Unexpected – Love Story in Maison Ginseiso Season 1 Review – A manga romance with a touch of reality

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Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

Released this year as Hamaru Otoko ni Keritai Onna, Unexpected – Love Story in Maison Ginseiso is a 10-episode Japanese rom-com currently on Viki. It stars Taisuke Fujigaya of J-pop group Kis-My-Ft2 and Nagisa Sekimizu.

An old-school, hate-to-love rom-com, it’s centered on a rather obnoxious guy who loses everything in order to find himself. After dramatically resigning his job and receiving divorce papers from his wife – who even grabs the good aircon unit – he takes on managing a boarding house earning no salary but having room, board and plenty to do.

One of the house-mates happens to be someone he’d insulted in his former career as a marketing man and she’s delighted to have the opportunity to take her revenge, criticizing his every output. But with the on-going battle, there’s something between the two.

Here sets the stage for a classic comedy romance, complete with a host of misunderstandings. Based on manga Hamaru Otoko ni Keritai Onna, it’s got the predictable accoutrement of ridiculous falls, shrieking and plenty of tropes. But somewhere around Episode 5 things begin to get interesting. When Koichi’s ex-wife moves into the house in hopes of rekindling, turning the established triangle into a square, she inadvertently adds a new layer of awkward to the scenario. 

It’s not just the mapping on the board that adds relevance, but that things start to get real, every scenario adding new points to ponder. Rather than surfing on petulant rants, conversation begins as characters delve into their own flaws, sometimes with a little help. Like with the telling line from the heroine’s best friend: ‘‘You’re angry at the part of yourself that can’t forgive him.’ It suddenly melds into something a little less silly.

Led by Taisuke Fujigaya who plays Koichi, he’s also known for 2022 movie And So I’m at a Loss and the Kamen Teacher franchise among a host of other works. In an exclusive interview, he talks to TheReviewGeek about his work and how, a romantic at heart, he’d love to give advice on romance. Nagisa Sekimizu plays rival and love interest Itsuka Nishijima. She also leads last year’s Itsuka, Itsumo……Itsumademo and Wedding High.

The translation of the manga title is something like ‘woman who wants to kick the man to whom she’s addicted,’ so while there’s push-pull between the characters, there’s also an internal struggle for a woman who’s attracted to a guy she doesn’t like as a person – for a very good reason – like, he was a jerk when they first met. You know that consuming love-hate thing? But now that the tables have turned, he’s not the guy he used to be. And is getting better all the time.

In all his foolishness, Koichi wants to better, making an effort to learn how to ask for forgiveness – and that’s what brings it home. As he not only comes to terms with the concept of apologizing, he also makes it a good one. In person, fully owning up to everything past and present. Yet even with all that, Nishijima still has to think it through.

To find out what happens, watch Unexpected – Love Story in Maison Ginseiso on Viki.

To read the interview with Taisuke Fujigaya or see the full Q&A, click the links. The read more reviews of Japanese content, click here

  • Verdict - 7/10

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