Drama Review (Part 1): Tsuki no Koibito / Moon Lovers (Fuji TV, 2010)
The People vs. Hazuki Rensuke
by Ender’s Girl
Kimura Takuya, Shinohara Ryoko, Lin Chi Ling, Matsuda Shota, Kitagawa Keiko
In a Nutshell:
Follow the triumphs and travails of Hazuki Rensuke, Furniture Maker Extraordinaire, and the three gorgeous women hopelessly in love with him: Maemi his longtime BFF and colleague, Xiu Mei the ingenuous factory worker from Shanghai, and Yuzuki the bratty daughter of Rensuke’s biggest industry rival. Completing the love, um, pentagon is Rensuke’s calculating deputy Kazami, who may or may not have a few underhanded schemes of his own. But oh, oh — let’s NOT forget the REAL stars of the show!!! Brother Moon! — who watches over Rensuke from above! Sister Water Strider! — who alone can bring True Happiness! And the Four Little Coins of Kokoro! — who may look tinny and paltry, but when arranged in a cryptic geometric pattern, will unlock the secret to Life itself!!! All one needs is to — solve! the! riddle!!! What riddle? The riddle!!! Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the MOON!!! The little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon!!! Ahahahahahahahahaa
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait… Really KimuTaku Really?
When it was announced in early 2010 that KimuTaku was all but set for a Spring renzoku ren’ai, his entire fandom collectively peed in their – our – pants. An overreaction perhaps? Far from it. For it truly was a cause for celebration, as we were fully, painfully aware that Kimura‘s choice of TV projects over the past several years showed a disturbing trend away from straight ren’ai. Pride was his last one in 2004, and since then his dramas have had love angles that were extraneous to the plot — if not altogether absent: a sports+kiddie dramedy with little romance (Engine, 2005); a serious ensemble drama with little romance (Karei naru Ichizoku, 2007); a hero-of-the-day dramedy with – you guessed it – little romance (Change, 2008); and a police procedural with zero – NO, make that NEGATIVE – romance (Mr. Brain, 2009).
It had been six long years since KimuTaku – or at least, a variant of his persona, lol – last gave his heart and soul to a woman, six long years since he fell hard and deep for someone, six long years since he kissed — and… er, did that other stuff as well — with a passion that consumed his soul. (Rargh.) The fans were feeling restless – they had been for quite some time. Cauliflower-haired schoolteachers turned prime ministers were NOT exactly the stuff of female fantasy; and most definitely neither were forensic nutjobs who skipped their way through crime scenes while munching on bananas. Go back to the basics, Captain, the fans implored while tinkering morosely with their dilapidated pianofortes and drawing dusty circles on their glass love apples. Go back to your ren’ai roots, make us fall in love with you all over again. Please do a straightforward romantic drama this time, you’ve tried everything else anyway.
And perhaps the television gods took pity on their — our — miserable romance-starved selves, because Fuji TV finally dispelled all the hearsay and conjecture being bandied about – like the rumor that Kimura’s next project would be an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables,” or yet another one that predicted a Hero Season 2 (AS IF!!!). So it was announced that Kimura’s newest Getsu-9 drama for the Spring 2010 slate would be a renzoku ren’ai entitled Tsuki no Koibito / Moon Lovers. A ren’ai. A REN’AI, the fans exulted. Halleloooyah chance! The KimuTaku Love Train was finally back on track, finally up and running since its unceremonious derailment years ago. This was gonna be special, a return to form for the Dorama King himself. If anyone knows how to do his renzoku ren’ai with both eyes closed, it’s this guy. The drought was over, let the Love Rain fall upon the land once more.
So how was it for you, fellow KimuTaku fan, when you heard the news? Did you run to the nearest seawall in your tatty old Live Aid T-shirt, a basketball and a guitar in each hand, and howl your happiness across the ocean? Did you huff and puff your way up a snowy hill one evening and, with your neon pink lipstick, scrawl scandalous love graffiti on the billboard stationed at the summit? Did you take little spins on a borrowed wheelchair and later trim your own bangs (er, rather haphazardly) in front of a mirror, watching the tufts of hair fall to the quilted blanket draping your lap? Did you streak across some random bridge sobbing “Kimura… you’re all I see… You’re all. I. see…” while you stuffed your face with bittersweet dark chocolate? (Sorry, that was a mashup of two different dramas, lol) Did you fish out your mothballed jersey #9 and your collection of chewed-up hockey pucks, lovingly stroking each one in turn and whispering “my precioussss…”? Or, did you roll around in your purple satin bedsheets and – and – er, never mind, lolll
Whatever your reaction, were you not, er, over the moon when you heard the news? In fact, you were probably too caught up in the fan euphoria (and mass hysteria, lol) to pay heed to the little red flags that littered the wayside, the little questions that niggled at the back of your mind. Like… why was this drama only eight episodes long? Would there even be enough time to sustain the entire story arc and its tributary subplots, given such a wattage-heavy ensemble cast? And speaking of the cast, what were these black, baleful mutterings about a *certain* international cast member’s acting talent – or, uh, lack thereof? Aaaand… what was up with the drama’s hokey sounding title, anyway?
These reservations notwithstanding, one thing was clear: Fuji TV (and Kimura, natch) were coming out with their guns blazing, not leaving anything to chance, and cornering all fan bases aside from the obvious majority (=KimuTaku fans). Something for the above-21 drama viewers? There’s Shinohara Ryoko, who’s still hot enough for men to fantasize over, AND has a great onscreen personality that women just love!!! What about the teen demographic? Enter hot young stars Matsuda Shota and Kitagawa Keiko!!! There’s even something for international Asian audiences – roll out Lin Chi Ling!!! And let’s shoot some scenes in Shanghai – just because we can!!! Oh boy oh boy, was this new drama going to be HUGE, the Geinoukai spin doctors crowed. Everything was set for the April air date… so how could anything possibly go wrong? Well, could anything go wrong?
Ah. Well. Screw the misgivings, a ren’ai was a ren’ai and you would take what you could get. And so, drunk on the promise of a bona fide romantic drama in the same Golden-Age tradition as Long Vacation, Love Generation and Beautiful Life, and blindly anticipating the ardent love declarations and heart-wrenching confessions, the passionate kisses in the rain and warm spooning sessions under the covers, you threw all caution to the wind and hopped on the KimuTaku Love Train as it chugged away from the platform. All aboard now! *toot! toot!*
And all it took was a single episode to realize that this Luurrrve Locomotive was headed straight for disaster.
