I have to say, I officially kind of like Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi. I’m not going to get into the whole guilty pleasure thing, because I think it’s kind of a false concept to begin with and besides, even if you buy into it there’s really nothing in this show that would merit the description. Is it highbrow entertainment? No, but so what? It’s fun and cute and seems to have a good heart. It’s also shameless but that’s actually intrinsic to its success. I don’t know if that adds up to something I’d cover but at the moment I’m certainly enjoying it.
I was thinking that Tsubasa was a fish out of water merely being a Tokyo boy plunked down in Kitami. And that would certainly be enough culture shock for most anybody, but apparently there’s more to the story than that. It’s not surprising that he’d never been to a snow festival before, or that Kitami would have one. Minami catches him gazing at a poster and invites herself along with him, despite the fact that she hasn’t gone in a years and considers it lame and kiddie. She’s falling for Tsubasa so what difference would that make.
I love Japanese regional trivia, so Dosanko Gal has that in its pocket as a bonus. I certainly didn’t know that in Hokkaido if you put sugar on a corn dog – generally called an “American Dog” in Japan – they call that a “French Dog” in Hokkaido (I didn’t even know sugar on an American Dog was a thing). Tsubasa was excited about this because he’d been reading up on Hokkaido regional specialties, which is cute as hell. Minami declares she’s going to expose him to the wonders of Hokkaido cuisine, which for my money is the best in Japan. Of course even in Kitami, an indirect kiss is still an indirect kiss…
Back in school, Minami makes good on her promise by introducing Tsubasa to a local yakiben, where you use the water from the noodles to make a soup on the side. Meanwhile he shares his grandma’s homemade bento with her, which triggers a very interesting conversation where he says he’s never tried cup noodles before. And eventually, that he’d never been to a convenience store either. Minami is suitably floored by this, which is certainly atypical for any Japanese, much less a modern teenager. Curiosity takes over, and she invites herself to his house on the assumption that he must be a sheltered rich kid.
That may very well turn out to be true – at the very least he sure as hell ain’t poor – but there’s something else going on with his family life. On the way they pass a snow fort and she decides to show him the pleasures of such things, which leads to one of those shameless passages I was referring to earlier. Grandma happens to overhear this conversation, Tsubasa is suitably horrified, but eventually Minami wins over the old lady with sound advice about avoiding black ice and umbrellas in the snow (that made perfect sense actually), and provides a safe shortcut to their (massive) house. She invites Minami in for tea, as much out of curiosity as anything, and the family mystery deepens.
I’m kind of curious where this is headed. Maybe it’s something as simple as Minami being right, they’re just rich and sheltered – but why did they move to Kitami? I sense something deeper there. We also have the specter of the harem element kicking in, though I suspect Minami is the only serious player in the romance department. Obviously this could all go south (no pun intended) at the drop of a ski cap, but for now I’m very much pleasantly surprised. Let’s see what the next few episodes have in store.