I’m celebrating! This is the first Japanese drama series that I’ve watched in a while that managed to surprise and touch me — a long while!
Bouquets are due to the actors and writer of Caution, Hazardous Wife for breaking the drought.
I loved the pairing of Ayase Haruka and (hottie, who at 47 means he’s not exactly jail bait) Nishijima Hidetoshi as the couple that manages to fall in love at first sight and make me enjoy that trope.
The writer deserves special praise (and I suppose Nippon TV too for buying and airing this) because the story touches on some pretty adult topics (which I’ll touch on after the break) and gets the points made in the relatively short structure of each episode.
The basic set-up for the drama is one of a spy/hitwoman played by Ayase who decides she’s had enough and fakes her death to search for a normal family life. Each episode opens with a little bit of her history, sharing little details of how she came to the place she now occupies. While it’s treated with humor (and some kick-ass action sequences), the truth is that her life was always pretty bleak so when you see the way her character, Nami, looks when she sees a family life she’s never known, or an injustice she knows she can tackle, it gets you a little bit in the feels.
When she falls in love at first sight with the man who will become her husband it’s just such a sweet romance you want the HEA for her. But a perfect life in suburbia is not in her future. Her new neighbors have less than perfect lives, but they look for ways to make something more of their lives by taking classes at the local community center – a plot device kickstarted by the need for Nami to learn how to cook and become the perfect okusama to her adored husband. While taking on the mysteries of flower-arranging, wearing a kimono, or calligraphy they get involved in the problems of their neighbors. These range from the “relatively” mild case of bullying to the more extreme instances of adult pornography, prostitution, and murder. Yes, these are definitely not your average topics!
With secrets like those Nami hides (and a husband who looks extremely fit for a businessman with a small software company), it wasn’t exactly a surprise as to the general facts behind her marriage (which are revealed late in the series), but I was very invested in Nami’s response to the reveleations and, maybe even more so, to the reactions of her husband, Yuki. I found myself angry on her behalf, and hurt too. Kudos to both actors for their choices; they both brought something fresh to something that could have been predictable.
And of course, the most unpredictable of all? The very ending! Let’s just say that it goes out with a bang!