Anatomy of a Train Wreck
It’s the sound you first hear: the clanging of warning bells, the screeching of brakes and the resounding crash of metal twisting as the KimuTaku Love Train cannons head-on into FAILville. Next is the smell — this horrible acridity invading the air as you frantically scrabble out of the wreckage amid the charred bodies of water striders littering the blackened earth around you. You hobble out into the open, away from the smoldering remains of the locomotive still shuddering in its death throes. The warning bells that had rung their distress signal just moments before now give out one last knell that clashes with the agitated hiss of rain on burning metal. For what you’re really hearing, is the sound of all that wasted potential.
Something glints at your side: it’s those coins, those four stupid coins that have rolled away from the rubble to stop beside you. You reach out with numb fingers to rearrange the coins in a 2×2 formation on the mud-slicked ground. Something snaps inside you. “Why??? WHY?????” you rail at the sky, at the driving rain, at the sick yellow f***ing MOON leering back at you. The gentle Love Rain, which earlier was no more than a drizzle, is now a merciless downpour that shoots acid needles on your upturned face. All you wanted was a NICE LOVE STORY FOR FERK’S SAKE, and not this… monstrosity of a train wreck.
So you find yourself, without reason, babbling over and over, “Waterstrider waterstrider lovetrain loverain lovepain… lalalalala… find waterstrider, find happiness lalalalala…” while rocking back and forth in a sodden huddle. And your last thought before your addled mind shuts down for good, is a cold and distant memory of your own mother warning you as a child, “Be careful what you wish for, darling…”
Be careful what you wish for.
Funny how this whole… “Kimura completist” business — in fact the very reason I took up blogging — was always something I viewed as a challenge, but never as a chore. Until Tsuki no Koibito came crashing into the picture. For the first time since I made that commitment to finish (and write about) the entirety of KimuTaku’s drama and film work, I found myself watching something more out of duty than anything else, keeping my nose to the grindstone episode after episode until this unholy mission was mercifully over. (And that stuff Einstein said about time being relative? Well, solid proof right there: TsukiKoi is just eight episodes long but felt like eighty when you include the intermittent dozing and catatonic relapses I frequently found myself in.)
But if the drama was THAT bad, why even continue, you might ask. Why dincha just flush the blasted thing down the loo after Episode 1 and get on with your life, move on to more agreeable fare? My only answer is this: a completist’s gotta do what a completist’s gotta do. (Not that it makes any sense, lol.) And besides, how can you possibly turn your head away from — a train wreck? Because you just can’t. At least, I can’t. For train wreck this drama was, an epic FAIL trip to the moon and back. The whole production was just so BAD because… because… I mean, mother of Mickey, where do you even begin?
Well for starters, there’s the writing. If there’s anyone on the production team whose heinie ought to be kicked all the way to the moon – no! to Alpha Centauri!!! – it’s Asano Taeko (Love Generation, Last Friends). The script of TsukiKoi lacks focus and coherence (dangerous for such a short-running series!) and the plot comes riddled with these giant gaping craters that a frikkin’ lunar rover couldn’t navigate through. And the dialogue? Horribly pretentious, suffocating in tropes and symbols, oh WOW! — The moon! The water striders! The tinny little coins!!! – which are ALL THE CHARACTERS EVER TALK ABOUT, LIKE, EVERY BLEEPING EPISODE. And most egregious of all is how the writer SERIOUSLY messes up her characters – most especially Hazuki Rensuke.
The thing is, you GET the direction Asano Taeko wanted to go with this drama by portraying Rensuke as the archetypal Romantic Antihero – oh y’know, like a Mr. Darcy Gone Bad: deeply flawed and unlikable, makes unethical choices through the course of the story, hurts people (but only ‘coz he’s DEEPLY WOUNDED!!!), blahblahblah, but – who! is! changed! by! LOVE! when he meets a Woman of Virtue who tames him and makes his emotional boo-boos go away!!!
It goes without saying that the success or failure of any story hinges on the protagonist (in this case, our Antihero) and where his journey takes him — whether it’s a downward spiral into ruin or a long, arduous climb in search of redemption. Great writing shows the gradual transformation of the protagonist in ways that feel organic to the narrative and make sense in light of the other characters’ sub-arcs. The bottom line is that the protagonist experiences some kind of change – be it for good or for ill – so that he is never the same person that he was at the beginning of the story. It’s this character-molding process that helps us understand, empathize with and – in some cases – even root for the Antihero, imperfect as he may be. And if the writer has failed in this regard, then s/he has failed altogether. If a drama or film cannot, at any point, make you CARE about the main character and his story, then not only is it regrettable, but it is unforgivable on the part of the writing.
TsukiKoi’s protagonist, Hazuki Rensuke (Kimura Takuya), would seem the perfect Romantic Antihero as none of the traditional heroic virtues (like honor and self-sacrifice) are evident in his character: he’s dark and moody, unapologetically type A, a lone wolf rather than a team player. But the writer is also quick to point out Rensuke’s more “attractive” qualities that remind you of the “hero” in “Antihero”: for Rensuke is also a maverick, a fearless risk taker and driven perfectionist who, in just fifteen years, has built a furniture empire that’s now poised to overtake the industry leader in domestic and overseas operations.
But there’s the rub: Rensuke starts out unlikable but STAYS on that plateau, and never experiences a genuine changeover in his mindset and behavior. I don’t need to stress how damaging that is to the story because in the first place, Rensuke isn’t just unlikable unlikable, like, say — your garden-variety Difficult Person or even a Standard-Issue Asshole, but he’s a Prick of the Highest Order. Like, an oh-mah-goodness-I-can’t-BELIEVE-human-beings-like-him-still-get-made kind of prick. In fact, the magnitude of Rensuke’s sh*ttiness can make entire countries despise him – and, um, they kind of do. (Yo China, wassup?) Everybody hates Rensuke. EVERYBODY. (Except for his three-member harem.) I therefore submit before the court: The People (and Things) vs. Hazuki Rensuke!
