Two recent Japanese dramas impressed me because they each had a warmhearted guy and a cold guy, and for most of the show, you couldn’t tell which of them would turn out to be the main lead and get the girl. A Girl & Three Sweethearts and Oh My Boss! Love Not Included have similar characters and even similar plots. Who do you think wins out?
A Girl & Three Sweethearts
This is the story of Misaki, who loses her job as a pastry chef and then comes across her old high school flame, Chiaki. He offers her a job at his family’s seaside restaurant and a place to stay at his house. What she doesn’t know is that his two younger brothers, Kanata and Touma, also live there. As she gets used to their grumpiness and they get used to her playfulness, they move through a sort of love triangle that keeps morphing.
Through it all, they tangle with a birth secret, an ex-girlfriend, a hostile takeover, and a mystery woman. Misaki is very awkward at first, but improves and works on ways to expand her skills. Along the way she talks everything over on the phone with her best friend, Wakaba, who is comic relief, and you can’t help wondering what she’ll be up to the next time Misaki calls her.
Oh My Boss! Love Not Included
This one is about Nami, who is not ambitious or stylish, but unexpectedly lands a job as assistant to the head editor of an exclusive fashion magazine. Her boss is exacting and aloof (think The Devil Wears Prada) and this job is a big part of the story. Nami, who is awkward at first, comes to care about her job and doing well. You can see her styling improve from episode to episode. The comic relief comes from her mistakes and her parents coming to town and interacting with whomever they think is her boyfriend.
There are three men in this drama as well. Kenya is from Nami’s hometown, and she has a longstanding crush on him. Junnosuke is a commercial photographer she keeps running into. Nakazawa is a colleague who helps Nami get up to date with the fashion business. This story also has a love triangle and is about feelings that change, sometimes suddenly and sometimes slowly.
There are two basic types of love triangles: a rival triangle, where two people love the same person, and the split-object triangle, where the person can’t decide between two possible partners. We’ve got one of each type here. In Three Sweethearts there are several people having difficulty deciding who they want to be with. On the other hand, Oh My Boss has a rival situation with side rivalries as well.
In the case of Three Sweethearts, Misaki is trying to choose between Chiaki and Kanata, at the same time Chiaki is deciding between Misaki and his ex-girlfriend. Interestingly enough, the ex-girlfriend is played by the same actress who plays the head editor in the other drama.
Warm or Cold
The cold and aloof guy is a standard drama character. In Oh My Boss it is Nami’s coworker Nakazuka, who ignores or criticizes her at first, and then relents and shares his reference book. In Three Sweethearts this role is held by Kanata, the middle brother, who is not above pinching Misaki’s face or ruining food she just made. It is fun to watch them get won over as Nami and Misaki prove they are competent.
The warm and friendly guy in Oh My Boss is Junnosuke. He’s from a wealthy family, is sick of people trying to curry favor with him because of it, and enjoys Nami treating him just like anyone else. He tries to buy her things that she won’t let him pay for. The kindhearted one in Three Sweethearts is Chiaki, who was deeply hurt by his ex-girlfriend and appreciates Misaki’s easygoing nature and asks Kanata to go easy on her.
So who wins out?
Considering how similar the stories are, you may be surprised to hear that one warm guy wins out and one cold guy. I’m not sure why; all of these actors had good chemistry. They could have made me happy either way, and both shows have good endings. I think I would have chosen differently than the women in the stories, but I’m different from them. These are cute, lighthearted dramas, and I enjoyed watching. They can be found on Viki and only have ten episodes. Why don’t you watch them and tell us in the comments who you would have chosen?
Until the next love triangle,
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi