“Congratulations!”, as Takane would say. It has been ages, possibly years, that I have truly enjoyed a Japanese dorama. I was primarily drawn in by the cute previews, interesting storyline, and last but not least, Yamapi! 5-ji Kara 9-ji Made is about how Sakuraba Junko, a English teacher at an academy finds love in the most unexpected of places, a monk named Takane. Junko is a hardworking teacher who has dreams of moving to New York. She is well-loved by her coworkers and good at her job. However, she does not have much luck on the romance front, even though she has suitors from afar. One day, while she is attending a funeral service at a temple, she accidentally causes a scene. Her foot had started cramping and she ended up tipping a whole bowl of ashes onto the chief priest’s head as he was chanting the sutras. Whoops! However, its okay since he fell head over heels for her ever since. Completely embarrassed, Junko hopes never to see Takane again. As dramas would have it, she is tricked into a matchmaking session with none other than Takane, under her mother’s behest. Takane single-mindedly pursues her and tries to gain her favor. He wants to marry her, but Junko was not having it. Junko becomes annoyed as Takane literally stalks her everyday and even joins her academy as a student even though he was a Tokyo University graduate who is already competent in English. While the two bicker, two other suitors have set their eyes on Junko as well. One is her mentor and role model lecturer from when she was a college student who is now her General Manager. The other is a college friend who had been in love with her ever since meeting. Unfortunately for Takane, who is very possessive and jealous, he must compete against so many people vying for her hand. This is not to mention that his own grandmother who controls the temple since his parents passed away hates Junko for not being worthy enough as a daughter-in-law. She is constantly hindering them and even brought in a proper bride-to-be that she wants Takane is marry instead. It is so good that it is only after 8 episodes that I have paused to write this review!
Different from other doramas, 5-ji Kara 9-ji Made thankfully does not do “repeat problems or plots” in each episode and instead moves the plot along at a brisk pace. I particularly enjoy how the wooing and romancing is slow and drawn out which makes it more realistic. Takane and Junko take the time, even if it is through bickering, to learn about each’s character and past. This makes it all the sweeter when they are finally accepting of each other’s feelings and all that is left is to hopefully achieve their dreams.
Ishihara Satomi who plays Junko is all kinds of cute, cool, and beautiful! I love how she speaks so fast and how lively her expressions are. Contrast this to Yamapi’s frozen Takane face is quite a difference. This makes it all the cuter when Takane is brought to a smile. Most of his feelings are expressed through his eyes instead which for me is still a work in progress. However, the chemistry between the two is just sizzling and I most definitely fangirl with every OTP moment!