1. Rensuke vs. Regolith Employees
How’d you like Rensuke to be YOUR boss? (How’d you like to jam a T-square in your own eye? Same thing, y’know.) Because Rensuke IS the quintessential Boss from Hell (or BFH): think The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns crossed with Dr. Evil from Austin Powers crossed with Donald Trump crossed with – oh I dunno, maybe Josef Stalin. A quick peek at Rensuke’s BFH Rap Sheet shows you just how much of a BFH he is: Rides his employees to the point of exhaustion, neurosis and NEAR-DEATH? (Check.) Fires dissenting company men at whim and lets them take the fall for HIS OWN sh*tty management decisions? (Check.) Screws people over – and by “people” I also mean, “the People’s Republic of China” lol – whenever it’s EXPEDIENT for business? (Check.) Uses manipulation, strong-arm tactics and good ol’ FRAUD as a first – not last, mind you, but first — resort to advance his own ends? (Check.) Gives INSANELY UNREASONABLE assignments at whim? (Check.)
Let the damning evidence speak for itself:
Exhibit A: (While in preps for the opening of Regolith’s Shanghai branch)
Chairman Rensuke: “I want all living designers in Japan to join my contest for an Uber Exclusive Limited Edition Furniture Thingy that will be the highlight of the new Shanghai branch!!!” (Company Drudges protest feebly) “Ehh what’s that you say? So the opening is ‘just nine days away’ you say? When was that MY problem? Back to the dungeons b*tches! Work is liberating!!!” *cracks whip*
Exhibit B: (Chairman Rensuke decides to take The Great Leap Forward)
Chairman Rensuke: “All or nothing, now or never! Don’t you wanna see it when I make it worldwide!!! So let’s tear down some old factory in Shanghai, build a spankin’ new Regolith sweatshop, and haul all those indentured but jobless peasants back and make them work at 0.8226% of their former wages! No benefits, of course.” (Company Drudges protest feebly) “Ehh what’s that you say? ‘The peasants are revolting ‘coz they want their old factory back you say? Ungrateful little b*tches! Let them eat (moon)cake! Oh all right, promise them anything for now – promise them the MOON if you have to, we’ll screw them over later anyway nyahahahaha” *strokes fat white cat on lap*
Exhibit C: (After welshing on the terms of his settlement with the Shanghai factory workers’ union)
Chairman Rensuke: (patronizingly) “A company’s struggle to remain competitive is harder than a factory worker’s struggle to make a living. In other words, state over individual liberties. Totalitarianism is da bomb even though I’m a Commie – ain’t the same, but close enough.” (Company Drudges protest feebly) “Ehhh what’s that you say? The Shanghai peasants are ‘still mad at us’ you say? Well, THEY’RE ALL FIRED!!! Don’t these losers know that when THEIR ancestors were building their dinky little ‘Great Wall,’ MY ancestors were publishing ecchi manga?!?! Hah! Hah! Hah! I SO RULE!!!”
Exhibit D: (Chairman Rensuke unveils his plans for the Regolith Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere)
Chairman Rensuke: (dreamily) “My loyal drudges, it is time to open a NEW Regolith sweatshop, this time in <wait for it> — India!!!”
Company Drudges: (dismayed) “B-but Chairman Rensuke, aren’t we spreading ourselves too thin? We should at least wait and see how the Shanghai sweatshop performs before we, uh… before we…”
Chairman Rensuke: (bangs fist on table) “Fooolssss!!! Waiting is the same as taking a step backward!!! Even if it’s risky, you have to keep advancing!!! That’s the principle of business!!! And besides, someone oughtta teach them Indians how to make REAL CURRY!!! Hah! Hah! Hah! I SO RULE!!!”
(Company Drudges fall silent but secretly murder Rensuke in their hearts a thousand times over.)
With such lousy leadership, how in the world did Rensuke’s furniture company, Regolith, ever grow to be the second largest in all of Japan??? Given such management strategies that were clearly as inhumane as they were antediluvian, how did Slave-Driver Rensuke ever become THIS successful? It truly boggles the mind. Does. Not. Compute… Does. Not. Compute…
2. Rensuke vs. Plain Good Taste
And it’s not like Regolith’s products are as great as they’re advertised. I can’t even begin to decrypt the style used for the Shanghai branch interiors. This wasn’t a furniture store, this was a gay fast food chain, lol. I seriously wanted to gouge out my own eyes at the dissonance of design, the mishmash of elements (the colors! the patterns! the materials!) that made absolutely no sense together, right down to the overuse of grids and dividers that only cut up what little space there was. And what the hell was that ridiculous white table doing in the center of the room? No forget it, I don’t want to know. “The finest furniture for you” — really Rensuke, really? Oh I get it now… we are witnessing Chairman Rensuke’s Cultural Revolution!!! Bringing Chintzy Furniture to the Global Doorstep!!! Ahahahahaha
3. Rensuke vs. The Moon
It’s also funny how the writing belabors Rensuke’s bloody freaky fixation with the moon, i.e. “Imma make it worldwide – in the furniture business that is, so that wherever I go the moon can watch me make people happy with my substandard furniture…” This lunar fetish actually dates back to his lonely, peripatetic childhood: Mummy raised him alone, they never had much money and had to move a lot, etc. So one cold winter night, as Little Rensuke surveyed the smoking ruins of his… plantation, he vowed this in his heart: (Scarlett O’Hara accent) “As the moon is my witness, as the moon is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As the moon is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” (LMAO)
4. Rensuke vs. Misused Geological Terms
Even more hilarious is how the writing overstresses the ties between the moon and regolith. Why the hell does Rensuke keep telling EVERYONE that regolith is some special kind of lunar rock thingy??? Well, I may not remember that much from my Geology subjects, but I do know that regolith can also… be… found… here… on Earth. You know — it’s the upper part of the crust overlaying the bedrock??? Which kind of makes the whole “special connection” between regolith and the moon – OH I DON’T KNOW, MAYBE CONTRIVED AND STUPID AND POINTLESS??? Blerg.
5. Rensuke vs. Spare Change
So for the past 15 years, Rensuke has carried four little coins EVERYWHERE asking EVERY BLEEPING PERSON he’d meet along the way: “What does this look like? What does this look like?” while shoving the confounded coins, now arranged in a 2×2 formation, right in their faces. (Some days he uses martini glasses or bottle caps, but most of the time it’s spare change.) I don’t get his compulsive urge to drive people INSANE with his pseudo-philosophical badgering. (Well who gives a CRAP what your four little circles represent, Rensuke. WHO. GIVES. ACRAP.) His obsession clearly stems from the good ol’ university days when his BFF Maemi (Shinohara Ryoko) posed the question but refused to give an answer herself. But by the time Rensuke finally figures it out, you no longer want to know. In fact, perhaps you never did. Just keep the change, Rensuke. No, really.
