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Suika [すいか]


Drama Details
Telecast:2003-07-12 to 2003-09-20
Season:Summer 2003

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TV Station:NTV
Duration:10 Episodes

Watermelon, anyone? NTV network is serving Suika Saturday nights at 9 p.m. this summer. I sampled the second episode on July 19 and found it had a distinctively different taste. It could probably use a little salt, but it is worth trying.

With most watermelons, you really don't know what you are getting until you cut them open, and this one is the same. It will take a few more episodes to figure out exactly what is hidden inside this plot, and I still haven't figured out why the drama is named after a watermelon.

The story is set in a large, dilapidated house that serves as an old-fashioned geshuku (cheap lodging) of the type that was popular in the mid-20th century. This one has a nice garden, a hole in the first-floor ceiling and shared cooking facilities.

The eldest resident of the building known as "Happiness Sancha" is Natsuko (Ruriko Asaoka). Now a university professor, she has lived continuously in the same room since her university days more than 20 years ago and has lots of stories to tell, if she decides to do so. She can be tough with her students, but at home she is a wise, maternal presence.

The other long-term tenant is 27-year-old Kizuna (Rie Tomosaka), a struggling manga artist whose twin sister died four years ago. Obviously, some secrets lurk there, too. Kizuna has lots of quirks like using the closet as a bed and not allowing anyone in her room. Tomosaka is always good in such roles.

The manager of the boarding house is Yuka (Mikako Ichikawa), who is just 20 years old. A young lady without any dreams for the future and who displays minimal emotion, she has been asked by her father to take care of the building.

The newest tenant is Motoko, a 34-year old bank employee with a domineering mother. She has worked for 16 years but still lives at home and has almost no excitement in her life. She finds it hard to speak up and cannot break away from her parents until the day when some vicarious excitement does come her way.

Her colleague at the bank, Baba (played by Kyoko Koizumi), has just absconded with 300 million yen of the bank's cash. All of Japan is looking for her but the media needs a picture. A weekly magazine reporter, whom Motoko first mistakes for a stalker, approaches her and offers her 50,000 yen for a photo of her former pal, but a TV reporter has already gotten to her mother and procured a photo for the bargain price of 10,000 yen.

This violation of her privacy (and, as she later admits, the interference in her more lucrative financial deal) finally propels Motoko to pack up and leave. She ends up as the newest tenant at the boarding house.

The only significant male character in this drama appears to be a magazine editor named Mamata (Katsumi Takahashi). He is a friend of Yuka's dad and also one of Natsuko's old students. He likes to hang around the apartment to escape his powerful wife, who does things like paint his toenails red while he is sleeping to punish him.

So far, none of the characters is particularly lovable, inspiring or even very realistic and the plot does not seem to be going anywhere in particular. Could this one end up as a jar of watermelon rind pickles?

Could be, but there is something about this tale that suggests that if the viewer hangs around long enough they will be able to watch at least one of these characters find some happiness at Happiness Sancha. One and a half stars to start.
Daily Yomiuri On-Line

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Soundtrack and Theme Songs (1)
1. Momo no Hanabira 桃の花ビラ [Otsuka Ai 大塚愛]

Actor/Actress Cast (6)
Kobayashi Satomi
Tomosaka Rie
Ichikawa Mikako
Takahashi Katsumi
Koizumi Kyoko
Asaoka Ruriko

Related Links (1)
1. Official Site

Drama Reviews (1)
The review section may contain spoilers! Please understand
that you may find out about this drama's endings and plots!

1. watermelon drama [Rating: 9/10]
Seeing 4 women under the same roof made me reluctant at first, so it was a slow-start drama for me. Characters are good - each one grows and has it's own spice to add.
At times maybe there is too much emphasis on nostalgia...but that was alright since Takahashi Katsumi was also in and "cooled" things down.
Overall a good drama to watch - even the cat goes to the bar and gets to be told to go home.
Reviewed by favug on 25 October 2012

Comments From Users (12)
This section may contain spoilers! Do not proceed if you
do not want to read about this drama's endings and plots!

1. Comments by EstherM [Rating: 9/10]
This one was pure bliss - a true insight into women's minds. It catches prefectly well this very special warm and fuzzy summer feel. There is not much of a storyline, it just follows the lives of 4, no actually 6, very different women over the course of a few month.
2. Comments by sadacori [Rating: 9/10]
What a quaint little sleeper this was and I have to say that it was surprisingly intriguing, despite it being slow-paced. Tomosaka Rie is absolutely adorable in this drama and everyone had their little quirks, which I thought was part of the charm.
3. Comments by ashitaka [Rating: 8/10]
You really have to see this one through. It grew on me after like 5 or 6 episodes. It feels really onna-ppoi at first, but even as a guy I grew to enjoy the heck out of it. The storyline is a bit weird, but this is definitely a recommendation.
4. Comments by ct_subang [Rating: 3/10]
can't say much abt this one...i kinda watched it on n off...tht shows how boring this drama is...wat has happen to tomosaka rie acting in a pointless dorama?..n is there a kashiwabara sibling in dis one??looks like him...hmmm...
5. Comments by ketsune [Rating: 5/10]
boy..isnt this the bangangest drma ever...kinda funny...tapi lawak bodoh..but funny...storyline tak sedap maner....tapi best larr..
6. Comments by kazuya_ [Rating: 8/10]
Very enjoyable show about some strange characters. Tomosaka Rie gives a good performance as usual.
7. Comments by gaijinmark [Rating: 8/10]
Nice quirky drama about the folks at "Happiness San-cha". Well written, good job by a good cast.
8. Comments by dokaben [Rating: 10/10]
Everyone should watch this! Very underrated. Excellent ensemble cast, brilliant writing.
9. Comments by Eve [Rating: 9/10]
Different, offbeat and wonderful.
10. Comments by Mali [Rating: 7/10]
Very relaxing drama. Nice.
11. Comments by mogsan [Rating: 8/10]
Baby, I am not spam!
12. Comments by snapplecap900 [Rating: 10/10]
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1. runpup