I was looking for a good romantic comedy Japanese drama, and I found Hotaru no Hikari which I believed it would offer me enough satisfaction. It’s about a superior-subordinate relationship where you can take a glance on a more mature interaction between young adults. As it seems, it’s no longer a story of typical teenage romance, but… Hotaru Amemiya, the protagonist of the story, is your new-to-love woman in her young adulthood stage. In fact, she would rather laze at home and drink beer all the time. She’s far different from what everyone sees on her during working hours – a beautiful and dedicated lady. Due to certain circumstances, she ends up living with her boss, Seiichi Takano, who happens to be the son of the landlord where Hotaru stays. They keep their situation as a secret to everyone to avoid misunderstanding.
Hotaru no Hikari Season 1 is a 10-episode Japanese drama series which centers on the development of Hotaru as a woman who doesn’t have a knowledge about romance until she ultimately begins to get her first love, and thanks to the advises given by her boss Takano. Though she has immature and clumsy acts, you’d rather find her character the funniest “dried fish” woman ever. Despite the involvement of Makoto Teshima, Hotaru’s love interest, the flow of the story focuses more on the daily relationship of Boss and Hotaru as they slowly accept the existence of each other in one roof. Like a normal couple does, they help each other when problems arise, and even Takano does his best for the sake of Hotaru’s love life. As the episodes go on, you’ll eventually realize that Takano is starting to show his soft side towards Hotaru as he cares for her to the widest extent more than how he deeply thinks of his ex-wife.
The series has a good balance of romance and comedy while trying to avoid the boring aspects, like watching intensive dramatic events. It tries to reach the exciting points in every episode while it maintains a smooth, systematic flow of the story. Season 1 is like an introduction of Hotaru’s character as a growing up woman as she tries her very best to become a well-refined lady whom everyone will admire. Conflict within herself is likely to arise because she doesn’t really know how to deal with problems especially when it comes to her romantic life with Makoto, but it’s really interesting to watch how she gradually learns to face those problems, and all thanks to her boss who is always at her side to lean on.
Haruka Ayase is really well-versed with her role as Hotaru, a character who might look idiot, airhead, but tries her best in everything she does. Comparing to her other series I’ve already watched, her role as Hotaru is the best character I’ve ever seen because it is filled with funny yet strong personality which at the end, will make her, at least, an admirable woman from being a “Himono-onna”. As always, her acting performance has never failed to make its best while capturing the eyes of the viewers with her good-looking face. I really like how she refreshingly drinks her favorite beer as she says “Ahhh!” after a sip of it.
I wasn’t a fan of Naohito Fujiki until I met him in this series. I realized he is a good actor who also performs impressively with a unique charm. His role as the boss, Seiichi Takano, matches him physically with his mature looks and gestures. At first, I couldn’t see any chemistry between him and Hotaru because I was eyeing on the couple of Makoto (played by Kazuki Kato) and Hotaru most of the episodes until such time in the near end, I eventually preferred Takano over Makoto.
Kazuki Kato, who takes the role of Makoto Teshima, is a good-looking actor but I don’t think he exerts a lot of effort with his acting performance in this drama. I don’t know if it’s a part of the role but he seems to have one-sided expression which makes his character quite unpredictable. I even thought that he was not that really serious with Hotaru, but I was still rooting for their couple though. After watching the drama, I started to become a big fan and searched his biography to know him better, so I discovered he is more popular as a singer without even realizing that he also portrays Keigo Atobe in The Prince of Tennis Musical. So yes, I’ve already seen him before.
Hotaru no Hikari is simply a good drama to watch though it may not offer you the best from it. It’s one of the best romantic comedy I’ve ever watched. Hotaru is just too hilarious and cute to watch.