6. Rensuke vs. F2
Ohmuhgawsh!!! Ohmuhgawsh!!! Matsuda Shota and Abe Tsuyoshi FTW!!! Such is my immense fohhhndness for Hana Yori Dango that an F2 reunion made the TsukiKoi fiasco *slightly* easier to slog through. And the fact that both their characters came together out of a MUTUAL HATRED for Rensuke made the reunion scenes all the sweeter, hahaha. Every time Shota and Abe were shown together I’d inadvertently zone out of the drama and chant, “Group hug!!!” *pound pound* “Group hug!!!” *pound pound* Lol. (Either I really adored HanaDan or I really loathed TsukiKoi, hahaha. Or both!)
Matsuda Shota plays Chairman Rensuke’s aide-de-camp and chief minion Feng Jian (aka Kazami) who keeps his cards close to his chest and only reveals his hand after ¾ of the drama has passed — although OF COURSE it’s pretty obvious that those watchful, hooded eyes of his are hiding something. Apparently the boy grew up poor and hates/envies self-made men like Rensuke. But I like how Kazami is suave and slick and sneaky, just enough to keep you interested in where his character is going. (Btw Shota’s cute in those suits – except for the tapered pants, which reminded me of deflated jodhpurs. And I didn’t dig the hair, which, taken with his small pursing lips, made him look like Tweety Bird, lol. “I tawt I taw a putty-tat!!!”)
So when things finally come to a head, Rensuke’s loyal hatchet man Kazami gets to bury the hatchet… er, right in Rensuke’s back, lol. He orchestrates a Regolith coup and forges a merger with Mastpole – something which Rensuke had been adamantly against. I know at this point we’re supposed to feel SORRY for Rensuke after he falls victim to Kazami’s little… Liar Game (lol), but you know what? I WAS ON THE ‘BAD’ GUY’S SIDE THIS TIME. This was one betrayal that was most anticipated (by me) and long overdue. I mean, how could anyone keep rooting for Rensuke when he was spectacularly running his company into the ground? And besides, the merger with Mastpole actually turned out to be a GOOD THING in a business sense (as most company mergers are) because both companies could now consolidate resources and streamline operations. So it’s not like the Regolith people would be running back to their old boss crying that the new regime under Papa Mastpole was worse than Rensuke’s Reign of Terror. Because it wasn’t.
Abe Tsuyoshi plays Ming, one of the displaced factory workers from Shanghai and the cross-dressing gay best friend of Xiu Mei (Lin Chi Ling) aka Rensuke’s Love Interest for 6/8 of the drama. After Xiu Mei gets dragged off to Japan as Rensuke’s full-time kept woman and part-time Regolith image model, guess who’s left behind to toil in the Shanghai sweatshop under horrible Oliver-Twisty working conditions? Ming!!! But the poor dear gets fired when he injures his foot from overwork and can’t keep up with the murderous quotas imposed by Regolith (tsk tsk), so he limps all the way to Japan (how? how? don’t ask, blerg) determined to disabuse (the hopelessly naïve) Xiu Mei of her assumption that all is fine on the China front.
Rensuke gets wind of Ming’s agenda and tries to muzzle him by locking him up in some dinky dungeon of a hotel room, but Kazami visits Ming on the sly (hence the F2 reunion scenes, yay — like the “Let’s catch up on Eitoku Gakuen gossip over a bowl of spaghetti, wheee!” scene) and instigates him to play the final ace up his sleeve — the *lovingly* assembled “Proletariat Manifesto: An Exposé of Regolith’s 873,247 International Labor Code Violations at the Shanghai Sweatshop” (aptly subtitled: “Rensuke You Suck!!!”), which later becomes instrumental to Rensuke’s downfall. Power 2 tha ppl, yo. (And to F2 too, hihihi.)
7. Rensuke vs. XX Chromosomes
Wow. Seriously, does Rensuke HATE WOMEN? Because all he ever does to the ladies in this drama is use, abuse and misuse them as if they were goods and chattels — because apparently it gets him off. *dry-heaves* You’d think the romance in TsukiKoi would be a tidal wave of passion and tenderness, of longing and unbridled desire, of heartbreak and infinite pleasure. You’d think that with TsukiKoi being touted as a “romantic drama”, there’d be some actual, honest-to-goodness romance. But halfway through the drama you’ll find yourself literally asking, “Where is the love?”
For there is nothing of that sort in TsukiKoi – just this sordid, tangled mess of people who can’t have what they want and don’t want what they have – or want what others have – or something like that. Why, what with three hot chicks hopelessly enamored with him — Xiu Mei (Lin Chi Ling), Yuzuki (Kitagawa Keiko) and Maemi (Shinohara Ryoko) — Rensuke is unarguably God’s gift to the fairer sex! But the burning question is, which one of these three lovely ladies does he want? Who is worthy of the Furniture King? WHO???
7.1 Rensuke vs. Yuzuki
Is it Onuki Yuzuki, the petulant crown princess of Regolith’s rival company, Mastpole? She’s loved Rensuke since she was a wee childe and would sit on his lap – hence the “Daddy-Long-Legs” vibes (I know right? eeeewwww) – and she will do anything for Rensuke, never mind that he also happens to be Papa Mastpole’s former mentee and current archenemy. She’ll do anything — even if it means throwing herself at Rensuke’s feet so he can walk all over her; even it it means stalking him from Tokyo to Shanghai where she willingly distributes fliers in a frikkin’ panda suit just because he tells her to; and even if it means misleading the paparazzi and tabloids into thinking that Regolith is in love with Mastpole (uh, figuratively speaking).
And in return, what does Rensuke do for Yuzuki? He USES her to mess with Papa Mastpole’s head by shamelessly flirting with her in public (strawberries and cream, anyone? yecch. but I LOVE strawberries and cream!!! dammit) only to leave her in the lurch – or in an empty parking lot, for that matter. Worse are the physical liberties that Rensuke takes with Yuzuki – I swear I literally saw red when Rensuke slapped her booty at that ritzy par-tay for all eyes to see — not least of all Papa Mastpole’s. Rensuke treats Yuzuki like sh*t and all she does is stamp her foot, shake her perfectly coiffed ringlets, and — um, try harder next time. Tsk tsk tsk.
