Kim Wa Petto, or You’re My Pet is my second Japanese drama. Although I didn’t love it like Pretty Proofreader, the frustrating characters make one think, and it ends happily, which is always best case scenario with a RomCom. This one is the 2017 version by Fuji TV starring Noriko Iriyama and Jun Shison.
Sumire Iwaya (Iriyama) is a reporter with beauty and smarts who struggles at life and is basically her own worst enemy. One night she gets very drunk and mistakes a young man hiding in a cardboard box for a puppy she had as a kid named Momo. Takeshi Goda (Shison) carries her home and ends up staying…as Sumire’s pet! If that wasn’t weird enough, there is an age gap of ten years. Takeshi, or “Momo” is 20 and Sumire about to turn 30. The pet thing is strange on its own, but made worse by the fact that Momo easily could pass for a teenager.
Despite all of that, I liked the main relationship and romance and wanted to see more of it. Here, chemistry is a key factor. The two leads are an instant family, though the specifics of their relationship get worked out over time. In contrast to that, we watch Sumire suffer miserably through a relationship that can never work. Sometimes chemistry just doesn’t develop, even with time.
It was tedious and also horrifying to watch as Sumire fails time and again to simply be herself with a man she was once in love with. Shigehito Hasumi, played by the handsome Terunosuke Takezai, is unfortunately equally clueless. Both are not comfortable with each other, but persist and persist, as if loveless sex can simply cover over the problem. It was so irritating it made me want to tear my hair out, but sometimes it takes people forever to realize the truth, and, more importantly, to act on it. Later on Hasumi gets a “pet,” too, and it is actually those humans that help the two finally understand that their relationship is just not going to work.
Takeshi says he likes Sumire in part because she’s not a fighter, she won’t compete for him or run after him or anything. That kinda makes sense because usually the men like to do the chasing, but he is truly blessed with a patience for her as she stumbles through a personal life filled with insecurity and lack of self-confidence. The pet thing begins as a sort of joke, Sumire is really trying to get Takeshi to leave and is surprised when he agrees to be her pet, or, rather agrees to make her his Sugar Momma. We find later that on the first night she kissed him, and perhaps it is that which is still keeping him around. But the only satisfying explanation is that they have instant chemistry and get each other in a way no one else does.
As for Takeshi, we get to know him in his profession as a dancer–a profession in which he excels–however he seriously lacks screen time compared to Hasumi. Incidentally, we don’t really get to know Hasumi, either, but despite being overbearing in his attentions to Sumire and failing to notice how uncomfortable she is, he’s a good guy. He’s sadly such a good guy that he lets a scheming receptionist in his company seduce him. Well, sort of. In the end, the two are a good match and seem to actually like each other, if not love each other.
By the end of the show, I found it to have been a tedious watch. Good, peppy intro song, but not nearly as funny as I thought it would be. Sumire is agonizingly slow to realize she’s fallen in love with Takeshi, and it’s sad that her character has such low self-esteem that she can’t simply break off her relationship with Hasumi. It was great when both finally happened, but it should have happened about ten episodes before that. Hasumi perhaps has a similar insecurity, which is why he didn’t break it off, either. The manga this was based on and the other TV/movie versions of this story are hopefully better.
The pet thing was weird, but I kinda get it, it’s a role play, a way or excuse to care for and love someone in ways that would normally not be accepted unless one is dating the person. Sumire and Takeshi are instantly physically close due to this role play, and it was really the age difference that was holding Sumire back. Holding her back, perhaps, because although she’s a decade older, she’s not nearly as mature as him. A large age gap with the woman as the older one is kind of a new subgenre in RomComs. Probably A, because there’s a ton of older women who are single and alone, B, youth is attractive, C, young men are often still more eager to please the women than many of their older counterparts. It’s difficult to imagine Hasumi, for example agreeing to be a pet to a woman. He’s just too old for it, and once Takeshi finally decides to stop playing around, he’s the same. The age gap works here because Sumire is immature for her age and Takeshi is mature for his, although it may not seem so at first.
It’s unclear how many Sugar Mommas Takeshi has had in the past, but Sumire with her insecurity helps him leave that lifestyle behind, taking on manliness and the leadership and willingness to provide that comes with it. In turn, Sumire truly learns to rely and trust another person. She can completely be herself with him, and sometimes I think that is an aspect that really defines love. Yes, there is uncomfortableness sometimes due to chemistry and sexual attraction, or even just misunderstandings, but at some point that wall is broken down if the relationship is real and going to last. The worst aspect about Sumire’s forced relationship with Hasumi was that neither tried ways of making it better. They just continued on hoping things would change. That’s not love. Love deals with things, really deals with them. Lovers shouldn’t brush problems under the rug, but seriously examine them. If what you have can’t pass that test, then what you have may not be love! All the time, Takeshi was trying to help the two, especially to get Sumire to open up to Hasumi. I think if she’d been able to do that, and able to rely on Hasumi and let him help her with things, the two would have made it, but it would have taken ages before either felt like family with the other.
You’re My Pet was a show of oddballs, and the biggest ones all ended up together. If America did this show, it would have been…way kinky. This story was portrayed largely very innocently, and although it did involve some sex, it clearly showed that simply having sex doesn’t and can’t make one happy. A good lesson. Love is really the thing to pursue. On the whole, the show was neither funny nor romantic, yet somehow it’s still a RomCom. Both leads did a great job acting, especially Iriyama as Sumire. She’s a difficult character on so many levels. Not a show I would watch again, but perhaps will someday check out some of the other remakes.