Title: Like a Love Comedy
Author: Aki Morimoto
Illustrator: Yutta Narumi
May Contain Spoilers
Biwa has dreamed of working at a television studio since he was a boy. When he’s hired as a screenwriter, he gets a taste of how difficult creating a hit show can be. Assigned to assist with a new series starring a Japanese actor he’s never heard of, the two butt heads right off the bat. When he discovers that he’s been picked for this production team because he’s fluent in Japanese, he can’t believe his bad luck. Now he’s expected to babysit the rude Toyohira!
I have to give a knock to Like a Love Comedy because of Toyohira’s unconvincing metamorphosis from jackass to good guy. His transformation was so unbelievable that it was jarring. To be a total turd one day and a charming guy the next really stretched the imagination. It also reduced the tension between Biwa and Toyohira to practically nil. Without that spark, their relationship was a little boring. Still, you can’t help but like these two, and hope that they get together.
Biwa and Toyohira both love American television shows, especially sitcoms. They are driven to create a smash hit, even with the deck stacked against them. The show’s producer chose Toyohira as the star, despite being an unknown outside of his native Japan. Biwa can’t understand this decision, especially after meeting the arrogant actor for the first time. The guy can barely speak English! And Toyohira has managed, in the first production meeting, to give the impression that he’s aloof and difficult to work with. Not a good way to get their show off the ground!
Toyohira, after getting a royal scolding from Biwa, returns the next day with a new attitude and a tape featuring a compilation of his performances. Won over by his acting, the crew of writers are now eager to get to work on a script to highlight his acting skills. Toyohira apologizes for his bad behavior, and the two begin to strike up a friendship. Throughout the book, their relationship is more about companionship than about passion, as they discover common likes and share mutual aspirations for making it big in Hollywood. Since Toyohira is a big star in Japan, his goal is to return home and continue his career – something that’s not very conducive to a long-term relationship. Biwa keeps his emotional distance from Toyohira, not wanting to get any more involved with the handsome actor.
Like a Love Comedy features snappy dialog and likable leads. At 158 pages, it’s a quick read, the perfect companion for a little poolside reading. The tone remains light as Biwa and Toyohira’s non-stop banter hides the feelings growing between them. There’s a bit of desperation to make the TV series work – if it doesn’t get picked up, Toyohira is catching the first plane back to Japan. Talk about pressure! The setting was interesting, but this book won’t linger long in your memory after reaching the end.
Rated for NR
Review copy provided by Junè