Well thank gawwd Yuzuki’s petty jealousy fits soon get the better of her and so she connives with Papa Mastpole to sabotage and undermine Regolith. But even then Yuzuki never really hates or even hurts Rensuke like I badly hoped she would. Towards the end of the drama she becomes even more lovesick than ever when she sees what her scheming has done to Rensuke (he goes away to “find himself” OHNOES!!!). And for a brief spell she even quits her glamorous modeling career to wash dishes at the Chinese diner that Rensuke used to frequent – just in case he’d one day show up. Oh muh gawsh. Then he does show up, and in gratitude for, uh, staying alive, I guess, she lets Rensuke appropriate her family’s mountain chalet so he can make furniture for an upcoming competition against — Mastpole, ohwow!!! (Sidebar: THE FRAK is a mastpole anyway? Like the mast of a ship? Which is obviously a tall thin, er, pole to begin with? Lolz)
Kitagawa Keiko – I don’t know what.thuh.hell she was doing in this drama, when her role could’ve been played by any gravure wannabe (not a starlet yet, mind you – just a gravure wannabe!) with the same effect. Yuzuki is just this annoying superfluity you know the drama wouldn’t feel any different without. Why Kitagawa Keiko then? You’d think she’d never accept such a teensy supporting role right on the heels of Buzzer Beat (she’s leading lady material now, didn’t you hear?) but if the grapevine is to be believed, her casting in this drama was but a concession granted to Fuji TV for an unfulfilled contractual obligation – in short, Keiko’s management agency owed the network big time (for what, I’m not sure), and so had no choice but to lend Keiko’s star power to this new KimuTaku drama. Okay, whatever.
But one thing’s clear: the woman Rensuke loves is NOT the spoiled Yuzuki. Could it be the peasant girl Xiu Mei, then?
7.2 Rensuke vs. Xiu Mei
But “love” is… too… wholesome, too normal a word to describe what suppurates er, smolders between Chairman Rensuke and Comrade Xiu Mei. Sure — he wants her, he craves her, he desires her and must possess her – body, mind, soul and six-year-old-girl’s voice. But is that love? Blerg. Rensuke reminds me of The Duke from Moulin Rouge! who in one scene hisses at Harold Zidler: “I don’t. want. other. people. TOUCHING MY THINGS!!!” Tsk tsk. This seems like a case of KimuTaku having read WAY TOO MANY trashy romance novels and acting out his favorite scenes with his flavor of the month, eh KimuTaku eh? Hah hah hah.
For the first six out of eight episodes of TsukiKoi you get the squirm-inducing feeling that you’re watching a low-rent adaptation of those East-meets-West Harlequin paperbacks with tongue-twistery titles like “Blackmailed into the Greek Tycoon’s Bed” or “Shackling the Ruthless Sheikh’s Virginal Mistress” (LMFAO) where the heroines are usually flighty blondes who – for one reason or another – find themselves abducted/propositioned/forced/bamboozled by swarthy billionaires with funny accents, and are dragged halfway across the Arabian Desert/Carpathian Mountains/Aegean Sea to said billionaire’s oasis/castle/yacht hideaway, so OF COURSE the flaky bints end up FALLING IN LOVE with their merciless captors – OH WOW!!! Hahahahahahahaha
It doesn’t help, of course, that Xiu Mei has the mental and emotional sophistication of a Teletubby – specifically the tall purple one with an effin’ handbag, Tinky Winky I believe the name is… (“Xiu Mei Say ‘Eh-oh!’”) Which OF COURSE makes it ALL TOO EASY for Rensuke to perform his acts of sexual terrorism (lulz) on her. And Lin Chi Ling WALKS like a Teletubby, too. Oh she’s gorgeous, I’m not disputing that: the camera loves her and I can’t think of an angle where she doesn’t look pretty. (The freshly scrubbed look suits her best — like in the Regolith ad campaign “Needs no makeup.” Which, btw is kind of lulz because it’s more suited to sell a skincare line than tables and chairs.) But I’m surprised her gait is so… ungainly for a former model. Does she really walk and stand like this all the time? I already feel uncoordinated just looking at her, lol. Walk like a Teletubby, talk like a Teletubby… No, actually, Xiu Mei doesn’t just talk like a Teletubby, but she also sounds A LOT like… <wait for it> Nell!!!
[Sidebar: Some of you may recall the 1994 film Nell, starring Jodie Foster as an orphan who lived by her lonesome deep in the Appalachian Mountains and developed her own language. Liam Neeson played the doctor who befriended Nell after meeting her in the woods by accident. BTW Nell is a drama, not a comedy. But Lin Chi Ling doing Nell? Definitely a comedy! I swear, Lin Chi Ling swaying with her hands outstretched? Running uninhibited through the muddy fields? Calling for water striders in her sing-song voice??? Ahahahahahahha SO NELL. I could just imagine her saying more Nell stuff, like “Ga-ainja!!!” (Guardian angel) and “Trouble go away at nigh’, an’ Nell caw Mi’i – an’ Nell an’ Mi’i – ye’, Nell an’ Mi’i – like t’ee in the way!” (I have NO idea what that means) and “Missa missa chickabee, ressa, ressa, ressa me, chicka, chicka, chickabee…” (No idea either, lol) /end sidebar]
Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT hitching my caboose to the “Lin Chi Ling you suck!!! You single-handedly brought TsukiKoi down!!! The low ratings are all YOUR fault!!! Go back to Taiwan!!!” bandwagon — in spite of her speech impediment (lol) and purported lack of dramatic talent. I’d say her acting here is NOT as bad as I expected it to be. I liked Xiu Mei despite the Nellisms and the Teletubby gait; even the pidgin Nihonggo never grated on me because it was consistent with her character and added to her charm. So I don’t think it’s fair to pin this Moon Lovers mess on Lin Chi Ling alone. If TsukiKoi had been a noteworthy production with credible character development and a lucid, well-plotted story line, then perhaps Lin Chi Ling’s limitations as an actor would’ve stood out more. But even her performance here was grossly eclipsed by the muzzy writing that didn’t know how to chart a decent love trajectory, much less flesh out characters you could care about.
