Turn to Me Mukai-kun

Turn to Me Mukai-kun

TV-14

netflix

A charming slice-of-life romance dorama centered on modern dating

7.2

TV Show

Japan
Japanese
Comedy, Drama
2023
SHIGEYAMA YOSHINORI, SHÔGO KUSANO
Amane Okayama, Eiji Akaso, Erika Ikuta
51 min

TLDR

Eiji Akaso is so perfect for Mukai Satoru, it’s really excellent casting!

What it's about

After breaking up with Miwako in college, Mukai Satoru placed all his attention on his newly found office work instead of his love life. A decade later, he tries to dive back into modern dating.

The take

Modern dating can seem so frustrating, because it feels like there’s a set of nebulous, unwritten rules behind it, and every single player in the game has different levels of awareness and variations to each rule. Turn to Me Mukai-kun depicts this through the titular office worker, who happens to be out of the dating scene for ten years. As he tries to go back into the dating market, he’s well-meaning, but totally ignorant, so he stumbles at certain moments in his quest to cease his loneliness. It’s very relatable, and Eiji Akaso’s doe-eyed cluelessness makes Mukai seem more endearing than foolish. While there are certain moments that falter, and certain relationships that lack a spark, Turn to Me Mukai-kun is a lighthearted yet unpredictable dorama that might charm you into binge-watching the whole series.

What stands out

Slice-of-life stories can seem mundane, especially when compared to the variety of other films and TV shows available. Turn to Me, Mukai-kun is one such slice-of-life show, and the original manga is easily translated to video, since most of the plot progressions come through office conversations, internal monologue, and after-work dinners with colleagues, rather than crazy fantastical panels. You can find some of the show’s plot points in other romance series, but the series takes an intriguing approach to this. Events are repeated on-screen, as Mukai tries to interpret and reinterpret the possible meanings behind Nakatani’s behavior, the same way we try to carefully gauge the behavior of potential romantic partners. And as a new interpretation occurs, and Mukai’s perspective is challenged, steady drums and jazzy piano mix into a playful score that helps the viewers feel Mukai’s new realizaitons.

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