Shitsuren Chocolatier Episode 3

The winners of this episode are Olivier and Saeko, though deep in my heart, everybody's a winner. This show is (now) doing a really great job in portraying realistic three-dimensional adults, a great feat considering that it began with a cast that seemed like they were going need therapy after episode one.

I said this before, but, let me reiterate that I have not read the original manga and while I am now interested in it, I have no intent on checking it out until the show ends. I want to evaluate the drama as a stand-alone production, and not have it be possibly ruined by a possibly much better originating story. This is not to say there aren't many instances where the drama was actually better than the manga (Hana Yori Dango, Yamada Tarou Monogatari, Seigi no Mikata, to name a few) but that's another story for another time.

Olivier got an instant upgrade from that-guy-who's-just-there-to-be-a-supporting character to move-over-Souta-I-deserve-to-be-the-main-character. While his reasons for falling for Matsuri are lost on me, I wholeheartedly support anyone he wants to be with.

I don't think that his timing manipulation and kissing Matsuri out of nowhere make him a bad guy. We all have flaws one way or another, and he dealt with his mistakes instantly and beautifully. It was quite a surprise to me that Souta didn't turn into a overprotective big brother monster when Olivier confessed to him, not that it makes any sense in my view, but that's what usually tends to happen on dramas. It was really cute that he went on the opposite direction: Matsuri? Really? But you could do so much better!

I'm looking forward to how his confession to Matsuri plays out, and honestly I have no predictions for it. Since Matsuri does like someone else right now, it's not like she can instantly turn off her feelings. But I do feel chemistry between the two, so perhaps she's not completely against it? If she accepts him too soon, though, that will only make it seem like she's using him to get over her "boyfriend" or is just staying with him because he's nice. Unlike what Souta seems to think of Olivier. But then, we all know Souta is ridiculously naive.

Souta successfully manages to become a less naive and more like what he likes to call a bad guy... But I'm beginning to find him fundamentally flawed as a main character, although it's too early to say. I just don't care for his plight of trying to win Saeko's heart, or becoming more manipulative so that he can win Saeko's heart. It's not that I mind his goals, it's that I don't care what happens to him. He could end up with Erena, Kaoruko, or even Matsuri for all I care. No wait, if he ended up with Matsuri, that would be something to see.

But Matsumoto Jun is doing a wonderful job with this character. His "Eh?" in the above scene was so perfectly funny that I paused the episode to sit and laugh at him. He completely nails acting absurdly silly without actually appearing to be overacting. (Although he's always been pretty good at this)

Rather than Souta, I really felt for Saeko in this episode, to the point where I changed my mind completely about her in a span of only three episodes. At the beginning. she was two-dimensional, straightforwardly stupid and annoying. But now... I'm not so sure just yet.

Yes Saeko is not exactly a good person, because she's toying around with Souta while also having her happy marriage of convenience, living a life doing nothing but buying expensive things and sitting around eating expensive chocolate. But the thing is, many years passed since that time she was two-timing Souta. People change with time, not drastically, but no one remains exactly the same. I saw that many people criticized her for having the nerve to ask Souta to make her wedding cake. Honestly, that was a really minor thing to me, compared to the other things she did in the same episode. She met Souta again after years, wouldn't the normal assumption here be that he's long since moved on, and possibly dating someone else now? What kind of conceited person normally thinks that a guy you knew in high school never forgot about you and is still hoping to get with you after not having seen said guy since high school?!

I don't think they even had a particularly horrible relationship, it was awkward and bad, but short and rather random for her. She was wrong, but Souta wasn't exactly pure and innocent either, he obviously just liked her for her looks and the feeling stuck. So, seeing that he's now acting friendly towards you on your reunion, wouldn't you assume he's over it? I would. It's his job to make sweets, wouldn't you think you're doing him good by giving him work and a magazine feature on top? Plus, how can Saeko possibly know exactly how much work he has to do for it and how much efforts her requests take? She's not the baker here, Souta is, it's his job to tell her about the constraints and his responsibility if they mean he has to work night and day, not the customer's.

Maybe Saeko does actually genuinely like Souta now. Maybe she just wanted a reason to run away from her impending marriage, and she wasn't brave enough to do it on her own. Maybe she just wants some connection to the outside world now that she is married and can't do anything outside her husband's supervision.

Maybe Saeko doesn't actually know that Souta is and has always been in love with her. Maybe she has insecurities and failures just like the rest of us.

Whatever her motives, her fear of rejection, and taking initiative for herself, I really saw it thanks to Ishihara Satomi in this episode. Now she has finally become a very believable character. So you got yourself into a messy situation, we all do now and then, and she is clearly not the first person in the world, or Japan, to rush into a marriage she wouldn't actually be happy in. While it's easy to sit in front of your television and criticize characters for not doing the right thing, we have to think about whether we could do the right thing so easily if we were in their world. I could come up with hundreds of examples in Jdrama where a character is just being dense for no apparent reason other than they're dense, but not here. This show has become much better than I expected from the first episode.

But then there is Kaoruko. Is it really possible that she's in her 30's and hasn't ever thought of or heard of the old act-cold-so-a-guy-will-give-you-their-jacket trick?? Now here's someone being too dense for no real reason, she just is too dense. She could also turn out to be more layered, but her character feels like it's really there just to be old-fashioned and "pure" so most likely, she will stay this way. She probably couldn't even be more manipulative if she knew how.

This drama should rather be named the one-sided-love club. I've never seen something like this:

Souta --> Saeko
Saeko --> Souta (? not exactly confirmed, but regardless)
Kaoruko --> Souta
Olivier --> Matsuri
Matsuri --> Unknown guy
Erena --> Unknown guy
Rikudou --> Souta
Rikudou's employee --> Kaoruko (just accept it)

It could be a parody of Ouran High School Host Club and both girls and guys come to sit with them and watch them being cute while suffering their one-sided loves. It's quite perfect, since their job is to make these beautiful sweets anyway, so they can sit around eating these with pretty cups of tea or coffee, just like in the real thing.

You didn't think I'd close off without showing you some beautiful sweets, right? But while it's beautiful... Eh. I prefer plain croissants, myself. I'll take the chocolate on the side.


  1. scene where Saeko told to Kaoruko about how to tackle a guy. She said at one point the guy showed no reaction so nothing happen then she's glanced at Souta and she said if that had gone well, her life would be different while looking at Souta" This scene make me believe she was in love with Souta back then by she is naive to read that what Souta had done for her is love.

  2. HAHAHAHA~ I really find Rikudou a very amusing character~ I hope to see more of him on the ext episode~~~ and more Shigeaki Katou! <33

  3. I tried to post a comment before but it didn't work - hopefully this time it will stick.

    The massive number of one-way loves really reminds me of last year's awesome drama Summer nude - although they are very different shows, hopefully Shitsuren Chocolatier can achieve some of the same nuanced handling of the relationships of adults. There's also an equal amount of "growing up" that needs to be done here.

  4. Enticing with the sweets and chocolates you posted