So KimuTaku prowls, growls and scowls his way to Lin Chi Ling’s heart (uh… uh… I guess I’m supposed to use “Rensuke” and “Xiu Mei” instead… but NO!!! because the whole thing is really just KimuTaku role-playing his Harlequin fantasies, remember? how about this for a title: “Enslaved by the Furniture King”!!!! hahahahahaha). But you’re never convinced that his feelings for her ever develop into something more mature, into something less grasping and self-serving. Rensuke remains stuck in his rut of sleaze, self-indulgence and conceit. On top of which — he’s just SO GROSSSSSSSSSS.
Let’s backtrack a little: A mere nine days before the Regolith Shanghai opening, Chairman Rensuke meets Comrade Xiu Mei for the first time on the muddy lot where her factory once stood, but which had to be demolished to give way to Regolith’s new sweatshop. The former factory workers who were demonstrating all day (including Xiu Mei’s BFF, Ming) have since dispersed, but Xiu Mei has come back to… <wait for it> LOOK FOR WATER STRIDERS amid the mucky brown pools, tar pits and peat bogs behind the old factory. (Seriously, water striders? Roundworms and other parasites, yes. Water striders, no!) She sees Rensuke smoking and mistakes him for a tourist and… <wait for it> SHE DOESN’T KNOW HE’S THE VERY GUY WHO CLOSED DOWN HER FACTORY!!! Do we see potential conflict looming in the distance????
Xiu Mei also used to be the factory pinup model – obviously because she’s the ONLY worker there whose hands have retained their magical milky white softness, untouched by the ravages of hard labor. And Rensuke also happens to be… <wait for it> LOOKING FOR THE NEW FACE OF REGOLITH, OH WOW!!! A lightbulb goes off in Rensuke’s head and – and – he goes off in search of his Number Two Kazami so they can do the Gaston/LeFou duet from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast!!! (“LeFou I’m afraid I’ve been thinking…”/“A dangerous pastime”/“I know…” lol). If Rensuke gets Xiu Mei as his model, that’ll mollify the demonstrators!!! Give them their own Worker’s Idoru!!!
So Rensuke digs into Xiu Mei’s background to exploit whatever he can from her sob story (mom’s bedridden; dad left years ago to work in Japan but hasn’t been heard from since; she keeps her life savings not in the bank, but in a little tin can stashed under the wooden slats of their kitchen; the loan sharks are threatening her with eviction and she can’t pay them no more ‘coz – OH THAT’S RIGHT, CHAIRMAN RENSUKE CLOSED HER FACTORY DOWN). And he basically lies, bribes and pulls strings so that Xiu Mei has no recourse but to… <wait for it> COME WORK FOR RENSUKE AS REGOLITH’S IMAGE MODEL, OH WOW!!!
Never mind that Regolith has – oh I don’t know, JUST NINE DAYS LEFT before the Shanghai opening and they still have to TRAIN Xiu Mei to walk, talk and vogue like a gin-yoo-wine Supermodel/Goodwill Ambassador for Displaced Factory Workers Throughout the Region!!! But OF COURSE Xiu Mei soon finds out from Ming that Rensuke rigged things so that she’d agree to do all this sh*t for his company, and OF COURSE she ditches training and runs off into the night, sending everyone in a tizzy, and OF COURSE Rensuke knows exactly where to find her (“Find water strider, find Xiu Mei!!!” lol), and OF COURSE when he arrives at the muddy old factory site she’s furious with him for his duplicity, and OF COURSE this inevitably leads to the first gross-you-out scene from “Enslaved by the Furniture King” Harlequin Special Edition:
Rensuke: (grabs Xiu Mei and growls) “If you really want to be happy, you have to fight for it. Let’s. Go.”
(More yanking and struggling! Violence! Pushing and tugging! Clawing and screaming! Pinning against cement post! Slapping and chest-beating!)
Xiu Mei: “I hate you!!! Why are you doing this to me?!?! WHY!?!??!”
Rensuke: (growls s’more, jerks her forward into a grappling clinch hold) “You can hate me. You don’t have to forgive me. I want you… I REALLY want you…” (More glaring! Neck-grasping! Staring at each other! Heavy breathing!)
<wait for it>
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. *vomits in mouth*
And with those words, those burning, forceful words borne out of Chairman Rensuke’s adamantine will, Comrade Xiu Mei’s international modeling career is signed, sealed and delivered amid the abandoned bulldozers and backhoes of the old factory site. But OH MAN, nothing prepared me for the next scene showing the Shanghai opening shindig, which basically was… this… whirligig of WTF-ery, a carbuncle of kitsch that left me in a near state of hysterocatalepsy. The theatrical lighting! The string ensemble! Xiu Mei in a slinky black leather dress, dripping… rhinestones! Her death tango with the Amenbo stool, customized to resemble a <wait for it> water strider! The well-heeled crowd, spellbound by Xiu Mei’s beauty, applauding hysterically! Ming and the other factory peasants, who somehow managed to sneak into the venue, now unfurling their Red Propaganda banners and cheering their comrade on! Xiu Mei sashaying down the catwalk with tears of gratitude glistening on her cheeks! Xiu Mei saluting the old village geezer who used to give her Nihonggo lessons! (How the HEY did he get inside! I don’t know I don’t know!) And beyond it all, beyond the din of the adoring catcalls, wolf whistles and proletariat rabblerousing, beyond the overpriced insectomorphic stools and other tacky furniture defiling the venue, Xiu Mei sees him, her captor, benefactor, (tor)mentor and future lover <dry-heaves>, prowling, scowling and growling in the shadows <dry-heaves>, watching her silently, radiating concupiscence and raw carnality <dry-heaves dry-heaves dry-heaves>.
And that’s how Comrade Xiu Mei gets shanghaied (heh heh heh) by the Good Chairman to find herself in Fair Nihon, where KimuTaku Rensuke continues to his indulge in his kept-woman fantasies: secretes Xiu Mei in some swanky hotel, then drags her through Shibuya for an ENTIRE AFTERNOON, MAKING HER TRY ON EVENING WEAR AT A DOZEN OR SO UPSCALE BOUTIQUES WHILE HE JUST WATCHES HER, SMOKING (eeewww). This alone raises a major red flag: a workaholic like Rensuke blocking off his day to become his company model’s personal shopper??? LMAO.
