Japanese Drama – Kaseifu no Mita (Mita the Housekeeper)

Seriously one of the weirdest drama I’ve seen in a while, Japanese or otherwise. The rating was very high when it was shown on Japanese TV, the last episode got a 40% rating. It starts off feeling like a normal family drama, then for some reason I suspected something supernatural is going on, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The basic story is about a housekeeper, Mita Akari (Nanako Matsushima), who is working for a family of five (father and four children). The mother just died and the family is having trouble coping on their own. The rap on Mita is she never smiles, and she’s willing to do anything her employer tells her to do, including murder (but crucially, not smiling, she’d rather quit than follow that order). 

I thought at first Nanako is a bit wasted as Mita, since Mita doesn’t really show any emotions, especially at the beginning. (Seriously, it’s like employing a robot, it’s downright creepy the way she obeys every order without questioning or betraying any emotion, no matter how outrageous). But after a while I noticed the acting is in her eyes – there are emotions playing out there, just very subtle. Gradually we learn the reason for her behavior, which I won’t spoil, but I’ll just say this – ladies, if your husband is giving inappropriate amorous and lecherous looks towards another woman, maybe the first thing to be concerned about is him, rather than immediately treating the other woman as a slut who must be shamed, especially if the other woman is your own daughter. (This is just part of Mita’s traumatic past, there is something bigger and more tragic).

I’m also amazed that the drama managed to make the father a fairly sympathetic character, despite him being a guy whose wife committed suicide because he was having an affair with a subordinate at work and was going to divorce her. And a guy who wasn’t sure he wanted children in the first place and only got married because of a pregnancy. (Hmm, maybe birth control would have been a good idea after that first child, no? What were you doing having three more kids if you never wanted to be a father in the first place??)

All in all, a worthwhile watch, even if some of the scenes are just bizarre (I still can’t believe Mita is not in jail for some of the things she did).  The youngest daughter is adorable!!

The theme song is catchy and memorable, although one drawback is the drama has a habit of playing the song over the last scene of each episode. I know I’m relying on the subtitle rather than what’s being said, but it’s still very annoying.

Link: http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Kaseifu_no_Mita

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