The Science of First Love- Keshite Mane Shinaide Kudasai – JDrama Review

It seems that I am on a roll with completing dramas as of late. This one being one that I was very excited to hear about late last year since it not only has Kotaki Nozomu of Johnny’s West as the main character but also Murakami Maito Raul in a supporting role. My man Kotaki is finally getting the recognition he deserves!

There was a new subber who took this series as their first project, thus some gaps between episodes. So I stopped and started this drama, watching episodes 1 and 2 in quick succession, putting the series on hold waiting for episodes 3 through 7 then binging and 8 quickly being uploaded after I caught up! Now I can finally talk about the most oddly endearing rom-com from 2019!

In the engineering department, there is a stereotypical student of the physics department, Kakeda Satoshi (Kotaki Nozomu). He’s only engrossed with science and what can be explained through proper thoughts and experimentation. Leaving him rather left out in terms of friends, and romantic relationships, the latter of which he has not shown interest in even after getting into college. One day during an experiment gone wrong, Iijima-san (Baba Fumika) a slightly older cafeteria worker rushes out with a fire extinguisher to contain the situation. Her bravery has managed to steal clueless Kakeda’s heart. What type of experiments in love will he need to do in order to be with her?

Keshite Mane Shinaide Kudasai is very much the story of, incredibly socially awkward nerd falls in love for the first time. Which in itself is not a new premise, but the execution of said story was knocked out of the park. The first is that Kakeda is that really incredibly smart dude, who zones out thinking of theories and drawing upon the fore-fathers of science on how to best proceed in anything. Yet, thankfully, he is never portrayed as looking down on anyone, mostly since he has a certain amount of innocence in relationships. He takes other people’s advice, at literal face value, and applies it to the best of his abilities, never ruling any of it out until the experiment fails. Then he tries again.

Balancing this out, is Iijima-san the cafeteria worker. She plays not an opposite to Kakeda, but more the regular person. When she first meets Kakeda, she is clearly overwhelmed with all the technical language, theories, and examples referenced. Iijima-san is earnest though. Most people would do the good old slow “okay then…” and switch subjects or exit the conversation; she engages. She doesn’t get every reference, and instead of being bored asks basic questions about the topic on hand.

It’s so endearing since Kakeda is smart enough to be able to simplify these concepts with examples that make sense to Iijima-san. He never says any question is stupid or obvious, but instead answers them genuinely. It’s incredibly cute since real life is rarely this sweet when it comes to such a knowledge gap between two people. It really warmed my heart and circumvented a lot of situations that could be cringe-y.

This isn’t a series where the chemistry is off the charts, omg they’re so in love, type of story. Both Kakeda and Iijima are slow to warm up type of people unsure of what to fully make of the other. However, it’s the subtle moments that build up into bigger changes that really show even in eight episodes, a real relationship. Kotaki and Fumiko have really great on screen chemistry and balance with one another that’s pleasent to watch.

Kakeda with Arisu (L), Raul (center), Zombi-chan-sempai (R).

While they might be the main duo, the supporting cast plays a huge role in making things work. Both Arisu (Imai Yuki) and Teresu (Raul) are part of the currently displaced physics and engineering department, who assist Kakeda in his physical and romantic experiments. They’re sweet, oddball characters that serve as a bridge between the super serious Kakeda and everyday person Iijima-san. We also have the two professors adding in their wisdom, and supervision for such experiments with varying results. Additionally, the feminine perspective is Zombi-chan-sempai, a female character who dons a zombie mascot costume after being too embarrassed to show her face. She provides the much needed, practical no science needed, advice to guide Kakeda.

The story is focused and the subject matter light. The idea of experimenting in love, is not a new one. However, taking it very literally ends up being incredibly comedic and well-played throughout the series. The inclusion of scientific experiments and historical figures that made them is clever and entertaining without becoming an information dump on the viewer. This combo of science and first love never looked so good!

This series is short and sweet romantic comedy, never taking itself too serious even with a surprising amount of historical figures making their appearances in-between. I had my concerns when it came to premise and execution, but Keshite Mane Shinide Kudasai managed to avoid the classic pitfalls and just be a really enjoyable drama. An easy on the eyes and mind rom-com, I 100% recommend. With that I’ll see you next post!

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