Then ZOMG Rensuke PIMPS HER OUT to this florid American hotelier named Creighton, whom both Rensuke and Papa Mastpole are aiming to score a plum deal with. While Papa Mastpole takes Creighton’s two young critters to a theme park, Rensuke’s idea of a soft sell is to procure the magnate a sex slave for a night. Never mind that said hotelier slobbers all over Xiu Mei’s alabaster shoulders and fondles her long locks before proffering his indecent proposal — this is business, nothing personal!!! And all this time we’re supposed to feel a tittle of sympathy for Rensuke because he’s NOT REALLY A BAD PERSON, HE DOESN’T REALLY WANT TO SELL XIU MEI’S BODY — SEE HIM CLENCH HIS FIST SO HARD HIS CIGGY STICK BREAKS?!!??!!!!?! (gahahahahahaha) So this is only business, nuthin’ personal, ehhh Rensuke? Well, heaven help us all. *dry-heaves*
And then – OH!!! OH!!! Xiu Mei dopes out Regolith’s oppressive labor practices at the Shanghai factory – and SHE FEELS SO BETRAYED that Rensuke didn’t keep his word!!! On top of which he has her long-lost Peasant Dad deported back to China because his illegal alien status may jeopardize Xiu Mei’s image – just when Xiu Mei has finally found him after all these years of searching!!! So she almost quits Regolith – but decides to stay in Japan so she can exact her <wait for it> REVENGE!!! “Get Rensuke to fall in rabu-rabu with me, get rich, and then break! his! kokoro! into a thousand wood splinters!!!” Apparently her brilliant plan only opens her up to more yanking and grabbing, guttural noises (from who else), nose-rubbing (WTF!), pinning against dressing-room tables, doe-eyed gazing and libidinous staring, drippy-ass exchanges hidden inside “Nihonggo for Pre-Beginners” workbooks (“I want to melt his heart.” – LMAO!!!), Harlequinesque one-liners (“I won’t be your toy!”), and some very lethal face-pashing under the ever-watchful Moon of Love – and the ever-watchful paparazzi, tsk.
The thing is, I didn’t mind that Xiu Mei had a retaliatory strategy germinating in that pretty little head of hers, which hitherto seemed to contain only thoughts of elusive amphibious insects and bucolic bike rides. I LIKED the revenge angle and wanted the good Comrade Xiu Mei to succeed as much as I wanted the evil Chairman Rensuke to BITE THE DUST. But Xiu Mei’s little snare is dead in the water from Day One because first of all, guess who’s the first person she tells??? It’s Kazami the Hatchet Man!!! (“He [Rensuke] betray me, he not save my co-workers. That’s why I will make him fall for me, then I’ll dump him.” – LMAO!!!) Yes yes, so Kazami has also been plotting his own “Rensuke Goes Down” agenda, BUT NOBODY KNOWS THAT YET, XIU MEI. For all intents and purposes, Kazami is still Rensuke’s man — but she tells him everything anyway!!! And secondly, this Xiu Mei, bless her sweet simpletonic heart, never gets to fully realize her plan because… <wait for it> SHE FALLS IN LOVE WITH CHAIRMAN RENSUKE. Of course.
To answer the earlier question, yes, Rensuke does fall in love with this tender-hearted (if a bit thick) country bumpkin — albeit in a very twisted way. A good chunk of this series (75% to be exact) is all about that. “Regolith in Love?” You mean… Rensuke in Love!!! And if Xiu Mei ever asked her boss/jailer/lover what he saw in her, Rensuke would snarlingly answer: “You had me at… water striders.” (hahahaha) Indeed, blame it on those little critters for bringing the twain together. 86% of Rensuke and Xiu Mei’s lovey-dovey moments are about those cruddy insects, anyway.
Take that scene from Episode 1 where Xiu Mei gets to bond with her new BFF Maemi over lunch, and suddenly Chairman Rensuke joins them to – oh, you know, check on the goods. *rolleyes* The lunch table conversation takes a decidedly philosophical turn when Rensuke does his STUPID EFFTARDED “What does this look like?” spiel with the four coins, and of course Maemi won’t tell him the answer, and Xiu Mei interjects that the coins resemble the ripples made by a pond skater (or water strider). Maemi helpfully adds that water striders are used as an indicator for environmental quality, oh wow!
Chairman Rensuke: (pensively) “Are there water striders in China?” (Hahahahha. Are there… earthworms in Brazil? Are there cockroaches in Mongolia? Hahahahahahaha Rensuke you comedian!!!)
Comrade Xiu Mei: (sadly) “Not in China. They can’t live in the water here, it’s too dirty.” (Uh, no sh*t? LMFAO) “Happiness… if you find water strider. My otosan told me when I was small, whoever finds water strider will be happy. That’s why I always look for it. When it rains… the town will be clean. Flowers, trees, and rices… they all grow up. That’s why, where water strider is… people happy. Find water strider, you happy.” At which point the whole table falls silent, astounded by Xiu Mei’s grasp of indigenous ecological lore, and left to ponder the weight of her words and the true essence of happiness… and this strange new thing, this water strider and its indispensable place in the Great Web of Life.
Hahahahhahahahhahaha. First of all — happiness??? Happiness??? Ain’t no water striders in my paddling pool either – so I guess that makes me a miserable joyless hack. And that line about water striders and environmental quality, coupled with Rensuke’s “regolith can only be found on the moon” claim – SERIOUSLY WHO WAS FEEDING ASANO TAEKO ALL THIS CRAZY SH*T??? Did she even try to verify the little factoids she kept injecting into her script??? Regolith isn’t exclusive to the moon any more than water striders are the most reliable of environmental indicators. I doubt ecologists the world over would do a Xiu Mei and gaze soulfully into every mudpool they came across, looking for the water striders that (alone!!!) can tell them if the aquatic environment is in good shape or not. I’m sure there are other more scientifically reliable indicators of water quality, like dissolved oxygen levels, coliform bacteria concentrations, or water turbidity. I mean… really, Asano Taeko… *facepalm*
Midway in the drama there’s a scene where this inanity about water striders reaches a new low. It happens to be Rensuke and Xiu Mei’s most romantic moment – that is, if “romantic” for you means reenacting something you saw from a daytime soap, or – again – read in a Harlequin paperback. First, we see Xiu Mei sloshing about in a man-made pool outside Rensuke’s hotel – you know, man-made as in “cement bottom, chlorinated water, no natural vegetation” man-made? Well, guess what Xiu Mei is doing by said pool when Rensuke finds her? Looking for water striders. Of course. Great prelude to an evening tryst with the man you love. The best. It’s the best!!! Because Rensuke suddenly grabs her! Hugs her, lifts her and twirls her (dude she’s taller than you. lol)! She calls him by a special pet name, “Wansuke”! They splash around the water! Touchy-feely! They settle against the stone wall by the pool! Looking at the moon! Looking at the f***ing MOON!!! This is the point where it hits us viewers (because we’re obviously to shtooopid to figger it out by ourselves) that Rensuke and Xiu Mei are the drama’s titular characters, they are the Moon Lovers!!!
