai likes his sempai type stuff that was pretty tame.
Of these five, the two that stuck out was episode seven, which was Nagao Kento’s only appearance, and then episode fourteen which was Takahashi Kyohei’s episode. Kento, I have to say, given his appearance and overall demeanor of his character he did really well. The situation was just realistic enough, but also a stereotypically enough that my heart did pitter patter a bit. I’m sure if I was closer in age and a fan, I would have fainted.
Takahashi Kyohei’s episode I was a bit more surprised about. I hadn’t really ever seen him or more specifically noticed him before. His episode was arguable one of he more ‘masculine’ episodes, considering he was training for basketball and using it as his main way of securing his girl’s heart. Though short, and underdeveloped
(can’t really flesh out a story in 15 minutes), it did manage to make an impression on me so I’ll be looking forward to his future projects.
I have to say that as a whole, most of these stories were rather… bland at best. When they weren’t bland they were troublesome. The whole point about ‘younger boyfriends are immature’ got boring very fast. Most of the stories fell into ‘oh that was kinda cute’, and not much else. It was a nice little filler between more serious dramas for me, but severely lacked any emotional depth to get me invested.
Where it was not a typically shojo, annoying or bland that I recalled nothing; of course we got the weird stuff. How could we not when it comes to a cast of ‘younger’ boyfriends? Episodes 5 and 6 were particularly noteworthy since they were the first ‘red flag’ episodes. Episode 5 was only off-putting for the fact it was an 18 year old author going on a date with his much older editor. Age gap, power imbalance, plus co-workers? Yuck.
Episode 6 made my skin crawl for the same reason that Chuugakusei Nikki’s premise did. A student falling for a teacher, but make it cute! It was realistic, and yes the teacher did, thankfully, turn the student down. But it was painfully cringe-y since the ending, spoiler, the boy learned nothing and fell in love with another teacher… yikes.
Episode 15 though was where I was at my wits end because, take episode 6 and jack up the cringe times three. A high school boy flirting with a ‘girl’ online. Lying to said ‘girl’ about being a legal adult, and going on a date with her. His friends were good though and went with to see the girl and or to be moral support in case it went bad. Subsequently getting caught, making a scene at the restaurant and the girl being mad but eventually playing it off as, “call me when you’re an adult” was just… gross. Not a good look Johnny’s, I expected better from you.
When it came to what I thought would be my ‘nope not worth it bye’ episode, which was episode 12. A girl’s cat turns into a 12 year old boy and pretty much goes ‘your boyfriend is shitty. I know you better. date me instead’, which… obviously she refuses. One because it’s her cat turned human boy, and two because the kid is literally a child. It was kinda sweet how it all concluded, but it was the most bizarre episode of the bunch.
Overall, not a series I would recommend. The stories are much too trite and bland to even give a shojo fix. The more ‘adult’ focused romances are immature without any meaning aside from it being in the title. An easy skip, unless you are a true die-hard of any specific member of the group. I would then caution you to only watch for your fave and nothing more. With that, I’ll catch you next time, next post!