In the fields of gaming and movie industries, “sweet nostalgia” has never gone out of fashion. After years of hiatus, it is a great joy for fans to see the revival of classic characters and new developments in the story. As long as it doesn’t veer off course too much, it can often become a hot topic. However, have you ever seen a TV series do the same?
▲The character Shinsuke Kuwano played by Hiroshi Abe is a very stubborn man that often causes trouble to his fellow workers. (Photo source: natalie.mu)
Surprise revival of a classic Japanese series
The 2006 classic Japanese series “The Man Who Can’t Get Married” (結婚できない男) is about the weird protagonist “Shinsuke Kuwano”, played by award-winning Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe, who is an architect that loves to live a single life. While he has outstanding work skills, he is strange and has a bad mouth. His numerous oddly insistences inspires both admiration and hatred in his fellow coworkers and friends.
Season 2 of “The Man Who Can’t Get Married” (まだ結婚できない男) came out in 2019 to the utter surprise of its old audience. The overall series retained the first seasons original style. After 13 years, the original 40 year-old Shinsuke Kuwano is now a 53-year-old bachelor that has kept all his oddball habits, and still makes the audiences laugh in front of the television screen. The leading actress has been replaced, yet the disagreeable interactions and confrontations between the leading actor and actress remain a highlight of the show.
▲The leading actresses have completely different character (left: Tanaka Ukie, played by Izumi Inamori, and right: Yoshiyama Madoka, played by Yo Yoshida). Their funny interactions with Shinsuke Kuwano are the best parts of the show. (Photo source: natalie.mu)
What is the ideal life of a metropolitan worker?
Even though Shinsuke Kuwano is always cold towards others, his is unreserved in his passion for his work. In order to build a majestic Japanese house, he visited old temples and traditional hotels in Kamakura. In order to build houses suited for seniors, he personally sat on a wheelchair to test the dimensions in the bathroom. It really shows people that this is spirit of true professionalism.
Returning to the luxurious apartment from his studio located in the prime location of Minamiaoyama in Tokyo, he enjoys his time on personal hobbies, such as classical music, theater, models, or making elaborate cuisine at home and enjoy it on his own. If you are a office worker who is working hard now, you may envy this life in which one is passionate about work, economically well-off, and can enjoy one’s life all alone. One may start to wonder while watching the show: What would my ideal life look like?
Rethink the meaning of marriage in the twisted argument for celibacy
This is a light and heart-warming show, but the storyline also inspires reflection on “social relations” in the modern society. The main central theme of both seasons is “Marriage and single life, which is better?”. It is also a question that troubles many young people. For instance, “I’m almost 30, should I be hurried and get married?”, “Work and relationship, which comes first?”, “If I don’t marry now, would I get lonely when I’m old?”.
Shinsuke Kuwano is celibate and his catchphrase is “Sure enough, single life is better”. He can carry out a reasonable and logical debate referencing classics and literature, which might have expressed the thoughts of many in this age of a growing number of the single. The funny thing is that while others in the show may not accept his extreme rhetoric, they sometimes feel that Shinsuke Kuwano’s comment has hit the mark. As an audience, one might also ponder who is making more sense and delve deeper into the “meaning of marriage.”
After 13 years, what have we changed in our lives?
Looking back at season 1 now, despite the same background, many things in our lives have changed a lot in the short period of 13 years. The actor’s flip phone has been replaced by a smartphone. The smart house keeper in his house plays music for him. He also reluctantly manages his social network website, which involves scenes of a middle-aged man unable to decide which photos to upload, and others. If you haven’t seen season 1, why not enjoy binging the two seasons in the spirit of nostalgia and treasure-hunting? Enjoy the thrill of traveling back in time!
▲The first season of “The Man Who Can’t Get Married” is a series of more than a decade old. The scenes of daily life back then make one a bit nostalgic today.