Now I don’t even know what to make of this scene. I don’t. It’s one of those you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-and-then-you’ll-vomit-in-your-mouth-and-DIE things. No descriptions will ever suffice. Oh the horror. Oh the horror.
But now that Xiu Mei has hooked up with Rensuke (she even spends the night at his place, eeewww), it can only mean one thing: Doom. Is. Nigh. When Ming comes limping to Xiu Mei with his “The Shanghai Labor Camp: Tales from the Dark Side” collection of horror stories, the poor lass realizes that her prince charming is really… <wait for it> an ogre in disguise! But Rensuke susses out Ming’s arrival, and in a fit of rage and jealousy, storms his kept woman’s abode — and finds Ming in her room!!! Xiu Mei is mad, very mad! (“You don’t own me! You promised you’d help everybody!”) Rensuke grabs her by the scruff of the neck! (eeeewwww) More growling and scowling!!! He hauls her off to the pokey (pokey = swanky hotel room under lock and key), Ming too! Great. Just great. Why doesn’t he just RAPE her while he’s at it. But no – Rensuke loves Xiu Mei, remember? Because he later confides to Maemi, “I wanna be with her! I don’t wanna let her go!” Aieeeeee *tears out hair*
Episode 6 is when the sh*t really hits the fan: a gas cylinder in a Regolith rotating chair explodes, injuring a grade-school kid and prompting the company to order a massive Toyota-magnitude product recall amid the mounting public outcry over Regolith’s quality control (or lack of it). And how does the good Chairman Rensuke react to the debacle? The Furniture King locks himself in his office and trashes his own furniture, hahahahaha. Oh what’s that Rensuke? You’re actually – ANGRY about the product recall? The defective chair was traced to your Shanghai sweatshop, remember? The one that you heinously neglected and screwed over again and again and again??? Tsk tsk… Rensuke Rensuke… What goes around comes around… jerk-off.
And what about Xiu Mei, who remains in her hotel prison cell twiddling her thumbs and counting the lizards on the wall? Oh she still loves her precious Wansuke, does she now? But when he pays her a visit, she gives Ultimatum No. 1: “Save the factory workers, or I’ll quit my job and go back to Shanghai.” And Rensuke growls back: “If you wanna quit, go ahead. But I have one condition: marry me. Let’s get married, Xiu Mei.” Uhm… <wait for it> so WTF just happened? Lol
She doesn’t even blame Rensuke for the great big stinking pile of camel poo that the Regolith snafu has thrown them all into? What gives, Comrade Xiu Mei? Her answer: “Because I know you’re struggling…” (LMAO) So Rensuke closes down his Shanghai sweatshop for good, ostensibly to “regain public trust” by concentrating production locally – so much for the Chairman’s Great Leap Forward, tsk tsk. Then Kazami releases Ming’s “Proletariat Manifesto” (finally!!! shoulda done that ages ago, ol’ boy) but the collateral damage includes deportation for Ming. But – oh! Oh! What’s this!??!? Xiu Mei’s at the airport too? After six episodes, she’s finally leaving Japan?!?!? (“Could it be? Is it she? Sacrebleu, invaders!” lulz)
So what about Rensuke and his marriage proposal? Well, Xiu Mei gives Rensuke a call (just when he’s waiting at the restaurant with his okasan because he wants to introduce a *certain* peasant chick to Mummie dearest, oh wow) and – heeeere we go again, let’s all hop on the Maudlin Merry-go-round of Misery!!!
Xiu Mei: “If I stay here, you’ll get hurt because of me. Smile… I hardly ever saw you smile.”
Rensuke: “I can’t smile like you.”
Xiu Mei: “I wasn’t smiling, I was always crying inside. But that’s why I put a smile on. That’s why I smile.”
Rensuke: “I want to make you happy but I…” <wait for it> “…just can’t change who I am.” <KA-CHIIIIIIINNNGG> (He puts down the receiver!!! Clenches teeth!!! Holds back tears!!! Looks at ceiling!!! Leaves his bemused Mummie in the restaurant, wondering “eehhh? WTF just happened?” Hahahahahahah)
And if you think that’s the last we’ll see of Xiu Mei, think again! Kazami somehow intercepts her at the airport and stows her away in yet another hotel room, and in the dying moments of this necrotic drama she re-appears in Rensuke’s life because she <wait for it> still loves him… but he <wait for it> rejects her in the end – because of course their love story cannot possibly end with Xiu Mei dumping Rensuke, right? (The horror!) It has to be the other way around or this wouldn’t be a KimuTaku renzoku ren’ai. But whatever. Either way, do you really care? Did you ever? It’s impossible to invest in the Rensuke+Xiu Mei love story because you can never truly see the characters for who the writer intended them to be. This romance between a Beautiful Courtesan and her Evil Maharajah (or, as I prefer to call it, between a Teletubby and her… Nazitübbie, lol) fails to take root within you because throughout this drama you can never shake the feeling that all you’re really watching is KimuTaku acting out his sordid Harlequin fantasies with his belle du jour. And that’s not even remotely romantic, but just… sad and pathetic.
Photo credits: ashkt.livejournal.com, chikara4piece.blogspot.com. d-addicts.com, dangermousie.livejournal.com, dramacrazy.net, dramaticallyincorrect.wordpress.com, evacuatewithstyle.org, hamsapsukebe.com, japanesia.org, noitakarai.wordpress.com, rz-jocelyn.livejournal.com, silentrerets.com, tenkai-japan.com, timelessub.com, viikii.com, wretch.cc/blog/gakinme