Cinderellas of Midsummer – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Cinderellas of Midsummer Episode 1 brings us three friends gathered seaside for a paddleboarding lesson. But Natsumi, the female instructor walking toward them is not the beautiful one from the ad. One guy is disappointed, one is openly rude and the third steps in to say of course they’ll take the lesson with the substitute.

As they awkwardly fall into the water, the guys flaunt their posh backgrounds and top-level education. But as Mamoru panics, Natsumi keeps her cool, ready to rescue. Kento seems pretty impressed, making a point of a proper thank you at the end while his friends are dying to get going. She soon saves them again, this time from a local chancer trying to bilk the outsiders. It’s a shame they aren’t likely to see her again.

The next day, Natsumi wakes to do a million household and business tasks, taking care of everyone from her family to co-workers to friends. Natsumi, Ari and Risa clean trash from the beach. Ari’s got a new dating app and she’s keen to meet ‘elites’ but Natsumi seems sceptical. She’d felt like an idiot in front of those posh clients the previous day. The girls tease her about her real reason – a crush on childhood friend Takumi.

With the date confirmed, Ari invites Natsumi but she’s making excuses. Her dad and brother encourage her to get out a bit. Natsumi makes food for the party but gets delayed helping someone. By the time she leaves, she’s late and dirty but heads out anyway. She can’t believe the fabulous house or the fact that Kento is the one answering the door.

They talk about their jobs — Ari, a hairdresser and Risa, a cleaner, Natsumi is an instructor plus runs a small cafe. Rude Osamu is a doctor, Kento is heir to a construction company and Mamoru moves them on to another topic. They’re only there for the weekend.

Natsumi sets out some food including caviar the guys brought along. Osamu calls the menu ‘poor man’s food’ but the rest happily dig in. As they continue to chat, the divide between their backgrounds becomes more apparent. But Kento and Natsumi seem to get along anyway.

There’s an emergency at the café so Natsumi exits early. Of course, she’s able to calm things down as soon as she arrives. At the party, Risa notes they were hoping to give Natsumi a surprise for her birthday. Alone, Mamoru notes that Ari is cute and Osamu teases him for not admitting he’s not a Tokyo University grad like the other two. Meanwhile, Kento confides that being the ‘young master’ feels like he’s living someone else’s life.

Risa has a phone date with her son who’s on his first trip to Tokyo. Her ex-husband would like to keep him there, but she refuses. Mind elsewhere, she bobbles her phone then falls into the ocean. A man rescues her, immediately providing mouth-to-mouth.

The next day, she wakes up naked in his bed not remembering anything. He claims nothing happened (though he’s naked too) and that she’d asked to stay at his place. Confused but grateful, she runs off, late for work.

Natsumi is hard at work when Kento returns the containers from the party. They chat and agree they’re pretty different. Takumi stops by and she walks off with him, back into her world. Takumi presents her with a birthday gift he’d made and invites her to dinner that evening. She dresses up for dinner, ready to confess but he’s nearly two hours late.

He’d helped a woman on whom he’s got a crush but she’d said she’s moving away with her husband soon. He’d like to see her before she goes. Having missed dinner and now in the rain, Natsumi confesses to Takumi but he says he’s never seen her that way. She brushes it off, that’s it’s a joke to repay for his lateness. She leaves him her umbrella and runs home in tears.

The next day, Natsumi takes an order to the aquarium, running into Kento there. They hit the water to watch the sunset by paddleboard. Afterwards, they run into the rest of their friends for an impromptu birthday surprise. Kento presents new flip-flops, putting them on Cinderella-style. He notes that he’s decided to stick around for a while.

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of Cinderellas of Midsummer sets up the premise of people gathered from different worlds and brings up some interesting personalities. Already there’s potential for a love triangle brewing with Natsumi, Kento and Takumi. Who wants to bet that Takumi will change his tune the minute he notices someone else’s eyes on Natsumi?

Meanwhile, romances look possible for Ari and Mamoru and also Risa and the guy who saved her. But each of these pairings has a little ‘uh-oh’ in the mix. Poor Osamu is an odd man out, but then again, he is an odd man.

It’s fun to see these actors in an ensemble and playing different roles to previous characters, such as Riku Hagiwara as Osamu as opposed to Hira in My Beautiful Man, Fuju Kamio as Takumi rather than Tachibana in Black Cinderella and Mamiya Shotaro as Kento instead of Narita in Hot Gimmick

What starts as a weekend break has the potential to stretch (by at least 10 instalments) as everyone gets to know each other and enjoys what the seaside has to offer. It seems like the Cinderallas are working against an ever-ticking clock to midnight – or is it midsummer?


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You can read our season 1 review of Cinderellas of Midsummer here!

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